The Final Episode of our 10 month Yucatan excursion is coming to a close very soon. I have been asked on several occasions , “Will you miss it”? And my response is, “I surely will”. You won’t know how much I will miss being here. The food, the people and the surroundings can only be realized by experiencing it personally.
I will try to briefly describe our last 10 months of living away from a lifestyle that many can’t imagine doing without. However, there is so much more to life than all the conveniences we take for granted. Sit back and enjoy as I highlight some of our adventurous moments.
The photo shown right is an expression only and not a lifestyle. But a powerful expression none the less. Living in Mexico and especially in a resort town like Playa del Carmen is as good as it gets.
Playa – the name given by the locals, has the warm weather, gorgeous beaches with their turquoise blue Caribbean water, and a cost of living that almost anyone can afford. But are these reason alone good enough to make a commitment to stay for a long period of time away from home, family and friends? Follow our adventures and photos to see if we made the right choice.
Unlike being on vacation, getting out every night and partying isn’t advisable. When we decided to make Playa del Carmen our temporary home, the rules changed. Just like when you come back from a week’s worth of fun in the sun getaway, its time to get back to life as usual.
Its not a beach day everyday, but close to it. Things need to be tended to like getting groceries, potable water and other things that need doing on a routine basis. Setting up a calendar to make sure finances are handled, learning your way around town, and one of the most important things is making friends and/or contacts. Without the help of others who know the lay of the land, big surprises can pop up at any moment.
We learned the ropes pretty quickly. We found several grocery stores, established a doctor and dentist who spoke English, and a good hair salon. We discovered a few local watering holes and eateries as well.
Wah Wah Beach Bar (pictured left) became our beach hangout for awhile because they offered free lounge chairs and umbrellas, inexpensive drinks – considering being right on the water, and we got to know the servers pretty well.
We met a couple who introduced us to a small bi-lingual church – Cornerstone Community Church (pictured right). Playa del Carmen doesn’t have many English speaking churches and we were very lucky to find this one. We met some great people, as well as the pastor and developed some strong friendships. People that we will stay in touch with long after we leave.
We studied and learned the local culture and began to blend in very well. Playa del Carmen is a very close knit community. So your reputation will follow you wherever you go.
When we did go out, it would usually be on Friday and a day during the middle of the week unless friends were visiting. Then it would be either four to five days depending on the company. We would frequent the bar & grills that had live entertainment, along with good food and strong drinks.
We got to know and followed some of the Local musicians like the rock group “Crazy Toys”, and the acoustic arrangements of Mike and his partner (pictured right) who plays the amplified box-drum. There are quite a few talented musicians who play for tips only.
When out and about, there is always so much going on around you that its easy to get lost in the moment. Especially when we are walking down the world famous 5th Ave. – also known as Quintana Avenida (pictured left).
Its nice when you become part of the community and hear someone yelling your name out while walking down the street. When we visit our favorite hangouts and the waiters and bartenders come up and give us a hug and a peck on the cheek, we feel that we have earned their trust.
You also created relationships with expats and seasonal residents who come from many different parts of the world. Playa del Carmen seems to have this aura around it that relaxes people and blends multicultural influences where you can easily find commonalities.
The picture shown above left is a group of women who my wife became very good friends with while we were living in our small condo community. It is so amazing that most everyone of them are from different parts of the world. Places like the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico.
When the weather gets cold back home and people start looking for a quick getaway, our tropical destination becomes a dream come true. We had plenty of visitors throughout the winter months. It was nice to see a familiar face and hear a well known voice. It was kind of fun for us to show our family and friends around our new neck of the woods.
I think everyone who visited us had a great time. Going to the beach, the bar & grills, and sightseeing all the exciting attractions kept us busy. Our guests also got a first hand glimpse of how we lived day to day in a foreign country. They all loved the perfect tempered weather in comparison to back homes’ frigged temperatures. We sure enjoyed their company.
Just like back home we had days where certain things needed to be done during the week like grocery shopping (cart full of groceries pictured upper – left), visit the open air markets, getting haircuts and other miscellaneous errands. We made our way around by mostly walking everywhere, which in turn kept us in good shape. Especially lugging around a back pack filled with groceries!
We would sporadically select a day to visit nearby destinations like Cozumel, Puerto Aventuras, Tulum and Xpu Ha to mention a few. Touring around the eastern side of Cozumel in a jeep offers great snorkeling (pictured left) and out-of-the way rustic bar & grills. Take pesos because credit cards aren’t always taken in such desolated areas.
Puerto Aventuras has several outdoor aquatic marine aquariums that put you up close with manatees, dolphins and seals. We usually make a day of it and have lunch while watching a dolphin show. Every once in awhile dolphins would playfully toss rubber balls back and forth to people who clap for them.
There are “Secreto” beaches that are mostly known by the locals only. Xpu Ha (pictured left) and Paamul beaches are a few that we visited. There aren’t many, if any tourist running around and screaming at each other. There is plenty of that happening on Playa’s beaches.
Our Pastor from Cornerstone Community Church decided to get married and we were invited to this glorious event. The ceremony was held on the beach at Playa del Carmen’s magnificent Grand Hyatt Resort. The wedding was very beautiful and was a perfect opportunity to enjoy time with many of our close friends.
It probably sounds like we never spent much time at home, but on the contrary we enjoyed hanging around our pool (pictured above) and visiting with neighbors. I even developed a peculiar friendship with a Goldfinch that would visit me every once in awhile looking for bread crumbs (See attached video).
This gives you a brief and somewhat broad perspective of what we have be doing over the last ten months. We left our little Lovers Key Beach island community and settled into a vacation destination in a foreign country. This was quite the adventure for anyone to take on.
We got to meet the managing partner and take a personal tour of Playa del Carmen’s first and only micro beer brewery. I even found a writing job with a local real estate company. We learned how to adjust in a much different culture, establish a home away from home, and create lots of new friendships. To us, that’s what getting out and exploring is all about.
There were plenty of trial and tribulations and a few misfortunes that we had to overcome. But if I was asked if we would do it all over again, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Life isn’t always about collecting physical properties and personal items. Life is truly about just that, life! Make memories and live your dreams whenever you can because one day, you don’t want to look back and say, “Could of, should of, would of”…
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Videography: Anthony Scopel & Crew
Article Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock
“This article is dedicated to our dear friend Kevin Beary who passed away in November 2016. RIP my friend.”