Why Hostels Are Not Romantic Places

This post continues on from here.

The next day we went on a waterfall tour. Phillip had wanted to go for the last few days but they had held off until now because they were waiting for a Swiss friend to join them. First we were taken to a river which I did not think was that special. I think the only reason we went was for the huge twenty metre tree that the tour guide and Phillip jumped off.

Then we were taken to a natural slide; it was formed by a huge rock which jutted out from under the waterfall. Because the rock was very slippery and slanted at an angle, once you began sliding, you picked up speed until you plunged into a river. After trying it once, I did not want to go a second time but Phillip pushed me and I slid down the rock so fast that I spun around and went into the river backwards. He also forced me to go under the waterfall with him. As soon as we went in, I felt claustrophobic and wanted to get out.

Although I was ambivalent about him the day before, I was beginning to really like Phillip. I was impressed by how good he was with languages; even though he had only begun speaking Portuguese two months ago, he was already fluent. He spoke Portuguese with the tour guide and Spanish with a Colombian guy in the tour. I found everything about him attractive, even the things that I would normally find annoying; his smoking, his French accent, the way he dropped the h from the start of some words.

That night when we were sitting on the patio again, I asked him if he wanted to lie down in the dorm. Because the five of us were the only people staying at the hostel, I knew no one would be in there. We had sex in my top bunk which was not such a good choice. It was a small bed without rails which creaked loudly and we were conscious that hostel owner’s ten year old son was in the next room.

Usually I can’t stand being around annoying couples but I think that’s how we must have appeared. I tried to make sure that we were not always next to each other when we walking around or on the bus. But he didn’t seem to care and often put his arm around me or held my hand. One day we were waiting for a bus and he bought me a flower from a guy on the street. He told me it was because he felt sorry for the guy but I thought it was a sweet gesture.

On the fourth day – Phillip’s last day in Paraty before he left for Ilha Grande – we went to a beach, the name of which I can’t remember. He was supposed to meet us in the morning but when he failed to appear, I told the others to go first and I would go to his hostel. I woke him and we got the later bus.

We had to trek for an hour to reach the beach. At one point we stopped because he wanted to have sex. Because he loved hiking and being amongst nature, I think he probably got off on the idea of having sex in a forest. But I said no as even if I had wanted to, there wasn’t anywhere flat where we could have lay down.

Later that night we spoke to a Dutch couple who had also planned on going to Ilha Grande the next day. They said that all the hostels were booked out and it seemed that the three of them would have to stay in Paraty an extra day.

We drank and played cards on the patio, which was all we seemed to do every night. I asked Phillip if he wanted to go somewhere private and told him there was a private room upstairs that was being used for storage. But he said he was tired and going to bed. I was disappointed; the last time we had had sex was in my dorm two days before but really, all I wanted to have some time alone with him before he left.

We hadn’t discussed what we were going to do but the next morning the French couple and the other two girls decided they wanted to return to the beach we had visited the day before. Because Phillip had said he was staying an extra day, we walked to his hostel to tell him but when we found him, he told us that he had found a hostel and was leaving for Ilha Grande in an hour.

I had a feeling that he would go but I was still hurt that he had obviously been sitting there smoking nonchalantly for some time when he could have gone to our hostel to tell us sooner. When we said goodbye, he was sweet but he didn’t seem particularly sad. I told him to have a good time studying in Mexico before turning away to catch up with the others.

I was trying hard not to cry as we walked to the bus terminal and got the bus. I was embarrassed that I had gotten so attached to him in four days and that my feelings for him were obviously a lot stronger than his feelings for me. It was only when we started the long uphill trek to the beach that I began to feel a little better.

After a couple hours I left with the Swiss girl and we walked around the town. She’d had enough of the beach as well but I think she felt sorry for me and wanted to keep me company. Strangely enough, most of the town was still unfamiliar to me. It was small in size but we had gone on day trips every day since I arrived. In spite of my low spirits, I liked the Old Town – it had an understated charm I could appreciate.

The next day I left for Sao Paulo. It is a large city with a population of 22 million, more or less the population of Australia. It was raining for most of the time I was there but I did not have much interest in exploring. I still felt sad. It was a combination of how I felt about Phillip and being on the verge of going home. I wasn’t too upset about going home – in fact I was sort of looking forward to it – but it was strange that I was going so soon.

In the morning I packed up and got ready to leave. I walked around for a while and had lunch. Then I got a taxi to the airport where I boarded a plane to Johannesburg. And that brought an end to my five months in South America.



  1. Guto

    Hey, man
    Sorry things didn’t work out, but that was not meant to be. I’m Brazilian myself and I can say that many people who stay in hostels are looking for sex only – something I was, really, unaware of.
    Right now I’m up in a hostel hall in Rio because this dude is having sex with – what seems – like a prostitute in our shared room, so I decided to give them some privacy. My guess is he probably won’t feel as attached to her as you have felt with Philip.
    I hope you’re feeling better now. My country can make people experience their best and worst feelings. Next time you’re here, try to visit southern Brazil to have a different – but usually cool – trip. That’s where I live, so I can tell you for sure 🙂
    Take care

    • pacifictheme

      Hi Guto thanks for reading. I’m surprised that guy would bring a prostitute back to your room! Brazil is one of my favourite countries and a month was far too short so I hope to return one day for sure!

  2. Jeremy Foster

    Unfortunately, this is just the way things happens when you travel. You are forced to say hello and goodbye to people–friends, connections, lovers–on a regular, sometimes daily basis. It’s sad and isolating, but try to see the good in it! Freedom and independence are wonderful things!

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