A familiar bottle lies before you. Its dark contents, the stuff of dreams. Literally
From time to time, we all seek it. Escapism. The final place of solace for the despondent. Some run, some hide, others take flight. The means of travel may vary, but the destination remains the same – that place that provides temporary comfort and a moment’s relief from the world’s troubles. Like a hotel, it invites you in; its hospitality, second to none. For seasoned guests, it provides familiar comfort. For newcomers, it provides a pleasantly surprising welcome. Hospitable, it bids you to stay; innocuous, it invites you to return at any time. Common sense dictates that one should not stay too long, nor return too often. But what is common sense in this hotel paradise?
‘Have another drink’, coaxes the voice. And so another bottle courses through your veins. The taste is not unpleasant. The aftertaste of a sticky sweetness is left lingering. But the promise of what is to come is sweeter still. And so you break the seal on another bottle, as you discard the empty one atop a pile of its cousins â€“ dark 100ml bottles with complex gibberish on its labels. It is here that one differentiates between the travellers. The ones on frivolous vacation stop here, they are content with the free and easy tour. Gawdy tourists with loud voices and louder shirts. For those of us on a more serious trip, passage must be secured. Pills soon follow – your plane ticket in the form of a dozen unprescribed tablets. And it is then that you find yourself blurry-eyed, standing in front of the receptionist.
Immediately you already feel relief from the noisy, busy world outside. Just beyond the hotel, you can just about hear the rush of traffic. Vehicles screeching. Horns blaring. Sirens screaming. Oh the chaos! But fret not! Listen and already you can hear the subtle splash of the sea’s arms, gently tickling the shore. Already you can hear the chatter of the ballroom, champagne classes clinking. Already your solace beckons.
‘And how long will you be staying for?’, queries the pleasant voice, though already knowing the answer. Several times over the minimum toxicity concentration, there is no going back.
Welcome to paradise.