By Roberta Rich
We went to Mexico, had some tequila, eloped with a pair of drug smugglers, and took part-time jobs as exotic dancers. You know, same old, same old.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
In 2020, I met Roberta Rich at a writer’s conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She kindly offered me the chance to re-publish her article below from the Toronto Globe and Mail on my website and Facebook Page
Driving three thousand kilometers from Vancouver to Colima, Mexico with Maggie is an unalloyed pleasure- except for one thing. She is seven years old now, placid, sedate, the doggy equivalent of late middle age, kind of like us. She has her bed in the back of the station wagon and as my husband is fond of saying, a little too often for my liking, she never criticizes his driving and she never whines for a pee break.
We are well acquainted with the U.S. chain motels throughout Washington State, Oregon, and California in all of their splendidly cheap, convenient, and dog-friendly guises. Their lurid signs beckon from the I-5 and at the end of a long day, we and Maggie gratefully snuggle into the charmless but antiseptic arms of a Motel 6, Motel 8, or Travelodge. If you don’t believe me, I have dozens of purse-size plastic bottles of body lotion, shampoo, doll-size bars of bath soap, and hair conditioner to prove it.
Our gruelling schedule of ‘gas/pee –drive- drive- eat/pee- sleep- get up- eat’ and do the same thing all over for six days and nights serves us well until we cross the border. Then the problem starts. There are two breeds of dog in Mexico: the purse dog, also known as a ‘d.w.p.’ (dirty white poodle), and the ‘roof dog’ a snarling, teeth-baring creature designed to terrify and intimidate all who come within a block of the roof in question.
Maggie fits into neither category. Being a German Shepherd, she has the look of a wolf but the disposition of a purse dog. ‘No perros (dogs)’ is the rule, which makes finding a motel room a challenge in a country of carefully tended, vigilantly guarded Mom and Pop hotels.
However, this was the year of our big break through. We discovered the concept of ‘the hot sheets motel’ (sometimes called ‘love motel’) numerous throughout Mexico. Our personal favourite was the Dix Motel in Culiacan, Sinaloa. (Warning: Culiacan has been in the news as the battlefield for warring narcotraficos. This may deter you.)
The typical Mexican house is small and lacking in privacy, and the neighbors are as nosey as neighbors anywhere, so the pay by the hour motel is a popular institution. (Attention President Marcon! Countries concerned about declining national birth rates may want to encourage this discrete, low rise, anonymous institutions.)
You enter through a curved high walled entrance, drive up to the reception building of smoked one way glass. An electronic arm extends to receive your two hundred pesos (about $20.00); the arm extends again to give you a key. Then you and your car disappear into the maze of 70’s style motel units with attached garages. Think Mexico meets Edward Sissorshands.
Each room comes equipped with an adjacent parking space complete with a heavy green plastic curtain on rings to conceal your car (or an elephant) as you unload selves, luggage, and dog. Inside is a comfortable king size bed and a menu from which you can order by phone everything from burritos and enchiladas to Viagra and a cream called ‘Analease’. The delivery of these purchases is effected through a revolving turnstile similar to the one Hannibal Lector received his meals through in Silence of the Lambs. You place your pesos on the shelf, spin, and presto, your piping hot burrito, or Viagra, appears as if by magic, on the return spin.
You will see not a soul from the moment you pull into the entrance until you pull out in the morning, cheerful and relaxed after a blissful sleep and a good romp. Dog lovers rejoice.
Want to Know More About Life in a Mexican Hot Sheets Motel?
Check out this article from London’s Guardian Newspaper.
Want to Know More About Mexico?
- 8 Horrifying Lessons From An Express Kidnapping In MexicoIn January 2020, I was a victim of an express kidnapping in Puebla, Mexico. I discuss what happened to me and what I learned about travel safety from the incident.
- My Surprising and Complex Journey from Nomad to Expat in Merida, Mexico During CoronavirusIn March 2020, I decided to live full time as an expat in Merida, Mexico. It was not an easy decision. I spent 2011 to 2015 as a full time traveler. From 2015 to March 2020, I lived part time in Merida and Montreal and also traveled three to four months a year. Right when I was excited about becoming a full time expat, the Coronavirus pandemic happened and changed my plans even more.
- Maggie and the Mexican Hot Sheets MotelRoberta Rich wrote this article about staying in love motels in Mexico during her annual drive from Vancouver to Colima, Mexico. She stayed in these motels because they were the only places she could find that allowed dogs.
- Fascinating Accidental Nomad and Expat Profile: Vicki Skinner in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and MexicoThis is a profile of Vicki Skinner, a friend and an interesting example of a Fifty-Plus Nomad. She has lived over the past 16 years in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico on very limited funds.
- 6 Reasons Why I Love Living and Traveling in Mexico (and Probably Will Live Here for the Rest of My Life)I live in Mexico because I love the country’s rich culture, history, nature, food and people. (Note: I have a related post on the pros and cons of living in Merida).
- Pros and Cons of Living in Merida, MexicoThis post lists the pros and cons of living in Merida, Mexico. It also shows how I have adapted to (and even come to appreciate) some of the cons of living in Merida.
- Expat Life in Merida Blog, Part Two, What a Difference a Year Makes: Guilt-Free Contentment with Friends and a Dog Despite CoronavirusWhile I haven’t written any posts, the last year (Summer 2020-Summer 2021) has been very eventful. I have developed some essential friendships, improved my health, and really settled down into my new life as an expat in Merida.
- Unearth Little-Known Spanish Language Tips for Adults over 50, Expats, and Long-Term Travelers (Under Constitution)Under Construction
- Logistics of Expat Retiree Life in Mexico (Under Construction)Under Construction
- Establish Your Ultimate Expat Retiree Life in Mexico: Choosing the Right PlaceOne of the main challenges for expat retirees in Mexico is choosing the right place to live. This post explores the advantages and disadvantages of living in five types of communities in Mexico: expat havens, locally-oriented expat communities, Gringo Ghettoes, off-the beaten path communities, and business havens
- Why I Chose Living as an Expat Retiree in Mexico Versus Costa Rica: Mexico’s Incomparable Food, Rich Culture, and Amazing PeopleThough I like Costa Rica very much and recommend living there highly to fellow expat retirees. I live in Mexico because of its rich culture, history, and diverse culture, and world-class cuisine.
- 200+ of the Best Expat and Long-Term Travel Quotations From Fifty-Plus NomadAll of my blog posts lead off with a quote that is relevant to the subject of the post. I also frequently post quotes on my Facebook group page: Long Term Traveling and Living Abroad Over the Age of 50. This page of quotes is from my blog and Facebook group page mostly. However, I have added a few extra of my favorite travel-related quotes.