Jan. 25 – Auckland, cont.
I awoke to a coughing fit. Then stayed awake, due to the sunlight streaming in through the window. I wondered what time it was, but didn’t dare move so as not to wake anyone. Besides, I had my germs against the wall. I didn’t want to breathe out onto the peaceful sleepers.
Then someone farted. I hoped it didn’t smell. As if that were the hostel alarm clock, the sleepers rolled over, stretched, yawned, and quietly got out of bed, slowly, as if they were taking turns. I rolled over so that I could peek over the edge of the bunk and have a look at who my roommates were. A man in his late twenties was putting on an ironed shirt; I figured he was off to a job interview. Naked Girl was still in bed, but somewhat covered up. Another guy got up and left before I could get a good look. And the others took their time.
I dozed off, and when I awoke again there were just three of us left. I went for a shower. As I got out to put my clothes on, the chitchat began. A girl just started talking to me about the morning she was having. A friend of a friend heard she was in town and was driving two hours to pick her up and take her to some destination south of us that she pronounced as if it carried a lot of weight and she was lucky to be going. I nodded and tried to look interested.
Cleaned up, I went back downstairs. The girl in my bottom bunk started to talk to me. We’re on our way to here, we just came from there, blah blah blah. She was nice, so I tried to be interested. Apart from my work visa, I had three months of this to look forward to. And I wanted to travel?
Then I saw her packing up some books. I asked her if she knew of Travelers’ Tales, and she hadn’t. Well, I had to introduce her to them! Suddenly I was interested. I could share my passion with her and it didn’t matter where she had been, or where she was going next. She was a traveler, and a reader, and I knew she’d love our books.
"I hope I didn’t wake you with my coughing and snoring last night," I said, following up on our discussion of travel books.
She smiled. "Nah, you weren’t snoring. The guy up there on that top bunk wasÃ‚â€¦ and my friend beneath him on the bottom bunk," she said.
"You mean the girl on the top bunk," I said.
"No, it’s a guy, didn’t you see how hairy he was?"
" But he was wearing bikini underwear!" I said as we giggled together. I had never heard of guys wearing such skimpy underwear. And to tell you the truth, I hadn’t seen anything bulging through them either.
" I know," she said. "Weird, huh? But it’s definitely a guy."
"So, how long are you going to be in the States?" I asked. It was their last stop after having been through Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Nepal and more. They were finishing up in America, but with less money than they had hoped.
"Have you heard of BootsnAll?" I asked.
"No," she said.
"Oh my gosh, well you have to check them out, especially the Insiders… and if you sign up as a member you can look up other members in the area you’re going… and, and, and… " I whipped a webcard out of my pack and handed it over to her.
I was excited now: I had a purpose. I could handle this hostel stuff. Even the chit-chat. After all, we were both interested in the same thing: seeing the world. Again and again I could share my two great travel loves. I couldn’t wait to spread the word more. I was now a missionary.