For those of you that will be visiting our hotels in Cancun (Oh! By Oasis, Smart by Oasis, Oasis Palm, Grand Oasis Cancun, The Pyramid and Grand Oasis Sens) a cheap and easy way to get around is to use the buses that run up and down the hotel zone. The R1, R2, R15 and R27 buses run the 28 kilometre length of the hotel zone into Cancun city centre and beyond, 24 hours a day 7 days a week; not bad for only $10.50 pesos or US$1 per ride.
While some are in better conditions than others what seems to be more of a constant are the types of people you will come across on your journey. So without further ado, we present you 10 characters to look out for when travelling aboard:
1. Drivers that play their own music
I’m not talking about drivers that have a sideline singing (though it wouldn’t surprise me if some did); I’m talking about the drivers that play their favourite music at full blast; more often than not banda – brass band music from the north of Mexico. Their buses will be kitted out with sound systems that cost more that the bus itself, so if you were planning to listen to your own music on the journey I’d recommend waiting for another bus.
Usually someone below driving age and possibly the son, younger brother or cousin of the driver. His job is to get bums on seats, or if seats aren’t available, hands on rails. Sitting on the bus’s dashboard ready to quickly jump out when the bus slows to a stop, the co-pilot announces the route to those waiting.
Whether it’s one man and his guitar singing old classics, a duo playing the panpipes, or young rappers using Mexican slang that even the most well-versed linguist would struggle to understand, get ready to be entertained! And if you’re lucky (or unlucky depending on your view towards communal singing) they may even get the whole bus joining in.
It will come as no surprise that these are the easiest to spot with their big colorful wigs, painted faces, and long shoes. They may well be the ones that get you on the bus in the first place, as they are often found geeing others at the bus stop making sure there is a full house to play to. They will be cracking jokes from the get go, and don’t think that by looking out the window you won’t be the butt of them, they have an uncanny ability to pick you out for whatever reason, including looking like a celebrity (usually one you most definitely don’t look like), claims of being their ex-lover, or for being fond of the odd cake or two (to put it politely).
These will come on-board carrying a Bible or religious paraphernalia and will quote verses and tell you how religion was their salvation, often from a life of unsuitable vices. Whether you are religious or not, you can’t deny their passion.
These can be spotted wearing the prerequisite Baywatch red shorts and white top accompanied by the kind of tan you can only dream of achieving during your stay in Cancun. (Sunglasses with strap compulsory).
7. Animation staff
Easy to spot, they are by far the happiest people on the bus. They are even easier to spot on the morning commute as they are one of the few people that are not blurry eyed.
Their pristine appearance; shiny shoes, pressed uniforms and tidy hair, is what makes them stand out from the rest on the bus to work. Often found with their heads in their note books brushing up on some last minute English, ready to greet our overseas visitors.
9. Maintenance workers
These are the guys that make sure your air conditioning is functioning properly. After a hard day’s work you may find them enjoying a cheeky beer or two, and who can blame them, working in temperatures exceeding 30°C is certainly thirsty work!
10. Snack sellers
Whether they’re selling sweets, potato chips or some Yucatan specialty, these guys will be heading for the beaches where they hope to shift plenty of snacks to hungry tourists; and if they can make an extra sale or two on the morning commute then all the better.
So if you’re heading into the centre or just going up the road; jump on board, hold on tight and see how many characters you spot!