Self Indulged Online Magazine #4

Page 39

Flashpackers also tend to be older (in my mid-thirties I definitely fall into that category), carry lots of electrical stuff and lots of chargers to go with that stuff. iPods, iPads, Cameras, laptops the whole kit and caboodle. I carry my camera gear and lots of chargers too. I check into a private room with an ensuite (with the added luxury of a Western toilet – there are some sacrifices I just won’t make), pay between 80 to 200 Yuan for a double room (about $10- $30 Aussie dollars, depending on the province) and spend the money I’m saving on accommodation on all the other great experiences that China has to offer. But it’s more than just the savings. It’s about meeting other travellers, swapping stories at

the bar and learning the best way of getting to a destination/which train to catch/how to get a visa quickly/ which restaurant has the best hotpot/how to pronounce Zhangjiajie (ok – I haven’t actually mastered that one yet), all this information is imparted freely and without the bias of a hotel concierge. What’s more, in China, there’s no guarantee that the hotel concierge even speaks English. So here in China, luxury may be craved - a hot bath, a roast dinner - but for the next 2 months the benefits of the hostel environment win out over the luxuries I’ve left behind everytime. Besides...the beers are cheaper in the hostels and I’ll have my hit of luxury when I get to Langkawi - there’d better be chocolates on the pillows.