Folks, it’s time to delve into the places I stayed while travelling. I’m not going to start at the very beginning, although it is a very good place to start, I need to collect a few more thoughts on those ones, so I’ve gone for one I can remember quite clearly because the Marion Hostel was as much as an experience as it was a place to stay. Perhaps even more so.
This was one of the rare times that I had prebooked but not paid, and the reason for that was simply that it was hard to find a place in Dushanbe that accepted pre-payment. I can only presume that it’s a teething issue of connecting things to networks which still hasn’t quite happened in Tajikstan. So I arrived at the place – not so easy to find, around the back of some shops (you would hardly know it was there) after needing to get the taxi driver to call the place to find it at all, as it wasn’t particularly known.
In fact, I had booked a room at the Hostel TajService, and been moved to Marion Hostel. Why, I’m not quite sure, but I think the Tajservice MAY have closed down. I went past where it was supposed to be and couldn’t see it on my walkings around Dushanbe. The address is 6a Rudaki Avenue – this is the main drag in Dushanbe, it’s right down the end near the train station, and there are a number of mini-marts, banks and phone shops right by on Rudaki. The entrance isn’t on Rudaki as I said – it’s on a side street but google won’t show me the name. There’s a nice-looking restaurant across the road from it, but it was closed in the evening when I wanted to try it.
The check-in experience could have been smoother, I guess. I have a few words in Russian, which generally is spoken by people in Tajikistan, and the lady at the counter may or may not have a few words of English, I will never know as she refused to try and converse, rather she would use her phone to tell me what she wanted – ie show me the money I was to hand over. Then I went up a few flights of steps with my bags to my room.
The price, incidentally, was $25US, and for hotels this was the cheapest of my trip. I stayed three nights but paid for four as I wasn’t sure of my plans and wanted to security of an extra night, so I don’t know what they made of me when I thanked them and left on the third morning. I left early because what I had planned as a day trip wasn’t going to work and I needed to stay at Iskander-Kul the fourth night rather than head all the way back to Dushanbe in one day.
The room was large. It was a strange assortment of tables, chairs, wardrobes and a bed, along with a TV and reverse cycle air conditioner/heater. None of the stuff really went together I guess. The bed was low and not very comfortable, and I didn’t really use the TV either. The rooms are above the shops on Rudaki Ave, and there’s a small balcony that wasn’t so clean.
The bathroom was a little pokey – considering how big the room was especially. A shower in the bathtub sort of deal. It wasn’t a great shower, the temperature changed hot to cold and hot again. I got to working out the rhythm, the water would sort of pulse before the hot turned to cold, and by the third shower I would know when to turn the shower head away. The mirror was small, all in all it was a bit cramped.
It’s not a hotel – it calls itself a ‘hostel’ although it’s not how we might think of a western hostel with dorm beds aplenty. Dushanbe is easy and cheap to get around with buses and trolleybuses too and a few go right past it on Rudaki Avenue, so the location is fairly practical.
They did a load of washing for me, although it wasn’t ready nearly when they said it would be and I was leaving the next morning so I had stuff hanging in the room overnight to pack last minute the next day.
It’s a genuinely odd place, I saw no other tourists – or I should say non-Tajik visitors staying at the place the time I was there. I didn’t spend a lot of time in the room. I showed some people the photos of it and they were impressed (without knowing the price) so I feel like maybe my photos lie a bit on this one. Not that it was particularly shabby, it was fine and it was cheap. And more to the point it was just what I needed, no more and no less. Well, it is always nice to have someone who speaks your language and can tell you about the city you’re in, what to see and how to get there. But it’s not reasonable to expect people everyone you go to have good English.
Value for Money: 3/5
Total: 13.5/25 (54/100)
Thanks for stopping by today – May the Journey Never End!