By Roberta Rich
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 Mexican Love Motels?
Check out this article from London’s Guardian Newspaper.
Want to Know More About Mexico?
- 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.
- Lessons From An Express Kidnapping in Puebla, 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.
- An Accidental Nomad and Expat in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico: Profile of Vicki SkinnerThis 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..
- 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.
- What a Difference a Year Makes: How I Found Contentment with Friends and a Dog in Merida 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.
- Check Out My One-on-One Spanish and English Classes in Merida, Mexico: I Can Help Anyone Learn Using My Exclusive Polyglot Method (Coming Soon)Introducing Fifty-Plus Nomad Spanish and English classes in my home in Merida, Mexico. Come learn Spanish or English using the same techniques used by polyglots to become fully conversational in multiple foreign languages
- Introducing The New Fifty-Plus Nomad Blog: The Perfect Place to Begin Your Long-Term Living and Traveling Abroad Adventures Over 50Visit the all-new Fifty-Plus Nomad blog and learn all my tips for long-term travel and living abroad gathered from my 16 years of first-hand experience.
- Fifty Plus Nomad’s Exclusive Traveling and Living Abroad Seminars: Let Me Help You Put Your Dreams Into Flight (Coming Soon)Take one of my two Fifty-Plus Nomad seminars in my home in Merida, Mexico. Benefit from my sixteen years of experience traveling and living around the world. Learn how to travel around the world long-term and live in different countries.