Whispering in Dorm Rooms: Budget Travel

the glamorous backpacker dorm room... ours is nicer than this, but you get the idea

I´m on my first trip out of Buenos Aires since I arrived two months ago, and it feels good to get out of the city.  My friend Deniz is visiting me and we decided to hop the border and take a quick trip to Uruguay.  (It had been a very steamy couple days in Buenos Aires, and if you´re going to be damp from sweat, you might as well be on the beach where you can be damp from ocean water as well.)  The decision to do this was made two nights ago, at about 11pm.   Forty-eight hours later we had crossed the creamy copper-colored Rio de la Plata by ferry, stopped off in charmingly tranquil Colonia del Sacramento, and had taken not one, but two buses to get to Punta del Este, a beach resort town on Uruguay´s Atlantic coast.  And after a fairly long day of travel, we were welcomed to a guesthouse run by a hippie Uruguayan surfer with long curly blonde hair, and shown our room, complete with three roommates that were already sleeping.

The whole day reminded me of when I´ve backpacked before and taken horrendously long bus rides, sought out a place to sleep after arriving in a city after midnight, and trusted complete strangers enough to sleep next to them and leave all my belongings alongside theirs.  Today was a fairly easy day of travel–the ferry was amazingly modern and even had a cafeteria and (get this!) live singing entertainment, and the buses were very comfortable–but it sort of made me get the travel itch again.  Even whispering in the dorm room and getting ready for bed in the dark while fumbling around for my things triggered a slight sense of nostalgia.   It´s been a long time since I´ve had to do this, and it reminded me that it´s something that I kind of like, and in a way, almost miss.  There´s something about the awkwardness of introductions and then going to sleep next to or on top of someone else, something about sleeping bunk-bed style as if you were back in camp in middle school that smacks of ¨cool backpacker comraderie.¨  That is, until somebody comes home from getting completely wasted and makes a huge racket–and then pees on the floor (AHEM British guy in Guilin, China).

Anyway, we arrived late tonight so have yet to share any meals, beers, or taxis with our hostelmates.  But we´ll keep you posted on our trip.  Beach. Tomorrow. Yes.

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