Mermaid of Fire

Interview by
Mark Morrogh


Zipolite, an idyllic village on Mexico’s Oaxacan coast, has been a hotbed of hippies and queers since the 1970s – but recent years have brought tidal waves of gays to the tiny pueblo. Sooner or later, they end up at Playa del Amor, the notorious cruising beach, where local women sell beer and tequila shots from straw hut ‘palapas,’ and the rocky coves fill up with cocksucking after dark. At the witching hour, the brightest light on the Playa is Misael Fuentes, who performs nude fire dances for the horny crowd. Misael, a self-described ‘streetwalker,’ now calls himself ‘Sirena del Fuego’ or ‘Mermaid of Fire,’ and when I met him on the beach on a balmy March evening, it was hard not to feel charmed.

MARK Can you introduce yourself?
MISAEL My name is Misael, and I’ve been living in Zipolite for two years.
So you got here just after the recent tourism boom?
How have you seen Playa Del Amor change since you arrived?
In just the past year, more people have started to come. It’s become more famous, in ways that have been both good and bad. Just like we have the right to do things, we also have the right to not do things, you know? There’s a fine line between what’s legal and what’s illegal. For example, where is it legal to be nude in Zipolite and where is it illegal? No one really knows. Now, they’ve put up a sign with rules for how to behave on the beach.
What does it say?
That you can’t have sex, you can’t kiss after 9PM on the rocks. Before they put up the sign, the police had no right to arrest us.
Are people following these new rules?
No. The locals have started blowing whistles when the police arrive, just like lifeguards, so anyone who needs to can escape. We are the lifeguards of love.
I love that.
We need to look after each other. People get very drunk here and fall on the rocks or get carried away by the tide, which is super turbulent.
Have you had any scrapes?
I got arrested once.
How did that happen?
The police caught me cruising. They handcuffed me and sat me on their motorcycle. They asked for a bribe, but I told them I wouldn’t pay them. I didn’t have any money. But the funny thing was that all the guys who passed by kissed me and were like, “Hey, smoke this joint,” or gave me sips of their drinks. The police got so annoyed they let me go!
How did you start fire dancing here?
A friend came to visit, and she taught me all about voguing and the vogue houses. And so like them, we decided to perform together. We’re the only fire dancers in Zipolite who do it naked.
What are some of your craziest memories from Playa del Amor?
I saw fisting on the beach once. There weren’t even many guys in the cove that day. I’ve seen girls join in, and gay guys fuck them too. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’ve even seen girls getting fisted on the rocks. Some people come wearing dog masks, for the bondage or fetish vibe. I love that too. I’ve also seen a lot of girls crying on the beach because their husbands or boyfriends are fucking other guys here. It’s like, just leave them to it!
Right? If you want, you can get fucked too…
You know, until I got here, I never felt like I was part of the gay community, because of the classism and racism within the community. I’m what some people call a streetwalker: I juggle on the street, I make money on the street. I’ve been called “dirty” because the street is dirty. And then I got here and went to Maxima and Delfina, the gay bars, and felt like I had really arrived. I found myself.

What’s a typical night like at Playa del Amor?
Everyone comes. The sun sets. And people head for the rocks to fuck, leaving their stuff behind. There’s always that anal friend who hangs back to watch their things, the one who says, “I don’t do bareback!” (laughs)
When is the beach the busiest?
The biggest orgies are on December 28 and New Years.
I heard this New Years there was a huge piñata of a penis?
Yes, huge penis that almost reached from the palapa to the middle of the beach! There was a DJ playing, and everyone fucking, with this penis hanging out, in the middle of it all… A HUGE dick.
Compared to CDMX, how do you see the difference in terms of sexual liberation?
It feels more natural here because it’s less planned. You’re not organizing orgies through Grindr. You don’t even need to go looking for it. And it’s much more fluid. I’ve come across many, many swinger couples, both hetero and gay. At my birthday party, I had an orgy…
How was it?
Very nice! It was at my house, which is easier because there’s no sand, and a shower so you won’t stink! And it’s easier to play music without attracting the police. I don’t remember half of it, because as soon as I woke up that morning, someone shoved a bottle of mezcal in my mouth… but I remember that the night ended very well. At another orgy, on the beach.
How did you find another orgy?
I made it happen!
Tell me more…
I was with a few friends. We picked up a guy on the beach, then another, then another…it’s not that hard! This is Playa del Amor.

Published on 30 April 2024