The Circus Hostel has quashed a few of my prejudices about hostels, their uses and users. In my defence, my previous experience consists of school trips to draughty YHA hossels in Scotland and Brecon where even though you are technically indoors you still feel outwardbound. And to a village of tree houses in Olympia in Southern Turkey the week before ANZAC day.. the robinson crusoe huts were meant to be primitive but the legion of Aussies and Kiwis was uniformly, unrelentingly and exhaustingly antipodean in a way that went beyond stereotypes.
The first surprise came when collected my Hiltonesque swipe-card to access my room and I plonked my backpack beside my pristine bed. The sheets were soft and almost fluffy, the pillow must have been new. I haven’t stayed in many hostels myself but without exception all the road hardened backpackers say it is the cleanest and most luxurious they stayed in.. And yet it is still only 15Ä a night.
The travellers themselves were my second surprise. They included
Californian construction workers
3 Finnish schoolboys
3 Finnish college girls
A Hawaiian dance student with two adoring Italian consorts
A South London forensic scientist who spends his days testing the purity and provenence of our finest drugs.
Some cambridge bluestockings
Two trainee mezzo-sopranos, one from Wisconsin and another from Texas
One night our tour guide was a moonlighting philosopher cum philologist who was nothing like Nietszche or Kant.
A Colombian skaterboy normally marooned in Croydon
Barely a brace of Aussie surfers
A implausibly giant watchmaker who more plausibly also plays bass in a metal band.
oh and one would be novelist and infantologist!