by Silas Valentino
His name is William but you can just call him Will. He tells you this as he slowly sips on some wine out of a martini glass. There are a lot of folks coming in-and-out of the Whiteaker Hostel, so a clean cup comes with no prejudice. Silk hails from Australia, “a hundred miles west of Sydney in a place called Blue Mountains.” He says that during the summer, the eucalyptus forest turns the mountains blue. “It’s quite magical.”
Silk has been to Eugene before and this time it’s for similar reasons. He’s a fan of Eugene’s very own bicycle company: Bike Friday. Years ago, Silk purchased one of these foldable, accessible bicycles and today he’s returned for a new one. “Bike Friday is a company that takes you out and shows you the town. That’s a good company,” he said.Silk has spent the last two weeks enjoying Eugene and his accommodation is the Whiteaker Hostel. “I like hostels, you meet real people. The people are descent, warm and friendly,” he said. “I kid you not!” The Whiteaker Hostel and Silk have coincided well. “It’s a splendid atmosphere. Full of extraordinary people.”
Years ago, Silk was a photojournalist working in South America covering the Guatemalan Genocide. He retells his accounts of the travesties, during which the radio in the background plays Pearl Jam’s somber song “Elderly Women Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” The moment is true and enduring. “I’ll never forget the faces,” he said.
William Silk is a long ways from home and he’ll soon return to “pay the bills” and such. He says he enjoyed his time in Eugene and Whiteaker Hostel immensely. Will Silk is a jolly man with little controversy and he’s not afraid to share his accomplishments from around the world. “I think I nearly conquered the traffic signs,” he said. “Though that may be boasting.”