Part 4: Be Careful What You Wish For

Written by Leisa Bailey

The Mexican Auto Motel

It is near dark by the time we reach Veracruz and we are immediately consumed by fast and heavy traffic and find ourselves totally in no mans land it seems. We find a fuel station and pull in, taking a brief respite to look at our map which of course is useless to us. This certainly was unexpected, but we continue on a main road looking for anything that offers lodging. We are crawling along at a snails pace and nearly get T-boned at an intersection. The offending driver gestures wildly at us using the international sign for ‘dumb shit’. Then miracoulsy as we are turning a corner, there sits our pot of gold, a relatively newer looking grouping of what looks to us to be storage units with windows. A brightly lit neon sign above states “Utohotel Villa Verde” and we don’t even bother asking the other “does this look okay?” as we whip into the bricked driveway. As we slowly pull up to a covered portico a young woman appears out of a small adjoining office and motions for us to follow her down the narrow drive for a short distance. We are feeling road weary and punchy and begin to laugh as to what this is all about. As she approaches an overhead garage door she pulls out an opener from her pocket and pushes the button. As the door begins to lift she motions for us to drive in. This is hysterical to me for some reason as we have no idea what to expect after we are parked. She smiles, nods her head and motions for us to get out of our vehicle and follow her into the interior side door. Bright white florescent lights are turned on as she shows us around an immaculate hotel room. She’s seeking our approval as she shows us the bedroom, bath and shower room. Of course we nod our heads rapidly with big smiles. We exchange pesos, approximately $50 US, for the room key but before she leaves she shows us the neatest thing ever. On the wall in the bedroom facing towards the driveway is a revolving lazy Susan type turnstile. She shows us a plastic covered menu for meals and drinks, both in English and Spanish and point to the telephone on the wall. Incredible! Wonderful! What a concept we have never experienced! It’s called Mexican Room Service and it worked very well!

It was much later on that we learned from another American traveler, the possible real gist behind such privacy of these commonly found hotels. They are used for private trysts between couples. Perhaps that explains the abundance of mirrors all around the bed as well as the ceiling and the abundance of packaged condoms in the ash trays.

Tomorrow our destination is for Villahermosa in the State of Tabasco. Border crossings have military check points that sometimes can be time consuming and a bit spooky; other times a simple nod and smile gets us through without too much questioning but we’ve been told the crossing into the State of Campeche could be the most difficult. And how right that turned out to be.

3 thoughts on “Part 4: Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. That’s interesting about the little “carports.” My first thought was that this was to provide safety for the car (I have read blogs and books about traveling through Mexico and Central America, and riders almost always keep their bikes in their rooms). After reading further it dawned on me that it is probably to keep the vehicle out of sight.


    1. I think privacy is the main idea with these auto motels regardless if one is a tourist passing through or…for other reasons. We stayed at three along the way and all were clean and well appointed for the price.

      Thanks for reading and your thoughts Ray!


  2. You were in one of the “hoteles de paso,” roughly “pass-by hotels.” They are very convenient and usually quite inexpensive. What you paid seems high. And yes, they are normally used for sexual encounters. Hoteles de paso do not have the seedy reputation that hot-springs motels have in the United States. They are just part of the landscape. I have one directly next door to my house.


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