Spend any significant length of time backpacking, and you’ll hear plenty of hostel horror stories. Eventually, you’ll directly experience or witness your very own! I’ve had a few, but one of my hostel horror stories stands out head and shoulders above the rest: the Melbourne bag pisser…
So, I was staying in this shitty hostel in Melbourne, Australia, for a few weeks with a pub downstairs and the rooms upstairs, in a pokey little 4-bed dorm… with 5 people in it. I had a top bunk, and the lower bunk was occupied by a British couple… their friend had the lower bunk on the other side of the cramped little room, and the top bunk on the other side saw a revolving cast of backpackers for a night or two each.
It was the middle of summer and hot & sweaty, and we only had a floor-standing fan for heat relief; those were some stuffy, uncomfortable nights. It obviously didn’t help having an extra person in the room but the hostel was usually fully booked, and anyway it was cheap & sociable and my dormmates were a decent enough bunch and I couldn’t really be arsed to move. These guys liked a pint or seven every night downstairs and tended to stumble in drunk after last orders, bang around the room for a few minutes and then pass out; they certainly weren’t ideal dormmates, but I thought they weren’t the worst either.
However, if you were to ask the poor Japanese girl who was in the other top bunk one night, she’d likely say these guys were the worst dormmates ever…
She was only in Melbourne overnight to catch a flight in the morning and so had gone to bed early, with all her stuff packed up and more or less ready to go. Her bag was on the floor against the wall, left open with the flap up, presumably so she could chuck the last couple of things in in the morning and make her exit in a quiet and orderly fashion.
Very efficient, I thought, and very considerate. Some assholes make all sorts of noise in dorms in the morning, rustling bags, zipping and unzipping and zipping again, chucking stuff around, swearing when they can’t find something, etc etc. I could see this girl wasn’t one of them, and I approved.
I was second to bed that night, taking care to reciprocate in advance and to not disturb the sleeper… and then in due course the other three rocked in, pissed up as usual, and got themselves into bed with their usual loud but fairly brief racket.
It was a particularly hot night and I lay there in the sweaty dark trying to will myself to sleep, envious of Lloyd snoring away below. I don’t remember anyone else’s name to be honest, but his is well-etched due to what followed… at some point partway into that restless night, he stirred and groaned and then lurched to his feet, shaking the bunk, then stumbling towards the door as if making for the toilet… but he stopped short of the door, seemingly confused, and then just stood there swaying slightly for a moment, before appearing to make a decision and planting his legs shoulder-width apart, facing the wall, shoulders square… in fact, just like a man stands when taking a leak against a wall…
And then we heard it. The unmistakable sound of a man urinating against a wall, right there in the dorm… or, rather, it appeared to be the sound of a man urinating into a bag. An open bag. Full of clothes.
His girlfriend jumped out of bed, screaming at him, “Lloyd! Stop it! Lloyd, Lloyd, fucking stop!”
To which he semi-responded with “Urrr, fuuoof,” or something like that.
She ran up behind and grabbed and slapped him, trying to do something, anything, but Lloyd was a pretty big bloke and he just shoved her off as he continued to direct a stream of stinking urine, with considerable force, into the defenceless bag.
The man was a 7-pint pissing machine and she simply couldn’t stop him; I watched on from my upper bunk, basically thinking, ‘Is this really happening?’
Eventually he finished his business, and as all drunk men do when urinating he stood for a few seconds before finding a few more drops to squeeze out; then gave it a shake, waited a few seconds, and squeezed out a little more, all the while shrugging off his girlfriend as she entreated him to stop. Well, now he had, and he shook off the last drops into the bag and made a satisfied stumble back into bed where he immediately began to snore again.
And that’s when I noticed the Japanese girl had sat up in her bunk; I could only see her silhouette, but the mortification was plain in her voice. “That’s my bag,” she said, as quiet as a mouse.
Imagine it; it’s the middle of the night, you’ve got to get up in a few hours to go catch a flight, and some drunken bastard’s just emptied the entire contents of his bladder into your open bag. How do you even deal with that?
To be fair to Lloyd’s girlfriend, although she hadn’t been able to stop him from doing it, she took full responsibility for dealing with the aftermath. She spent the next couple of hours helping the Japanese girl sort her stuff out, running it all through the washing machine and drier, apologising more profusely than I’ve ever heard anyone apologise, and doing her level best to make it as least awful as possible.
None of us got much sleep that night (other than the oblivious Lloyd who slept like a baby throughout), but she did leave for the airport on time with a bag full of freshly laundered clothes. As for how fresh the bag itself was, well… I’m not too sure…
Have you experienced or witnessed any hostel horror stories? Please do share!
Click here for more Australia stories