It was only the other day I walked into our reception area to hear a distant melody, not coming from the usual stereo but from the acoustic sounds of a guitar. Santiago was humming the words to Hotel California. As you can only imagine you only need to hear a few bars of this song to know it’s hard to get it out of your head! For the next 3 days and nights I found myself singing Hotel California inside my head…. and out!!! I don’t sing……. Well… not in a way that makes people want to stop and listen anyway! And from there, it started a trend with staff and guests and it soon became apparent that we had to turn this into something special to share with the world.
Before long, staff, Santiago and Dan started strumming their own guitars and putting together the melody of ‘Hotel California’ with new lyrics to tell the beautiful story of ‘Hostel Cool Bananas’. (see very bottom for the lyrics)
Each day we’d walk into the courtyard to find the musical duo casually sitting on the steps strumming, humming and discussing various combinations of lyrics that would eventually become the hostel anthem. When people were busy buzzing around the hostel readying for their next tour or surf lesson, they took the time to stop by these two strumming guitar gurus to sing along and chat about common music interests and share their love of music. As time went by, over a number of weeks, we participated in many a jam session. We drank icy cold beer, discussed and played with the lyrics and eventually we had a combination of lyrics and melody that would produce the first of a series of staff & guest created music. Now, instead of the words to Hotel California, roaming around in my head, I had the words to Hostel Cool Bananas instead! Oh… it was going to be fun!!
Production night was finally upon us. Cool Bananas staff grabbed their lighters (for affect of course), practiced their lyrics and got ready to perform the song they’d been practicing not only in the courtyard but in the shower for weeks. Our singing, guitar strumming comedy duo, Santiago and Dan had a great idea to finish the song….. at the end we would each and individually say ‘Welcome to Hostel Cool Bananas’ in different languages/accents; Dutch, Swiss, German, Irish, Spanish and English to name a few. This combination of cultures is at the core, the very essence of any hostel around the world and at the very heart of Cool Bananas in 1770 Australia.
With lighters in the air, singing voices tuned up and immense excitement we recorded the most fun, heartfelt, personal production for our Cool Bananas family that I could have imagined. Only viewing the video on Facebook will you get a small glimpse of the sense of love between the staff members and the pride that we all took in creating and being a part of this special event. Luckily there were enough singing voices to drown out the ‘not so talented’ lol. Are you expecting a 5-star edited music video with all the editing trimmings of a famous movie director, lets say…. Beyonce or Spike Lee? What you will find, in the first performance anyway, is a raw video, minus any editing, just a couple of minutes of good vibing (is that a word?) energy.
Needless to say, we walked away from this feeling like this bunch of bananas would be in our hearts forever…. And we were right. It is amazing how music can touch your heart and soul and create bonds that span the globe years after the event.
So inspired by our story was another young potential singer/song writer, Lachan, also a member of the Cool Bananas staff family, that she had to ‘re-invent’ the lyrics and the production, to put together a ‘daytime’ show for the next instalment. She interviewed a number of staff and guests to get the right combination of feeling that matched the story of Cool Bananas Hostel and staged yet another amazing combination of experiences, voices, love and harmony……. Now I’m getting carried away…. Just telling this story makes me teary… For travellers to be with us momentarily in our lives, work for us for only a number of weeks, sometimes months, to be able to capture the essence of a place and the people within shows that something special is definitely happening within these walls.
So by now…. You’re thinking, wow…. How many versions of Hotel California can there be? I’m hoping that we can never answer that question and that this magical, musical tradition continues throughout the Cool Bananas story because as every guest and staff member that enters the hostel doors, we learn so much about the world. In the voices of our guests and staff we hear stories of families, pets, careers had or dreamed of, love stories (that’s another blog altogether!!!), adventures, mishaps, ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences and finally how those people will forever touch our hearts.
The song ‘Hostel Cool Bananas’ doesn’t just demonstrate what amazing talent we see come through the doors but what affect travel has on one’s soul. To embark on a solo or group travel adventure across the world, cross borders, get out of your comfort zone, try new food, make new friends, learn new skills, take on international jobs and become part of a family is just about the most significant endeavour any one person can do – apart from finding the partner of your dreams and creating your own family.
To this end, I have to say, I cannot wait for the next instalment of ‘Hostel Cool Bananas’ because I am excited about the new family members we will welcome in, the stories we will hear and what they may have to teach us. We are forever learning and growing and feeling fulfilled by our travellers’ that we often feel like we have been on a holiday ourselves. Wow! I feel blessed to be able to say that. What other job can you say that you feel like you have been on holidays, when you haven’t actually left your own backyard.
Thank you, Santiago and Dan, for starting this tradition, thank you Lachan for continuing and embracing the next version and thank you to all the staff and guests who were a part of both productions. Will you be in the 3rd production? How will it sound? What essence of Cool Bananas will be picked out and told? What would you do differently? I can’t wait to find out!!!!
Welcome to Hostel Cool Bananas …. What a lovely place…..
(to see the ‘not so professional but totally lovely’ video head to:
Verse 1: On a dark desert Agnes, warm wind in my hair, loud shuttle bus music, rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light, it was Cool Bananas, where I spent my first night.
Verse 2: There was Linda in the doorway, I saw Cary as well, and I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven or this could be hell. Then they gave me a banana, and showed me the way, there voices in the corridor, I thought I heard them say…
Chorus: Welcome to Hostel Cool Bananas, such a lovely place, (such a lovely place), such a lovely face. There is plenty of room at the hostel Cool Bananas, any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here.
Verse 3: I sat next the fire, drinking my goon, you can hear the guitar, sounding till noon. And still those voices are singing from far away, they were playing Wonder Wall and … Have you ever Seen the Rain..