I found myself standing on a city street outside of a grand and beautiful hotel. It was morning, but not too early and the sun was very warm and the light almost overly bright. I was in a definitely in a tropical location. There were palm trees to be seen and the smell of salt in the warm breezy air.
Hibiscus and birds-of-paradise were planted in profusion. Oleander too, in the lush and lovely gardens that surrounded the ground floor of the hotel. White with small touches of gold, the structure was designed in a contemporary fashion but it was not at all hard or standoffish, rather it exuded a welcoming energy. It was very tall, and very square. A singular and towering building. There was nothing else like it around.
The hotel was very busy and it was easy to see, even from the outside that it was packed with people. As I stood and watched I noticed that there were not any people walking into the hotel, but there were many people walking out of the hotel. Curious, I walked closer and stood in front of the main entrance. The front doors and the lobby and the whole of the first or bottom floor of the hotel was made of glass. I could see crowds of people moving in a single direction.
There were smartly dressed doormen standing at the ready, opening the front doors to let people out onto the street. A young man with curly blonde hair wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt caught my eye. He was simply beaming. His blue eyes sparkling, he had just walked out of the hotel and was heading my way. I smiled and he noticed me and returned my gaze. He walked with quick energy directly to me and stopped. Knowing a question was forthcoming.
“What is happening in the hotel?” I asked. The question seemed humorous to the young man and his grin widened. “Oh that’s funny,” He said kindly, as if I had told a joke, and then curiously he followed that up with, “You already know!” He tipped his head slightly and walked off, glancing behind with another twinkling smile as he walked- almost skipping, down the street.
I decided to see for myself. I walked across the street and toward the lobby doors passing people who were leaving. Each of them were wide eyed and bright. When I got there I noticed the doormen were looking inwards and not outwards toward the street, and did not immediately notice my attempt to enter. I started to open the door myself. The man on the right said, “Oh, do you want to come back in?’
Back in? I wasn’t sure I had ever been inside, but I simply nodded and he opened the door.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” I heard him say to his colleague. “No No it doesn’t,” came the reply. I turned to smile at them both, letting them know I heard them and wasn’t concerned.
“I just want to have a little look around.”
“OH!” They said in unison. I was sure I noticed a touch of relief in their voices when they spoke. I got the impression my visit to the hotel would probably be quite brief.
I walked in and was carried along by the crowd, enmasse, towards my right. It seemed to be made up of mostly adults from all walks of life. As we walked I noticed that the hotel was built around an open and very sunny atrium in the middle. There were sitting areas and curiously some sleeping areas near the middle where there were a few people here and there making use of them. But most everyone was walking. It was almost like they were doing laps. Laps around the atrium middle. No one was really talking or communicating, although I did hear a few muffled bits of conversation, I wasn’t going to learn much this way.
I made my way though the crowd closer towards the atrium to have a better look. There were large trees vines, leaves and flowers. Standing by these wonderful plants I found I could breathe so much easier than when I was walking with the others. I noticed some of the leaves and flowers were as big as a grown adult. And as soon as I had that thought. I saw a white petaled flower open, and to my surprise there was a person inside! It was a full grown woman and she looked like she was just waking up. Rubbing her eyes she climbed out of the flower and the atrium and into the crowd but did not join their movement around and around but headed straight for the front door of the lobby.
Curious I watched longer and saw more people emerge from the lush plants. A great number of them joined the murmuring crowd to begin the circle around and around…but some of them, like the white flower woman headed toward the lobby and simply exited the hotel.
Every once in a while someone or a couple or small group from the moving mass of people would sit down on a chair or even lay upon one of the beds. Everyone once in a while someone on a chair would get up and head toward the door. Every once in a while someone in the moving crowd would stop suddenly in their tracks, turn their heads and head towards the lobby as well. What was happening here?
I’d seen enough though and I wanted to go. I didn’t much care for the energy of the walking masses. As I made my own way back to the front doors of the lobby the doormen greeted me like we were long lost friends. “She’s back!” They both exclaimed in unison. “Did you not believe me that I just wanted to look around?” I asked.
The doorman to my right smiled, “Well, sometimes people just want to go back to sleep.”
Ah. Now I understood.
I nodded, suddenly feeling the lack of oxygen and wanting to get outside into the fresh air as soon as possible. A thought suddenly occurred to me and I stopped and turned around. “Hey fellas, can I possibly buy you some lunch?” I thought over a meal I could make new friends and maybe they would tell me more about the White Hotel and how they got their jobs. In unison again they broke out in laughter. In unison they said “Sure!” And the doorman to the right said, “Our shift ends very soon, would you like to wait in the outside garden cafe that overlooks the water?” He gestured outside toward the East.
“That would be lovely. See you soon.” Opening the doors I followed my feet to the sound and smell of the sea. Up ahead I could see the sweetest outdoor dining area that had umbrellaed tables, cushioned seats and a busy wait staff milling and clinking about.
I could only imagine what might be on the menu.