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Ladies of the Night in Mexico

Ladies of the Night in Mexico

I have all the respect in the world for folks who are out there making a living.  But why do they always approach me with their wares?  I must have a hungry, lonely look.  No I don’t–I just checked the mirror and I still look like Winnie the Pooh.  Go figure.

January 6, 2008

Shady ladies

Shady ladies

Well, we do share everything, don’t we?

When I was doing a lot of traveling around Mexico and Central America, I often ran into women working late.  I’m a farm boy from Upstate New York, so even though I was in my mid-30’s, it took me a little time to wake up and smell the cheap perfume.

I had met a friend in Chihuahua, and we made a date to get together at some bar at 10 o’clock.  Now, I had just gotten into town and had no idea where anything was.  Plus I’m usually in bed early, so to say I was a little disoriented stumbling around Chihuahua in the dark is putting it politely.

Just when I decided I was good and lost, a 45-ish lady standing on the street corner in a tight dress asked me where I was going.  “Oh, how nice!” I thought.  “She sees that I’m lost and she wants to help.”  Oh brother.

“I’m supposed to meet my friend at this bar,” I babbled, “but now I can’t find it, and…”

“That’s too bad, Papacito.  Do you have a place?”

Oh my, she is so nice! She’s concerned that I’ve found a hotel!  “Oh yes, thank you, I’ve found a nice room.”

“You want to go there?”

I must have looked rather confused.  Why would I want to go back to my hotel room, when I just told her I’m going to meet my friend?  In the hotel all you can do is sleep or…”

Conchita gave me a smile and invaded my personal space.

Now, being a grown man, well versed in the ways of the world and full of chivalry and politeness, I jumped a foot and ran.

How could she be a prostitute?  She was OLD!  (My views of being over the hill at 45 have revised themselves somewhat since.  Now I remind myself of a young friend many years ago who told me a story of two elderly women in their forties.  Things change.)

Omar still laughs about the time we were in Manhattan and in a crush of people on a busy corner I ran into a woman who was rather old, and I’m talking 70’s here.  Horrified that I had plowed into her, I said I was sorry and asked if she was all right.  In reply she rubbed my arm and said in a husky voice “You’re all alone here, aren’t you.”

I was shocked I tell you.  Shocked!  Right out on public, intergenerational flirting!

I wish I could tell you that I smiled at Gramma and told her thanks but that I was occupied with a previous engagement.  But I ran again, calling “Ooomarrrrr!”

He acted like he didn’t know me.

The worst was in San Jose, Costa Rica.  I had to take a very early morning bus out of the Coca Cola district, which was as rough and run down as any I had seen anywhere.  Skeletal men lurched in doorways at 6am, and I was downright scared in the early morning light.  There are lots of robberies in San Jose.

To make things worse, I was traveling way too heavy.   I had a large 80-pound pack on my back, 30 pounds in a knapsack on my chest, and a camera bag over my shoulder.  I could have skipped dressing that morning and no one would have noticed.  I need to write a post about the joys of traveling light.

So there I was, shambling along in the pre-dawn light in the decrepit Coco-Cola district with 125 pounds of luggage.  I could barely move, much less run.

Drug dealers and various unsavory characters kept an eye on me, but no one came close.  I was almost to the bus station when I saw her.

“Gringo!  Oye, Gringo!”

She was about 4 foot 10, and either very, very dark or exceedingly dirty.  She sported an old tee shirt that had been cut into strips to give it that Hawaiian look while simultaneously exposing her selling points.  She scuttled across the road at me waving her arms and wiggling her wares.  I towered over her, and of course was terrified.  I can climb erupting volcanoes and swim with ten-foot sharks, but give me a Munchkin prosti and I’m all Jell-o.

I kept on shambling, like a hermit crab hunkered down in its luggage.

“Esperame, Gringo!  You wanna %&*$^-ie  *&$#%-ie?”

Now I know you know those words and I want to report as fully as possible, but we get letters from a retired grade school teacher in Wisconsin who faithfully reads 365Mexico and so I’m cleaning things up a little.  If you want the full version, write me, with proof of age.

Anyway, I figured the best reaction was to ignore Srta. Hawaiiana and keep walking.

Well, she had a plan to get my attention.

I was wearing loose shorts, and even with all my luggage draped around my person, the front of the shorts were, uh, exposed.

Fast as a rattler grabbing a rat, Hawaiiana’s arm shot out and grabbed something that I could not very well ignore.  What aim that girl had.  Made me sit up and take notice, it did.  Have to admit, she got her point across with an economy of words and effort.

Well, I jumped five feet, backpack and all, and hit the ground growling.  I must have looked as terrifying as a disgruntled hedgehog, but she didn’t try to follow me and I made it to the bus station with my virginity intact.

Dan and Omar

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Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.