One of the bits of advice I’ve heard or read from several sources regarding long-term traveling is that it’s beneficial to get accustomed to a variety of sleeping conditions. In the journey for adventure, a few odd, random and uncomfortable bed settings are par for the course, and not only as a result of imbibing way too much. My trek across three countries thus far has landed me in everything from mattresses on the floor to three-tiered bunk beds and most recently to a hammock. While I previously as an employed person, had a taste for ultra luxe mattress accoutrements to the detriment of all other bedroom furniture, I’m not one to complain about the places where I sleep nowadays. I’m more than willing to sacrifice for the cause of a great journey and here is a compilation of some of the more interesting accommodations I’ve had throughout the trip.
This is the “Before” picture – my plush Queen size bed taking up residence in my parents’ house with my sister’s dog, Brutus, who I’ve taken as my own. Of all the material things I’ve ever owned, this is one of my prized possessions, bought on a 14 month no interest payment plan which of course I paid for on Month 13 Day 29 with my first tax return after college. The pillow top makes like a cloud and serves as a perfect sinkhole in the center for me, though now at my parents’ house, I’ve been relegated to one of the sides as my new cuddle buddy, Brutus, and sometimes my two nieces cram in there with me. More so now because of my precious Brutus, this is the ideal sleeping situation, but alas, I must travel around the world and make do with other arrangements.
For the first leg of my trip in Perú, my sleeping arrangements have mostly been the standard hostel bunk-bed jam. I spent a considerable amount of time in Puno and there was able to score my first private room with decent sized beds made for big Gringa girls, but overall nothing memorable here.
My first “cheat” as a proper backpacker. I had to stay in Guayaquil for only one night before I headed to the shrimp farm and after realizing that it was a large city with big chain hotels, I considered reaching into my loyalty points piggy jar. And what luck I had! As it turned out, I had just enough points for one night at the Marriott Courtyard. Thank you again former career in consulting that resulted in business travel and stays at various Marriotts around the world! I booked it and was practically drooling as I stumbled into the lobby looking as haggard as possible after a 28 hour bus journey from Lima. I had my iPhone ready as I entered the room because I knew a giant King size bed with loads of tube shaped pillows would be waiting to greet me. After obligatory picture was taken and my bags were on the floor, I made the obligatory faceplant on the bed and screamed out many ‘Thank yous’ to the travel gods. All was going great until I got a little carried away and while lying in bed with my cup of tea resting on my belly (because that’s what I do when I feel like a total baller) and flipping through the channels, I had an unexpected sneeze. As you could imagine I couldn’t secure the cup in time and it spilled on the middle of the bed. I was relegated to the side for the rest of the night. Boo.
After my fancy night in the Marriott, there was more bunk bed action in the shrimp farm dormitories. After this, I headed to Montañita and spent my first night outside. Well it was on a terrace and I was amongst many other little beds fitted with mosquito nets. All together we looked like some sort of human breeding project with cocoons.
Then there was the triple decker in Cali – by far, my favorite sleeping accommodation to date. I should take a little side wander here and note that along the way in this trip, I developed an intense fear of drunk men in the dorms peeing on me in the middle of the night. I had heard way too many stories about guys being drunk and doing something completely random like opening a clothing drawer and pissing inside because they thought it was the toilet. As I didn’t want to become a victim of any R. Kelly joke reenactments, I then decided that I would always sleep on the top bunk when in a questionable dorm situation. When I walked into this hostel in Cali, I was overjoyed at the sight of a triple bunk bed. I thought, “Whoa, they completely get me here!” There’s no way any lunatic would come all the way up there to relieve himself. I actually ended up deciding that the middle bunk would be sufficient as I was actually more worried about climbing that high with all of my gear.
Last but not least, during my recent stay over the weekend in Parque Tayrona, I went all rustic and slept in a hammock for three days. I have mixed feelings about this. When I think of hammock, I think of total rest and relaxation and lazy days. Therefore, sleeping in a hammock throughout the night should be this wonderfully peaceful experience. It’s not. It took me the one and a half nights to finally perfect the optimal position for proper rest and relaxation. I couldn’t sleep straight in the hammock because my feet would get tingly after a while and then there was no real neck support. For the first night, I barely slept. During the second night, I managed to bunch my hair up into a pillow of sorts (yes, I’m scared as well that I can actually do this) and maneuvered diagonally to sleep with all of my limbs at the same level. This worked relatively well and I slept fine. Then during the third night, some obnoxious British teenagers tried hopelessly to round third base in the hammock next to me and it killed the serene mood I was feeling.
Stay tuned as I’m sure this list of interesting sleeping accommodations will grow with time!