Just another day in paradise, or so it seems. We have been spending the last weeks or even months in Mexico’s dazzling city of Playa del Carmen. Basically relaxing and just waiting for our IDC (PADI’s Instructor Development Course) to start. Yesterday we got some bad news though and now it seems we might need to leave the pretty Yucatan Peninsula.
After finishing the PADI Divemaster course in Isla Mujeres – which was absolutely wonderful – we wanted to find a job as a Divemaster in one of the local dive shops. Locally and abroad loads of people were asking for dive instructors, but not for “just” Divemasters. We quickly learned that we had to climb another level up the PADI ladder to become employable.
Deciding to do our IDC somewhere was going to be the next step.
We walked into many dive centers, browsed on the internet, asked around, got recommendations from people and after a lot of time analyzing all that info we decided. Soon we made up our minds that were going to do our IDC in Playa del Carmen. A course director came across our path with an impressive resume, great personality and plenty of only good review. This was the guy we wanted to be taught by. Even though other dive centers offered a better price or some extras – we still felt like this course director was special enough for us to chip in a bit more.
The only disadvantage seemed to be that we had to wait for a while. For 1,5 months to be exact. This would normally not be much of a problem, knowing that there’s a lovely beach nearby, great restaurants and things to do. However, during out visit it was soon turning into Christmas time, followed by New Year’s eve and after that there was even going to be a dance music festival called BPM in town for plenty of days. This didn’t make it easy for us to find a cheap place to stay.
Airbnb to start with.
First we stayed at an Airbnb house, where we got a room and shared the house with another couple. There was a small swimming pool and it was located very central. We had to pay a little bit more than 900 Mexican Pesos per night. After that, the Airbnb room got fully booked for the Christmas days and we had to move out already. The guys from the Airbnb place had a friend who was planning to rent out his apartment, so lucky us, we could move to there! For again 900 Mexican Pesos per night.
At this writing $22,8 Mexican Pesos equals 1 euro. So that makes €39,47 or let’s say 40 euro per night. For us that’s a lot of money to spend every day on a room or apartment when your out traveling this long.
We had to cut expenses. Again.
We had been asking our course director, which – stay with me here – we were going to do the IDC with in 1,5 months from then, to help us find a place. A cheaper place. He was friendly and helped us by connecting us to one of his dive friends in Playa del Carmen. They had an apartment with 3 bedrooms, where we got to rent one of the rooms. The main bedroom was from the owners – a Mexican girl and her Argentinean boyfriend. They also rented the third room to 2 girls and they have 2 dogs in the building. A cozy place and we loved it there. We only needed to rent bikes as the apartment was way out of town. Anyway, we still ended up paying a lot less than for the previous places.
We did some necessary dive specialty courses in the meanwhile and waited for a spot on the dive boat so we could join there as well. The specialties were interesting and we studied a lot at home to prepare for the IDC. We didn’t get to do any diving though, as there were no spots available on the dive center’s boat for us (we got a special fare to join the dives whenever there would be spots free). When we finally got two spots on the boat the cold had hit us. Both of us could not join the dive anymore. After a few days and getting rid of the cold we decided to give it another try. We asked the dive center again for a spot and booked. Yeeeey!
We cheered a bit too early.
The day before the dive we were relaxing at home in the afternoon as we received an e-mail. The message it contained was disappointing. Our course director would not be able to make it for the IDC and he organized someone else to take over. We were upset about it as he was the one we wanted to be taught by. For him we agreed to pay a bit extra, but now we were not going to get what we wanted.
We’re easy-going people. Normally when shit hits the fan or something simply doesn’t work out then okay, we take a breath and deal with it. This time though, we felt like we’re spending way too much money – as an IDC costs more or less $4000 USD – to let a change simply happen and us accepting it like voilà.
We have to follow our feelings
Now, we’re trying to figure out what we should do and want to do. It doesn’t feel right that the dive center simply tells us to not worry and that they’ve got us covered and fixed another course director. We didn’t sign up for “any” course director, but for the-one that belongs to this dive center.
Should we stick with them and continue with the replacement? Let our principles drop on this and just accept the sudden last-minute change of course director? Should we go elsewhere and find a better deal? Move to another place we like where we can be in more peace with nature and hammocks while studying hard? Soon we’ll have to decide.