Fernando and I had been on a few dates, and were supposed to meet up to catch a movie at Blue Angel café one night. He showed up an hour late, and we decided to go for a drive and smoke a jazz cigarette instead of keeping the Blue Angel family up past their bedtime. A little later, he asked if I wanted to go somewhere more private. I assumed his apartment, so obviously I agreed and off we went.
As we drove, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of auto-hotels around, enough so that I made a joke about zone six being la Tierra de los auto-hoteles. For the uninitiated, an auto-hotel is a pay-per-hour love stop for sordid affairs, illicit sex, and for married and unmarried couples who have nowhere else to get it on. Fernando laughed nervously, I thought, and we kept driving. A short time later we pulled into a parking lot of a reasonably nice looking condominium building. Each condo had its own little car park quaintly painted with hearts, mountains or stars.
As we pulled into the garage I saw a sign reminding the driver to cut their engine. I didn’t think much of it at the time, especially since the other sign stating the hourly rate of Q140 hadn’t caught my eye. I nervously followed Fernando up the stairs, excited to finally see his place, and a little anxious that things were moving so fast. He opens the door at the top of the stairs and we walk in. I took a quick look around, trying to take it all in. I was immediately struck by the large bed in the middle of the room. I look to my left, my eyes scanning for the non-existent kitchen. Its then I realize Fernando is sliding money through a waist-height window in a steel door to the left of the bed. I take a closer look at the bed and noticed “Auto-Hotel Camelot”, stamped on the pillow cases, and a four-pack of condoms placed neatly between the two pillows.
There was a retro comic-book style applique on the bedroom side of the bathroom window, featuring an image of a woman who did not look happy, with a banner at the top with the words, “I became ill…” As it slowly dawned on me that this was definitely not Fernando’s modern one-bedroom apartment, and I realized the groan-factor of my joke about the land of auto-hotels, I suddenly started to panic.
My thought process was basically, “holy eff, this is an auto-hotel, I don’t know if I can do this, I kind of feel like a lady of the night. Wait a minute, that’s actually kind of hot. This guy is paying money for the privilege of playing pants-off-dance-off, and this may be my only opportunity in life to get it on in a love hotel in Latin America. What am I waiting for?”
Moral of the story? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.