I've traveled before. This is not my first time, by a long shot. I've stayed in lots of hostels, even worked in one for a summer. And yet, whenever I book myself into one after an extended reprieve from traveling, I'm always surprised at the very many ways they can be uncomfortable. I forget about the snoring of bunkmates, the slamming of doors, the awkward ladders to the top bed, the drunk frat boys, the lack of temperature control.
The Green Tortoise in Seattle suffered all these things, plus the lovely edition of facing one of the loudest streets I've ever slept near. Between the hooting and hollering in the halls, the death rattle of a tiny Chinese woman who should not have been physically capable of making so much noise, and the constant stream of trucks and buses, I didn't get any sleep last night. But even as I lay in my bed, waiting for 5am to roll around so I could leave, one thought kept crossing my mind that made it all, not only bearable, but almost fun.
I'm not at work, and most of you suckers are! MWAHAHAHA!
Today was a bus, three planes, and a taxi ride. I wasted a dollar on headsets so I could watch Return to Witch Mountain. I'd like to pay another dollar to have the memory removed from my head. On my second plane to Panama there was no movie, but I was kindly entertained by the two lovely people I was sandwiched between in our tiny seats. Diana from Guayaquil and Yuan (sp) from Lima were speaking Spanish over me for a while, then switched to English so I could join the conversation. Likewise on my last plane my elderly seat mate chatted me up the whole time. So far the claim that Latin America is very friendly has been proven true. I can't remember the last time a white plane passenger even acknowledged my existence, let alone talked to me.
My trip through customs included being examined by a heat monitor to make sure I didn't have a fever, and a customs officer that just sighed and waved me through when it became clear I didn't understand a word she said. So much for security.
I made it to the Secret Garden hostel at 11pm, and it was rockin'. A look of despair must have crossed my face, as the friendly Australian that was showing me around assured me that this was rare. And within 10 minutes everyone had filed out to go to an Irish pub. What is it with Irish pubs? Everywhere I go, that's where the backpackers want to hang out. I mean, so did I, when I was in Ireland. But I digress. The hostel is many-floored and multi coloured and at the moment, blissfully quiet. So off to bed I go.