“McNuff! There are four boys in our room, and they smell!”
It’s 10pm and I’m making my way home across the city of Santiago, when a message from Faye pops up on my phone. I’ve just left a lovely wine and bolognese session with one of my best friend’s Emma. Emma is about to begin her own 3 month cycle tour through Chile and so I have played the role of the packing ‘dragon’ and helped her throw out all unnecessary things. This mostly involves me telling her that she will feel so beautiful and happy in her cycling rags that she won’t want that make up, and questioning the need for enough spices to stock a Michelin starred restaurant.
Anyway, I digress. I reply to Faye’s message about the room invasion:
“Oh cripes, I knew it was too good to be true to have the room to ourselves. How smelly are we talking here? On a scale of one to vomit-inducing?”
“I’m dry retching!!” she replies.
Being on a budget and spending a few days longer in the city this time around, Faye and I opted for two spots in a six bed dorm room. We’d been lucky enough to have the dorm to ourselves for two whole nights, but tonight, our final night, was to be another matter.
I enter the room to what can only be described as a perfumery of body odour. Armpit musk has collided headlong with lingering farts and is now dancing wholeheartedly with wafts of cheesy feet. The saving grace, perhaps, is that there has been lethal amount of Lynx (other brands are available) dusted over the top of it all. It’s a warm night in the city and so the room has now reached furnace temperature. If ever there were a case for spontaneous human combustion, the conditions tonight are perfect.


A long way from the room full of boys – sundown in Valparaíso

Faye informs me that the lads have gone out for the night, so we snuggle into our beds and await the first inevitable wake up. At midnight two of the boys come in. The lights go on, there is a full blown conversation, and they leave again. I get up and turn the lights off. Fifteen minutes later all four of them return. The lights go on, they converse some, and leave again.
This game of disco lights continues until 1.30am, by which point all boys are now in the room and in their beds. This is of course the cue for boy number one in the bunk opposite me to begin playing music on his phone. I hear Faye mumble something about ‘being too old for this sh*t” and I can’t help but agree. Only, it doesn’t seem to be bothering boy number two in the bottom bunk, as he has started snoring so loudly that the walls reverberate around our ears.
To top it off, the couple next door are at it again. In the three days we’ve been at the hostel, the pair in the room next to ours have been having loud sex every hour or two. They do this with great gusto and with the windows above their door wide open so that all other inhabitants of the four bedroomed hostel can enjoy the auditory show. Every now and then one of them emerges – to buy snacks, fetch a pizza or have a shower, before promptly resuming the romp-fest.
Faye’s had enough: ’I’m sleeping in the hall!’ she announces. Dragging a pillow and cover from the room, she duly inflates her camping met and beds down in the hallway. To our delight, we discover that there is also a snorer in bedroom number three, possibly even louder than the one in our room and so his snores fill the hallway and swirl around Faye’s ear holes. I decide that any attempt to sleep is futile, and so instead do my best to turn frustration into creativity with a few hours on the laptop. The plan is to continue until I am so tired that I no longer care.
And so here I sit at 3.30am in the morning, Faye tossing and turning a few metres away, moans and groans (and the odd ‘Oh Si!!!’) coming from the room down the hall, and two thunder-inducing, albeit slightly harmonious, snorers doing their best to recreate the noise of an orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. Through bleary eyes, I smile and I think: ‘you couldn’t write this’. And so I did.
Needless to say we are very grateful to be back on the bikes today, and headed for the solace of our tents pitched in the wilderness once again!!
I mostly spent the two weeks (post hostel stay) in and apartment in the quirky coastal town of ValparÍso – hanging out with wonder-boy Jamie, sleeping, eating (delicious things), drinking (delicious things), going running and finishing off some book editing. And I had a gay old time. But the mountains (and lakes, and glaciers) are calling, and so to them we must go…
Keep tabs on the (hopefully) sex-noise free nights in the wilderness with the live tracker here: http://z6z.co/AndesAdventure
Metres ascended on bikes so far: 51,076m