By Ellie Geronikolos
I want to describe a nightmare I once had to you. I was staying at my guy friend's off-campus apartment for the weekend, and the state that it was in was, as expected, horrible. It was cramped, had terrible lighting, and the washroom… it pains me to recall. Rotted shampoo bottles were littered in the cracks, and some questionable hair was making its way towards my toes. As the water turned from scalding hot to freezing cold, I suddenly woke up.
That’s when I realized the nightmare was reality, but instead of my friend’s house, I was staying at a hostel in Argentina.
My three friends and I (known formally as the MISSADVENTURES team) went to Buenos Aires last May. We like to practice a method called “not planning anything in advance." Some people refer to it as spontaneity and some as just plain dumb. Thus when we arrived in this lovely city we were missing just a few things, most importantly a place to stay.
Fast-forward a little: we’re lying on our bunk bands in a hostel located in the heart of the city. We planned a night out at the legendary Club 69 and had to begin getting ready if we wanted to be at the club for 2:00am – that’s when they open.
The dreaded task of getting ready in a hostel! Unlike men, we need more than a multi-use bar of soap to prepare for a night out. Many of these things (like shampoo, soap, towels, etc.) are of poor quality, barely usable, and let’s be honest, most hostels don’t even have amenities. Don’t get me wrong, this is the reason to stay at hostels: to save money. I just didn’t realize that I kind of need some of these amenities to stay looking like a girl.
First of all, mirrors are scarce. I know what you are thinking, how vain are you? But have you ever plucked your month-long grown eyebrows without a mirror? Let’s just say… disaster! If they do exist it’s usually in the shared bathroom, and that alone is a turf war. Get there first, claim your spot and you should be okay. The lighting everywhere is usually so dark that you may leave looking like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show. Try to keep your makeup minimal.
Time to take a shower. Keep your head up high, DO NOT LOOK DOWN. You don’t want to see what is hiding in the cracks. In Buenos Aires I made the mistake of glancing down and noticed someone’s leftover shaver, hair included. Gross. To salvage the limited hot water that is granted to you, shave and shower simultaneously or choose different times in the day to do them. You will not have time to do one after the other, unless you are staying at a magical hostel catered to the female time frame.
Time was passing fast and my hair was still wet. I needed to dry my hair and for that I needed an outlet. Not a single one existed in our room, we have to use the one in the shared bathroom. My friend Stephanie is forced to blow dry her hair in a corner near the toilet, using the window as a mirror. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I decided that it’s not worth the argument to get my corner of the mirror, so I make my way to our room and proceed to do my eye makeup blind. As in, I just started putting colours on my eyelids hoping that something would magically look good. About an hour in, and we are almost ready to hit the Argentinian nightlife. Luckily this hostel had a washer and dryer, if not we would have had to find a laundromat in the city to get that backpack stink out of all our nice clothes. So we put our clean clothes on, took one last glance in the 4x4” bit of mirror we were able to see ourselves in, and had one of the greatest nights I have ever had traveling.
What did we learn from this ordeal? Girls, prepare to have zero space. Love thy neighbor because you’re about to have a lot of strangers really close to your personal space. Remember learning about sharing in kindergarten? Well you will be exercising that skill extensively in hostel situations. Mirrors, outlets, showers, sinks, washers and so on and on. It’s not impossible to get ready – it’s just a whole lot more effort. If you asked me tomorrow would I stay in a hostel again? Duh! All of this is part of the experience and I love every minute of it.
Follow Ellie Geronikolos and the Ladies of Miss Adventures at the following places:
Official Website: www.missadventures.ca