Day 3 in Playa Del Carmen... Starbucks again

Day 3 in Playa and I’m back at Starbucks. Not the same one, and I actually set out specifically not to go to Starbucks, yet here I’ve ended up again. 

I wandered down the busy 5th Avenue district for quite sometime, trying to find the perfect restaurant to stop at, but the thing is, even though I’m craving Mexican food, the thought of having a Mexican man wait on me right now is not appealing. 

More on that topic later, it might warrant its own post. For now, let me tell you about the perfect Starbucks. It’s right on the corner of 5th Ave and Calle 10 Nte.

(Is it just me or is it a little confusing that there is 10 Avenida Nte and a Calle 10 Nte that intersect)

I have a great view of the Sur Steak House across the street, with their giant awesome outdoor bar and floor to ceiling wall of lighted liquor bottles. 

I can people watch from the comforts of my chair, with mellow Starbucks music playing in the background, air conditioning, and no worries of being harassed by an overly zealous Mexican waiter.

I also get to see the taxi drivers lined up outside in the street. Boy are they gonna be pissed when Uber finally gets here. But on the bright side, they’ll probably have way more time to play cards while they wait for patrons that don’t know any better than to pay their ridiculous prices.

I read an article today that speculated that taxi companies may be infiltrated by the cartels, and by the looks of the people here who drive the cabs, and the one interaction that I’ve had with them so far (at the bus station at 2:00am) I might tend to agree. 

Here’s a link to the article if you’re interested: 

Tell me what you think of this scenario:

You know that the standard rate for a short ride in a taxi in a downtown area should only be 50 pesos (and you know because 2 people here have told you that, one that lives here and one that is here on vacation and speaks Spanish well.) And because you’ve lived in Mexico for over a year now, and 50 pesos in Mazatlán is also pretty standard for short rides around the downtown area.

But the drivers, 2 of them, at the bus station at 2:00am, quote you 90 pesos and won’t negotiate any less. What would you do? 

I’m a woman traveling alone. I’ve been warned not to walk here late at night because the police will most likely stop me and shake me down. Plus I was mugged two months ago while out alone in Mazatlán after dark so I know a bunch of my friends would kill me if they found out I was out walking alone after dark, especially at 2:00am in Playa Del Carmen. 

There are only 2 taxi drivers at the bus station and they both want to charge me almost double. Isn’t this just another way to steal from us “rich Americans”? Of course I have to take a taxi, so I’m forced into paying whatever price they want to charge.

That is why I have LOVED Uber so much since we’ve been living in Mexico. It ensures that we pay a fair rate no matter what language we speak, what color our skin is, or how much money we may or may not have.

(Please Uber, come to Playa del Carmen soon!)

Anyway, whether or not the taxi drivers are involved in the cartels here in Quintana Roo is probably irrelevant. Corruption is everywhere and it can be felt. 

So for now, just for tonight, just for an hour or two, I’ll escape into my happy, familiar place, my comfort zone, my little piece of home. I’ll enjoy my green tea frappe...

...and eat my honestly not so tasty sandwich (sorry Starbucks  - room for a little improvement there.)

I’ll people watch, and speculate on the state of affairs here in Mexico. I’ll FaceTime my kids, and catch up on some emails. And then I’ll brave the loud and lawless Mexican world out there, and maybe even see how much a taxi ride home will cost tonight.


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