My time in Singapore has been something of a period of self-discovery for me. In the two months that I’ve been here I’ve realised a number of things about myself, varying from the revelation that I actually love teaching to the more practical discovery that meatball porridge is an effective cure for most hangovers.
It’s not all positive though – I’ve also come to realise that two months (three by the time I leave) in the same hostel is far too long for my liking. Ideally, I wouldn’t still be living in a hostel after this period of time and had I known that my contract would get extended until the end of August back when I started, I would have been hunting for my own place in my first week or so.
Sadly, things don’t always work out how you would like and for this reason I’ve been extending my stay at the 5.Footway Inn hostel in Chinatown on a month to month basis. The hostel is clean, it’s close to the MRT and the staff are friendly; so what’s the issue? Here are a few reasons why long-term hostel living just isn’t for me…
One of the reasons I love hostel life as a solo traveller is that you’re rarely alone and it’s really easy to meet new people. This is great when you’re backpacking and pretty much doing everything on impulse. When you’re in a routine of working 8-4 on a daily basis however, it’s hardly ideal.
Sometimes I just want to get in from work, lounge around in my boxers and watch some TV. For some reason, this just doesn’t feel appropriate in a dorm with three other people!
My hostel is based right in the heart of Chinatown on Pagoda Street – aka ‘tourist central’. Now I’m aware this is completely my own fault for choosing to stay here, but I just can’t help getting frustrated at the slow walking masses who meander down the street looking at every piece of tat they’ll never buy and seemingly taking pictures of every single paving slab. I’ve seen faster snails. Not that I make a habit of snail-watching or anything, but you know what I’m getting at.
After a day at work, I just want to go out, get some food and wind down for the night but my blood pressure just continues to rise every time I leave the building. I realise I’m starting to sound awfully like a tourist who hates tourists, so I’ll leave it there!
Paying $12 to do my own laundry
Maybe I’ve been spoilt in other South East Asian countries where I’ve paid the equivalent of about a quid to have my clothes washed, dried and ironed. Something just doesn’t sit right with me about paying $12 – around £6 – to do my own washing when I’m already paying something of a premium for rent.
I’ve also discovered that ‘iron rage’ is something that exists, and often find myself ironing my work shirts to a barely passable level before I throw the bloody thing at the wall. Woe is me.
Becoming ‘that’ guy
Perhaps worst of all is the fact that I’m becoming the guy who I have often laughed at in the past: the long-term hostel guest. Granted; I have a valid reason for my long stay whilst the people I’ve met in the past (like the gambling addict in Vientiane) just seem to be too lazy to go elsewhere, but I still don’t like the reaction I receive when people ask how long I’ve been here!
I’ve been greeted with comments like, “You’re working, and you’re staying in the hostel?!”, from bemused backpackers. No shit Sherlock – I’m as unimpressed as you!
Ah well, only four weeks left. Not that I’m counting…honest.