Well, one of the cool things about living in D.C. (besides being in a city with countless things to see) was how close it was to New York.
New Yooooork, I keep baby blah something you brand new, makin you can’t lose. In Neww Yooork...
Obviously song lyrics aren’t my forte.
Anyway, to get to New York from D.C., you can ride the Chinatown bus. Roundtrip ticket = $40. People say the downsides are that the neighborhoods where you get on and off the bus aren’t so fancy, but hey, I didn’t get mugged so you probably won’t either.
On the bus, the four of us were bubbling with excitement. Chattin’ away. And then, I began to get a strange feeling in my gut. The one I get when I feel like I’m forgetting something or that I’ve done something wrong. Usually, I’m smarter than myself and I have forgotten something or done something wrong.
About two hours in to our 4 hour bus ride, I realize what’s wrong. The dates on the hostel. They weren’t the right dates. I don’t know how I did it, but I had booked the wrong weekend. Then, the frenzy of phone calls began. We needed a place to stay that night and we had about an hour and a half to figure it out.
A place to stay that was at most 100 dollars, on the weekend, in New York, with one hour’s notice, for four people… right. Lucky for us, my friend’s father was available to help us call Expedia and book a place over the phone for the second night. I think he scraped the barrel and bargained us into a room for two near Penn Station. Once again, this was the time before smart phones and all that, so it wasn’t so easy.
(My friend just read this and reminded me that we actually stayed the first night on my friend's floor. He tried and failed to sleep on a lazy boy. The place was really close to that Seinfield diner, Tom's Restaurant. She would have let us stay both nights, but she was just borrowing the place for the summer and someone else was staying there the next night. All of us crashed on the living room floor/ furniture that first evening.)
We got there and found a bustling lobby. Always a good sign. If you’re going to sneak 4 people into a 2 person room, make sure it’s a big hotel with a lot of people staying there. Check in with only two people and for the guys not checking in, don’t just stand there looking all shady; go outside.
Usually, the first two that checked in take all the bags and what not and go upstairs. In an hour or so, you can split up and go upstairs all cool like. I have had one time where the hotel actually checked and actually cared. In Osaka, the guy threatened to call the police on us (two people in a one person room). He was so agitated that it would have been comical if not for the police part. In the other hotel in Osaka, they couldn’t care less. The difference was the hotel size: bigger and nicer = easier to sneak people in. Not that I’m advocating breaking rules… I’m not. Totally not.
So, we made our way up to the room, knowing that we were cramming 4 people into a two person room. The hallway was dingier than the lobby had been (by leaps and bounds) and reminded me of the hallway in that creepy movie Room 1418.
It turns out, the hallway was the nicest part. The room was tiny, as was the adjoined bathroom. The tiles’ original color was unrecognizable, and I feel like the light didn’t really turn on—maybe it was just dim. The beds were just wide enough for one person. If you spooned, maybe two people could fit. Well, I wasn’t about to spoon anyone (I have grown since then) and it was my fault that we were in this predicament, so I offered to sleep on the floor.
Using the limited extra-bedding and a little bit of the bedding on the bed, I created a little raft in a sea of in descript, invisible body fluids and prayed I wouldn’t get any obscure diseases. Hell, I didn’t even want common diseases.
The lesson here is one that’s really stuck with me: check the dates. Check them twice. Check them three times. Then, check them again before you leave. There’s nothing worse than not having a place to stay when you think you do.
Bottom Line: Check,
double check and
then check the dates again.