Making Friends in Playa!

Mrs. ItchyFeet at the beach in Playa

Friends! It took me so long to make friends here in Playa del Carmen, México. Part of that is because it’s a city and you have to have your guard up. Another part is the language barrier. And yet another part is that I’m not into nightlife and I don’t have a good communal space to be social. I’m very fond of watching a bit of video streaming and going to bed early. The thought of going to a loud club after dark… not my scene!

It’s different here

While in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, I stayed at this really lovely condo complex that surrounded a wonderfully inviting pool with shaded seating areas where people could gather. I would sit out there for hours, reading books and just chatting with everyone who walked past. It made it really easy to meet people and make friends. I’m still in contact with many of those marvelous peeps.

Street art of a crocodile
New street art found while heading to meet friends at a beach bar!

The pool at my current apartment in Playa is really, really small (more like a hot tub than a pool). It’s on top of the building, which is great for a pleasant view, but people don’t just wander by while they are coming and going from various activities. It also doesn’t have a lot of shade. I need the shade! This is the tropics. Shade is very important! So I just spend only a little time up there, and, therefore, no meeting peeps by the communal pool.

I got really lonely during the first half of my six-month stint here. That loneliness and accompanying depression kept me indoors more often, which just made things worse. You can’t chat with strangers if you don’t head out there into the scary, scary! Lucky for me, someone else made the first move.

Decked out bus in Playa
Look at this rediculous bus in Playa! How fun! It has “hair”!

Social media saves the day!

Someone on one of the social media expat forums suggested a noon meetup at a local beach club. Yes! An event to meet people that wasn’t at night and didn’t feel suspiciously like a disguised sales pitch. I was in! Then it started pouring rain. I guess I was going to be late.

It only rained for about 20 minutes, and it made everyone slightly late. We chatted and drank a variety of fun drinks. I had shrimp ceviche. Noms! We exchanged contact info so we could do it again soon. Friends! What an enormous relief. You just don’t know what you are missing until it’s gone.

Washed away beach after Hurrican Julia
Hurrican Julia never even came close to us but storm surge still washed out a large chunk of beach!

Since then, we have had several more get-togethers. One couple is staying in a condo with a few very nice swimming pools. So fun! It takes a colectivo van ride to get over to that part of Playa, but it’s worth it. That area has iguanas and bats and all kinds of birds. And the neighbors are extensively decorating the outside of their condos to prepare for Halloween. Love it!

Taco lasagna and friends!

I had one crazy adventure where I made up a fancy taco lasagna for a potluck at their place. I took apart a whole raw chicken, cooked it up, and shredded it with some peppers and onions. Then I made some tomatillo salsa from scratch in the blender. I picked up fresh corn tortillas from the tortillaria (so good!). I even got non-vegan Oaxaca cheese for this adventure. Sorry, intestines!

Prickly Pear Margarita!
My new friends introduced me to the prickly pear. I went and picked one up and made a margarita! Noms!

Then it was just a matter of layering salsa, tortillas, refried beans, chicken mix, and cheese (salsa, tortillas, refried beans, chicken mix, and cheese…) until the casserole dish was full. I threw this in the fridge, covered in aluminum foil to chill. Then, when it was time to go, I wrapped it in a towel for the trip. I got lucky in the colectivo bus as there was one seat left. It would have been a trip to hold on to both the taco lasagna and stand the entire time with speed bumps and all the stops and starts.

The couple had run out of gas for their oven the night before, but they were assured(!) a delivery of 1pm at the latest. The gas tank is on the roof and the delivery peeps climb up there to fill the tank. Interesting. It means you can still cook if the power goes out, but not if you run out of gas. Anyway, I threw the taco lasagna in their fridge and we waited… and waited… and waited.

But we need the oven!

The gas peeps finally texted, saying they denied the driver access through the security gates. Wait! What? That’s crazy! They said they would try again tomorrow. But my taco lasagna!!! Luckily, my new friends had plenty of food and drinks. We all had a fantastic time, anyway. After swimming and enjoying good company, I took my taco lasagna back home on a colectivo van and cooked it up in my electric oven. It was delicious! I’m bummed I couldn’t share it, but maybe next time.

Schedule for when the in-laws visit
This is my schedule for when my in-laws come for a visit. I added a group tattoo to see if they actually read the schedule! Surprise!

A few of you may wonder why this post is a bit short. My in-laws are coming for a visit tomorrow! I’ve been busy getting things cleaned up and ready for them, emptying the freezer of chicken bones and vegetable ends to make stock, making a curtido (vinegar slaw), making up more breakfast tacos… It’s been busy. This is the last month (and change) of living in PDC. I’m both preparing for an exciting visit and winding down on my stay here. I’m very excited to see them, as well as introduce my new friends to my in-laws. Hopefully, we’ll have some time to all get together and play some games!

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1 Comment

  1. […] My new friends from Playa invited all of us to their condo for a pool party. You have to take a taxi or a colectivo van to get there. Could I convince my in-laws to take a colectivo? Challenge accepted! Turns out it was very easy. We fit everyone into the crowded van and made it there in no time at all. It was pretty fun, actually. […]

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