I look around, trying to find directions. Quickly I remember that, more or less to my right, we could reach the bus station, and to to the left, there was that street with at least two hostels. We wanted an easy solution for the first night. I tell my friend to follow me, and we begin to walk down the square. He does it without discussing it.
– Is it this one? – My friend asks, puzzled. The entrance was having no neon sign, and it was difficult to realize it from far away. – Are you sure this is an hostal?
– Yes I am. Didn’t you see places like this before? – He nods. – The real thing! What do you expect, the Ritz hotel? It’s a temporary accommodation, until we find a house for us to stay. Wait here. No, even better, come with me. – As I mentioned, I did not really know my friend as well as to say that he was fluent in English. Since I couldn’t also trust him, I decide to invite him in, suitcase included, to observe him while I ask for a room.
I cross the door. In front of me, there are carpeted stairs, obviously leading to the rooms, since the only other feature is to my left. A guy of around our age, dressed with a scout uniform, or something similar, is sitting on a table, reading a coloured newspaper. He doesn’t pay attention to us. The room is very small, of the size of a big wardrobe. There are two chairs. On his back, the typical shelf with small pigeon holes and numbers. Before I call his attention, I’m able to realize that there are no keys hanging on the pigeon hole numbers.
– Excuse me sir. – The guy lifts his eyes of the newspaper and looks at us, with a little hostile eyes.
– Yes? –
– We are looking for a room for two. Or for two beds.
– Sorry, full, nothing free at this moment. – He comes back to his newspaper.
– Excuse me? – My friend decides to take a lead and speak this time. Which is a good sign. The boy doesn’t leave the newspaper this time, and realizes him by saying “hmm?”. – We are new in town, can you tell us where can we find accomodation, in principle, for tonight only?
– Are you students? – The guy asks, still without lifting his eyes off the news. Yes, I answer, quickly. My friend, after a second of hesitation, answers also positively. – Then why don’t you head to the University’s backpackers hotel? It’s quite cheap, and they use to have plenty of space free in Summer.
– Where is it? – shoots my friend, before the scout diverts his attention again to his newspaper. The way he asks is almost policial. I smile. He speaks English from the movies. – Where is that place? – I have a map, but my friend doesn’t know yet that.
– Guess where, Sherlock. – The guy looks at us, for the first time. I see pity on his eyes. – OK, ok. Don’t cry. Just take down Bath street, then head on Sauchiehall street, and turn right on Clinton. Then ask around for Park Terrace. I guess you know at least the Uni? – My friend looks at him with poker face. – Alright, alright, sorry guys, but I can’t go with you. The university is looking like this – he takes a dirty postcard, and shows it to us. A gothic-looking building. I was there once already, and I knew it was the university. But it’s good to confirm it. My friend takes the postcard, have a look, and returns it to the boy. – There is one hill in front of the Uni, closer to us than the university itself. The street over it, facing the university is Park Terrace. – We wait for more information, in vain. He comes back to his newspaper. – And if you get lost, take a taxi. Or buy a map.