Bad hotel experiences (2004-03-22 - 7:59 p.m.)
First things first, as I'm sure everyone's waiting with bated breath (ha!) - the job interview went very well today. As it turned out, I had much more important things to worry about than a piddly little interview, which (although distressing) had the effect of making me not at all stressed about it and therefore very relaxed and confident. Funny how that works. There were only two people, and I think they both knew from my CV and cover letter that I could easily handle the job. They seemed more worried about making sure I realised that it was grunt work and didn't pay too amazingly. Which actually impressed me - it was very fair of them.
So it sounds like they're interviewing a ton of people this week. Like I said, this job would not be much of a challenge, so I'm thinking they might pass me over on the grounds of overqualification. Who knows, though. Also, I won't find out till next week sometime, so there's a chance I could find something else by then anyway. I must say that from the tour of the BUNAC office, I would probably like working there. For one thing everyone's wearing jeans! (currently 2/3 of my pants wardrobe). It's quite a small office and the people seem nice. So we shall see, but unless something amazing comes up in the next week, I would probably take this job if offered it.
So. On to the reason I didn't have room in my brain for interview concerns. Actually, for the full story we have to rewind to Saturday night in Dublin. I got a text message (I love my mobile!) from Geo, the American photographer I met in London. He was in Dublin and did I want to go out? Of course I did, so off we went to a pub called (I swear I'm not making this up) "The Isaac Butt". Yup. But anyway, there we met up with an Aussie friend of Geo's called Randall, and some of his friends. They were all Canadian girls and all were working as radio DJs in Ireland! Very bizarre. I would have thought the radio stations would want Irish accents, but apparently not. Randall was interesting as well. He and his financee are both nurses and very into the music scene. As it turns out, he's friends with one of the guys in the Scottish band Idlewild, which I went to see in Edmonton, having been dragged by Marc! One of those weird coincidences. Randall had spent a few months following Idlewild around the US as they opened for Pearl Jam, which must have been amazing. In fact, he thought the Idlewild guy might show up at the pub, but no such luck. That would have been cool, though.
Anyway, after the Isaac Butt we hit a few club things. They are absolutely bizarre in Dublin. On the street, they look like smallish dark little pubs, but once you get inside they stretch backwards forever! It gives the impression of C.S. Lewis' Wardrobe, with an entire country somehow inside a very small and plain exterior. These places were like barns inside, but you never would have known it. Anyway, I got kind of bored at that point, not really being much for clubs usually. The main highlight of that part of the evening was an attempted pickup by some bloke from Co. Clare, which greatly amused me. "He came in like a shark", as Geo commented.
The hostel I was staying at in Dublin was one I just picked at random, coming in off the street. So, a word of advice: NEVER stay in the "Euro Backpackers Hostel" in Lower Gardiner Street. It was not too pleasant. Sort of dirty and you weren't sure when the sheets had been cleaned, not the mention the showers. Neither toilet had any paper, and there were no lights in them! This meant that most of the guys just didn't bother closing the door, although the stalls opened to a hallway with a window on the other side AND they were unisex. Very pleasant, let me tell you. Anyway, I figured it wasn't such a big deal as it was just a bed for the night... but as it turned out, they kept the room so cold that it took me forever to get to sleep. (It reminded me of sleeping in Charlie's hayloft as a kid.) Once I got past that and the creaky bedsprings (12 people shared the room) and fell asleep, the front desk guy barged in at 5 am to turn on the light and shout something about a cab leaving for the airport. Argh. However, I figured it didn't matter so much since I had booked a PRIVATE (luxury!) room in a hotel for the next night, in hopes of getting a really good night's sleep prior to the interview.
So I caught the bus back to London first thing in the morning. It was cheap and I met someone to talk to on the bus, a guy from South Africa, living in London. He's an architect and had some very interesting stories to tell. For example, he grew up having a live-in servant because they were so cheap to hire in SA! I can't imagine. Can't say I've ever even had a housecleaner come in.
We got back to Victoria station, London, after 10ish hours on the coach. I got on the Tube okay and found the hotel with the help of a guard at the Tube station. Walked into the hotel and said I had a reservation - only to be told, "Oh no, not ANOTHER reservation." Uh-oh, I thought. They asked if I had the confirmation email, and I said not on me but I could go print it off. They looked through their database and said they had no record of a reservation, and furthermore they had no room available. They were quite snarky about it. So yeah, I had just got off a 10-hour bus ride with very little sleep the night before and lugged my by now very huge bag the six blocks from the Tube. I couldn't believe they wouldn't let me check in. They allowed for no possibility of finding any space for me, either. So what could I do? I went across the street to the "Savers Hotel" and booked a room there.
Now that place was creepy. There were tons of people lounging around the entrance smoking cigarettes and staring. Once you got in, there was a narrow staircase with peeling wallpaper and plaster falling off the walls. My room was four flights up. The only shower was down three flights of stairs, one shower for the entire place. It was something else. However, I did have my own room and at that point I wasn't prepared to do any more walking. It was depressing, though.
So I went and printed off my reservation confirmation for the other hotel and took it back to them. They still said they had no record of it, and further added that I would probably get charged for my first night because I didn't show up to take the room! I explained to them that in fact I was standing right in front of them and would LOVE to have the room, but they said to come back in the morning and have it out with the manager. Grrr.
So I went back and formulated a plan of action. I stayed one night at the creepy Savers Hotel, then went back in the morning and asked the manager what was going on. Luckily, she was actually helpful and very apologetic about the mixup and the night manager's idiocy. She said there was no way I'd get charged for the night, which was a relief. Not that they had any grounds to charge me, but I thought they might try! Then I went to the International Students House and left my bags there. I had an offer to leave them at the Savers Hotel, but somehow that didn't seem like such a good idea. (Maybe it was the drunk hooker on the stairs). I had breakfast at ISH and got spiffed up for the interview there, and had no time at all to worry about said interview! So in the end it all worked out, and I suppose it's a good story to tell. Could do with fewer stories of that type, though, I have to say!
I will say one thing for the Savers Hotel, though - when I asked if anyone had an iron for my interview shirt, they tracked someone down with a European one and then jimmied it for me so it would fit the British plug. So I learned one thing that night anyway: You don't need an adaptor if you have a pen handy (and aren't scared of being electrocuted!)
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