I have never participated in a “Tuesday’s Tribute” before, but, well, there’s a first time for everything, right? It’s now hosted by Mayhem and Moxie, and it’s a fun way to reminisce and share about a memory that might otherwise be fading:)
Here are the possible topics for today’s Tuesday Tribute: Options include: 1) the most outrageous person you met while traveling, 2) the best (or worst) hotel you ever stayed in, 3) someone on your trip who saved the day, 4) the weight you gained while on vacation, 5) the book that made your vacation endurable.
I didn’t have to think very long about this. The memory of the worst hotel room I have ever stayed in has remained ingrained, yet simultaneously suppressed in my mind since the day I had the misfortune of staying there. Generator- this one’s for you.
First of all, I’ll admit, it wasn’t exactly a hotel, it was a hostel. I was working for a British Tour Company in Orlando, basically catering to all the needs of British families while on “holiday” here in Orlando. An interesting and not very well paying gig, but it did come with a free trip to London for a 10 day “training” session. Honestly, that was one of the biggest reasons I took the job. I really wanted to travel and I thought this would be a great opportunity, as there were representative positions for the company all over the world. A few months into the job, I was starting to realize the earning potential was not what I was promised.. and getting round-the-clock calls on my cell phone from tourists wasn’t worth the company car +300 bucks a week before taxes. Suffice to say my enthusiasm was waning when the training trip came up, but I figured I may as well stick it out for the opportunity to travel to England, so off I went on Virgin Air. That was pretty much one of the highlights of my trip, but I digress.
I came to realize that the location of the training course was a few hours from London, although that was where we would fly in and out of. I was attending with another rep, that I worked with. We were not great friends, but friendly enough. As the details of the trip were revealed to me days before I was set to go, I was disappointed to find out that my “free” time would be a whopping 24 hours before I was set to arrive at the hotel where the training would be held, in Stockport (aka the armpit of England, as I would soon find out.)
I arranged with my travelmate, that I would buy our train passes to and from Stockport, and he would arrange and pay for the hotel room. I was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl, (still am, really), and I just assumed wherever we were staying would be fine. I mean, it was only one night right? And I was really excited about seeing London, even if it was just for 24 hours.
We got off the plane, dead tired from the flight, but excited to see London. We hoofed it all over the city.. saw ALL the sights, even if we didn’t actually get to go in them all: Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, the Tower of London, the London eye- it was truly a beautiful city that left me really depressed that I had to leave the next morning. Then, we decided to find our “accommodations”. We were staying somewhere known as the “Generator”. Hmm. this is weird, I thought, as I entered the double doors beneath the neon-blue fluorescent sign.
The Generator is a HOSTEL!! Seriously, I know we were kind of broke, but I really wasn’t expecting that. I should add that maybe when I was 18, or even 21, this would have been ok with me. I was mid-twenties when I had this lovely experience, well beyond my Ramen noodle phase. I thought, Ok, whatever, I can just roll with it. We went to see our rooms.. oops, I mean room. Because we were sharing a big community room.. as in, with total strangers. It was one thing to share a room with my travelling buddy, who I didn’t know all-that-well- but strangers? In beds so close that we could literally reach out and touch each other from our beds? Um.. yuck.
See this picture? …the rooms were not as nice and clean as this picture would have you believe.. not even close, actually.
I’m not even going to go into the bathroom situation!!!!
The interesting thing about the Generator, was that it was sort of like a college dorm- young people from all over the world, a big cafeteria, game room, and a gigantic bar/club on the bottom floor. Well, that was a distraction anyway. We went and had a few beers, and Roberto (my co-worker) tried to tell me that it was an adventure and everything would be fine. I decided to take a walk and see if there was a Holiday Inn nearby… there was.. but it was booked. damn!
The bar stayed open till about 4 am.. I was not really that much of a party animal, but I really felt much safer down there, if it tells you anything. We had to get on a train early the next morning, so I really didn’t end up spending much time in the actual hostel room. Which was good, because I really didn’t enjoy that. Not a bit. Being in close quarters with complete strangers is really not my cup of tea. And let’s just say I’m glad the movie “hostel” came out after this trip, or I would have camped out in the train station!
So “Generator”… this tribute’s for you! Thanks for the ‘adventure’!