You all know that I have to do a summary report after each long trip so we don’t forget any of the awesomeness that we had for 10 weeks. It all goes by so fast and every day is like the next, so I have to make sure we record this stuff along the way.
Things that are different but consistent:
- Time has no value. We were constantly amazed by lineups for places and things. Or just why things weren’t fixed or finished or why didn’t something get done and we realized that time has no value, there’s always mañana.
- Perfumed toilet paper (almond, vanilla) – whys does this even happen? No one wants a butt hole smelling like vanilla?
- On the same note they have such cheap/crappy paper products (toilet paper, paper towel and napkins) Both rip so easy and are very annoying
- Perfumed laundry soap and fabric softener – is unlike any smell, its so intense. We always gave them our own non-smell soap, but a few times we forgot to say no fabric softener and ugh – the perfume smell always lingers weeks later.
- Strange odors in the street – not always, but sometimes sewer or other strange smells.
- Smell of sewer in some of the flats – many of the showers had rubber drain cover on the floor and if we didn’t put this back on the drain after each shower, the house would smell like sewer. Also, every place we rented had some sort of air freshener. We are very anti-chemical smell and so this always hit us so hard when we walked into the house.
- Houses made of concrete are very loud. All sounds inside and outside are louder cause of concrete everything.
- We are used to public beaches where you just bring everything you need to the beach (umbrella, chairs, snacks, etc) But here, no one brings anything and they pay to use the beach clubs or palapa’s and pay for all the beach hawker snacks – I don’t like it that way. Also, many beaches don’t have a lot of public access, so you are forced to use a beach club if you aren’t at a hotel/resort. This was the same in non-resort cities too.
- Fire Ants – they are a sonofabitch. A couple times we walked through some gardens and then noticed we were walking through an ant party…and then they bite you and you see blood and it hurts like you’ve been burned in a fire. Fuckers.
- Could never figure out the times where taco stands or restaurants are open. This will always be a question and we are sure its a cultural thing and will never be open when we were hungry….like noon.
- and of course ….
- Ruins – Uxmal Hands down! If you haven’t been, put it on your list!
- Beach – Jill: San Julian, Todd: has a tie for Playa Esmeralda and Isla Mujeres
- Tacos – Wood smoked el pastor in Tulum – we never found a better one that these (although a few runner ups) Here is a video of alot of runner up food: Alot of Food (rumble.com)
- City – Jill: Campeche, Todd: Carmen
- Daytrip or single activity – Jill: Flamingo tour, Todd: all the ruins and history
- Best Group Airbnb house – both places were awesome for different reasons and we can’t decide, they are tied
- Best Single Airbnb flat – Merida house was both our fave!
Things that surprised us:
- Amount of coke that is consumed – for breakfast (peuk!), for lunch, for supper. People drink coke more than water. There is a coke production facility in every major centre (Cancun, Play del Carmen, Merida, Carmen, Campeche). We NEVER saw Mexicans drink water…ever!
- The lack of decent snack food – everyone eats crappy snacks, and you only get 3 choices: broken chips, cookies (oreo or worse) and prepacked bakery items (like ho ho’s) – all of them are shitty (also i can’t eat them but Todd had a hard time finding snacks he liked)
- We couldn’t figure out why they sold bulk dog food in the supermarkets. Then randomly we noticed that people feed the dogs in the street with this bulk dog food.
What we won’t miss:
- Barking dogs at all hours of the night
- Shitty sidewalks – falling apart, or various heights, and things like angle iron or rebar sticking up a few inches so that you trip. Or parts of store fronts that expand onto the sidewalk, but you bang your head into them (could be electrical boxes, A/C, window awnings….)
- Constant movement for cold potable water (Todd called it the Potable water movement). Bottled water in 20 L bottles, have to be downsized into 1L to cool them in the fridge, then fill the water bottles for the day and then also poured into ice trays for ice. This was a daily event, sometimes twice daily, depending on how much water we went through.
- Hard beds – are the standard – SO hard, like plywood or cement hard
- Also beds with no blankets only sheets
- Continuing with the hard theme are hard, uncomfortable plastic, pallet or cement chairs at all bars, restaurants
- Shitty water pressure – sometimes was barely a drip coming out of the shower
- Along with shitty pressure, no hot water from any tap but the shower, so you need to heat water on the stove to wash dishes OR holding a pot to the shower drip to collect “hot” water
- Coffee cream – or lack thereof – mostly used canned evap milk or sometimes the “crema” – neither were great, I can’t wait to have my half/half or 18% coffee cream back…
- Invisible mosquitos at all hours of the day
- Lack of liquor choices (no real craft liquor, ciders, spiked soda’s etc – since they are all imported so they dont import them) and higher cost of cheap wine. Casillo de Diablo was the “best” wine and it was still $25-$30
What we will miss:
- Getting our laundry done and folded for $6. I love my underwear folded like a pocket!
- Street tacos
- Simplicity of life
- The sun, the sand, the surf
- Walking everywhere
- Daily food shopping
- The people, the culture and tradition
- Living in shorts and bathing suits
- Warm nights, never needing a jacket
- Outdoor living
- Common sense and the lack of bubble wrap
- All the young families and babies out together at night getting street tacos or whatever
Our goal for this trip, aside from snow birding, was to also see how much the cost of living was in another country (assessing retirement options). Obviously its crazy to think we would retire in Canada – who would want to do that?! Its too cold and the cost of living just keeps going up. We never planned to stay in all-inclusive at all….we aren’t rich and that is not our jam! But we started with $100 US per day for accommodation, food and transport – we had to start somewhere. When we booked the VRBO or Airbnb, we got discounts if we booked for a week – so we took advantage of that. We realize that we could have had a bigger discount on accommodation if we stayed longer at places (monthly bookings). When we did book a car rental, the actual daily rental rate was cheap ($15/day), but the mandatory Mexican insurance is insane. Gas was also more expensive than we thought, roughly the same as Alberta. We were surprised by the grocery costs – higher than we expected, even the Mexican people we talked too were shocked at their inflation. We wanted to use public transport to see how it worked and it got us to places we wanted to go and it was quite cheap. We went on adventures, but not daily, we kept it to a minimum based on the area and what there was to do. Neither of us felt like we missed anything in the area – we felt like we did a lot, saw a lot, walked a lot.
Here are some numbers:
- # of places (houses, flats, hotels) that we stayed at: 12
- # of beaches we went to: 23
- # of steps on the longest walk day: 19,125
- # of buses (chicken or long distance): 14
- Average daily cost to live: $164 CA
Overall the daily cost was a bit higher than we thought, but we also didn’t think we were going to need/have a car rental and we had some dental expenses. But we thought we did well on cost of living for 2 people. It may sound like the cons (I used the word shitty alot in the post!) outweighed the pros, but honestly we LOVED it! The adventure, the culture, the people, learning new things and figuring stuff out was (a bit stressful) but fun! We really can’t wait to go back to Mexico and experience a different area. Thanks for touring with us, leave us a comment and see you next time!