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Saturday

Morning in Morro

continuation from previous post

After a quick shower in the ensuite bathroom - where I tried to make as much noise as possible to annoy my new bed buddies - I stepped out of our mini bungalow and into the hostel courtyard area.

The sky was grey and the clouds above looked ominous.  The grass and mud squelched underneath my feet as I walked towards the kitchen for some breakfast.

I peered inside to see dozens of used pots, pans and plates stacked high in almost every usable space.  A few flies buzzed around lazily, probably morbidly obese from the scraps they had gleaned off the used tableware.  I'm sure if I looked closely enough, I probably would have seen entirely new lifeforms evolving off these plates.

At this point, a woman appeared in one of the doorways leading into another small room off the kitchen.

'Breakfast?' I enquired hopefully in Portuguese.

She bounded towards one of the stacks of kitchenware, lifted a few pots and plates, and wordlessly scurried back into the room she'd come from, taking them with her.

I went to sit at the outdoor table while I waited for breakfast.  It was still very early in the morning, but the hostel owner was awake.

'Goooooooood MORNING!!!!' he practically beamed at me, his larger-than-life greeting slightly rattling my sleep deprived brain.

'And how was your night?' Aaron continued.  'I hope you slept well, yes?!'

I stared at him blankly.  Was he serious?  Where should I begin?  The loud music blaring outside the door that kept me up till nearly 2am?  The air-conditioning unit that could only manage two settings (Arctic Circle subzero or nothing)? The mosquitoes that literally hounded me for some blood all night?  The weirdly built bathroom with exterior walls that only went three quarters of the way up?  The fact that I didn't have my own bed?  The fact that all the girl who shacked up with us did little else other than snore and gently dribble onto my pillow every now and then?

All I could do was sigh.

'Yeah,' I replied flatly.  'It went well.'

By this time, breakfast had arrived.  It consisted of a small portion of very runny scrambled eggs, a slice of soggy toast and plastic cup half-filled with watered down orange juice that was probably re-watered down.  Twice.  The woman from the kitchen plopped all of this down in front of me unceremoniously and disappeared again.

I looked down at the plate, and then at Aaron carefully to check for a response.  He seemed quite unconcerned.  I reluctantly tucked into the food and made idle conversation with him.

Aaron was Israeli.  Probably mid thirties.  I could definitely picture him and his blond, bushy dreadlocks sat on a beach somewhere in Goa, swaying to New Age music while smoking some weed, and gushingly declaring to anyone who'd listen that he had finally 'discovered' himself.

He talked and talked about his life story.  Which was just as well, as I was in no such mood to engage in two-way conversation.  Before Brazil, he'd lived in California and ran a business, before selling up and somehow landed up in Morro de Sao Paulo, where he set up the hostel I had the pleasure of spending a night in.

Soon, the three Brits who I had travelled with up to Morro from Salvador woke up and joined me at the table for some watery eggs and mouldy toast.

Aaron tore away from the table for a second to answer a phone call, finally giving me the chance to speak to them in private.

'So, guys,' I began with feigned casualness.  'How did you find last night?'

They didn't beat around the bush.

'It was fucking awful,' replied Neil promptly.  'Aaron wouldn't give me my own room even though there's three of us, so he gave me a mattress to put on the floor!'

'We have to leave,' stated Debs rather dramatically.

I let out a sigh of relief, being glad I wasn't the only one who suffered through the night, and began relaying the story of the previous night's events.

We finished breakfast quickly, and once the rain died down, set off to look at the other hostels on the island.  We found one on the next beach.  It was a small, family-run affair.  A little basic, but  comfortable enough.

'Will I have to share a bed with someone?' was my one and only question.

'No...?' the hostel receptionist looked at me, slightly confused.

'I'll take it.'

The four of us quickly returned to our old hostel to get our belongings and move out.  When Aaron heard that we were checking out, he promptly threw his hands up in the air and wailed.

'But whyyyyy?!' he drew out his words.  'What is the problem?  Please stay!  Please!  Business is not good.  You stay six days I give you one day free.  OK?  Stay!'

At this point his was flailing his arms in the air in desperation.

'You didn't sleep last night?' he continued.  'Was it the bed?  You want new sheets?  You don't like the sheets? Why do people leave like this so much?!'

I stared at him dumbfounded.  Could he really be this clueless? Did he really have no idea?

I decided to just keep my mouth shut, smile painfully and nod my head wordlessly until we were out of the textbook example of how not to run a hostel and on our way to our new place.

Once we checked in, I, the only occupant in my new room, sank into my new king-sized bed and fell asleep.

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What an amazing way to see Morro like I've never seen it before. Surrounded by sea otters, harbor seals, manta rays, schools of colorful jellyfish, egrets, herons, seagulls, osprey. Nice place.

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