In 2006 I took a Road Trip from San Francisco to New Mexico and back over the course of a month, writing and taking photos all the way. Two years later I had a show of paintings based on those photographs. This is a series of posts of those paintings accompanied by the relevant diary entries.

Hostel, San Francisco, oil on board, 9 x 8 inches (approx.)

2.April 27th 2006

I stayed in a single room at the Green Tortoise Hostel. I don’t know why but I was surprised to find myself in a room that reminded me of old Irish houses, especially the net curtains. I always think of America as being ‘new’. I loved the patterned quilt, pillows and curtains, all clashing. It was great to paint. The staff there were the unfriendliest I have met though I was to find out that, unlike Europe, staff in Youth Hostels are extraordinarily unfriendly, even outrightly hostile. I still have no idea why that is. One staff member who used to come and clean the tiny kitchen would not respond to my greetings or even look at me except, eventually, to give me dirty looks. Other staff members were either just as angry or just out of it. When I tried to get tea bags replenished at breakfast the staff were too stoned too cope with it. They get an honourary mention in a bad tempered diary entry as ‘f**king hippies’.

The book on the table is the White Masai by Corinne Hoffman, a German woman who married a Masai warrior. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. She came across as being a bit arrogant as well as shallow and I felt sorry for her Masai husband.

This is my first day in San Francisco and I am still not in the swing of things as you can see by my dull diary entry…

The folks here aren’t that friendly but I am in my own room in a separate building. The room is kind of dark and looks a little like a bedsit, a funky bedsit. The kitchen is outside my door and there is free internet and the shower is good. So I am pleased and I slept well, though I was wide awake at 5am.



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