Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"The Sex Capital of the World" (Mexico City, Mexico)

I'm sitting in the front of a Chinese restaurant.Traffic streams by. The noise level is high. There's the sound of dishes clinking and the steady murmurs of the diners surrounding me. There's the constant thud, thud, thud of bass, waves of roiling techno music that never change or stop. Only later am I able to understand the incessant blare of a man's voice over a loudspeaker, touting  the cleanliness of the nearby public toilets.

The front of the restaurant is completely open to the street. As the wind picks up, it works  its way into the plastic Waldo`s bag I had placed on the table, making the handles sway seductively.

I look up from my heaping plate of garlicky string beans, grilled chicken, and broccoli, and realize that I have a direct, perfect view across the street and into "The Sex Capital of the World."

Perhaps your imagination is wilder than mine is -- or your experience broader -- but I am stumped by what I see: long-sleeved, plaid shirts, Michoacan ice cream, baseball caps, cell phone accouterments, and Betty Boop umbrellas. These everyday items don't fit with my concept of sex, but to each his/her own, right?

I am probably watching too many shows on the Travel and Living (TLC) Channel, because I decide to visit "The Sex Capital of the World"  after lunch.

In the meantime, a sudden dive in temperature presages a downpour. Of course, I've left my raincoat in the hotel room, so as the clouds let go, I am forced to dawdle over the remains of my seafood soup, Chop Suey, octopus, jello, mango, and papaya.

The young woman  who has been sashaying back and forth in front of the restaurant to entice passersby inside, shelters in the doorway. She's still showing off  the enormous, photo-heavy menu, but as she shivers in her ditsy-bitsy, backless mini-dress, she seems less suited to promoting the world's largest Chinese buffet than "The Sex Capital of the World,"  which I will herein refer to as "The Big C."

As the rain dies down, I pay my bill, then sprint between cars. I note, but do not heed, the message printed on the side of a little Coke delivery truck: "As hard as it might be, maintain your distance." I am committed to seeing "The Big C" with my very own eyes, and nothing will dissuade me.

As is the case with many multistory buildings in Mexico City, this edifice houses the equivalent of a mini mall. There are hundreds of shops, booths, and stalls occupying almost every inch of space, save for the narrow corridors that allow you to visit each one. I pass the displays that I had already glimpsed from across the street, making my way inside with a certain wariness.

Look! Here's a display of Pampers wipes and another of socks embroidered with Minnie Mouse, Ernie, Bert, and Cookie Monster. Huh?

Then I come across a huge "exhibit" of boxer shorts, frankly, the most unsexy I've every beheld. The colors are neon -- orange, green, and red -- and words, such as "strangled," adorn them. Huh??

Next, I see the toys: Transformers, Captain America, and Batman action figures.  I'm already well into the bowels of "The Big C," and completely baffled.

Okay, hold your horses!  Now we're talkin'! Next to the shop selling "Instant Lunch" ramen noodles, Boing fruity sodas, and beautiful, hand-sewn Barbie prom gowns is XAVIERA'S SEXY LINGERIE SHOP.  A male mannequin, listing at the entry, is dressed in what I believe must be a (plastic) gladiator costume: a studded collar and a skirt. Hanging above his head are little, plastic French maids' outfits,  teeny, plastic nurses' uniforms, and a plastic leopard-skin bustier with garter straps. Hot!!! I mean, wouldn't the plastic be hot? Everything looks like a super-cheap Halloween costume.

I move along to LOVER'S SEX SHOP. Here, I see packages of "Beer Garden Babe," "Santa's Favorite Elf," and "Bad Apple Snow White" costumes. They also sell computer parts.

The acrylic nail shop next door is draped with thongs, padded jock straps, and fancy hair pins. No nails, acrylic or otherwise.

I decide not to ascend the staircase to tour the rest of "The Big C." I didn't know what to expect when I entered, but it was rather a disappointment. Although the mango with chili ice cream pop I bought from the Michoacan franchise was really, really hot.

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