Travelling abroad around Europe, the US and South East Asia: I’ve spent a lot of time in hostel rooms, bunking with the loudest Lads and the pettiest women. And although I’ve also been blessed to room with some amazing people (like most recently a kid that came into the room drunk and was upset his friends weren’t there, who just needed a cuddle and I never got his name) I’ve also had extremely bad experiences with roommates that are a lot less resolvable than the examples found in the main article… here’s my personal countdown of my three worst run-ins with roommates:
1. Creepy Beautiful Italian Guy
in Sarphati Hostel, Amsterdam
Whilst I was working in Amsterdam at a bar (a night shift from 7 p.m.-5 a.m) and was still looking for a place to stay last March I was sleeping in heavily in the mornings. I stayed in this hostel for 10 days and the Italian guys I was rooming with were there just as long. The first morning it happened I had barely taken off my work t-shirt before KOing at about 5.30 a.m. and was woken up by a strange sensation. At first it was familiar, comforting- until I woke up a bit more and realized that I wasn’t in a bed with a boy and was bunking in a single bed alone. When I turned around from facing the wall (hair was a mess, make-up everywhere, my eyes barely open) I looked up to see the most beautiful Italian boy stroking me lovingly, “Hello, beautiful” he said. I was so tired I just slapped his hand away and dived under the covers. Once was enough, but this continued everyday for 7 days and was affecting my sleeping but I never had the strength to angrily tell him to piss off and his friends thought it was just the funniest thing.
2. 72-Year-Old Pervert
in Vintage Hostel, Paris
One of the worst examples of the shit I’ve had to deal with in hostel dorms.
It was a four-person dorm in Vintage Hostel, Paris (an ironic name). Not only was he 72 and travelling alone, he was Irish and strange af. I know, a lot of people will say- well done to him for travelling in hostels at that age but, for me, it’s not cool. There were three young women in the room and he was on a top bunk. When he came in first I ignored him, thinking that he was travelling with another person. In the smallest room ever I listened as he talked shit to the girl resting in the bunk below me then uncovered an Eiffel Tower souvenir and offered it to her, to which she was obviously uncomfortable in receiving and became politely hostile to the man. My mind was made up. He was fucking weird. In the tiniest 4 person room ever (two bunk beds parallel to each other), this man was perverted and acted like my obnoxious granddad. The 72 year old shot down everything I said and talked over me; tried to tell me about Paris and became rude and insufferable when I tried to tell him more useful information. Personally, it wasn’t even his attitude which pissed me off it was the fact that Vintage Hostels knew he was going in there with three girls in their early-twenties. You can’t relax in that situation: you’re just aware that your bum might be sticking out whilst you’re asleep or you might have hung some flimsy top on the bedpost. Not only was I aware of him but also aware of how he behaved towards the other girls, intruding on their (very little) space whilst talking to them and making us all feel on edge.
3. Drunk Lad who Almost Died
Easy Tiger, Ko Rong Samloem, Cambodia
Now, after that infuriating recollection, nothing will ever top of this story of The Dumbest Lad Ever.
Picture Ko Rong Samloem: an island a 40 minute boat ride away from its big sister Ko Rong, in turn 4 hours slow boat away from the Cambodian mainland. Still in its developing stages, our little side of the island was equipped with a bunch of stoners, two developing hostels, one shack-bar, a couple of ‘restaurants’ and a bunch of local children running stark naked with stray dogs along the beach. At 12 a.m. every night the generator powers off: which means there are no fans working in 40 degree Celsius weather and there’s no light should you need to trek around the 200 metres to the toilet until 7 a.m.. A beautiful island that should be appreciated for its simplicity is already being colonized by backpackers into a drinking and drugs destination, forewarned by an English Lad who arrived on the island on the last boat at 6 p.m. alone (the next boat at 9 a.m. the next morning).
I was staying on the bottom bunk in a room where the top bunks reached 3 meters above my head, accessed by a very difficult ladder. That night when I went to bed, all the bottom bunks were filled by people I had not met yet. I heard Lad before I ever saw him. The bar shack had closed at 12 a.m. and he had come drunkenly storming into bed immediately after, fighting through all of the Bottom-Bunkers’ mosquito nets, trying to find a place to sleep. At which time he must have climbed up the steep ladder to the top bunk and fallen asleep. That’s fine. The first thing I ever really heard from him, aside from drunken shouting when he had tried to kick me out of my own bed: was his shrieking and shrilling and his god-awful, gut-wrenching, war-torn scream. A noise like no war movie could ever prepare you for. Lad had climbed to the top bunk (that was without barriers), forgotten he was there, in his drunken sleep and turned over in his bed, onto thin air. Lad was so drunk he had fallen, in pitch darkness, to a concrete ground below. So drunk he never put out his hands to break his fall his skull bounced off the ground first, his body followed.
What preceded was a dire scene as us three girls crowded over him, trying to hold his broken skull together. Someone turned their personal generator back on and he was brought outside on to the beach. Paraletic Lad drifted between screaming at us for the agonizing pain, calling us bitches and cunts, and forgetting he was in pain or had fallen at all. Then, the could-be doctor of the island and actual dive instructor was finally awoken (after 30 minutes of trying) from his coma of weed and alcohol. Diveman saw Lad’s broken and bleeding face, went and got his needle and thread, asked for a bottle of whiskey and then instead of attempting to clean the wound Diveman downed 4 shots before starting to stitch Lad’s skin back together whilst three girls watched on with no ounce of sympathy. I returned to bed that night and never found out if the poor soul survived the journey back to the Cambodian mainland at all.