About Me

…I’m not very interesting, but…

Hello, And Please…

Call me Rufus. It’s simple and easy to remember.

And no, I DON’T have 4+ names like some of the crazy people here (i.e. Rufus Garcia Gudalupe de la Torre Riviera). No, I’m NOT Mexican, either!!!

This is probably the longest “About Me” page ever written.

I’m trying to break a world record. Forgive me.

I’m not writing this page of the website because I think I’m an important person. I’m writing this page because I wanted this site to have a soul.

Other Playa Del Carmen websites don’t.

They have information, but no soul. Do a search on Google. It’s the truth.

Where Should I Start?

Hmmm….Nothing will really make sense until I tell you why I left the United States. Let’s begin there.

There are two primary questions I hope to answer on this page:

Why Did I Leave The United States AND How Did I End Up In Playa Del Carmen?

In essence, I left the US and ended up in Playa Del Carmen for one primary reason.

  1. The US economic crisis, brought on by one of the worst presidents in American history (yes, I am speaking about “Dubya” – not that Obama’s been much better), made it extremely difficult to find a good job at the time I left.

Don’t worry, I’ll tell you more.

However, before I get ahead of myself, let me back up a little bit.

High school, anyone?

A Good Education Can Take You Anywhere, Right?

Like so many other people around the world, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school.

I worked several demanding jobs for the fun of it. They were exhausting.

After several years had passed, I was ready for a more reasonable path: college.

Because my high school grades were subpar, I had to prove myself at a community college. I was there for a little over a year.

I excelled.

I got straight A’s.

I was proud of myself.

I was ready to enter a better school.

O’ Olaf, You Beautiful Saint! My Heart Will Never Belong To Another!

My mom was a nurse who worked for the American Red Cross.

She traveled to various locations (including many colleges) and collected blood from donors. (I used to joke that my mom was a vampire. After all, she sucked blood out of people, right?)

When it was time for me to begin selecting where I would be sending my applications, she strongly suggested that I apply to St. Olaf College.

In fact, she even offered to take me there. She wanted me to see it firsthand and judge for myself if it was a place that I would be comfortable spending the next several years.

I took the bait.

Thanks mom!!! It was the best suggestion you’ve ever made!!!

It was beautiful! Even hard to describe with words. Serene. On a hill. Well kept. Isolated. Private. Ever so slightly competitive.

If I could only begin to tell you all the crazy things that we did there, all the fun we had, and all the trouble we caused, you might be reading for hours and hours.

I say “we” because I met several friends there who defined “fun” the same way that I did – primarily, raising a lot of hell and never apologizing for being a little over the top.

P.C.B. and K.A.N. you know I am talking about you!

And, as always, Um Ya Ya to the select few of you revered readers!

History Or His Story?

I studied history at St. Olaf College—specifically, ancient history.

It was a passion of mine.

I absolutely loved it and am still enamored with history to this day.

I’m not talking about the boring fact-based history they teach you in high school. I’m talking about personalities – reading about personalities that shaped the world we live in.

Although my love affair with history is still alive today, as many of you might imagine, it never paid well. I knew this going in, and I knew this coming out.

Consequently, I decided to pursue a more financially promising path:

“Law School?” My Mom Asked, “Are You Kidding? Do You Know How Those Lawyers Treat Each Other In The Court Room?”

If any of you have ever been to law school, you know it’s nothing like the movies portray it!

It’s exceptionally boring.

Yes, you dreadfully boring lawyers, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

From the very day that I started, I hated it. Even sitting here writing about law school makes me want to vomit.

However, it is important to note that the US economy was just beginning its decline at the time I graduated.

In essence, there were no jobs left for recent graduates. Unless you had a lot of work experience, someone on the inside, or graduated at the very top of your class, you were shit out of luck.

One of my friends got married in the middle of law school. I remember him telling me a story about his desperation to find a job.

Finally, after several months of searching, he went to his Boy Scout leader – yes, his childhood Boy Scout leader – to help him find a job. As he began talking to him, he begin crying uncontrollably–again, crying to his childhood Boy Scout leader.

Strange, right? Not at that time. That was mood of all the recent law school graduates that year.

The Truth About The Legal Industry…

Television, cinema, and Hollywood all make the legal industry appear flashy and flamboyant.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The fact is that 97% of attorneys never see a courtroom.

In addition, every ‘successful’ lawyer in the world works 80 to 100 hours per week in order to keep their status at brand-name law firms.

Most of the junior associates (those who are not partners at the firm) don’t keep their status for long; they quit.

As a matter fact, they never had status in the first place.

They were simply gophers and grunts for those who climbed the ladder and became partners – after a grueling 7 to 10 years of 80-hour/six-day work weeks.

Most associates burn out. Wouldn’t you? Who the hell wants to work 80 hours a week?

And six days a week? WTF?

In fact, the entire legal industry is completely predicated and built on young, bright students whose false perception of attorneys drive them to commit three years of their life to a boring and seemingly endless nightmare called law school.

And then, as if that was not enough, the more ambitious ones commit themselves to 7+ years of soul-crushing slavery so that they can have the “prestige” of working at a large law firm in hope that they may someday become a partner and work even harder.

Trust me, I have seen it first hand. It’s all a bunch of bootlicking bullshit. Ass kissing at its finest. Brown-nosing at its best.

Honestly, I don’t know how I ever fell for this ridiculous definition of “success.”

Shame on me, but even more shame on the idiotic institutions that promote this laughable lifestyle that is so sadly unsustainable.

A Satisfactory Substitute For Sleeping Supplements…Say What?

And again, I reiterate, law school is boring, very, very boring. If you don’t believe me, try this:

  1. Go to any local law school near your home.
  2. Buy a used legal textbook.
  3. Try reading it.
  4. Try reading it for 6-8 hours a day.
  5. Now do that for three years, six days a week – with a short three months left over each year for a healthy dose of kissing up to uptight lawyers. All of this to find a job that you’ll most likely hate!

Trust me when I say this: you will never need sleeping pills again so long as you keep a legal textbook on your nightstand.

Also, remember that if you want to graduate at the top of your class, forget about reading this boring trash for 6 to 8 hours a day – you will have to do it for 12 to 14 hours a day.

That’s what all the top students do!!!

“C’mon, be competitive!!!”

Was That All That Happened During Law School?

On top of the boredom and study workload, I had another monkey on my back – a completely psychotic girlfriend.

I had met her during orientation and before the first semester had even started.

As with any school orientation, the purpose was to allow students to become comfortable with both the campus and the student body.

In order to make things as appealing as possible.

All of the student organizations were invited to attend. Each had an assigned table in front of the school.

As I was walking with a friend of mine from St. Olaf (who was also going to attend the same law school), I saw a table that was labeled, “Asian Law Student Association.”

(Oh my dear readers, how I wish I wouldn’t have stopped!!!!)

In addition, there was a cute girl sitting at the table by herself. I wanted to chat with her.

As I struck up a conversation, she mentioned that I could put my name on a list.

All the people on this list would be invited to a special dinner at an Asian restaurant.

Who would say “no?”

Bad Decisions Are Not Always Obvious!

I put my name and email on the list.

It was the worst mistake of my life. God, if I could only go back!!!

The free dinner never took place. However, I did see the same woman again. About four months later.

She was walking out of the law school with a whole bunch of books.

She almost ran into me as I was walking in.

I instantly recognized her.

I asked her about the dinner.

At that time I found out that she was only a few months away from graduation.

That’s correct – she had entered the same law school three years before I did and was now about to be finished. She gave me her business card and told me that I should call her if I had any questions about law school.

I never did.

Evil Emails From The Depths Of Hell

However, in the middle of summer vacation, with only five weeks to go before my second year of law school would start, I received an odd email.

Guess who it was?

In retrospect, I wish I would have ignored the email.

I wish I would have missed it. I wish it had been swallowed up by the spam filter – just like any other trash in this world.

But like they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

Instead, I opened it. I read it. I read it again.

I was quite happy that she had contacted me.

Unfortunately, I also got around to responding to it.

Oh, you dear readers, how I wish I could turn back the hand of time…

“Devils Lurk In Calm Waters”

She invited me out to dinner at a fancy seafood restaurant, and the relationship began from there.

Several months into our relationship I noticed some odd things.

For example, we got into a very minor argument. She cried for 25 minutes.

She soon started acting exceptionally jealous. She wanted know who I talked to, where I went, and who my friends were.

Not surprisingly, she vehemently hated all of them.

Several months after that, she threatened to kill herself after we got into a fight.

It was based on strange jealousy issues and her perception of me “emotionally cheating,” a term which I had never even heard of.

By this time, the tears would roll down her face for an hour or two every time there was a minor disagreement between us.

It got worse.

Worse?…And Then Much Worse!

I started to compare the things she had originally told me to the things that I conclusively knew; they were all lies.

Her age was a lie.

She bragged about owning a timeshare in Las Vegas. She didn’t own one.

She told me that she didn’t speak Vietnamese. She did speak Vietnamese.

There were many other lies as well. By the time I figured out some of the more obvious lies, I was practically drowning in them!

She also began calling my friends.

She called my mom, my father, my stepfather as well. In the middle of any fight, she would call them.

She began talking to my neighbors.

She tried to make “friends” with them.

She asked them to start watching me and tell her who I was with.

Several times she called my neighbor and then came over afterwards. When my neighbor told me that she had called, she denied it–even after I showed her the caller ID (which included the exact time and date of the call), she still denied it.

It was ridiculous. In fact, it was worse.

She was ridiculous.

Suicidal Psycho

The phone calls from her became more frequent.

Sometimes she would call me over 100 times a day.

The suicide threats also became more frequent.

I had to race over to her home dozens of times because she had told me that she took a bottle of pills and was going to die from them.

She would cry for hours and hours and hours (like she was doing in the picture above. NOTE: I removed the photo.)

She begin screaming on the phone – not an angry scream, but a high-pitched, ear-piercing wail.

It gives me chills just thinking about it.

It didn’t sound human.

It sounded more akin to an animal that was being eaten alive in the jungle.

A lot of what happened is hard to describe in words, and is somewhat redundant.

However, I had my telephone line plugged directly into my voice modem. It allowed me to track the amount of calls, the times of calls, and even save the voicemails that she would leave.

I think the most times that she ever called me in a day (24-hour period) was around 111.

Fifty or sixty calls a day became normal.

I still have several thousand voicemails that she left. In fact, the honest to god truth is that I haven’t even listened to all of them – even to this day!!!

Some of them belong in a horror movie.

I have seriously thought about selling them to a Hollywood studio!!!

The following are some screenshots of a 79-call day. Typical.

I don’t have this old program installed on my computer anymore, otherwise I would have searched for a day with more calls. These are screenshots I saved a long time ago!!!

So, Why Didn’t You Just Leave Her?

That’s a good question. To be sure, I wish I would have.

I wish I would have ran – ran away like a wild buffalo would run from an Indian with a longbow.

Nonetheless, I kept thinking she could change. I now realize that I was likely in love with her by the time things became unbearable.

So stupid me kept hanging on.

I kept thinking there was a chance to save things.

I kept thinking that it was something I did, and not her problem.

I’m not perfect, but this was simply over the top.

To make a long story short, we lasted together for about a year and a half.

By the time we broke up, I was in the last year of the last semester of law school, almost ready to graduate.

She had made both my second and third years of law school a living hell.

It was the worst experience of my life– by far.

I hope she gets help. She really needs it. Many, many, many years of therapy is what that girl needs.

Jobless And Destitute

But it got worse. By the time I graduated, I couldn’t find a job.

I had been so busy dealing with her nonsense, that I had completely neglected pursuing any job opportunities whatsoever.

I remember when a friend of mine discussed basic training in the Army. At the end of the nine weeks, the head drill sergeant asked the entire platoon the following question:

“How many of your Army recruiters lied to you?”

Every single hand went up – without exception.

It was the same situation with my law school.

When I originally investigated law school as an option, the school’s website made it appear as if jobs would be knocking down my door immediately after graduation.

They lied.

They exaggerated.

They used fine print and manipulated dates, kinds of jobs, and final employment/salary status.

There were no jobs that paid a reasonable salary unless you graduated in the top 10% of your class.

I didn’t. Ninety percent of the students didn’t.

I fell deeper into depression.

Goodbye And Good Riddance To The Law

I had to move out of my apartment. I didn’t have enough money to pay for it anymore.

My parents were not going help me out beyond my graduation date.

I ended up moving about 45 minutes from the location of my law school. I moved into a dingy little apartment. It was in the middle of nowhere.

There I rotted.

I started drinking – a lot.

I started smoking – two packs a day.

My health went to hell.

I couldn’t sleep.

I could hardly stay awake.

I had no idea what I was going to do.

Honestly, I never wanted to think about law school and becoming a lawyer again.

I ended up taking several jobs.

A Weak Heel Killed Achilles – And Almost Killed Me As Well

The last jobs I worked in United States were as a server at a nearby Applebee’s and as a bartender for special events at a local reception hall.

Yes, the customers that walked through that door were served by a non-practicing attorney.

Honestly, it was all I could find.

Had I been practicing and been able to find a job, I would’ve been making A LOT MORE MONEY!!

But I wasn’t. I had to live with it.

I also begin a small business selling products online. I really needed the cash.

It was fun to learn how the online marketplaces worked.

I got quite good at it.

I ended up with a consistent profit of around $800-1000 USD/month. I know it’s not a lot, but every little bit helped, and it only took a few minutes a day to run the business.

However, it was not scalable.

I tried several other products and markets, but anyone who has ever sold anything online knows that it is a very competitive marketplace. Close your eyes and forget about your business for even a week or two–and it’s gone.

That’s the reality of selling products online.

In addition, because I was working such long hours, and taking such bad care of myself, I was not able to sleep correctly.

My body was really starting to wear out.

I began experiencing a severe pain in my right heel.

It got worse and worse.

By then I was only able to work on my feet after taking 600+ milligrams of ibuprofen.

I also begin icing my heel after every shift.

The End, Or The Beginning Of A New Adventure?

Then one day it all came crashing down.

I had worked a busy weekend.

After I finished that Saturday evening, I went to my (new) girlfriend’s house.

She lived an hour away. I spent the night there.

When I went to get up in the morning, I took a step out of bed.

Ahhhh!!!” I screamed as I fell to the floor. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life!

It was as if someone took a nail and hammered it into my right heel.

I was out of commission.

It was obvious that I could not work long hours on my feet into the foreseeable future.

I called my job. I told them what had happened.

Of course, they were not sympathetic.

They simply wanted someone to work. I can’t say I blame them.

Nonetheless, I knew I needed to see a doctor.

However, I did not have insurance. Nice.

I spent the next several weeks limping around and spent the time applying for workers compensation.

When I got a letter in the mail from Applebee’s corporate, I was disappointed.

They would not pay for anything.

No compensation. No doctor visits. Nada.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I should also mention that I used to do some amateur boxing. Due to the repetitive impacts, and the thousands of hours that I had spent typing papers both in college and law school, I had developed some problems with my wrists.

I couldn’t sit behind a computer and type all day. (NOTE: I did not type the pages on this website; I dictated them using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It has been great, but editing still takes a long time. No matter how good you are at dictating, editing and posting site pages still requires a significant amount of typing. Even with all the computer work I’ve done on this site, it’s still not nearly as much as I would be doing if I worked at a law firm.)

So at this point, working long hours on my feet was out of the question. Sitting behind a desk and typing all day was equally as bad.

I felt devastated.

It felt like I was drowning in a shallow swimming pool.

I felt like I had so few options and that my entire education was a complete waste.

I had to make a decision, and I had to do it quick.

I could either “get busy living, or get busy dying,” as Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption.

Within 24 hours, I decided I was leaving.

I was going to Mexico.

Why Mexico?

One word: CHEAP!

Immediately after high school (and before starting college), as I mentioned before, I had worked several physically demanding jobs.

One of them was as a manager in a Taco Bell restaurant.

Long hours; little pay.

I had met lots of Mexican people there. I was amazed at their work ethic and general attitude towards living.

During many conversations, they had described Mexico.

They told me how cheap it was to live there.

That was exactly what I needed. A cheap place to live.

I knew that I could make enough money working online to make ends meet – so long as the cost of living was dramatically below that of the United States.

The next day, I bought a plane ticket.

I was already as good as gone.

Stuck In Zacatecas….. Wait….. Zacawhat??? Is That In Texas?

I had to make a decision regarding where I would initially live in Mexico. I wanted to find somewhere cheap.

As you may have guessed, money was an issue even before I arrived.

I had some friends in the United States whose families were based out of a city and state of the same name: Zacatecas, Zacatecas.

People are always confused by this, until they remember New York, New York (i.e. New York City is located in New York State and is also the capital of that state).

It is the same thing. Zacatecas is the capital of Zacatecas state.

My friend had told me that their parents’ house was small.

When I arrived I found out the truth: it was a cigar box!

In addition, my friend forgot to mention that it was also in one of the most notoriously dangerous areas of the city.

In modern Mexico, this means something.

Three Thousand Dollars And A Dream

I knew that I needed some time to get set up.

I had left my old apartment with approximately $3000 USD. By the time I paid for my plane ticket and bus fare, I was left with approximately $2500 USD.

I had my mom send my computer because electronics are quite expensive in Mexico. That cost around 200 USD.

When the computer arrived several weeks later, the shipping company (DHL) informed me that I needed to pay another $60 USD for tariffs and import taxes—on a used computer.

In addition, during the first several weeks I had spent around $300 USD.

And It Hit – Again – Evicted!!!

Remember how I mentioned that I was staying with a friend’s family?

Well, before I left, I had consulted with his family and they told me I could stay there as long as I wanted to.

They even mentioned one or two years, as if length of stay was no matter to them.

However, what I realized after spending some time with them, and what I would realize again and again over the next several years, is that most people in this city saw Americans as a paycheck.

My “friendship” with them was nothing more to them than some extra spending money they would otherwise not have.

I stayed with my friend’s family for only five weeks.

Most of that time I was waiting for my computer to come.

When the family continuously asked me for money, I finally broke down and told them that I only had around $2000 USD left to live on.

Ironically, they thought it was a huge amount of money! Mexican people are generally desperately poor. 50% of the country lives in poverty.

To them, it was a lot. But what they didn’t realize was that I had no money coming in to reimburse that minimal savings.

It is no surprise what happened next:

The very next day, the father handed me the phone; he told me that his son in the United States wanted to talk to me.

His son then informed me that his sister was coming back from California, needed to stay at her parent’s house, and that his father didn’t want a stranger (me) in the house while his sister was living there.

This was on a Friday.

I had to be out by Sunday.

Wow! So much for Mexican hospitality! An obnoxious oxymoron!

A Desperate 48 Hours

No job. No Spanish skills. No family to count on. Shit!

I was stuck in a completely foreign environment.

I couldn’t read the apartment advertisements.

I had less than $2000 USD to my name.

I was in one of the most dangerous parts of the city.

I was expected to find a reasonable place to live in 48 hours.

It was stressful.

The Search Begins

Luckily, I had recently met a Mexican-American by the name of José.

He was living with his brother but wanted to move out soon. I talked to him about the situation.

We immediately begin looking for an apartment.

Looking for an apartment in Mexico is nothing like it is in the states.

There are no central websites like craigslist for any particular city – unless it’s a tourist area.

People are reluctant to advertise in the newspaper because it costs money. Most people in the city were constantly broke.

So the only way to find an apartment is to drive or walk around and look for advertisements in windows.

It was grueling.

We spent two days – 12 hour days – walking up and down the streets.

All with my bum heel.

We talked to hundreds of people.

We even looked at several of the apartments with window signs.

They were all quite expensive or just plain trashy.

In addition, my friend José had to work, so it severely limited our time to go window shopping for apartments.

However, Jose generally comes off as a pretty friendly person, so he had met lots of friends at his job.

One of those friends was a girl named, Fabiola (a.k.a. Faby). She lived with her mom, but her mom was soon selling her condo.

In fact, her mom had already moved out.

The new owners were not taking over for another month.

She invited me to stay with her. I had no choice because of the short notice. I moved in with her.

Meet Faby

Faby was an interesting person.

She was a lesbian. Bisexual would have been cooler, but whatever.

She was also a compulsive liar; you could never believe anything that came out of her mouth.

She introduced one person as her father. We later found out he was just her friend.

She pointed out the nicest car in the parking lot and told us it was her father’s. In fact, it was her neighbor’s car. Her father didn’t even live in the city.

She was the kind of person who went from job to job not because she didn’t have a good personality or competency in some areas, but because she constantly burned bridges with a plethora of tardiness, dishonesty, and blatant disregard for order in her life.

To make a long story short, I stayed with her for a month.

At the end of the month, Jose and I were still searching for options.

The only viable option was in the same neighborhood – right next door to the family I originally stayed with.

There was one caveat: the next-door neighbors, a single mother with six children, lived next door. Her teenage sons ran the household.

They played music all night. They had parties Monday through Friday. On the weekends they partied even harder.

Before we even finalized the agreement with the landlord, they were driving us nuts.

Nonetheless, the apartment was only 1100 pesos – a mere $90 USD (at that time) for two people! The price was right, so we moved in.

Cockroaches For Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner

I’ll be honest with you. The place was disgusting. When we first moved in, there were cockroaches everywhere.

Prior to moving into this apartment, I had never seen a cockroach in my life! However, here was different.

Every time I woke up in the middle of the night and turned on the light they would scatter away. Yuck!

In addition, we had no furniture – no stove, no washing machine, no couches, no recliners. Nothing.

I had bought a desk when I was living with Faby. She also gave me a cheap chair when I left her condo.

Another friend had given me two foam cushions to sleep on.

They were each only about 18 inches wide.

Every night I would wake up and find that the two cushions had spread apart; half the time I was sleeping on hard cement. Sore back? Sure!

However, we made do.

The Real Ghetto Lifestyle

Straight Outta Zacashithole Meme Text.

For some reason, US-based rappers and hip-hop artists have glamorized the idea of living in poverty. I had never lived in poverty prior to this experience. Believe me when I say that it is not glamorous whatsoever! It really sucks!  Read on, my dear friends…

One of José’s friends sold us a hot plate for around $4 USD. We cooked on that.

Then one of my friends from the United States came back to live with his family (the family I had been living with when I first arrived). He gave me a small bed.

(NOTE: Ironically, this same guy had borrowed $1000 USD from me around 10 years before. Soon after borrowing the money, he disappeared. However, because now that I was going to see him again, I assumed he would likely pay me back. I assumed that his family might put some pressure on him because his other brother had told his mother and father that he owed me money. He never paid me back.)

Getting back to our apartment, José’s brother also sold him an old washing machine.

It wasn’t like the washing machines in the United States.

In fact, I had never seen a washing machine like it before.

You had to fill it up with a hose, wash your clothes, drain it, fill it up again with a hose, and finally drain it after your clothes had rinsed. It didn’t have a spin cycle; it didn’t spin at all.

We lived like this for a while.

At this time I still didn’t have a job. I was on a daily mission to make my money last as long as possible.

I was living on around US$250/month at that time with no money coming in. The money I had left (about $1500 USD) was not going to last long.

In order to save money on food, we bought a slow cooker.

We usually cooked split pea soup with ham, or some beans and ate them with bread.

I lost a lot of weight. It wasn’t long before my jeans were hanging from my hips.

I was too ashamed to ask anyone for money. Besides, a Mexican would never believe that an American didn’t have money.

“I don’t believe you,” they would say. They think we are all rich.

After living there for several months, another problem occurred.

José’s cousins (two brothers) had to stay with us for a short time. To make a long story short, they stayed with us for about two weeks.

In the meantime, I found a job!

I was working online doing videoconferencing with people from all over the world!

It was great money for Mexico, and I was quite excited! In fact, I had just received my first paycheck and then…

Another Headache?!?

Remember José’s two cousins that I mentioned a moment ago?

A month later, one of them returned to stay with us again.

His brother had recently died in a neighboring state. The older brother was supposed to be looking after him.

How he died is not important for this page. I’ll just say that it was not an accident.

However, the living brother was devastated.

He was depressed.

He was on a rampage.

Some might even call it a death wish.

Because he was supposed to be responsible for his brother (both who had been deported from the US), he felt that it was his fault. He felt that he had failed. In a way, he had.

Several weeks into his stay, he got in a fight with one of our neighbors who had impregnated his cousin.

He beat the kid up pretty good.

The kid went and got all his friends (about 20).

They were threatening to kill him.

Worst of all, they knew where he was staying – with us.

We were sitting ducks.

There was a rumor that some of his friends were part of a very dangerous criminal organization here.

I wanted nothing to do with it. Neither did my roommate.

That very night, we talked about it.

We decided to leave.

Where Would I Go?

I immediately called an acquaintance whom I had recently met.

I asked him if he knew of any other apartments or houses for rent.

We drove around looking for apartments the next day (not bad….at least we were in a car this time).

We couldn’t find any.

As a last resort, we went to his mom’s house to ask her an important question.

His mom had bought a house as a long-term investment three years prior.

Because of the lax enforcement of contracts and agreements in Mexico, she had decided not to rent the house.

My friend thought she would for surely say no. So did I.

We were both wrong; she said yes!

A New Place To Live

The rent was 1000 pesos per month, which amounts to approximately $90 USD/month (the exchanges rate at that time).

This was good. This was something I could afford.

Now that I had an income, I wasn’t in such a difficult position.

Nonetheless, Zacatecas is a boring city.

I know. I lived there for more than four years.

Because I was so bored, and because I had always dreamed of living near the ocean, I had been actively thinking about where I wanted to go next.

Cancun is the most obvious and well-known city for most Americans. This is for a number of reasons.

It has been the most popular spring break capital for as long as I can remember.

With beautiful beaches, an 18-year-old drinking age, and reasonably priced vacation packages, what college student could resist?

I started to investigate.

There was no doubt that parts of Cancun were attractive.

But one question plagued my mind: could I handle the people there – I mean the locals?

I didn’t want to deal with the same people that I had been dealing with in Zacatecas– complete trash!

It’s All About The People

Time and time again, I had low-quality experiences with Zacatecans.

FACT: Most Zacatecans are not in control of anything–their own finances, the timing of their children’s births, their education. Nothing. Life just ‘happens’ to them, and they do nothing more than go along for the ride. They are eternally broke. They don’t believe in birth control. And they adamantly hate books. The television is their best friend and the internet consists of two sites: Facebook and YouTube (or simply ‘face‘ and ‘youtubeee‘ as they say).

In essence, most Zacatecans evolved from dried pieces of panty waste that happened to impregnate.

I didn’t want to be around them anymore. They disgusted me.

Unfortunately, from what I had read, the locals from Cancun were just as bad. (I know, it’s always safer and usually more dishonest to be politically correct. But read what a sociable American woman–who is also married to a Mexican–has to say about the people in Cancun. Thank God she didn’t meet the people from Zacatecas! I guarantee her criticisms would have been much harsher!)

In fact, she got so tired of the Cancun people and their incessant nonsense that she wrote the following:

“I can’t believe people willingly raise children in this backward place. The world doesn’t need more adults who think like people do here.”

However, I never take a single opinion seriously – not from anyone.

Some people have self-interest in mind when writing.

Who knows? Maybe she was just trying to convince her husband to leave!

However, after I talked to one of my friends from Zacatecas who had permanently moved to Cancun, I learned the truth.

Cancun is nothing but a tourist trap.

It’s great for the “party till you puke” college crowd who are only visiting for three or four days.

It is not a good place to live.

Because of its size, it is a center for crime.

FACT: if Cancun was in the United States, it would be the 17th largest city in the US. Like all major metropolises, this attracts a number of questionable characters, some who are downright filthy. The fact that it is a Mexican city makes it even worse – not only is there crime, but people actually get away with the crimes because most of them go unsolved.

I had several discussions with my friend. I asked whether or not it was true.

He confirmed most of it. “Like any other city, it depends on where you live,” he said.

In any case, in Cancun you’re stuck between a expensive tourist trap and a large, sometimes dangerous city.

There is little in between. It’s either the “Hotel Zone” or “The Old Cancun.”

He also told me something else: he mentioned that if I wanted beautiful beaches and a diversity of people – while avoiding all the headaches of a large city – there was a place I should visit: Playa Del Carmen.

He mentioned that he liked it much better than Cancun and would move there if he could. (He worked as a club promoter selling single-night, all-you-can-drink packages to the younger crowds in Cancun. He couldn’t leave Cancun at the time because of this job.)

I was thoroughly disappointed.

I had thought the Cancun was some kind of holy paradise.

Now I knew better.

Not only had I read bad things, but now those things were verified through a third and independent party.

Nonetheless, I had been given a new city to investigate, a different approach to paradise.

A Diamond In The Rough

I had never even heard of Playa Del Carmen.

I didn’t know it existed.

But when I started to look through pages and pages of photographs, I knew one thing was certain: it was another beach paradise.

It looked beautiful, but looks can be deceiving.

After all, I had lived in Zacatecas for around 2-1/2 years at that point.

It, too, looks like a beautiful historical town. It’s not beautiful; the people are not beautiful.

A Different Community… A Different Lifestyle…

In the United States you have diversity. Even outside of the major metropolitan areas, there is still diversity.

Many tourists go to Mexico and see a variety of people from a variety of countries. However, it’s only because they are in a tourist area that attracts international visitors. Contrary to popular belief, in most parts of Mexico there is zero diversity.

Boring.

Tacos, gorditas, or chicharron (pig’s skin) every day. Yuck.

And again—boring.

After having lived in Mexico for some time, I am a strong believer in diversity.

Diversity brings out the best ideas from every participating culture. It cuts through the nonsense and only allows the strongest characteristics to endure.

However, diversity is only good if the diverse group of people are generally forward thinking. If you have a group of people – however diverse – who are all backwards and disorganized, diversity is meaningless and even dangerous. Take a look at the 2015/2016 immigration crisis in Europe if you don’t believe me.

I found out through research that Playa Del Carmen had diversity– the good kind.

Because there was so much tourist activity – and by extension, money – ingenuity was not uncommon.

There were Argentineans, Brazilians, Italians, Americans, Canadians, and all sorts of Europeans who had established themselves there as both businessmen and businesswomen.

They had an interest at stake.

They wanted to see Playa Del Carmen survive–and thrive.

It was also the only Mexican city that had been centrally planned from the very beginning.

It was soon after this initial investigation that I realized Playa Del Carmen did not have a single legitimate website.

Sure, there was information out there, but as I stated in the beginning, none of it had a soul.

It was all redundant sales pitches that peddled crappy advertisements to would-be travelers as soon as they landed on the site.

I couldn’t find anything useful or from the heart.

I decided to check on one more thing: the possibility of buying a domain name associated with the city.

If I was going to live there, I might as well get involved in the community. Also, I really wanted to build something – something that would last.

Domain Name Madness

As I checked, I realized that most of the domain names associated with Playa Del Carmen were long gone.

However, I did find one good domain at an auction:

www.playadelcarmen.org

It had a buy it now price of $3600 USD.

I wanted it.

I needed it.

It would give me a goal to work towards, something to focus my energy on.

Instead of going through the auction house, I decided to contact the seller directly. He was located in Spain.

I sent him an email.

How much money would you sell the domain for?” I inquired.

He told me the same price that was listed in the auction – $3600 USD. I offered him $2600 USD.

He countered $3300. I countered $2900 firm.

To make a long story short, we ended up settling on $3000 USD.

We used an escrow service to finalize the deal so that each of us received what we had agreed on.

I now owned a great domain name – nothing more. No graphics. No design. Nothing. Just the domain name.

However, I was going to make it great.

I was going to make it the best Playa Del Carmen website on the planet! Thus, this is what you see today.

It’s not there yet, but it’s coming.

I look at this website as a 10-year investment – not a get rich quick scheme.

This website now has ~170 thorough articles, thousands of photographs, a plethora of maps, and several videos. Better yet, it continues to grow daily.

It was the opportunity that I had been looking for.

I’m going to work on it until it reaches a tipping point (i.e. it is self-sustainable).

Who I Am, And Who I’m Not

I consider myself a reasonably educated moderate Independent (although I agree with much of the conservative Republican message). I used to be a Democrat until the Democratic Party began sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement. What a joke. Black people really need to stop killing each other before they’re going to get any sympathy from the general population (or from me). They don’t seem to care about black-on-black shootings. However, as soon as a dangerous black kid is shot by a white police officer–they go crazy. Completely unreasonable “movement.”

I’ve found you have to let the world do what it wants and keep your own sanity and goals.

In fact, I’ve been on a mission for the last several years with a single goal in mind – I want to be free.

I don’t want clutter.

I don’t need a huge home.

Freedom is more important to me than anything.

I want to travel when I want and in the style that I want.

I don’t want to have to worry about money – either now or into my retirement, which is a long time from now.

I’ve always hated wearing a tie. To me, it’s like wearing a noose.

I like to drink – but only beer/wine–”The elixir that makes life bearable.”

I like to go out and have fun and also meet people from different parts of the world.

I’m not a hippie or backpacker either.

Most hippies that I’ve met (not all) live in a strange self-made utopia. It seems that most of them are not in touch with reality.

Backpackers, on the other hand, are always looking for experience.

I don’t blame them. Experience is good.

Nonetheless, most of the backpackers I’ve met seem to think it’s okay to rely on someone else’s labor to fund their extensive vacations around the world.

Hey man, do you have a cigarette I can bum?

That annoys me.

Again, this is not true of all of them.

If You Can’t Count On Yourself, Then Who?

If you think I’m some spoiled brat who got a free ride, living in paradise on someone else’s account, you are wrong. Everything I have, I have earned myself.

Moreover, since I’ve come to Mexico, I have had absolutely nobody to turn to – even in emergencies. For example, I lived without hot water for five months. I lived without a refrigerator for a year and a half. I’ve even seen some things here in Mexico that have been so bizarre, you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

Despite some inconveniences, it’s been a learning experience. One for the better.

I don’t have any family here. I only have a few friends who I’ve met along the journey.

However, I know that you can drop me off in any city in the world – rich or poor – and I will survive. And then I will thrive.

It’s because I’m willing to work hard and develop skills that are necessary to make things happen.

I’m proud of this.

Not everyone can say this.

Those who can know exactly what I’m talking about.

When I first came to Mexico, I was forced to live in a cockroach-infested apartment with two thin mats as a bed.

I now live in a respectable and crime-free neighborhood in a beach paradise.

I go out to eat when I want.

I meet up with friends whenever I have time.

Most importantly, every day I get closer and closer to meeting my long-term goal: complete freedom.

I am quite sure I’ll be there soon.

I’m going to continue building this website.

I hope it helps you make a decision about whether or not Playa Del Carmen is the right vacation destination for you.

I love it here, and I’m quite sure that you will too!

Enough About Me, Please Tell Me About You!!!

Help me build this website by sending your photos and stories.

I think you and I together can continue to make Playa Del Carmen a better place!!!

Lots of love,

Rufus

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5 comments on “About Me – The World’s #1 Playa Del Carmen Expert

  1. That is a lot to read through. I admit I skimmed through most of it but will refer back once I move to Playa (in two weeks)

  2. I enjoyed your story and love the website. Keep it up. Maybe when we return from Playa in September we will be able to contribute a photo and story to you. We visit the area regularly and love seeing the diversity that has accompanied the growth of the community. I always like to say “Don’t tell your friends about Playa, it will screw the place up”.

    • Kick-ass Kevin,

      Thanks so much for the comment. I would love to see your pictures/hear your story! I’ve noticed more and more people becoming “regulars” here. This is a fast-growing city. Who knows where it will be in a few years???

      In any case, I hope you have a great trip in September, and I will try not to tell too many people about this city!

      Take care,

      Rufus

    • Mel/Barbara,

      Thank you so much for the comment! It is nice to hear that you are going to be coming back to Playa Del Carmen again. Eight nights will give you another opportunity to find some magical spots in the area by day and party a little bit by night.

      In regard to going out for a beer together, I am game. Contact me when you arrive, and we can decide on some sort of reasonable location.

      Take care Mel/Barbara… I hope to see the both of you here soon…

      Rufus

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