Monday, August 27, 2007

bedtime stories

Jennifer wrote this really terrific post recently about the beds she'd slept in. I liked it so much that I had to do a version of it myself.

1. Puerto Nuevo, Mexico. A hammock on a roof of a little house under the stars when I was 20 and fearless. I remember that night with such sweetness because it came unexpectedly after several years of really bad things.

2. Khao San Road in Bangkok. It's 3am and we'd just arrived in Asia. We are weary and stumble onto a little guesthouse made of teak and swaying colored lights. The vibe is beyond cool, hushed voices and smoke. Chill out music. We get the last room the size of a closet with a pad on the floor and we fall asleep immediately..

3. The Smoking Lounge (and I use the word lounge loosely here) in the Taipei airport. I think the title is sufficient enough.

4. Belize in two parts: A cinderblock cabana on a deserted island. There was nothing to do and no way to leave and we sat there for three days. Divine. And a treehouse in the jungle. I've never seen spiders as big as I did that night and they were in our bed at the time. Under the sheet. Dude.

5. A really nice hotel in Phnom Penh. I had my heart set on staying in the same hotel as the last of the journalists did before PP fell. I had read vivid descriptions of the courtyard and how it looked in the 70's and I knew I had to stay there and sit among the ghosts. Problem was it was one the most expensive hotels in the city. We stayed one night and after a few weeks on the road it was comfort (and hot water) beyond measure. We had a little balcony that opened onto the said courtyard and I was in heaven.

6. A really bad hotel in Phnom Penh. Bedbugs. Dirty sheets. Towels cost extra. Penance for the earlier decadence.

7. A log cabin on the Russian River. J and I stayed in this delectable little A-frame with the softest bed and the whitest sheets. We made good use of that room on that trip.

8. A writer's quarters in Suchitoto. The room was maybe 7'X9' and bright blue with a bright pink bathroom. The owner brought me cafe con leche in the morning and it was sweet and hot and delicious.

9. Tikal, Guatemala. We slept in a little room with howler monkeys in the trees overhead and they screamed all night long and we had too many beers. If you've never heard a howler monkey then you are missing out. Especially at 3am. Drunk.

10. Florence, Oregon. A side of the road motel on our way to meet friends for Xmas in 2003. We made M that night but didn't know it for another three or four weeks. Florence stands for Fertility!

Now it's your turn. Tell me a sleeping place that still lurks around in your memory.

56 comments:

Joker The Lurcher said...

wow! mine are more places i didn't sleep - apart from the last 2 i was travelling alone...

1. the ymca in new york - i was sharing a room with a stranger who luckily was really nice. in the early hours we went and sat up on the roof in a wild thunderstorm and got soaked through, with new york spread out around.

2. a cattle station in the australian bush. i had somehow befriended a stockman who ended up in my bed. i had to keep my jeans on all night as a rather blunt form of contraception...

3. a bed and breakfast in the bahamas which i chose from the list given to me by immigration at the airport - they wouldn't let you in without an address. there was an english maid who i got friendly with but it turned out that her boyfriend was a major crack addict and he kept trying to get me to try some. after seeing how he was when he needed crack i moved out into a proper hotel paid for with my credit card. in those days crack wasn't seen in the uk and it was utterly terrifying to see someone behaving like a wild dog with withdrawal symptoms.

4. a hammock in moorea, near tahiti. an evening spent with local fishermen with whom i didn't have a common language so we discussed nuclear testing in the pacific by drawing pictures in the sand. they caught some fish with a torch and a sharpened bamboo cane and we cooked them over a fire.

5. a very posh 5* hotel in guilin, china. marble bathroom, fresh sheets every day and a man playing a grand piano in the lounge. and chinese tv to watch. this extravagence was essential after a really really hideous cheap hotel with bedbugs and cockroaches and all sorts.

6. the trans-siberian express - crisp starched sheets, dark wood and brass carriage, hair full of coal dust, the gobi desert and mongolia passing by.

KC said...

You've got some serious bed/travel memories.

My most memorable and least comfortable: A marble slab bench in the Venice train station. Dude.

My most comfortable and least fun: The softest, most luxurious pillow top bed in a boutique hotel in pre-Katrina New Orleans. But we were having a rare fight and the bed was the only good thing about that trip.

kristen said...

Loved this. Thank you for having me walk down memory lane.

I so wouldn't have loved that spider bed - I would have lost it.

The best bed(s): Bologna, Italy. The most divine linen sheets in a king sized bed.

Sleeper car from Paris to Venice - small for two but we made due.

Paris: Hotel Rivoli du Notre Dame in the Marais. Our girl was conceived there and 3 weeks later, I took a pregnancy test at the same hotel and found out I was pregnant.

Worst bed: The first night in Venice.

blooming desertpea said...

1. A room on a farm in Western-Australia. There was a huge hunter spider in that room. We couldn't see where is fled before we went to bed. When we woke up, it was straight above my daugher's bed.

2. Resort in the jungle of Equador. Wooden beds with mosquito nets and a huge cockroach in the bathroom eating soap - lol.

Christine said...

the floor of an old archeology museum in virginia while a fierce storm raged outside and not a single light illuminated the inside.

kgirl said...

Love this! I got a shiver of happiness from the Florence story.
My favourites include:
- a motel room with my bff in tofino, BC, doors open to the sound of the ocean
- a treehouse with same bff in olympos, turkey (we had to evacuate for a little bit in the middle of the night due to a black scorpion houseguest)
- a dingy, old caravan with very same bff in Bet Ha-Emek, Israel that became my very beloved home for the better part of a year.
- mine and chris' rustic 'honeymoon suite' overlooking the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in St. Julien's, Malta

ah, wanderlust.

Tabba said...

wow, this was an awesome post.

there's no way i can match it.

and some of my sleeping places would probably get me in trouble.

Bon said...

i love this...it evoked the familiar and the still foreign for me, made me itchy to try new beds again.

i wonder if we were ever on Khao San at the same time? December 2000, April-May 2002, and February 2004 for me....? any overlap? we've had both great and horrid rooms there, one with more cockroaches than i care to remember.

i think i'm gonna steal this one, Jen. stay tuned.

NotSoSage said...

oh, i can't read this and the responses without an insane fit of jealousy. especially over joker's trans-siberian express.

Kyla said...

"when I was 20 and fearless"

You are still fearless, my dear.

Janet said...

Wow, you have slept in some incredible places! I can't compete on the same level, so I am going to share a disgusting memory that just popped into my head:

I once slept on a filthy carpet with chip crumbs as my mattress and no blanket at a New Year's Party. Want to know why? I was displaced from a more comfortable, high spot by a disgusting creep who was masturbating and kept reaching up to try and touch me.

The chips struck me as a less offensive (ans safer) option.

jen said...

i LOVE reading about all of your bed sleepings. whether domestic or abroad these beds tell so many stories and are forever a part of our fabric. thank you for sharing them.

painted maypole said...

loved these stories. The one that jumped to my mind (but so pales in comparison) is a hotel we stayed at as we were driving from Florida to New Orleans to interview for the job my husband eventually got. We pushed the driving thing because MQ was travelling so well, but when we finally started looking for motels everything was closed because of hurricane damage from earlier in the year. The only ones that were open were stuffed with relief workers. We pressed on for about another hour, and finally got the last room available at a hotel around midnight. It was a very expensive room, but that bed was the best bed I ever slept in. Maybe because I was so tired and sick of being in the car, but it felt divine. Afterwards, I called the hotel to find out what kind of mattress and pillows they use, because I wanted to buy some for myself, but they were only made for the hotel, and a regular person couldn't buy one. I still kick myself that I didn't take a pillow - I would have gladly paid for it!

Oh. And the bed that we honeymooned in in Pheonix was the same bed that we enjoyed when MQ was conceived 6 1/2 years later.

slouching mom said...

Hmm. I will think on this. Wonderful stories everyone's coming up with!

mayberry said...

A sleeping bag in a yurt in Maine in February. A bit chilly. My then-boyfriend, now-husband got up every hour to feed the wood stove.

Beck said...

I haven't travelled much at all. But I frequently looked out my childhood bedroom window (while sitting on my bed) on cold, bright winter nights to see the still, frozen farm yard filled with quiet, deadly wolves. Spooky!

meno said...

What a fun thing to think about! I love yours. You are much more adventurous than i.

On the deck of a cabin in the San Juans and watching the Northern Lights and the bats.

nomotherearth said...

Wow, you've been everywhere!

-A converted convent across from the Isle of Capri. We stayed in the "children's room" of a family suite and I swear it was haunted.

-A hostel in Madrid. Not sure, but a cat may have been trapped in the walls. I was too scared to find out.

-A cottage in Saulxures-les-Vannes, France. Rustic, but lovely.

-A tent on a farm in Armstrong, BC. Extremely cold at night, but it was freedom for me, and a statement to those who thought I couldn't do it.

ms chica said...

When I was eleven I built an elaborate pine straw fort complete with a roof. I used to drag a blanket to it daily and steal naps in the afternoon, typically accompanied by the family dog. Not glamourous...but memorable.

bgirl said...

i think i just fell in love with you again...! is that possible?

such a great read.

i too may steal this idea, a list for now with the knowledge that i will revisit in a year to add upcoming international travels.

thailandchani said...

It would have been a youth hostel in Israel.



Peace,

~Chani

PunditMom said...

Those are some great ones! I thought I had the travel bug, but I've got nothing on you!

The worst? A little hotel by the Beijing airport on our way home with PunditGirl. Dirty, smoky and undrinkable water. Plus, there were three twin beds -- and no place to safely have an infant sleep. We had to push beds together and try to fashion a "crib" with pillows and our bodies so little PunditGirl wouldn't fall out. The best? A pillowtop canopy bed at the Half Moon Resort in Jamaica. I needed one of those stepstools just to get in, and then I sank down in the comfitude and never wanted to get out!

jennifer said...

Hi Jen- Very cool list! I'm glad I gave you a little inspiration... what's even cooler is to think if our beds have ever crossed! Your Belize bed full of spiders sounds strangely similar to mine in Costa Rica...

Julie Pippert said...

Wow, that is as diverse and cool a list as it can get I think! I don't dare try to put up my own LOL.

Julie
Ravin' Picture Maven

flutter said...

I love this, and you are beyond fearless.

I think mine would be this little fleabag in Vancouver, after I'd driven and flown all day. I drove in the most open, green, beautiful places I'd ever seen.

Oh, The Joys said...

A slapped together hut facing sunset on the Mekong river in southern Cambodia...

Lawyer Mama said...

OH, I loved this, Jen! I'm going to do it on my blog too.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

ooo - this sets the memories going. I have to agree with others that I just might have to steal it too b/c if I started now it would be far too long for a comment.

By the way, the Russian River... would that be the one in Alaska??

Jennifer said...

Oh, I love this and love reading about everyone's beds. I'll have to think on this one, but I have some wonderful memories rushing back.

Persephone said...

Damn, girl, you've been around. I like this idea.

Two thoughts:

Lying in the softest, fluffiest bed under a goosedown duvet in Zermatt, Switzerland after an ass-kicking hike.

Looking at the stars through a hole in the ceiling in a room in Dahab, Egypt.

luckyzmom said...

Wow, this post really set the memories flowing. Most memorable for me = a sleazy motel room in Carlsbad, NM where we were wishing the aliens would come rescue us. Like other commenters I might borrow this idea. Thanks for the stimulating post.

Ally said...

This is such a fun idea, Jen. I loved your Florence, OR example; I have a similar one from Venice, Italy, where we stayed in a corner-room, in a bed with the softest, fluffiest duvet, and listened to the gondaliers singing down the canal. Little Eli was made that night.

I loved the idea of the treehouse in Belize, until I came to the part about the big spiders. Nevermind the treehouse. I'm over it now.

QT said...

Hey woman - great post, and I just got done catching up on your weekend...sounds like it was relaxing.

I will throw a few your way:

1. Small twin bed on a fishing boat outside of Dutch Harbor, Alaska with my now ex-husband. I hadn't seen him in two months, and flew to him for Valentines Day on year. We made it work.

2. Hammock on the beach in Placencia, Belize. Didn't mean to fall asleep...again, with the now ex-husband.

3. Flagstone Motel, Port Angeles, WA - warm, dry comfort after a grueling, wet backpacking trip in the Hoh Rainforest. I almost cried when I got inside the room.

4. Quito, Ecuador - lying in bed, listening to jets take off at the airport just a few miles away.

5. Key West, FL - stayed in a friend's guest room that opened up to a small courtyard with a pool for early morning skinnydipping. She had lovely, soft, linen sheets on the bed.

Amy York said...

I am in awe of the vastness of your travels! How fantastic to be able to experience this planet in ways that most of us can't. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you... and your beds. :)

Deezee said...

Yo so amped up my wanderlust with this one!

A place forever stuck in my mind...
three separate visits to that remote village in Siberia - two in summer and one in the dead of winter. And the stories that were launched there, the customs viewed, the revelry, the depression, the farm animals who knew their home and masters, the home brewed "vodka" that burned on its way down, water heated by burning wood, hoeing potato fields one plant at a time, trying to "dry out" freshly picked wild pot with a blow dryer (no, it didn't work) and too many other tales to recount...

Magpie said...

Mmm, I do so like my own bed.

But sleeping in a screened porch off the ocean in Montauk as a child, in a bed full of sand...

Sleeping in a tent in Oregon in the cold cold air...

Sleeping in the Four Seasons Hotel in NYC in a suite with views to die for...

Jozet said...

I agree with Julie - my list just couldn't compare!

I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing.

The Chick said...

I just wrote a post about breaking my childhood bed recently, but it doesn't hold up to this. You make me want to travel!!!

Aliki2006 said...

Great, great beds!

My all time favorite for me--under the stars on a beach in Greece.

crazymumma said...

the hospital bed I slept in when I had bigirl and the home bed I slept in after I had littlegirl.

hearts bursting, mr mumma and I silent whispering laughing at the wonders we had made in our own private bed moments.

Amanda said...

Thank god my visits to Florence were before I started menstruating.

I have only one that is at all worthy of being in the same space as your list and that would be a bench on the Ramblas after being abandoned one night in Barcelona by a guy named, wait for it, Angel. Judgment at 18 is far less pretty than 18 itself.

Her Grace said...

In a tent in Montreal on a cross-Canada camping trip with a college buddy who insisted on bringing a bat along to protect us from bears.

I know I can do better...I just have to mull it over!

Mrs. Chicky said...

Um, bathroom floor at the W in Chicago?

Laurie said...

On a forklift at work?

jen said...

i love all of your answers. it makes me want to see hear more about these beds you speak of.

mitzh said...

WoW! I love this post!
You make me want to see the world.

Hetha said...

The comments on this post are as fabulous as the post itself, blogging at its best jen!

My most interesting would have to be a train (Via Rail) from Vancouver to Toronto. Watching the sun set while laying in my cozy sleeper car as we rolled through the Canadian Rockies, it was one of the first times (of many) that I've fallen in love with Canada.

g said...

Amazing! Such vivid memories. I wish I could write the same.

(Please forgive my barging in here, I've been clicking Mitzh's links. :D)

Orangeblossoms said...

Oh good heavens!! You have ten beds of note. I have like two. And they're only notable by their lack of noteriety.

Though I am fond of one at Jenner.... Russian River meets the ocean.... and there was a luxurious one in Helsinki when we finally left the hard beds, thin blankets, and scratchy sheets of the Soviet Union in the cold January of 1989.

But then, an uncomfortable bed in the Soviet Union in 1989 is interesting, too....

I guess I've had adventures, too!

Redneck Mommy said...

A crappy little motel on the outskirts of the Rocky Mountains with my Boo.

Goooooood times.

Now the hubs and I are thinking of travelling to Belize. Any suggestions, Ms. Property Owner and Belize lover Extraordinaire?

Rock the Cradle said...

I'll have to use this as my on vacation writing project.

The bed I'll be sleeping on: a nondescript queen-size in a house on the shore of a lake in Maine.

I hope I can hear a loon.

liv said...

Oh, a hard little twin bed in a hotel in the hills of Delphi, Greece. There was a light blanket, a breeze through the french doors, and a noisy cow who would moo at the crack of dawn... this came too soon after many nights spent in a Taverna!

carrie said...

Except for the spiders, that sounds lovely!

My favorite sleeping place was in a very expensive a nice hotel which we only stayed one night in after checking into and promptly leaving what the boys now refer to as "the murder scene motel". Seriously, we got there, went to our room, tried to get the rinky dink heater to work (in the middle of winter) and then noticed some blood-covered puddle on the floor beneath the mattress my kids were about to sleep on. We got the heck out of there sooooo fast. But where we ended up was soooo divine, it almost erased those awful memories, almost.

Jocelyn said...

I used to take naps in the bathtub--just drag in a blankie and pillow.

Oh, The Joys said...

Pass the plane tickets and peyote!

(Kidding!)

I have never been, but have always been curious.

ewe are here said...

Wow! What a list!

The howler monkeys sound, errr, loud.