Week one is officially under our belts. To say things have been all butterflies and rainbows would be a total lie – by the same token – things have been pretty freakin’ great. We arrived at the Cancun airport last Sunday and took the ADO bus down to Playa del Carmen. We read on other blogs that this was the way to go as far as price and comfort – we couldn’t agree more. It was around 15 dollars per person and the bus was A/C’d and super comfy. Forty five minutes later we were dropped off in downtown Playa with just our backpacks and each other!
Our lease didn’t start until March 1st but since we arrived on February 28th we booked a room with an Airbnb host for two nights. We took a cab to her place – turns out she was only two blocks from the place we’d be staying at for the duration of our time here. We immediately found out that we got totally ripped off on our first cab ride. Amateur mistake. Won’t happen again.
Our host’s name was Julie – she’s French Canadian and has lived here for about 5 years. We really couldn’t have asked for a better temporary roommate. She was SO nice. SO helpful. SO friendly. She drove us around town – showed us where to get water, where to get good food, places to avoid. And the best part? She had two rescue dogs! She was even kind enough to drive us to Walmart once we settled in our place to get set up with our groceries.
I lost my phone the first day we were here. That was fun. I was planning on getting rid of my service come Asia but I suppose the universe wanted me to get rid of it sooner. This was my very first lesson of “letting things go” and not worrying about the small stuff. Does it ruin our plans? No? Then don’t worry about it.
We moved into our little studio – it was just like the rental property had promised except…dishes were broken. Our patio furniture was/is torn to shreds. The water pressure blows. But we’re learning very quickly that that’s kinda how things roll down here. We’re staying in an area that is basically locals only (about 40 or so blocks from “downtown”) and judging by the rest of our neighborhood? Our place is pretty posh. By American standards? We’re definitely in the ghetto. Safe – but pretty third world.
Even though our neighborhood would probably terrify most people I know back home – it’s actually pretty great. We’re one block from the beach and there’s no vendors to harass you as you walk around. After walking around in downtown Playa we realize just how grateful we are for that. We’re definitely just part of normal Mexican life which is exactly what we were going for.
One thing we both immediately realized was just how spoiled we are in the States – regarding SO many things. Infrastructure. Clean water. Plumbing. Conveniences in general. Within our first couple days living in our apartment there were some funny (not so funny at the time) “issues” we had to deal with: bathroom light doesn’t work, bought our 20L bottle of water and it leaks, bought a water dispenser and even though it was brand new it was broken. Tiny little things that we never even realized we had to think about – there’s one store for water. One store for fruit. One store for meat. There’s a Walmart just a cab ride away though so that’s a plus. Oh and since we’re in the locals area – no one speaks English. We’ll be learning Spanish very quickly.
During our days we’ve just been wandering the streets of our neighborhood. Checking everything out and of course eating as much local cuisine as possible. There’s a SUPER yummy rotisserie chicken place one block away – DELICIOUS. I’m sure they’ll get to know us very well.
Another fact about our neighborhood that we didn’t know before coming – there is NO alcohol sold anywhere. Not in the stores. There’s no bars. Nothin. We’re on Calle 88 (88th Street) and the nearest place to buy some beers is approximately 40th or so – forces you to be a bit more healthy. 🙂
So far – it’s been a culture shock, it’s been COMPLETELY out of our comfort zones, and it’s been glorious. It’s everything we wanted out of our stay here and it’s only been a week. There’s amazing street art everywhere. There’s “real life” happening all around us which again just makes us so very grateful for everything we have and have been able to do. We can’t wait to fill you in on what happens next!