Now we all know that while there are certainly very rich people in Mexico, the majority is poor. Alongside the carretera that leads from Cancun to Tulum, you can see plenty of houses without windows or doors, some without walls, and some may have walls but no roof. Well, when I come to think of it, after the last hurricane in October you certainly see less of those. But anyhow. People live a very simple life here. Like our cleaning lady Auri who is saving her pesos for getting a roof for her bathroom. Perplexed when she told me about her investment plans, I asked what she would do on a rainy day. Well, they take an umbrella to the bathroom, of course. That doesn’t dampen her spirits a bit, she just hopes she will save enough money to pay for that roof before the rainy season starts in June. (And of course, we will help her with that, so don’t you shout at me now!)
When you own a car here, you are considered rich. Unfortunately, there is no public transport. When Auri comes to work, she always takes a shared taxi. Those are little white vans that you just wave at no matter where you are, and if they only have space left the size of a little finger, you can be sure to get on board. People just move a little closer together, this way nobody can topple over at a speed bump. Killing two birds with one stone. Of course, those vans don’t have air condition, so they just leave their windows open, thus the little curtains fluttering happily in the wind.
Some lucky families have a scooter and they all manage to hop on. In front of Dad who is driving sits the oldest child who can already hold on to the scooter. Behind Dad, there is Mum holding the baby and huddled against her back might be a third child. While Mum and Dad might be wearing helmets, the children are not. Obviously, their guardian angels are still very reliable.
I sometimes wonder whether Mexicans are just fearless or trusting. Or whether they have so many children in order to have some in spare. Yes, scooter drivers do wear helmets. But they wear them backwards. Or in the nape of the neck. It seems, helmets are merely an accessory. And apparently, there are no helmets for children.
Scooters are also a great transportation vehicle for lighter stuff. So e.g. you can drive single-handedly while carrying a ladder over your shoulder. For bigger loads, you might be lucky to know someone with a pick-up. Pick-ups always come in handy. Not only can you carry all kinds of furniture, but you can also take your Granny for a ride. Just put a table and some chairs on the load floor, so Grandma and Grandpa can travel comfortably. Maybe they are up for a little card game, while the little ones are playing with the chickens or the goats.
While this may seem very exotic to us, for people here it is already a big progress. According to our fellow expats who have been living here for more than ten years, back then, there were hardly any cars at the Riviera Maya. Who knows, maybe in ten years from now, they will finally have public transport – how fancy would that be?