My heart goes out to those Secret Service agents who got caught whoring in Colombia. Okay, that’s an overstatement. But I hear this is the kind of thorny predicament that can happen to anyone who is overpaid and possesses a top secret security clearance.
I have pretty well avoided both those albatrosses, but I did have a slightly similar experience when I was travelling illegally in communist Romania in 1987. I was there on a tourist visa while researching articles that would later pop up in Readers Digest and the New York Times.
I arrived in Bucharest on the Orient Express from Budapest, Hungary. I learned that the Hotel Intercontinental was the only place westerners were allowed to stay.
After I checked in, a beefy 30ish woman with bad eye makeup came flat-footing up. She asked in a gravely three-pack-a-day voice: “Would you like to have some company?”
“Would you like some company – in your room?” She smiled and pointed upstairs.
“Uh… no, I’m doing fine.”
“Why are you here in Bucharest?” She cooed gutturally.
“I’m a tourist.”
“But it is so cold outside. Let’s stay inside. Aren’t you lonely?”
There were several reasons I demurred, including my strict rule to never tussle with any woman who had a better mustache than I did.
The Romanian government was famous for using intelligence agents as prostitutes. Instead of a simple honest hooker, she was probably a spook-whore. Seeing how badly everything else in that country functioned, I had no itch to learn the Romanian standard for “good enough for government work” gamahooching.
More details and context on that trip are available here – an article I did for the Freeman entitled, “Orient Express to Hell.”