As with Christo Blanco, I found Ecopackers on Tripadvisor, ranked #2 of 169 “specialty lodging” in Cusco, Peru. (I guess that means “hostels”). A Condor Travel rep had picked me from the Ollantaytambo train station and driven me 2 hours to Cusco. It was after dark by the time I got to Ecopackers, a $15/night hostel.
No locker for me. WTF. After checking in, I went up to my 8-bed, all-female dorm room to find ALL EIGHT lockers claimed with padlocks. The bunk beds are numbered 1-8, as are the lockers. Not a difficult concept to grasp, that bed numbers correspond with locker numbers. My bed #4 was clean with new linens. My locker #4 was already padlocked.
The Idiot I returned to the front desk and explained quite clearly, “I need a locker. All of the 8 lockers in the girls’ dorm are already taken and locked.” A guy I’ll call, Mr. Boo (because I forget his name), followed me back to the room to investigate; as if what I was saying needed to be verified. He followed be upstairs to the room and, I’m not exaggerating: He stared at the 8 lockers for about 10 full seconds. THEN, he walked up to #4 and jabbed at it a few times with his hand: jab! jab! jab! As if nudging it would magically break the padlock that was securing it shut. It was like he couldn’t believe his eyes; as if he trusted his tactile senses more than his visual one.
The Solution I wanted them to remove the other padlock; who knows how long it had been there or what was inside! Instead, they brought in a free-standing locker – so a plywood BOX – unconnected from the other lockers. Already irritated, this didn’t help much.
No towels?! I’d had a nice shower at Sanctuary Lodge at around noon, but had hoped to shower again before arriving Fiona’s the following evening. No such luck; they were out of towels to rent. (Whattheheck?!) Great. So armpit washes at the sink would have to do.
The Overconfident Aussie Upon check-in, I was given a “free drink” ticket for the hostel bar. I stood behind a fellow in a plaid shirt and ordered a “pisco libre”. He jovially commented about my drink order then turned to face me. HOLY-CROW-NO. His shirt was unbuttoned way, way, way too far down – it was horrible. For once, I said exactly what I was thinking, “WHY in the world would you choose to have your shirt unbuttoned that far down?!” Keep in mind, it was chilly in the fresh-air bar (in the 50’s F and lower teens C.)
“I like it like this.” He spoke quite loudly with a strong Australian accent.
“Tell me,” I pressed. “Do you like how it feels, or do you just want to expose everyone to your chest?” The girl next to him turned as if she’d wanted to ask this herself.
“I suppose a little of both,” he answered smugly.
“I see. Well, I’m just have to get a photograph of this for my blog.” And here it is:
How gross is he?? Guys, button up your shirts. (Aussies, I’m talking to YOU.) Btw, the pisco libre was horrible. I couldn’t even drink more than a few sips. I ended up giving it to some Brit who kept asking “Are you sure?”, “Are you sure?” Yes, I’m sure I don’t want any more of that horrible thing. You, alkie.
Worth the $15? Oh, I guess. Overall, Ecopackers was adequate. Really, for $15 total I can’t complain. My bottom-bunk bed was comfortable and clean and the blankets were heavy and warm. The thermometer on my alarm clock by my bed read 65° F. As always, I wore my favorite earplugs ever to drown out the loud sleepers. Breakfast was…edible. Tepid coffee, french bread and a choice of butter, jam, tomatoes and mystery meat (maybe bologna.) The breakfast room was actually too dark to take a picture without the flash blinding everyone.
Hope you like my other pics of Ecopackers in Cusco, Peru.