HI Ottawa Presentation

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Anthropological observations of a hostel.

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HI Ottawa Presentation

  1. 1. AMANDA STANLEY 4472216 ANT 3140 A HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
  2. 2. “ The Carleton County Gaol” 75 Nicholas St., Ottawa, Ontario
  3. 3. Home Away From Home?
  4. 4. What I Do <ul><li>Since March 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Receptionist: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check people in and out of the hostel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help people find things around the city </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Go to new museum exhibits and gallery shows </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Night watch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Security check!! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Late night visitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scared hostellers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laundry in solitary confinement! </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Getting Started <ul><li>Main Idea </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I am observing cultural interactions and responses that take place within an international hostel. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observing social and cultural activity within the hostel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talking and interacting with hostellers and staff </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Hostelling <ul><li>What is hostelling? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Also known as “backpacking” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low cost, independent, international travel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public transportation, making your own meals, mixing with the locals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How did hostelling start? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Hippie Trail (60s & 70s) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From Europe to Eastern Asia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanted cheap travel to extend trip as long as possible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanted to “find themselves” or “find God” usually. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Old Timey Picture
  8. 8. History <ul><li>Opened in 1862 (originally located next door under courthouse in 1842) </li></ul><ul><li>Closed in 1972 for inhumane conditions and reopened as a hostel in 1973 </li></ul><ul><li>Patrick James Whelan: hanged in the jail for the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee </li></ul><ul><li>Only 2 other official hangings- though many unofficial hangings at the hands of the guards are suspected </li></ul><ul><li>Many other inmates died to the inhumane conditions of the jail. </li></ul>
  9. 9. James Patrick Whelan
  10. 10. History <ul><li>More evidence of this was discovered during the building of the McKenzie King bridge when many bodies were uncovered in unmarked graves </li></ul><ul><li>Many bodies are still suspected of being buried under the parking lot. </li></ul><ul><li>Men, women, and children all incarcerated </li></ul><ul><li>Every kind of “crime”- murders, thieves, drunks, and the mentally ill were all incarcerated here </li></ul>
  11. 11. Thomas D’arcy McGee
  12. 12. Our Famous Ghosts <ul><li>Whelan is our most famous ghost </li></ul><ul><li>He is blamed for phenomena observed by both guests and hostel staff </li></ul><ul><li>Voices, slamming doors, apparitions, moving furniture, and even the occasional physical contact (hand on shoulder, holding hand, - slap!) </li></ul><ul><li>Many hostellers travelling internationally are unaware of the jail’s past and they all interact differently </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on their culture or origin and their religious views on death and the afterlife. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Gallows
  14. 14. Why I Chose to Study the Hostel <ul><li>The hostel brings together people from many countries, races, religions, walks of life, etc to live and cooperate under the same roof. </li></ul><ul><li>They must share bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Each sphere of the hostel environment brings a different kind of cultural interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>If there isn’t mutual respect for your neighbour’s culture, you’re stay could be an uncomfortable one. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Currency <ul><li>“ Why won’t you take MY money?” </li></ul><ul><li>One of the first things I notice as a receptionist is that many international travellers expect us to take “their” money. </li></ul><ul><li>They will often bring American money and expect us to take it in a Canadian institution. </li></ul><ul><li>Many international travellers confuse American and Canadian culture and life.. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Football <ul><li>A Unifying Force </li></ul><ul><li>I haven’t met a single person at the hostel who doesn’t know how to play football. </li></ul><ul><li>No matter what the differences between people are, everyone knows the basic rules and will play with one another. </li></ul><ul><li>Rolling out a soccer ball seems to calm most tensions between guests. </li></ul>
  17. 17. You Can’t Resist It’s Power
  18. 18. The Warden <ul><li>Attitudes Towards Female Authority </li></ul><ul><li>A surprising amount of hostellers seem to disregard female authority. </li></ul><ul><li>Many ask to speak to a “male” colleague or supervisor. </li></ul><ul><li>If I approach them in the hostel to tell them a rule (even one as basic as “no smoking”) they occasionally laugh and brush me off. </li></ul><ul><li>My response: “If you don’t like my rules or my gender, you can leave- now.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. American Drinking Culture <ul><li>Frats in the Hostel </li></ul><ul><li>American drinking age = 21 </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian drinking age = 18/19 </li></ul><ul><li>This math doesn’t bode well for Canadian hospitality employees. </li></ul><ul><li>Blatant disregard to any rules </li></ul><ul><li>Binge drinking (call a paramedic!) </li></ul><ul><li>Huge mess (trash, barf, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Disrespect of staff and other hostellers. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t realize that backpacking culture has a long tradition of respect and trust. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Mmm! What’s That Smell? <ul><li>The Communal Kitchen </li></ul><ul><li>1 giant walk in fridge </li></ul><ul><li>2 stoves </li></ul><ul><li>1 oven </li></ul><ul><li>Local fresh meat and produce nearby </li></ul><ul><li>The kitchen is often a busy place full of cultural interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Every kind of food imaginable being cooked side by side </li></ul><ul><li>Many hostellers meet in the kitchen and share their recipes and cultural tradition surrounding food preparation and dining etiquette? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Pass the fork ?” </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Kitchen
  22. 22. Hostel “Family” <ul><li>Holidays Away From Home </li></ul><ul><li>I was unable to go home for Thanksgiving- I was working in the hostel. </li></ul><ul><li>A group of other hostellers with Moose Travel decided we should cook a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner together </li></ul><ul><li>Every person was responsible for an element of our dinner. </li></ul><ul><li>I cooked the Turkey all day at work </li></ul><ul><li>Gravy, veggies, wine, dessert, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, cranberry sauce, etc </li></ul><ul><li>We all sat and ate together and despite our vast cultural differences, talked, enjoyed each other’s company, and talked about our homes and families that we were far away from. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Hostel Family
  24. 24. Impromptu Pictionary <ul><li>Language Barriers </li></ul><ul><li>It is ideal for hostel employees to speak both English and French. </li></ul><ul><li>It is exceptional for one of us to speak more than 2 languages. </li></ul><ul><li>It is rare that one of us will never have to resort to charades to explain a concept to a hosteller. </li></ul><ul><li>Popular charades are “fingers walking”, “eating with a fork”, “walking up/down stairs” </li></ul><ul><li>It is impossible to mime “beaver tail” </li></ul>
  25. 25. Beaver Tails!
  26. 26. Children and Families in the Youth Hostel <ul><li>We have rooms which accommodate families travelling. </li></ul><ul><li>With the increase in quality of hostels, it is becoming a low-budget alternative for family accommodation. </li></ul><ul><li>Hostelling has been an independent tradition for so long, it is still strange to see a family sitting down in the dining room for a meal. </li></ul><ul><li>A 6’5 Russian biker opening a juice box for a 4’5 German child is the strangest thing you will ever see. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Hotel or Hostel? <ul><li>Changing Hostel Ideals </li></ul><ul><li>Hostelling has changed a great deal. </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve stayed in private rooms in hostels that are just as nice as hotel rooms, but cheaper! </li></ul><ul><li>Hostels often provide: linens, towels, continental breakfast, TV, internet, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Many young hostellers come to expect these luxuries and take them for granted when they are really an added bonus. </li></ul><ul><li>Older hostellers are very grateful and shocked when we provide towels, internet, and other extras. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Dorms
  29. 29. The End <ul><li>Working at the hostel has let me interact with cultures in a way I never would have a chance to otherwise. Every scenario involves more than one culture interacting casually. Working, playing, eating, - just lounging around watching TV- allows for a degree of cultural experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Plus, I’ve gained a lot of good ghost stories.... </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some more pictures!! </li></ul>
  30. 30. 8 th Floor Layout
  31. 31. The Jail Today
  32. 32. Incarcerated Women
  33. 33. Drum Cell
  34. 34. The Real End

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