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The Whole World Comes to Playa

Let me tell you about my first weekend in Playa del Carmen. Según yo, iba a salir a algo tranqui. I was meeting some new friends at a Cuban Restaurant with live music. I figured I’d have a drink, dance a little, and head home.

But in a place like Playa del Carmen, it’s so easy to get carried away with the adventure of life. Last night was one of those magical nights that aventureros like me dream of. The night was full of so many people from so many different walks of life. Add some mojitos to the mix, con el ritmo de la salsa and we had a party!

I was first joined by a guy from London with origins in North Africa, who had been traveling the south of Mexico getting scuba certified. Shortly after we were joined by a friend I had met the night before, she’s from Germany currently living in Costa Rica and enjoying a month in Playa. I later found out how great of a salsa dancer she is as she was teaching me on the dance floor and spinning me in circles, apparently she spent the entire quarantine learning salsa and had the skills to show it. Imagine me, being led in the baile by a rubia alemana y yo a latina tripping over my steps.

We were then joined by a Mexicana de Guanajuato who when the cantante dedicated a song to those “sufriendo del amor” she tugged at her heart and shared with me that her last relationship had recently ended. So she spent the rest of the night superando and dancing the night away with a few gentlemen in the club, ending the night with a rose in hand.

Another friend I met the night before also joined us, he's a Peruvian-American who is teaching me a bit more of salsa dancing. He brought his neighbor who’s from Argentina. All of us, a group of travelers who met that weekend but living our best lives in that moment.

We ended the night with a night cap at our new Argentinian friend’s apartment, who lived only a few blocks away. On our walk there we ran into another friend a Morrocan-Italian who was just about to call it a night after two back to back dates, with different ladies— modern dating, am I right?!

We sat around this small studio apartment first listening to Rosalia on YouTube and then it turned into a night of cultural sharing. We were introduced to German electro from the 90s, traditional Moroccan music, Peruvian and Argentinian music, and when two of the guys said please don’t play Banda I responded in shock “No les gusta la Banda?! Y’all haven’t been introduced to it properly!” I continued to play a video of a couple dancing to tamborazo— after that they changed their minds, one of them was even tapping their foot to the beat— and I told him "See! You like Banda!"

Before we all left the apartment we were all appreciative of our multicultural afterparty. Most of us having met for the first time that night, but having honest and real conversations— we talked about music, culture, traditions, relationships, travel, monogamy— and the one thing we had in common was sharing in our humanity.

Where else in the world would I be able to have a night like this?

We said our goodbyes and hugged one another, realizing that some of those new friendships only lasted for that moment in time, where others will grow and bloom into something more meaningful.

I was suppose to call it a night at midnight, but there I was riding a taxi back home at 3am reveling in the magic of adventures.

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