Aubrey once told me that reception had told her that 408 was a lucky room. This was probably said to a lot of people about their particular rooms but the time I have spent in it was truly a memorable experience. The room itself was quite small, lined with 3 bunk beds, a tiny table & chair, a mirror and some storage cabinets. The storage cabinet was quite useful as there was enough room for my bag and a shelf for my documents with an outlet for my chargers. The window also provided a view of the Brisbane skyline…if you look at an extreme angle. I took the bottom bed of the middle bunk and it proved to be well positioned to talk to travellers to either side. You must know that Brisbane has few tourist spots which means the room had a very high turnover in occupants. Most days I would return from work and meet someone new. You never know if you will be sharing with someone awesome or lame. I call this phenomenon the room mate lottery.
Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with intriguing room mates for the most part. My initial room mates of Alex the German, Sarah the Canadian and the Chinese girls and soon after Wesley. Then there was the English couple of Paul and Collette. Unlike other couples who had stayed in the room, they were a delight to talk to. One evening Paul, Collette, Wesley & myself were all bored so we decided to go to this travel talk. There was a prize of a free surf lesson and as there was only eight of us in the talk, we had a 50% chance of winning. Our names all went into a hat and the name that was drawn was our dear Collette!
There were three additional Canadians that graced the room. The two dudes were a laugh to talk to which added to my ever growing opinion of Canadians. The girl was very nerdy, ergo very sexy. Late at night when everyone was settling down for bed I noticed she had a GAMEBOY COLOR! I know what you’re thinking, this could not get any better. Wrong. The game she was playing was the original Super Mario Bros. Overthrown with joy I offered to trade her my 3DS with Super Mario World 3D for her old school device and enjoyed a night of sweet sweet gaming. There was a chap from Thailand here as well who after asking for his name three times I just referred to him as ‘dude’. He was struggling with his new fighter pilot simulator for the i-pad where you move the tablet to move the plane. I was like, “move over dude, let me show you how it’s done”. He said “whaaa, you so good at this game!”. Just a natural.
The worst type of room mates are those who travel in pairs. There have been a few and they are extremely hard to engage in conversation as they keep to themselves. Then there was the Australian. First off, I never trust natives who stay in a hostel. This fella was a bit intense, being the expert on all things sport and refered to Australians by their region… “were there many Western Australians at the game?”… “Queenslanders are best at all sports. We won all the titles last year”. Hard work. Plus he chewed with his mouth open which is never cool in my book. The one that took the biscuit was this homeless looking guy with a fuzzy comb over and walked around with a dazed look on his face. Apparently, he went to sleep with his shoes on and also left his junk all over the floor with his cabinet wide open. One night I walked in and he was just sitting on his bed in his boxers, scratching his inner thigh creating the most grotesque noise you could imagine. Oh and another morning I woke up to raspy heavy breathing as someone was stumbling around the room. I was too freaked out to leave the bed until he was gone.
That brings me to the best combination of room mates I had whilst residing at 408. There was Steven, a soft spoken Scotsman who had been chilling with me in Brizzy for as long as I can remember. For most of the day you could find him in bed watching movies on his laptop until darkness fell upon the sky and he would be ready for a drinking session until 5 am. In some ways he was like my brother, I always wanted to look out for him and made sure we were always in the same room. If we ever got weird room mates we could form a team to battle against their evilness! In other ways we were like an old married couple, I would come home from work and we would tell each other about our day. So romantic. Then there was Izzy, the loveable German pixie whose English was far better than mine. She noted that watching too much television was responsible for her American twang. She was accident prone though as everything she owned mysteriously broke. My fancy going-out watch broke in her proximity. Who could forget Alistair, another Scot who spoke at two hundred words per minute. Once he got into telling a story it was best to leave him to it. He was all about the banter and had the sense of humour I missed from my British friends. The last person was Elisa, a girl I labelled as a sloth in a previous life due to her sixteen hours of sleep she would accumulate in a day (not an exaggeration). She had an addictive personality and would obsess over the littlest things. I did enjoy our philosophical chats that would last into 4 am in the morning, even if I had work the next day.
Hanging out with these guys was so much fun and this one particular night Steve, Alistair and I all went out to Fortitude Valley, Brisbane’s club and bar district. It was my first Friday night in Brisbane and I wanted to go a bit crazy. We went to this huge, futuristic night club called “The Family” and it was enjoyable to watch Alistair, someone from a small Scottish town who had never been to somewhere as extravagant, party the night away. He was like a kid in a candy story. It was an exciting night but towards the end one of the bouncers kindly escorted Steven outside for some fresh air. Australians are nice like that. Losing Steven, Alistair and me headed back to the hostel. There we met Izzy and Elisa at around 2 am and proceeded to have a party in our room with a lot of snacks and sweets. Just a typical night in 408.