I´m a Martha in a Mary hostal

Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
Trip End May 23, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, April 19, 2008

One of the best and hardest things about travel is the reconfiguration of yourself that develops with each new, difficult, wonderful, or terrible experience. You learn things about yourself that you never knew, and other things that you always knew.

Recently, I have been struck by how much I struggle between my relational self (like the adoring Mary) and my accomplisher self (the slightly bitter busybody sister Martha). This introspection has been inspired by my reaction to a hostal where we have been staying.

The family that runs this hostal are one of the warmest and open I have ever met. Their home is completely integrated into the hostal, and similarly, there are no emotional boundaries between their warmth for their family and their guests. They are the Maryīs of hoteling.

In the face of such warmth, imagine my chagrin to discover that I have turned out to be somewhat of a Martha guest. My problem is that the hostal is just a little to messy and a little to grungy for my comfort. Itīs like....a real home or something! Now, when I am home, I certainly tolerate a certain degree of clutter and only deep clean the skuzz in the bathroom corners when it gets too gross. And I certainly understand that the last one in the shower may get cold water.

But at a hotel, I pretty much expect spotless bathrooms, empty trash cans, tidy living spaces, and at least occasional hot water. And in our experience, even the most lowest budget places have met these expectations.

So Martha the guest is more than a little disappointed in this place and wonders why they canīt just DO something. Mary the guest points out that they are busy spending time with their guests, making each person feel special and welcome, helping them with arrangements, coaching them gently with their Spanish, and generally trying to be a functional family surrounded by a couple dozen strangers.

I guess the thing about cold showers is that there is no fog on the mirror so when you step out (shivering and cringing at the floor) you get a very clear view of the person looking back at you.

And man, that Martha is such a bitch.
But so is taking an icy shower in a slightly skuzzy bathroom. :)
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