Well, they may or may not have had sex in the dorm room last night – my head was covered entirely by my pillow so that I wouldn’t hear anything that I didn’t want to hear.
So this is what happened. At around 3.30 in the early morning, an obnoxious German backpacker comes into our 8 person hostel dorm (which is full), turns on every single light, and practically shouts “It’s all about having sex!”. So weird and extremely antisocial. Everyone else in the room is pissed off, shushes him and tells him to turn out the lights, to which he responds “I’m coming back in ten minutes with a girl and we’re going to have sex” and leaves the room without turning off any of the lights.
Around thirty minutes later, our German chum does indeed return to the room with a girl in tow. She is coyer than him (although not coy enough to not have sex in an 8 person dorm) and will only whisper while he carries on talking in his German drone that wakes everybody up again. I saw him summon the girl to his bed in the dark and then I put my pillow over my head, trying and failing to get back to sleep for another two hours.
While I know that this isn’t the typical behaviour of a lot of backpackers, this happened after a day of feeling very isolated from everyone around me, and it hasn’t exactly given me any faith in the hostel experience, which I’ve uniformly hated aside from my hostel stay in Bangkok. Before I started traveling this year, I had never stayed in a dorm room before, and I had read that it makes it easier to meet people when you are traveling alone. Except, I’ve hardly ever spoken to anyone I’ve shared a room with and the only times I’ve really felt lonely on my travels is when I’ve stayed in a hostel.
When I stay in a hostel I am reminded of just how hetero-normative the world is, and how the lovely little gay world that I’ve created for myself isn’t typical at all. I probably shouldn’t feel shocked to find myself around straight boys making really stupid comments about girls when I stay in a hostel, but it does shock me, and makes me question whether I really want to be traveling when I don’t have to deal with any of that kind of nonsense at home. So after staying in a hostel in lovely Hoi An for a few nights, and having to deal with dorm room sex, I actually feel like the place that I most want to be is in London with my friends, as far away from Vietnam as possible.
Hopefully that feeling will change as I continue on my travels – but upon leaving Hoi An I am making a promise to myself that I will never stay in a hostel again.