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Adventures in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Bloody Chicas Update!

Posted by Tony & Cheri on June 25, 2007

One of the great things about moving to another country is the chance to make friends with people of another place and another culture. We have been particularly blessed by meeting some really wonderful people since moving to Playa del Carmen. Two of those people are sisters Mayte and Alex. Not only are they some of the sweetest people around, but they are some of the most hardest working, which is suprising when you know that Mayte is 23 and Alex is only 19.

For the last couple of years, the girls have been operating their restaurant known as Bloody Chicas. The name came from Mayte’s boyfriend (now husband) Keith, who is from the UK. He jokingly would refer to the sisters as “those bloody chicas,” and the name stuck. Their restaurant was a success only through their own incredible hard work. Not only did they cook the great meals, but they served them, cleaned up afterwards, washed the dishes, swept the floor and did everything else. Then, in the evenings, they tended bar at Captain Dave’s, which was owned by Keith. This in addition to both of them going to school! Despite this incredible schedule, they never lost their friendly smiles and their willingness to help other people. When the local Bomberos (firefighters) needed to raise money for new supplies, the girls were right there.

Unfortunately, this has been a very difficult year for the chicas. Their restaurant was burglarized no less than four times. Finally, out of frustration, the girls took to sleeping in the restaurant with baseball bats. When the thief returned a fifth time, he ended up with a broken leg and a trip to jail. However, they never recovered their stolen goods. Then things got worse. Keith’s bar was forced to close when the landlord, Don Mario’s restaurant, kicked them out with no notice. That left Keith and the girls without a source of income except the restaurant.

Now to our great sadness, the restaurant is closed, as earlier this week, the two sisters were broadsided by another vehicle while driving their car to school in the morning. They had to be cut from their car. Mayte broke her ankle and broke her pelvis in two places. Alex suffered a ruptured spleen which had to be surgically removed. The good news is that both girls will survive. The bad news is that their recovery period will be long, difficult and expensive, since they will be unable to work. Like many locals in Mexico, they have no insurance, and the possibility of suing the other driver is remote at best, and probably nonexistent. The law works different down here.

Locals in Playa del Carmen, both Mexican and ex-patriates, who know and love the Chicas are trying to raise money to help them. We are joining in that effort and asking our friends and readers to contribute whatever they can for the girls. To make a donation, go to our website as if you were making a reservation. Instead of entering information about a hotel stay, simply note in the comments field that the amount you indicate is a donation for Alex and Mayte. To do so, click Help the Chicas. Or, if you prefer to pay with paypal, go to www.paypal.com, click on the “Send Money” tab, and enter the email account “helpthechicas@lunabluehotel.com.” Or, if you’re going to be in Playa del Carmen, stop by the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden and drop off a donation. No amount is too small! So far we’ve raised just over $4,000 US from online donations & cash donations at the hotel. We are paying all credit card and paypal fees, so 100% of the money donated is going to the girls. Please keep it up!!

Back in the US, it might seem strange to make a public plea to help someone with medical bills or because they are out of work. There are just so many resources that we don’t often give it a second thought. People, we think, will be taken care of. That’s not always true in Mexico. In Mexico the old fashioned view of community still holds: you turn to your family and friends when you need help. Alex and Mayte are our friends, and in a sense, they are the friends of everyone who comes to Playa del Carmen, whether you’ve ever eaten at their restaurant or not. They are the kind of people who have made Playa a city of the world that welcomes so many visitors and vacationers. Helping them is a way that all of us can say thanks, to them and to Playa del Carmen.

********

UPDATE!!!! June 25, 2007: Bloody Chicas restaurant has reopened. Much to everyone’s happiness, Mayte and Alex, after a couple of months of recuperation, have recovered nicely from their accident. Thanks to everyone who helped support them during this difficult time. And although the girls are moving a little slowly, and tire easily, they are back in the kitchen at Bloody Chicas restaurant on Calle 4 between 25th and 30th Avenues (about 4-1/2 blocks from Fifth Avenue). Make sure to stop by for some of the best home cooked local food you’ll find in Playa del Carmen. This place is a hidden gem, and you’ll find the girls to be an absolute delight. Tip big.

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