Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Don't let the bed bugs bite

So here I am in Brisbane, and I've had my first real hostel horror. As soon as I walked in to the Yellow Submarine late yesterday afternoon my instincts were telling me to walk straight out again - the dingy paintwork, the grotty sofa in reception, the abject mess in the room, the snapshots of people at toga parties lining the walls... All of this spoke of a place that would be my personal hellhole - but I put it down to being tired from the journey and pressed on. Until I sat on my bed and was bitten seven times within half an hour. I told the lady in reception that there were bed bugs, and after she'd insisted that they were mosquitoes (I know what mosquitoes look like, and it's not like that), she said that it was probably lice - certainly not bed bugs. When I answered rather dryly that I wasn't all that keen on sharing my bed with lice either, she got rather shirty with me and implied I'd brought them along myself. At which point (and buoyed up by a pep talk from Mum - thanks, Mum!) I cut my losses and booked in to the YHA down the road.

And what joy it has been. Spread over five floors with lifts and maps detailing all the amenities, it's a little like living in an airport lounge - I certainly wouldn't want to stay at places like this all the time, as it's not very friendly. But it's blessedly, blissfully clean, and the laundry room is so luxurious I was almost - almost - tempted to do some ironing. Tomorrow night is movie night, and tonight I'm going to stretch out in my little bunk to read by the light of my own reading lamp (fellow hostellers will understand the wonder of this).

I'm trying not to let my opinion of Brisbane itself be coloured by this: one dirty hostel (and more traffic than any other Australian city I've yet seen, plus the poor opinion of everyone I've yet met) shouldn't put me off. Tomorrow I'm going to go for the sightseeing like a demon and catch up with as much of the nice stuff as I can in a day, and then it's on to the next destination. Poor Brisbane - I have a feeling that it never gets a fair go. But onward and upward...

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