The ‘Charming Quirks’ of Mexican Apartments

I’ve had worse.

Time To Read: 4 mins | November 8, 2016

I spent my first international week in a hostel. Given my complete and total lack of familiarity with Mexico City, this seemed like a good idea. And it was – I received advice from several locals, met a handful of fun gringos and, thanks to their combined wisdom, only had violent diarrhea once.

But that life has its disadvantages. For one, despite my changing rooms on three separate occasions, I was always assigned a bed next to the human equivalent of a sawmill. One Frenchman nearly shattered glass with his snoring, and another girl regularly snorted so loudly she’d wake herself up, not to mention everyone else within a 5-mile radius.

Then there’s the issue of cleanliness – there wasn’t any. There appears to be an unspoken agreement amongst backpackers that everyone will shower slightly less often than they should.


No one is noticeably stinky, per se, but you wouldn’t want to bottle their scent either.

That being said, you can’t blame them for their hygiene after seeing the bathrooms. There was a cleaning crew for the hostel, but their once-a-day efforts were no match for thirty-plus half drunk travelers sharing two showers, three toilets and, on a good day, one half-full roll of toilet paper.

So after 7 days of this entertaining but exhausting existence, I moved into my current AirBnB. And it is joyous.

Pepe – which should be every Mexican man’s name, in my opinion – met me at the front door and gave me a tour of my ‘bungalow’. This did not take long. I’m guessing I have four hundred square feet of space, comprised of a bedroom (king sized bed), kitchen (sink, stove, and microwave), and bathroom (step-down shower and new tiling).


After a week of asking, “Does anyone know who used the toilet paper last?,” I might as well have been in heaven.

…but that was yesterday. I’ve now been here for 24 hours, and the honeymoon period is over.

There are seven ceiling-mounted lights in my apartment. Only three of them work, and only simultaneously; it appears they’re all hooked up to the one functional button in the house. One light switch to rule them all, and in darkness bind them.

My king-sized bed is nothing of the sort. It’s two-twin sized mattresses pushed together. I discovered this when I leapt into bed and promptly fell down the middle crack faster than Princess Buttercup sunk in lighting sand at the Fire Swamp. And I’m also being generous with the term ‘mattress’; ‘thin layer of cardboard and sadness’ is more accurate.

Moving on to the kitchen. Despite its highly functional and brand-new appearance, the sink refuses to dispense water (now that I think about it, that may explain the brand-new appearance). So last night’s dinner dishes are currently drying next to the bathroom sink.

Which brings us to the crowning jewel of the bungalow. The owners have clearly renovated the bathroom – it’s clean, stylish, and looks like something out of a chic hotel. I very much enjoyed my first bowel movement.

But then I tried to shower (unrelated to the bowel movement). First off, the stylish chain-hung curtain doesn’t actually enclose the shower. The entire rear quarter is wide open. Which wouldn’t be a problem if the showerhead could point down.

As you’ve already guessed, it can’t. It’s wedged at an upward angle that’d only be useful for Dolph Lundgren and Andre the Giant. Meaning, when you turn the water on, you shoot a fountain arc over your head and directly onto the bathroom floor 8 feet behind you.


Turns out the word ‘testing’ doesn’t translate very well into Spanish.

And what little water does land in the shower wasn’t draining. As a long haired man, I’m more than familiar with pulling my own hair out of drains, but I can’t say I’ve ever removed a year’s worth of someone else’s mane until now.

For a moment, I wallowed. My tiny Mexican Fortress of Solitude was about as functional as Samsung Note 7.

But it was only just a moment. You have to remember, I’ve dealt with Oscar the Grouch levels of filth for the past week. And, a few years back, very publically lived in the barest conditions imaginable. It takes more than a couple… let’s go with ‘charming quirks’ to seriously dampen my spirits.

And besides, I have an apartment in a foreign country all to myself. Not sure I’m even allowed to be mad at life right now.


photo: it’s a wall. like you’ve seen a million times in your life. admittedly, it’s much prettier than Trump’s will be.

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Malcolm Freberg
Malcolm Freberg
American writer living permanently on the road. Believes rye whiskey is superior to bourbon, Belle is the best Disney princess, and that selfie sticks should be snapped in half on sight. Hosted a travel documentary for AOL & played Survivor a few times.

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1 Comment

  1. Heather

    Your pop culture references and brilliant story telling make me laugh out loud and want more. Can’t wait to see what adventures you get up to next!


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