This evening I am heading to Gothenburg for a few days – friends, music, getting away from the norm, and was just thinking about one of the times I was there when I used to work in the city. I stayed in different hotels almost every week, which in some ways should sound like a small kind of adventure – but felt more like a thankless part-time job (that some would find fun), but it is one of the many things that contributed to the deterioration of my quality of life in a big way. Now I choose to go for fun.

One of these hotels, Pigalle, looks like an old French bordello (no wonder – Pigalle – its decor is what you would expect), bedecked in dark lighting, a lot of fringe, gaudy wallpaper and velvet. The desk clerk, haughty like a madam and unresponsive like an overprivileged millennial, passed around the front desk computer (a Macbook) to some guests like she was transmitting syphilis. I was thinking, “Really? You just hand over the same computer where guest information is stored to guests to let them check their email?” When I stayed there, the place was covered in scaffolding and construction noise filled the rooms from morning to evening. I laughed heartily in my room when I saw the the “in-room refreshment” basket that offered up a small Snickers bar for 50 SEK (about 6 USD). Across the street, at the grocery store, these same Snickers bars were on offer – buy 5 for 20 SEK or something.

I have not fully squared myself with the ‘sharing economy’, for example, never finding something like Uber to be my cup of tea (it’s weird enough for me to take actual taxis – and I am really not onboard with the labor practices). But airbnb I have embraced at least some of the time (especially when I have to be somewhere for a longer-term stay). A flat in central Gothenburg rather than a cramped whorehouse bedroom sounds like a better plan.

Photo (c) 2016 Maria Eklind