I booked my very first hostel over the phone. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, because I wasn’t entirely clear on the concept of a hostel. I barely knew what a visa was.
When the woman at the Kinlay House Hostel in Dublin answered in an Irish accent, I nearly fainted with excitement. A real live Irish person!
Foreigners were a rarity in Indiana. Sometimes someone from Texas or Florida rolled into town, but that was as close to exotic as it got.
After four days of tentatively reaching out to other travelers in Dublin, I got on a bus to the west coast of Ireland. I had randomly chosen Galway to be my base for the next four months of my working holiday visa.
It was an inspired choice, a walkable town with compact city center encapsulating all that I wanted out of Ireland – lively pubs, cobbled streets, vividly painted doors and shopfronts. I heaved my gigantic suitcase from the bottom of the bus and made my way across town to the Sleepzone Hostel.
Even dragging my monstrous luggage over the uneven stones didn’t dampen my spirits. I was so pleased with my new home that I gave an overly friendly ‘Hello’ to everyone I passed.
Secretly, I was hoping for a ‘Top o’the mornin’ to ya,’ in reply, but 1) it was afternoon and 2) I didn’t encounter any leprechauns.
I was on a pretty residential alley, nearly at the hostel, when I noticed a man striding briskly towards me. He was short, about 5’5″, wearing a calf-length trench coat. His hair was slicked back in an Elvis-style pompadour, which looked weird even from a distance. I hoped he would step to the side of the narrow sidewalk so my luggage and I could roll past.
He did veer slightly to the right, but his open coat was flapping in the breeze, taking up extra space. I was going to get walloped by trench coat as I passed.
I smiled anyway, the ‘hello’ forming on my lips, when I saw it.
His coat wasn’t the only thing flapping in the breeze.
There was his penis, hanging out of his zipper, swinging wildly as he walked.
I gasped and averted my eyes. Exactly the kind of reaction he was looking for.
A creepy, satisfied grin spread across his face. His coat whacked me on the leg. I stumbled, nearly tipping my suitcase over.
Without looking back, I racewalked the rest of the way to the Sleepzone.
Not quite what I had in mind when it came to meeting the locals.
Want more like this? Click over to Strange Encounters: London.