That morning, Hector had summoned me to his side from across the dorm room. We were standing around and making plans, most of us rubbing our eyes and deciding whether to drink our hangovers away in spiteful whispers. I accidentally looked in his direction and noticed he was curling his hand at me, gesturing me to come closer without any eye contact and I could have broken his stubby little hand off.

All the stories I’d been hearing from the other ladies about him were starting to bother me. I’d gathered the general consensus that Hector took to staring at our tits if nothing interesting enough was coming out of our mouths. He was usually too high to answer anyone’s questions about the area or hostel, and was always in a bad mood. But most importantly, Amie had always hated him because she wasn’t the type to take any shit from anyone. Honestly, for a small man, Hector caused some shit.

She told me that she had been at Quetzal for so long because, like me, she had tried working there in the beginning. But when she stood her ground against Hector, she more or less got fired on the spot for “not contributing”. She never really was assigned any work, and refused to degrade herself “to keep her job” on a fair few occasions… to keep it PG. The guys didn’t have much higher opinions of the staff and I could feel myself repelling Quetzal bit by bit. All it would take was for them to slip once, and I was ready to take off for good.

So I reluctantly went over to Hector’s bunk, my feet feeling like a bag of rocks. He told me he was going to Isla Mujeres for two days and needed me to work the mornings from 7am-3pm. I managed to smile through a grimace as I realized that the little shit had been there when Amie and I talked about going to the Island ourselves. All of a sudden he wanted to take off at the same time? Reception was exceptionally easy after all, so I let it slide. But I still made the mental note that I was initially told that we were only required to work for a few hours every day. A full eight hour work day didn’t quite fit the description of “only a few hours”.

During my shifts, all I did was check in a few people, and swim around in the pool midday when it got too hot to do anything else. Amie was a good enough sport to not abandon me, so the days went by even faster. The only hassle I had was getting out of the pool fast enough when guests arrived without slipping on tile and cracking my head open like a damn huevo (huevo = egg). It’s a miracle that nobody got concussed in the time I was there, because that shit was a death trap. One o’clock came and passed, and my mood soured. I had confronted Trevor about the miscommunication over the work hours when I saw him after I spoke with Hector the day before. He smiled shaking  his head at me like I was a silly little girl and said “Don’t worry honey, Luis is coming in at 1, you won’t be working that long”. Don’t bullshit a bullshitter I wanted to laugh in his face, but I smiled and walked away.

So I made up my mind as me and Amie sat in the pool. We decided that would be my last shift. We were going to stick around until Sunday and at least go experience the iconic paint Party at Senor Frogs. But that plan flopped terribly. We built up this whole thing in our head, thinking it would be the perfect final last night to rally the whole hostel and go out with a bang. But despite me and Amie’s undeniable excitement and constant hyping, one by one, each group decided to do their own thing. I had to be really careful to not take it to heart, because these groups were only looking out for themselves.

I came to learn time and time again while abroad that if I wasn’t aggressive in the pursuit of my own goals, and insensitive to the wants of others, that I would end up crossing a whole lot of nothing off my bucket list.

“…people aren’t against you, they are for themselves”. Sebastian Horsley