“Where are you off to?” the taxi driver asked.

“Oriental Palace Hotel!” He replied.

   The taxi driver’s initial reaction was to grimace, he hesitated for a second and then started bombarding the guy with questions. “Are you meeting anyone there?” “Is there an event going on in the hotel?” “Is there anything going on around the hotel?” 

The guy brushed him off with a simple “no” while mesmerized by letter in his hand, not taking his eyes off it. 

While he was staring at the letter, the taxi driver suddenly stopped the car. The guy looked around and saw no sign of the hotel. 

“You need to get off here” The taxi driver said. 

“But the hotel is nowhere to be found!”. The guy angrily answered

“Well I can’t drive you out there, I wouldn’t be able to get out! You can get off here and walk to that hotel of yours.”. 

   The guy huffed and puffed but got off and started walking on his own, trying to figure out where to go from here. He asked a passerby that pointed to him in a certain direction. He walked and walked in a weird neighborhood, nothing like where he came from. He kept reminding himself of the hidden gem that he is headed to, it was the only reason that kept him going. So he walked confidently to the direction of the hotel.

   He finally reached the hotel that he was directed to. He Stood against an old building that had wonderful greenery outside. The building sign showed “The Oriental Palace Hotel”. 

   The guy shook his head and thought “this can’t be, I must be imagining. The sign must for another building. I’m sure if I walk further, There must be another part to this building.” 

   The building he saw looked old, dusty, grim, dull, with dirty gloomy lights, but he could that tell once upon a time were brightly colored. He walked around several times looking for the hotel. Admitting defeat he walked further and realized that in fact this is the hotel he was searching for, but so not the hotel he was dreaming of.  

The dusty glass door opened for him and he entered. There he met a receptionist that was playing on their phone. Not bothered at all by who is entering or exiting the place. 

“HELLO!! Can’t you see there is someone here?!?!” the guy growled at the receptionist. 

The receptionist looks up so coldly and replies “Yes, can I help you?” as he unfolds his crossed legs and gets up as if he was being dragged by force. 

“I am here to check in” The guy replied, still hoping that at least the rooms will be better than the state of this grim old lobby

The receptionist gave him a fake smile and led him to a room. He went through several corridors and up countless stairs until he finally reached the room.

   Not bothering to tip, the guy closed the door and dropped his bags on the floor as a cloud of dust filled the air.  He then went to lie down on the bed and heard a screeching noise from the worn out springs. He ground his teeth in utter defiance of the disastrous state of the room. He remained motionless, defeated, until his stomach made a roaring noise. The guy realized he has not eaten since this morning. The reception was not as he expected. The room is definitely not what he envisioned after reading the letter. He hoped that at least restaurant that he saw in the photos that will live up to the expectations, or even decent. 

   He opened that door which led him to a long narrow corridor. The corridor was grim and dusty and looked like it hasn’t been cleaned in ages. He cursed to himself thinking “what brought you here!!!” While an odd door at the end of this strange corridor caught his attention. He walked for what seemed like an eternity to reach it. As he got closer to this door, he heard rustling paper and machinery and smelled what seemed like coffee coming out of that location. He immediately thought this might be where the restaurant is!! So he walked to it. He opened the door and saw an old man sitting in the corner of the room sipping on coffee.

   He looked around and it was indeed a restaurant but there was no one but the old man. He saw no servers. Compelled by the rumbling in his stomach he was forced to approach the old man. 

“Can I have a caramel macchiato and a cronut.” he said.  

“You serve yourself here!” the old man replied. 

“Umm okay where from?” 

“There’s coffee here, and there a vending machine by the beautiful chandeliers outside in the reception.” He answered optimistically. 

“You mean those grim old chandeliers?” 

 “The chandeliers next to that beautiful fountain with the glorious lights!” the old man assures.

 “The fountain with the lights that don’t work anymore?! The fountain that looks like it has been ruined by time?” the guy cries back. 

The old man got up from his chair and said “son, are you sure we are describing the same places? Let me show you around!”. 

   Given with no choice the guy decided to follow this man because he desperately wanted to see these amazing places as opposed to the dirt he has been dealing with ever since he arrived. 

   The old man took him to see the glorious bright corridor, the beautiful entrance to the hotel, the tastefully decorated waiting area. But he saw none of that, he saw the same miserable spaces he’s been forced to deal with all day. 

   Realizing this space had nothing for him he admitted defeat and decided to go back to his room. He opened the door to what he thought was his room, there he saw an old man sitting in the corner sipping coffee. He shut the door by force and walked to another door he thought must be his room, there he saw an old man sitting in the corner sipping coffee. So he opened another, until he opened what seemed like all the doors in the corridor, he was unable to get out or find his room. Every room he went to, he saw this old man.