THE SEX MOTEL: A CLASSY BIVOUAC

ABC
THE SWEEPING DRIVE LEADING TO MOTEL CAPRI.

It seems you don’t have to drive far in South America before you come across a sex motel (except in Patagonia, of course…where it’s far too windy for anything). Most of them are pretty obvious to spot: they have names like Cupid Motel, or Venus Motel, or Love Motel and the letters are painted in dripping pink or letter-box red. In Colombia, down in the steaming valleys, there are heaps of them. High walls surround a compound of garages, into which the couple drive their car. From the garage one gains direct access to a bedroom and bathroom en-suite. They are perfect for the illicit liaison, quite possibly the ultimate in drive-thru’ sex. Not all of these sex motels are so easy to identify, especially in the fading light, after a long day on the road, when you’re tired and getting grumpy and you’re fast running out of options. It is in just these circumstances that we pull off the main road leading to the provincial town of Aracataca, birthplace of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time of Cholera etc), who sadly died this month. ‘This’ll do,’ I say to Christine, swinging into the drive of Motel Capri. ‘We’ll ask if we can camp in their car park.’ As we pull up to the entrance five young lads amble from the reception. They stare at us for a while and then break out in a fit of giggles. I don’t think it is that funny when our vehicle fails to slip beneath the beam across the entrance – they find it hilarious. Unable to gain access, Christine asks, ‘Can we park in the garden?’ a simple enough question, yet provoking another bout of giggles. ‘For how long?’ one of them manages to ask. ‘How much for the night?’ she replies. ‘The whole night?’ the boy cries, looking aghast. This, it appears, is beyond anything he’s previously experienced and has to ring his mum for a price. It’s all very curious, we think, until they show us the toilet and shower, which we access through a garage, and then a bedroom, and the penny finally drops – Motel Capri is indeed a sex motel. They’ve never seen anything quite like us before – poor guys. Why would someone come to a sex motel in a camping car, let alone one too big to even access the compound? And who in their right mind asks to spend the night in the garden? Motel Capri sell their rooms for 14000 pesos an hour, plus increments of ten minutes thereafter, up to a maximum of three hours. Nobody ever stays the night. As we make ourselves comfortable beneath the mango tree a proper client, in a muscular, black Chevy pick-up truck with smoked windows, pulls out of the compound and roars off up the road.

ABC
56,000 KILOMETRES AFTER LEAVING BUENOS AIRES WE HAVE ARRIVED ON THE NORTH COAST OF COLOMBIA. IT IS QUITE A MILESTONE, OUR JOURNEY THROUGH SOUTH AMERICA LARGELY BEHIND US NOW.
ABC
STILL LOOKING FOR PARADISE. PALOMINO, COLOMBIA.
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