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Fleur Tonkin

My London Nightmare...

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 1 April 2012 | Views [738]

My flight to London from Edinburgh was delayed, but only by 15 minutes. When I arrived at Stansted airport, my case came through quickly and it was easy to catch the train into central London. The train itself however, got caught behind a much slower train and ended up taking an hour and a half rather than the usual hour to get to Liverpool Street station! I needed to get to the East Aldgate tube station on the Hammersmith line (Liverpool is the Central line), but wasn't sure where to go to catch it. The lady at the information desk told me that it was only about a 5 minute walk, and said that I would be able to find it easily...

I must have asked 10 people how to get there; some had no idea and others had a vague idea of the direction I needed to head in, but one nice girl looked it up on her i-phone for me (I miss my data so much!), so I followed her directions, and some signs, but then it wasn't where we had thought, so I began asking again. Several people pointed down the road and said it was 'Just down the road' (always adding the quintessential “You can't miss it”). However I walked and walked and still couldn't find it! I was lucky enough to ask a pair of women who had a map and had come from the Tower Hill stop on the District Line Railway, and I had been going to Aldgate East to connect to the DLR, so I went there instead! I got off at Beckton, and found the street my accommodation was on easily enough, but for the life of me I could not find number 207! I walked up and down the road several times, but the numbers jumped from 191 to 232 and no one else seemed to know either. I tried calling the host I had booked the accommodation through, but she did not answer so I sat on the pavement for awhile and eventually she called me back and explained that it was Flat 207 at number 191 (it would have been helpful if it had said that in the directions she gave me!).

The lady who owns the flat and rents the rooms was very specific about keeping everything clean when I booked, i.e. sweeping floor daily and cleaning the shower out after every use. When I rang her about the location she also mentioned that the stairwell was not very clean but assured me that inside the flat all the rooms were very clean. So I lugged my suitcase up 3 flights of stained, cigarette littered stairs and the other 2 flatmates Paolo and Marush let me in. I asked who I was supposed to give the (100GBP) deposit to and they said neither of them! I went into my room. It was not as clean as I had been expecting, with marks and chips off the walls, crooked curtains and a cupboard that almost fell apart when I opened it! There was no living area, just 3 rooms, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom, it was very isolating! I had a shower, and discovered that the shower and ceiling were covered in mould and the shower head had come off the wall so you had to hold it up while you showered. The bathroom also reeked of smoke – so badly that I literally had to block my nose!

The shower was the deal breaker – I could not stay in the flat. I also found it strange that the host had been so emphatic about her guests being clean, and I wondered if perhaps she did not realise what sort of a state her flat was in, so I sent her some photos (included in this blog). She rang me and said that it had been clean when she visited the week before. There is no way that mould like that builds up over one week, and I suspect that what she deemed 'clean' is a long way off what I would consider clean, especially living in a first world country! When I said that it was not acceptable she said that it wasn't a five star hotel and maybe I expected too much. Maybe I had, either way I did not want to stay there for the 5 nights I had booked. I told her this, found a place to check into the next morning and figured I would be okay there overnight (at least the room itself didn't smell like smoke.

I went to bed early, tired from a long day of travel and woke up in the middle of the night to find fleas/ticks (some species of insect crawling on me)! I could see quite a few 'bugs' on the bed and in the doona. There were 2 kinds, some like ticks/fleas and some more like small beetles (which I assume were bed bugs). Needless to say, I was disgusted! I spent the next 8hours sitting on the floor (as far away from the bed as I could!) waiting until I could check in somewhere else. I left the flat at 8:30am and checked in at a guest house/inn in East Ham, right around the corner from the tube. It felt like a luxury resort compared to what I'd come from! I had a lovely spacious twin room, there was a nice CLEAN bathroom and a huge modern kitchen with a washer/dryer and iron, etc. Now I just have to try and fight to get my money back from the first lot of accommodation!

Tags: 207 tollgate rd- beckton, 65 sibley grove - east ham, edinburgh airport, stansted airport



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