15 hours and 20 minutes, 2 flights, countless gin tonic and here I am, arriving in Mexico City! I’m thrilled and terrified to be traveling on my own here for a full month. After a quick 5-minute wait, I grab my 40 L backpack from the conveyor belt and locate the nearest exit. Outside the building, I light a cigarette while waiting for my Uber.
I can’t believe I’m here! The land of my dreams; the land of tequila, Frida Kahlo, and tacos. Hi, yes, in case you don’t know me, those are my top three passions; alcohol, art, and food.
After almost an hour’s ride, I finally made it to my hostel. The entrance looked almost like a design hotel and I had to double-check before I pushed the glass door open. Inside the hostel, a guy is waving his hands, signaling for me to come on in.
“Hey, hey, welcome! It’s Daisy, right?” the guy behind the desk offered me a warm greeting.
Wow. He’s cute, friendly, and he knows my name.
For sure I’m not in Berlin anymore.
I place my backpack on the floor and smile, “Yes! Hi! I hope it’s not too late to check-in?”
The hostel receptionist offers a kind smile, “actually, you’re right on time.”
He extends his hand and introduces himself. His name is José.
He then turns to a guy to his left, “hey man, so this is her. This is the girl. You’ve got to move your stuff.”
Focusing his gaze at the computer screen, José continues, “I can put you in, let me check- room number 8?”
I quickly notice the presence of the other guy next to José. Oh, great, another cute guy. Checkered shirt, well-trimmed beard, nose piercing.
“Shit. All right. I’m on it,” mutters the beautiful man as he leaves us and climbs up the stairs.
Fabulous, he’s got an Aussie accent. Fuck me.
“Who was that?” I can’t seem to hide my thirsty ass.
“That? Oh, that was Ben.”
José filled me in that they were, in fact, waiting if I would show up. Ben would like to extend his stay, but I had booked his bed.
Ha, that’s a funny coincidence.
I mean I wouldn’t complain about sharing the bed with that gorgeous guy.
Alas, José told me not to worry as Ben is moving to another room. He also offers to change the bedsheets for me, seeing that as at this point I look knackered from my long flight.
Following José’s steps, I finally made it to my room.
He is taking off Ben’s sheet while I sit down, offering him a short introduction of who I am. Where I’m from, what I’m doing, and all that jazz. In exchange, he tells me his story. He used to live in Budapest and recently moved back home to Mexico City.
While listening to him, I can’t help but notice his defined biceps wrestling with the white bed linen.
Get a grip, woman. The first night of your trip and you get so thirsty already.
I thank José for changing the sheets for me.
He tells me not to worry, and that he is happy to help. I had a long flight anyway, so that’s the least he could do to help.
À propos the bed, I tell José that I’m sorry for snatching the other guy’s bunk.
He laughs and says that he’d rather give the bed to me than him anyway.
Is he flirting with me?
Ben has been staying at the hostel for a few days and becomes good mates with José. One thing leads to another, they’re now shooting a short film together. Having found a new project and a new friend, Ben extended his stay in Mexico City.
With my bed now made, José leaves me to get a good rest.
I thank him again and close the door before collapsing into my bed.
After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up bright and early and spent my first day here exploring the city on my own. There’s something about walking around without a specific destination when visiting new places.
The people here are so warm and friendly. I would love to chat, but I am helpless. My Spanish knowledge is very limited to a few words I learned from Dora the Explorer. Fine, I also may know all the lyrics to Despacito – but this is classified information. Anyway, I’m sure that I won’t be having any karaoke challenge here, so it’s pretty much useless.
After 5 hours on my feet and many times repeating that I do not speak Español, I began my retreat to the hostel. Who knew that exchanging smiles could be so exhausting? I need an actual verbal communication stat.
A small crowd is gathering at the lounge area. I hesitate for a moment.
Why am I such a socially-awkward baby sometimes?
Yes, I do crave social interaction.
And no, I don’t want to look like a fool in front of these strangers.
Fuck sake, who cares what they think-
It only takes a quick scan of the room to see that the hot Aussie guy is in the crowd.
All right then.
I pull the most charming smile and introduce myself to everyone.
Nina and Anna are two flatmates from the Netherlands. Maria and Gabriella are working for the hostel. Then there is Sean, from the States and Jens from Germany. And him, Ben, from Sydney. Not Australia, mind you, Sydney.
I see you. Cocky. But again, you’re hot, so I am going to let that one slide.
As an attempt to be cool and not stare at that gorgeous man, I conversed with the guy next to me. That’s how it works right, ignoring the one you like and speaking with the one you have the least interest in.
This guy, Sean, has no problem answering my questions. In fact, it only took three questions before he turned this conversation into a monologue. He talks non-stop about his volunteering experiences in Vietnam and Ghana. I bet he thinks of himself as some social superhero. Oh, I double-bet you he is one of those humanitarians of Tinder. I wonder if those pics of him with impoverished children get him laid.
Bored to death listening to this narcissist of a man, I try my best to listen, nod, smile, and repeat. Every few minutes I find my eyes wandering to the man across from me. He stares back at me almost immediately. He then continues his conversation with the two girls from the hostel.
My heart races faster.
Are you kidding me, Daisy? Only one look and you’re getting hot and bothered?
“Hey guys, have any of you ever been to Tulum?” I shout the question to the group, an attempt to escape from Sean’s monologue.
“Yeah, went there five years ago. It was beautiful. Not sure how it is these days though. You plannin’ to head over there?” Ben chimes in.
From then on, it was me and him talking, exchanging laughs and information about ourselves.
The group seems to pause and listen to our conversation. I don’t think anyone can deny the attraction that is happening between us two. It was as if it was a play and we were the main roles and the rest of the group were our audience.
It doesn’t take long for everyone to read the sign. Something that reads, “Caution: Two horny strangers. Please vacate this space immediately!”
The group soon dissolves as they one by one leave the living room.
Why Mexico City of all places I’m meeting this man? His face and body? Sculpted by Gods. His laugh? It lights up the room. His personality? It is an exact copy of mine.
I’m still in awe, mesmerized and butterflies in my stomach and all. Then he asked me if we wanted to go grab something to eat.
We agreed to freshen up and meet up back in the lounge in half an hour.
I took a quick shower and put on my off-the-shoulder summer dress. Two spritzes of perfume, on my inner wrist, and behind my left ear lobe. Neroli and jasmine, with a slight note of Juniper.
What am I doing?! I shouldn’t be doing this.
Yet, I can’t deny how excited I am feeling. I haven’t felt like this in a long time -or ever. It’s not every day that you meet someone who resembles young Jason Momoa.
We are only grabbing food, though, so it’s not a big deal. Solo travellers do this all the time. I’m trying to give myself a pep talk that this is something casual and that I need to chill.
I breathe in and out. Repeating the whole process five times until I gather myself. Grinning at the mirror, I tell myself that I’m ready. Then I lock my dorm room and head to the lounge area. And there he is. Black jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, which he rolled just enough to have part of his tattoos exposed.
What a fine specimen.
Is it me or does he look like he’s wearing his first dat…