R is for Redundant Encounters (Italian Edition)


Me – Do you want pasta? It’s veggie. You can have it.

Sister – No. Hey, you know what would make your blog better?

Me – Eh, no. But I wasn’t asking for …

Sister – Photos. You need pictures. It’s just text. You should have pictures. People like to read blogs with pictures.

Me – I hate pictures. You know that. I am the least photogenic person in the world. I hate them. No. I’m not going to do that.

Sister – OK.

Me – Do you want this pasta?

Sister – It’s overdone. No!

Me – Fuck you. It’s not overdone and you should have disagreed. I’m not photogenic.

Sister – OK, but you need photos.

Me – How will it entertain them more by having my ugly face plastered on the screen?

Mother – Oh, Jesus. No one wants to see that. (laughs to herself at her own joke)



Preface 2

Recently, I moved to Naples. For two important reasons. And not because it rhymes with nipples, though that was a deciding factor. I love pizza and I got to work and live in a hostel for free. Now, there are many benefits of working in hostels. Yes, there are unlimited towels, and again that was a deciding factor… who doesn’t love a good towel. You get the keep the shower gel that guests have left behind, and there’s unlimited coffee (note .. if you are not a regular drinker of coffee – it’s essentially free cocaine).


(on a bus travelling through the Amalfi coast)


Man – So, are you just travelling through Amalfi?

Me – No. I live in Naples.

Man – Wow. You actually live there?

Me – Eh, yeah. Just for a few weeks.

Man – What do you do?

Me – I work in a hostel.

Man – Oh, cool. Do you like it?

Me – I love it. I’m lucky because the people are really nice.

Man – The guests?

Me – The owners and people that work there. The guests are…

Man – Dochebags.

Me – Oh, God, no. The guests are amazing.

Man – I didn’t like Naples. I stayed for about 20 minutes.

Me – Our hostel is super hippy. It’s very laid back and chilled and I don’t know… it kinda attracts a certain type of crowd. Naples is not for everyone.

Man – The traffic and the noise and the people… I mean, my God.

Me – I know. It’s fantastic isn’t it?

There was a brief moment when I thought he might be flirting with me.

Man – My wife and I hated it.



Man – But I guess your guests are a bit more relaxed.

Me – Well… yeah, they are nice people. 90% of the guests are awesome.

Man – The 10%…?

Me – Oh, you’re right. Total arseholes.

Human encounters are generally meaningless or mildly pleasant, but generally utterly forgettable. Except, of course, for those special people. This post could be about all the fantastic people I’ve met and how wonderful they are and how much they’ve cheered me up. But who wants to read that:

“Oh, did you read my blog post about all the amazing people I met and how awesome and inspiring my life is?”

No. Go fuck yourself.

Who would want to read that? This post is dedicated to all the amazing and inspiring people who also had to deal with these guys.

The Hateful 8

Anita (a.k.a – the Manager) – Guys we have a group of 8 Spanish people coming. So, we all need to be prepared.

Me – Hurray.

Anita – It’s going to be fucking awful. They are the worst. So noisy. If you check them in, make sure they understand they have to be quiet after 12.

Me – Sure. I speak Spanish. They’ll love me. Spain is like my favorite country.


Fuck me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Several hours later, the group rang the buzzer and entered the hostel. Our reception is on the forth floor of a residential building. Listening to them climb the stairs was a mix between an earthquake and Spanish speaking hens cackling away to each other.


Me – (in Spanish) Hi, welcome to our hostel. If you guys want to your bag in the pig and have a class of water. It will take me a couple of minutes to check you in.


They look confused and move into the kitchen.

Me – OK. Two of you are downstairs. One is in this room and 5 in this room. If you want to leave your bags there and come back to reception with your passports or ID cards, I’ll check you in.

Spanish Guy with Tiny Feet – We want to be together.

Me – Impossible. You are 8. I only have 6 beds in a room.

Spanish Guy with Tiny Feet – We paid money for a room. We want to be together.

Me – You paid for a bed in a dorm. I will give you a bed in a dorm. When you book, it says 6 bed dorm. You want that I put two beds in the balcony and ask other guests to change rooms. I’m sorry, but I cant put 8 together.


It should be noted at this point that I can be super rude in Spanish because I give the words little value. I’m not a fluent speaker. I think more about getting the sentence out correctly rather than the impact or tone.


Spanish Guy who I want to marry because he is so beautiful – I don’t care, where I sleep. I just want to see the city. It doesn’t make any difference. We just sleep there.




Me – Exactly.

Spanish Girl who looks like a game show contestant – Who are the other people in the room?

Me – Eh, just other guys.

Spanish Girl who looks like a game show contestant – But who are they? I don’t want to stay with strangers.

Me – Do you understand the word ‘hostel?’ It is very different to hotel or palace.


Now guys… if you are reading this…. I just need you to understand how unbelievably annoying that is. It’s a hostel. It’s like 10 pounds a night. I cant imagine what this girl expects.


Spanish Guy who I want to marry because he is so beautiful – He doesn’t know that. It doesn’t matter. Come on. I want to get pizza.


30 minutes of cackling later… I finally check them in…


Me – OK … You guys owe this much…….. here’s Pompeii….. here’s Sorento…. here’s a good pizza place…. here is nice…… this is nice……. breakfast….bla bla bla… after 12 we shut completely. It’s a residential building. You can read or sleep or if you wanna hang out, you just go on the street.

Group – OK. No problem. We understand.


3,30 in the morning, I am awoken by the sound of 8 drunk 21 year Spanish gobshites, smoking and literally screaming on the staircase. I wake up and go out and meet them. They see me and suddenly immediately stop and look a bit horrified.


Me – You know guys…. my Spanish is not good. I have a horrible accent but I think I speak OK. Yes?

Group – Yes. It’s good. Better than my English.

Me – Because I thought the word ‘closed’ means ‘not opened.’ Doesn’t ‘closed’ mean ‘not opened’? My teacher told me that’s what ‘closed’ means. But you speak better than me. ‘Closed’ means smoke and make lots of noise at 3,30 in the morning.

Group ( in Italian ) – We are so sorry. We will be quite. Very silent.

Me – I don’t understand silent. My teacher tells me ‘silent’ means ‘no noise.’ But I think my teacher was very stupid. Or maybe, you are very stupid. I don’t know. But I know I have to wake up in 4 hours to make you breakfast and I can’t sleep. If I can’t sleep there is …….. death.


I never remember how to say die in Spanish… it’s one of those reflective ones. They continued to make noise and have a full blown conversation despite my warning.


The Chronicles of Mahmood and the magic Arabic alarm clock

Mahmood was a sweetheart and it’s not because of his intentions that he entered this list. It’s because of his fucking annoying snoring and his alarm clock.

Mahmood stayed for 4 nights and continuously spoke Italian to all the staff, despite the fact that none of us really speaks Italian. He was from Egypt and he kinda looked like an Arabic Michelin man. He had a beautiful fat face that looked like it was made from marshmallows. I often thought that he was a kid’s bouncing castle that had magically sprung into life.

Monday – 8,00 am. I woke up to do a fudge sundae in the shitter.

Mahmood – Mr. Shane. You tired?

Me – Your alarm clock…….

Mahmood – Yes. It’s the weather.

He didn’t get it. I didn’t quiz him. I just mentally deleted it. Just so your following, we sleep with the guests. Not in a sexual way, thanks God, as there was generally a limit on hotties.

5 mins later

Alarm – Good morning. It is 8,05. The time is 8,05. (repeats the same in Arabic… obnoxiously loudly).


Anyone in the room that was sleeping instantly wakes up looks terrified.

Old British Woman – I.S.I.S …… I.S.I.S…… Ahhhhhhhhhh


Love a good bit of morning racism to kick start the day.

Later that night at 2.00 am

   صباح الخير

This noise came booming out of the alarm clock….. over and over and over and then suddenly…

Random Aggressive Australian Voice – “ Dude, shut that fucking alarm up… or I’m gonna kill you.”


Seeing poor Mahmood struggle to wake up and turn off the clock kinda reminded of a rhino… a large adorable… fearful… yet destructive object .. stuck in barb wire. Oh, and he smelled like raisins. I hate raisins.

There’s something about Regina

Summary of this story – Regina was feckin nuts.

Me – Oh, that’s lovely. How nice. So, how long are you staying for?

Regina – 10 days.

Me – Wow, that’s a really long time. But I suppose Brazil is a long way away.

Regina – Actually, I live in London.

Me – Oh, right. I used to live in London

Regina – Are you British?

Me – No. I’m Irish. I’m from Ireland.

Regina – That’s British.


Never a good start to a conversation to correct another person on their nationality. You might as well argue with them about their gender.

Me – In the same way that you’re Portuguese.

Regina – You know I knew an Irish man once. He was lovely, very funny.

Me – Ah, that’s nice. Yes, we are a funny bunch. We do like to entertain.

Regina – And then, he got promoted and totally changed his character. He became quite evil, actually. It really affected me and gave me a horrible impression of Irish people


Who the fuck says that to someone they’ve just met? If you think that’s odd, it gets so much better.

Regina – Pompeii was nice. But actually, a bit boring. It’s not old enough.

Karoline – Right. Yeah. They really should try and make it older… Italians… so lazy…


That evening Regina returned home with a pizza. It was half eaten. It was the only pizzeria in Naples that she liked… the rest of them according to her weren’t very good. For anyone that doesn’t know, Naples is the home and undisputed capital of pizza. If I saw one of the ground, I would probably eat it. Regina put half the pizza in the fridge and went to bed. The next morning pizzagate would begin…

Boss – I must have been you.

Me – It wasn’t. Although I will admit, it is totally something I would do.

Boss – She is furious.

Me – Really… it’s like 5 euros…. wait hang on, it’s half of 5 euros… which is……eh….

Boss – 2.50. Anyway, say sorry.

Me – I will not, I’ll tell her to fuck off.

Boss – I think she has like no life.

Me – Who gets upset about a pizza?


Later that day.

Me – Regina…!

Regina – Yes.

Me – You can’t keep pizza boxes under your bed in the dorm room. You gotta put it in the fridge.

Regina – I’m not putting it there, with all these thieves. How could someone do that?

Me – I am very sorry about your half eaten pizza, but I’m afraid it wasn’t me.

Regina – It must have been you, you were the last one to sleep.

Me – It wasn’t. I’m not afraid of you. If it was me, I would say it. It wasn’t. It definitely wasn’t.

Regina – I can’t believe someone would do this. It’s just awful.

Me – It’s not really though, is it?

Regina – What do you mean?

Me – The refugee crisis is awful. Boho Haram is awful. This is half a pizza with a bit of onion of it.

Regina – How did you know it had onion on it, if you didn’t eat it.



Other memorable quotes include.

The Resourceful Guest

Guest – Do you rent knives? I need to take a train.

Me – No. We don’t. I’m sorry.


The Light Traveller

Guest – I need to shower. Can I borrow your shoes?

Me – Excuse me.

Guest – For the shower. … do you have shoes I can borrow?

Me – No…


The Wise Guest

Guest – Are Italians European?

Me – Yes.

Guest – Weird, coz they’re so brown.


The Informed  Guest

Guest – I think the UK should leave the E.U. It does nothing for us.

Italian Guest  – Then fuck off out of Italy and go back to your amazing weather…. and food and women.




Stay tuned for Redundant Encounters (Arabic Version) and Redundant Encounters (Irish Version) with no photos.

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