You get some idea of a hostel and its clientele by the way that the place is treated and decorated, how chaotic and clothe covered the rooms are, what bits and bobs travellers leave behind, whether there are knickers hanging in the bathroom from someone’s late night drunken shenanigans. (I found a pair. They were red and lacy. Classy.)
I’ve stayed in some beautiful, clean hostels but I’ve also stayed in some dives. Whilst NOMADS in Auckland was a pretty spot-on place with friendly staff, clean sheets and comfy beds, the wooden slats for the upper bunks were more often than not grafittied and me and my dorm buddies would enjoy sharing the words of wisdom that were carefully inscribed and printed. Here are some of my favourites:
- The direct fun-time message: Rock out with your c**k out!
- The statement: Sophie’s a gay. So what?
- The bizarre: Help! I’m lactating. Go get yourself checked, I say.
- The affirmative: You are beautiful xxx. It’s true, you all are.
- The downright cruel: There is no Santa. Are you sure?
- The mind messer: If you’re reading this… your bed has bugs.
- The love memory: SABS+MIK. Or lust. It won’t last.
And then, just in case you were missing out on something truly poetic, there was this, um, inspired little ditty designed to bring out the trust and friendliness amongst roommates:
The Irish Girl She
Choked a man with a clover leaf
Drowned a man in Guinness
And she sleeps in the bed
next to you
One of the guys in the dorm debated whether to add some Keats’ quotes or the definitions for some highbrow words. Call it a balancing act, if you like. But not being one of the younger crowd, he never did pick up a pen. Pity.