Behind WHISTLING WOMEN: Staying at the Banana Bungalow
By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea.
I made many research trips to San Diego while writing WHISTLING WOMEN. As a single mom, I did not have the money to make the trips, so a friend suggested that I say in a youth hostel. Given the fact it had the word "youth" in it, I didn't think that was an option. I went online, found the Banana Bungalow, and called. They said as long as I was "young at heart," I could stay there.
The Banana Bungalow has changed its name and is now called The Beach Bungalow. It is a beachfront hostel located on Pacific Beach and within walking distance to Belmont Park amusement center. They have dorm rooms and individual rooms. On my first visit, I stayed in a dorm room, and on other visits, I stayed in one of the individual rooms. The single rooms offer privacy, but I met more people, and it was more memorable when I stayed in the dorm room.
The top bunk with the "Free Naked Surf Lessons" sign was mine when I stayed in the dorm room. The surf instructor slept in the bottom bunk.
I met wonderful people from all around the world. These girls talked me into joining them at a party on their last night at the hostel, and it was a blast.
The two men on the right are firefighters from New York. They kept talking about how easy it would be to fight fires in San Diego since most buildings are only one or two stories tall.
A young man from Israel cooked us one of his family's traditional breakfasts.
On one trip, I went on an ocean kayaking adventure with the hostel. Two "lifeguards" from Australia were with us, and they bragged about their superior swimming and kayaking skills. They had trouble getting beyond the waves, and one of them got seasick. The other young man jumped out of his kayak for a swim and could not get back in. It was hilarious.
I got a lot of research and writing done while staying at the Banana Bungalow. I spent most of my time on the beach or taking the bus to Balboa Park, where WHISTLING WOMEN is set.
If you are young at heart and have a budget to match, give a youth hostel a try.