Yesterday evening we headed over to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for our friends’ brand-new auto-hotel. An auto-hotel is not something you find in exactly the same form in the U.S. It is a place where amantes go: either single amantes who can’t take each other home because they live with their parents or amantes who can’t take each other home because there is a spouse there. Or whatever. Some are very fancy, some are not. They have in common with each other little garages next to each room with a brown curtain on hooks, like a giant shower curtain, that can be pulled shut to hide your car.
Our friends’ auto-hotel is very stylish and very pretty and very hidden, though not so hidden you couldn’t find it if you felt the need. Behind a stand of giant bamboos, two rows of units, whitewashed stucco with tile rooves, line a nicely done drive. Plants are everywhere, growing in pots and little flower beds. Standing between the rows, I felt kind of like I was at a glossy 1950s California motel that might appear in a Rock Hudson-Doris Day movie. Inside the rooms are colorful and comfortable and again, very pretty. Towels were arranged on each bed to look like swans. Along the wall, there is a glass case of bric-a-brac: artificial flowers in porcelain vases and romantic little statues. There is a mirror tastefully embedded in the ceiling.
A bright red ribbon stretched across the entrance. After a good look around, everyone gathered while the mayor of Xico made a little speech and cut the ribbon. Hurray! Applause! This is a great thing for Xico, the first we have! It will keep people in town, spending their money here!
We all sat down at two long tables set outside and drank wine and tequila and coke and ate little sandwiches and had lentil soup with sausage and had a generally fine time. The mayor and his coterie were of course the first to leave—important things to do, you know! My son says, and I agree, that politicians really love being politicians. But he was a very nice man, very accessible.
The auto-hotel shares a wall with what our friends hope will be a first-class hotel when it is finished. It needs the earnings from the auto-hotel and some other investment for further progress. Its skeleton is up and it will be lovely when it is done, nestled in greenery with beautiful views, pretty rooms, and potentially elegant traditional architecture. The people in the hotel will never be aware of the people in the auto-hotel, so cleverly separated are they by their common wall.