A Guide To South-East Asia: Part Five – What To Wear?

This guide was written after my time spent in Thailand & Cambodia but is generally useful for most of South-East Asia. This one is more for the ladies as men don’t have much to worry about but I have included some notes for men.

What to wear?

One of my friends who frequents Thailand annually had advised me not to pack anything at all and to purchase all of my clothing and luggage when I arrived. Being a tall and curvy North American chick I panicked at the thought of not being able to find any clothing that fit. I was also on a strict budget and clothing was not something I planned to spend on. In hindsight I wish I had followed that advice. I ended up having to ditch a lot of my stuff in favor of thinner and in some cases more respectable clothing.

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What is it like to work in a hostel?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was absolute insanity. This year I got to spend an ample amount of time in New Orleans. I was absolutely psyched to finally be spending some time in one of my bucket list cities. I hadn’t specifically planned to be in NOLA for Carnivale Season and was ecstatic about my good timing.

Things started out rocky. I made a verbal agreement over the phone to work 20-25 hours a week in exchange for room/board and breakfast at Madame Isabelle’s Hostel.

Madame Isabelle’s

Though I now think the owner is a great guy and have a lot of love for this hostel I almost left as soon as I arrived. To say the  owner did not have the best conversational skills would have been understatement. He improved a lot during my stay but when I first started  he kept panicking because he thought I wasn’t going to show up or stay. When I arrived he left to go shopping instead of showing me to my sleeping quarters and the co-worker on duty hadn’t been informed where I should go. My co-worker was also super baked and kept telling me there were cockroaches everywhere. There weren’t, well at least not at the hostel. But where some of the guys had to live there was a small infestation. I was one of the lucky/unlucky ones who lived on site. Within minutes I was laughing in the kitchen because the same guy had just overloaded dish detergent in the dishwasher. And there I met another co-worker who was shaking her head but appeared amused. The manager didn’t think it was that funny when he arrived. I should have taken that as an indicator that we weren’t going to get along. That same manager ending up robbing the cash drawer, stealing the business credit card, renting a porsche, and bouncing. I think it was all the cocaine. But that’s another story.

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Why You Shouldn’t Move To Somerville

Somerville Massachusetts, a city with a celebration dedicated to Marshmallow Fluff. Population 81,322. Hipster Population? Too goddamn many. Every block in Somerville has its own name so you better start getting acquainted with all of them. Somerville is a city with major quirks. Guerilla Art is nestled into even the tiniest cracks, there’s a mural on every corner, and yetti’s can be found roaming the streets.  Davis Square being the second to last stop on the redline tends to have the most action but there’s a lot more to Somerville than a T stop. By the way, it’s the T. Not the subway, the T.

Since you will probably start your exploration of the city in Davis check out the event schedule for the Somerville Theatre. The only rewarding part of being in Somerville during the winter is that it’s time for the anual production of the Slutcracker, a Burlesque show that is not to be missed. Nearby there are dozens of restaurants to choose from. If you’re craving a burger Boston Burger Company has some of the craziest creations in the city. Some are more tame such as the “Vermonster” but the  “Kitchen Sink” is not an endeavor to be taken lightly. Diesel Cafe is the meeting place for every okcupid date ever. Their food is good. Their coffee is amazing.

Right smack in between Spring Hill and Winter Hill, Highland Ave is another popular street. Once Ballroom is a Godsend. Hosting events such as Metal Yoga and Heavy Metal Tuesday. It’s pretty metal in there. Catch Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys if you can. Highland Kitchen is relaxed hangout for pre-game drinks or for karaoke on Wednesdays.

As you get closer to Union Square things start to get strange. You might see some clowns over by  Esh Circus Arts. Drop by and sign up for a class in aerials, hooping, or juggling. If you want to ruin all the calories you just burned Aeronaut Brewery is a short walk away. Just follow the handlebar mustaches, the aforementioned hipsters will be heading there.

Make sure they don’t follow you to Union Square, where barhopping just means taking a step in any direction. Put something in your stomach at The Independent so your drinks don’t end up on the street. There you’ll find amazing food and a great selection of beer and cocktails. Even weeknights can get pretty packed. It’s pricey neighbor Backbar is for the more bourgy. Good luck finding the door. Sally O’Briens is the loudest since most of the other bars with entertainment have had to shut down due to the rising costs. It’s still hanging on strong with comedy, music, and game nights.

Magoon Square, Ball  Square there’s a lot of ground to cover here. East Somerville and Winterhill have retained managed to retain some of the roots of the town but residents there are too busy mourning the loss of Good Times and dealing with the rats from the expansion of Assembly Square ehem Assembly Row. If you’re a tourist you should go there.

So now that you’ve heard about all the fun things to do here’s the bad news.  Two decades ago the city was referred to as Slummerville. Many longtime residents that have contributed to the growth of the community have been harmed by their own contributions, abandoning the city in search of lower rent costs. There are no affordable houses for the children of the middle and working class families that grew up there. In fact there really aren’t that many houses anymore period. They’re being remodeled or knocked down by the dozen to be turned into condos. So maybe instead of moving to Somerville you could just.. not.

Five Surprising Items That Can Get You Into Trouble Abroad

I was researching the availability of vape juice in Thailand when I came across a number of articles stating that not only would I not be able to find any there but that it was illegal to bring mine with me.

1.  Electronic Cigarettes and Vapes

Where: Thailand, India, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Turkey, Thailand, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Brunei, Belgium, Austria, Argentina, Brasil, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, Panama

(https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/4289492/we-reveal-the-countries-where-vaping-is-banned-and-could-even-get-you-chucked-in-prison/)

 

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17 Things Not To Do In A Hostel Dorm

Whether you’re getting ready for your first time in a dorm room or you’re an experienced backpacker here are some things that you should consider for your next hostel stay.

 

  1. Don’t hit the snooze button!

We get it, everyone has to be up early at some point but a sure way to piss off everyone in the dorm is to be that guy. Don’t be that guy.

  1. Pack the night before at a reasonable time.

If you know you’re leaving in the morning why not make it convenient for yourself? Everyone will be thankful. As long as you don’t pack in the middle of the night. Then no one will be thankful.

  1. Use reusable bags over plastic.

It’s better for the environment. And for everyone’s ears.

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General and Solo Travel Advice for people on a frugal budget.