Chaotic start numero uno
We had to decide spontaneously, very spontaneously. It was 7pm Saturday. We’re in Buenos Aires and the apartment lease ended on Sunday. Yes, the Sunday in 5 hours not 8 days. So I booked flights to Rio de Janeiro, only to realize after pressing “confirm booking” that our flight leaves not at 6pm (what I thought), but 6am. The problem with this was that we have not yet arranged a time with the rental service/owner of the apartment to give back keys…
Also had to drop some stuff off at a friend’s place and go out for dinner (whoever was in Buenos Aires knows that this can take forever, and I mean forever). Called the company, explained them my major screw up. “No problem, when do you want me to be there? ” was the answer. Ok, still wasn’t sure if he really understood what I’d told him. With my most calm and apologizing voice I said “4am, MORNING”. “Ok, just write an Email and confirm and somebody will show up. Phewww, couldn’t believe this just happened. Argentinians are among the friendliest and most sociable people. But still, I did not expect somebody to get up before 4am on Sunday (or not going to sleep being more likely) because I clicked some buttons without looking closely enough (do you see the analogy to poker lifestyle ;) ). The company´s name is buenosaireshabitat.com. They are the best when it comes to professionalism and service. A bit more pricey on the downside, but anyways, wanted to drop a thank you by mentioning them.
Arriving in Rio, Chaos part 2 or in carioca slang: “doysh”
My first mistake. Got lucky. Arrived safely in Rio. They didn’t have internet at that part of airport and frankly, we had no idea which part of the city to go. Just in case you think I’m a space head, I’m not. I create those situations on purpose (not the misclick booking) to have a challenge and increase my “bite through skills”. Travelling without having everything planed in detail is adventurous and fun. It’s the best way to learn a foreign language and how the country works. Learning by doing. Anyways, still had some hostel on my browser, so here we go, have at least an address. Also said Copacabana, so hostel near beach, why not. Sounded like a great start. Cabby was driving into a very small side road, houses looked pretty crappy and we’re basically waiting to get stopped and mugged. Here is a picture of the entrance. A completely bored and lazy guy sitting at the front desk. We book one room. Get to the “rooms”. I have never really understood why first impressions can be such a useful thing…
Air is a disgusting combination of mouldy, sweaty and cheeeesy feet and old walls that are slowly being eaten up by fungus. But that isn’t enough… Two huge and extremely loud fans (don’t even think that air conditioning is available) ensures that all the “air” gets pushed from corner to corner in the room. Sleeping on the top bed means to get the shit wave passed on every other minute. Needless to say, Maggy won the flip and I had to take the top bed. Karma in ya face. Took a test nap. I asked Maggy how it was “down there”. “Better than being directly underneath a helicopter like you” :). The metal of the mattress drilled itself into my back, while the texture of the sheets was a mixture of moisture, sweat and slimy mucus. I´ve seen inside KGB prisons while living in Russia, stayed in metal containers in Ushuaia (southern Argentina), and they seemed like 5 star hotels compared to this place. If the pictures are horrifying, I have to tell you that they are not representative for how it was. Not at all. It was worse, way worse than any picture could tell. I´m waiting for the days when everybody has a smell-camera. Blackout guaranteed.
If I had just taken a closer look…
They do have Wifi though, so I turn on my laptop and search for reviews of this place. When opening the site (without looking further) in BA before going out, their ratings were 71%, so I was clearly fooled by numbers. A closer look to the reviews showed:
“Shit hole. Do NOT stay there”
“Absolutely disgusting, had no idea what I was doing”
Then a guy who gave them a 100% rating (highest possible) said “Great place to stay. The only problem was a few bed bugs but the guys sorted the problem out as soon as we said and there were no problems after.”
Really? What the fck is wrong with you dude? You had bed bugs but still giving 100% for the place? Maybe that was some 7th level irony, but I quickly realized how this place would manage a 71% rating instead of the mandatory 2,05% (can’t give them 0%, it didn’t rain through the roof).
Btw, 71% is still terrible, but I clearly had no idea HOW bad it was. Still a beginner when it comes to hostels.
Next evaluation was “best hostel in south america” with 95% rating. Haha, maybe this is really filled with irony. Or the owner booked himself a room and didn’t give a 100% rating so not every single idiot out there would see what was going on.
Playing investigative agent
Ok, this has become interesting. Sadly I couldn´t take more pictures. The camera said it was a disgrace to the lenses. When investigating the standing of the utilities, I loved the implied irony in random signs saying stuff like “hot water here” or my favorite “don’t crap on the floor out of respect for …. “ (this was inside the bathroom). Usually when stuff like that has to be mentioned, it is for a reason. What would you think if you look for a place to move with your kids and there are tons of signs saying “molesting and raping children is forbidden” … Ehm yay, this is getting great.
A great header for this place would be “Come with sweat, leave with shit”. When you go to take a shower in this place, you make the shower cleaner and your body dirtier. And no, that brown smelly stuff on the floor is not medical mud.
Double irony though is the statement “out of respect for…”. En serioooo friends, whoever put up this dirty hole, where only ants, rats and bed bugs feel at home, out of all people, how can YOU dare to use the word “respect” ?
Pussying out or showing some balls 8) haha ?
Right now is 6pm. We already took a walk on the beach and some lil streets to feel out the city. We do have the chance to leave this place. But hey, it’s too easy to just leave. I’ve got a grim sense of humor so making the best out of it is my motto here. No matter what will happen, I will not forget this night.