Sunday 4 September 2011

Dorm Room D*ckheads

Since I left university I’ve tried my best to make the most of opportunities to travel. In the summer after finishing uni and before graduation I inter-railed around western Europe for a month, then once I’d moved to China I took every chance I could to see places around China, and after a short trip to Slovenia and Croatia I flew to Korea and from here I’ve done my best to see a little bit more of Asia. Travelling can be as cheap or expensive as you make it. I don’t have a lot of money and what I do have I want to spend on going around the different places and seeing something of it (and yes a cocktail or two). Therefore I save money on accommodation by staying in hostels, and particularly the cheapest room; the dorm room. This room is different in each place you stay, it can vary from a 4 person dorm to a massive room of 20 beds, some are unisex and some are male/female specific. In a dorm you’re generally sharing with people you don’t know, which for me means being more considerate; quieter, thinking about where you’re putting your stuff or how long you’re taking in the bathroom. When you’re in a dorm however there a few specific types of people that don’t think like that. I like to call them the Dorm Room Dickheads. Here is my run-down of the top 10 I’ve encountered.

1.    The loud ones. They’ve been out drinking all night, they’ve brought everyone back to the room, they’re going to carry on drinking and smoking. They don’t care that anyone is trying to sleep, they’re drunk and have no idea how loud their voices are. Encountered: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

2.    The late arrival. They arrive late at night (think 2/3am). They didn’t bring a torch. So they turn the light on and wake everyone else up while they fanny around finding their bed, taking out their sleeping things, preparing their clothes for tomorrow and searching for their wash bag. They then leave the light on while they go for a shower. Encountered: HCMC, Vietnam (amongst other places)

3.    The early leavers.   They are leaving the room early. They’ve not prepared their stuff so they do it when they wake up, at  about 5 or 6 am, while everyone else pretends to still be sleeping. They’re also discussing their plans for the morning/day/week and clearly have no idea how to whisper. Encountered: Nice, France.

4.    The Plastic bag hoarder. They have multiple plassy bags, infact all their things are wrapped in separately in plastic bags and their going to scrunch them as much as possible while they pack/unpack/search through their stuff. This is especially annoying when mixed with the early leavers. Encountered: Seoul, Korea. Berlin, Germany.

5.    The A/C Idiot. The a/c has made them cold, but instead of asking others how they feel, or putting on an extra jumper, or just adjusting the temperature they turn it off completely. This causes everyone else in the room to get really sweaty and uncomfortable. Encountered: Chengdu, China.

6.    The long timer. This person has been in the hostel so long that the staff regard them as a close friend. They have their washing hanging from their bunk and have their own personal stash of toilet roll for when it runs out in the shared bathroom. Encountered: Nanjing, China. Berlin, Germany.

7.    The snore head/sleep talker. It’s not their fault, and it can be amusing if they say something funny. But still is also an annoyance in a shared room. Encountered: Bangkok, Thailand. Seoul, South Korea. Berlin, Germany

8.    The guy who drunk too much. He (or she) went out last night and drunk far too much, or they went out last night and had a couple of sips of baijiu (Chinese Rice wine really is that potent). They spend the entire night running to the bathroom and back every 10 minutes to loudly throw up. Encountered: Qingdao, China.

9.    The over-zealous couple. Does this need explaining? Unfortunately I am acquainted with a couple who are guilty of this. Encountered: Chengdu, China. Harbin, China (which is incidentally the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed in)

1.    The randomer. I read quite a few different travel blogs, and the majority are regularly banging on about how great solo travel is and how many more people you meet when you’re alone. This, I am sure, is true. I have only travelled a few times alone and for me it was lonely and dull. Yeah you meet people, but they’re not people who figure very prominently in your life. I prefer to share my experiences with people I can relay stories with afterwards, like: ‘when Fontaine got lost inthe world’s smallest temple in Cambodia, when Wendy called us from the longest train journey in the world to Harbin, when Jade and I zip-lined off the Great Wall, that death ice slide in Harbin, when Damon ate the world’s hottest chilli pepper in Zagreb and Wongers’ hilarious paragliding landing in Penang’.  Anyway sometimes you have to beware of the lone traveller.  We’ve had more than one occasion of a solo traveller latching on, and you know what? These people were lone travellers for a reason. They’re weird, they follow you, they don’t take the hint, you spend the rest of your morning/afternoon/evening trying to ditch them, usually to no avail. (Disclaimer: I am not, in any way trying to imply this is all lone travellers) Encountered: Prague, Czech Republic. Shanghai, China. Beijing China. Seoul, South Korea. Qingdao, China.
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