I’ve stayed in some fucking great backpacker hostels over the years. A good hostel is the perfect place to get pissed, meet some cool people, and maybe cop a handy off a Dutch chick when everyone else in the dorm has gone to sleep (or is listening intently and masturbating silently). The hostel I stayed in last night offered none of these things.
The drive between Lesotho and Swaziland is long and boring, so I broke it up by staying overnight in some three-dog town called Ermelo. Even the name is ugly. It’s not on the tourist trail, and is barely on any maps, and I knew things were a bit fucked up when I cruised in after dark to find cars on fire and people fighting in the streets. I raced over to my accommodation to find it locked up behind a tall fence, with dark windows and no one around. I could see shadowy figures moving toward me down the street, and I was about to burn out of there (well, slowly creep away, seeing as I’m driving a Hyundai) when the gate opened and a chubby bloke rushed me inside and then closed the gate to the monsters outside.
I was safely inside the Gateway Backpacker Hostel, but things were about to get even weirder. Tony, the manager, showed me around a very old fashioned and totally deserted mansion, then pointed me towards one of a number of tiny sleeping stalls that had been built in a giant bedroom. Once that was done, he locked me inside and left me alone with the sounds of rioting outside.
With the run of the place, I was like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone, and made the most of my bizarre accommodation. I played pool, ate pies in a kitchen straight out of the 60s, and even cheered on a sporting team that was playing on the television. Did I masturbate in every room? You’ll never know.
Of course I did!