Friday, October 01, 2010

Flashback Friday: More hotel stories

Last week I told you about a particularly abhorrent motel "adventure" from my childhood. Here's a walk through some other singular hotel/motel/hostel experiences (but not overnight train rides or staying at friends'/distant relatives' houses).

Tokyo, Japan, 2000. I was on a study abroad in Kyoto with the BYU and along with my host family, I took a trip to the Tokyo LDS temple. We stayed in the temple hostel, which was basically two big rooms that were separated by gender and filled with stacks of bunk beds. The hostel was fantastic accommodation until one of the Japanese ladies started snoring SO LOUD in the middle of the night. All the other polite Japanese ladies were woken up along with me, but they were all too nice to do anything about it. So they nominated me, the brash American, to go wake her up to stop her snoring. Have you ever thought it would be a great test of your foreign language skills to have to wake up a complete stranger in the middle of the night and ask her in a polite manner to stop snoring? Been there, done that. And didn't get much sleep until afterward.

Novosibirsk, Russia, 2002. At the time, I remember thinking the hotel we were staying in was really sketchy and how adventurous we were for being willing to even put up with not having our own bathroom. Looking back, meh. It wasn't that bad. In retrospect, I think the more annoying thing about that hotel was that we couldn't stay there without a reservation. To make a reservation, you had to pay an extra fee. So guess what we did? We made our reservation in person (standing at the front desk), paid our fee, and then paid the actual rate for the room and stayed there. Ridiculous.

Damascus, Syria, 2004. Jeremy was a Fulbright/AFIC scholar at the University of Damascus. When we showed up at the airport, the university sent a bus to give us a ride to the accommodation they would be providing for our first few nights in the city while we looked for an apartment. It turns out that the accommodation was in a backpacker hostel in a dusty, crowded alley near some major outdoor markets. There was a common bathroom down the hall from our (spare, semi-painted) room, cold showers in the basement, and no AC. And it was something like 106 degrees outside. There was also a window near the ceiling that opened not onto the street, but into the room next to us, which was inhabited by total strangers. So we could hear them and they could hear us (but thankfully, not see). It was kind of a rough introduction to the country but it certainly did build character. And the fact that we stayed there in a successful, long-suffering manner makes me want to tell all those BYU students in Jordan who complained about their in-room bathrooms being so small, or their personal room AC units not working very well that they don't even know, dude.

OK, there are just too many of these so here's one more for today, from the recent past.

Aleppo, Syria, 2010. We needed to stay somewhere cheap for one night so we found a place in the tire district of Aleppo. There were only two rooms available for us and our two kids. One had AC, but no bathroom. The other had its own bathroom but no AC. Miriam was suffering from some pretty nasty diarrhea at the time but it was also very hot outside. Thus it was a difficult decision. In the end, I asked to see the shared bathroom and when I saw that it was a western (sit-down) toilet instead of a Turkish (squat) toilet, I decided to go for the room with AC.

I guess you could say I've come a long way since that hotel in Novosibirsk in 2002 because not having our own bathroom even with two kids hardly fazed me.

Cockroaches, though - they still faze me. But that will have to wait for another Flashback Friday.


Liz Johnson said...

Hahahahahahahaha. I think I would've picked AC over the bathroom, too. What's the point of even having a hotel room if you can't sleep because IT'S SO FREAKING HOT OUTSIDE!?

I sometimes wish I could force people to have experiences like these so that they could have their ego forcibly kicked down a few notches. :)

Susanne said...

Is one of these the Umm Qais you pictured last week?

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Can't wait to hear about the Umn Qais Hotel. Maybe I"ll just write my own post about it.

Remember that hotel in Aleppo where before we could get into our room someone had to wake up the staff member sleeping on one of our beds?

Bridget said...

The Omm Qais hotel has to do with cockroaches. So it will have to wait.

Mom, I don't remember that specific incident but I was planning on writing about that hotel because there was plenty else going on there.

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