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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Living Abroad

Posted Saturday, June 4, 2011, at 10:27 PM

Version 1.0

Hotels in China are always of a curious sort. You can stay in travel hostels, personal homes, chain hotels like the "7DaysInn" and of course the "5 star hotels."

The travel hostels are probably the most identical to what we experience in the west. They are usually ridiculously cheap, costing somewhere between 5-6 dollars US for one night's stay and you get a single bunk in a room full of 5-6 bunks. This is obviously a great method for travelers as you can meet dozens of people in a week and it's generally quite nice. The downfalls of course are that the bathroom is usually shared and in China, at least, the bathroom is a Chinese-style toilet which for me is always a no-go. My legs get tired. Snoring is also not ideal.

*insert Chinese-style toilet*

The personal home option is slightly higher being something along 10-12 dollars (generally 80RMB) and you get a room, sometimes with a bathroom if you pay a slightly higher fee. The time we stayed in one, it was a room which was somewhat unclean. We arrived late, somewhere around 1-2 am. A young girl skuddled out in her pajamas wiping her eyes free of grime. The beds have a bamboo stack sheet on them during the summers which are a terrific invention. These things keep you cool while you lie on them and your sweat simply rolls off onto the sheets as it normally would. This is what most Chinese use instead of air conditioners and they should honestly be exported. You have to try one to believe it. These style of hotels are also usually less clean and generally have prostitute services written somewhere on the door mentioning "call mama" or something of the like. They are livable. Again, most likely a Chinese toilet unless you have a terrificly astute house-owner.

Chain hotels like The 7 Days, I've become more familiar in my most recent trip. They will either have or not have things in the bathroom like toothbrushes and such depending on the chain in question. The 7 days hands you slippers, which I usually forget to grab as they're at least 5 sizes too small. The slipper package usually contains a comb, a toothbrush, a small vial of toothpaste (I mean small, baby fingers small) and a hairdryer stuck to the hallway for public consumption. The room *might* have towels. You generally have to ask again. They give a single key card, but I generally ask for two. One is used to put in a slot which activates the rooms' electricity. I keep it in because I like my computer to stay fresh. The rooms are generally tidy and with the exception of a single 7 days, most of the staff have been really good.

5 star hotels in China are really a myth. There are very few true 5 star hotels, they're simple 5 star hotels in comparison with the others. You can tell this by the level of service, generally. I stayed in a 5 star hotel and the toilet paper was still as thin as papyrus. The little things are generally what gives it away. Standards are still not there. I still can't grab enough keys as I'd like (3, actually, when two people are living there) but they can charge 15 rmb for a can of beer (2 something) and smile about it.

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Nate James
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