Monday, 5 July 2010

... Mexico: I no hablan Inglés

I was told Cancún is a very safe city, "certainly safer than many cities in the US, Canada and the UK".  However, just like any other tourist resort throughout the World there are people who will try and pull a fast one even if you are, like me, leaving as quickly as you arrived.

It couldn't happen to me could it?! Despite the whole last-minute-ness of this trip I had still done my homework. I had been advised to pre-book my transport down to Playa from the airport not only because I couldn't be certain of catching the last regular bus but also because of the scam artists that flocked the airport offering over-priced transport. The legit companies were expensive enough (this is one of those times were being a solo traveler really does suck) so you can only imagine what these con artists would try to get away with. I begrudgingly pre-booked my transport prior to leaving somewhat seething at the fact it was about 9 times more than the bus that I may or may not be able to catch. All I had to do was meet them outside the arrivals.

Whilst attempting to exit the airport after clearing the security checkpoint, I was met by an 'official looking' uniformed man. He asked me the name of the transportation company I was using to get to my destination upon which I showed him my e-ticket. I was promptly escorted to a wall of similarly clad personnel. It appeared they were going to help get me to my transportation. After a welcome speech, one of them spoke into a walkie talkie and a mini bus pulled up. 

Intuition was screaming at me that there was something not right here. "Identification?" I was flashed something that looked official, had the company's name on but still something was amiss. You know those occasions where you should trust your gut? This should have been one of them. Their English suddenly got very poor and for all my flicking through a phrase book they played dumb.

How does one argue for 90 minutes over a transaction when one of you is pretending not to understand and the other one can't speak the native tongue? I'm not sure but that's what then occurred.

By now it was dark & raining and I was weary from traveling all day. "How much?" Ah the language of money. Utterly deflated and furious, namely at myself, I handed over $100USD and sat in silence for the entire journey lamenting "That's the cost of two dives."

Not exactly the welcome to Mexico I had wished for.....

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