Daily Archives: March 20, 2014

Terrible Apartment Photos 2: French Edition!

Welcome back, folks, to another edition of Terrible Apartment Photos. For those who are short on memory, our first installment back in October featured terrible apartment photos in Taiwan. Last time we saw them, our heroes Steve and Connie had left East Asia, and have been making their way through Southeast Asia and the subcontinent with varying degrees of success. Tired of trekking from place to place, they started seriously thinking about plunking down money to make a more long-term stay happen, independent of Workaway and WWOOFing situations. Where can they find a nice little slice of the world to call their own for a few months? The answer is France.

[cue montage of mounds of baguettes, panning over le Tour Eiffel, flowers and produce markets in cobblestone streets, and idyllic afternoons at roadside cafés, awash in accordion music] 

We’ve been combing over AirBnB for hours, contemplating small condos in large cities like Lyon and Marseille as well as more spacious houses or cottages in the occasional obscure countryside village. One was so tiny it had no train station, which really left us scratching our head as to how we were going to get there. Many of the pictures were beautiful, and seemed to correlate directly with how expensive the apartment was, so take that for what you will. As beautiful and stereotyped as this country is, it is not immune from overzealous or simply dim-witted photographers who could not show their apartment in a positive light if their life depended on it. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of turning on the lights, or backing up a few inches so I can figure out whether this is a bathroom or bedroom, waiting until daylight for the best views, or using your common sense. Whatever it is, these people didn’t have it. You know you missed the snark. Here’s another helping.

The High Maintenance Owner Photo

The high

I generally take it for granted that bathrooms contain something like a sink, so maybe you could tell me whether this bathroom has a shower or a bathtub? The only thing I can really glean from this picture is that its owner cares more about their hair than I do.

The No-Electricity Photo

cook int eh dark

 Maybe the French are used to cooking in the semi-darkness, but I think that half-lit ambiance for your kitchen is so 1600s.

Continue reading Terrible Apartment Photos 2: French Edition!

On the edge of another ocean.

Since we arrived in Kochi by the train last week, I have found it very easy to lose track of the days. We are here for nearly two weeks in Kerala, which is an exquisitely relaxing place, I am happy to report. Last Thursday, we stumbled off the train and took a tuk-tuk ride to our homestay (an Indian B&B) in Fort Kochi, on the tip of the island where it meets the Indian Ocean. Our room has a small balcony on one side, and on the other, a small sunny verandah that holds a few tables and shared as a communal breakfast space.

Our homestay. Our room opens up to the small balcony.
Our verandah, where we enjoy breakfast most mornings.

From where we like to sit, I can see the flower pots on the edge of the verandah, a few rooftops next door, lines of laundry, the green tops of coconut trees and a hazy blue sky. Our second day here, I sat out in the heat to do a brief watercolor of it, which I’m going to pass on making public for now. Truthfully, my photography skills still far exceed whatever I can do on paper, but it’s relaxing to work on mixing the right shade of green and drawing miniature palm leaves. Kerala is a jungle-like environment. A few nights ago, we shared drinks and a long conversation about India on the balcony. As we talked, we saw and heard bats flapping from palm to palm. There is a strange birdcall sometimes, like a whooperwill (or maybe just what I think a whooperwill sounds like). Steve scoffed and said it was fake at first – that’s how weird it sounded to us. And there are crows all over the place too.

Continue reading On the edge of another ocean.