Welcome to hell, here’s your room

Authored By Brian

It’s been several days without an update because the Internet access I was supposed to have at the apartment I lined up didn’t materialize. There is a limit imposed by our Telefonica router that prevents more than two computers from connecting but even after turning one of them off, I still couldn’t get online.

And that’s the good part.

As I said a few days ago, I’m really trying to do the right thing here. I can live with filth, it washes off. I can live with a dirty kitchen, I’ll eat out. I can deal with the all-night hashish smoking parties, I’ll sleep in. I could even live with unfriendly roommates, but these guys are all very nice. What I must have, it turns out, is an Internet connection.

Although it is dirty, upon closer inspection it turns out that this apartment is actually very nice. It’s just hidden under a layer of grime, clutter and poor lighting. With a thorough washing, a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture, I would love this place. However, I’m sleeping on a bed on the floor in a place where my orientation included a concerted effort to point out the RAID cockroach spray under the kitchen sink. And no Internet connection. Which means instead of ignoring the dirt and just working away on Pukka and being reachable by IconMedialab in a timely fashion on my Vonage VOIP line, I have to head downtown to find an Internet café that supports wireless laptops (portatils con inalámbrico) at 5€/hour.

I should have been better prepared. When my friend, Jerry, first arrived in New York to an apartment he had lined up over email, it turned out to be a cat-infested stank hole with a couple of chain-smoking Russians and their buddies overusing the little real estate available. Jerry tried his best to make the most of the situation and went so far as to repaint his room and clean the place up. All this from a germophobe who is allergic to cats. But eventually he broke. He packed up his crap and moved to a new place and wiped the experience from his frontal lobe and he seems a lot better off for it minus that slight twitch and the worms…

If finding a room via the Internet, make absolutely sure you have seen detailed pictures and, if sharing, confirm the number of people living there

That brings us up to now. Despite my best efforts to put up with this, I just finished sneaking downstairs and loading my computer equipment and one of my suitcases into Gabriela’s car for her to take home for me. I secretly packed the two bags earlier today and have strategically placed my remaining items around the room as to look “lived in” anticipating making a clean break tomorrow morning. I am leaving 200€ which is half of what we agreed to and I think more than fair given how out of whack this room is with the description provided. Although another friend suggested I should just high-tail it, it’s partially my fault for not being more thorough in my assessment (pictures… always get the pictures…) and I will accept the blame for that. If I lived here through the month spending 10€/day roughly for an Internet connection, it would be 200€ and that’s the other half of our agreed upon rent. I think that’s pretty fair; what do you think?

I feel really bad currently, but tomorrow night when I’m laying on a freshly made bed and have a bathroom I can walk barefoot in, I imagine these feelings will fade away.

What drama! I didn’t even get to write about working in the park, seeing Gabriela for the first time again, learning the secret to speaking Spanish or the great dinner I had tonight! Assuming I escape alive, I will get to it all tomorrow.

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