I’m sitting at a cafe’, having a latte’ and mi espanol es asi-asi but it’s not a problem. I’m checking the markets and portfolios, catching up on emails, texting some friends, posting some stuff to instagram, all on free town-wide wifi that doesn’t suck.
I arrived early last night, on a full Virgin flight. My in-flight food took forever to get to me, mostly because EVERYBODY was ordering drinks and meals, happily swiping their credit cards into their in-flight infotainment systems, but I didn’t care, I was busy watching this summer’s Man of Steel. Then I was onto watching Ashton Kutcher play Steve Jobs, thankfully for free. I talked to the flight attendant who said she wished she was over-nighting, but they had another full flight back to LA right after they were finished dropping us off.
The streets here are bustling. The kids aren’t hawking chicklets anymore, now they’re hawking friendship bracelets and LED-powered sling-shot helicopters (made in China). The cars aren’t beat up 80’s toyota pickups and VW bugs anymore, they’re driving cars only a couple of years old, still VW’s and Toyotas, but Passats and Four Runners.
Fords and Chevys, too, of course.
And scooters, nice scooters (with matching helmets), are buzzing everywhere.
Everyone sitting at this cafe’ is using a Mac. Last night when I walked the same streets, there were glowing Apple logos everywhere. If I were an alien, I’d swear these Apple laptops were the official console of this planet’s citizenry. Oh— and each restaurant, bar, juice bar, and cafe’ I’ve visited is using a tablet as their POS system.
The bartender last night was busy taking selfies & posting them to Facebook from her smartphone in between orders, and Eminem & Jay-Z, and most of the top dance pop is what’s streaming from the bars. Frankly I’m not surprised at the American ear-candy oasis this place represents, just the means at which it’s being distributed, all via Spotify.
The touristas are swarming, mostly from Europe as best as I can tell, mostly because everyone is like 6’7”, wearing tight-fitting shirts and mono-chromatic outfits, or wearing eyewear and sandals that are way too hip for most Americanos.
I’m in Gringo-ville, Playa del Carmen, complete with a Nike Store, Starbucks, Victoria Secret, and a MAC cosmetics store… all of the cheap fruit stands where I get my fill of $2 chile-covered melons sold by cute, hardworking older women have been relegated to the outskirts of the town square — There are real estate signs hawking a chance at ‘paradiso’ everywhere still, except now they’re purposely advertising that they are NOT selling timeshare. All surely signs of the times.
What I’m noticing most is, people are actually buying stuff… and I’m not talking Señor Frog’s sombreros… nice things, disposable income things: Art, jewelry, hand-rolled cigars, gourmet food, and 2 hour massages. The streets are clean, and the federales are out in numeros along with well-fed/cared for dogs that seem to actually have an owner nearby. The guys offering photos with their pet spider monkeys had lines of people waiting with pesos for the opportunity.
In short, I’m seeing it firsthand — the world is flat, and the internet is the engine — an engine that seems to be revving quite nicely. Well, back to work, and sight-seeing… but I’m crossing my fingers that the wifi works from the beach too…