Sunday, September 30, 2007

Highlights and lowlights

Highlight of the conference:

My paper did not suck. And this was 80% thanks to all your wonderful suggestions, 10% thanks to me pulling an all-nighter the day before, and 10% thanks to the fact that at least half the other papers I went to sounded like they had been scraped together 10 minutes beforehand from the mouldering remnants at the bottom of someone's research barrel, making me look good in comparison.

Lowlight of the conference:

Friday night, 8pm. Due to nerves and last minute paper rewriting, I hadn't really eaten all day. I was tired and overwhelmed. And then I missed the bus back to my hostel. Walked back, 30 minutes, in the rain. Spent the whole walk dreaming about how I would eat a hot dinner and crawl straight into bed.

I reached the hostel, let myself in, and noticed a piece of paper taped to the door of my dorm: Tess, since you didn't pay for tonight yet, we have sold your bed. Since I am not Tess, not even in real life, I ignored the note and walked on in. One of the guys in the room shot me a Look and said, "Read the note on the door."
"Yeah." I replied. "Who's Tess?"
"The note. On the door," he said. "Your bed is gone."
"I'm not Tess," I repeated, baffled. Went over to my bed. There was someone in it.

Turns out the hostel had mixed me up with someone called Tess who hadn't paid. The place was full. My stuff was piled out by reception, which was empty and locked. The phone number on the door reached nothing but a disconnected signal. At 9pm, I realised my chances of finding alternative accommodation for the night were pretty low.

It did take a lot of walking around in the dark, knocking on closed doors and full hotels before I found something. But when I did, they were wonderful. They felt sorry for me, gave me a half-price room all to myself, with an ensuite bathroom, and it included a free pancake breakfast the next morning. And when I went back to the first place the next day and metaphorically kicked the metaphorical shit out of the not-so-metaphorical receptionist, she apologised and gave me a full refund plus compensation.

But it's strange, because if someone had said to me that I could upgrade from the overcrowded, deteriorating hovel that was Annie's Place (bedbugs, spiders and inconvenient location all included at no extra cost), to a friendly, clean, quiet place like Sunny's, have a room to myself, an ensuite bathroom, and free pancakes for breakfast, and that they would pay me to do so, I would have been overjoyed. As it was, this is essentially what happened, but I'm still pissed off about the whole situation.

The bastards.


Jim Gibbon said...

Wow, that sounds horrible! Glad to hear there was a happy ending.

Ianqui said...

Man, that beats having water dumped on me from the 2nd floor at the conference I went to this summer. But at least you got to stay at a nicer hotel out of it!

Kelly said...

I had my first (and worst) hostel experience in Melbourne, but yours takes the cake! Glad to hear you got through it and ended up in your own room in a nicer place. Were you able to stay there for the length of the conference?

Propter Doc said...

Wow! I think that would finish me. Glad the paper went well though.

StyleyGeek said...

It was the last night I was there, so I only needed to stay one night.

I had an unpleasant hostel experience in Sydney once, too, but otherwise the 10-15 times I have stayed in hostels in my life have all been uniformly awesome experiences. So I'll keep doing it (until I get to a point in my career where I am earning enough that conference expenses no longer eat up a huge chunk of my salary.)