One of the things I really like about staying in a youth hostel is that you get to meet other people as by default. Somehow the common places – the kitchen, the living and TV room – are destinated for people to become momentary fellows.
In Lima, there was the German from Cologne who had taken all his annual holiday to travel through South America. After meeting a Japanese girl on the road, he was busy changing his plans so they could travel together longer.
There was the Canadian, originally from Salvador, who was on his way up to one of the gold mines, working as a safety instructor. Or the Australian girl on her first big trip abroad, alone and without any knowledge of Spanish whatsoever.
There was the very kind cleaning lady who laughed so hard when I spilled water accidentally all over myself. Or the Peruvian family who was between moving houses.
With a few bits of language skills, and sometimes even without (English really goes a long way), it’s amazing how easy it is to get to know people. Not inside out of course. But only getting a glimpse at their lives, their ideas, their problems and their kindness, always leaves me with an impression of gratefulness.