Hostels are great. I’ve met wonderful people in them, with whom I’ve formed enduring friendships that will always be propped up by dreamy days in Berlin, Ljubljana or Riga. It is truly unfortunate that writing about these lovely folk isn’t nearly as much as fun as writing about the legion of absolute weapons I’ve had the misfortune to come across, blighting hostel bathrooms and bars and personal spaces across the world.
The Hero Barman
The Hero Barman will be called something like Pasquale, though he’ll insist you call him Paz or La Paz. He’ll be from Essex and you’d probably call him a bit of a geezer. He’ll always wear the low slung black v necks that 14 year old boys wear to underage discos.
He doesn’t actually like people in hostels. If you are a male and not one of the ones he considers “alright, y’know, for a traveller,” he serves you with a sneery lift of the eyebrows and a comment about how much you’ve been drinking since you arrived. Once he’s found out where you are from, for the rest your stay he will refer to you as Mr Maidstone/Melbourne/Mumbai (delete as appropriate). He will think this is a haughty stab at hospitality when really it is shit-eating condescension.
The Hero Barman only works the night shift. This gives him a sense of superiority to the other bar staff because it means he’s there when it’s going off (his words), and the girls he’s given free shots of Apple Sourz start drinking off each other’s stomachs. This will be filmed by the Hero Barman, and instantly uploaded to his Facebook accompanied by a quasi-racist statement, like: “look what I got these Yankee bitches to do! Ain’t no-one can say no to La Paz.”
La Paz is something he made up and he likes the fact it’s both a place and a nickname.
The Paradise Lifer
“It’s just another morning in paradise, mon frère.”
So says the Paradise Lifer when you ask him how he’s doing, as he gives you your complimentary breakfast cereals. He seems like a nice enough bloke, forthcoming, with a Oregon-think American drawl. He’s been travelling for four, five, years; mucking in at hostels for free in exchange for food and board. He hasn’t found the place he wants to settle yet, he’s waiting for something to happen before he gets the money together to ‘hit India’. .
The trouble with the Paradise Lifer arrives when you step out of the confines of the hostel, into a world of cars, paychecks, and people that don’t sleep in bunk beds.
He will insist on taking you to bars he knows, which will invariably be cheap and full of 19 year old Inter-railers. When you suggest somewhere off his trail you'll hear a sharp intake of breath, before he says: “well, it’s up to you, man. I guess. I love me the chicas in Bar Europa though.”
When he gets drunk he’ll start butting aggressively into groups of girls in an attempt to chat them up, and tell you that “you haven’t got any balls” because you aren’t doing the same. If you end up kopping off with someone he’ll make a joke based around the premise that everyone is lucky sometimes. If he manages to, he won’t shut up and by the next morning every fucker in the hostel will be asking you about it.
The Tired Traveller
The Tired Traveller has been on the road for a couple of years, but unlike the Paradise Lifer he never stays anywhere for more than a few days, other than Vegas. He might be on a mission, he might be running away from something, he’s probably financed by his parents.
The Tired Traveller is so called because he looks bloody awful. He may be tanned but lines are etched into his face far more deeply than they should be for a man that, at 33, is too old to be getting cunted with 18 year old Swedish girls on a Monday night. He’s got blond shoulder length hair which is seriously thinning at the crown, and needs to eat some vegetables.
If at any point you suggest that might not want to have another drink or go home before the time he deems appropriate, he’ll say “fucking hell, man, I’ve been travelling for nearly two years and I’m not too tired. You just obviously aren't cut out for a life on the road. ” He’ll stay out alone when you leave, and justify the fact he did so by the fact he ended up talking to a girl who he claims ‘almost’ went back with him. She didn't.
He loves his iPhone more than his sister.
The Drinking Australian
The Drinking Australian is always chipper, no matter what time you got in that morning. He’s just graduated from University and can’t wait to tell every fucking person about how the sun is shining. He spent two months working in a bar in Bali and his ambition is to go back there one day and set up his own bar called Ozzies.
He’s on a year out and the thing he’s most looking forward to is a Full Moon Party in Thailand, though he doesn’t want to do any of that ‘fucking hallucinating shit’. He will go to all the organised drinking events the hostel organise, and spend most of those telling everyone how he can drink them all under the table, and will attempt to prove it even when they don’t ask him to.
He claims he invented the Dentist's Chair and his favourite current musician is Avicii, though he wants ‘Dream Catch Me’ by Newton Faulkner as his wedding song.
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