Bedfellows, Part 1
Trip Start May 19, 2009
67Trip End Ongoing
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Once I'd ruled out home emergencies (by remembering that no-one I knew actually texted me), I recalled that somewhere before The Time That Stood Still in the Cape Jess and I had been proactive enough to put an ad for travel buddies online. Somehow we'd ended up with no shortage of potentials, God help them. Well, at least it made me feel popular, and Jess feel jealous, for all of five minutes.
Back in Cairns, I adopted the usual routine of arranging to meet the shortlisted potential Randians (Germans not included) in the local pub. The trouble was, we'd scheduled them all half an hour apart, which left a hell of a lot of cider time inbetween. And worst of all? It was an Irish bar, which meant proper pints, and not those pathetic antipodean schooners
First, we met Ben, an English lad, who ordered a pint (plus point). We were all rather sober so early on in the proceedings, but things were getting off to a good start.
People came and went. Rounds came and went. Toilet trips became more frequent. I started to think that half an hour was a long time for a roadtrip interview. But then, soon enough, came Miriam.
The first thing Miriam did was order a pint of water (minus point). From her perspective though, the girl had her head screwed on. At least she'd have some recollection of our meeting and thus the ability to make an informed decision about her future travel buddies. We chewed the fat. I was relieved to find out that despite being American, Miriam didn't class smokers as social lepers. Even when drunk, I manage to glean the most important information.
Just when things were looking up, the evening was about to be overshadowed by the very late arrival of a girl called Lisa.
Oh, Lisa. She was a dancer from the Midlands, whose life story I learnt in the space of about five minutes, which wasn't hard given that she spoke at a million miles an hour. At that moment, the best Jess and I could manage was about five sentences an hour, which was handy as we hardly got a word in edgewise. I felt jealous when Jess managed to break for the toilet, and then grateful when my phone beeped. The message was from Jess, and it simply read:
"NO NO LISA NO."
It didn't need much interpretation.
Never one to back out of confrontation, I thought it best to tell Lisa right then and there that it wasn't going to work out.
"It's not you. It's us."
Always a winner.
But Lisa wasn't having any of it, and as she spewed the bile, I started gulping my cider faster than the gullet intended.
Somehow, Miriam had sat through it all, and spent the best part of the next half hour counselling an irate Lisa, earning her double points on the (by now somewhat arbitrary) Randian interview league.
Feeling happy that we'd made our decision, but having been put through the mill, Jess and I staggered back to our hostel, all the time keeping half an eye on dark alleyways in case we were being stalked by an axe-wielding Lisa. Thankfully, we made it back in one piece, and fell into bed.
At 1 in the morning, I suddenly heard shuffling in our room, and then Jessina's voice from the bunk above me.
"Err...Chloe...just check there's no-one in your bed?"
I turned only to realise that a small dark-haired man was spooning me. The worst thing of all was that it took me a good few seconds to realise that I'd never met him before and for my brain to process that this was not an ideal situation.
I started to wonder when strange men would stop coming to my bed in the middle of the night before realising I had more pressing matters to attend to.
Evicting my new bed bug, he promptly fell on the floor and threw up before collapsing in his own pool of vomit. I remembered why I don't sleep in hostels.
At 2am Jess and I found ourselves moved to another room and we finally managed a good night's kip. But as it turned out, the real nightmare would come in the morning...and it wouldn't be down to the hangover.