Thursday, June 27, 2019

My Perfect Hostel

After eight or so months of travel, I have some opinions regarding what makes a good hostel. These opinions range from obvious to minute, but I hope, maybe, this reaches someone in a position to make my or a future guest's stay a little more comfortable.


Money - It can be a pain for me to figure out what the most efficient and effective way for me to book a room is. I've had places that offered the same price online as in-person, I've had places (like where I'm staying) that offer discounts when I book online, and I've had places that offer a discount if I pay in cash (most of the Philippines). As such, I've resorted to only booking two days at any new place online and then inevitably extending using whatever method makes most sense for me. As it stands, if I were to open a hostel, I would make sure to accept online bookings, then empower my employees to negotiate cash/in-person prices, especially for extended stays.

Listings - I'm looking for three photos when I book online: what the bed looks like (see BED section), what the bathroom looks like (see BATHROOM section), and a view from the street so I can find the place. I have declined to book places with fifty photos of every single bed offered because I couldn't figure out if the bathrooms were clean. I've specifically booked places with a handful of photos because they were clear and concise. I really don't care to see big group photos of people playing beer pong - I understand that's code for "this is a party hostel", but please tell me you have something else to offer (e.g. a decent bed).

Sunday, June 16, 2019

What does Brisbane rhyme with?

I set up a few days in the city to do a little sight-seeing before my Workaway started. As with the previous few posts, I don't know what to tell you.
City Hall was great - beautiful building, cool information, nifty museum inside. The museum tour kind-of sucked (Here's this painting, look at it later. Here's this exhibit, you can read the wall plaque at the end.) but it was free. The area around City Hall was pedestrian friendly and it was easy to get over to the city library, which was also beautiful.

Unrelated - I'm not sure why Brisbane has a "City" Hall but other cities have "Town" Halls.
I crossed the bridge(s) and checked out the museum area (including a cool ANZAC exhibit) and the State Library. The State Library had a very cool "maker space" / creative space area that seemed very pro-citizen. I saw more exhibits and all that good stuff.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Stylish Sydney

Will this be a long entry? Probably not. Sydney was great, though I spent a LOT of time in the State Library.

As mentioned, I made the right choice for once and took a daytime bus to Sydney. I finished a book (which book - Heart of Darkness, maybe?) and arrived in the evening. For the first time in the trip I had someone I'd previously met come through and offer to host - in this case it was Rebecca, who I'd met in Vancouver after the train trip across Canada.

There was a fair bit of relaxing, as I was feeling worn out.

Generally speaking, there was some ferry riding, some tour taking, and some pub visiting while staying with my friend. We won a pub quiz quite handily, then lost a different one quite badly. I'm not sure what all to write - I suppose I'll say the free walking tour in Sydney (and the one in Melbourne) were well worth going on.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Adoring Adelaide

Chances are, if you run in the same nerd circles as I do, the only reason you know about Adelaide is because one Brady Haran, of Hello Internet (HI) podcast and several YouTube channels (Numberphile, Objectivity, &c.), is from there. On HI there are several running jokes, two of which overlap for this story: there exist branded "hotstoppers" (small plastic plugs one can put in to-go coffee containers to prevent hot coffee from escaping) that the HI hosts give out and that one of the places you can always get a hotstopper is in the cafe at the base of an Adelaide skyscraper nicknamed the "Black Stump" (the future home to the HI museum!) despite both hosts now living in England. I've done more for less of a reason (see: "hey, it'd be cool to go around the world, I suppose"), so I got off the tour bus (Great Ocean Road & Grampians) and found myself in Adelaide.

As you may remember, I had some difficulty making friends and meeting people in Melbourne. I was, as I texted a friend, the angriest I have ever been for several days in a row. The tour was a delightful break from that - but was it a fluke? Was I just making friends with other tourists? A very slow check-in at my hostel had me fearing the worst.