The rooms are dirty. The floor in our room was nasty--from spit-wads of previous guests (spitting is somewhat of a National Past-time in China). It was absolutely disgusting.
However, the room's inadequacies paled in comparison to those of the communal bathrooms. There was a decent lavatory on our floor and barely adequate men's and women's showers in the building where we stayed, but the toilets were a good hike across the complex and consisted of a long trough for up to three people to squat over. These toilets provided, in theory, no privacy whatsoever, but since my traveling companion and I were the only ones suckered into staying there that evening, we had them to ourselves. These "trough" toilets are pretty standard in China, but guest houses catering to foreigners nearly always provide a western style flush toilet (or at the very least a squatty with a private stall).
On a different note, considering that we were the only people staying here, we heard an awful lot of interesting noises in the night: soft moans and thumping and scratching noises--we're convinced the place is haunted. My roommate tried to frighten me by telling me that the three hooks situated inexplicably across the room's ceiling were used to hang the people who now haunt the building. It worked--I was terrified.
The one good thing I can say about this International Youth Hostel is that it was the only place I stayed at on this trip that provided a TV in the room. We managed to find one thing to watch in English late that evening--a film about Gulliver with Ted Danson. The TV did not even begin to make the stay here worth it, though.
by Lauren T
March 26, 2002
From journal Bringing in the Year of the Horse in Dali