Lust Life: Lusty Planet


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It was a sultry, pulsating night in Playa del Carmen. “It would be fun to play with you,” I said, sipping the last few salty drops of a margarita. I was wearing a clingy green dress y nada mas, and just a few hours earlier it seemed that the treasure underneath would remain undiscovered.


My Mexican amigo was supposedly arriving on a bus from Cancun to spend the night with me in Playa, where I would be studying Spanish for two weeks. I left the station empty-handed, in a state of weary arousal, hoping a later bus would deliver him to me. I knew him from New York but we were merely acquaintances there; not even a kiss had transpired between us. Winter vacations coincided, and flirtatious emails foretold that Mexico would be our place of consummation. Yes, that much was certain. However, our communication was limited to email, and no matter how precise our planning, an unexpected obstacle would require internet access to inform one or the other of the change. There was no message in my email 20 minutes earlier, so I decided to get some food before checking again.

I passed an Internet café and thought I saw somebody I knew, possibly an American guy I met in Cancun a couple of nights before. I went inside to verify the familiar features, although I half-expected them to belong to a stranger’s face, a mirage face that one so often encounters in dreams or in public places, when someone’s physical details deliquesce in a haze of memory, appearing briefly on random faces only because that person is in your thoughts.

Even though I was fixated on Pedro, the American guy was also on my mind since we connected in the international circle that enveloped us in Cancun: Spain, Miami, Australia, Korea, New York and Seattle converged in a moldy downtown hostel. I was just thinking, “Why didn’t I get that Seattle guy’s email?” when I saw those cheekbones and that nose through the window of the Internet place. Those attractive features didn’t deceive me. I stood over him and said Hola, and in the flustered moment of surprise that followed, I knew I would have an erotic adventure that night, whether or not Pedro showed up.

I’m an adventurous traveler, explorer of myriad terrains: the libidinous limbs of a hirsute Mediterranean, the smooth brown skin of a Mexican, or the weary American backpacker, pale and sinewy with marathon legs and hungry eyes ... “I’m so glad I ran into you,” I said, while we were looking for a place to eat. “I was thinking, out of all those people I met in Cancun, you were the only one I really wanted to keep in touch with ...”

I’m convinced that pheromones influence serendipity. He had mentioned he was probably headed to Playa Del Carmen, but in typical backpacker fashion, nothing was definite. He could’ve been in any other Internet café and I could’ve waited another half-hour at the bus station. But my entire body was pulsating with horniness, and all the hostels and cheap hotels were full that night. He was going to return to Cancun because he didn’t have a place to sleep, while I was stuck alone in a language school apartment because my Mexican host family was on vacation for a couple of days. How deliciously inconvenient!

Travel is an adventure in itself, but if you’re single and willing to travel solo, the erotic possibilities are as plain as tourist points on a map, especially if you stay in hostels or campsites where you’re guaranteed to meet interesting, adventurous, horny people from all over the world. Independent explorations are preferable to the super-structured tours that bind you to languorous Americans. If I had taken a formal tour to Tulum, I wouldn’t have met that sweet Mexican chica in las ruinas, or those gorgeous Mayan dancers who invited us to swim with them in a cenote. And if I didn’t take that plunge, I wouldn’t have spent the night with the most enchanting bailarin—the one with the leather loincloth. Of course, it helps to know a few words of the language, which is one of the reasons why I’m studying Spanish. Natives are fascinated by the curious foreigner; if you speak their tongue, they’ll be even more impressed (not to mention more interested in sleeping with you).

Mr. Seattle and I didn’t have a language problem. When I told him I fantasized about a hostel gang bang representing four countries, he understood completely. And as he narrated a teacher/student fantasy to the rhythm of his quavering, travel-weary body, I didn’t miss a word. In the midst of all this pleasure, I wondered what happened to Pedro. Mr. Seattle was open to the idea of sharing, but it’s just as well that we were alone.

When you go with the flow, travel has a magical way of unfolding experiences in sublime choreography. Why feel guilty about a one-night stand in Mexico when you can be in Belize the next day? Another country, another city, another lover … they all have a place on the map of life. My map has led me to some amazing destinations, like Seattle, who left the next morning, and Pedro, who arrived in the afternoon … so I didn’t have to go to bed with undiscovered treasure.


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