Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food Budget? What's That?

View From The Cancun Ferry Dock, Between The Rains
 The hostel here on Isla Mujeres doesn't have a guest kitchen. Other than that it's perfect. Mellow music for hours every night, mostly cheap booze, "restaurant" open from 7am to... I don't know *when* they close, actually. Hammocks everywhere.

Wait, let me back up a bit. I've got a budget. I can't spend more than I earn (duh) so I'm doing all the cheap stuff, and tacking fun or more expensive stuff on around the edges. Or, rather, that's how it's supposed to work. But I can't cook here. I don't have a stove, guests can't get into the kitchen, and the first day or two I really wasn't in any shape to be wandering all over town (not much better today, but that's because I went in on rounds with 3 other people...).

Ferry Burn, 3 Days Later
One "Office" This Week
So you can eat lunch and dinner at the hostel for 3 to 10 dollars, or you can go into town and try to find something (cooked) for less. Not bad at lunch, the locals have to eat, too, and there are stands tucked into alleys and around the corner from tourist places. I could probably have all the tortas I care to eat for a dollar. Dinner, though, is totally different. At dinner it's the hostel or the restaurants, nothing in between. I've been working around it (sort of) by stuffing myself at a late "lunch" then getting a snack at night.

The View From My Lunch Spot
You remember that budget I was talking about a minute ago? Yeah, it doesn't work here. Over all an extra $5 or 10 a day isn't that bad. When it's 25-50% of my daily budget, though, it starts sounding icky. I'm actually only here for two more nights, then I'm off to someplace cheaper, with less social life, and fewer things to do. I'll have more time for what I've been doing part of the time here. Loafing in a hammock with my laptop or notebook, working.

And my lunch here may not be in my budget, but damn does it taste good. Falafel, hummus, tahini, "salad", hot sauce, 2 full rounds of pita and a coke for $7.50 US.

I can be good next week. With no bar, no parties, and a kitchen I won't have much choice.


  1. That plate of food looks so yummy.

    You have a sunburn and I had to scrape frost of my car this morning. bleh.

  2. You'll be dreaming of that frost in another month or two- and so will I....

  3. Yeah, you're probably right. I'll be hating the humidity and icky hotness.

    Is it humid there? I'm clueless.

  4. Oh yes. Yesterday not so bad, about what Charleston is in April- 60% or so. It rained this morning, though, so it's like trying to breathe in a steam room.

    I'm sure it's good for me, but it makes it a bit tough to get a full breath.

  5. Did I miss something? What exactly are you *doing* in Cancun? Vac? Or settling in to live there? Is it safe? (I've never been there, just heard the horror stories that make the news when soemthing goes wrong.) Is there a big ex pat community there or just tourists? Educate me, please.

  6. In cancun it's mostly tourists, not so many expats. I'm down here because it's (strangely) cheaper to be here than back home. I have better quality of life for about the same price, and I get to travel. It's partly a money thing and partly a mental health thing.

    Cancun is safer than charleston. What little drug violence down here is kept as far from the tourists as possible- all sides lose out if the tourists stay away from cancun. Can't sell drugs if there's no one to buy them, can't launder money if there's nothing coming into local businesses, can't get taxes if rooms aren't renting and so forth.

    Meanwhile, it's still empty enough down here (even with spring break season starting) that room rates are negotiable. Hostel beds, too, mostly.

    If I find a place I like enough, I'm planning on renting a (small) place and settling down for a while- like 3 or 6 months. Otherwise, yep, just travelling and working.

    To be totally honest, I wasn't sure it was going to happen until I was actually on the plane, so I don't think I talked about it much here.

  7. Please tell us more! How did you get the $ for the trip? What kind of work are you doing? Are you able to be more productive in Mexico?

  8. I sold my car (for more than I bought it for), sold my desktop (for less then it was worth, and got an offer for full price ten minutes later), and my tax return is coming in, oh, the next year or so.

    I'm still doing the writing, and I'm looking into other stuff too. If I were willing to stay on Isla Mujeres for the next couple months (or 6 weeks even), I could pick up a job in a bar (no experience necessary) and cover living expenses +/-.

    I'm doing more work here. I don't know if it's the evening beer, or the bit where I keep waking up at 7am, so there's plenty of time to work before people drag me off to do stuff (or loaf on the beach). I'm picking up more and finishing more, too. I think it's knowing that I can live really well here (and pay taxes back home) on $40 a day. It's much less pressure.