This actually happened in a hostel rather than on the street. I was siting in the common area and was the only one there. I had the TV on but wasn’t facing it as I was using my laptop at the time. A man then came in and sat opposite me on one of the other couches. At first I thought nothing of it until I realized he wasn’t facing the TV at all – his eyes, and his whole body was directed towards me.
At this stage I thought he could just be trying to be social and get my attention in a friendly way but as I had been travelling on my own for the past 9 weeks, I was growing wary of male attention whether genuine or not. I put on my headphones so he would get the idea I wanted to be left alone.
That seemed to work and I’m not sure where his eyes were directed then as I wasn’t interested. His friend then came in and they had a conversation – it was clear by this guys loud voice and stupid “listen to me impress this girl” answers that this was no normal conversation but both guys got up and left to start cooking dinner.
Thinking that would be the last of it I pulled the headphones out of my ears and continued with my email. Less than 5 minutes later however, he was back. There were three large couches and one sofa in the common area. As I was alone I’d put my laptop bag and hand bag on the seat next to me thinking no one would need the seats. The guy then comes up to me, takes both bags one by one and throws them on the floor (yes – ‘throws’ and I thought he was trying to impress me) and sat right beside me.
I was too suprised by what had just happened to turn and yell at him, which now I think back was probably a good thing as my non-reaction was probably not what he ‘d been hoping for. I ended up picking the bags up and moving to the other side of the room. I think at this stage he’d become annoyed with me more than anything. When his friend came back and asked if he wanted to eat downstairs he said, head and eyes fully on me and nowhere near his friend, “No, I think I’ll just stay here”.
His friend, a bit confused, shrugged his shoulders and left without him. I then moved to another room and sat with my back to everyone else – a bit anti social but I had a fantastic view out the window and a heater to lean against. As expected, the man followed me in and sat a few tables behind. I gave up at this point – as long as I couldn’t see him staring he was welcome – the back of my head is not particularly exciting!! For that matter neither is the rest of me – I was still dressed in my winter hiking gear!
The problem with this encounter is that who was I suppossed to report this too? I don’t think the hostel staff would have done much but shrug it off, or jokily tell the man to leave me alone. It’s not something enough people take seriously and had me thinking also – if I was the hostel stff what would I or could I have done? He didn’t say anything innapropriate or do anything that could be considered ‘harrassment’ but he still succeded in making me feel extremely uncomfortable!