Welcome back to the Roommate Diaries! If this is your first visit, make sure to check out Episode One for an introduction to this series and three interesting roommates.
This is the second part in a series of blog posts, describing some of the unusual characters we’ve met during our travels in the land down under (but will expand as we continue to travel around the world). We have made this completely anonymous and haven’t included anyone’s real name or the specific location we met them, instead, choosing a nickname that may help you to identify with this type of person on your travels too.
The Hobo Impersonator – Sydney
Picture this: he was about 6’2″, 200lbs and looked mean. I strongly believe you should never judge a book by its cover, but not only did he look mean, he had a colourful personality to match. The Hobo Impersonator would walk around the hostel looking smug and saying inappropriate comments to girls, he even cat-called to Ally a few times. Maybe he thought the girls liked his ‘charm’, but he had a different approach to the other men at the hostel. A few times, he was caught squaring up to guys for absolutely no reason, even starting a few scuffles. One night, I walked past him on my way to reception and he raised his fist to me saying “I’ll knock you out”. I’d never spoken to the guy, how could I have made him angry enough to want to fight me? It’s not uncommon to come across hotheaded people at hostels, or witness a fight every now and again, but you’d never catch me involved.
I bet you’re wondering where this guy’s nickname came from… Well, during the day we caught him on the street corner outside the hostel, with his top off and a hat out, begging for change. He kept his head down and didn’t speak to anyone as they walked past, returning to the hostel later in the evening. I’m not sure if this is how he paid for a hostel, but he certainly wasn’t ‘homeless’, he was a backpacker who we saw numerous times in local bars. Eventually, he got evicted from the hostel due to the number of complaints about his personality, and is now potentially genuinely homeless, or maybe even in prison.
The Ice Queen – Byron Bay
We arrived in Byron Bay late one evening, and it was very humid outside. Having just taken a Greyhound bus, we were keen to get to the hostel quickly, unpack, shower and have some drinks! Thankfully, we were checked in quickly and practically ran up to the room, praying there would be air conditioning (which there was – hurray!).
We were put in a 6-bed dorm, of which 4-beds were already taken. We grabbed the 2 remaining top bunks and introduced ourselves to our new roommates as they popped in to get ready to go out that night. It was mid-summer in Australia, so most days were 30c+ and rarely dropped below 25c at night. The room had french windows, opening out onto a small balcony, but having that much glass meant the room was basically a greenhouse unless the curtain was drawn and the air conditioning was on.
By the time we’d got back from the showers, we had met everyone in the room, except one girl who had put up ‘cuddle curtains’ (a bedsheet draped over the bottom bunk for privacy) all around her bed. Apparently, she wasn’t very friendly and would mostly sit in her ‘fortress’ all day. We didn’t think much of it, and went to the courtyard for a few drinks with our other roommates. When we returned to go to bed a few hours later, the room was sweltering hot! With 6 of us sharing, it was only going to get hotter throughout the night. We couldn’t find the remote for the aircon, so had to manually reach up and switch it on at the unit.
As soon as the air conditioning had made that small ‘beep’ noise, acknowledging it was on, The Ice Queen got out of her tent and started yelling at us to turn it off because she would be too cold at night to sleep. It actually turned into a small argument between her and one of the other roommates, who thought she was being overdramatic, as everyone else found the room quite hot. In the end, we had to step in and get them to compromise – the air conditioning would stay on but at a reasonable temperature. The Ice Queen wasn’t happy, and the cold must have frozen her heart because she didn’t talk to any of us again. The next morning, she had checked out!
Lauren Loudspeaker – Port Macquarie
We had just sat down for dinner in the communal kitchen, and were talking amongst ourselves about our day at the beach. Next to us was an English girl on her phone, having what appeared to be, a fairly normal conversation. She was a spitting image of Lauren Cooper from the Catherine Tate Show: hair pulled back tightly into a ponytail and typical English ‘Chav’ attire (I just realised I haven’t used the word Chav in about 7 years) including hoop earrings, a tube-top and trainers.
A few minutes in, we began unintentionally listening in to the conversation, as she began to get louder and louder on the phone. It seemed she was having a rough time, and we couldn’t help but become drawn in, wondering who the other person was on the end of the line, and what they were also saying in response. As if by magic, Lauren (we’ll call her Lauren for the purpose of the story) set her phone to loudspeaker, practically on full volume, so the whole hostel could hear.
She began whinging about her travels along the East Coast of Australia because she wasn’t enjoying it as much as she’d thought. From there, the situation continued to get more awkward as she started describing some of the unspeakable things she did (and would do in the future) to earn some money to fund her travelling. Apparently, she ‘absolutely hated farm work’ and would not be doing that again. I don’t know why she bothered putting the phone on loudspeaker when the other person couldn’t even get a word in!
This went on for a few minutes until she said that she would probably just pluck up the courage and ask her mum for a ‘loan’, that she would never actually pay back. Our meal and Lauren’s phone call finished almost simultaneously, but the last 3 words she said made everyone at the table stop eating, and look at each other to make sure they heard her correctly.
“Speak later, Dad”.
Ever had a roommate like this? Tell us the kinds of people you’ve met along the way on your travels, and make sure to keep your eyes out for the next episode of The Roommate Diaries!