Thursday, March 31, 2011

Backpackers and Free Food

Backpackers (long-term, low budget travelers with backpacks) are better than college students when it comes to sniffing out free food. Moving from place to place every couple of days, it's just tough to only buy enough for yourself. And *no one* wants to cart around an open bottle of oil.

So food gets passed on. The night before someone leaves they usually give their leftover ingredients away to whoever's in the kitchen. Sometimes they do it in the morning, instead, but they try to give it away. Whatever doesn't get claimed (or if there's no one there, because everything usually finds a new home) goes onto the free shelf or cubbie or box that most hostel kitchens have.
Tribu Hostel Dining Patio/ My Office
Just yesterday someone was leaving and walked out to the eating porch to offer someone his leftovers. Three other people claimed the same name and followed the first guy back into the kitchen.

I've benefited from this too, of course, over my time here. There were the German girls who couldn't finish their cream cheese (went in pasta), the Canadian couple that was flying home from Cancun in 5 days and needed to offload a small bottle of soy sauce (went in fried rice), and the vegan guy...

Of all the places to meet a vegan, you wouldn't think of (slightly touristy, island, rural) Mexico. It isn't the most vegan friendly kinda place I've ever been. He was prepared, though, with a full cooler bag of food. Quinoa, amaranth (I think), split red lentils, whole grain rice, spices, seasoning, you name it he had it in his big bag of magic food. Honestly, he *could* have fed himself from the stores, even here on the Mystery Island, but the food would have been kinda boring.

Actually, it's kinda boring anyway.

But he was leaving from Cancun to go home after a couple months in Mexico and two days on the Mystery Island, and didn't need or want to cart the food-stuff home. It ended up in the "free" box. I don't think it'll surprise anyone here to learn that I'm hoarding the stuff.

It's only fair, of course- when I leave a lot of my accumulated food will stay behind. And when I get to the next place, there may be half a bottle of oil for me to use. That's just how it works.

I guess it's not really "free", just food you share the cost of with people you haven't met yet. Or, in the case of stuff that's there when you arrive, with people you may never meet.

Those spices, though, were free. And they're coming with me.

Now, off to sweat and swim. The day is hot and it's siesta time.


  1. How are things going with the writting and such? Also, I thought you were planning to stay there indefinetly - what's the plan there?

  2. Writing's actually going pretty well. So long as I get it done before prime beach/ nap time, it's all good. Turns out, though, that I get my writing done much faster in the morning if I *don't* play online at the same time...

    I will probably come back to the magical mystery island, but I seem to have picked up a possible travelling companion with a tighter schedule. So I'll be wandering off toward Valladolid and Chichen Itza around Monday... or maybe the week after.

    I'm working on getting a travel blog set up, there's plenty of stuff to put in it, and I'll get a link over here as soon as I get it done... probably next week sometime.

    Now, off to recover from the hostel's first birthday- the party didn't end until 4am and I've been up since 6:30... crazy sun/ dorms.