Everything is big in Texas

Trip Start Aug 26, 2005
1
81
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Trip End May 26, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, February 10, 2007

What's with Americans and their struggle for authority? They all seem to have this power complex. They need to be in charge of everything and make up stupid rules, just for the sake of having rules. Like this one: I check into the hostel after pretty much 2 days without sleeping and I'm told I can’t use my bed until 5pm. I took an overnight bus to get here and didn’t get any sleep, and the night before I went out and got very little sleep and all I wanted to do was get to this hostel and sleep all day and some of the next and for some strange reason they lock the doors to the bedrooms all day. It’s pointless. When I asked why I can’t use my bed, they say, 'its the rules man'. I tell them that 'I’ve already paid for my room, I want to use it’. They said all rooms are locked until 5pm. ‘But why?’ I asked. ‘Rules man’ they say.

I went into the lounge room to wait and found comfort on the chair. Nobody else was there at the time, so I spread out on the chair and fell asleep. I was woken by a tug on my shoe. ‘Wake up man, you can’t sleep in here’ ‘What the hell?’ I said and got into an argument with the staff members. I won the argument and was allowed into my room for a half hour powernap. It was better than nothing. I woke to find a few Aussies and a Dutch girl in the hostel. We got chatting and moved into the TV room. We were kicked out of the TV room at 10pm Why? 'it’s the rules dude'

We were all pretty furious at the endless rules in this place - no alcohol, no smoking, no loud noise, no sleeping between 11am and 3pm, no kitchen access before 8am and after 9pm, no TV after 10, no fun, and the list goes on.

After being kicked out of the TV room, we had to resort to playing monopoly and going to bed, but not turning the lights on after 10pm. I fumbled round in the dark trying to find my toothbrush in my crowded 14 bed dorm. Ahhhh, the joys of the USA.



An Apology:

I'd like to take a little time here to apologize about the negativity I'm spreading of the USA. I certainly don't intend to be so negative. I have met some amazing and generous people in this country and have had some great times and unforgettable experiences and one day, I might even write about the positives, but for now, I'm finding this stuff more interesting to write about, and judging from the feedback I'm getting from my loyal followers, you guys all agree with me and seem to be enjoying this stuff. So I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and simply say that I'm sorry if my remarks have offended anyone, but to put it straight  I'm simply putting down here, truthfully what I’ve experienced from the 'greatest and richest country in the whole wide world. God Bless the USA!

Freaks: I've mentioned it before, but the rule doesn't fail - every hostel in the USA has a freak or two staying, or living there. This is probably the most freak filled hostel so far. This one is a classic. It started with this 30 year old American guy. He had crazy grey and black streaked hair. He looked completely on edge and came straight up and told us that he travels across the USA, going to clinics and Universities volunteering for medical trials. He gets paid to test new drugs out and, well let me tell ya, the results aren't good. This guy was messed up beyond belief. He didn't sleep, he ran to the bathroom every 10 minutes, he spoke to himself and had the occasional outburst. I was a little freaked out just being in the same room as him.  He lasted two days in the hostel and then disappeared, much to everyone’s relief. But don’t worry, there was another one to take his spot. A coincidence maybe, that this 50 something wide eyed leather jacket wearing nutcase was also a product of a university medical disaster. He told us he had worked in the science departments of various Universities through the USA, and somewhere along the way, he had been infected by an unknown illness, the product of stray university students. Doctors were unable to figure out what was wrong with him. He had a whole new kind of mental disorder. He slept 80% of the day, and when he wasn’t sleeping, he was pacing back and forth around the hostel, blurting out random comments. He told me that if I didn’t stop playing piano, that he would throw a brick at me. It went like this: I met a kool guy, clearly not from the USA, who was this genius pianist. I asked if he could teach me something, which he willingly obliged. He taught me the first few lines to that classic tune. nanana nananananaana nanana nanananana na na nanananaan annaan if you can’t work out what song it is from that, then I can’t help. Anyways, I was practicing and this guy comes up and says, ‘how much do I need pay you to stop playing’. I said, ‘depends, how much you got. I’m pretty broke. It won’t take much’. Then he says, ‘ok let’s put it this way - if you don’t stop playing, I’ll throw a brick at you’. I say, ‘well I’m pretty good at ducking, so you will probably just break the piano’. He said he was serious, I got scared and stopped playing and ran straight to the reception. They booted him from the hostel about 10 minutes later and went back to playing piano. Nanannanaan nananan nna annana nan naaaaaaaaana.

The upside of Austin is The Austin University which is the biggest UNI in the USA. With 50,000 students and taking up a good few neighborhoods, it never seems to end. I wandered around with an Aussie guy called Mike from Cockatoo (outside of Melbourne) We were allowed into the gym to check it out and wow…Its huge. Easily the biggest gym I’ve ever seen. They had 10 racquetball courts, a rock climbing wall, 8 basketball courts that doubled as volleyball. They had table tennis and a humongous weights room with all kinds of funky town new machines that I’d never seen before. There was a 1/4 mile circular running track - indoors. And we didn’t even have time to see the pool, but I can only imagine. Posing as students, we made it into the library and used the free internet to send a few emails home.
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Comments

alexapharm
alexapharm on

Well... we do what we can?
When did you stay at the hostel?

The dorm area is inaccessible when being cleaned, but it shouldn't be after 2:30 pm?
The kitchen stays open all night.

I know some of the guinea pig guys are freaks... trust me, I have to deal with them on a regular basis. But none of them live here. No one is allowed to live here - we really really enforce our 3 week limit.

And we have to close the tv room up after 10... for one thing, it's right over the dorms and people will complain about the noise. For another thing, staff members are sick and tired of having to deal with cleaning up beer bottles, empty potato chip packets, used condoms, and other ickiness. You'd probably feel the same.

If anyone ever threatens to throw a brick at you again, please inform the staff members at whatever hostel you're currently staying at. If you had told me that, I would have had the psychopath removed from the premises.

The no drinks rule isn't our fault! All HI-USA hostels have that rule! Complain to the National Office if you'd like. Here is their phone number: 301-495-1240.

Thanks, and have a fantastic day.
-Ali @ HI-Austin

prl421
prl421 on

Freaks in America
Despite your 'apology' I am beyond offended at your continued insults of americans labeling them all idiots, freaks, etc.. Here is a little tip why you might be meeting so many: americans don't stay in hostels. Many dont even know what a hostel is.

muzz_travelling
muzz_travelling on

Re: Well... we do what we can?
Hey Ali at the hostel,
Thanks for your comment. Im curious, how did you get hold of this website? Im glad you did.
I stayed at the hostel for 5 nights, starting Feb 10th 2007. I was there with a younger aussie guy, and an aussie girl, another girl from Finland and an American guy. We stuck close together, for fear of the hostel freaks. The opinions expressed in the blog entry are shared to every point with all of the above mentioned people. We were all dumbfounded.
Firstly, the wakeup call! We get woken up in the mornings! why? What if we had a big night, or are sick, like lots of travellers, we need a place to sleep and rest after travelling and someone from reception turns the lights on, opens the blinds and yells 'good morning everyone its 10am, this is your wakeup call' WE DONT WANT TO BE WOKEN UP!!!!! Let us sleep.

For me, travelling for 19 months, hostels have been my home and the good majority of them have felt like home. I respect them and their rules - providing they make sense- and I feel comfortable. But over all hostels that ive spent time in, the Austin one, was the most sterile, with its rules and general feeling of not being welcome. We had a feeling the whole time that we were being watched. It was creepy and as a result, three of us left earlier than we had hoped.

One night, one of the 'guinea pig guys' cooked something that looked like brain, and completely smoked out the kitchen and loungeroom. The next night, he cooked liver. It was as if he had scrounged up enough money begging that day and thought hed spoil himself with a hostel and a brain stew.

We appreciate the noise problem from the tv. But when taking refuge downstairs, we were told to be quiet because someone was asleep on the couch. The guy working turned off the lights and basically told us to go to bed at 10pm.

I would like to contact the HI people and in due time, ill do just that. A quiet glass of wine over dinner cannot possibly cause a problem.

Thanks for listening
Murray.

muzz_travelling
muzz_travelling on

Re: Freaks in America
I see what I see and I write what I see. Unfortunately your country doesnt provide for tourists, tourism, backpackers and people on a budget that are curious and interested in finding out what the United States is all about. What makes it tick, What is this strange place and how has it become the place that it is? So thats why I travel there - to find out. Im curious. I want to learn, and whether it seems like it or not from my entries, I did go there with an open mind and an open heart.
Unfortunately tourism in the USA is almost non existant for people without a car. Us backpackers are religated to taking expensive inconvieniently scheduled Greyhound Busses to the dodgiest areas of the towns we are only allowed to see because of the Bus destinations.
From there, we have to find a hostel, which is often difficult. Staying at a 'Super 8 Hotel' or similar is out of the question for us. By us, im taking about the huge community of foreign backpackers, travelling your country, and all sharing the same opinions as me. We are dumbfounded by the USA.
Maybe they need to be more welcoming, maybe thats just the way they are, but when it came to locals, sure i met some nice ones, but in general, I was terrified walking around the cities.
So what can the USA do to make us feel more welcome and cater for tourists on a budget? Ive got a list, but a better transport system, internet cafes, healthy food, and a few more hostels would be a start.
Murray

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