Diane and I rented a golf cart today to get our bearings on the island. Somehow, 4.3 miles seems a lot bigger when you are actually traveling it in a golf cart (though I venture to say I could ride the island, from stem to stern, on a bicycle in about 30 – 45 minutes).
We started off the day meeting a lady from Vancouver, whom we had met yesterday at our first Isla bar experience, for breakfast. She had been traveling the Yucatan, searching for pyramids – and found quite a few in the last two weeks (not that they had not been discovered before.. at least not by her). She spun stories of her travels, as we enjoyed chiliqulies and fruit. Good stuff.
Jo, our Canadian friend, had rented a golf cart previously and walked us to the place where she rented it. Enter the one thing I am not loving about Isla life – the con. I knew she had rented her cart for $450 pesos (about $32 USD), but the guy wanted to charge me $60 USD. I balked and he immediately came to $55 – still way more than I knew we could get it for.
At this point, let me clarify two points: I know that it is typical to barter in some parts of Mexico and I also know that amounts of money that make little difference to me can make worlds of difference to most people in Mexico… just not this guy. There is an undercurrent of scamming tourists that really rubs me the wrong way. In Mazatlan, we had cabbies (Pulmonia drivers) take us across Mazatlan for $100 pesos (I tipped him another $100 pesos for the enjoyable ride) and in San Miguel de Allende, you can get a cab ride across town (or down the street) for $30 pesos. I was never charged more than that ANYWHERE in SMdA. I always matched the fare with a 100% tip. Again, I realze that it is not a big dent for me, and it means the world to some. That being said, I know that I could rent the cart for essentially half the price the guy asked… I also know he is located across from the ferry landing and would get that amount time and time again today. I opted for a place down the street.. where I got our cart – at a no haggle price – for $550 pesos (about $39 USD).
Okay enough bitching about the scamming of tourists… except for the exceptional cab driver last night who charged us double what every other cabbie had charged us for a trip from Centro to the Casa. Argh!
Our cart gave us the ability to cover the entire island in a reasonable amount of time, so we could see the ‘in’s and out’s” of the places that Diane had read about prior to our trip to the island. We saw what I call the “Three Islas”: 1. Posh Isla, where white-gloved attendents see to your need in a very European style. 2. The Middle Class White Isla (where we live) which is full of beer, seafood and trinket shops and 3. The Mexican Isla where those that work in the other two worlds live. The nice part about Casa Laguna is that is a very Middle Class Isla dwelling on the edge of Mexican Isla.
More on this later.. let’s just cut to the Iguanas!