The pitfalls of hosteling

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June 16, 2012 by farbolino

The pitfalls of hostels

As a backpacker, I’ve stayed in plenty of hostels around the world. These are some of the things that rub me the wrong way when I stay at one.

Quality of sleep: Maybe I’m just a light sleeper, but I often find it impossible to get a good nights sleep in a hostel dorm. Perhaps it’s because people who stay at hostels can be such inconsiderate bastards sometimes. Of course I’m not talking about you; of course not you. Some people simply don’t use what I consider to be common sense etiquette.

If you have a 5 am train/bus to catch, pack your bag BEFORE you go to sleep so you don’t wake everyone up at this god awful hour.

It’s cool that you went out partying, but when you come back in the middle of the night DO NOT turn on the lights to find your toothbrush. Please please please don’t be so drunk while sleeping above someone that when you need to puke, you do it over the side of the bed onto the person below you. The second part may be rare, but I’ve heard stories of it happening at hostels geared toward partying.

OK, so you went to bed early to sightsee the next day, but DO NOT have a conversation with your friend in the dorm room before 9am; in fact don’t have one in there at all, that’s what a common room is for.

Introductions: I’ve been telling myself for the past 2 years that I’m going to laminate a card with the 8 most common questions people ask you after you’ve been introduced, but I still haven’t gotten around to it yet. The most common questions are:

What’s your name?
Where are you from?
How long have you been traveling for?
How long will you travel for?
Where have you been?
Why are you traveling?
What do you do? (job)
How old are you?

I love meeting people, answering questions and having conversations, but it becomes quite frustrating meeting loads of new people everyday and answering the SAME questions.

Alone time: It can be quite hard to find some time for yourself when you have all of these people asking you questions all the time. Now I sound anti-social, but the fact is that I need a break every once in a while. When you spend YEARS traveling instead of weeks, you need a vacation from your vacation. Sometimes I like to spend some days doing nothing but watching movies and surfing the Internet looking at comical internet tutorials about how to pet a kitty cat. Link here: How to pet a kitty

Different surroundings: Unlike the Hilton chain of hotels, or your own personal bed at home, hostel beds aren’t guaranteed to be comfortable. I’ve had beds where springs stab me in the ribs when I sleep on my side, lumpy pillows, unstable beds, insufficient blankets in cold weather; the list goes on. This I suppose could be avoided by picking a more expensive hostel, but again we’re talking about every dollar counting in the long run.

Conclusion: I guess the only word of advice that I have is pick your hostel carefully. If you have the money, stay at one of the better hostels. If you like to party, stay at a hostel geared toward it. If you like a more intimate environment, then pick a hostel with less beds. If there were ever a great thing about an increase in tourism worldwide it’s that it leads to more choices when it comes to a place to stay. Enjoy your next stay at a hostel. 😉

Too Mutch For Words

Some 900 years ago, King Suryavarman II created the Khmer empire’s largest stone tribute to the Hindu religion – modern Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.  His predecessors promptly converted to Buddhism and out-built the old deities with a swath of additional temples and a new capital city, Angkor Thom.  But, in a hapless example of history repeating, Jayavarman VIII later returned to the Hindu faith and defaced many of the structures.  What he left was a 400 kilometer region of broken-nosed Buddahs and crumbling walls.

Several borders over, his Burmese neighbors spent the 11th and 12th centuries creating their own testaments to religious devotion, after King Anawrahta united the country under the discipline of Theravada Buddhism.   The ensuing rulers competed for architectural fervor, dedicating an eventual 42 kilometers around the city of Bagan to stupas and temples.  Of the original 13,000, approximately 2,200 still stand today.

History, masonry and myth make it…

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