12 Days of Christmas – 12 Hostel stories

It’s 12 days until Christmas Day and Santa shows how a real Round The World trip should be done so I thought I would a little countdown of random stories, experiences or things that have shaped the last 7 months. Today, it’s 12 experiences from hostels and dorms!


CandyMy first experience of sleeping in a dorm room came in a huge 8 bed dorm in La Paz. It was a nice room and I shared it for the first night with one other person at completely the other end. In the morning I woke to find someone had placed M&M’s at 2″ intervals all around my bed. The two of us looked at each in bewilderment as it meant someone had crept into the room and completed the task for no apparent reason!


Arriving back to the dorm in Cuenca, I ignored the person who was using his phone in the corner. After he had disconnected he declared “I recognise the back of that head” and proceeded to chat with me as if I’d known him for years. It took me a full day to work out it was Justin from Rurrenabaque– a man whom I’d shared a room with for one night. It begged the question, what on earth had he been doing at night for him to recognise the back of my head 2 months later?!?


On a horse trek in Tupiza, a Dutch girl took it upon her self to wake me up by kicking me sharply in the knee and it hurt for most of the day! This of course isn’t the only time someone has woke me (the guide decided to give me an Indian Burn in the Galapagos one night) and of course there is hundreds of stories about ignorant people arriving back late at night, but it was one of the most painful.


I’ll decline to say where as it’d identify the guilty party, but I was woken one night with water dripping from above. Turns out the girl sleeping there had wet the bed and it had soaked through her mattress onto me. Suffice to say I showered three times and slept the remainder of the night on the floor.


On the Southern Circuit of Bolivia the group had an early night and ended up chatting in the dark trying to keep warm. It was the first time the entire room was populated with friends and we were asked loads of riddles and puzzles by Joe, my favourite was “A father and son are in a car accident and are taken to separate hospitals. The surgeon walks into the room of the child and announces ‘I can’t operate on this child for he is my son’. How?”


In Panama City I slept in a compact dorm with 8 other people and one night there was a snorer. Although he was in a different bunk, his snoring was so vicious that he was vibrating my bed with each breath. The entire dorm was woken by this mystery man and whilst I’d never normally wake someone, we tried everything we could to raise him from his slumber unsuccessfully!


In Isla De Ometepe I stayed at Little Morgans which is perhaps the most extraordinary dorm rooms – open to the outside and made out of local wood, they are stunning structures and you feel as if you’re in the heart of the jungle. It was here I had to rescue my first Tarantula from the dorm as the girls were terrified of entering the room.


In Flagstaff there are so many weird people in the hostel and dorm – from the Raw Vegan who couldn’t understand how anyone works for longer than 1 hour a day, to an Irish guy who extolled the virtues of the band Prefab Sprout. They were all there and provided loads of entertainment just sitting watching them trying to function!


In Antigua a mixture of tiredness, hunger and a hypoglycaemic attack lead to a complete lack of logic on my behalf and I entered the dorm in a tizz ranting about how the hostel wanted to keep my passport as a deposit. Rob sat there watching in disbelief and not sure what to say before he offered me a pack of Ritz crackers which I devoured. Logic then returned and I became the butt of many jokes – it was a pretty impressive rant!


In Singapore the hostel was populated with people of various nationalities, many of whom weren’t used to dorm life. They’d start talking to anyone who was new immediately they entered the room and wouldn’t let up until you left the room. The best conversations were around the the lounge though – an American bloke would try chatting up all the Asian ladies only to be rejected with lines like “Thanks for letting me practice my English” and an Indian man would get annoyed with everyone as they didn’t understand or speak English – it didn’t occur to him that his accent and choice of words was so poor it was he who couldn’t speak English, the rest of us were just fine.


In San Diego I met two slightly odd Australian girls who I went to the Zoo with and they complained constantly about some of the hostel staff. We then all went out at night for a pub crawl and things got quite heated. I had an early night and when I woke found that the girls had been ejected from the hostel for abusive behaviour – apparently they’d been shouting at the staff and been very rude. They were the first people I’d met who removed from a hostel!


In Granada I met a load of great guys and we spent the nights chatting or playing cards. One evening the rain came down so heavily we had to hide inside – one of the lads was such a wimp that the rest of us grabbed him and threw him into the garden to prove that the rain wouldn’t kill him. Unfortunately it backfired a little and I fell in with him, snapped a small tree in two and got myself completely stuck. Suffice to say I was drenched and had to wait for someone to come and rescue me!