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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SPOT THE ASSHOLE

SPOT THE ASSHOLE

This is a fun game you can play at hostels.   

At night, when someone enters and leaves a room more than three times before going to bed...
When people are sleeping, if people are right outside the door to the room talking...
The staff - pretty much always - but especially when they keep the news on in whatever the local language is...
Anyone who uses a cell phone inside the room...
If they have unpacked their gear and it takes up a significant amount of floor space...
If they only tell stories and don't indulge in any real 'conversation'...

Yes, all of this stuff happened at the last couple hostels I've stayed at.  Most people at a hostel realize that you have to be quiet and tidy.  There are always the assholes however who don't know.  

For those who are curious, yes - there are times when Logan has been the asshole.



INDONESIA VISA

After completely failing to come up with a cover story I still got it.  With a lot of willpower, I did manage to prevent myself from rubbing my hands together and making 'bwahahaa!' noises at the embassy.  



LEAVING BANGKOK

The day after getting my visa, I took off from Bangkok.  I decided to head down to Krabi Thailand to see what was shaking down there.



KRABI TOWN

Honestly, it wasn't all that great.  I have no clue why people go there.  There was one nice scene of two rocks with trees on them.  I took a couple pictures of it then got bored.  There were a lot of awesome tourists that I met and had some drinks with - but you can meet awesome people in cheaper parts of the world where you don't have to pay three dollars per beer.  

If you go anywhere close to the river in Krabi Town, you will get hassled by the sleaziest river boat operators I've ever laid eyes upon.  I've no idea why anyone would ever give them money but it does happen.

The best part of Krabi Town (aside from the tourists who could have been anywhere) was a pizza I had.  It was 'green chicken curry' pizza.  Since leaving Illinois the home of amazing pizza it was definitely the best pizza I've had, period.  If you find yourself in Krabi, try it at the 'Blue Juice' bar where nothing they serve is actually blue.



REVIEW OF THE 'PAK UP' HOSTEL, KRABI, THAILAND

The good:  Relatively clean.  200 THB for a big single bed, 220 THB for a big single bed in an air conditioned room.  With how backpackers and their gear can smell, I'm not sure why anyone would want to save the 20 THB (less than a dollar) but there you go.  To the best of my knowledge, either option makes this the cheapest place in town.  Excellent gear storage lockers - you could get two full backpacks into each and they are located under the bottom bunk.  Bring your own lock or rent one from the staff.  Free liquids (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner) in the showers.

The bad:  They have what is potentially an excellent common room but the guests rarely sit in there.  They are driven off by Thai TV at loud volumes.  The Thai TV is on 24/7 and enjoyed by the four or five staff working there rather than anything in the common language of all travelers being enjoyed by the tones of guests that stay there.  Again, the staff stands in the way of this being a great hostel as opposed to a good one.

The ugly:  Due to their towels getting stolen, you have to leave a 200 THB towel deposit (if you want a towel) in addition to to the 100 THB key deposit.  After I returned my key and towel, the staff guy 'forgot' to offer back this 300 THB until I reminded (demanded) it.

Overall, Pak Up is a decent short term place to crash.  Two doors down is a decent restaurant to get western food at.  The hostel is located in the heart of the tourist district and it's a great place to meet other tourists.



REVIEW OF THE STARDUST GUESTHOUSE, GEORGETOWN, MALAYSIA

Shitty place to stay.  They lock up at 8 or 8:30 PM.  Nobody was awake to return my key to at 7AM.  The counter itself was behind locked doors so I couldn't even get to that.  Grim and depressing.



WELCOME TO MALAYSIA

My first impressions of Malaysia were 'modern with a crap ton of palm trees and sculpted trees on the roads'.  It looks - and is - expensive.  

I've heard from people here that despite what I was told, beer is expensive in Indonesia and that is very depressing.  If it's true, I'll be wishing I could remember who told me it was cheap so I can be angry with them.




REVIEW OF 'BACKPACKERS FREAK HOSTEL'

Run by a guy name Sean ("Shawn") who speaks English with an Ozzy accent.  He is, in fact, the only employee.  He wanted to give me the standard canned speech about the town.  I explained that I was feeling cranky and tired after the bus ride.  He warned me that he might be too busy later to spend time giving me the briefing.  I told him I really didn't care.  After a night of sleeping here, I think there may be some part of him that is bitter he didn't get to give his canned speech.  I still don't care.

I get that people who work in hostels/hotels/guesthouses see it as their duty to brief every travelers who comes through their door.  Personally, I find it invasive and boorish.  When I'd been working for awhile in Georgia (a month or two) and figured out what I was doing I shortened it to "I know a lot about this town and what's in it.  Tell me when you want to know about it.  But for right now, what do you need?  Food, toilet, a walk, anything?"  People who have worked for years haven't gotten this down yet.  Instead, it is the same plate of crap for everyone.

Back to the hostel, it's a screamer but moderately comfortable.



WHERE YOU GO?  WHERE YOU FROM?

I wish the people who asked these phrases could understand ironic and snarky responses.  I understand that many people are imagining someone politely asking and are horrified.  Think the opposite.  I've had people get into my face and yell these questions like they were mental.

Their not understanding has probably saved me from a lot of conflict.  I just look wary instead of saying things like:

"I'm from a country that doesn't ask - nor answer - questions."
"I'm from fuck off.  You know fuck off?  You should go fuck off."

And so on.

As one reader told me "Keep it classy, Logan."  He left off "...You old scumbag."   He's classy.  It is difficult to remain classy in the face of dedicated rudeness and stupidity.   But I work at it.  Every day, and in every way...



NEAR TERM PLANS


Right - after grueling research which went on for way too long, it's looking like I'll be headed first to a really rough sea port in Indonesia named Dumas.  I've been told that if I stay there over night, I'll probably get robbed.  This is less rough than parts of the world I've been to where I figured they'd continue violating my corpse.  Anywho, after escaping there I will attempt to get up to North Sumatra province and a town called Parapet.  If I can get a boat that isn't staffed by people who will rob kill and body dump me into the picturesque Lake Toba I will stay at a town oddly called Tuktuk.  This town has a volcano which hasn't gone off for many centuries but may decide to just as I pull up in being drug by a boat after being violated by several rough fish.

I don't mind a bit of adventure in getting there but if they don't have wifi I am going to freak the fuck out.




VIDEOS

Beka
Krabi Thailand
Pak up hostel

Thailand



COSTS

According to people I've spoken to, a 'fun dive' course (they don't teach you, you just dive for four days) is 1000 THB.

A ten day kickboxing course, 4000 THB.  Note, this was someone else who didn't know how to bargain that got it and I'm really not sure what anyone can pick up in ten days.  Probably better just to go to a couple matches.

Krabi to George Town (Malaysia) by van, 600 THB.  Note, it is about a ten hour trip.

Beer, 7.50-9 MYR (I've heard it is the third largest beer tax in the world.  Time to escape from Malaysia!) 

Food, 5.50-8 MYR

Apple juice from 7-11, 2.8 MYR

Smokes, 10 MYR

Bus terminal to town (Malacca, Malaysia), 20 MYR.  Here, the R is for 'ripoff'.

Amazingly overpriced Korean food that didn't impress me, 27.50 MYR.


2 comments:

  1. We have an asshole scale for guests too...it starts with the bastard who destroys the toilet seat just by sitting on it and goes on from there.

    Given your scathing remarks vis a vis the hostels you have frequented, which would you rate as the best hostel so far Mr Logan?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Personally, Adam, I like the way you ran yours the best. You didn't take (or give) any shit. Both of your places I've stayed at were easy to sink a week or two into staying. The little touches that I didn't understand at the time (all shoes go here, in the hallway, for example) were later proved to be inspired. So I forgive you for buying weak toilet seats.

    As far as the best, I'd have to say that there are different parts of each that I like better than some and less than others. For example the full backpack plus gear lockers under the bed (or in Romania that were big lockers) are something everyone can love. Having a common room free of electronic devices (TV, stereo) so that people talk and form those lasting friendships around the big table will create more memories than watching Shrek yet again.

    But the perfect hostel? Not sure off the top of my head. With the exception of that Pak Up place and Soi 1 Guesthouse, it's been awhile since I've stayed in a hostel.

    Fear not, I'm sure I'll eventually work my way toward a place with more hostels and we'll see what we can find.

    And if you are really lucky (or unlucky - depending on your point of view) I'll work on visiting you again some time big guy. And I'll get some vodka.

    ReplyDelete

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