Short Story: Why Not To Follow Strange Mexicans Down Dark Alleys

Short Story Guest Post - Caitlyn Taylor

This short story comes from a guest contributor, Caitlyn Taylor.

Caitlyn is an English teacher and freelance writer who would take up a career in backpacking if it were financially feasible. Having backpacked through Europe, Central and South America, Australia and some of Asia, Caitlyn ranks travel destinations according to the availability and deliciousness of street food (best=Colombia, worst=Kazakhstan).

She speaks English, Swedish and Spanish but stresses that such knowledge is futile if you are trying to get through Mongolian customs…
You can check out her travel blog here.

The Travel Story

So despite my better judgement, I found myself following the short Mexican man we had just met at the station in the hopes of finding a bed in the busy pre-Christmas holiday season. The location of this adventure, Cancún. I know what you’re thinking. My inner-backpacker also cringed at the thought of stopping there, even just for a night. But we had booked a flight to Cuba the next day from Cancún airport so one night in the gringo capital of Mexico was a necessary evil.

Our friendly guide led us down countless unknown roads, past neon lit bars and the standard Mexican ‘torta’ (sandwich) and ‘elote’ (corn) stalls. I was horrified to find a cob of corn was selling for three times the regular price! Still, I forked out my 50 cents and kept going, unhappy about being ‘ripped off’ like a gringo.

Finally, sweating from the weight of our oversized backpacks, we stopped at a trendy looking hostel with a crowd of friendly looking travellers drinking out the front. Alas, our local guide had other plans and pointed around the corner to a shady side alley. (We checked anyway, they were full).

And so, desperate for a bed for the night, we followed a strange Mexican man down a dark alley. From the exterior, the hostel actually looked quite cool. It was advertised as a hostel with a roof top bar, but an all-night-rave club with downstairs bunks might have been a more appropriate name.

Amazingly, the hostel had room for seven, so we dumped our backs and went in search of a shower. What we found was a uni-sex bathroom with seven shower heads. Not a divider or curtain in sight. The ‘shower room’ was located opposite the couch of the common room, where a small Mexican family was enjoying a football (soccer) game. Consequently, not only were you unable to cover up from other guests (male or female), an unlockable door was the only thing between you and the front row audience of your very public shower show. If the fun had ended there I might have laughed it off as another quirky hostel experience. But the party was, literally, just getting started.

Ok, ok, in hindsight perhaps I should have spent my only night in Cancún out partying with sunburnt gringos. I probably would have passed out around 5am and thus enjoyed more sleep than I did staying home. Instead, being the indie hipster I was, I decided to boycott the ‘touristy’ nightlife and catch up on my journal (seriously).

Around midnight, when young Mexicans might start considering going out, our attached roof top bar began to start playing some sort of trembling-techno-mega-mix that shook the walls and bunks so hard they literally rattled along to the ‘tune’. Said tuneless bass beat continued for the rest of the night. Despite it being a warm night, we kept the windows closed to try and (unsuccessfully) dull the racket coming from the night time revelry. The music lasted all night and into the next morning. I mean it. I remember going for a run at about 8am and passing a well dressed couple on the stairs. They were on their way to the club.

In conclusion, backpacking doesn’t have to be a synonymous with nonstop partying, but if you are planning on getting sleep – plan your hostel beforehand. And don’t be a self-righteous boycotter – take advantage of every opportunity while you are away! Happy travelling!

One Response to “Short Story: Why Not To Follow Strange Mexicans Down Dark Alleys”

  1. Louise says:

    This is funny…enjoyed it..but glad I wasn’t there…:)..

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