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  • Estefania Mitre

How Frida Kahlo shifted my first hostel experience.



I recently traveled to Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. In case you don't know where it is located, just imagine a paradisaical point on a map in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Commonly, newlyweds spend their honeymoon at the best resorts and experiences from French Polynesia. In my case, I solely traveled to compete at a dance competition and for educational purposes, that also means, I was on a budget. I stayed in a hostel for two weeks, which if I am completely sincere, I will not do it again. I traveled with my dance group from Mexico; we were twenty-one participants, and to top it off most of us did not get along. My group of friends consisted of three girls and I.

When you stay in a hostel, you get to meet people from all over the world. Unfortunately, my friends and I, stumbled upon a French old man. This man tried to break into our room (it was a room exclusively for women, we were around fourteen girls in one room), he had a bottle of wine in his tiny tiny hands, and between his fingers, he had two glasses of wine. He wanted to have a drink and "make love with beautiful Mexican women." He claimed he had visited Mexico City 20 years ago and "made love" to a "beautiful" Mexican woman who resembled Frida Khalo. No offense, but in my opinion, she's not the best imagery of Mexican beauty. We kicked him out, locked the room and continued with our lives.

Days went by, and no one believed our story, especially the Frida Kahlo part. Everyone laughed at us when we told them about a man who tried "to make love to a beautiful woman like the one he met in Mexico City years ago and looked exactly like Frida Kahlo." We told the other girls to be careful. We were mostly women on that floor, and some of them would stay up until 2-3 am, or come back until early morning from bars and pubs. However, since drama and conflict drained the relationship with the other girls, they chose not to believe our story.

Until THAT day arrived. It was a cloudy morning, and everything indicated that the rain was coming. Everyone decided to take a shower before we made our way to the Artistic Conservatory of French Polynesia, a place where we had dance classes the entire week.

I, as usual, woke up last, I do not feel ashamed to say that I need my 7-hours of sleep, so I was still in bed. Then, all of a sudden, I heard someone screaming. On the same floor, there were three rooms, a mini living room, a kitchen, two restrooms, six collective showers, and around 20 tenants- see, now you can feel my pain.

After I heard the scream, I wondered what would have happened. One of the girls broke into the room swearing in Spanish, (Crazy Old Man) "Pinche viejillo loco." Then we all asked her what had happened and whose scream was that. She then proceeds to tell us that an old French man was completely naked walking around the living room and tried to enter one of the showers while one of the girls was still inside. Though I was not the one inside of the shower I felt so mad at this man, being in such a wonderful island like Tahiti and having to go through these ugly experiences.

Fortunately, that was our last day in the hostel, still, as good Latinas we made our voices heard; we voiced all our complaints to the receptionist and how we all wanted to kick the french old man out of the hostel. We spoke to the manager, and despite all our efforts, that did not happen. I hope that man is doing good and found his way back to his "beautiful" Frida Kahlo lover.

Ultimately, weigh off your options before you travel. Consider the place where you are traveling, take in mind that perhaps staying at a hostel on an island in the middle of nowhere, is not the best idea. By the time I started planning my trip, most of the hotels were already booked and I thought staying in a hostel would be somehow a great idea. Plan ahead, look for an Airbnb even if that means you will spend more money —it’ll be totally worth it— and avoid at any cost these types of experiences, though funny, they can easily get out of hand.


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