That One Time I Thought My Hostel Roommate was a Bond Villain
Sometimes you'll have really weird roommates in hostels. Here's proof.
When I told my dad I was going be staying in eight-bedroom hostels for the majority of my trip, he took a sip of his tea and, on a long blink, told me he wasn't Liam Neeson and, as a result, won't be able to save me from sex slavery.
Hearing you loud and clear, pops.
But while many people might have some reservations about sleeping on top of seven other strangers in a room, it's actually not quite as bad as it's made out to sound. When you come in, you just find a handful of other tired travelers sprawled out in their beds – some of them watching Netflix, others perched on the edges of their mattresses, ready to talk about where you've been – and you just take your spot among them.
But every so often, you get an outlier. Your outlier is that one weird guy that makes you want to sleep with one eye open and wonder if you could somehow use your passport as a throwing star if push came to shove. Right now, today, we're going to talk about my outlier.
I was sick with a fever almost as soon as I got off of the bus in Berlin, which meant all I wanted to do was just wear all three of my hoodies at once and sleep the trip away in my bunk bed, occasionally coming up for air for a spot of green tea or a nibble of toast. Which could have been accomplished if I wasn't also – in between my fever dreams – in a constant state of panic over my bunk mate. Why? Because I had the friggen' Bond villain Jaws sleeping across from me. Not even joking right now.
This was a red-faced, 45-year-old Russian man that was built with all the Slavic clay in Eastern Europe. His arms were the size of tree trunks, and his hair was a suspicious bad-guy shade of whitish-blonde. The man had three burner phones plugged into the power strip, and he spent the whole day - while I was fighting off death - on his bed Skyping various different people, changing between Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian depending on the hour.
I was convinced he was planning his next attack on 007, just his organization ran out of money and stuck him in my hostel room. There are bound to be budget cuts after a couple of defeats, right? And that wasn't all.
The truly alarming tidbit was that the powerstrip – the powerstrip that was housing his three burner phones – was directly across from my bottom bunk. Which meant every time he would check his covert messages, he'd crouch his massive body down to the floor, put the phone to his ear, and sharply turn his face in my direction, not breaking eye contact the whole time he listened to his voice mails.
And I, sweaty, freezing, would feel like a moth pinned, my blanket up to my nose and me meeting his stare with an equally furious scowl. And so we would play this strange little game the whole week, evening after evening, with me ready to just bark a "what, Jaws? what do you want?!" in his direction.
But again, my dad's not Liam Neeson. And I don't think I could take on this stooge single handedly. And so I just kept on scowlin'.