Snorkeling in Cozumel

Today was such an awesome day! I got up early to take the 45 minute ferry ride over to Cozumel for a 4 hour snorkeling tour. 

The snorkeling honestly wasn’t even that great. The first reef we stopped at had some pretty Dori and Nemo fish… that’s what the kids like to call them, but after that it was pretty boring.

Maybe I have watched one too many documentaries, but I really feel like the ocean here is polluted and dying, not at all how it is advertised. Not how it probably use to be 15 or 20 years ago. 

Anyway though… back to my amazing day. Despite the lame snorkeling, the boat ride was exciting and I met a really nice girl from France, who is currently living and working in Northern Mexico teaching French. And she was on the tour with two nice young Mexican gentleman, brothers on vacation together from Monterrey, that she had just met that morning. 

After the tour was over the four of us spent the afternoon together. We walked around Cozumel, stopped for drinks and shrimp tacos, and learned about each others countries, cultures, languages, mostly all in Spanish! (I’m excited that my Spanish has come far enough that I can do this now... make friends who speak Spanish and actually communicate with them. Lol)

Some takeaways from our time together today:

In France, similar to Mexico, debt is not really a thing. Sometimes people will borrow money for large purchases like a house, possibly a car. But debt like Americans have… not a thing in their countries.

The Euro exchange rate is 22:1 right now. (The USD exchange rate is 18.5:1… So 1 US dollar equals 18.5 pesos… and 1 Euro equals 22 pesos. None of us were exactly sure what that equates to economically speaking...

Last year when Jorge was here in Playa (he’s been coming every year for 4 or 5 years) he witnessed a nightclub shooting. He said a narco walked into the club with an assault rifle and opened fire on innocent people. 

Even after telllng the previous story, Jorge still said he is more afraid of the police here than he is of narcos.

He said that a few years ago, it was much worse. Almost any bathroom he would walk into would have drugs for sale… like right then and there in the bathroom. Seems crazy and I’m glad it’s not like that now!

Vomit is almost the same word in English, Spanish (vómito), and French (vomir). Two out of the 4 of us got sick and threw up on the ferry ride over to Cozumel this morning… hence the topic of vómito to begin with. 

(Yes,I was one of them 🤢)

13 year olds can order drinks with alcohol in them. Jorge’s younger brother looked about Jenicas age if you ask me… maybe because he was so short. Anyway, he wanted this Blue Agave drink off the menu and his older brother even discussed with the waiter the types of alcohol in the drink before ordering one for his little bro. So weird! 

Finally… traveling alone, while definitely not my comfort zone or my ideal, has huge benefits sometimes... like today. Rachel and I talked about how we wouldn’t have ended up hanging out and getting to know each other if we hadn’t have been traveling alone to begin with. 

Okay, it’s late and it’s time to go see about a taxi ride home, and answer the burning question from yesterday’s post. 

I walk outside to talk to one of the guys at the taxi booth that I’ve been observing from inside Starbucks for the past hour or so.

He sends me down to the next guy… the next one in line I guess. I ask how much to Calle Primera Sur y Quince Avenida, literally 7 blocks from where I am, 8 I guess technically because one of the streets is one way… totally within a 50 peso radius, in my opinion, and beses on what I’ve heard from others.

The guy quotes me ciento cincuenta. Did I hear him right? I repeat it back to him in Spanish to make sure - then in English again just because I’m so shocked. 150 pesos. Over $8 US to have this guy drive me 7 blocks. I offer him 50 pesos, still trying to speak in Spanish as much as possible, although I’m sure it’s obvious at this point that English is my first language. 120 pesos is his counter offer… his “good deal, just for you lady” (have I mentioned that I hate it when Mexicans call me “lady”)?

I refuse to pay him 120 pesos to drive me home. Honestly, I can walk. I enjoyed walking here, I can enjoy walking home. 

(The great thing about my Airbnb is that it is literally half a block from the main downtown shopping area, but on the other side of the mall so there isn’t a ton of traffic.) It feels completely safe to walk back and forth. 

Before I have a chance to leave, another guy, another taxi driver in the same white uniform, comes up and tells me if I walk one block farther to 15 Avenida, I can get a taxi for 50 pesos. That’s weird, I think to myself, but what the heck. Let’s give it a try. So I walk the block he tells me to, but on the next corner, there are no taxis. So I turn left, and walk the 6 more blocks home with different scenery, a much less crowded street, and my 120-150 pesos still in my pocket. 

I’m making light of it tonight because I didn’t need a cab. But what about the other night at 2:00am when I arrived in Playa for the first time?

I do not think it’s right for the price disparity to be so great, and I’m honestly so fed up with being overcharged for everything here in Mexico just because I’m gringa.

Do you have similar experiences traveling in Mexico 🇲🇽? I’d love to hear about them. Drop me a message in the comments below 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼


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