OK, I'm sure that many of you a lot older than me think I'm being ridiculous in saying this. But last night I had an experience that made me feel as though I've crossed some kind of age barrier.
Qian and I are staying at a youth hostel here in Beijing. To the young-at-heart western backpacker in me, staying at a hostel is the natural way to travel. Last night though, my enthusiasm for hostels took a big hit.
The two of us were able to fall asleep at about midnight, but then woke up at about 3:30AM as the room heated up from our air-conditioner's timer turned off. We turned the air conditioner back on, but still couldn't get back to sleep. I'm sure some of our inability to sleep was due to the hot air, but the young backpacker types outside were still going strong and annoying the hell out of us.
After trying our best to endure their drunken banter, I eventually gave in and asked the front desk of the hostel to get involved. The poor front desk girl did as I asked and went to tell them to be quiet. But then a few minutes later, the noise level elevated again (as they always do on a night of drinking).
I then, in full grandpa mode, went outside and told the young folks that Qian and I had a big day planned for today and that they needed to shut the hell up.
Their response: "We were being loud?"
I went back to bed angry and annoyed with the whole situation.
This whole episode reminds me of a classic Seinfeld bit:
Jerry: I don't know. What do you do when a neighbor is making, like, a lot of noise at three o' clock in the morning? I mean, can you knock on someone's door and tell them to keep it down? You're really altering your whole self-image, I mean, what am I? Fred Mertz now? What's happening to me? Can I do this? Am I a shusher? I used to be a shushee!I'm afraid my days of being a youth hostel enthusiast are over. I'm just too old for this kind of crap.
But other than that, Beijing has been great so far!