I have been staying in hostels for 10 years now and as a result I have stayed with a lot of bad (and good) roommates. But this week in Brasilia was definitely on the extreme end of the scale!

The hostel we are staying at in Brasilia might look like your average hostel with funky designs, free breakfasts and large dorms, but it is the clientele that separate it from the pack. See Brasilia isn’t on your average backpacker’s destination list, largely due to its lack of history and focus on government services. So the people here are often single travellers who are here for study, work or passport applications. In fact, every person in our dorm has been a single male traveller (except for us of course!). This blog today is the story of three of these men. Let’s call them Mr Good, Mr Bad and Mr (very) Ugly.

Mr Good was a surprise to both of us. When he came in to the dorm I admit I was feeling a little on edge. He fit the perfect stereotype for an escaped convict! He had long greasy hair and was covered in tattoos, he had hardly any luggage and he was meticulous at making sure his locker was locked. I was more than a little concerned. But on the second day, as he was once again checking his locker, I smiled and we started up a conversation in his broken English and my very limited Portuguese. It turns out he is a traveller on his way to a festival and a forest area. He showed me some pictures of where he was going and they were beautiful. And the next day he even brought Dan a gift! It was a book on Brazilian animals, written entirely in Portuguese (challenge accepted!). It truly reinforces the idea that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or a person by their appearance!

Mr Bad was clean cut but had a creepy demeanour from the get go. I immediately said to Dan that I didn’t want to be left alone in the room with him. He had eyes that just stared through you and he never smiled while looking at you. It made me shudder. But after a few nights I came to the conclusion that he was just your average inconsiderate roommate. It wasn’t that he was looking through you in a weird way, he was literally not seeing you! Or at least I assume that’s what must have been happening because he was terribly inconsiderate. He would turn on the lights when there were people in bed, he would play loud videos when everyone else was wearing their headphones and he would always wear the same clothes, even while sleeping. He was the only person of importance in his world. But while he was a bad roommate, it was nothing that I hadn’t experienced before. In fact, there is usually one in every hostel.

So this leads me to Mr Ugly. And Ugly doesn’t even quite cut it. Ironically at first glance when he arrived, I actually thought he was normal, just another traveller. Little did I know he would go down in backpacking history as one of my worst roommates ever. First there were the little things. The constant coming and going from the room at all times of the day, the crunching of piles of plastic bags when people were sleeping and he would turn on the lights when everyone had already gone to bed.

Mr Ugly's bed. No wonder he made so much noise!
Mr Ugly’s bed was always covered in bags. No wonder he made so much noise!

But this is just Mr Bad type behaviour, this wouldn’t put him in Ugly territory.

His Ugly moment came when he spent over 45 minutes in the bathroom. I was busting for a pee and had been holding on for what felt like eternity! When he finally came out, with no word of apology, I just about leapt from my bed and ran in the bathroom. I relieved my bladder and grabbed the toilet role, and that’s when it happened. I felt it first. Something wasn’t right. So I looked down into my hand; and there it was. A white, sticky, jelly like substance. In my hand. In my previously clean hand. I dropped the toilet role on the floor and let out a silent scream! This can’t be real! But it was. 100%. Disgustingly. Real.


I wish I could tell you that I came out and gave him a loud lesson in hygiene, or that I reported him to the hostel staff. But I didn’t. Instead I booked a night at a hotel rather than extending our time at the hostel. Where we will have no one else in the room to turn on the lights in the middle of the night, or to rustle plastic bags or play loud videos. And best of all, we will have our own, clean bathroom. Bliss!


Edit: This is our clean bathroom tonight at our hotel. Definitely worth it!

Our hotel bathroom in Brasilia
Our hotel bathroom in Brasilia
South America, Stories

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