Ruth's Diary


List of Aussie vocab continued:

afternoon=arvo (only in slang)
ketchup=tomato sauce
committing fraud/tax evasion (not completely sure)=rorting
downing (a pint)=skulling
sweet/green pepper=capsican

I have a little anecdote about how I learned the word capsican. The first time I heard it was when a woman phoned me for room service, ordering a vegetarian pizza "without capsican", due to the fact the person with her had an allergy to it. I gave the order while being absolutely puzzled as to what a capsican was. Good thing I had Ready Steady Cook (Australia) to constantly remind me afterwards.

With my week in Melbourne coming to an end (I'm writing this in the airport so I'm leaving in a few hours) I wanted to write about the revelation I had at the beginning of said week: I'm a somewhat snobby traveller. I had originally booked a week in a hostel called Melbourne Traveller's Connection. Now it had to be good: it was mentioned in my Lonely Planet and its website was full of character. Getting there though...I had 2nd thoughts. See, you can usually tell what a hostel will be like from its reception area. This one was tiny, dingy, and through the door on the right of the entrance you could instantly see some dorms.

Now the place wasn't a dive. The walls were colourful, the people friendly and chatty, the place is full of atmosphere, even had some impressive facilities (Satellite TV upstairs and a large TV wired up to a hard drive filled with movies and TV shows at the bottom lounge). But the kitchen was tinny-putting me off cooking-and the dorms were all dingy, containing nothing but beds, floor and a table if you're lucky. Not comfortable sleeping conditions. In my opinion and experience a city hostel with a large number of beds in a dorm should have personal lights supplied for each bed. Wireless was available for $3 an hour (admittedly cheap for Australia) and there was an area with rows of desktop computers for those without a laptop. There was also a PS2 with some sports games.

The funny thing is, it's the hostel that is the epitome of the perceived backpackers' lifestyle. Posters covering the walls advertise parties, nightclubs, cheap nights in pubs etc. There's also a photo gallery capturing moments, events and past guests. See, the hostel offers weekly and even monthly rates, meaning a lot of the guests are actually staying long term and working in Melbourne during the day (usually during the day). So the 'big family' atmosphere is encouraged, as opposed to some YHAs that are used by certain folk as a budget version of a hotel. Thing is, I'm not that kind of traveller.

I don't intend to go to new places just to take some nice photos and party while staying in a cheap and cramped shelter. I've never actually seriously introduced myself as a backpacker for that matter. I'm not using a burgen and I've packed with the expectation of a certain degree of comfort. When I stay in a hostel, I expect the dorm room to be homely enough, with plenty of 'powerpoints', chairs if possible and personal lights for each guest so we don't disturb anyone else with our late night reading. I expect the bathrooms to be able to accommodate large amounts of guests, contain soap and be on the same level as your dorm. I expect the kitchen to have plenty of space. And I like to get to know the local history through museums and watch a show should it be interesting enough with a decently priced ticket. I also like to eat in cafes and have a good meal out if possible.

In case you're wondering, I only stayed one night in the place (I had already paid the deposit which covered a night so I had to) and for the rest of the week I stayed in the hostel over the road, which suited my tastes and standards a lot better.

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