Arrived at our hostel, Shuyuan Youth Hostel, in Xi’an. It is definitely a hostel, although when I said I felt like I was finally getting the hostel experience Jodee told me that I wouldn’t get the real experience unless I was in a dorm bed sharing a bathroom – I can pass on the real experience.
It has lots of character and lots of kids. Our room has old wood furniture in simple Chinese style, which is nice, and the bathroom is quite large by Chinese standards (western toilet, shower is not divided but is totally on the other side of the bathroom so ok). There is a twinge of a funny smell - I have identified the communal bathroom next door to our room as the source.
The kids at the desk are super nice and incredibly helpful, with relatively good English. The bar downstairs is a happening place with many Chinese kids that seem to be locals (they’re better dressed, hair done, etc.). It is so smoky, though, that even I had to leave after sucking down my vodka soda.
The reason I had to have a vodka soda in the first place is that while we were eating at the hostel restau (delicious thin-crust pepperoni pizza – I’m finally starting to weary of Chinese food, although I didn’t think it was possible) I saw something furry run by the table. It looked about 5 inches long and quite fat, and it was really lumbering more than running, and I didn’t notice a tail, but I also couldn’t observe it too closely because I immediately screetched and put my feet up and looked away. One Dutch guy at a table across the restau said it was probably one of the hostel’s pets (they have a fat old cat, a fat old golden retriever and a tiny white rabbit that keeps scaring me bc it’s the size of a medium rat), but I checked with the desk and they have no small brown pet. We specifically chose this hostel because it got 100% cleanliness ratings on hostelworld.com, but looking around at the clientele I’m starting to realize they might not have the same standards as I do.
To make matters worse, in our bathroom there is a thick clear plastic mat propped against the wall and a sign that says to use it to cover the shower drain when finished. I believe it is a roach shield.
This is going to be a long night.