Living in a hostel is 60% great and 40% a pain in the arse. The positives are that you learn all the hostel quirks to your advantage. For example:
– Which shower is the largest (by about 5cm but as Tesco love saying, ‘every little helps’)
– Which shower has the most regular hot water
– Which loo runs out of paper first (obviously the first stall as people are lazy but oddly also the 3rd, no idea why, unless it’s for sneaky poos, the last stall is just an obvious poo spot)
– Exactly how long to leave your bread in the toaster (2 minutes in case you were wondering)
– Knowing you have to turn the bread over in the toaster as only one side of the heating element works
– Learning the perfect temperature for the air con
– Which tuk-tuks to avoid when leaving the hostel.
You get to meet so many people with some amazing stories. The room I stay in consists for 4, surprisingly sturdy, bunk beds, so already I’ve shared a room with a variety of people. Personalities have ranged from friendly to slightly odd, hippy, quiet, funny, mute, kind, easy-going and –of course– the occasional unsociable git. It has been amazing meeting a multitude of nationalities which so far includes Finnish, German, South Korean, Swiss, Japanese, German, Taiwanese, Danish, Chinese, German, Philipino, Ecuadorian, English, Argentinian, German, Indian, New Zealander, Canarian (is that the name for someone from the Canary Islands?) and German. Yes, a LOT of Germans! I’m not entirely sure where they go, no other travellers seem to come across them anywhere else on the island. They’re efficiently remaining mysterious. With respect to all the non-Germans, I do feel as if I should have a country tick list and start playing some bizarre version of bingo.
My roommates seem to love the fact I’ve been here a while and can pass on this accumulated knowledge, especially with regards where to eat. No matter where I move I always seem to sniff out the tasty places pretty quickly.
The downsides? Breakfast is boring! You have a choice of scrambled eggs, fried eggs, eggs in an omelette or eggs in a slightly different omelette that seems to taste exactly the same as the other one. The Sri Lankans really love eggs! You do also get the joy of slightly stale bread and cornflakes. Yep, cornflakes– the most boring cereal in the world, I might as well ingest orange-coloured cardboard instead. But the main downside is not being able to get a bit of peace. Sometimes I’d just really like to be left alone and some people, interestingly it is usually Indian men, don’t get the hint at all. I’m sitting on a table in the corner, away from everyone else, with a laptop with multiple programmes open and after politely responding to questions immediately go back to my work. How much more obvious can I make it? ‘Sorry to keep interrupting you….’ Then don’t! Why don’t you go and talk to the Chinese dude over there? He’s also on a laptop and clearly busy too.
One particular guest kept interrupting me during some data analysis involving maths, so lots of brain power required. It was taking me a while to reply as I was in the middle of calculations and I kept saying ‘hang on a sec’. The long and the short of it was he wanted to take me to dinner. Very kind, but after 3 separate 20-minute interruptions I was in no mood to be sociable. I politely said I was having dinner with a friend at 7 O’clock so unfortunately wouldn’t be able to make it. I retreated to my room to continue the work in peace and hid until 7:25. Thinking it was now safe to escape and fill my rather angry stomach I made my way downstairs. To my dismay I saw him in the lobby. I zoomed past thinking he’d missed me until 5 minutes down the road he came running after me. Jeeze, it was like being followed by a dinner-going terminator. I’m very aware I’m sounding rude and quite ungrateful at this point but after 4 weeks of having pretty much the same conversation, not being able to work somewhere comfortably or get away from people, I was at the end of my tether. I’d recently met another traveller who often felt the same way so I was reassured that I wasn’t just becoming a massively unsociable misery. Anyway, we continued walking down the street and I once again reiterated that I was meeting a friend for dinner, he offered to walk with me. AARRGGHH! Under other circumstances the gesture would have been appreciated but I was close to punching him in the face. I assured him I would be fine, thank you very much but somehow ended up agreeing to join him for dinner the next day. For now, I sit scribbling this in a nice restaurant where I can finally scoff my face in peace.