And I Can Cook, Too

Monday, February 26, 2007

February 17, 2007

Hostel, Sweet Hostel

I woke up not quite sure where I was or what I was doing there. Fortunately I was alone and fully dressed. I rolled over, opened my eyes, saw a cold, limp bowl of country fries with chili sauce and sour cream on the nightstand and it suddenly all came flowing back. I was at the airport hotel in Adelaide, Australia. Must have been one wild night. Then I remembered a bit more: I’d moved here of my own volition. Further, I had a hostel reservation with my name on it, and despite my initial misgivings about hostels in general, I figured anywhere had to be better than the airport hotel. I quickly showered, dressed, called the hostel, called a cab, and was out the door.

I arrived at Raglans Backpacker Hostel, walked into the smoke-filled pub/reception area, and was led to a room containing two bunk beds, a trash can, a small sink, and not very much remaining floor space. I asked the Carol Ann, the check in girl, about the air conditioning the hostel claimed to have. “Oh” she said, “It’s all downstairs. But I might be able to find you a fan or something for out here.” I certainly hoped so; my cab driver had told me that it was over 43 degrees. I’d done the math (ok I’d asked the cabdriver if he knew what that meant in Fahrenheit and he’d told me about 113), and that room was a room you couldn’t breathe in. It was also a room you couldn’t sit in. I tried to sit on the bottom bunk, only to find that the top bunk was so low that I had to hunch to my shoulders to fit. I would have sat on the floor, but once I put my luggage down, there was no more room. Sighing, I went down to the air-conditioned pub, where it was a breezy 90 degrees. But hey, there was internet service available at $1 for 20-minutes, so who was I to complain? I checked my email (I had none), and then wondered what to do. I consulted Carol Ann, and she suggested that I find someplace truly air-conditioned. She recommended the Rundle Mall, just blocks away, and filled with air-conditioned shops. Out the door I marched. I marched for hours and hours and hours. In and out of over-priced, frou-frou shops from which I would buy nothing. On and on I marched and marched. My thoughts of stopping in a pub to milk a nice cool drink were squashed when I discovered 1) there are no pubs in Rundle Mall and, 2) beverages in Adelaide are somewhat costly. Unwilling to pay $3.75 for a bottle of water that could keep me cool while I continued my window shopping march, I finally relented to the only restaurant I could find. I ate a rather forgettable meal. So forgettable, in fact, that I’ve forgotten it. I paid far too much for a bottle of cider and even more for a bottle of water. The restaurant was air conditioned, however, so I ate and drank veeery slowly. Finally it was close to a reasonable time for me to go to bed so I went back to the hostel. I spent another dollar surfing the web in the now downright arctic 85 degrees of the air-conditioned pub, then finally gave up and went to my room. I turned the trash can upside and propped the fan on top. At least that way the air was blowing at head level. I lay down, and tried to sleep. I didn’t cry. It was 113 degrees and I was trying to conserve water.


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