Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thoughts on Hostels

I'm a big hostel traveler. I think they're great. Cheap and instant foreign friends. Young, travel-hungry people who couldn't afford better all come together for a few shared nights in closet-sized rooms full of bunk beds. Cozy.

Laura and I, charmed by the 4 out of 5 star cleanliness reviews, had booked our hostel in Málaga some hours before leaving Madrid, and arrived at 8 am to a pot of coffee. Possibly still sitting there from last night. I was grateful also for my bowl of Corn Flakes, which I held before my nose during a conversation with an Argentine, when I learned that he and I had different cultural understandings of personal space.

We ended up spending more time at the hostel then expected, after "El Levanto" - some crazy sandstorm shit that peeled off about 8 layers of my skin while we were at the beach - forced us to seek shelter. No worries, the hostel owner set us up with some hookah, which we shared with our roommate, a 45ish man who's been living at the hostel for two months and who told me he and his mother are on bad terms because she was an addict when she was pregnant with him. I knew he was the one we'd be bunking with because I'd seen a prosthetic leg lying in the middle of the floor earlier that morning, and now he was asking me to make beers runs for him so he wouldn't have to wobble over himself.

As night set in another hostel employee attempted to set up the projector so we could watch the Spain v Argentine game, during which time his slide show of anti-United States images kept us entertained, and another employee offered me some of his weed. Igor, his name was, told me he was into the truth, like: "Someone might call this a glass, for example, and someone else might call it un vaso, but only one is the truth. Oh, I'm not making sense. Want some weed?"

I went to bed that night to the pitter-patter of little feet scurrying through the walls (please don't be a rat please don't be a rat), and woke to eat my breakfast among several burly Hispanics already sidled up to the courtyard bar. That thing in the picture above was also napping in the hallway. Is it a couch? Is it a mop? Is it the thing that was scurrying through the walls last night?

Málaga was a nice little excursion. The Mediterranean, at least when we were underwater, was bliss, and I was content to split a jar of sangria with Laura instead of sitting in the sand when El Levanto attacked. We wandered the streets and listened to Christmas music on the bus ride home, but all in all, I'm happy to be back in Madrid.

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