Greetings from Cancun Mexico!
I’m down in here for the week enjoying the sun, surf and ExpoComics Cancun. That’s right folks: a Mexican Geek Convention.
We met up with the team from Cosplay Deviants and enjoyed beer, wings and other goodness with Latin ladies in orange shorts running around. During dinner, the discussion turned to the supplies we would need while spending time in Mexico and we all agreed that priority one was bottled water. After a little snooping on Google (or, thanks to my current IP down here, Google.com.mx) we found out that downtown Cancun actually has a Walmart.
PART 1: GETTING THERE
So “Tentacle” Chris Duplis, Troy from Cosplay Deviants and I decided the make the trek sometime around midnight because, you know, going to a Walmart in the U.S. after midnight means you only run into the normal people. In a foreign country it can’t be any worse, right?
Anyway, step one was getting a cab driver from our resort. We hail one that looks like every other vehicle in Cancun: something from the late seventies/early eighties that is probably being held together by duct tape. The man driving it was a heavy set amigo old enough to be my father and looked as if he would (quite possibly) die at any second. Seriously. He was wheezing and coughing so badly that he may have expired since our Excellent Adventure… but I digress.
We piled into the car and I popped out an “hola!” (one of the five words I have learn while here.) We discerned the he somewhat understood English and asked him how much it would cost to get to Walmart. He said 15 pesos as he immediately started driving us away from the hotel at a scary “Fast & the Furious” off the line speed. I spoke up and pointed out that we only had American dollars. He kept driving, though, like drunk NASCAR and told us that he didn’t take American money.
I said that’s a shame – since none of us had pesos.
After a few moments of grunting and breathing funny he said it would be $12.
Our driver then began inquiring as to why we were going to Walmart. “Water” we all replied. I mentioned “toys” too, but that only served to confuse him. Chris and I both had high hopes to score some Mexican Transformers (which, for the record, ultimately failed.) As the line of questioning continued, we noticed that we were, in fact, being driven in a circle. The driver took us around the block and back within a hundred yards of the hotel. He then stopped the car and explained that he had to drop off lunch to his friend.
The driver proceeded to get out of the car and take a bag of “something” out of the hatchback and walk away from the car. I looked back at Chris and Troy (I was riding shotgun) and pointed out that the three of us were in an abandoned running car in Mexico late at night. We really were stuck in the plot of some bad buddy comedy film just waiting to happen.
Before we could hatch our The Hangover style plan, though, the driver returned. He pulled off of the curb and out into traffic… four f’ing inches from a very large bus. Seriously. He looked annoyed at the bus (as if it were, somehow, the bus’s fault) and then put the car in reverse and out of the way.
After that the trip to Walmart was smooth sailing – if you can stetch to define “smooth” as “driving in both lanes riding the yellow line at 70 MPH in car older than most kids in high school today.”
PART 2: MEXICAN WALMART
We pulled in the Walmart parking alive, but not entirely of sound mind. As we got out of the cab, the driver stopped us and asked if we’d like him to wait. After mulling the pros (easier than trying to find a cab at Walmart) and the cons (absolute and almost certain death by automobile manslaughter) we opted to say yes. Here’s where we ran into another one of those quirky cultural differences: We offered to pay our fare for having gotten there ($12) before shopping and he refused stating that we could just pay him when he took us back. Try that in New York City sometime. They would not only want the fare, but in order to stay they would want something as collateral… your ID, a credit card, your first born, etc.
Finally, we stepped foot into Walmart. Would you believe the Walmart was practically just like every Walmart you’ve been to? The store’s layout/setup was very similar to the one near my house in Florida. The key differences, though, were in the brands that were uniquely Mexican that they offered. Otherwise, exactly the same.
Oh yeah – except for the fact that they SOLD HARD LIQUOR. Could you image how well that would go over with Middle America? That said, we strongly considered buying some tequila while there because nothing quite says “Mexico” like a good bottle of Walmart Tequila.
We checked out with GALLONS of water, some strange soda, and other odds and ends. Sure enough, “our guy” was still in the parking lot waiting patiently. We rolled our cart over to the cab and a Walmart parking lot attendee unloaded it for us and took the cart away. Chris, Troy and I loaded up for the wild road trip home.
PART 3: GETTING BACK ALIVE
The trip back met expectations. We almost died dozens of times and, on more than one occasion, we thought our driver was going to die based on heavy wheezing and breathing. Outside the hotel district was interesting enough, though. We saw:
-A giant 24-hour Burger King similar to the McDonald’s on International Drive in Orlando, Florida.
-Random American stores… Sam’s Club, Office Depot and others.
-Pirate Ships docked on the water (part of a local dinner show experience.)
We got dropped off back at the resort and hauled our bags up to the rooms. Life risking road adventures aside, the supplies have been well worth having for the weekend. Once in our respective hotel rooms we passed out. More tomorrow…