N and I had been rather at odds when it comes to accommodation. Somehow N made a habit of always booking a hotel. Perhaps this is also partly because of his job in tourism and the fact that he gets good discounts from hotel chains often. He’s also the kind who prefers comfortable bed sheets and don’t-you-dare-forget-it full breakfast served in the mornings. While I do appreciate the comforts of staying in at the conventional hotel, I’m also fairly curious when it comes to couch surfing or the average backpackers’ hostels. And mind you, George Town houses many boutique hostels that are furnished out of the colonial pre-war buildings. Riding the trishaw around town made me yearn to see what it’s like inside those aged-old shophouses and wonder what life was like way back when. So to satisfy this curiosity, I booked a room at House of Journey on Sek Chuan Street during our vacation and boy, did it really change my perspective of travel lodging.
Pardon me if I wax poetic for a moment but my heart swelled when I found out how cheap it was for a clean, decent place to stay in. Even N, who was initially miffed about not staying in at a hotel, eventually appreciated the frugality aspect of hostel-living. The architecture bore palpable Chinese-Peranakan influences with such narrow interior. The best part was how the main hallway would lead us to an open courtyard within the building itself. This was the place where families would dry their clothes without showing their peg lines to neighbors. Brilliant idea, don’t you think? The bathroom overlooked the beautiful Kapitan Keling Mosque and dare I say it? The rain shower was divine. It mattered to us less that we had to share the bathroom with other guests. The place had the best shower you could ever ask for, especially after a long day of touring the isle underneath the scorching sun. And if ever anybody asks the highlight of this hostel, I’d confidently say, “Rain shower, people.” Now who says budget traveling can’t be enjoyable?