I want to preface this post by saying that hosteling around Europe, particularly eastern Europe, has been a life-changing experience. I’ve met incredible people – a guy who kayaked his way through Germany, an old, cheerful and, not surprisingly, lean Japanese man making his way around the world on a bicycle and lots of young, strong women exploring the continent on their own. We were privileged to stay in a hostel in Sarajevo run by a 22-year-old incredi-dude who set up rooms in the top storey of his parents’ house after it was bombed. Without hosteling, I would never have tried a traditional Hungarian stew made almost entirely of potatoes and actual buckets of sour cream (umm, hello boys!) cooked by the most fun, gracious and kind host we’ve had. Without a doubt, we have met some 0f the best people on planet earth and experienced the best of human behaviour.
But enough of that wankery. Having shared a bedroom and bathroom with up to eight strangers every night for the last four months, we’ve also met some people who should have been left on the mountain at birth.
They fit into the following categories:
The selfish: Really these people are the most harmless of the lot but they still drive me to the brink of bite-the-curb violence. They’re the kind who rifle through their bags at 1am, turn the lights on and off all night or let their alarms ring for minutes at the crack of dawn. Just the other night, I was kept awake by a room light that was still on at 2am for the sake of one girl “doing work”. Eavesdropping on her earlier inane conversations, I knew she was a receptionist at a language school so I wondered what kind of work she could be doing. Translating hieroglyphics? Cracking the Da Vinci code? When I got up out of bed and asked if I could turn off the light, she hesitated and when I did she said “Sorry, do you mind? I have pages to read, I’m not just using my computer”. Really? That’s interesting because my husband knows ninjitsu – once he takes off his eye mask and pulls out his industrial-strength ear plugs, things are gonna get real biatch.
The spewers: We’re lucky to have only met one of these a-holes. One night, J-man and I were rudely awoken from our dreams of unicorns and adultery by what we both initially thought was our roommate choking on some water. We looked over at each other in shock when it became clear this guy was puking all over himself, his bed, his bag and all over the floor. We were even more horrified as he swiftly got up, dressed only in his tight undies, stripped the bed, threw his soiled sheets in the hall, flipped his mattress and scrubbed his bag clean before going back to sleep. The next morning he apologized profusely, blaming the whole thing on a bad mushroom pizza. Nice try buddy, but there was one dead giveaway. Not only was he swaying and bumping into things as he cleaned up the funghi death slime, but as he bent down to pick up his sheets, he let out a ripsnorter. Nothing says pissed as a fart quite like … a fart.
The rooters: Ah yes, there have been many, many of these incredibly romantic moments on our trip. There’s no lullabye like the sound of two drunk strangers lick each other clean not five metres from your head. A story I’ll tell at every dinner party for the rest of my life comes live from a lovely little hostel in the Bulgarian countryside. We were sharing a room with a bunch of the usual backpacker crowd and a couple of elderly dudes. In the middle of the night a young couple started doing the bad thing on the good foot on the bunk bed above a snoring, gassy English grandpa. That night I was suffering from a very unsexy condition known as Bulgaria Butt and was up and down until dawn. But that didn’t stop the young lovers, who were also up and down until dawn and still canoodling in the morning light. When they still hadn’t wrapped things up after breakfast I – feeling angry, tired and about 12 kilos lighter – scolded them for being inconsiderate and walked out of the room in a huff as they tried to plead their innocence. Later, I came back into the room to find the girl talking sweetly to the old guy she’d been bonking on top of all night. In the middle of their conversation about Israel and the joys of world travel, the old fella pointed to a screwed up pair of sexy underpants that had fallen on his pillow from her top bunk. “Are these yours?” he said, “because they’re certainly not mine”. Aw snap, you dirty slapper.