The Night a Laptop Saved a Meltdown

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Day 16: Chetumal, Mexico

I had heard that it was easier to visit Belize from Mexico than Guatemala so I decided to head south to Chetumal.

Unfortunately there was only one 7-hour bus that left at noon and I would need to stay the night in the border town.

While Chetumal is a well known border crossing, hostels are hard to find. After some searching I managed to find a hotel located directly across from the bus station from $10 a night.

I arrived exhausted and ready to crash. As described, the hotel was directly across the road and I walked over to find a group playing cards outside.

I inquired about a room and they asked me to give them a few minutes. During this time I spoke to a very old woman who kept calling me blanca bonita and some other things I could not understand.

The room wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Sure I knew it would be basic but this reminded me of a nightmare hostel I stayed in in Phenom Pehn.

I forgot to take a photo of the bathroom, or rather the opening that was used as the bathroom.

The toilet had no seat and the shower was a hose from the wall into the tiled area.

This was the only hotel I knew of that wasn’t 50 bucks a night, knowing that I was only staying one night I smiled and said I would take it.

The owner was a kind old man who then got me a towel and a bar of new soap, unaware that I would never step in the shower.

After checking the mattress for the telling bed bug rust stains I took a deep breath and decided if I stayed out most of the night I could just fall asleep and wake up early.

 While I’m usually strong and levelheaded during difficult situations, every so often I crumble and am seconds away from hyperventilating and sobbing.

I knew this could be one of those nights.

I held it together when the Internet cafe the owner sent me to was full and decided I could still walk around at dusk.

Thankfully I finally found a nice Internet cafe and decided to park there for an hour. Afterwards, I found an Mexican antojitos spot and ate a torta (chicken sandwich) and my stomach wasn’t feeling so hot.

I couldn’t tell if I was dehydrated or feeling the effects of bad chicken. I started to pray to God/Buddha/Allah/Chuck Norris to spare me this one time.

I could not be sick in that bathroom.

On the verge of a massive breakdown there was only one thing to do. I bought water, a packet of cheap chocolate cookies and headed home.

When I arrived I used the tape from my first aid kit to tape down the garbage bag covering a broken window  and watched old episodes of LOST and The Office on my laptop.

Watching television gave me the comfort of some normality. Eventually the sugar high wore off and I fell asleep.

Some travelers don’t believe in electronics, but without that laptop I likely would have cried myself to sleep.  

You could argue that maybe I would have learned from that experience but I think all I would have gained is swollen eyes and a puffy red face.

In the morning it didn’t look so bad but I was so glad to leave. And whoever up there actually listened and I made it through without having to use the seatless toilet.

Join the Conversation

  1. How does Chuck Norris make it into the top four? Glad to know you’re on your way to the next destination.

  2. jennifer says:

    I give it to you AB! You are a stronger, more adventurous woman than I. Good for you! A little LOST could cheer anyone up! On to the next town.

  3. In case of emergency, watch the episode where Dwight runs the fire drill and everyone thinks the office is on fire and chaos breaks out….guaranteed to make you laugh out loud!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      OMG that is my favorite favourite episode. Angela throws the cat up into the ceiling… do you remember what season/episode it is?

  4. Season 5, Episode 13

  5. Alouise says:

    Hey sometimes we need our creature comforts from home, nothing wrong with that. If people are gonna judge you for watching The Office on your laptop I say pashaw.

  6. I’m happy to hear you were saved! Toilet issues are going around back home it seems…ugh…thankful for good plumbing! xo

  7. 1) It was totally Chuck Norris’ awesomeness that saved your ass…
    2) There’s no crying allowed… I don’t believe you would cry… ever… WWCND (what would chuck norris do… that’s right… NOT cry…)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate to disappoint you but there will be crying at some point on this trip and I’ll be writing about it.
      There will not be photos though, I’m too vain for that.

  8. Christine says:

    I am glad you made it through that!

  9. Monsieur Tofu says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’re alright. From the photo, that hostel doesn’t look nearly as bad as the one in Phnom Penh. Although leaking roofs and dead cockroaches are hard to see without zooming in.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Okay fair point. There was no leaking roof, but there was the broken window that I had to retape the garbage bag so I wouldn’t be eaten alive by mosquitos. No cockroaches either and believe me I looked.

  10. It’s funny how during my 10 month trip with a laptop and plenty of internet access I never thought about watching TV. So many nights would have been that much better!

  11. the hose coming out of the wall would have had me crying like a baby. You are much less of a wimp ass than I am. Great descriptions 🙂

  12. The hotel room sounds awful! It’s funny how something like a television show and being able to plop down with a computer can make things (almost) all better.

  13. Your posts are sooo honest and resonate with everyone. Oh, how I know these nights feel. And you’re right — as long as it’s only one night, hopefully not a sleepless one, it’ll be ok!

  14. I had a night like that in Reno and I think I did cry myself to sleep. Shaun spent the night grappling a pocket knife he had brought with him.

    I totally understand how much this sucks.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I suppose everyone has one of those nights, I just didn’t think mine would happen so soon.

  15. I can relate to your hotel horror story oh so well. Luckily, it sounds like Chuck Norris was listening and you made it out just fine 😉

  16. Wait, does this mean you didn’t pee the whole time you were in the room? Kudos. At least the room doesn’t look so bad. Would have loved to see pics from the bathroom!!

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