Tag Archives: holiday weekend

Hostel Culture Shock…

Quickly here I wanted to share a few culture shocks I experienced (aside from the prices, lol!!).  Really the only time I had ever before done the whole backpacking hostel thing was when I traveled through Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.  So really my only basis of comparison was with hostels there…

What I had gotten used to from hostels in Latin America was places where basically younger people (early 20’s to 40’s) would go to sleep cheap.  It was a place for singles or couples of friends, but not large groups per se.  Everyone was also very inviting and curious of the newcomer.  You would tend to meet several people and hang out with them from the hostel.  It was like meeting a new member of a family at each place.  You always had someone to do something with if you wanted and everyone seemed very chill as we were all in the same traveling boat so to speak.  You exchanged information and traveling tips with fellow hostel goers.  It felt like an underground society in a way…  Places where the backpackers would convene nightly to exchange stories and dos and don’ts…

Hostels in London have a completely different feel!!!  First the age range literally included children all the way to senior citizens.  Entire families stayed at the hostel!  And groups of people booked into the hostel.  I’m talking for Stag parties (aka bachelor parties) or gangs of girls wanting to party it up in London.  I was shocked at the dress that people were coming out of the hostel with!  No more sensible travel clothes anywhere to be seen on people, except for a few random ones, but rather short skirts and tall heels!!  These girls are traveling???  No, hostels in London were definitely not for the traveler.  They were simply (at least I believe) the only cheap way to go since I don’t think many people can actually afford hotels in London!!  Or if they were travelers, they weren’t long term, they were just away for the week or weekend on a holiday.  Because of this there was no real camaraderie among the people.  Everyone was out for their own business and no one would really acknowledge others since they had basically all come in their own group anyway.  Personally I didn’t really care if I met people to talk to or not because I’m perfectly comfortable doing what I want on my own anyway, but it just gave such a “cold” feel to the place.  So uninviting.

So, needless to say this aspect was quite a shock to me.  I was very curious at this point how hostels all across Europe would be in general… If they would be what I was used to from my previous travels, or if they would be like the London hostel…

 

On to London Walking Tour

Back to United Kingdom

Arriving in Puerto Viejo

Perhaps one of my favorite moments of living in P.V. actually happened when I arrived.  I took a “tour” from Bocas del Toro, Panama to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica for about $25, which covered all costs of transportation to get there except the $1 needed at the Panama border for the exit visa stamp.  Again, I was asked by the driver on the Costa Rica side “where in P.V. do you want to be dropped off?” and my reply again was “I don’t know, somewhere in town will do!  So he dropped me off near the soccer field in town, just a block or two inland from the main road that runs through P.V.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I happened to arrive on a Holiday weekend… What this meant was that all the locals from inland of Costa Rica had an extended weekend and were on the coast themselves… which meant that all the accommodations had been taken!  yes…

In any event, I was making my way along the soccer field when suddenly an old rasta man came riding up on his bike behind me.  And what follows was our conversation:

Rasta man: Hey Baby, how you doing today?

Me: Great, how are you?

Rasta man: Good baby, good!  You just arrive baby?

Me: Yup.  Every place seems to be full.  Do you know anywhere that may have a place to stay for the night?

Rasta man: Yea baby, there’s that Rockin’ J’s baby.

Me: Oh ok, where do I go for that place?

Rasta man: Just down that street baby, like 10 minutes baby

Me: Great, thanks for the info!

Rasta man: No problem baby, can I get you anything? Meth, smoke, coke, weed…

(and the list literally continued for  several seconds with him naming every known drug on the planet in both formal and street name version…)

Me with a slightly shocked face: No… Nope, thanks I’m good!

Rasta man: Ok baby, you have a great day now!

And away he rode… Definitely made me chuckle!!  Now I should also mention that I had heard of Rocking J’s from a fellow traveler in Bocas del Toro, so when the Rasta man mentioned it, I knew he wasn’t giving me misinformation.  So I wandered down the road until I came across Rocking J’s and rented THE LAST HAMMOCK for the night… Joy!  Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal, however Rocking J’s sports over 350 hammocks!!!!  As well as dorms with beds and even private rooms with private beds!  Yes, the place is enormous and right on the water.  Rocking J himself is quite the character!  He’s working on building an arc and selling spaces on it for himself and whoever else wants for the coming storm…

 

On to Starry, Starry Night…

Back to Puerto Viejo