Posts Tagged ‘hostel’

Just when you thought it was over.

You’d think I’d be used to that good feeling every town has when you arrive but nope.  It fades after the first day.  I lay awake last night in the Same Sun Hostel listening to the sound of buskers and hustlers in the streets calling out in the night and thought twice about living in the city.  Today I checked out a few slums that weren’t bad until I checked out this one way out of town.  The whole way there I was like, “No I can’t live here.  It’s too far from everything.” but the view was beautiful and the area was peaceful.

The guy didn’t seem to want me there, eyeing the guitar on my back for fear it would disturb his peaceful little household.  I told him I’d think about it then walked off with no money for the bus to get back into town.  Having no money to get somewhere seemed like a silly problem after getting here from Ontario without paying for rides.  I came to the sudden decision to go to Victoria and back on the road I was.

It didn’t take long.  Roger pulled up, sipping a beer and sweeping the garbage off the seat with his arm.  He offered me the choice of cd and I picked Cake which we grooved down the road to.  He took me to North Vancouver and was like, “Dude!  I think I just took you way out of your way.”  He showed me on my map where we were and where to catch the ferry to Victoria and they were pretty much opposite sides of the map.  He said he’d like to help me out but he had to go fight with his girlfriend.  So he left me at a gas station across from a KFC.


I stood on the side of the road with my big bristol board sign yelling “Van City, Baby!!”  at the top of my lungs to the no one that was around and then laughing about it to myself.  It was a tough spot with fast traffic but I didn’t have to wait to long.  A girl named Alyssa picked me up on her way back from partying in Kelowna for the weekend.  She’s from Vancouver so she drove me all the way there.

She started out with a kind of psychic link with the cars in front of us (telling them calmly to get out of her way and they’d actually move) which turned into road rage the closer we got to the city.  We got honked at a few times, honked at a few people, got the finger, gave the finger, passed some cars via the shoulder, made great time I think.

We talked about music and bands and she said I should go to the Cobalt for Metal Wednesdays which sounds cool.  Last bar I was at that would play metal is closed down now (Traffic.  Barrie.  Goodtimes. *tear*)  She knows a lot of musicians and plays the keyboards herself.  I told her how I sang in a heavy band for awhile and now I was just writing my own stuff.  I shared a clever line that I had which she laughed at but I then ruined by laughing too much myself.  I made sure to get her email as she dropped me off at the hostel so we could jam some time.  I can’t wait to play in a band again.  Gotta make it happen.

Maybe it’s because I fixed it as my destination in my head or maybe because I’m sick of not having a home base but walking around here it feels like it’d be a comfortable place to live.  Feels like home.

Distance despite deterioration

Determination despite distraction

We were at Stricklers Grape Orchard in Penticton hoping to make some money for the weekend but apparently the checks don’t get cut until Monday and a $30 advance is out of the question.

So me and this guy Peter who I walked up to the Orchard with were offered a ride to Kelowna from an old guy named Brian (different Brian, different Peter.  Strange patterns of names on this trip:  I met two Eleanors and a Rebecca in Regina and two Lauras and a Rebecca in Calgary and now another set of Brian and Peter.  I wonder what that’s supposed to mean)

Brian was a ‘you should’ve been there’ smoker.  An old hippie with some traveling stories of his own.  He told me how he got stuck in the rain hitchhiking one night so he went off the side of the road to sleep, wrapped in a few garbage bags to stay dry, and woke up to an ambulance and some guys coming down with a stretcher.  Apparently there had been about 4 calls that night about a dead body stashed on the side of the road.

Brian and Peter were both very eccentric, going off on individual tangents that would end them up talking about completely different things by time the listened to each other, frustrating and confusing both of them and thoroughly entertaining me.

We picked apples in Kelowna for a middle eastern family who didn’t speak english very well, frustrating and aggravating Brian to no end.  I refered him to an apple farmer I had worked for earlier in the week who was very friendly and white and didn’t pay as much but is probably who Brian will go work for on Mon.  He’d been off the sauce for 10 days and counting and was very indecisive causing Peter, who was very opinionated and outspoken, to lose it at every snap decision.

Another night a the Kelown hostel..

Big Al!  Save my life.  I thought I’d never get out of Peachland with the sunset and all.  Or at least to the hostel in time for check in.  Big Al had a smooth, relaxing voice that raised in pitch mid sentence making a calming tone.  The door handles inside where missing and the wind whistled past the door crack the whole ride which I didn’t bother fixing.  He knew the guy working at the hostel that night and actually had travelled to Victoria with him.  I think I’ll live in Victoria instead of Vancouver.  I got the member discount for coming with Big Al.  Cool Shit!

1)This town is burning down

now exit as directed

Made a sound when it hit the ground

though the damage was deceptive

The people flee in anarchy

there seems to be no sanity

Lets get these stubborn souls some safety quickly

2) Surprised to find

the fine line

between the hippies

and the hustlers

I awoke and looked out the window.  The forest is full of smoke!!  I burnt down Banff!

I soon realized that’s just what clouds look like against the mountains..

The decision to leave came early and suddenly as I looked at myself in the mirror at the Banff hostel and realized I couldn’t stop until I got to Van City.  I had been tossing around the idea of getting a job cooking in Banff and staying there for awhile.  But I couldn’t settle yet.  So I wrote a sign – VAN – and headed out.  I chuckled to myself as I pondered peoples reaction to reading the sign; “Why’s he want a ride in a van specifically?”

I hiked through the woods in an estimated shortcut to the highway guided by pure direction sense.  And to my surprise I was right.  I got picked up walking the road to the highway exit and got whisked to an exit on the other side of Banff, to my advantage but making my intuitive hike through the wilderness futile.

Nice guy.  If I’d recorded this earlier I could probably recall something memorable but no impression was left except that he thought he might see me again.  Oh yeah, and his name was Kenny.

Awake. Blue.

Shit, that’s a lot of smoke! As I pull on my boots the grass right in front of me bursts into flames.  After some good stomping it was back down to the water then back up the mountain again.  Mental note, next time build the fire closer to the water.  What a terrible trip to lay on someone on about an hours sleep in three days, sexually frustrated and full of booze.

We spent the morning in the girls’ truck, getting out of some light rain.  A little too light to ease my mind..

The rain stopped and some sun came out and the girls decided to leave.  We took some pictures together and exchanged emails.  Me and Dylan decided to go for one last hike in the woods.  We made our way back around the the campsite.  There was some smoke..

“Shit!  This dead tree’s about to go right up!” He’s right!

“You watch it, I’ll get water!”  Down I go, back up, find the fire again.  You know the drill.  We both made certain it was out this time, digging up any parts around that looked iffy.  It had been burrowing under the big rock we built it by, spreading through the moss and popping up in unexpected places.  We cut it off at every end and left it for good.  It would be ironic if I started a forest fire when I came out here with the idea of helping out with the forest fires.  Maybe I can put this on my resume?

Dylan hung around ’til 4:20 and left me at the hostel.  I slept.

So I wake up.  Black.  Where am I?  Saskatoon?  Gotta get back to the hostel..  Oh wait, I remember.  I’m camping.

Shouldn’t the fire be inside the circle?  I should do something about that.  Stomp Stomp.  That’s not working.  Water?  No?  This is serious..  Beer?  Tears roll down my cheeks as the heavenly liquid screams and evaporates on the embers.  Still some heaters more liquids…?  Well maybe one.  Zzip.

That should do it..

So I wake up.  Dark blue.  Uh-oh.  That’s spreading.  Water in the car GO.  Up the mountain.  Locked door. Locked door.  Open door!  Sweet.  I tried not to wake up the girls, who were sleeping in their truck next to Dylan’s car, but I couldn’t get the door shut so I had to slam it a few times and eventually leave it which the girls later said they thought was someone trying to break in.  So I’m barrelin down the mountain with empty water bottles to the lake at the bottom.

On my way up I lost track of the campsite.  Can’t find the fire.  Can’t find the fire.  There it is!  With the water and some stomping with a rock – with one to my finger that blood-blistered my fingertip and bruised the nail – it was out.  Pretty much..

Her name was Christine and she was going to be in BC next week so we should meet up.  She gave me her email which she says she doesn’t check very often so this is a real long shot.  Her “dude” didn’t seem to think he “wasn’t really her boyfriend” but he was real nice nonetheless.  They had a cool van full of a bed and sink and stuff.  One window was smashed in to prevent locking the keys inside.

They dropped me off at the hostel around 8 or so and I walked in right in time for pancakes.  I had one with a cup of coffee which is probably why I couldn’t sleep.  I’ve known myself to drink a coffee when I’m tired and pass right out only to wake up in an hour full of energy.  Not this time though.  I stared at the bunk above me for about half an hour and resolved myself to hittin the road.

Banff bound, I packed up everything, strapped it on my back and hoofed it to the bus stop


A ride to the bar is a ride nonetheless, though I had no idea how far it would take me.  It started with a movie.  Riding In Cars With Boys.  “We wont pick out a chick flick”,  claimed these two girls I’d been hanging out with.  We’d gone to Cowboys the night before for $1 draft which sounds good but they were, like, dixie cups and rancid.  One of the girls got food poisoning.  At any rate, Cowboys was huge and crazy and tonight we were taking it easy.

The movie was funny for what I saw but I left around where it started getting to the serious part, mainly because this dude we were watching the movie with was heading out to the bar with these two other girls that wanted to get going.

Adam was his name.  He was thinking about checking out a couple of underground type DJs that were supposed to be playing but the girls wanted to go to “The Palace”.  You’ve been there.  It’s your standard hootchie bar, choking with perfume and Axe deodorant.

The lineup stretched halfway down the block so we left the girls to find out where the DJs were playing.  It took searching the town to the point of abandoning all hope to end up at The Underground at 1 am.  Looking for the silver lining I figured I wouldn’t spend much if I was only drinking for an hour.  $12 cover!  MuthrFuckr!  Oh well, beers must be cheap.  Lets try a Grasshopper.  $5.25!  Shit.  Well, here I am.  Might as well enjoy the situation.

Adam tells me a few things to lighten the situation.  Things like:  “I just heard it’s open til 7 am here” and “this place makes me wanna do E”.  We found two Blue Mushroom pills were supposedly heavy with speed.  I knew I was feeling the effects when I asked the girl standing across from me how she was doing.  It was her first time here in 12 years.  “How old are you?”, “How old do you think?”, “26” lowballing even though it didn’t make sense with the 12 years thing, “30, how old are you?”, “22”, “Hahahahaha”.  She reminds me of someone I don’t remember but would have gone for Hallowe’en as a sexy kitty-cat.  I gave up on her after awhile whether because of lack of focus from me or interest from her.

I wound up dancing with this Quebecois chick with a Sailor Moon hairdo and some dude she said “wasn’t really her boyfriend”.  I literally danced non-stop all night until 7 in the morning when even the DJ was surprised there was so many of us still there.  Adam left with a girl some time earlier so I got a ride back to the hostel with the french chick and her guy..


Did I write this already?  No, that was an email.

I was waiting not ten minutes, I had a good spot by a stop sign headed to the highway, when this guy from New Zealand picked me up.  He’d travelled around a lot and was now investigating insurance claims in Calgary.  He told me about a friend he had in Scotland who owned a hostel by a castle.  I forget the name.  Rock something?  I don’t know.  But yeah, I should check out Scotland sometime..

He was settled with his wife and kids now and his buddy is still traveling which he envies so I said, “Wellp.  The grass is always greener.”

Good convo.  Easier to talk to than anyone else today.  Maybe I’m just waking up.  He drove me around Calgary a bit so I could get my bearings.  He dropped me off where he thought the Y was but it turned out to be the YWCA.  So I found the nearest HI hostel which is really nice..  but yeah, good rides today.  Friendly people around here