The last stop in my 9 months journey was in Santiago de Chile, where I spent 3 months of (almost) winter. This was, by far, the most challenging hostel of all.
Let`s start with the positive part: I was living close to the city center, in a bohemian borough, I was getting paid (not much, but enough to get through) and my boss was really nice, but a bit chaotic.
On the downside, the weather was cold since it was winter. Compared to European weather it was nice and warm, but unfortunately I did not have my winter gear with me, so I had to get around with the things I had on me. Which proved to be more difficult than I originally thought, since the hostel wasn`t heated and sometimes it was warmer outside than inside. I found out the hard way that hot water bottles can be a lifesaver, especially during the night.
The FIFA world cup was taking place in Brazil, so that`s where all the tourists were travelling to. Because of the high prices in football tickets and accommodation, few of them could afford to visit other countries in South America. As a result, the hostel was most of the time half empty. Not just my place, but the entire city was lacking tourists. Things were a bit boring, especially around the hostel.
My fellow travelers working in the hostel were not as friendly as my friends in Argentina. To be more precise, they were friendly and helpful, but they were busy with their stuff and didn`t have much time left to hang out. There was a French girl living in the hostel with her boyfriend and they were spending most of the time in their room. The other girl was also French, but she was constantly skyping with her boyfriend back in Germany. Luckily, other colleagues arrived from Canada, Mexico and Chile, so things got a bit more animated.
There were two other permanent members in charge of breakfast and cleaning, one weirder than the other. There was a younger guy in his 30s, always unhappy with something, always mumbling and quarreling. He once tried to start a cocktail business in the hostel, selling drinks to clients without the boss’s consent. One of the clients told my boss how good the cocktail was and he got told off. My biggest issue was the noise he was making in the kitchen preparing breakfast, right next to my room. It’s not nice waking up each morning at 6am, in the sound of slammed cupboards and dashed dishware, so I started using ear plugs. However, he was nice when he was smoking pot, and this was happening rather often.
The other one was weird looking and socially awkward, sometimes even freaking customers off. I always compare him with Lurch from the Addams Family in my mind, although he isn`t as massive. A lean man in his 50s, with wispy hair, gray eyes and an overall dusty appearance. The hostel was constantly receiving bad reviews and complaints about him smoking in the shared dorm or just being weird. However, the boss only fired him only after he punched a guest in the face, who happened to be the cousin of the lousy guy. Throughout my stay, I was worried he might snap one day and burn down the place.
The best thing about my stay here was the fact that after a month and a half I received my own room and bathroom. Even if it was really small and crowded, it was exactly what I needed after several months of living in shared dorms.
The time spent in Chile was’t the highlight of my journey, especially since I was facing some personal problems. I sometimes think that maybe I wasn’t able to appreciate the people around me enough, because in the end my boss helped me with some issues and even threw a goodbye party for me. From time to time, I miss my little room and the time I spent there.