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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Mexico: Hotel Illness

The dank courtyard at the centre of the hotel
The dank courtyard at the centre of the hotel

I've stayed in some pretty screwed-up places in my time, but I think I may have just discovered one of the scariest. When I say 'scary' I'm not talking about high crime rates, or ghosts stalking the corridors, or even 24-hour piped Justin Bieber, all of which would be pretty hard to handle. I'm talking about insanity, madness and an atmosphere so eerie it could give The Shining a run for its money.

Scary dream catchers
I tell you what this swimming pool needs: how about some dead animals strung up on the wall?
An iron head mask on the hotel wall
Um... that's not a scary thing to find on the wall of your hotel
Modern art
Disembodied torsos lend an air of sophistication to the hallway
Rule number 8: 'In case of death, the autority [sic] will be notified'
Take heed of rule number 8: 'In case of death, the autority [sic] will be notified.' That's OK, then

Temporary Respite

A statue wielding  sword
Woah! She's got a bloody great big sword!

I perhaps should have spotted the subliminally frightening effect that the hotel was having on us a bit earlier, but it really hit home when we'd gone for a short wander around Mérida, grabbed an evening meal and ended up in the Parque Santa Lucia, a pretty little plaza just down the road from our hotel where a Mexican band were tuning up for a free concert, something that the cultural city of Mérida is famous for. Unfortunately the rain had drenched the seats in the plaza, so we stood there a bit stymied by what to do – sit in a puddle and wait for the band to start, or go into a bar and possibly miss a bit of Mexican culture – but as soon as the band struck the first chords, we exchanged glances and headed straight into the bar for a beer. It was a cacophony of instruments detuned by the humidity, and frankly a cold beer in an air-conditioned bar sounded rather more enjoyable.

A corridor in the Hotel Trinidad Galleria
There is dusty crap everywhere in the Hotel Trinidad Galleria
The main foyer
The main foyer is one of the cleaner parts of the hotel, but it's still as weird as hell
The entrance to the swimming pool
The rather grand entrance to the swimming pool

Our New Golden Rule

The hotel swimming pool
The hotel swimming pool: note the carefully arranged garden furniture and the ghoulish downspout

Accommodation-wise, things haven't gone so well recently. We've stayed in three places since hitting the road – Tulum, Valladolid and Mérida – and in two out of three places we've had to abandon our hotel after one night. This is untenable, wearing and downright distressing, and we've realised that if we don't improve the quality of our hotel rooms, we're going to end up coming home early, which would be stupid (I'd rather spend twice as much and travel happily for half as long, than spend less and get sick). So we're going to check out more rooms before deciding which to take, we're going to go with our gut instincts and walk out of a hotel if it doesn't feel right, and we're going to spend more on our accommodation if that's what it takes. There's no sense in being so budget conscious that we end up staying in places that make us depressed and ill; this is supposed to be fun, not fatal.