The end

This is the end of this diary. Now it's a new year and the 366 days of 2016 are over. For me personally it's been an amazing year. Mostly thanks to everyone I've met during these days. For example I've had 221 people staying in my apartment via Airbnb or Couchsurfing. That's crazy!

All guests have been nice and respectful people and some have become friends.

Other than that I've tried to rent out my toilet - with no luck. And my things - with not so much success either. Doing all sorts of small jobs. Some ridesharing. Been to at home-restaurants. And a lot more. There is definitely potential for the sharing economy to develop further, but it's already a great way of using resources more efficiently. And of connecting with people around you - or from the other side of the world.

With this I want to wish all you readers a happy new year! Thank you for following this project.

Here are a few pictures from my new years dinner celebrated with some of my former guests and some other friends.

 

 

 

 

Day 366: Next year

Wow, what happened? December went by in a never ending row of parties, dinners, lunches and other gatherings with friends. One of the most frequent questions is what I'm gonna do next year. For a long time I didn't know for sure myself. But I was pretty confident some new opportunity would show up. And it did. I'm going to Argentina!

It'll be a new adventure. I'm moving to Rosario, a city where I was nine years ago for three days. So more or less everything will be new there.

Among other things I look forward to see what the sharing economy is like there and to explore lifestyles related to digitalization. For example I found a conference in Buenos Aires in March about digital nomads that I plan to visit.

That also means that I will continue to use this website (and hopefully have time to work more on the other pages) to write about what I discover there, even though this diary of my 366 days in the sharing economy will end today.

Day 353: Slightly chaotic

Let me describe what I've been doing since Thursday morning, three days ago. It gives some explanation of why I haven't had time to blog that frequently these last days.

1) gave a lecture at the university of agriculture, in defense of globalization and about how it's related to the sharing economy. It took three hours.

2) Then home where one of my neighbours helped me fix the lock in the door which was broken (and almost locked me inside the apartment the day before).

3) After that train to Stockholm and this super cool co-living house where I've through Taskrunner gotten the job as some kind of general handy man. I should blog more about that too.

4) Then after working there in the afternoon I met some friends for drinks.

5) Oh yeah, I wrote a column on the train to Stockholm too.

6) Friday, spent most of the day doing all sorts of the co-living place.

7) Came home rather tired and had just lied down on the couch when the guy who plays the piano here sometimes came and played for an hour.

8) When he was done playing and Airbnb guest from Tokyo arrived. He was Korean and had been living in China and Japan, and we spent most of the evening talking about the difference between those countries. Even though he found Japan a lot more relaxed than South Korea he had a dream about moving to Sweden and was now here four days, only to hear the Swedish rock band Kent.

9) After midnight I was rather tired and just about to go to sleep when I got a message from a friend. "Hey, I'm in town and it's so far to go home to Stockholm. Can I crash on your sofa?" Ok, sure. So he came here, we talked for an hour and then finally I could go to sleep.

10) Saturday morning I made breakfast and introduced the Korean guy to Swedish specialities like Kalles kaviar and hjortronsylt when I got a message: "Hey, where at the station now. Will be in your place soon!" Damn, I had forgotten that two guys from California was arriving in the morning. So I cleaned their room super quickly and then welcomed them.

11) Then I did some shopping, groceries etc. Went to have coffee with my mum. Did some laundry. And was just about to get some rest on the couch when - yes, the piano guy arrives again.

12) And then it was time to cook for my three friends that came for dinner.

13) When they left at midnight I chatted for a couple of hours and then i realized I had laundry still in the basement, which I had to remove because some neighbour was gonna do laundry in the morning. So I finally went to bed at 3 am.

14) Then this morning I got up. Said good bye to the Korean guy, and went to have lunch with some other Koreans.

It's a lot of people in four days. Do I even need a lock on the door?

Woke up to this in the morning. From left to right: the piano, remnants of yesterday's dinner, my "bed", the laundry that I have to fold.

Woke up to this in the morning. From left to right: the piano, remnants of yesterday's dinner, my "bed", the laundry that I have to fold.

 

 

Day 347: Rent my skis!

As these 366 days are coming to an end - only 19 left now! - I feel that some things repeat themselves. A new winter is here. Today it's a beautiful, snowy winter's day in Uppsala and maybe someone would be tempted to rent my skis this winter?

I didn't have much luck renting them out last winter, and to be honest, I have hardly rented out any stuff at all. No drill, no bike, no toilet. That has been one of the least successful parts of the project, I guess.

But who cares. So many other weird and fantastic things have happened during this year. Yes, some things repeat themselves. But on other levels I feel than even now, as I write this, in the same physical spot as I wrote my first blog posts less than a year ago, I've traveled very far.

Day 340: Home again!

After having spent a month traveling, where I've been in Rotterdam, the red light district of Amsterdam, and of Hague, and downtown LA and in the Mission District in San Fransisco I'm now trying to get used to not being surrounded by coffee shops, prostitutes and homeless people.

This evening I went to a friend to have dinner. Before I left the piano playing son of the nice American couple came by to play. I've given him a key so he can come and use the piano whenever he wants. I love it! 

Then one of my Airbnb guests came home with some sweet potatoes she was gonna make a soup of and asked if I had a mixer.

It's such a cozy feeling leaving the apartment knowing someone is playing the piano and someone else is cooking a soup there.

Yes, it's nice to be home.

Day 338: Hacker space and VR porn

Now I'm back in Sweden again. I've done so many different things this trip, it feels like I've been away for a lot more than two and a half weeks.

IMG_7111.jpg

The last day in San Francisco I did some sightseeing. Fisherman's wharf, Haight Ashbury and things like that.

In the evening a friend had hooked me up with Jonas S Karlsson who has founded hackerspaces around the world. He kindly offered to take me to Noisebridge, a makerspace in the Mission District, where there there would be short talks on different topics. They use a concept called 5 minutes of fame, where people get five minutes to present an idea, work in progress etc.  It was really cool to see the place. Electronic components, led lights, sewing machines, a room for welding etc. And lots of people interested in discussing any aspect of this. Jonas who has lived many years in San Francisco said that it is exactly this creative atmosphere that is the best thing about this city.

After that I met up with one of the couchsurfers that I had requested to stay with. I already had a place to stay but we decided to have a beer. He was, of course, also working in the tech industry, something related to autonomous cars. We talked about the sharing economy and how to change things in society. Then he asked me if I wanted to try his VR headset. Of course! I've never tried it before.

Alan Turing and a bike rack.

Alan Turing and a bike rack.

It is common that people get some motion sickness so at first he choose some simple animated thing for me. But I rarely get car sick, maybe that helps, so I didn't feel bad at all. After that I tried a psychedelic music video and then a roller coaster - that was really cool. So I made a funny remark.

- Cool, I totally see the potential for VR porn.

- Do you want me to download some for you?

- Ok, sure, why not.

As Terence put it: "I am human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me." So yeah, while my new friend was facebooking, I got to see a few minutes of VR porn. Mindblowing ;-) Thanks Dee!

The next day I flew back to Sweden, feeling confident I had experienced the most important things the tech scene in San Francisco has to offer.

Day 336: My first tongue taco

Yesterday I moved to a new place. I wanted to find some Couchsurfer to save some money, but it's always so hard. 29 000 hosts in San Francisco - how to choose? And then in the end it turns out most of them never logged in and never hosted anyway. I ended up sending two requests. One of them answered, some guy interested in meditation, "emphatic communication" etc. I wasn't even sure I really felt like staying there, but he didn't have time to host me anyway.

But I found an Airbnb place in a house on top of a hill with a great view over the ocean. I can see the waves from the window now. I share a room with a sweet Indian computer scientist who, like so many people here, has her goal set on working for some startup in Silicon Valley.

Most of the time these few days in San Francisco I've spent in the Mission District, which is an interesting mix of misery and tech. Yesterday evening I went to some taco place that was supposed to be good.

It looked pretty dicey, but I guess that could mean they have great tacos. At least the options were interesting: tongue, brain etc. So I ordered a tongue taco and was just eating it, thinking about whether I should order my first brain taco ever or not when a man came in to ask for leftovers from the other guests.

I don't have any medical training but if I would have guessed I'd say he had lepra. And was probably, like so many others here, living on the street.

If you read about the Mission District online there are lots of articles about gentrification. Makes me wonder what it used to be like.

In the end I decided not to have the brain taco and ordered an UberPool back to my place instead.

UberPool - awesome service! So cheap!

One driver even took me for a small sightseeing. Going home in the evening I shared a car with two tech nerds who in less than 20 minutes managed to cover Pokémon go, VR, autonomous cars, augmented reality, Google glasses, Tesla and Uber.

When I, as the last one, got out on my street the driver said:

- I'm sorry for boring you.

- Well, isn't this what everyone is talking about in this city?

- Not necessarily. This was an unusually nerdy conversation.

Unusually... I kind of doubt that.

Choice of meats

Choice of meats

Just a regular tongue taco

Just a regular tongue taco

The view

The view

Day 335: Sous vide weed

Yesterday I tried Feastly for the first time. It’s a meal sharing platform. Or maybe more of a pop up-restaurant thing.

I found an event in the Mission District, where I stay here in San Fransisco. A potluck ”Benefit Friendsgiving: Celebrating Diversity” dinner. The price was 15 dollars, but most of the money would be donated to some fund for helping new immigrants and the guests where supposed to bring some food, preferably something signifying inclusion and multiculturalism. It sounded very San Fransisco.

I bought some French cheese and bread. I figured that together with the other announced dishes (like falafel and shepherds pie) it would at least be a contribution from another culture.

When I arrived at the venue my first thought was that the chef of the day, Malasiyan Tracy, had a really nice apartment but it turned out to be the Feastly head quarters. It’s a pretty small operation, they have so far only launched in a few US cities and have about 200 meals per month. 

There was a big spacious room with a long table which felt a little empty with only six of us there. Except for Tracy and a woman working for Feastly there were only four guests. It was interesting to hear about how Feastly works. Their events seem to be a lot more curated than the ones I’m used to from AirDine or EatWith. And I have to say I prefer the latter ones.

To me one of the interesting things about the sharing economy is exactly the unpredictability. You never know exactly what you’ll get or who you’ll meet, but that’s the charm of it.

It would definitely have been more personal if the dinner had taken place in Tracys home and I think that it would have made us feel more comfortable as guests too. Now it was more like being on a semi professional dinner. 6-8 pm. Mostly talk about the business model of Feastly. The food weren't super exciting either since there were so few of us who had brought anything to eat.

The two most interesting things that came up was that three of the six women had been married to Israeli men. ”Yeah, but the key word here is ’have been’”, said one of the women, ”Israelis are just very persuasive.”

And then when someone mentioned the upcoming legalization of marijuana and then Tracy said that she’d previously arranged a ”medicated dinner” for Feastly.

Some people can buy it legally for medical reasons. So for this dinner the guests were told to bring their own buds. A true pot luck dinner.

So in other words she’d made a full dinner with dishes containing marijuana, instead of just making the famous brownies. She told me they had used it in bitters for cocktails and in meat dishes. ”I use it like other herbs and it can for example give the dish a more nutty flavour. I have some friends who write a blog about using marijuana in cooking, it’s called Sous Weed”, she told me. ”Actually, since it allows you to control the temperature better, sous vide is a great method for cooking marijuana.”

This city is so hipster.

Multicultural.

Multicultural.

Regular brownies.

Regular brownies.

Love, inclusion and equality in a cake.

Love, inclusion and equality in a cake.

Six women happily not married to Israeli men.

Six women happily not married to Israeli men.

Day 334: What would we do without our mums?

After a day in San Luis Obispo I took another train north, to San Fransisco. The trains here are super slow. But the view was beautiful this time too, with the light from the setting sun on the hills.

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

After more than six hours on the train I arrived to Oakland where I took a Lyft (wish it existed in Sweden!) to the Mission district in San Fransisco, where my accommodation for the night was. Again the neighbourhood didn't look great. I've been surprised this trip of how many homeless people there are in these Californian cities.

It was supposed to be a Victorian house, but on the street it's mostly warehouse types of buildings so like the place in LA there were not really any open bars or stores at 10 pm, which made it look less nice. But once my host opened and I got in everything felt good.

The house is really charming on the inside and my host Jason was super professional. He rents out four rooms in the house and has 765! reviews on Airbnb. Wow!

What I especially like is that it, even though there are so many people staying here, still feels very homey. Jason showed me around - the two bathrooms, my bedroom, the kitchen with espresso machine and things for breakfast - and spent a lot of time to tell me what to do and see in San Fransisco. 

When I told him I'd go to a potluck dinner the next day he gave me a few recommendations for nice places to buy food too.

I tried the Coffee Bar for "working from home" today. Yes, MacBooks everywhere.

I tried the Coffee Bar for "working from home" today. Yes, MacBooks everywhere.

It was fun to meet another dedicated host. Some of the things here are very similar to my own home. Jason showed me where the tea, coffee, mugs and glasses are in the kitchen; that's what I usually do to. He also told me his mum helps him with the guests when he travels. It's the same for me - thanks a million mum!!!

Other things are different but seem like good ideas that I should implement at home. 1) eggs, milk and cereal for the guests. That doesn't cost a lot, but it's a nice gesture for guests who don't feel like going out to buy breakfast. 2) a map of the city on the wall, lots of tourist brochures and even guide books. There is also a little post on the fridge with the address to the nearest food stores. And when I arrived Jason sent me a message with a long list of cafés, bars, restaurants and shopping streets. In short, he provides a lot more information for the guests about things they might need. 3) shampoo etc in the bathroom for guests. Again, it doesn't cost much, but is convenient for the guests that might have forgotten some at home.

So all in all a positive experience. My room is really nice with interesting furniture and a great bed. Although I must say I find San Fransisco rather expensive to stay in. One reason could be that it was very booked when I started looking, only 2 % of all listings left. Wow, on a regular week in November.

All the listings I looked at added cleaning fees and taxes which made the a lot more expensive than they seemed at first. Now I pay about 170 dollars for two nights. In comparison I paid about 60 dollars for one night in Paris, in a nicer neighbourhood. And this was almost the cheapest place I could find. I could have saved about 50 dollars for both nights if I had chosen a bunk bed in a "420 friendly" place but I just felt like finding some calmer place to start with.

For the last two nights I've sent out some Couchsurfing requests, but if I don't get any answers, I might have to take the bunk bed anyway.

Day 334: Uber saved me

View from the train window.

View from the train window.

Ok, this was supposed to be posted on Sunday, but for different reasons it didn't happen, so you'll have to imagine I'm writing this on Sunday morning:

Now I'm heading north after an amazing week with my friends in San Diego. Including my first Thanksgiving ever. That was a great experience, with family, lots of good, mostly Mexican, food and games. We went to the mountains to celebrate Thanksgiving, where it was typical autumn weather and yellow leaves everywhere. Now I'm down by the sea again, and here it's more like a Swedish summer. The view from the train is amazing as the railroad sometimes goes less than 100 meters from the sea. I just saw a few surfers out there in the water!

Yesterday me and my friends went out to drink some beers. San Diego is the mecca of craft beers and it was of course nice to discover this. Although it nearly made me miss the train this morning.

My alarm was set on 5.15, but I snoozed and I woke up at 5.48. My train was leaving at 6.06. OMG! I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes over the pajamas, grabbed my things and sent for an Uber. Which arrived within five minutes.

But then the driver drove extremely slowly... I saw the minutes go by with increasing frustration. But just as I was about to give up, she pulled up in front of the station. 6.04. I took my bags, ran to the tracks and jumped on the first train I saw without knowing where it was heading.

Luckily it was the right one.

So thanks a lot Uber for saving me! At least I didn't miss my eight hour, 75 dollar, train ride. Even though it would of course have been nice to have had a shower, brushed my teeth, and not wearing a pajamas...

Day 330: Or this one...

"I need help to deliver a chocogram in Flogsta tomorrow, Sunday 20/11. Kan you help me? Contact me and we find a solution together."

Flogsta is even in my home town! I need to get home soon so I don't miss more of these interesting job opportunities.

 

 

Day 329: Another unusual request

Here's another interesting task on Taskrunner that I would have been happy to do if only I would have been at home:

”I need someone who can buy vitamin C for guinea pigs at ’so for pets’ at Östgötagatan 26 and deliver to Allhelgonagatan 3. The task is estimated to take less than 30 minutes.”

Day 328: Surfing in San Diego

Since I'm in San Diego I thought I'd go surfing today. Yay! So I found a surfboard for rent, close to the beach, on Spinlister. Unfortunately the owner was out of town, so no luck there. On the other hand I got a personal mail from Spinlister employee Chris:

"Looking for rides in San Diego?

I noticed you were looking for some rides in San Diego. Here are a few that might be what you're looking for:

https://www.spinlister.com/rides/10059-standuppaddleboard-surf-sup-coronado-ca
https://www.spinlister.com/rides/16738-surfboard-foam-san-diego-ca
https://www.spinlister.com/rides/16737-surfboard-shortboard-san-diego-ca
https://www.spinlister.com/rides/14872-surfboard-shortboard-san-diego-ca
https://www.spinlister.com/rides/8733-surfboard-longboard-san-diego-california

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Best,

Chris"

Well, thanks a lot Chris! But by the time I saw the mail, I had already decided that the waves weren't good enough anyway and had went for a taco and a margarita instead. It felt like a decent alternative.

Day 327: Hugs for 100 kronor

Wow, this was an unusual type of request on Taskrunner

"Hi, I am looking for two extra hands to hug me tomorrow because I cannot do it myself. The job will take approximately 2 hours or until I fall asleep, so better your hug is less time it will take you to complete this task. Understanding of coziness concept & ginger hair are required."

I hope Masa found someone really good at hugging.

 

Day 326: Lady Gaga, senior nomads and more

Wow! I heard that Lady Gaga did a surprise appearance at the last evening of the Airbnb Open. But that time I had already moved on, to see some friends in San Diego. And besides, I've never listened much to Lady Gaga anyway.

But I'm super satisfied with all the other sessions I did go to. Everything from a practical workshop on how to take better photos of your home, to more inspirational talks about topics like "universal belonging" and "urban nomads".

Some of my favourites where these:

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (and her new book Big Magic, which we received a copy of). She talked about connecting with people in a more authentic way. And how she, instead of asking "where are you from?" or "what do you do?" ask people "what are you most excited about in your life right now?" and some of the answers she'd got.

The senior nomads. A retired couple who sold their house and who has been traveling the world three years living at Airbnb's. Now they've written a book about their experiences. Don't you get homesick? was one of the questions they got. "It's hard to be homesick when you don't have a home."

The session "Expanding your mind through travel" with Jason Silva, futurist and host of National Geograpics "Brain Games", and Steven Kotler, cofounder of the Flow Genome project. They talked about how traveling and adventures release signal substances in the brain and in a way alters our state of consciousness. It's a way of breaking away from reality, helps your brain to connect ideas and be more creative, and helps you to be more in the present. I couldn't do a fair summary of the whole talk here, but many of the ideas they brought up was mindblowing.

Elisabeth Gilbert

Elisabeth Gilbert

Brian Chesky and Gwyneth Paltrow talking about entrepreneurship.

Brian Chesky and Gwyneth Paltrow talking about entrepreneurship.

The senior nomads. 125 Airbnb's in over three years.

The senior nomads. 125 Airbnb's in over three years.

"Tell me your travel story and I'll write a haiku about it."

"Tell me your travel story and I'll write a haiku about it."

Day 324: Boobie time

I have to say it's been an amazing experience to be at a conference with 7000 Airbnb hosts who all are curious and open to strangers. Everywhere I went there were people who would say hi and start a conversation with you.

Like the blonde woman in her 70s who I bumped into yesterday. She asked me where I was from and then told me she was half Swiss, half German. "But I've been living in the US 53 years. Already when I was 13 I knew I wanted to explore the world. I came here in the early 1960's because where I came from you didn't have many opportunities if you were poor, but I knew that here you could do better if you were hard working and smart. Especially if you're smart."

Then she went on talking about all the things she didn't like about her new home country. The school system, the lack of environmentalism, the junk food.

Now she was living in northern California in a farm.

"I have cows, sheep, goats. The kids love it there. Sometimes guests arrive late. I need to get up early so at nine I'm in my jammies. Then I ask them: "You wanna see some boobie time? Come by at seven tomorrow morning." I mean the goats, of course. I have a milking machine, but if the guests want they can try to hand milk them. Do you know who are best at milking? Kids, six-seven years old. It comes natural for them, for some reason.

Then I have rabbits too. They're just opening their eyes now. That's when they're cutest. But later I eat them of course. I say that to the guests: 'They're cute now. And they taste good later.' "

Day 322: First day of AirbnbOpen

Yesterday was the first day of the conference. Mostly registration and stuff. But I love it! There are so many nice people, and it's great to meet other hosts and talk about things such as which is the best colour for towels. White (because you can bleach them)? Or dark colours (because it's harder to see stains)?

Here are some of the people I talked to:

A woman in her 60's. Social worker from Seattle. Started being an Airbnb host to get an extra income after retirement. And to keep young by meeting people. We talked about how having guests in your home makes you more open to other people. "I'm a little introvert, I wouldn't have been talking to you unless I had had this experience", she told me.

A couple, about 70 years, also from Seattle. They rent out five houses on an island where you can see orcas. It turned out the husband was also celebrating his birthday, so someone suggested we should start singing Happy Birthday and see how many would join. It didn't happen.

A man from California. When he heard I'm from Sweden he told me he had a Swedish couple as guests and showed me pictures of them. He had gone with them to the sea and told me he really liked hanging out with his guests and show them things. One guest was a teacher who was only going to stay three days, but decided to stay for a whole year. When we said goodbye he handed me a note with his phone number, "we are bunch that's gonna have breakfast tomorrow, just call me if you wanna join".

A man who saw my superhost badge (he had one too). "Congratulations on being a super host. My great, great grandfather was from Sweden. Jag talar inte svenska. Välkommen till Los Angeles."

In the line for the Thai food truck a Russian man asking me what pad thai is. He's the manager of 20 Airbnb apartments in Moscow. Was traveling to LA with his son.

A Norwegian couple from Bergen. They rented out a house there. Which is the best season in Bergen, I asked. The summer, they told me.

An woman from Buenos Aires who had been an Airbnb host for six years. She was very engaged in connecting hosts there and creating joint events for guests, such as asados. She also told me they sometimes buy sheets or other necessities together to get a better deal. She had one listing, but was super engaged in being a host and had been to all three Airbnb Open conferences. "Every year I take a photo with Brian Chesky. I need to do that tomorrow."

The Australian man living in Berlin who had 70 listings in Spain. Oh, wow, 70 listings! "Yes, I thought it was a lot, until I heard about someone who had 500." He had, like me, started having guests in his home, six years ago, but had now turned hosting into a business. "I miss that way of hosting a little bit."

The young guy from Beijing in a red hipster beanie, glasses and denim shirt who told me he had seven listings, among them a traditional Chinese house. "Have you been in Beijing? You must go!"

It's amazing to see such diversity among the hosts. Everyone have different stories, ages, nationalities and there is everything from hosts like me who rent out a room in their own home to people who have grown a business from this. I love it!

IMG_6655.JPG

Day 322: My new friend Tibby

Maybe this neighbourhood is not so bad after all. This morning I wore my 366 Days of Sharing t-shirt, when a man, 60-70 years old, on the corner called "366?... Every fourth year!".

Tonight when I was going out I saw him again.

- Still 366 days? Where are you from?

- Sweden.

- Sweden. I was there 1969.

- Oh, how was it?

- Great. It was in the summer, we went to the mountains and it was snowing. But be careful, this is not Sweden. But there are some nice people in this neighbourhood.

He starts describing the people in the building.

- I have the shop around the corner if you need anything. What do you think of the new president?

- I don't know really. He seems crazy.

- Well, it's better than a real crook. And if he's not good, we can always elect someone else in four years.

We've now reached his car.

- My name is Tibby. This is my shop, it's open from 8 in the morning til 5 pm. If you need help with anything.

- Thank you, that's very nice.

- Everyone needs a friend sometimes. Especially if you're in a foreign country.

Day 322: Great place to stay. If you're homeless

So, yes, the accommodation...

I choose a cheap (25 dollars per night) place downtown LA about 15 minutes walk from where the Airbnb Open conference I'm here for is taking place. "The Fashion District" sounded good. There would be bunk beds in a shared room, but I'm fine with that.

Well... bunk beds, yes. But I didn't count on 34 people in two rooms sharing two bathrooms and one kitchen. And loud AC all the night - I'm glad I brought ear plugs. Ok, the hosts who are there are nice and friendly and keep the place clean, but I think 25 bucks for a mattress in a dorm is a little bit overpriced. Regarding safety, there is no place where I can lock my things in. On the other hand, I guess the risk of theft is pretty low, since the other guests seem decent and everyone has their own MacBook anyway... And it's an interesting experience trying this type of accommodation too, all other Airbnb places I've stayed in have been more personal, a home, this is something completely different, but seems a lot more common here. 

And the neighbourhood... Before I arrived I got a message from the owner of the place: "Keep in mind, that it's an old building in the process of being converted from it's industrial roots, but it's also safe and secure and there is a host present to help you out with everything. If you are on foot from downtown LA, I recommend walking down 8th st. until you get onto Towne. The building is on 8th and Towne."

Well... the place is located in a building that was probably nice once, but like most houses here is very worn down. I haven't seen so much of that conversion yet. A couple of blocks away there are people with carts tenting in the street or sleeping wrapped in cardboard. I understand why walking there on 8th is recommended, because if you take Towne Avenue you'd walk through Skid Row, one of the more infamous neighbourhoods (I tried that in daylight, not recommended). According to wikipedia Skid Row "contains one of the largest stable populations (between 3,000 and 6,000) of homeless people in the United States". That's two blocks away. And outside my place there are no night open bars, restaurants or shops whatsoever, so the whole block is dark after sunset.

In other words it doesn't look too safe. The first night I was even worried to go out after dark. So I asked one of the hosts present at the place (not the guy owning the apartment).

- Is it safe around here?

- Yeah, sure, don't worry. The floral market is close and this is the fashion district.

Eh, well, fashion district... if you by fashion mean textile wholesale shops and cheap 3-T-shirts-for-10-bucks stores.

He continued:

- This is better than San Fran. A lot of people who use drugs there. *making a gesture like shooting drugs*. Here it’s just prostitution.

- Uh-huh.

- And homeless people. They all come to California. There's no better place to be homeless than here. On the East coast they will tell them to leave. And in Texas they will shoot them. It’s more relaxed here.

Relaxed. Awesome.

Bunk beds

Bunk beds

Cozyness

Cozyness

Everything is bilingual

Everything is bilingual

"My" street

"My" street

Coffee shop in the ground floor. Pay phone... seriously?

Coffee shop in the ground floor. Pay phone... seriously?

The fashion district

The fashion district

Textile shop in the house

Textile shop in the house

No place like California to be homeless

No place like California to be homeless

Roof top panorama. Nice view over down town. Note the pigeon cages to the left on the roof. Someone is raising pigeons here. For meat? Post?

Roof top panorama. Nice view over down town. Note the pigeon cages to the left on the roof. Someone is raising pigeons here. For meat? Post?

So all in all, maybe the biggest risk at this place is catching the bird flu...

 

 

 

Day 322: My first Lyft

After the ordeal at the airport I decided to use Lyft for the first time. It worked great! Nothing to complain about there. I downloaded the app, requested a ride. My driver Le'Jon arrived in his silver Chevrolet Malibu after about 15 minutes and drove me to my accomodation (about 30 min) for 29 dollars.

After a while I started seeing a lot of homeless people preparing their shelters for the night. When he started turning around corners I got a bit worried, and yes, this was my neighbourhood. He drove up in front of a dark building, in a dark street. No stores, bars or restaurants what so ever.

- Are you sure it's here? he asked.

- I think so.

- Is there anyone you can call? I don't want to leave you on the street here.

So I called the number I had got from the Airbnb host, and yes, it turned out it was the right place. Unfortunately. But thanks a lot to Le'Jon who waited until he was sure I was let in and not alone.