As planned I woke up early, with the idea of getting an early start. I was pretty sure I was the only one in the hostel, so there was no problem going across the corridor to the shower on my skimpies, carrying in a small bundle my towel, soap, and riding shorts. No sooner had I stepped out of my room when I froze as I heard the “click” of my bedroom door. Oh no, the key was in the pocket of my shorts inside the room! Trying to remain calm I went ahead and took a shower, thinking furiously about what to do. Thank God I had my riding shorts with me, though on someone of my body shape they are nothing I would want to impose on anyone else. As soon as I was “dressed” I started looking for something I could use to jimmy the door open. What I needed was something stiff, like a credit card, but my wallet was also inside the room. I looked throughout the hostel and found a piece of cardboard and some plastic coffee stir sticks, but after a quarter hour I had to give up for they were not stiff enough.
It was 6:30 am, so it was not like I could go out into the town to look for a locksmith (besides, I was feeling vulnerable and would not want to parade myself through the town in my riding shorts, and with no shoes or shirt. What if I had to wait until 3 pm for the bar to open?! I had to put all my hopes on the cleaning lady, although I had no idea at what time she might come. For all I knew she liked to sleep in and would not show up until noon or 2 pm. So I opened the door of the hostel, hoping a neighbor would see it and would feel like investigating, and I sat on a chair by the door, intent on grabbing at any opportunity that might come my way.
Fortunately the cleaning lady was an early riser, and her car pulled in at about 8 am. She must have been quite startled when she saw a half naked portly man happily crying “Ah madame, je suis tres hereaux de vous voir! But she rallied herself and in no time grabbed the master key and let me into my room. Once I was properly clad she fixed me a cup of coffee and we had a nice chat (of which I got about half of what was being said, because she was using Quebecois French). She was one more of the very friendly Canadians I have met during this trip, and I am deeply grateful that thanks to her I was able to hit the road by 9:30.