I was a Junior at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, and I still had never experienced a true Spring Break. And when I say the words "Spring Break", I don't mean staying at your parents house in East BumFuck USA for a week as you spend a random assortment of unmotivated nights in your old high school buddy's basement drinking whatever cheap malt liquor you can afford. I'm talking about a REAL Spring Break. One where you go to a mystical land that is littered with a limitless supply of eager college girls and possibilities to ruin your future professional career. Where alcohol flows endlessly like the Waterfall of the Gods in Iceland. An exotic getaway where you wake up everyday to a liquid breakfast only because you made way too many terrible decisions the night before and have to be physically ready to do it all over again.
In 2010, I would finally experience my first Spring Break.
A family member with a connection to a travel agent informed me that she, her boyfriend, and a few of her close friends were heading to a resort in Cancun, and the more people who she could rope in, the cheaper the price was going to be. She said we can get it as low as $800 a person if we could round up the right group.
From afar, $800 seems like a hefty price, but let's put this into perspective. That $800 includes a week of meals, alcohol, housing, most resort amenities (gym, pools, beach, etc.), AND the plane tickets.
I'd have to be certified-cat-lady-crazy to say no.
So I took a peek at my checking account ... $124.78.
I was shit out of luck on financing this trip by myself. Luckily I have another family member who was a lot more financially stable and wanted to go. I found my in. He helped me finance the trip and the rest was history.
Our plane landed in Cancun while our dignity was left sidelined in the States. This was going to be a week where the only real rule we were going to live by was "Don't drink the tap water". And even that was a rule I expected to break. Dysentery is just something that our weak alcohol-battered bodies would have to endure so that we can truly experience what Cancun has to offer.
After stepping off the plane, we immediately came face-to-face with Mexico Fact #1: A lot of the country is poor and will do anything for a small tip. This airport was full of locals who were ready to suck the droopy dick of American consumerism just for some coin that will go towards putting food on their los ninos' plates. This fact became apparent when 2 locals quickly snatched our bags and carried them 10 feet to the designated taxi area. Both men stood with their right hand out as if they deserved recognition for this noble act of bravery. Lucky for them, they hit us at just the right time. We were silly tourists with our heads still in the clouds. Long story short: little Jose & Maria ate well that night.
Our taxi arrived at the resort and we received our official reentry wristbands, but we would then learn how unready we really were.
We flew out of Boston, Massachusetts where I believe there was still remnants of snow on the ground. As a result, when we walked across the resort's pool area, we were the only sweaty assholes still in jeans and with our jackets dangling around our arms.
Then we realized something ... we could begin drinking immediately.
We flamboyantly ran to our rooms. Of course we had that all too common moment where you walk into your new room and have to touch everything while commenting about how great or shitty it is. One person sits on the edge of the bed and bounces up and down as they comment on softness and noise control. The other complains about the high price of making a call to the United States through the resort phone. You know, the usual.
After completing this common act of human tomfoolery and changing out of our New England uniforms, we were ready for our first shot. It isn't hard to predict which kind of alcohol we began with. None other than the devil's water. The type of alcohol that has caused more irrational crime than any other: Tequila!
One of the members of our group bought a bottle of Patron at the Cancun airport for a ridiculously low price. We would find out later that this price was actually expensive for Mexico. That was airport prices. I swear you can trade half-chewed fingernails for Mexican tequila. It is that cheap.
The Patron burnt my esophagus. We were now officially in Cancun and it was time to make our triumphant return to the pool area.
Let me explain an all inclusive resort to you. EVERYTHING is plentiful. Unlimited food, drinks, and characters surround you at all times. For individuals that haven't developed the ability to pace themselves, this is a recipe for destruction. I am usually good at knowing my own limits, but with these circumstances, I was in way over my head.
I sat at a bar in the middle of a pool. Half of my body was submerged in dirty pool water that contained a higher alcohol by volume percentage than Bud Light while the other half was waving for the bartender's attention. I was in heaven. And you know what goes good with heaven? Mai Tai's.
One of our group's females laid out the groundwork for our first night. We were going to head to the largest club in Latin America and we were going to have the time of our lives. Girls Gone Wild was scheduled to be filming there and it had all the ingredients to be very memorable. Boy, was she right but in the worst of ways.
Everyone left the pool area to get presentable. The guys were good to go in less than 30 minutes, while the girls continued to drag ass. So we decided to eat the time away at the dinner buffet.
We grabbed our food and sat at the first open table we could find. Then a cute Mexican waitress walked up to our table.
BonitaWaitress: ¿Qué quieres beber?
GroupMember: Wait, we can order whatever drink we want right now?
It was still taking us some time to realize how unrestricted we were. It's like withholding a bag of Halloween candy from a 8 year old for a month before finally giving him complete control over the contents. That 8 year old is going to ravish that bag the moment he has a chance.
This is right around the time that LMFAO's terrible party song "Shots" was playing all over the radio so we decided to go down the line.
Three Wise Men!
Fuck all that shit,
Give me some tequila!
Mexico Fact #2: No matter what alcoholic beverage you order, the bartender will somehow find a way to include tequila in it. We even ordered a shot of whiskey and ended up with tequila. And if you're drinking a cerveza (beer), everyone is still going to yell "Tequila!" in your face. It's just something you have to get use to.
We got through a round of flaming 151 shots, which surprisingly didn't burn any nasal hairs off of anyone, when the girls finally showed up.
The gentlemen are already deep in the bucket. We are teeter-tottering on insanity and it wasn't even 8pm yet.
Most girls would be annoyed, but these girls knew the drill and decided that catching up was a much better option than complaining.
So we went through the song again. We may have even thrown in a few rainbow shots due to the inclusion of females.
At this point the entire group is a sight to behold and turning into the entertainment for the entire resort restaurant. Across from us was a giant group of Asians sitting at a large table that resembled the Great Wall of China. They were loving us and doing that stereotypical shy Asian schoolgirl laugh where they cover their mouths and giggle after everything we say or do. We had found our first friends.
We stood up and went over to talk to them. You know that moment in the night where you change positioning and suddenly you're not the same person you once was? Every drink you've had throughout your escapade taps you on the back and reminds you that you're not Superman. This was that moment. We were officially not fit for public.
While walking the short 10 foot distance between the two tables, one of the male members from our group slips and completely eats shit on what I presume is a tequila-soaked floor. It was one of those dramatic falls fit for a Looney Tunes cartoon. Now, not only had we found our first friends, we had also found our first action to giggle hysterically at for the rest of the night.
Then one of the girls in our group reminded us of something... we were going to a club tonight--And the bus was leaving real soon. This meant we actually had to assemble ourselves so we could look and act at least half-human.
We got as far away from alcohol as we could with the intention to save our already savaged minds. We waited outside for the bus as one gentlemen took out a Cuban cigar and proceeded to share it with the group like it was a fat blunt being passed around a Cypress Hill concert.
Didn't help. If anything, it made things worse.
Then the bus arrived. If you've ever wondered why other countries hate us, take a ride on a bus filled with American Spring Break tourists in a land where they believe they have no consequence. Surprisingly, we were the quiet ones taking a back seat to these other drunken assholes.
This is that moment of clarity where you look at the other obnoxious Americans and wonder if that's what you've looked like all night. I took this moment in by quieting down and putting my life into perspective. Another member of our group, the infamous "WildCard", thought anger was a better solution. He went from happy drunk to "Everyone is pissing me off" drunk the moment he placed a foot in that bus. And I don't blame him. These people sucked, and even in my drunken state I could sense this.
Our group spent the whole bus ride calming down WildCard so that he wouldn't toss one of these jabronis through an emergency exit window.
The bus arrived at the club but the damage was done. The group's mood was tainted. But Cancun has a special way of fixing that. Everything was forgotten the moment we stepped foot into this club. This club is exactly what MTV and Girls Gone Wild commercials say Spring Break is suppose to be: Heavy-duty lazers, a thick coating of fog, beautiful & carefree women, crappy house music, belligerent dancing, and a destiny of craziness.
Suddenly we're all uplifted. The family member who planned this whole trip picked a table and proclaimed it home base just in case anyone got lost in the shuffle.
In order to put emphasis on our taking of land, WildCard decided that this was a great moment to revert back to his animal instincts and piss all over the spot in a club FILLED with people. How he accomplished this undetected impresses me to this day. I was positive that we were going to get kicked out of the club within the first 5 minutes.
Luckily, we trucked on. The girls were being like all girls and wanted to dance the excess sugary drinks off so we walked down to the first floor. Here is the moment where my night changed dramatically.
I've never seen a dance floor so packed. I had no idea how anyone could do anything except vibrate their head furiously to the beat of the song. It was that ridiculous.
I was in the front of our group leading them towards this diabolical dance floor so I decided to do my best Moses impersonation by parting this Red Sea of drunken insecurity.
This was right around the time when Jersey Shore was turning into a terrifying phenomenon. It was MTV's biggest hit since the days when they actually recognized and played music. Somehow this terrible show influenced my next action. I raised up my drunken, little hand like it was our nation's flag and imitated those Guido dweebs by fist pumping and rushing the floor just so my group could follow me into battle.
I guess I should have told someone else my plan before putting it into action. Because when I successfully got through this collection of future mistakes, I turned around to find myself alone. No one had actually followed my courageous fist pumping flag and I was officially stranded.
This had to be karma for fist pumping in the first place. No man should ever fist pump, even if you're using it as a survival mechanism like I did. Me getting lost was the world coming together and correcting my mistake.
I tried to follow my footsteps back to Go, but it was already a lost cause. Being in that state of mind, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I bumped rigorously around the never ending ocean of douchery, but to no avail.
Wait! We had a home base! I was surely saved!
I looked around for our pee soaked home base but nothing looked recognizable. I was so out of it that I was seriously convinced that someone had played a sick joke and completely rearranged the whole club while I was downstairs. There was no empty table so I assumed somewhere in this club was a group of overly-dolled up girls sitting in WildCard's piss while complaining about how the club smells like digested Dos Equis. Silly girls.
I was out of reliable options. So my next motion was to just wait outside until I ran into someone remotely recognizable.
Another dead end. Later on I would find out that WildCard was also missing in action, which is why everyone assumed we were somewhere looking after each other. The buddy system is an excellent concept, but this meant I was shit out of luck.
So there I was, sitting on a curb in a foreign land with my head in my hands. Lost, confused, and drunk. I lifted my head up from my palms and studied my surroundings--searching for an escape.
I saw hot chicks and a cameraman. Hmmm... not exactly what I was expecting but also not a bad sight.
As I was at my lowest point, Girls Gone Wild would coincidentally decide that this was a great time to film hot girls strutting into the club. I was in the background questioning every decision I had made that day, and by sheer luck, I became a background character for the crummiest booby extravaganza in the world.
I'm not motivated enough to mark "Buy a Girls Gone Wild DVD" off of my bucket list anytime soon, so I'm not even sure if this one sad moment in my life made it into their video. Hell, I haven't even seen one of their annoying infomercials in years to know if they're still doing what they do worst. If anyone out there is a GGW fanatic and has the deluxe Spring Break box set, which I pray does not exist, please let me know if this clip is somehow in there.
Anyways, back to the story.
Curb. Drunk. Lost. Foreign. Those are the primary elements in needing a taxi. Remember that part earlier where I said I was poor? Yeah, that was still in effect. I looked in my wallet and found a crisp $5 bill. The bus ride to the club from the resort was obnoxiously long, so I thought there was no way $5 could get me back there.
But in this moment, a nation's poverty level might save my life. I waved down the first taxi I could find with the beautiful American bill.
Eddie: Hola! Hola! Me lost. Have to go to mi casa... I mean resort-o!
Dammit, I wished I had taken Spanish I & II more seriously back in high school.
Eddie: Ugh... ugh... 5 dollars or pesos, whatever. How far can that get me?
MexicanTaxiDriver: Si, si.
I jumped in. He turned to me,
MexicanTaxiDrive: Que resort?
OH FUCK. I couldn't even remember the name of my own resort! Of all the tidbits I could forget, this was the highest on the list. I rummaged through my pockets looking for some kind of evidence. I had nothing.
Eddie: I... I don't think I know ...
At this point I raised my arms in confusion to break our speech barrier and show him non-verbally what I meant.
Then something caught my eye. The greatest invention in drunken tourist history was around my wrist. My own personal "If lost, please return to blah blah blah": My reentry wristband! I got overly excited and pointed frantically at it to the taxi driver.
Eddie: Oh! Hoteles Solaris!!! Hoteles Solaris!!!
Success. We sped off, but it didn't take long for me to return to an uneasy state. My mind raced:
What if there's 2 Hoteles Solaris' in Mexico?
What if he takes me to the wrong one?
What if $5 wasn't enough?
Would he drop me off half way?
I don't even know what direction I'm heading. How would I get back?
Would he bring me to the side of the road and steal my clothes?
How much are organs worth on the black market?
Oh no! He wants my organs! I know it ...
I sat in the backseat ready to defend myself from his first advance towards my precious organs. It was the quietest cab ride I've ever experienced.
He pulled up to the resort and dropped me off. I didn't even thank the kind man because I was that much on edge. Looking back on it, I really wish I had because that Mexican taxi driver was essentially my guardian angel. He's somewhere out there today--spreading his wings and guiding lost Spring Break souls back to safety. Either that or he was murdered by a Mexican cartel and had his own organs stolen. Either/or.
At this point, drunk recollection took over my body. Earlier I couldn't remember the simple name of my resort, but I could now somehow trace the correct path back to my room. The drunken mind is an astounding yet unpredictable thing.
I stumbled my way back to the exact room number. But--of course--I had no key card. I knocked loudly on the door. No answer. Everyone must have still been at the club.
Luckily, I was still in survival mode. I ripped my shirt off and rolled it into a ball. Tossed in on the floor and made a pillow out of it. In this mental zone, I could have eaten a Mexican rat for nutrition if I was starved enough.
I laid on my makeshift welfare bed.
There I was, laying shirtless in the middle of the night outside my room in a foreign country, and I couldn't help but start laughing hysterically to myself due to a realization.
This was only Day 1.
I woke up from my slumber to a member of our group kicking me in the side.
GroupMember: "DO YOU KNOW HOW FUCKING SCARED WE WERE?! Don't ever do that shit again!"
Eddie: "You were scared? I was lost in fucking Mexico!"
... I believe I won that debate.