Spring 2000 = Time for spring break during my junior year in college!
Two of my roommates and I decided, last minute, to book a trip to Mexico. We had been talking about doing something, so being the Smarty Pants girl I am, I had gotten a second job in anticipation of said trip, working as a telemarketer for the University Alumni Association. Sadly, this is the second time in my life that I have been a telemarketer. For realz.
I also had left myself ample time before the trip to starve myself to lose the requisite 12 pounds I felt necessary. Who says you can’t subsist for weeks on diet pills and Slim Fast…and beer?
We decided on Acapulco and definitely did it in the cheap. We booked a room at the Hotel del Sol, off the beaten path, and our flights were booked through Mexicana at pretty much the worse times possible. I think we may have been the only people on the plane who did not have a screaming child as a carry on.
After a horrific flight, which involved circling Mexico City in turbulence for almost two hours, we finally arrived in Acapulco. My knuckles were white, my stomach was churning from the Mexican “lasagna” they served us (by lasagna they apparently meant spicy dog crap mixed with noodles) and I was ready for bed.
We arrived much later than anticipated, then had to stand around waiting for our bags. After a bit, my one roommate happily grabbed her bag. A few minutes later my other roommate spotted her bag. The clock ticked as I eyed the carousel for the suitcase I had borrowed from my mom. It was a brand-new suitcase my Dad had bought her, with weird crocheted flowers on it. Although more appropriate for a grandma vs a spring breaker, I needed a suitcase and knew it wouldn’t be too hard to spot.
I became a little worried as the carousel became more and more barren. Then, as more time went by, I began to get downright nervous. I spotted a garbage bag going around the carousel and said to my friends, “Oh my god, what if that’s my bag?!” My friends giggled at the thought and assured me, “Oh, that can’t be YOUR bag.”
As the same five bags spun ‘round and ‘round, I decided to take a looksee. I grabbed the garbage bag, opened it and there was my suitcase. It literally looked like a T-Rex had gotten a hold of it. It was torn to shreds! My clothes were haphazardly thrown in, so I could only imagine how many items were MIA.
Just my luck!
My friends stifled their laughter in shock. I immediately dragged my garbage bag over to the non-English-speaking Mexicana staff to try to determine what had gone wrong. They supplied me with a phone number of someone to call the next day. I didn’t fight them too hard, as it was midnight and at this point I just wanted to get to our hotel.
We arrived at the hotel without drama and checked in. We opted not to get a hotel safe (I mean, that would have been a whole extra $10) and went up to our room. We threw down our bags (in my case, a garbage bag) and proceeded to “take a walk” on which I decided to take the bare minimum with me.
We walked down the strip and after quite a few aggressive cat calls from small strange fellows we got annoyed and went back to the hotel, sat out at the pool for a bit talking about all the fun we were going to have, and eventually retired to our room.
The next day, before we began getting ready for the beach, I remembered I still needed to get the whole suitcase situation figured out, so I dove in my purse to get the card the flight staff had given me. I also grabbed my wallet to get some cash for the day.
Houston, we have a problem!
There was absolutely no money in my wallet! I had brought hundreds of dollars with me. Of course, I didn’t bring traveler’s checks, as that would have been too responsible. Anything over $20 in college life is a LOT of money. That was days and weeks of calling alumni to ask for donations only to get yelled at and hung up on!
I ransacked my purse, bag, wallet, but there was no sign of my cash. My roommates had brought traveler’s checks and, fortunately, theirs were untouched.
Let the meltdown begin.
When it comes to big picture stuff, I tend not to be a worry wart. In this case, when I’m left with no suitcase in a foreign country and have no cash, let the tears roll.
I calmed down after about 10 minutes and went full steam ahead to deal with the issues at hand.
I managed to take my suitcase to some seedy Mexicana “tailor,” who somehow stitched the bag up in time for my departure after I detailed the events in my broken Spanish. Although I reported the robbery to the hotel, there was nothing they said they could do. Thankfully, my roommates were able to spot me cash for the week.
Spring break in Acapulco was definitely one of the highlights of my college experiences.
But not without some fanfare, of course!
Seriously, pay the $10 for a hotel safe when you are staying in a seedy hotel in Mexico!!!
That, or maybe don’t leave ALL of your cash in a room that the staff knows has no safe.
Fortunately for me, women essentially drink for free in Acapulco, and we also managed to get in free to the numerous foam parties.
Which might explain that funky rash I just can’t seem to get rid of.