Well, I suppose this little sign has all the information you need if you decide to stay at the Hitchhikers Backpackers Hostel in Lima, Peru. Here’s a link to their web page (warning…EVERY web page based in Peru is all flash animated so they take a hundred years to fire up and they give you a headache to look at).
In case you’re wondering, the backpacker culture is fairly out of control in Peru. Most of the time when you head to places like this, you end up in a bunk bed in a room with 7 or 8 other people. Most of them are dudes (and dudettes) with dreadlocks who are secretly investment bankers back in their native Geneva or Paris…but when they find out you’re an American they’ll be extremely judgmental as if you’re the only bastard capitalist (seriously, it’s better to say that you’re Canadian).
These guys will be fun enough…but if you go out for drinks you better make sure you go up to the bar and order each and every one of your beers, otherwise when the check comes you’ll be stuck with it. Make it absolutely clear to the bartender that you’re not on the tab with the rest of them, otherwise they’ll make you pay. It’s frickin’ ridiculous.
No, I never stayed at these places more than once or twice. The thing is, most of these “Backpacker” hostels are actually more expensive than a private room with your own TV and shower. I’m not sure what the deal is. Maybe they were just the first ones to figure out how to use the internet to advertise (so they can charge more and get reservations…which is another frickin’ ridiculous concept for a Backpacker).
But all this being said…some of the Backpackers out there are legitimate. The only thing is that legitimate Backpackers really aren’t all that welcome at Backpacker hostels. Sort of like how Edgar Allan Poe would have been unwelcome at your high school writer’s group.
My friend Rex Chatterman used to live at one of these places while he was working as an English teacher in Peru. Every day he’d get up, get out of his bunk, put on a suit and tie and go to work. Somehow, being a suit and tie wearing businessman in a backpacker hostel seems much more rebellious than stiffing people for beer and overpaying for dope (all while being pretentious), but that’s just me.