Tag Archives: hotel

The Bunkhouse

This past week, my sister and I drove to Idaho to pick up our other sister and cousin from the camp where they worked this summer. We intentionally made the entire trip flexible. However, we still needed a place to stay at night so once we decided on Mount Rushmore as a good stopping area, I got on my phone and found us a place to crash. We’re a bunch of students. Cheap = good. So I found us a bunkhouse where they provide little cabins with bunk beds and a shared shower house. Bring your own bedding. 

For the record, I did ask the others for their input. The bunkhouse looked fine online. I booked it and received an e-mail reminding me to bring my own bedding. 

Check-in supposedly ended at 9 pm. We planned to arrive by 8:30. I got a call at 7:30 from the manager informing me she was going home and that she’d text me the code to get into our cabin. Also, did I get the message that they did not provide bedding? (I did.)

We arrived in the dark. And by arrived I mean exited the freeway, drove for fifteen minutes on abandoned back country roads, and turned too early on the dimly lit road to the cabins. If you can call it a road. No obvious parking lot existed so even after finding the correct turn we drove on the grass to reach our cabin. 

The place was abandoned. Not another car to be seen. 

Then we entered the cabin. To quote my sister, “I did not need to check for bed bugs because I could already see the dead bugs all over the mattress.” 

Instead of a four bed bunkhouse like we expected, we got a bunk with two queen size mattresses. We did not mind sharing, but the website definitely promised four. And it wasn’t just sharing with one another. We apparently were supposed to share with an entire graveyard of moths, beetles, and spiders. 

So many spiders. I’m not afraid to kill an arachnid but even I found the spider guarding our cabin intimidating. He was easily the size of a quarter. 

Some (I won’t name names) vowed to sleep in the van. I protested that we paid for the cabin so by golly we should use it! Anyway, we were leaving early the next morning. A few hours wouldn’t hurt us. 

We then went to the shower house. At first glance, it at least appeared clean. Second glance revealed even more bugs than the cabin. Live crickets and dead beetles hung out in the sink. Spiders clung to the rafters. But what finally broke me were the moths. 

The moths lived in the toilets. 

Imagine doing your business and all of a sudden a moth comes up from between your legs. Or reaching for toilet paper and a moth flutters out with the paper. I screamed. My sisters screamed. My cousin probably screamed. 

Lest you think us heartless to our fellow campers, remember, there were no other guests. And the staff all left way early. 

I am not going to lie. We ran back to our cabin, grabbed our stuff, dodged the giant watch-spider, and drove like a bat out of hell. No destination needed. Just out.

The next place we stayed at had a hot tub and continental breakfast.


Starbucks Saves the Day

I planned to come home and write a very funny post about dressing like a tourist. 

Maybe tomorrow I will. 

Tonight I am stranded in Starbucks because I walked into my apartment and found the electricity completely turned off. No WiFi, no air conditioning, no charge for my very dead phone. Oh, also no cold fridge for my newly bought groceries. 

Charming.

But I have to admit, I laughed when I finally realized what was going on. Because otherwise, today went pretty well. I enjoyed my classes. I got real Thai food with a friend for lunch and learned a bit more about cultural norms. I went grocery shopping and bought all my favorite snacks. In fact, I was just thinking how nice it was that I’m starting to acclimate.

Now I just want to nap. But! I’m hoping it will all work out! Otherwise tomorrow’s post will involve the adventures of Amy trying to find a hotel! 

Also, thank goodness for Starbucks that stay open weirdly late and provide free WiFi. 


The First Day

Of course, looking back, I realize my first 24 hours in Thailand were not the traumatic events they seemed. In fact, they represented quite normal inconveniences of travel. But I was running on 3 hours of sleep at best…so I can only make that my excuse. 

For starters, I got off the plane and could not find my ride. I paid extra for someone from my hotel to pick me up. But – while dozens of signs littered the exits in all different languages – none of them said my name. I know, I walked up and down a dozen times staring at each one. I walked for 45 minutes. I kept stopping people to ask if they knew of the guesthouse where I had reservations. No one knew. 

Finally, I admitted defeat and went in search of a taxi. Now, I may not have done much research prior to coming to Thailand, but one thing repeatedly came up: do not accept a flat fee from the taxi drivers. Always, always use the meter. So when I walked up to the taxi stand and the driver offered me a flat fee to take me to my hotel, I instantly said no. He looked put out but agreed to use his meter. 

I then asked if he took credit card. In my wanderings, I somehow forgot to pull out any Thai currency. (By this point, it was closing on 2 am in Thailand.) He waved away my concerns. Then we hit the first toll. Apparently, I was expected to pay for it. I protested that I had no cash. He demanded the toll money. I again repeated that I just arrived and did not have any bahts. He paid, but maintained an icy front that clearly conveyed his opinion about travelers who did not carry cash. 

We pulled up to my hotel and he demanded that I go to the ATM and pull out cash. But not another problem hit me. How much cash? I had no concept of Thai money. I know now that 1 Thai baht is less than a U.S. penny. At the time, his charge of 3,000 bahts felt outrageous. I was furious and overtired and when the ATM machine spit out a 5,000 baht, I handed it over and did not get any change from him. My irritation grew. I didn’t want to fight it, but I also felt like I was being taken advantage of. 

I managed to crash for about three hours before getting up for orientation the next day. Surprisingly, orientation went fairly well. I stayed awake, at least. In retrospect, they did not orient us on anything useful. A tour of the school, for example, would have gone a long way. 

I then needed to catch another taxi to my apartment to collect my keys. This time, the concierge flagged down a taxi for me. Or at least, he tried to. It took six or seven tries before he found one who knew the address. He then quoted a flat price to me. Foolishly, I decided to take it.

My landlord was 20 minutes late and I spent an awkward hour or so dawdling in a Starbucks trying to stay awake before I got my keys.

Then I needed to flag another taxi back. Once again, I went through the rigmarole of showing the address and getting turned down. I don’t think any taxi driver here uses GPS. I finally did track down a driver and he used the meter without me even having to ask. My trip back cost 2/3rds less than my trip there. Once again, I felt frustrated at being taken advantage of. 

And that was that. I don’t really recall the rest of the day. I suppose I forced myself to stay awake till 8 pm before collapsing (and promptly waking up at 5 am the next morning.) All in all, I cannot say my generally negative attitude towards taxi drivers has changed much. If I ever get data on my phone, I plan to try Grab Taxi (which is like Uber here.) But getting the phone thing sorted out has been more complicated than I expected!