Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Monday, October 03, 2005

Montreal Hostel


I haven't stayed in a youth hostel for a long time. I just couldn't bear to pay hotel prices when I knew I could sleep somewhere for a fraction of the cost, so for the most part when I am not staying with friends or family I will be doing the hostel thing.

When the train pulled into Montreal it was pouring rain and the directions said it was a 20 minute walk from the station and the directions they gave were a bit vague. I made the right choice and took a taxi. I got out of the taxi and went up to the door and read the note that was posted there. It said that check in was around the corner and up the next street and wouldn't open until 13:00.

Pulling my suitcase behind me, I walked down the block to a restaurant and had some lunch while I was waiting. I then retraced my steps and went to where the note had directed me. Apparently they were doing some repairs at the hostel I was supposed to be staying at but the owners run more than one and they were just shuffling everyone over there.

I followed the owner around another corner and down a little alley to a door where he showed my the secret code to enter. We walked into a courtyard that was filled with lumber and other building supplies as well as a bunch of little wagon/bungalows. Then we went through another door and into a hallway which had rustic wood bunks all down one side and chairs along a glass wall down the other. There were lots of plants in the walkway and on the sides of the bunk beds. On the sides of the bed were fabrics of all sorts of colors and patterns that provided the only privacy that you get. It looked like summer camp mixed with a set for a reality show where everyone has to live together in close proximaty.

The kitchen was at the end of the room and then an arm jetted off down to one side with card tables covered with more random cloths. The bathrooms were down a flight and a half of narrow stairs. There was a row of five showers (with random, colorful bath curtains and rough hewn wood ) and a row of toilets in homemade wood stalls. Opposite the toilets against a brick wall were 5 blue flowerpot shaped ceramic sinks. Truly this could have been a stage set for a hippie version of Big Brother or some other reality show. FUNCKY is the word that comes to mind.

I had signed up for a women's dorm but it was all coed here. There are about 40 of us in basically one big room. The mattresses are blow up air mattresses which are pretty comfortable but squeak a lot against the wood any tine anyone moves. Regardless, I have slept well, especially after spent 4 nights sleeping on the train and with the assistance of Tylenol p.m.. In fact I slept from 11:00 p.m. until 10:00 a.m. the next morning.

There are people from all over the world staying here. I have met Canadians, French, German, Japanese and Americans and there are many people I didn't meet. It is somewhat amazing how well everyone can live communally, especially considering they are strangers and in an unfamiliar place. I feel a sense of continually needing to adapt and adjust to my surroundings. There is so much that feels like new territory and must be figured out. It is a radical change from having my own private space to myself all of the time! I think that I am going to be ready for my own room for 4 nights at a Bed and Breakfast in Vermont and then after Boston, New York and DC I will be at my brothers which will feel familiar and homey.

I have had some nice conversations with people here. Everyone has their own story and journey that they are on. One guy is from Michigan and he has been biking everywhere. He averages 80 miles a day when he is on the road and he totes a small "trailer" that has all of his camping gear and stuff. He was taking a break in Montreal for 4 days to rest and recoup. I am headed to Quebec now and will have more adventures in housing there I bet.


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