Yesterday, I read more of these reviews on TripAdvisor.com, and as I felt I had been personally mentioned in one of them, I also felt that I have to defend some hostels and guesthouses.
The afore mentioned review was thus. A guest had booked into an overbooked hotel! He arrived here at 2am, and had to wait 10 minutes for me to let him in.
I understand! He was angry and tired and worried about his early morning flight...
Now, my story. If I am not expecting a guest at 2am, I am doing what most of the rest of the world is doing at that time - sleeping!
If I am awakened, I have to put on my robe, visit the bathroom, walk done the passage, verify to see who is out there, and open the gate. That this only took ten minutes is a minor miracle!
I do believe that there are lemon-sucking, sour staff and this is not on! But, we all have our off-days and are not very friendly at 2am! Even round-the-clock staff at 5# establishments look like death, and you are paying for them to be there...
I do all that is possible to make your stay at Terrylin Backpackers memorable, but could you please do the following for me?
1. Please decide whether you want security gates or not? I am often asked to leave the gates open, as some need to smoke, while others need to feel safe.
2. Do you want to sleep as you have been travelling for 20 hours or are you party animals who want to scream the night away?
Please let me know when you have reached a consensus?
3. Please do not leave your designer mobiles or celebrity perfumes behind and then e-mail me to post them back to you. This is not fair, and I really don't have the time. When I did this in the past, I had no 'thank you' from those concerned.
4. Please do not bring me 2kg's of washing at 11pm. Enough said!
5. You all want cleanliness and neatness, same as the next guest. But, if you lie on the bed all morning, googling 50 ways to cook cabbage, or whatever, how I am meant to clean and tidy?
6. Also, please do not hover over my domestic help. It makes her feel uncomfortable. She is not going to steal your artefacts. If fact, it's possible that she made some of them herself!
7. Please do not ask me questions, if I am talking on the 'phone or talking to another guest. Wait your turn, like grown-ups.
8. Please do not leap out in front of me, asking for change for the call-box, while I am carrying a tray loaded with plates and mugs. See No 7 - Wait your turn...
9. If you have booked your own tour/transport, please do not ask to use my 'phone every 5 minutes to 'find out where they are'. You booked them, use your own 'phone,(or the call-box!)
10. Please do not follow me around. No-one here is going to bite you, least of all me. If my hostel was so terrifying, I would not be living here.
11. I cannot be held responsible for power outages, burst water pipes, slow wi-fi, thunderstorms, heavy traffic and the neighbour's barking dogs.
12. Also, please do not complain of the aeroplane noise. That's what they do, make a noise. If you book accommodation as close as possible to the airport, accept the noise, or book into a hotel with 'noise-resistant' rooms and pay for it.
13. If I book a taxi, it will take 15 minutes to arrive. Please do not ask me to allay your fears every 2 minutes. If I am in the laundry, dropping linen into the machine and the taxi arrives, please do not holler: "Taxi's here!" If you heard the driver hooting, then so did I.
14. Also, if you are unable to sleep, please do not knock on my bedroom door, shouting: "Allo, Allo" at 5am, to enquire whether I have booked the taxi yet, which you require at 10am.
15. Likewise, if I am in the shower at 10am, please do not knock on the door, enquiring whether the tour guide will definitely be here at 1pm to take you to the Lion Park, Soweto or where-ever. He will, I promise!
16. On your return, and I open the gate, please take 2 steps inside, before answering your mobile. I am busy, and cannot wait 20 minutes for you, to re-organise your life. You may do that in the garden - very private.
17. If I retire to my room, with a mug of coffee and slice of toast, I am not ignoring you. I am merely trying to keep up my strength, and not being lazy. Please do not regard this as an invitation to ask me endless questions which could wait. Refer back to No 7, again. Thank you.
18. I cannot provide a door key for the dorms. You may not be the only one who has booked a bed. And, others also want to wander in and out.
19. If you confirm a booking six months before arrival, and you change your mind, please let me know. It's polite!
20. Finally, please clean the loo, if you make a number two. To keep it clean, you know.
21. Sorry, one more. If you leave left-over greasy food in the room, it will attract ants, I promise. There is no need to notify you of this on your booking. There is a rubbish bin in the kitchen. Please feel free to use it!
So, that was my 10 cents worth.
Back, to the reviews. When I read them, they are so varied, I often wonder if it is the same establishment. It is generally human nature to focus on the negative, as I sometimes do, but then I am reminded of a man, who on studying a painting by Winston Churchill said:
"But, Sir Winston, the gate is crooked." Behind the gate was a fantasy of flowers, in all their blooming glory.
Sir Winston's reply. "Look beyond what is wrong, and concentrate on what is right!"
Finally, Theodore Roosevelt - "What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible."
I wonder if he ever ran a backpackers hostel?