I Got Lost in an All Inclusive Resort

I’m not big into all-inclusive resorts. It’s not exactly what I would refer to as a genuine travelling experience.

But they have their uses. Case in point: I’ve been here for a couple of days doing fuck all and getting sunbaked.

And I don’t hate it.

Still, there’s something to be said about coming to Mexico and having a buffet devoid of any actual tacos. They do have tortillas though.

Anyway, this particular resort is ridiculously big. There are hotels inside the hotel. It’s a hotel babushka. When you leave one, there’s another right across from it.

All these buildings look the same too. There are minor differences to be sure, but the “themed” bit from the Themed Hotels selling point is a bit thin. It’s one concrete block after another. The colour scheme might differ a bit, and some of them might have visible wooden beams, but it all disappears under the same dim amber lighting.

So, at 1 am in the morning, everything looks the goddamn same.

Which brings me to my tale.

It’s my birthday trip. I’m here in Mexico with my family enjoying a week of carefree fun in an all you can eat/drink/pee in the pool resort. And I may have taken the “drink” part a bit too literal on my first day.

By the time I downed the last glass of whiskey at the only bar left open in this place, my eyes were already spinning in their sockets. I’d made some new friends, and I kept drinking with them, even though in hindsight I was probably the “weirdo drunk guy” who came out of nowhere to chat them up for no reason.

That’s usually one of my titles anyway. In the “Mother of Dragons” sort of way.

I said goodbye to my newly found friends (I think. That part is a bit blurry) and paused to get my bearings.

I took a selfie first though, because why not document my state for posterity. It’s almost a tradition now. My phone is full of drunk selfies and dog pictures, and if that doesn’t mean I’m winning, then I don’t want to be a winner.

I lit a cigarette, and I stood in the warm Mayan Riviera breeze as I tried to figure out where I was. My room, as I remembered, was down from the nearby staircase, all the way to the end of the corridor, and then three stories up.

Number 5316.

I was smashed, but I remembered my room number, which to be honest pretty much saved my life at the end of the night.

Instead of taking the stairs, I decided the night was too pretty to waste with a stroll through enclosed corridors, so I figured I could just walk outside the building for a bit, and then re-enter it at the end of the hall. I’d take advantage of the starlight and the evening breeze before committing myself to bed.

About 30 minutes later I started thinking I didn’t remember the building being this long.

I paused. Replied to a text message. Looked around. I was near a pool.

Perfect, I thought, I remembered the pool being at the end of my hotel building. All I have to do is turn around, walk back a few meters, and I’d find myself right underneath my hotel room.

I replied to another text message, turned around and walked back to where I’d come from.

I clocked an entry hallway, so I went through it. Since I’m in 5316, I figured all I had to do was look for signs that point where rooms are. The “5000–5100” rooms to the left, and the rest to the right, and so on. I looked up, and there was a sign.

It said “Rooms 8000–8100”.

I was 3000 rooms off.

“Fucking what?”, I heard myself ask in frustration.

At this point, it dawned on me that I might be a teensy bit lost and that I’d need to pay more attention to the signs on the walls if I am to find my hotel building.

I looked around, the paint scheme was right, the walls were concrete, and the orange lighting was familiar. Evidently, I was being pranked. It seemed like the right building only 3000 rooms away. Maybe someone had switched the signs to fuck with me? This is one hundred percent where my mind went.

For some reason, I decided maybe 3000 rooms wasn’t actually 3000 rooms. Like maybe I was just one building over, and they distributed the numbers in a particular, yet unordered way.

I looked behind me, saw the path I’d come through, thought it looked familiar and decided to just go back the way I came from.

Time dilation is a funny thing, isn’t it? By the time I started walking back “where I had come from”, I’d already been walking for about an hour. I was nowhere near the path to my hotel.

I never panicked, but I was starting to get increasingly frustrated every time I’d take a path, cut into one of the buildings, and find the signs still said 8000–8100.

The next sign was a bit different. On each side of the numbers, there was text. Text! Finally, something I could comprehend even while sloshed out of my mind.

The text said “Oaxaca” to the left and “Michoacan” to the right.

For about 3 seconds there I honestly hoped that these were hotel names and not the actual cities cause that would mean I’d be walking for far longer than I thought I had. I thought maybe I’d fallen into some sort of weird Arkham-esque labyrinth full of reality displacing wormholes.

You know. Not to be specific or anything.

However, Oaxaca doesn’t sound like it’s right next door to Playa del Carmen. So I had doubts.

Neither of these two names was the name of my building though. I’d walked so far away that there were no longer any signs pointing back to my hotel.

I decided to walk down the middle. I wouldn’t be visiting Oaxaca OR Michoacan tonight, thank you very much.

I passed a children’s playground, a smaller pool, a fountain. No people. No animals. The corridors changed slightly but never too much. I walked for another 15 minutes and saw another sign. I walked up to it.

“Oaxaca Michoacan”

“Motherf — !”, I heard myself cry out in exasperation.

I was at the Oaxaca-Michoacan turnpike 15 minutes ago! I didn’t turn around or anything, how does this happen?

This sign had an additional name though. It said “Imperial Maya”, which to me was an indication that I’d actually gone through a wormhole and back in time.

I decided to chance it and head towards Imperial Maya anyway.

I passed the same children’s background again. My phone was dead. I had been checking Google Maps to see if I could find my way around only to discover I can’t read Google Maps directions when blasted off my gourd.

Amber lit corridors. Nobody around. Phone was dead. At least I still had my cigarettes. I lit one up and kept walking.

A few more minutes later: “Oaxaca Michoacan”.

The hotel was mocking me. Punishing me for my hubris in thinking I could go out, be social and still be able to find my way back home.

I walked outside once again. I started eyeing bushes across the resort trying to figure out which one would hurt less to sleep in. I didn’t even think about heading to a pool and finding a lounge chair to spend the night in.

I was giving up. I had been walking for two hours, and it felt like the hotel was getting larger. Like some sort of Lovecraftian nightmare come to life. Trapping me within the confines of this MC Escher labyrinth that would place me on a permanent loop of “Oaxaca-Michoacan” but never being able to reach either.

I hadn’t seen a soul in two hours. Reception desks were a thing of the past.

Finally, as I was getting ready to bivouac in the Mayan Riviera, braving insects and ancient spirits, I saw a man dressed in white. Initially, I thought it was Jesus come to deliver his final judgement. Perhaps I had been wandering for the last 3 days, and I was finally succumbing to starvation and dehydration.

“Excuse me, sir!” I yelled out. “I am looking for room 5316, can you help me? I’ve been walking for about 30 minutes, and I can’t find it”.

Truth be told, I was sure I’d been lost for only 30 minutes, but my walking app confirmed the next morning that I’d walked for 2 hours and covered almost 3 miles.

The Jesus like figure reached for his back pocket, and just when I thought he was going to produce a cross and finally sentence me to a well deserved eternity in Hell, he took out a hand radio.

Ten-twelve I have a guest here looking for room 5316. He seems a bit…”, he scanned me up and down “…four-four”.

I was a bit further along than just a bit four-four, but this man was my ticket out of Wonderland, and I didn’t want to vex him. So a bit four-four it was.

There was a voice coming from the radio that I could not understand, and I immediately asked again “Look I’m just trying to get to my hotel. If you point me in the general direction, I’m sure I can find my way there myself”.

Jesus looked at me trying not to laugh and said: “Someone’s on their way to pick you up and they’ll take you to your hotel.”

A few minutes later, I was sitting in a golf cart, with one of Jesus’s collaborators, being carted away to my hotel on the other side of the goddamn resort.

I could’ve sworn I heard a choir of angels as we approached the hotel. The golf cart drunk guest rounder-upper driver announced our short relationship was at an end and wished me a good night.

I lit up another cigarette and stared at the hotel as one does an old lover.

I walked inside the hotel. There was a sign.

It said “5000–5100”.

And “Oaxaca-Michoacan” was nowhere to be seen.

I put out the cigarette and made my way to my room.

Hey, I’ve started an email list! Sign up to get updates on new posts directly to your inbox.