FOR seven years I had been travelling alone. Then came along my boyfriend. Some backpackers would say that could throw a spanner in the works and at first I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. But, my boyfriend of two years has fit into the world of backpacking surprisingly well, despite a few moments when he was obviously completely overwhelmed by the lack of comforts when travelling this way.
I had similar thoughts when I started backpacking in 2007. How do I shower and get changed in a shower cubicle with no bench or hangers? How do you hang up the wet clothes that can’t go in the dryer? And what happens if you need to rest during the hours you are not permitted into the hostel, due to cleaning?
Last night, while in San Francisco, due to washing our clothes late, we ran out of time to get them all dry. Thus, the question how do you dry clothes without a clothes horse or dryer, in a room where there are no hooks? Lets just say this was the question or straw that broke the camels (my boyfriend’s) back.
This morning, after temporarily checking out of our hostel (room change), we took our 15 items of clothing to the nearby park, which had a couple of picnic tables and chairs. We laid all the clothes out in the sun and waited for two hours until they dried.
Queue the National Parks officer and accompanying police officer. I don’t know if there was a complaint made about “two hood-rats” loitering or two homeless people airing their clothes, but the two men with badges came an d grilled/interogated us. Their first question, which was very obvious was: “what are you two doing here”. To which I replied: “Trying to dry our clothes because the hostel laundry wasn’t open until 4pm”. He said “do you two have any alcohol or marjuana on you?” I innocently said: “No”. To which he asked another question about when the last time I smoked any marjuana. My next response shocked me, as I never lie to police, but I said it without thinking: “2004” (it was actually 2008). And then I followed that up with “We are good, I promise”.