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Sex and cheese sandwiches :: bolivia guide
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  2020 October 27    Hotel reservation  NEW SITE (closed)  NEW SITE !!!  
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Sex and cheese sandwiches

“Hotel Carrington, por favor”, my bespectacled forty-year-old Spanish teacher asked the taxi driver. The driver winked at me. We were en route to a sex motel and not just any sex motel at that. Our destination was the oldest most renowned sex motel in La Paz.

 
 

What kind of Spanish lesson was I in for, I hear you ask. It’s not what you (and the taxi driver) think. Honest. It’s all in the name of research. Our objective? To understand why Bolivians need sex motels, and what they actually look like behind those high walls. I had a feeling my Spanish teacher already knew.

 

Driving up to the hotel, our taxi passes through the security system and disappears behind a green curtain. We are now totally anonymous. Climbing up the stairwell next to the car, I feel like I’m cheating on my boyfriend. Everything is so secluded and surprisingly quiet. At the top of the stairs I catch my first glimpse of the mirrors. Call me naïve, but I’ve never really understood the whole mirror-above-the-bed thing. I would just spend my time thinking, “Hmm, do my legs look fat. And what IS going on with my hair tonight?” Within five minutes the TV, which is hanging down from the ceiling, clicks on, and I hear an all-too disturbing sound. The Jacuzzi, though, looks quite tempting, complete with towel, shampoo and body wash. “Look you can buy cheese sandwiches here,” my teacher points out, holding a red menu up, and trying to speak over the moans from the TV. Not hungry, thanks.

Cleopatra or Sir Lancelot There’s a huge range of sex motels in La Paz. Hotel Carrington is the granddaddy of them all, frequented by primarily older, richer businessmen. At the funkier, ‘themed’ motels around Sopocachi, you can be Cleopatra or Sir Lancelot for the night - complete with asp and castle. At the other end of the scale is Calle Kennedy. This hidden street in front of the old train station is littered with rubbish, rubble and the odd prostitute. The motels here don’t have signs or even proper addresses. Walking up the flight of stairs leading to one called ‘Olympica’, a child runs out from a doorway. The rooms are situated along a corridor and look more like rooms in a mental institution than a sex motel. The sheets are badly arranged and beds look over-used. “We only accept people who are over 21 years old as the law states,” says one motel owner. “We have about five visitors a day.” The motels on Calle Kennedy are much more orientated towards a short in-and-out visit (so to speak), and don’t serve drinks or provide condoms. But they do receive a lot of men who have hired prostitutes from outside the motel and who only need the room for an hour. The majority of motels will not take same-sex couples. The motels on Calle Kennedy were the most adamant about this, saying that it was because of ‘mala fama’ or bad reputation. The more upmarket motels simply declined to answer the question. Again, as a matter of ‘research’, I decided to visit a few motels with another girl and a boy. Surprisingly there was no problem: apparently a threesome with two girls and a boy is all okay. So why would a Bolivian pay over Bs. 90 for an hour at the Hotel Carrington, or up to Bs. 115 for a themed suite at the Kandy Motel in Sopocachi? Why would a Bolivian pay over Bs. 90 for an hour at the Hotel Carrington? There are lots of reasons: the most obvious for people who are cheating on their partners. The seclusion and anonymity of the sex motels is better than any hotel.

Young, unmarried Bolivians Due to cultural pressures and, to some extent, lack of money, young Bolivians tend to stay at home until quite a late age compared to Westerners. Men in Bolivia seem to have it easier than us girls, with many having a separate flat attached to their parents’ house. Women, however, tend to stay at home until they’re married. It’s not uncommon for young Bolivians to be up to the age of thirty and still living at home. Many of them are on their second or third degree at University and cannot afford to move out. With all that testosterone and oestrogen floating around, Bolivian sex motels will never go out of business.

Sex Motel Guide Hotel Kandy, Sopocachi, 4 condoms (themed rooms) Hotel Carrington, Villa Fatima, 3 condoms (Jacuzzi) Motel (no name), Sopocachi, 2 condoms (worn patch on bed) Olympica, Calle Kennedy, 0 condoms (worse than you think) 10 de Febrero, Calle Kennedy, 0 condoms (don’t even think about it)

Lucy Cousins

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