I think we all have those times in our lives when we just see someone and know, for whatever reason, that they’re just going to be bad news. I’m planning/hoping to travel for at least a year, and to do so, I gotta keep an eye (actually both of them) focused on expenses. I knew that going to Ibiza was not going to be cheap, so I tried to save a buck or two where I could. In Europe (and I’m sure most places), that means staying in some kind of shared room/hostel-type accommodation. A couple of days before I left London for Ibiza, I went on airbnb.com and found this place (literally, this is the place I stayed… click on the “shared room” photo if it doesn’t link automatically to that picture). I sent an e-mail to the hosts and got it all squared away the day before I arrived (that’s planning ahead for me). In this same apartment, there’s another shared room adjacent to this one with 5 beds (bunk-bed/dormitory style). I paid a couple of euros extra to be in the room with two adjacent beds figuring that if another single traveler came along, they’d be much less likely to share a small room with one person already in there than they would the larger room (even if that room also had people in it). It makes sense right? It’s like when a guy goes to the bathroom and there’s two adjacent urinals and a stall, if there’s a dude already using one of the urinals, the guy who just came in is going to take the stall… I’m certain all the men reading this just nodded their heads… that’s just the way these things work. I’m also fairly certain that there’s a mathematical formula that explains how this works as well.
So one night I come home and open the door to my room (keep in mind that Ibiza is hot at night and the place does not have air conditioning). Two things happen simultaneously. First, clearly, I see there’s another dude in the other bed. Second, and much worse, I get hit with an odor that’s a cross between cigarette smoke and used gym clothes that have been sitting in a bag for a couple of days. Let me put it this way… you know how they say that when people lose their sight, all their other senses kick it up a notch to make up for their lost sight. Well, I’m pretty sure the blind guy just threw up in his mouth. It was that horrific. Luckily, I’m several nights into my partying escapade… so I’m basically delirious at this point. I manage not to wretch and pass out. By the time I wake up, the mystery man is gone (for the day anyhow) and all seems well (i.e the window is open, a breeze is coming through, not overpowering odors). I chalk it up to bad luck and go about my business for the day (heading to the beach, making meals, planning the night, etc.).
Later that night, as I’m finishing dinner (around 10 PM), the guy comes back. Spanish dude, 45-50ish, doesn’t speak a lot of english. Looks a bit off, but i chalk that up to cultural differences. We introduce ourselves and go about our 5-minute getting to know each other conversation in broken spanglish. I’m not quite sure what the guy is doing in Ibiza, but that’s alright… none of my business anyhow. And he doesn’t smell… well, any worse than any other European walking around in warm weather all day anyhow. I continue getting ready and head out for the evening.
But when I come back, the cycle repeats itself… horrific smell, I pass out in a state of delirium, but when I wake up, all is well. WTF? That night the guy come home around the same time as the night before, but I’m running a bit later than the previous night and I’m in the room as he’s getting ready for bed. First, he opens the lone window and lights up a cigarette… this despite the fact that there’s a balcony for smoking out off the main living room. Ok, I smoke a cigarette occasionally, so no big deal. But then he sits down on his bed and takes off his shoes…
Did you hear that… just there? That was the sound of my nobody-is-going-to-take-the-room-with-me-in-it-theory backfiring. Backfiring so spectacularly that, after I leave the room and re-swallow the contents of my stomach, all I could really do is laugh. I go back in the room and the guy is laying on his bed ready to nod off. I notice that he closed the window, so I ask if he wants to open it. “No, it’s alright” he says. I go, “well, let’s open it to let the room cool off a bit”. “No”, he says… “I like it closed”. Seriously? I now want to choke this man to death. Whatever. I leave to head out. When I come back, I open the window and leave the door open to air out the room and endure another night. Luckily, he left the next day.
First, who are these socially retarded people and where did they come from? Do you not know your feet smell worse than a beached whale after rotting in the sun for three weeks? Clearly not. The vast majority of people I meet are normal and fine, but every once in a while there’s that guy (or girl) doing whatever it is that they are doing that just leaves one bewildered. Why? And how? And why? I just don’t understand it. Second…. you can’t win them all I guess. Chalk this up to a new experience, and a nice reminder that not everything I do on whatever it is I’m doing here will be amazing/perfect/astounding/insert adjective here (not that I didn’t know that… but sometimes I guess it’s good to be smacked across the face with the stinky feet of my relative reality on occasion).