April 27, 2009

Video Update: Expectations Management and the Worst Hotel in All of Guyana

Hey guys,

Greetings from Georgetown, Guyana – the launch point for the second part of my trip.

For the past couple of days I’ve been staying in what TripAdvisor calls the worst hotel in all of Guyana. Is it really that bad? Check out the video.

Also, a note from the director (that’s me): I recorded this video outside at 6:00 p.m., thinking that sunset would be half an hour later. It turns out that sunset in Guyana starts about 5:45. Who knew? Anyway, I had to rush to get this going. I did a second take afterwards, which was a bit more concise, but the sky was too dark. I know, I know – it’s a work in progress.

See you next from Suriname, a 10-12 hour journey from here via ferry and a combination of buses. Thank you for the great feedback last week; I have read all the comments and wish I could be more responsive.

I’ll hole up in the Dominican Republic at the end of this trip and get back up to speed. Have a great week!

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Comment on this article

38 Responses to “Video Update: Expectations Management and the Worst Hotel in All of Guyana”

  1. April 27, 2009

    B Klimes

    Fabulous video Chris. Great to see the wonderful sky behind you and to hear about your travels. Looking forward to more reading on your “Working for Yourself Guide’ since I have no job now.
    Good travels. BK

  2. Thanks, BK! See you – and everyone else – next from Suriname. (If not before, I’ll post up other comments when I get there.)

  3. Great update Chris! Shoot, from the sounds of it, I’ve stayed at worse hotels in Chicago. LOL

  4. That is some beautiful scenery in the background. Guyana is a beautiful country. We went down there and did a couple hundred student VBS with 5 people. It was cool.. Are you going to make it too Trinidad and Tobago while your down there? They are also beautiful places.

    But it truly is all a matter of framing and perspective. Coming from Haiti and visiting with the missionaries lets you keep a more humble perspective. Yet, those who are coming for a cheap hotel on vacation just see the dump.

    I love the blog (I recently came over from Seth Godin’s and am amazed)

  5. April 27, 2009

    D Schooley

    Nice video. This is the first post I’ve read on this website – it’s a bit inspiring to know that you can do this for a living and make it work.

    An idea: You could bring an LED light for additional lighting in dark situations. LEDs are low-power, and some are even battery-operated. It’s no professional-grade video lighting, but an LED light would be bright enough to make a difference at night.

    David

  6. It’s weird – I was working in Calgary last week and paid $120 for a hotel right by the airport and was miserable. Couldn’t sleep on the bed. I ended up rebooking at another hotel for the rest of my trip for $119 and found it to be palatial.

    If I had paid $45 for the first hotel I don’t think I would have been upset. I perceived that what I got was not worth $120 but would have been worth some other number. Weird.

    It’s possible I am overly self-absorbed…

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more, Chris.

    I was drafted into the military (like almost all male citizens in Singapore who reach 18/19 years of age) for 2.5 years and experienced sleeping on groundsheets/ponchos on the ground in jungle/semi-jungle burning mosquito coils during field exercises. So when you have experienced more basic accomodation that meets your needs, anything else can be better. :-)

    Since my military experience, I’ve NEVER once complained about my mother’s cooking. Not once! :-)

    Be well and prosper!

  8. Chris… great stuff. Reminds me of my night in a roach infested $10 room in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala! Hopefully yours was without the roaches. BTW, I second the small battery operated LED light mentioned above… it really can help in marginal situations… and they are cheap now.

    Stay well… Drew

  9. April 27, 2009

    Christopher Potez

    It’s amazing (well, not amazing, but certainly humbling) to be reminded, by internet, via a video blog, that there remain parts of the world not covered by broadband, wireless internet, that struggle with such basic infrastructures as running water, electricity, where if it weren’t for the generosity of individuals rather than welfare governments, these parts of the world would be nigh-on uninhabitable by modern standards. The ‘world’ economy may be suffering, but those affected have it so much better than most.

  10. Chris,

    Thanks for the video update. I am only an armchair traveler, so I love getting the updates on the exotic (to me!) lands you visit.

    ~Noelle

  11. There is a huge difference between needs and wants. Would I like a hotel room with marble counters, a soaking tub, big fluffy towels, extravagant bath gel – yep. When push comes to shove – do I need it – nope. Sounds like your hotel isn’t that bad. (Hey, I can sympathize with the guy in Calgary…I think I stayed at that hotel…yeech). Guyana is a beautiful country. My best friend’s boyfriend is from Guyana. It used to have the best education system in the Caribbean – he can attest to that. Enjoy your trip to Suriname…if I’m not mistaken land of pepper…Arawak is a highly prized type. Your dinners with the nun and the doctor sound enlightening. Humbling isn’t it when you find people doing something just because they can.

  12. Love the video stuff Chris! Hey, I lived in a 35-year-old Chevy van in Denver for a year in 2006 (with a dog and cat) No toilet. No running water. HOT. COLD -so cold one night the tires froze to the pavement (-10 degrees) and I couldn’t drive away from the parking spot. It’s ALL about expectation and gratitude. Our thoughts determine our feelings about things.

    If you have electric and running water – and you’re not in the street….that’s a lot. Looks like a beautiful country and you’ve met (obviously) some beautiful people – the nun…the doctor. wow. THAT’S what matters.

  13. You are 100% right about expectation management. So often we make our lives hell just because we think something should be a certain way. It is what it is. Making yourself unhappy can’t make it better for you.

    Thanks for this reminder and for the reminder to be grateful.

    :_)

  14. Chris,

    Thanks again for another update – just wanted to post a quick note to write that this post made me aware that we should always be grateful and remain grounded, no matter what is happening around us. You are a great messenger for this profound reminder!

    Kacy

  15. Did I miss something? The name of the Hotel? Great video and comments

  16. Chris, I just recently got to know of you and started reading all your email newsletters. We connected via Twitter (@EtsukoT) about Murakami. Anyway, your trip reminded me of the time I went to Suriname when I was working for United Nations. It was fun experience. Though I’ve known you only like 2 weeks, I think I am one of those people who really get what you are about. Keep going and keep inspiring us!

  17. April 27, 2009

    SANJAY KUMAR SINGH

    It’s amazing but being an Indian i can say that there are places where one can not think of broadband, wireless internet,Though the basic infrastructures as running water, electricity, has improved in recent times.

    But once again three cheers for Chris for the nice Video.

  18. April 27, 2009

    Dillon Ross

    Hey Chris,
    Glad that you’re having a pleasant time in Guyana (land of many waters). ’tis nice to see my home country’s skyline again. Good memories. This is one of those rare situations where having low expectations was a plus.

  19. Chris, I heard in your video update that you met a doctor from Ohio, which is where I’m from originally, could you let me know what city the doctor is from in Ohio?

  20. I bet your parents are proud : ))
    Safe travels.

  21. The worst hotel is still a hotel; and I bet you can get worse than what you described in the heart of any modern/western city. I have traveled outside Europe only once, but I’m hooked now I’ve experienced how easy it is.

    @Noelle, why an armchair traveler if I may ask?

  22. You talk as if 63 is old LOL

  23. April 28, 2009

    Chris's Dad

    Tina,

    You wouldn’t believe how proud Chris’s parents are. What you guys see on this blog is about 10% of what Chris brings to the world. And his wife is just as amazing as he is.

  24. Cool, first video update I’ve seen here so far, sounds like a fun time. Isn’t it funny how our expectations dictate our satisfaction with something so much?

    - Speaking of expectations, was it just me, or was the sound a bit off on the video? I expect perfection, so there!
    Ok, or not, was that the video or just my computer?

  25. I thought the lighting was perfect! I was able to see the shadows of the clouds floating in the background. Excellent!

  26. April 28, 2009

    Laura Beth Barnes

    here here! great POV.

  27. I agree with your ideas about expecation management. It’s especially interesting when your point of reference is another developing country. While volunteering in Guyana for a year, I did the bus/ferry trip to Paramaribo, Suriname for New Years. I felt like my accomodations were so luxurious. My hotel had hot water! And a TV (with cable) in the room! I don’t think I would have enjoyed the amenitities in the same way if I came straight from the US. I look foward to more of your updates. You’re visiting beautiful and unique countries.

  28. April 28, 2009

    Andre Beuchat

    Hi Chris,

    I really enjoyed your video but what captured my attention was what you mentioned about the Dr funding a clinic in Haiti. I am so impressed by people who are brave enough to do that sort of thing! Some time back i read Three Cups of Tea and had that same feeling that there is a lot to be done and life in the US has blinded most of us to what poverty really means and the endless possibilities we have for reaching out. I hope you include more comments on how people you meet on your travels actually make a difference. Maybe it will inspire and drive action in our community.

  29. My husband has been doing a lot of business travel recently. When any of his coworkers asks him what he thought of the hotel, he’ll answer something like, “Well, it had a clean bed, and a bathroom where I could get a hot shower.” This can annoy some of his coworkers, but it really is all he expects from a hotel. Internet access is also nice, but not necessary. His boss, on the other hand, won’t stay at any place that doesn’t at least serve free breakfast…. ::eyeroll::

  30. Thanks for the video, Chris. I enjoyed the take on managing expectations.

    Whenever my misses leaves me a list of thing’s to do, I only do few. It’s all about managing expectations! ;)

    Safe travels.

  31. Thanks for the inspiration and stories as we follow your adventures, Chris! I’m moving the same direction, and have a story to tell myself. I’m working on figuring out the best way to begin, and organize. Thanks again for the inspiration and the ideas – I’ll be posting on a schedule at greggdavis.com soon! And, I just got on Twitter!

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  33. I feel like I’ve stepped away from my world for a brief moment. Thank you!

  34. Why would a retired 78-year-old be so mesmerized by everything that this site is? I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago, so I can’t say it’s ‘grown’ on me. Perhaps it validates my own non-conformity. It certainly seems to stimulate it.

  35. Please post some photos from your adventures in Guyana!

  36. Thanks. That wasn’t such a bad hotel. Beautiful scenery. Good luck

  37. Hey Chris, you are absolutely right about expectations- i also dont trust sites like tripadvisor completely, you can not stop people from writing in anything. i see this regularly on electronics reviews. people will bash up products from lesser known companies or products- just because they lack the ability to navigate around the features, you can not expect every product to be an iphone (i digress :).
    BTW- did you see/meet a lot of people of indian origin in Guyana and Surinam? these people have been there since long when they came to work in the sugarcane fields 150-200 years ago.

  38. Great video Chris! I was not expecting to hear you say the hotel wasn’t that bad! Good point about expectation management. It can make or break a situation. Keep up the good work!

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