I hadn't written much about the Mexico trip so here is one of the more memorable stories.
After spending two nights in La Paz we left for the fishing village of Puerto Mateos to go whale watching in Magdalena Bay. A 5 hour bumpy drive on Highway 1 brought us to the village only to find it completely deserted. On the way in we didn't see a single person. Stores didn't even look open. The pier where the whale boats left from was equally deserted and the surrounding shacks/stores were boarded up. A passing hombre informed us that the whales start arriving in mid to late December and the boats don't begin their tours until January. A few family members were pretty pissed about having driven 5 hours for nothing. After traveling through Niger and Morocco, you learn to accept that things will not work out as planned in developing countries. I was disappointed that we couldn't go whale watching but I felt driving out there was worth it just for the off-chance that it would have worked out. Our revised plan was to power back down Highway 1 to La Paz, spend the night there and head back to Cabo the next morning. After a quick stop at a taco stand in Constitucion we were on our way.
The drive back to La Paz went much quicker. Even though it was dark for a good portion of it, traffic seemed to be moving faster and we made it in less than 5 hours. As we neared La Paz, Benny, my uncle said he had seen a nice looking hotel just outside the city that he wanted to check out. There was no need to go back to our hotel on the beach when we would only be spending one night in the hotel so we all agreed. A palatial looking structure appeared lit up before us on the left and Benny announced that this was the place. The entrance gate was closed and we stopped at the guard stand. While Benny tried to ask in broken Spanish if they had two rooms for 8 people the rest of us noticed a sculpture of two nude people entwined in bed sheets.
Emily, my 13 year old sister immediately announced to the van that "this is a bad place!" The rest of us laughed. Obviously anything having to do with sex will make a 13 year old awkward when family is around. The guard opened the gate and directed us inside. The place wasn't what we expected. Instead of being a single building there were many different buildings separated into units, each with its own garage door. There didn't appear to be any doors other than the garage doors. The guard walked down to the end of one unit where the garage stood open and gestured for us to drive inside. This whole thing seemed odd and I began joking that Emily was right about this being a bad place. I repeatedly stated that the hotel was run by the Mexican mafia and that once we drove into the garage we would never come out. Benny and my cousins got out and asked to see a room before we agreed to stay there so the rest of us sat in the van in the darkened garage awaiting their return. Emily was getting pretty freaked out and since she was reading one of the Twilight books I changed my theory on the hotel's to vampires. I'm a great older brother.
Benny and my cousins returned intact and without any visible neck wounds from vampires and told us excitedly that the rooms were extremely large and quite nice. The rest of us piled out of the van and into the unit we had parked at. What we found was not like a normal hotel. There was a dining room with a table and chairs, a large bedroom and a fairly nice bathroom. Of course, the first thing Emily notices is more nude art on the walls which she pointed out while repeating her claim that this is "a bad place." The rest of us shrugged it off. I just thought they had a penchant for bad Greek-imitation sculpture.
Each of us voiced our amazement at the massive size of the rooms and laughed at ourselves for the nightmare scenarios we had first imagined when being told to drive into a darkened garage. This was also the cheapest hotel we had stayed in yet, which we attributed to its location outside the city. As people began putting down their bags I walked over to the nightstand between the two beds where I saw this-
Yes, ladies and gentleman, that is a "Prudence" brand condom placed neatly in the ashtray and surrounded by 4 mints. My mind immediately wandered back to the sign by the gate of the hotel with the room rates. I remembered seeing what I thought were nightly rates next to rates for 8 hours. Suddenly it made sense. I picked up the condom and held it high as I turned to face my family and said, "hey guys! The room comes with a free condom!" Silence, followed by laughter and disbelief all around. I mentioned how I had seen that you could get a room for 8 hours at a time and suddenly the nude art made so much more sense. We were at a very nice hooker hotel. My cousin Sharon immediately jumped off the bed she was sitting on. I found a room service menu on the dining room table and scoured it for anything sex related. Sure enough, there was a section labeled "Sex Shop" with condoms, viagra and lube available for purchase.
All of us were cracking up about this and making sex jokes except for Emily and my cousin Sharon. Emily was far more frightened than she had been when I told her we would get murdered there and also didn't understand most of the jokes we were making. Sharon was simply disgusted and was promising to sleep on top of the sheets. I pointed out that you'd be hard pressed to find a hotel in any city that people hadn't had sex in. That's just what happens on vacation. She still slept in all of her clothes. The TVs, of course, had several channels of hardcore pornography. They also had strategically mounted tissue boxes on the walls next to each bed.
When we had finally stopped laughing a menorah was pulled out and we celebrated the third night of Hanukah. For some reason that night was the only night we lit the candles on the trip. For this reason I wanted to title this blog post "A Happy Hanukah at Hacienda Hooker Hotel" but was told that alliteration is lame. If you're ever in need of a place to stay in La Paz, Baja California Sur I highly recommend Hacienda del Mar. Cheap rates, extreme privacy (with the garage doors, nobody will see you, or your companion outside a car) and of it's the place "where your fantasies become reality."