It's been a long while since I used the hostels, and I almost forgotten how it was. There are some strange characters at these places and because of that, sometime magic spark flairs out when all the right elements come together in one comic collision. It also mean that there can be very weird vibes, usually further enhanced by drugs and alcohol. Yes, there are healthy amount of drugs and alcohol here in central America. Oh, I finally learned that weed is actually the same thing as marijuana. I did say I don't get out much. No longer are there only the international hostel association hostels, private hostel have over taken what once a almost militant approach to cheap stays, now it's more or less a cheap hotel experiences. There is a wide range in both quality and style of managements. Some are very easy going, spacious and clean spaces while others are cramp and dirty. Some are tranquil while there are others that are more like a non stop party place. Gone are usual rules like partake in daily cleanings and curfew hours...except that they still want you to wash your dishes, now.
The average of the wandering wonders/backpackers are still around 20-30 years of age, grungy, edgy, hippy and you can tell them apart miles away. Their typical attires are, sandals, baggy trousers, local made tops, long hair, nose/ear rings and tattoos. They walk around with an air of superiority, a mix of both disdain and wonderment looking at the locals, specially the one dressed in traditional wares. They are guarded, alert when alone as if any approach to them is a want or a potential danger/ripoffs, yet when in a large group, they have this attitude that the world is their playground, or better yet, the place where they are merely visitors is a living zoo or museum to them, they are the masters.
Gears they carry also have changed somewhat, where once the coolest electronic gear is a Sony walkman, now they walk around with cell phones/netbooks. A large portion of their hostel experience is spend online on either facebook or youtube. Most are going through the usual angst, what is the meaning of life, how to get this and that the cheapest way possible, bus schedules, feeling soured feeling being ripped off by local merchants or how they scored one on a local merchant.
How things change and don't change....