T-SHIRTS & OTHER GEAR




Sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll made me crazy—thank God!



An Erotic Novel



How we lost the right to feel.


Go to the beach.


A Literary Love Affair

     
 

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Cancun Bashing by Jules Siegel

Part Two: The $7.50 Ice Cream Cone

Marc Cooper complains in The Nation that "In Cancun, a double scoop of Häagen-Dazs ice cream in a waffle cone costs $7.50--more than in Miami or Manhattan."

This is not New York or Miami. It's Cancun, a remote tourism destination supplied by air, road and sea at high cost under difficult conditions. Häagen-Dazs is imported from the United States. It's sold by the scoop only in two Hotel Zone shopping centers, one of them among the ritziest in Mexico. This is like going into The Breakers in Palm Beach and ordering a hamburger. Is it going to be the same price as McDonald's? Of course not. It's the 100% tourist rip-off price. What else do you expect? The Cancun Hotel Zone is a mass market resort designed to give middle and upper middle class workers five days of fresh air, clean water, smogless skies. It does that very well. It's not designed to provide imported ice cream for the workers.

A standard Holanda or Nestlé ice cream cone is about $1 anywhere in the Hotel Zone.  An excellent locally made ice cream, Nieve Gelato, costs about $3 for a generous portion in its shop in Plaza Caracol. It's much better than Häagen-Dazs. A liter of standard commercial ice cream is $3 in the Hotel Zone; Santa Clara gourmet ice cream is $9 a liter for regular, and $11 for premium.

"Indeed, finding a small, family-run Mexican taquería or panadería--a taco stand or a traditional bakery--is much easier in downtown Los Angeles or Chicago than it is in Cancún," he writes.

Conchas and Independence Day cookies, San Francisco de Asis Super, Cancun Hotel Zone

Traditional Conchas and Independence Day
cookies in Hotel Zone supermarket

There are no bakeries in the Hotel Zone, true, but there are plenty in downtown Cancun, if we are going to use downtown Los Angeles as an example. The marinas usually have convenience stores that sell non-commercial baked goods. The San Francisco de Asis supermarket in the Hotel Zone sells traditional baked goods such as sweet rolls and the like. Street-side food stands are forbidden in the Hotel Zone because they don't have adequate sanitary facilities. There are taquerías and family-operated places in the food courts of at least three major Hotel Zone shopping centers, as well as scattered all along the principal thoroughfare, Paseo Kukulcan. Taco stands can be found right across the street from Forum by the Sea, where Cooper priced the ice cream cone.

Several large Hotel Zone Mexican restaurants are outposts of downtown places that began as family operations: 100% Natural (serves organic dishes), El Mexicano (lavish show and regional dishes of all Mexico), El Tacolote, La Parrilla and La Placita (all three serve country-style tacos as well as complete meals) and Pacal (Mayan-influenced menu). If we add other varieties of food such as Argentinian, French, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese, the list starts getting very large. Mexicans like foreign food just as much as Americans like pizza. You go out to eat, you like a little variety, right?

Cooper tells the sad tale of the waitress who's never been to the beach in front of the hotel where she works. She's an employee. She's free to walk on the beach, which is public property, but the lounges and other installations belong to the hotels. Are their workers supposed to compete with the guests for the beach facilities? Moreover, lots of Cancun workers go to very beautiful and ample public beaches in the Hotel Zone such as El Mirador, the most scenic beach in Cancun.

Nude protestors on one of Cancun's public beachesNude protestors on one of Cancun's
public beaches
—AP/Jaime Puebla

Cooper evidently thinks he's in South Africa, using terms such as apartheid and Soweto. There are economic distinctions, of course, but they are not racial, although lighter complexions do predominate in the ruling class, and racism is not uncommon among the old rich who still think Porfirio Díaz was a misunderstood saint. Nonetheless, the governor of the state of Quintana Roo is black, and almost all government employees are mestizo. He complains about the lack of contact among tourists and hotel workers. Cancun offers plenty of opportunities for mingling. Mingling became such a problem in the discos here because of the rapacious attitudes of some of the Mexican guys and gals (paid and unpaid) who exchanged body fluids with tourists, that the authorities had to impose a code of conduct.

1: Cancun Bashing is in Season
2: The $7.50 Ice Cream Cone
3: The Myth of the Narco-Resort
4: An Open Letter to The Nation's Marc Cooper

 


CANCUN USER'S GUIDE
$6.37
Alcohol
Apartments

Artists
Bargaining
Beaches
Books
Botánicas
Butchers
Coffee
Communications
Crocodiles
Fish
Fruit Drinks
Fruits & Vegetables
Hair
Hammocks
Handicrafts
Hotels Ice Cream
Insect Repellents
Laundromats
Lottery
Malls
Markets
Media
Medical
Money
Night Life
Personal Care
Pharmacies
Pottery
Restaurants
Ruins
Seashells
Supermarkets
Take-Out Food
Transportation
Vacation Rentals
Water Purifiers
Weather
Zona de Tolerancia
Glossary

Words to live by.