After a few rounds of rum-coke and chit-chat with some friends up in the roofdeck, I decided to do a French exit and get back to my dorm room for some cold air ASAP. It was such a humid night and the place was packed. I was alone in the 8-bed mixed dorm but I could see things in each bed and probably everyone was just away for dinner or drinks.
After a few minutes, two girls and one guy came inside. The usual and seemingly awkward hostel-style hi’s and hello’s were exchanged and there was silence again. I still have to learn how to break a conversation but good thing Sinead and Mandy, both Irish girls, were good at it. We talked about where they’ve been and where they’re going: the usual “5 questions every traveler in a hostel gets asked about.” Then Sinead randomly goes “do you wanna play Uno with us?” I asked, “Where?” “Here up in my bed,” she replied.
As far as I know, this is our 6th minute of knowing each other and I get invited to jump into her bed along with two others for a card game. And as far as I can remember, the last time I played Uno involved a lot of beers. I could not see even a single bottle around. This should be interesting.
And there we were, 2 Filipinos (the other guy, John, and me) and two Irish girls playing Uno up in the upper bunk bed in a dorm room, after 10 minutes of introduction. We clicked so well that we didn’t notice the time. No alcohol involved but we were having a great time. But our roommates started coming in and putting on their eye masks. It was time for bed. Well, for them. So we decided to find another place for more rounds of Uno.
We headed to the Game Room and continued playing. We made up teams: Filipinos vs Irish, Mandy and John vs Sinead and me. But John came up with the idea of putting in money just to give it a little fun, it was one against each other. The game room was filled with laughter, with magic tricks, with poker faces, friendly trash talking, and the amazing smell of Sisig. We couldn’t resist. So at 2 in the morning, we were downing chopped pieces of fat and garlic rice.
Morning came and the four of us were checking out the same day. Me and John off to our usual Manila life while Mandy and Sinead are bound for Hong Kong. But before that, John drove us to Legazpi Sunday Market for brunch and Hillary, a Canadian they met a the hostel the day before, came to join us. After some good food and a lot of Snapchats, we walked to a hipster coffee shop in the neighborhood for a cup of Americano.
Everything happened in less than 24 hours. But it felt like we were friends for a long time. I think this is the best part about staying in a hostel. There seems to be comfort in the things unfamiliar. There can be connection with people uncertain. We may never cross paths again but we did meet at a certain point, we became friends. And these little things are the ones you like to remember, like how a Game of Uno started a friendship.