Mexico "Way"

My stupid blurbs about anything and addition to the ups and downs of living in Cancun, Mexico.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Vacation Day to Isla Mujeres - Part 2

Leta and I can see the Island in the distance and we start to get excited because we get to play tourist!

I decided to walk up towards Buho's because I remember the beach being so heavenly there. It's been more than a couple of years since I've visited Isla so it was nice to be back. There's something about that "Island Feeling" that you just can't get on big land masses.

As always, I like to poke my head into the pretty little cemetary they have there. Leta chose not to go in. She has issues with a bunch of dead people in one place. I on the other hand find cemetaries to be really peaceful places.

This is what the cemetary looks like upon entering (notice the new hotel in the background):

Here's one of my favorite pics that I took in the cemetary:

Who ever is in here must LOVE green:

I really haven't been to any of the other beaches on Playa Norte besides Buho's. So we decided to check out one of the beaches that is just before Buho's. It was kind of crowded with people and we were being harrassed by dudes that wanted to sell us chairs for 150 pesos. We were bothered by the fact that we couldn't just be on the beach peacefully and check everything out. We didn't really like the area and I was sadly dissapointed with the lack of beach on Playa Norte. It was sad. The last few hurricanes really did damage to the beach that I remember use to go for forever and ever.

We quickly left the beach and the shouts behind us and decided to just hike it out to Buho's. Again, I was disappointed with the lack of beach but we managed to nab two loungers for 100 pesos which included two soft drinks.

Here's an idea of what the beaches have become:

That was the view to the left and this was the view to the right. I mean we still enjoyed it but we just didn't expect it to be like that.

Now here comes the next lesson for the day. Being in tourist mode doesn't mean you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. Being in tourist mode, means you turn into a stupid idiot (no offense to tourists) and then are pissed off at yourself for being a stupid idiot.

There was a peanut dude selling peanuts on the beach. He was probably about 10 feet away when Leta says, "Ohhh he's got pistachios!", and I say, "Ohhhhh he's got pepinillos!!!". Before we know it the dude has scooped the two up and handed us bags, and Leta decides to ask for some Japanese nuts as well. So he scoops them up and then he says, $150 pesos. To which I pretty much respond to (in my head), "FUCK ME $150 pesos! YOU SCAMMER!".

These bags are not the giant bags you buy in Costco and get yes, expensive nuts like Pistachios. These are small bags. It shouldn't have cost us more than 50 pesos for the 3 bags. I'm not shitting you. So I tell him, "Oye, es eso una broma? Mira, vivimos aca y tu y yo sabemos que ese precio no es correcto. Yo puedo irme a Costco y comprar mas cacahuates y tu sabes eso!". TRANSLATION: "Hey, is that a joke? Look, we live here and you and I know that that price isn't correct. I can go to Costco and buy more peanuts and you know that!" He goes well, there is the small, medium and large bags. I gave you large bags and those are PISTACHIOS. PISTACHIOS ARE LIKE GOLD! I was like, "No mames, de verdad, no cuestan mas que 50 pesos y porque la otra mujer por alla no tiene sus cacahuates en bolsas? Estan en un plato. Es diferente para ella, y cuestan mas para nosotras porque pensaste que somos touristas o que?". TRANSLATION: "Don't suck me, truthfully, they don't cost more than 50 pesos and why does that other woman over there not have her peanuts in bags? They are in a plate. It's different for her and they cost more for us because you thought we were tourists or what?"

Now you must understand Leta to know that she flies off the handle. I get mad. And sometimes I get scary, and sometimes I say shit I probably shouldn't. But don't get Leta mad because she talks loud and the veins start popping out of her neck and even though she's short, she's got big muscles and is really scary. So I decided to take this battle as to not scare off the tourists more than they needed to be scared.

He finally gives in and says, "Ok 90 pesos.". Like he did us some sort of favor (notice I left out the "u" in "favour"....maybe I'm not Canadian anymore??). It was way too much still but I just gave him the money so I could enjoy the rest of my day.

And just to piss him off a little bit more, I asked for my Limon on my pepinillos since he SURPRISE, didn't put the lemon on like I asked for in the FIRST PLACE! Then he was cheap with the limon on top of it. JERK.

To add to the ripping off festival, this poor guy got charged 100 pesos for 1 bag of pistachios. Because I was a total biatch about it, we got 3 for pretty much the same price. But he didn't know how to argue and didn't realize it was a rip off until we explained to him what happened to us.

He was a bit upset but then referred to the standard, "Oh well I'm on vacation, I don't want to argue.". Firstly, this peanut dude had various bags and manners to serve the stupid peanuts. HE DIDN'T ASK US WHAT SIZE OR NUTHIN! Secondly, I'm sorry but there is a reason tourists get ripped off. YOU MUST BE ON YOUR TOES ALL THE TIME and speak up if you think something isn't right.

Leta and I were mad at ourselves for slipping into tourist mode and not stopping him to ask questions and get the scoop. Unfortunately, if tourists always think, "Oh well I'm on vacation I don't care!", this whole ripping off thing gets taken to a whole other level. People have to start putting their foot down. You know....just a suggestion and all.

So. I decided that stupid bag of pepinillos wasn't going to tie me over so I asked for a menu. The menu looked great and the prices matched. Leta and I ordered what we wanted as well as our free diet cokes and life was back to normal.


Our food comes and a different guy brings it out and asks for the money. I give it to him and say thanks and he's still standing there. Staring at the money like it's not right.

Here we go again.

He says, this cost this and this cost this.

Oh here we go AGAIN!

So the battle begins. Leta and I disagree with the price. I tell the dude that we wouldn't lie about what was written on the menu and we tell him to go get the menu.

So he brings back a menu except this menu has stickers all over the prices and they are higher than the menu we looked at. A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PRICE LIST than the previous menu. So we tell him, dude, this is a different menu, this is complete bullshit. I guess you get no tip. He starts swearing under his breathe and disrespects us and storms off.

So I call the guy we ordered from and I say, "Tenemos un problema.". He says, whats the problem. I tell him we ordered from you, we wanted to pay the prices that the menu said, and then the guy tells us different prices and brings us a different menu. Whats the dealio? He says, don't worry about it, all is well, enjoy the rest of your day.

Well we try. With adrenalin running through our veins. LOL. We soak up more sun and watch a couple of tourists delight in the purchase of a coconut from a guy on the beach. They drink up and I snap a couple of pics of the transaction:

Shortly after we decide to head back and take the ferry back to Cancun. We did enjoy our little adventure although it would have been nicer without the rip off artists. Oh well.

I really hope the beach beach gets back to its previous glory. Isla is a beautiful quaint Island that so many people fantasize about spending time on. It is certainly not Cancun, which is thankfully, part of the reason why it is so loved.

JJ will be heading to Isla in February so I'll take more pics and post a report again. This time, I'll have my "Local Cap" on to avoid any more peanut and menu problems!

(Side Note: Blogger is a piss off to work in!)

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  • At 8:48 PM, December 05, 2007, Blogger JJ said…

    That's the pisser of living there but being in the tourist areas. They tend to lump you in. I'm all for letting them make a couple bucks but come on. Beach at Playa Norte doesn't look so great, but I don't mind so much, it's nature and I get to lay out in the sun. First time vacationing there since February 2004!

  • At 8:59 PM, December 05, 2007, Blogger Mamacita Chilena said…

    It's so annoying when people try to take advantage like that...sorry your tourist time was sort of ruined, but at least they weren't able to rip you off.

    I had a similar experience just the other day. I went apartment hunting and there was a sign that said, for rent $420 dollars/month. I called the number and the girl immediately asked where I was from because I speak with an accent. I told her the U.S. and she goes, "This apartment is especially for foreigners...only $800 a month."

    I just laughed and hung up the phone.

  • At 10:26 PM, December 05, 2007, Blogger Mexico Way said…

    JJ: The good news is your hotel is on a nicer part of beach so it won't be an issue. I made the mistake of walking farther out to Buho's.

    Mamacita: Yep, the same stuff happens here. I have a male friend who speaks better Spanish than me but is constantly battling getting ripped off because he's from the U.S and is MALE. I can go get my car fixed and not get ripped off but without a doubt, he always does. He's even had vendors refuse to take his money when he wants to buy a 6 peso newspaper! Although, I think that being an American white boy and speaking like a chilango might rub them the wrong way!? LOL!

  • At 4:34 AM, December 06, 2007, Blogger Fned said…

    Hello? Welcome to my daily battle during the first 21 years of my life!

    Being blond and blue eyed I grew up having to constantly be on my guard to avoid getting ripped off. It didn't matter that a) I am mexican!!!!!!!! and b) I AM MEXICAN!!!! nope... they automatically assume that yellow hair means $$$$!!!

    You did good Mexico Way calling the peanut dude off... And great exemple of how to use the "no mames!" expresion! LOL (next time you can even add "guey" at the end for extra umph!" ;)

    In time I've come to realize that this behaviour is mainly due to the mexican inferiority complex... I guess many mexicans feel that they've been screwed over by the US so many times in the past (no offense ladies) that this is their way at "getting revenge". I AM NOT SAYING I APPROVE! On the contrary! I hate ANY form of racism and this one in particular because it's so obvious and stupid!

    But it's also funny though... when André (also a yellow head) is in Mexico and speaks spanish or english (or at least tries to!) with his cute little french accent he NEVER gets ripped off! It's like there's racism WITHIN the racism! :s


    P.S. Mamacita: In your case, I'd have hubby make the call next time. I know, it sucks... but a 50% price increase just because of an accent is just not worth it! You could even be sneaky and have hubby do all the transactions and once the contract is signed (at a correct Chile price) then you could show up in all your blond-blue-eyed-britney-spears-accent-speaking splendour! Imagine the look on their face! LOL

  • At 8:55 AM, December 06, 2007, Blogger mexpat said…

    Oh man... Yeah, that's one of my fears. We were walking in Playa last night and the barkers were barking at us and I asked Hans how long he thought it would be before we looked local enough to not get barked at. He said "Never, we're white."

  • At 12:05 PM, December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fned: I'm glad that you give me props for speaking my mind. Because a lot of people just don't want to argue or stir up shit. I guess in a way it's an over all battle I will never win but I try never-the-less.

    There is a lot of discrimination that goes one between tourists and locals as well as amongst locals. Whether you look too "American", or too "Mayan" or your too "Fresa", there's always some sort of snooty attitude that goes along with it.

    Never the's interesting to watch the dynamics of interaction amongst various types of people in a foreign country.

    The good part is! It's really easy here to work your lady charm on a guy to get what you want!

  • At 4:06 PM, December 06, 2007, Blogger Mexico Way said…

    I didn't post It's ME, Mexico "Way"!

  • At 4:50 PM, December 06, 2007, Blogger Fned said…

    It's true... I remember a lot of times my friends and I would get to the disco or antro "à la mode" and the bouncers would let me in (even though most of the times I only had enough for cab fair on me) but would hassle my more "indian" looking friends (who were intending to spend a lot of pesos getting drunk) because they didn't look "fresa" enough... this used to piss me off so much.... and then I realized the irony of it.

    On the one side, we get all pissed off at having prices doubled just because people asume that being white and blond means we must be rich... and on the other side rich mexicans that look "too" indian get just as discriminated because of their looks no matter how wealthy they might be.

    The world is nuts. =)


  • At 9:03 PM, January 23, 2008, Blogger wayne said…

    1. I was at Buho's Beach today. It is almost lovely again.

    2. Next time you come over for the day, you'd better let me know!


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