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Flying Pig Hostels Amsterdam
How to survive as a whapper??
How do the 'willing helpers at the Pig' survive??
Whapper Aly shares her 11 life rules with you.
At The Flying Pig everyone starts off as a WHAPPER. To be more specific, a Willing Helper At the Pig. Basically, you work 27 hours a week either cleaning rooms or serving breakfast. In return for your acquired skills, you are covered for your bed, breakfast and some drink tickets. You live with three other willing helpers in the infamous ‘whapper room.’ Work is light and stress free, and even though you become a complete scavenger, living is very Zen-like. Surviving with no money in Amsterdam is a bit difficult, but very possible at The Pig.
Working in Amsterdam as a traveller
My traveling budget had been dragged down with the Canadian dollar, burning in the crash. By the time I arrived at Schipol Airport, I only had €15 in my pocket, and some crumbs of pasta and rice left over from my trip. I only cared that I had made it to Amsterdam, and finished the first leg of my adventure to settle a bit at one of the most legendary hostels in Europe.
At The Pig I lasted ten days with only the change in my pocket. I recorded some tips on how to survive moneyless as a Whapper and still have the time of your life.
How to survive with no money at The Pig:
1. Spend a third of your time around the reception side of the bar. They’ll look to you for making a bed, unclogging a toilet, or cleaning up puke. The bigger the damage, the more drink tickets you receive. The second clean up of the night is always easier.
2. Another third should be in the kitchen. Helping anyone make food will usually end up with you eating with them, or at least getting the leftovers. The Pig supplies free bread to hungry travelers. If you save some peanut butter and jam from breakfast, you can have a PB&J every day.
3. Ask to do a breakfast shift on a Friday. At the end of the week the fridges are cleared of everything unlabelled so they aren’t crowded with month-old-half-eaten food. You can make a very interesting omelet with the edible bits.
4. The remaining third should be divided between miscellaneous places around the hostel, but mainly spent in the smoking room. If you just sit down on a comfy chair, a joint or cigarette will be passed to you within five minutes. Keep an ear for frustrated casual smokers trying to roll. You’ll not only be able to smoke the joint with them, but most likely light it.
5. Use your drink tickets wisely. If you did find a two euro coin on the ground, spend it during happy hour. Use your tickets when drinks are at full staff price, and only after you’ve had enough free tea, coffee, juice and pop.
6. Attend the lost and found parties. Every three months reception empties the overflowing closet of unclaimed sweaters, pants, t-shirts, jackets, boots, watches, cell phones, cameras and iPods. Feel no guilt when stuffing a garbage bag full of a whole new wardrobe. If the guest hasn’t tracked it down in three months, they’re not going to now.
7. Request to be Dust and Bin Pig. Most guests leave in a daze and don’t check under their bed, in the shower or the back of their luggage box. It’s not hard to survive off the digestible things left behind. The amount of weed, ‘shrooms, space cakes and alcohol you find will last any party pig until next shift. Also, food isn’t allowed in rooms so you should “throw it out” in the staff bin in the kitchen.
8. Every Thursday The Pig gives money to a willing staff cook, and all the piggies sit down for a nice homemade dinner. This night is crucial for getting your weekly dose of vitamins and protein. Sign yourself up to cook a favourite meal. It will help keep your sanity.
9. Hang around really drunk guests at the bar. They will order rounds of Jager bombs and always include the ‘girl who cleaned up my puke this morning.”
10. Go to the Club Winston's on Monday nights for free entrance because of your pig status. It has cheap drinks and sweet drum and base live performances.
11. Take anything anyone will give you. Even if you don’t like it, you can trade it later for something you do like.
Living at The Pig is like a never-ending joint and bottomless half pint. Guests become friends and coworkers become family. The most stressful part of your day is not getting the last croissant from breakfast. At The Flying Pig, survival skills to scavenge will come naturally. Moneyless fun will follow mindlessly, as if in a dream of no responsibility. Keep your eyes to the ground for loot, ears open for freebies and remember; you can always trade in your drink tickets and survive off of toasties.