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Sleeping on the Plane

August 24, 2016

hotel jumbo

Certain things you just have to say “yes” to, if you’re going to say “yes” to life at all.

Like driving out to a tiny recording studio in Kilbeggan to record spoken work links for a concept album based on Tommy Wiseau’s notorious 2005 film  – The Room.

Like looking at two similar prices for accommodation at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport – one, a normal looking hotel and the other a converted Jumbo Jet on a piece of waste ground close to the airport itself.

Yes.  I said “Yes” to life.  I said “Yes” to “JumboStay”.

I will go out on a limb here and say that I’ve just had the best night’s sleep on a plane ever. But I would have been very disappointed had it been otherwise.

The JumboStay hotel offers minimal space, amenities and modcons which are offset by its overwhelming anecdotal value.  I would not recommend this accommodation to stroppy supermodels, large families, Canadians (or any other claustrophobic ethnicities) or people who absolutely need reliable broadband.  Furthermore, I was (needless to say), about 400 years older than any of the other guests (passengers?) on the plane.

I was given a room called the “Wheelhouse” – only accessible from the exterior of the plane.  This “house” consists of exactly that space that the wheels retract into when an aircraft is in flight.  In any number of movies (or cartoons) you see characters who somehow manage to grab the legs of the airplane wheels just as the plane is careering down the runway and who are thereby given a free plane ride.   I’ve read (and I sincerely believe) that in the singularly unlikely event of anybody actually being able to perform this stunt, the chances of very grisly death soon afterwards are close to 100%.  If the wheel mechanism does not actually crush you to death, you will freeze to death en route.

Me?  I slept like a baby.

I had a toilet and a sink to myself but no shower.  The remainder of the space consisted of a bed (or bunk) accessible by a steel ladder with about eighteen inches of space above my head and a TV nailed to the wall opposite.  I felt snug as a bug in a rug.

This is, however, the sort of thing you’re supposed to do when you’re 19 however.  It’s not really a hotel for grown ups.  However, one thing that my middle age has brought me is a cascading scrolled list of things I really should have done when I was 19 were I not too busy being lazy, grumpy and self absorbed.   But everyone should sleep at the JumboStay at least once.  But ideally you should go when you’re 19, surrounded by other 19 year olds, laughing continuously.

Today I fly to London Gatwick, and from thence immediately to Pisa where I’ll get the train to Florence.  If I look tired and people express any kind of concern I’ll be able to say, with hand on heart “I’m OK.  I slept on the plane.”

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