Last week I adventured through the jungles of southern Mexico with my sister Krishelle, my uncle Will, and my 6 foot 5 long lost brother Daniel.

We arrived late Saturday night in Mexico City, snatched a giant rental car, and began our 900 hour drive into nowhere, stopping occasionally in towns we never could locate on a map. Eventually we made our way to a great little town called Campeche; saw incredible ruins at Palenque and Chichen Itza; had a short stint in Las Vegas Cancun; got burned so severely that my grandchildren will be born red; flew to LA for a quick meeting; rushed back to the airport to meet my now travel-worn group back in Mexico City after they made a 20 hour drive to meet me; saw more ruins at Teotihuacan; explored Mexico City; and then rolled back home for some reality.

Rest assured that along the way countless strange happenings took place. But for now, I'll just give you this one story:

We arrived in Cancun sometime around 8:00 PM at the end of our 1,000 mile drive, expecting it to be pretty easy to find a hotel for the night. Wrong.

Our first stop was at a place that I'm convinced will be the first building destroyed on Judgment Day. A hotel that screamed of riotous living in biblical proportions. But with modern day trashy music and tramp stamps.

Nonetheless, we casually waltzed into hotel Sodom and Gomorrah at one end of the main strip and approached the front desk. Behind us were the youth of America screaming through the lobby, each of them wearing little more than beer can hats and tacky body rings. I could feel the MTV Spring Break cameras being repelled away from me as I prudishly repeated my favorite incredulous line from the 1940s, "well I've never!" each time any of the STD carriers said or did anything you wouldn't find on the Lawrence Welk show.

Because we were the only people there not wearing thongs (unless you ask my grandma, who still insists that that is the colloquial name for "flip flops"), man behind the counter yelled over the noise to warn us that we would not be happy there. And so we left.

Over the course of the next two hours, we wandered into hotels along the strip, only to find that those with vacancies would require us to get "all inclusive" packages, whatever that meant. One hotel told us that this would essentially cost the four of us somewhere around $1600 for the night. I can't be sure, but I think this all inclusive package must have included a trip to the moon and life-time supply of gift certificates to [fill-in-the-blank-disgusting-all-you-can-eat-place].

Daniel walked into one hotel and quickly walked back out, insisting that the entire thing was basically a giant steam room with dim lights. He also swears the front desk immediately informed him that no children were allowed there, which Daniel swears is because this was a "sexual place."

Eventually we found a reasonably priced hotel next to Sodom and Gomorrah, but just far enough away that our chances of contracting airborne chlamydia were under 5%. I know. I know. There's probably no such thing as airborne chlamydia.

I exaggerated.

I'll never do it again.

And so we rested until the next evening after a day full of some really strange experiences gave us a hankering for what Cathie would call "shinanigans." During our epic Lord of the Rings-esk search for a hotel the night before, we purposefully skipped over the Ritz-Carlton, sure that if anything was out of our price-range, it was the RC.

But now we were curious. So we drove to the front gates and were met by a security guard. Will snobbishly told him we were there to get a room, that we didn't have a reservation, and with one wave of the hand proclaimed "money is not an object!"

We were let through and Will pulled up to the front door and told me to go in and ask for a room for four people and 300 cats.

Because of my now-ragged Mexico jungle clothes that I had been wearing for several days, that night I looked like a white-trash homeless male prostitute from Detroit who had just spent the day on the beach. Not that I know what that looks like, mom.

I flip-flopped in through the front door, walking oddly because of the third degree burns up my legs, and approached the front desk.

I was greeted with stares.

Then one of them spoke to me. In a British accent. I'm truly not kidding.

Let me remind you where I was. I was in Mexico. Let me remind you what accent this Mexican man spoke to me in. It was a British accent.

Hi, I need a room for four people. Like, stat.

Good evening sir. Do you have a reservation?

Nope. Just rolled on in here. Does the room have a tv?

Um . . . ok, you need to call a number and make a reservation.

Then British manMexican man Mexi-British man led me into a small room that had one of those phones from the 1930s with the long skinny receiver and two big can-shaped ends. I was placed on the phone to speak to a woman who, are you sitting down?

also spoke with a British accent!

And I was like, what is this? The Weakest Link?

Then this conversation happened:

Hello, how may I assist you?

Hi there! I need a room for four people and 300 cats!

Sir, we do not allow pets in this hotel.

Ok. Well, I suppose I could just let them out onto the beach while we sleep in the room. They are very well-behaved cats.

[Long pause] Perhaps there is another hotel that will better suit your needs.

Look, if it's a matter of having us all in the same room, we are perfectly fine with getting two rooms. But only if they are rooms that connect with a door in the middle. Also one with a pet door would be helpful.

[Click. Dial tone.]

Well, I tried.

~It Just Gets Stranger





Chichen Itza

Daniel and Krishelle in Cancun


With Daniel in Tulum