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The quiet terrace at Mingtown Youth Hostel in Shanghai

The quiet terrace at Mingtown Youth Hostel in Shanghai

I’ve been sleeping in international hostels for over 13 years now. I’ve traveled solo since I was 20 years old, all over the globe, and every trip makes me a little more savvy. But if you’re staying in a hostel, there’s not necessarily much you can do to ensure that your hostel mates are quiet and respectful — although I have had decent luck picking places that are centrally located but still secluded from the party zones, such as Mingtown in Shanghai. It also seems that choosing all-female dorms helps, at least if you’re a woman. Nonetheless, if you’ve stayed in hostels, you may recognize this cast of characters:

  1. The snorer. You think he’s done, finally, finally! And then no, he rolls over and starts again. You push your earplugs deeper into your head and wonder if he’d figure out who woke him if you snuck over and doused him with cold water.
  2. The guy who thinks nobody can hear his cell phone dinging with each new message. To add insult to injury, the chime he’s set to alert him is also the ring of your alarm clock.
  3. The girl who decides that 1 am is a perfect time for a call back home. You have no idea what she’s saying, but you’re pretty sure it’s either about getting her highlights done or sacrificing small animals.
  4. The partiers. They’re so quiet when they come in at 3 after drinking all night. SO QUIET, OH MY GOSH, LIKE A HERD OF WHISPERING RHINOS.
  5. The two people who hit it off at the hostel bar and can no longer contain their lust for one another. Or perhaps you’re wrong about that, and it’s just that someone’s rhythmically smothering a wildabeast in the bunk above you.
  6. The early riser who needs to pack at 4 because she’s going to the airport and she was totally scattered about it until just now.
  7. That One Couple. So giddy, so in love, so sure nobody will mind if they cram into one bunk together and giggle sweet nothings to one another. Invariably you know enough of their language to catch the first 5,000 mi amors before you give up and roll out of bed at 6 am, their chosen time to start connecting for the day.
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