I have decided to make my blog comeback. “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” Going against my better judgement, I probably should have edited that out… Sorry.
Sugar Daddy fell through, and I was stuck actually having to work my job these past few months, so I had to put writing on the back-burner.
I booked a flight to South Africa, but have been receiving a lot of flak for wanting to venture to such a dangerous country. The Las Vegas mass shootings occurred just weeks after I was in the city for the first time. In light of these events, others have decided to revisit a very serious situation I found myself in, while traveling alone.
That will be the topic of today’s entry. I don’t want to depress or scare readers with this unfortunate tale. Rather, I’m trying to gain a broader audience with all the drama! Everyone loves drama, especially the guys I’ve dated. Weird that hasn’t panned out for me, yet…
Women don’t have to be bland, tame creatures that stay at home, rotting away, being afraid to leave their house. Be cautious, aware, and smart, but don’t let any single event stop you from experiencing what you want in this lifetime. Solo travel still does not scare me after this incident. If anything, I feel empowered that I can overcome obstacles thrown my way.
Here it is:
I stayed two nights in a hostel in Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada. I had taken a bus from Montréal for a little solo snowboard session. I know what you’re all thinking, it’s really cool of me that I snowboard. I’m super down-to-Earth, fun, and interesting. I really do love snowboarding alone, it’s relaxing. I don’t understand the need to do everything with other people. Skiers are always asking me to join them on the chairlift, and have to point out that I’m in the singles line, ahhh rude!
A little preface to this story:
I was in the Mountains in March—springtime—so I knew the resort would be slow.
My hostel was not at the foot of the mountain, but in a tiny town in the Canadian wilderness. The building was an old barn consisting of three stories. First floor had reception at the entrance, a small bar with a fireplace to the right, and a kitchen and dining area to the left.
The next two floors were just rows of bedrooms. A jenky staircase led you up to a solitary hallway, that went left or right, with bathrooms in front of the stairs. For some odd reason, I was booked in a room on the top floor, all the way at the very end of the long hallway.
The bedroom doors had regular knobs with a basic key to unlock them, and the main entrance had a padlock on the door. Specific instructions on how to unlock the padlock were given, and the importance of remembering the code was stressed. Apparently, it was locked every night and there would be no overnight employees on duty. If you are locked out, you get to sleep in your car, or I suppose in my case, a ditch because there was nothing for miles.
These details will prove to be important, later.
The following remains one of the scariest moments of my life, and if you have ever seen my skydiving video, then you know it’s got to be pretty terrifying to trump that. If you’d like me to share that video for a good laugh at my expense, let me know! I felt truly helpless and feared for my life. I am lucky to say I was unharmed, but always wonder if other women can say the same.
You do realize I am no longer talking about Skydiving? These emotions probably apply to both situations.
My first night at the hostel I had just gotten back from a long day shredding the gnar. That’s snowboard-talk for being awesome, look it up.
When I arrived to my room, two French-Canadian girls were there, staying one night for an early morning Spa date. These girls were great, but why couldn’t the hostel have booked them in the sixty other empty barn rooms?
I was starving, and decided to go ask someone working where I could get dinner. A bartender was around, so I asked him, to which he explained there was nothing nearby. I would have to take the bus which was no longer running for the evening. He offered up some suggestion, that I just tuned out because I was so mesmerized by the dumb belt he was wearing. It was one of those things that just annoyed me. Do you ever feel that way about random things, and are not sure why?
He was a tall, very thin, Belgian man with a terrible taste in clothing. He had something about him that made me feel funny. Women’s intuition is a very powerful thing, and it was kicking in—full force. Maybe it was his eyes, or his lame attempts to keep me at the bar, or maybe people just shouldn’t wear stupid belts from Hot Topic; but he creeped me out.
I went to my room and asked the girls if they wanted to go out and get some food & drinks. I was older and wiser and didn’t want to subject them to the creepy bartender. That, and they had a car.
We went to the ski resort for a fun night of dinner and drinks. I tried tire sur-la-neige; maple syrup put on snow that turns into taffy—yum. I also gained some knowledge about the French-Canadian culture from conversations with locals. In my drunken state, I tried to remember high school level French. Unbeknownst to me, I agreed to an after party. Faire la fête!
I grew up in one of the snowiest cities in America. I can drive in the snow, and don’t stress when other drivers are confident in their abilities. That couldn’t prepare me for the ride in a car, with a young woman from Québec, on a mission to find a house party full of hot guys, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, during a snowstorm.
My life flashed before my eyes, as she erratically sped around giant bends in the mountains, in the pitch-black, on a mission to get us to this party. I suggested the possibility of us hitting black ice, or ya know, maybe a bear; but she assured me that she knew what she was doing because she was Canadian. Fair enough. We flew off of a cliff. The End.
I’m kidding, the story doesn’t end here, but if the next night didn’t happen, that car ride would have taken the cake. Anyway, we couldn’t find the party and ended up back at the hostel at 5 AM, locked out as promised. Don’t worry, I knew the code.
The next day I got back from the mountain, my friends were gone, and I was hungry. Down for a little après-ski, I headed to the bar, and prayed the freak wasn’t bartending.
He was there, donning the same ugly belt, and I did what I always do in awkward situations; I drink.
Luckily, a guy at the bar invited me to eat spaghetti with his friends in the kitchen. It was only a couple of them, and they were staying on the second floor. Turns out, these were the only other people staying in the hostel besides me. I recommended that we go out, but they wanted to stay at the hostel bar because the one guy was drunk already.
We sat by the fire to play games and chat, and I noticed the bartender eyeing me up. He kept watching me and giving awkward vibes.
The drunk guy was getting sloppy and started hitting on me. Johan the bartender, or as I may refer to him as, “douche bag” raced over to break that up—real quick! He said that he needed to hold my credit card, so I didn’t skip out on my tab. I definitely seem like the type to run into the wilderness to avoid paying a couple Loonies and Toonies. That’s Canadian for coins, keep-up people, have you even tried Poutine?
The bartender kept coming up and asking me if I wanted more drinks, “Come on, Alexandria, why aren’t you drinking?” I’d respond with “I’m just tired.” To translate that for you, I meant: “No one calls me Alexandria and you only know my name by looking at my credit card. My intuition is telling me to remain sober because you are stalking my life, and I strongly dislike you Johan.”
I repeatedly asked for my credit card back to cash out and go to sleep, but he refused. I then asked for a Redbull because I was going to need to remain alert. He didn’t have any and just went outside, I thought, to smoke.
He emerges with a little cooler from his car that held an energy drink inside. He offered me his own personal drink, I laughed and thought, “I’m not drinking your poison.” I then insisted he cut the drunk guy off because he was starting to annoy me just as much as Johan’s belt, but he didn’t.
I convinced Johan to close me out if I bought one more drink, I have no willpower. He gave me my card back, and went to the computer at the front desk, explaining he was closing for the night and had to use the computer to do so. ( I don’t give a shit!)
I walked past him to go to my room and offered a simple, “Thank you, goodnight” to which he asked, “Going to bed so early?” This was peculiar because the bar was now closed, he was going out for the night, and the three other people were off to bed, too drunk to be served anyway.
In the middle of the night, around 4 am, I was awaken by a pounding noise that shook the entire hostel. Banging and striking, as if someone was trying to get inside. This caused such a ruckus, I considered asking for a refund in the morning.
After awhile of this, I wanted to call my sister to explain what was going on. She worked third shift and would likely answer. My phone was in airplane mode, and I didn’t want to pay the extravagant international fees they would charge me, so I figured this could wait.
Not long after, in the silence of the dark night, I heard the front door opening. I could have heard a pin drop—we were so secluded, and I was certain this was not someone using the restroom downstairs. This person either broke the padlock or figured out the code to get inside.
I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. My heart sank and I felt sick. I knew this person was coming for me. I laid trembling in my bed trying to figure out what to do.
Do I scream? No one would hear.
Do I break the window and jump? I’d freeze to death in the night.
Do I call 911?
Does Canada use 911? I don’t want to make any noise.
They kept coming up the stairs, I could hear the steps, and I silently prayed that they would lead to the occupied room below. Maybe the drunk guy locked himself out.
The footsteps continued to ascend to my floor, and then I heard them coming in my direction down the hall. I knew I was the target, while the steps were slowly approaching my room. There was no light besides the moon shining through my window. I was alone, crippled with fear, and a man was right outside of my door.
I felt like I was in a horror movie.
::Tap, Tap, Tap::
The slightest knock on my door. I couldn’t catch my breath. Do I find a weapon? All I had was my snowboard zipped-up under my bed, too much noise. Minutes go by.
::Tap, Tap, Tap::
I am not going to be raped! I will not be killed! I will fight with everything inside of me. I refuse to let this happen, but I’m so struck with fear, I don’t know what to do.
::Tap, Tap, Tap::
No lights were turned on and the knocks were discreet. I knew it was the bartender, he didn’t want anyone to hear him on the floor below. Time passes.
::Tap, Tap, Tap::
It dawned on me that he used the name on my credit card to find out what room I was in. He wasn’t closing down the bar, he was using the computer to look me up and grab the keys to my room. This was a devised attack, I knew what he wanted, and I wondered how many women he has hurt.
::Tap, Tap, Tap::
My mind raced but I remained still. I wanted him to believe he was wrong, no one was in the room, and slip-off into the desolate night. He was drunk, clearly, with the commotion he made getting into the building. He could be too inebriated to recognize I’m hiding, I hoped.
::Tap, Tap, Tap::
Ever so quietly, I hear whispers in French. He’s confused then switches to English, “Miss, Miss are you there?” My worst fears were imagined, this is the voice of Johan.
He called me “miss”, he knows it’s me and that I’m alone. Time passes between the the taps and whispers, leaving me paralyzed, unable to fathom what he may do next.
He’s becoming confident, louder even…
“Miss, open up. Are you okay?” he’s relentless. He’s been at my door for so long now.
“I cannot come in if you don’t invite me.” What!!? He sounds like a bonafide vampire. In Johan’s sick, convoluted mind he actually believes I’m going to agree to this rendezvous.
::Knock, Knock, Knock::
I know I can’t scream or cry, he has the upper hand. Be wise, Alex, you are smart, I tell myself as I mentally prepare how I am going to fight off the intruder. He could have a gun or a knife, but all I need to do is run past him and hide. It will be light soon. If you don’t know me, personally, then it is important to note how incredibly hard it is for me to remain quiet when something bothers me. It took so much self-restraint to keep my mouth shut, and not just beg him not to hurt me or ask why he had chosen me.
“I am the night manager. The alarm went off on the second floor.”
“I need to come in and see if everything is okay.”
Night manager? He ended his shift hours ago. The hostel expressed the importance of remembering the code because no one works at night. I had gotten in the night before at this time and no one was there.
“Miss, are you okay?” “Let me in.” “There was an alarm.”
What alarm? I heard this man slink down the stairs, I would have heard an alarm. The fire company would arrive, we’d evacuate, and I wouldn’t be singled out. If the place was on fire I would have burned up an hour ago. Who whispers in case of an emergency? Why won’t he give up?
He’s becoming agitated and making up lies to con me into opening the door. “Are you okay? I just need you to open the door so I know you are okay.”
He starts to mess with the door knob, I hear him fumbling.
This is it, this is happening to me. I am about to be attacked and fight or flight mode sets in.
I remained still in bed, trying to stop my hands from trembling, but ready to pounce. I cannot truly express in words the sheer terror I felt as the door began to slowly open.
Panic set in but I remained vigilant.
The light from the moon makes out his silhouette, assuring me it’s Johan. I wonder if he will just lunge at me, and the unease sends chills through my body. He stands in the doorway and looks around the room to see if anyone else is in there. He watched me and I kept my eyes squinted to pretend I was asleep. I still haven’t moved.
He just stares at me as more minutes pass. I firmly believe this predator was thinking about his next move, whether he was going to force himself upon me, or what he was going to say to get what he wanted out of me. My heart was racing so fast you could probably hear it pounding against my chest.
He finally murmurs, “Is everything alright?”
My instincts told me to just yell sternly “YES!”
I wanted him to hear annoyance in my voice. Anything else than that single word would have been shaky. Bad guys prey on fear. Would you want to attack someone who is kicking & screaming or cowering & crying? I wasn’t going to let this asshole know how much he scared me. I would not give him the satisfaction while he victimized me.
The bartender simply stared at me planning his next move. He must have wondered if it was worth the fight—like most people feel when they’ve pissed me off! I was not going to just take it.
It worked. The bartender slowly backed out of the room closing the door. He did not move, though, he stood there for a long while. Time was confusing to judge, but I’d guess it was around ten minutes. Walk away, why hasn’t he left?
I’m petrified that he is going to burst in my room at any minute, changing his mind. My adrenaline is pumping and the stress is becoming too much.
Finally, I hear the footsteps creeping down the hall, down the stairs, and he exits.
I jump up and re-lock the door, then crouch on the bed and just wait for sunlight. I had to pee so badly, but refused to leave the room, and so I peed on the floor. It was daylight savings and I had a bus to catch first thing in the morning.
When it was time to leave, I raced down the hallway and out the door to the bus full of people. Luckily, I came out of this situation unscathed.
It was a fight with the hostel chain to take action against Johan, and nothing really came of it.
They wanted to refund me for one night. I thought that was a joke for a solution, and ended up getting both nights refunded—wahoo!
I received an email claiming Johan moved, eventually, but they didn’t even fire him.
I’m glad I peed on their floor.