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Comments on Sunday 9 April 2006:
Since returning to the UK a mere three days ago, I have been windswept, chilled, nothinged, rained on, windswept, sunshined on, rained on again, sleeted on, sunshined on, rained on again, briefly snowed on, and then rained on again. That's what I came back for.

What I didn't come back for is to be turned down for a mortgage (any mortgage, even from skank companies that give mortgages to people who declared bankruptcy and still owe other people money) despite clearly being awesome for one (the people involved all thought I was awesome, the standardised checkboxes hate me), unexpectedly ejected from a hotel because they booked me in for shorter than they said they had and then had no free rooms, Pot Noodles having added cheese and milk solids to the ingredients of the flavours I used to like, and Space Raiders and Monster Munch having added lactose.

I should elaborate on this hotel stupidness. The cheapest hotel I could find, the Swallow, undercutting their own nominal nightly rate for me by nearly 50%, was 50 quid a night. That's $87 for Americans, or $120 Australian. This isn't in a highly desirable area or anything, it's no central New York or middle of London, it's a second-rate town in the midlands, mostly populated by people who read newspapers whose names begin with Daily. As I recall, the hotel in Las Vegas at the horrible Defcon I went to was cheaper than this, though I might be wrong. It certainly wasn't a lot more.

I had asked, before checking in, whether they provided internet access to the rooms. Yes, they told me. What they didn't tell me was that it would be 3 quid for an hour, or 6 quid for a day, or 40 quid for up to 66 hours over up to 30 days. Rule one of UK hotels - always deceive the customer. They also apparently knew before I checked in that the shower was fucked but didn't bother to tell me (it could only work at half-pressure, the other half still coming out of the tap), and didn't know that a couple of other features were broken too. So that's quite an expensive rate for a broken room, really. But still, it was the best available, so what was I going to do? If there'd been somewhere to lock my bags up I'd have seriously considered sleeping under a tree.

This morning they phoned to 'remind' me that I was due to check out at 11. I wasn't, I had booked for one more night, but they weren't having that, and were fully booked so said I must leave. So I tried other nearby hotels; one was okay and available for one night but fully booked for the next (I only need one night, but I need somewhere to leave my bags for half of the next day too), one I had asked for prices before and was insanely extortionate, so I wandered off to find another.

And thus we have where I am now, the Stuart. Significantly more expensive than the Swallow, its front matches its price. The room, on the other hand, is quite a bit smaller with an ostentatiously-single bed (I suspect it's smaller than normal-single). They have wireless here, they say, but it doesn't seem to extend to this room. They have wired too, and luckily I can do either way. But what's that, the extortionate price isn't gouge enough? Of course not, internet access here will be seven and a half quid extra for 24 hours. Fuck you, hotels. And you can obviously do this as much as you want because you're all fully booked *despite* charging extortionate rates and having shit rooms and shitter service. This makes me want to be a hotel manager. (Not so I can gouge people and provide shit service, but so I can gouge people a bit less and provide good service and thus ruin these bastard hotels.)

On a lighter note, while I was waiting three hours to be allowed to check in, I went to a pub, and had half a pint of Guinness and some chips (fries). By gum, draught Guinness is nice in small quantities, and British pub chips are how chips are supposed to be. While I was thinking that about Guinness, three people bought pints of Fosters ("Australian for beer"). [11:19]

Nameless
I am curious to know why you didn't just get your own place in Australia. Then again I don't usually dig into government imigrations stuff about how it works when you no longer want to share space with your sponsor.

RavenBlack
I probably could have got away with it, Australia is quite laid back, and liked me, and I was paying them taxes and stuff, but I didn't really want to - Australia was too hot for my liking, and I know more people in the UK anyway. But mostly the too hot thing.

Damari
New Zealand isn't that hot. You should have landed here instead. We also don't have a cazillion flies and humungous ants and snakes...

Muuuuuuuch better...
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