Sunday, January 11th
Today, we continued our community service projects. One group went to half moon bay and the other group went to jade beach to pick up garbage. We found some interesting trash at the beaches including shoes, chunks of Styrofoam, and even part of a printer! We filled 5 bags of trash between the two beaches, and it was nice to know that we made a difference while we were here instead of adding to the problem like some other tourists do. However, it is frustrating that the beach will need to be cleaned up regularly to ensure that it stays trash free. In fact, Alma, the coordinator of our community service with CEA, told us that the last time the beaches were cleaned was in October, which means the trash accumulates pretty quickly! We spoke with Mark while cleaning the beach, and he told us that most of the trash actually comes from other countries in the Caribbean such as the Dominican Republic, as well as cruise ships that dump their trash while at sea.
Kari, Alma, Alicia, and Rachael picking up trash
Alma digging up trash
After picking up trash, we had the rest of the day off to get some much-needed rest! Almost our entire group took an afternoon siesta. Our recent decisions to experience Mexican nightlife at Playa del Carmen left many of us lacking sleep. We have found that clubbing in Mexico can be quite a cultural experience. For example, most of the music that is played is in fact American and from the early 90’s. We were also surprised to find that the club was equally populated by locals and tourists, even though the area of the city in which the club is located is overrun with tourists.
A learning experience that comes with clubbing in Playa del Carmen is figuring out how to get home. There are local busses known as Collectivos that run until 11pm, but for those who want to stay later, there is a cheap public bus at 1:30, a cheaper Collectivo at 5 am, or a taxi which is much more expensive, especially the closer you get to the clubs. A few of us attempted to take the public bus one night, and while it only cost 16 pesos, we were very lucky to make it home because the bus sounded like it was going to fall apart at any moment, and everyone was asleep and we almost missed our stop! Another group had the opportunity to take a taxi driven by a female, which is very uncommon in Mexico. She told stories of the additional challenges of driving a taxi that she must face as a woman in a field dominated by men. We have found that conversations such as this provide more information about the Mexican culture than can be found in any book. We hope to learn even more about the culture through conversation with the locals before the end of our trip.
Kari, Anna, Natasha