Yesterday I was feeling rather queasy, hot and uncomfortable. I was making some phone calls and the booth that the calls are made from is maybe 3 x 3 and even hotter making me feel worse. I am also a bit on guard still regarding the location and with people waiting to use the phone, crashing in on me and all of the commotion around makes it difficult sometimes for me to relax, be less reserved and not on guard so to speak. Everything is fine and I feel plenty safe, but the communal living thing is not in total tune with my more private nature. Hostelling is like urban camping except you sleep in a tent with a few people you don't know and most speak a different language than you! :) It also makes you have to let things go and not worry so much about things (like your pack and clothes).
I got a bit of sleep last night and do feels tons better today! One of the people I am bunking with is this rather strange Italian young man. He has bushy black hair and a large bushy beard. Our first encounter was when he answered the door when I knocked the first time to let me in. He just got out of bed looking like Chewbacca who just smoked a pound of weed, wearing black jockey and sporting a hard-on... No I'm not joking. It was quite funny really. (This must be what dorm life in college is like) He doesn't speak but a couple words of English (and to his defense, I speak even less Italian). He is always in the room... rather strange. I mean really, he is always sleeping. He smokes a lot (yes in the room... cig's not dope), as a matter of fact, he left for a few hours late last night and I let him back in the room about 2am-ish, next thing I know he's light'n up a fag and the small unventilated room fills with his hand rolled, unfiltered cigarette smoke @ 3am in the morning. Thoughts of a news story I heard about two months ago goes through my mind: Some kid in an European hostel fell asleep smoking and lit the place on fire killing something like 7 people and injuring a dozen or so. I meditated on it a bit and told myself not to be an up-tight American and just let it go, so I did and fell in and out of sleep for a little while until I let go completely to worry, annoyance and consciousness. The Italian seems nice enough, things are just different over here.
I haven't been over here even a week yet and it seems like a long time since I've been home... not in a bad way. Not in a vacation way either though. This is more traveling, less vacationing. They are different. Some things have been challenging and brought me out of my comfort zone. This is a different experience all together from vacationing. I have not done this to this extent in a while. I do it a little when I go to various places and train, but this is a bit more extreme. The hostlers (I call them) are like global partying beach bums. Each seems to see how long they can keep the ride going (they usually work along the way, bartending, waiting tables, whatever they can to get a few bucks w/o working too much). They have their own language (aside from the one(s) they already speak), their own customs, legends and way about them. Most are twenty-something, but not all. They are not without their own form of elitist attitude, but overall I have found them very laid back and open. The path seems to be open to all, yet the typical "Hostelite - Wanderer" has a sort of profile... and American isn't really one of 'em. I know you are thinking what profile? Well, like I said, typically European or Aussie, twenty-something, adventuresome, into partying, laid back, open, carefree. I am not saying there are no Americans that fit this, I am saying that from what I have heard and seen directly there aren't as many Americans that do this (overall).
Well, I have to find something cool to do today since my Delphi trip was cancel, so I should get going.
I haven't been able to up load pics yet, but I will keep trying... so hopefully soon.
Hope all is well w/all'y'll in the states.
P.S. I have to mention that I have not seen this many people smoking since the 70's. It appears that you can smoke pretty much anywhere and everyone seems to do it.