Playa del Carmen vs. Over Yonderlust

Knockout Playa del Carmen

MS Paint picture by Shaun... again. He is very proud of it.

Shaun and Erica at Playa del Carmen

PdC, we REALLY want to like you. Look how pretty your beaches are!

There isn’t really a better way to describe our initial experiences in Playa del Carmen other than saying we got off to a rocky start on the wrong foot after getting up on the wrong side of the bed.

We wandered from the colectivo stop to the crowded hostel we were going to spend the night at. We got there only to find that the last two beds were in separate dorms. Odd for this time of year but that’s okay, we thought, it’s only one night.

Our plan was to lock up our computers and start exploring the city. However, the “lockers” in the dorms were 3-sided wood cupboards that appeared to have been made in shop class. You could lock them from the front but it wouldn’t do much to protect your belongings when someone could easily turn the unsecured unit to the side and clean it out. Again, we told ourselves it was just going to be one night.

The bathroom in my dorm wasn’t the dirtiest I’ve had to use, although, the one in Erica’s dorm tops her list. But alas, this is one of the unfortunate side effects of budget travel. After attempting to once again comfort ourselves with the anticipation of leaving the following morning, we fled the hostel.

The day hadn’t started out very well and to add to it my stomach was quite upset. Adjusting to the food and sanitary conditions of a developing country takes some time, but I’m fairly used to it after 2 months. As such, I decided not to let it keep me in that evening.

It was rather late when we called it a night and began the lengthy walk to our hostel. Halfway home I was feeling like hell. Knowing that we were not likely to find any public bathrooms at this hour, we headed to the only open bar in sight. I walked in and was met by the bartender. I asked if they had a bathroom and was told it was for customers only. That’s fine, I said, I’ll buy something. I even pulled out some money to show the bartender I was good for it. She pointed me towards the bathroom and quickly walked back behind the bar.

Crab sandcastle in Playa del Carmen

PdC, we want to like you so badly - I mean, your sandcastles are AWESOME!

I wasted no time and got down to business.

When I emerged from the restroom I saw Erica standing at the bar holding a Coke bottle. Relieved (in more ways than one), I walked over to her feeling a bit better. However, that feeling quickly disappeared. Erica looked at me, clearly upset, and said “You have no idea how much trouble you almost got us into.”

On the power-walk home, Erica filled in all the details that I had missed. Apparently the bartender thought I was using “illegal substances” and that was the reason for the desperate bathroom break. This resulted in a police report being filed and the cops being on standby to raid the bathroom. I guess I looked much worse than I thought.

PdC, all we want to do is be your friend! Why must you treat us so badly?

I chuckled at the thought of them barging into the stall, as I would have been happy to show them the ‘illegal substance’ that created this misunderstanding.

We went to sleep that night thinking about how differently things could have turned out. In our case, we were largely saved by Erica’s ability to convince the bartender I wasn’t a drug addict after speaking to her in Spanish. If I would have been alone, well… *shrug*

Have you ever had misunderstandings get blown crazily out of proportion while traveling?

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32 Responses to “Playa del Carmen vs. Over Yonderlust”

  1. Kim
    July 1, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    Dang… this seems to be a theme with you guys. Glad you keep getting to prove them all wrong (and that you found a bathroom when you needed one… worst.feeling.ever.).

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

      @ Kim – We’re pretty used to being treated differently since we look so…. alternative. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the most confused looks from older people when I open the door for them and such, lol.

  2. Dan
    July 1, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Wow… That WOULD have been something having cops bust in , trough dropped and trying not to die… Pics are beautiful! miss you two!

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

      @ Dan – Traveling has a way of making you lose your shame. I’m really glad that my first instinct was to laugh and not get pissed. Miss you too! <3

  3. Laura
    July 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    O no Shaun!!!! that’s terrible! I’m glad to here it didn’t get as bad as it could have and that Erica’s spanish is getting better. Erica you look so tan! and I love that bathing suit looking good! <3's for the both of you!

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      @ Laura – Yup. Erica is soaking up the sun like Captain Planet. I’ve gotten 1 shade darker, but it’s pretty hard to tell, lol.

  4. Jaime
    July 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Ahhh good times in Playa del Carmen… but I thought you were gonna write about out drunk incident at the ocean?

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      @ Jaime – Nah, that’s what you’re for. <3

    • Erica
      July 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

      @Jaime: Oh, and my parents read my blog – I don’t think they want to know ALL the shinanigans we get into. They may have a small heart attack.

      • Sarah Wu
        July 4, 2011 at 12:40 am #

        lol what drunk incident? What did you guys did with Jamie over there. :P

        • Erica
          July 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

          @Sarah: Maybe I’ll tell you on gtalk. It is not rated PG. Or PG-13. Or R… Maybe NC17.

  5. Lauren
    July 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    What an experience haha!

    It’s a shame you didn’t get on with PdC, the beaches look AWESOME!

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      @ Lauren – Even with PdC trying to ruin our time, we had a blast. But it was mainly due to the people we were there with/met up with.

  6. Heather
    July 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    First, I love the Paint image :-) Made me smile from ear to ear!!!

    I can just picture Erica now at the bar, trying to dissolve the situation before you had a raid in the bathroom! I can’t think of a time where I had something similar enough happen — just minor understandings. Thanks for sharing the near fiasco :-)

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      @ Heather – Yeah, Erica saved the day for sure. Glad you liked the picture too! :D

  7. jasminejean
    July 2, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    since when did ANYONE in mexico begin concerning themselves with “illegal” substances!! hahaha. auh man. i FEEL ya. i’ve had a few rough times. like….times you would never ever want other people to know you’ve had. Phew. usually the mexicans just Laughed at me.

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

      @ Jasmine – I don’t think it’s possible to spend an extended amount of time in Mexico and not have rough times like that, lol.

  8. Adam @ SitDownDisco
    July 2, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    I’ve had plenty of misunderstandings, but nothing noteworthy like that! Good work!

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      @ Adam – I think I prefer this instance being almost a trip to jail rather than an actual one. We’ll keep up the good work though! :P

  9. Terri - Try Anything Once
    July 2, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Can I say that that sounds odd to me? I would never associate having to relieve oneself with feening for drugs. Would you? So sorry that you guys had to go through that. Do you think it was another case of discrimination against you guys? Feel free to tell me I’m crazy. :)

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      @ Terri – At first, I was as confused as you. It was only after Erica pointed out the combination of the stigma we deal with due to our physical appearances, the lack of sleep we’d had (dark circles), and my terrible feelings being manifested physically as well that I could see even the most remote reason for her to overreact. If I saw a white dude running for a bathroom in Mexico, my first thought would always be “Silly tourist, can’t handle the food.”

  10. Joe Currivan
    July 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Sounds like the kind of experience that was worth it looking back, but certainly harrowing while in the midst of it!

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      @ Joe – Yup. And it makes a good story if nothing else. :)

  11. Lorna - the roamantics
    July 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    ah that sucks guys! way to have a situation made worse by assumptions. sorry you had that happen, but glad to know you’re experiencing far more good than bad on your trip! :)

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

      @ Lorna – Yeah, the little negative events are far outweighed by all the positive. I’m just glad it worked out like it did and we can laugh about it.

  12. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    July 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    I’m surprised they cared so much even if you would’ve been using drugs. I don’t think most U.S. bars would do anything more than ask you to leave.

    • Shaun
      July 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      @ Scott – I agree completely. I really wonder if she just actually felt threatened by me due to my appearance. It made me wonder if I would have walked in with a popped collar and a fake tan if anything would have happened. Oh well.

  13. Dave and Deb
    July 3, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    Sorry you had such a bad start to Playa Del Carmen, I hope it gets better and that you feel better too!

    • Shaun
      July 3, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      @ Dave and Deb – You know, even considering everything that happened we loved Playa. We just really wanted Playa to love us back. :P

  14. Sheryll
    July 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Holy fucking shit!!! I’m glad you are both safe and okay. I would’ve totally had a major freak out.

    • Erica
      July 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      @Sheryll: I cried on the way home to be honest. I was so upset that we were targeted like that when we were some of the most low key “tourists” in Playa.

  15. Bethany
    July 17, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    OMG Shaun! That is crazy! They were probably thinking they could get a good bribe out of you guys. Little did they know that Erica would school them!

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