Tuesday, September 22, 2009

5 Days with¨"Hoo-lia" - Day 4

It is Monday and we’ve decided to take a road trip. Today, we will go to Coba, a small town about 30 minutes from Tulum. I’ve been told that some of the best Cenotes are in Coba. Both Julia and myself have never been to a Cenote, in fact, up until this visit, I didn’t even know what one was!

I will give you my interpretation with a link, of course if you’d like to know more. There are no rivers above ground on the Yucatan Peninsula. Instead, the rivers run underground with these Cenotes which are holes in the ground where the water collects. Check out the real definition here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cenote .

The ride to Coba is a straight shot from Tulum with not much in between. However, I’ve made the mistake of assumption. Something you never do in Mexico – especially when it comes to amenities.

There’s just under a half tank of gas in the car and I think we’ll find a station easily on the way to Coba. There are two things about gas that I’ve learned so far. The first is that gas stations are not hard to come by in Mexico. In Tulum alone, I’ve counted at least five, which by American standards may not be a lot, but don’t forget that Tulum is very small.

The second thing is getting gas here can be stressful. The attendants are known to scam tourists out of money left and right. It’s a whole thing. They pretend to overcharge you by a few pesos. While you’re looking for the extra change, they switch your 200 pesos for 20 pesos. By the time you come back to them with the change, they try to convince you that you’ve given them too little.

I’d only heard about this and each time I get gas, I’m ready for them. Flashing them my 200 pesos and waiting until they finished filling my tank before giving them the money. It’s also important to watch the tank to be sure they have given you the exact amount you’ve asked for because sometimes, they’ll give you less.

Normally, I don’t shy away from being a tough girl. I’m a New Yorker. It’s in my blood. But there’s something about being in a foreign country that prevents me from automatically getting my tough on. The language barrier makes it harder to assume that someone is in need of a little New York-ness. It’s also a respect thing for me – hey, I’m in your country, I’m going to try and go with the your flow. That is, until you try to scam me and then….sorry amigo, all bets are off. My solution is to avoid it for as long as possible, which is exactly what I did by assuming there’d be a few gas stations on the road to Coba.

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