Saturday, February 5, 2011

The First Arrivals

 It all started with a phone call in mid-December. Manuel, the general manger of Palm Tree Hostel (the first hostel in Medellín) called to inquire of the status of The Wandering Paisa. I told him we had mattresses in the beds and a few other amenities but were still fixing things and with that, we began to collect the overflow of visitors from the surrounding hostels.

Our first official guest was Luis, a businessman from Bogota who was looking for an alternative to the pricey hotels on La 70. He had stayed in hostels before, but what sent him in our direction was our statement on “drugs in Colombia” Luis only stayed the weekend, but has since, referred other Bogotanos as well as returned for a 2nd visit.

Our first group of visitors that we recieved had just finished an 8-day sailing trip from Panama to Colombia. The trip was only supposed to last 4 days, but bad weather had them stuck on an island for an extra 4, with no clean clothes and running out of food. The creature comforts of The Wandering Paisa were put to the test immediately upon their arrival. The group was initially a bit awestruck, having spent most of their time in Central American hostels, which are generally held to different standards than those of South America. We overhead exclamations such as: “Hot water! Oh my god!”, “They have hammocks!”, and my personal favorite: “Pillows!” (to whichever hostel in Central America that is depriving their guests of pillows).

Having arrived just before Christmas, these guests took initiative in putting together an Xmas party in our half complete bar, including a Secret Santa competition and a huge potluck dinner. And even a month later, I'm getting referrals from this original group (thanks Laura!)

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