O brother, where art thou pants?

Posted on / by Alex Berger

Mount Fitz Roy Boots

Still recovering from our 22km hike through the rain and wind we collapsed into our beds and began to relax, rehydrate and unwind.  Thoroughly tuckered we decided to wash up, nap briefly, then strike out for food and a fancy dinner, it was – after all – Christmas Eve.

Earlier in the day we had stopped by the front desk and using our best broken Spanish asked the girl working it about bus information for the following morning.  She had promised to track down the information and let us know times and the specifics for the reservation.

After a while my Norwegian roommate opted for the first shower and headed into the bathroom.  I’d long since stripped off my damp shirt and was relaxing in my jeans while the other American read and relaxed in his bunk.  We could hear the wind gusting outside and couldn’t help but shiver. It had continued to grow in intensity since our hike ended and keeping with the chilly theme the temperature had dropped off quickly.

Shortly there after there was a gentle knock on the door.  Closest to it I rolled out of bed without bothering to put a shirt on and opened it. It was the attractive 20-something girl from the front desk.  She had stopped by to deliver an update with bus information for the other American.  As he set down his book and prepared to cross the room, I motioned that she was welcome to enter the room. The room itself opened up to the outside where the wind was gusting strongly and driving a stinging (albeit) light rain.  Not exactly the most pleasant weather for a conversation.

Unfortunately, that’s when it happened.  To this day I’m not sure what motivated him, perhaps he heard the knock on the external door and assumed it was on the bathroom door. Perhaps it was just the sound of a female voice. Either way, as she stepped forward slightly and looked into the room, the door to the bathroom opened and there, with a slightly stunned look on his face, stood our Norwegian roommate as naked as the day he was born. No towel, no boxers, not even so much as a sock. He paused momentarily in the middle of the open doorway, looked around briefly, yelped and hopped back deeper into the bathroom quickly slamming the door shut.

Stunned, my immediate response was an, “Oh, what the !@#@!?” which was immediately followed by a yelp of surprise from the girl as she jumped backwards, threw her hands to her mouth and quickly said, “Chicos, Chicos! No! No! Yo tengo un novio!”  aka “Boys, Boys! No! No! I have a boyfriend”.  Nearly in tears from stunned, traumatized, and awkward laughter I apologized profusely, got the bus information, tried to explain that it was unintentional and just as surprising/traumatizing for us before bidding her goodbye. In retrospect, it really couldn’t have looked any worse. I’d answered the door shirtless, invited her in, only to have a naked man more or less jump out of the bathroom. No doubt we left a lasting impression.

The humorous, awkward and ridiculous nature of the whole thing was such that it didn’t really leave me mad – though stunned? Definitely. I will say it highlighted differing views on nudity between cultures brilliantly, as well as drove home the reality of the quirky situations you stumble into while hosteling. Needless to say male nudity isn’t something that’s normally a part of my day…week…or even month, and in truth is something I actively seek to avoid. Ultimately though, it makes for one hell of a funny story.

Have you had something similar happen while on the road?  Feel free to share it in the comments!

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.

One Comment

  • Bryan H
    April 15, 2011

    Haha, oh man this is one of those awkward yet hilarious stories that seems to be like sprinkles to a cake of life. Yeah you could go through life without them (just like cake icing sprinkles), but it’s so much better with them just to be able to share it (not the cake though, that’s all mine).


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