Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where do I begin?

JoeDid I say we were spending two nights at the hostel? I'm not sure that Jennifer has quite done the place justice. Allow me to attach the directions to our room which I sent Jennifer via the e-mails:

OK, so by "a little obscure" they apparently mean "completely invisible from the road." Here's rough directions:
1. Pick up the #8 somewhere before Vaksalatorget (The last stop it shares with the #7 is Stadshuset).
2. Take that to the Kvarntorget stop.
3. Look around you. You should see a little shopping area with a blue kitchen appliances store called "Elon" or "Bo Wahlgrens" (or possibly both). Head towards that. You may also notice the oliv-o-mart flags waving in the breeze, but they are a little further than you need to go.
4. The building behind the kitchen mart has a pizza place, a hot dog stand, a massage parlour... in short, all the ear marks of civilization. At the far end of the front side is the hostel.
5. At 7 they lock the front door. You can let yourself in by typing "7613" into the keypad.
6. Go up the stairs.
7. There should now be two doors along the left hand wall. Take the 2nd, which is labeled "Hotel Rooms 200–214" or somesuch.
8. You will now feel like you have intruded on a construction zone. This is good, as it means you're probably in the right place. 9. We are (of course) the last room along this wall (#214).
10. If you haven't run into me by now, I must be in the room, so knock. I can't possibly be more than two feet away from the door.
Oh! I forgot to tell you, our personal numbers showed up in the mail as I was suiting up to leave Akademihotellet. I don't know quite what this means for our plans, but I guarantee you we will not want to spend two weeks in the hostel.

Having now spent the night in the hostel, I will add a few observations. The wing we stayed in appeared to actually be the "budget hotel," which was significantly more expensive than the hostel; however, by paying an extra 100 SEK/night we got our own WC and shower, and we brought sleeping bags (avoiding the charge for linens) so we got essentially a hotel room with no sheets for 600 SEK (now that's a bargain). Oh, the actual hotel rooms also had a luggage rack in their "closet," a space which in our room was just an empty bit of floor. On their website they note that they are a "green" hotel, which here means "miserly"—the shower only stayed on for 90 seconds, the bathroom light turned itself on and off automatically, and you had to use your room key to turn on the electricity to the room (so that you couldn't leave anything running when you left). This last turned out to be lucky, because when I said the bathroom light turned itself on and off, you shouldn't get the impression that it did so when you entered or exited the bathroom. No, it just randomly turned itself on and off, incessantly, until we pulled the key out of the light switch and cut the power.
This should have made the room pitch black, lacking as it did all external windows. It did have a large window looking out onto the lobby, which was indeed airport-esque, and seeing as we were on the second floor our window was right under the klieg lamps which shone brightly all through the night ("green hotel," my lilly-white caboose).
Oh, and the construction crew showed up at 8 a.m., to start loudly removing the plexiglass panes which lined the edge of the mezzanine we were on.
So, the question I am left with is, how much are they going to charge people to stay in the hotel once they've finished building it? If it's more than we paid, then I don't see what the "budget" part is, because it would basically cost as much as a real hotel, one with furniture and working TVs and telephones and crazy stuff like that. On the other hand, if it's not more then we paid, then why didn't we get a discount for staying in a hotel that wasn't built yet?
You may notice I am referring to the hostel in the past tense. I assume it is still there; we, fortunately, are not. There, I mean. We have moved to the Hotel Uppsala, where we will be staying for the next couple of nights before moving on to an extended stay apartment run by the same company (we had no idea this even existed, so kudos to Jennifer's department for finding it for us).
Oh, and we got our Personal Numbers. But that's another story, for another night.

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