L Janssen Yucatan Mexico Trip February 2013 travel blog


Lawrence-Cobalt Janssen

1000 Sutter Street, Suite 222

San Francisco, California 94109

Phone: 415 / 572-8511

Email: lawjanssen@gmail.com

Pemex Corporate Headquarters

Petróleos Mexicanos

Marina Nacional 329, Petróleos Mexicanos,

11311 Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, México 06500

Tetepona: +52 55 1944 2500 ‎ •

Web Site: www.pemex.com

atencion.ciudadana@pemex.com Pemex- Petróleos Mexicanos

Atención: Relaciones con el Cliente

PEMEX Gasolinera-Piste

Pemex- Petróleos Mexicanos

Carretera libre 180 cerca de la carretera 79


Piste, Quintana Roo, México 77751

PEMEX Gasolinera- Playa del Carmen

PEMEX Pemex- Petróleos Mexicanos


Playa Del Carmen Quintana Roo, México 77710 C.P,

Re: Two disturbing incidents at Pemex Gas Stations:

1. Pemex Piste Gas Station- on Friday, 15/02/2013 @ approximately 15:00PM, an unknown fluid was wiped on driver’s side- front end tire- by a Pemex Pump Personnel. The tire BLEW UP shredded itself, forty-five (45) minutes later, on the Cobra Autovia to Merida- between Piste and Kantunil.

2. Pemex Gas Station- on Benito Juarez, Playa del Carmen, on Tuesday, 19/2/13 @ approximately 12:30 PM. I gave the Pemex pump personnel a five hundred (500) peso note, I turned around to clean the front window, it magically changed into a fifty (50) peso note. The twelve (12) liters of gas I purchased cost me seven hundred and fifty (750) pesos.

Dear Pemex Corporate Headquarters- Customer Relations Department, Franchise Owners/Managers of Pemex Gas Stations in Piste and Playa del Carmen, Q. Roo, MX:

Please excuse the lateness of this letter, I have been extremely busy, I have only now found time to compose this letter to you. I find it is important, to write this letter to document the negative, inappropriate, and very scary incidents, I had to endure- during my Mayan Culture Tour of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

I was a Special Education High School Teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had worked long enough with this school district, such that I retired early. I had to teach all the subjects to my group of special education students: English, Math Science, Modern and World History.

I have been able to take two (2) Round-the-World Trips. I visited and I learned about twenty (20) countries and their cultures. I was very enthusiastic about my trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. I was going to concentrate on seeing as many Mayan Ruins and museums I could pack into my brief period of time there. I mentioned earlier, I travel by myself; this enables me to get to know and experience a country in a much more authentic manner. There is no space between the people, culture, and me. It usually is a very humbling and positive experience- Not This Time!

When I told people, my family, friends, and business associates, I was going to Mexico, most of them were advising me not to go. I told them, I believed in the Mexican people. I had traveled all around the world by myself; I had never had a very serious or disturbing incident. The ones, I am about to describe, were uncalled for, unnecessary, very bad for tourist public relations, and incredible disturbing. It left a very “bad taste in my mouth” regarding the professionalism, honesty, and decency of the “pump personnel” at Pemex Gas Stations- to say the least.


I was planning to arrive in Merida- before sunset. I don’t like arriving, in a new city, when it’s dark. I drove Highway 180 (Free) - Valladolid/Merida. It was a beautiful day; I leisurely drove from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. Before, I got on Highway 79 North, which would take me to Highway180D (Cuota) - Cancun to Kantunil/Merida.

• If I would have had a video necklace camera, where I could have secretly recorded the incident; you would be able to officially identify the Pemex Pump Personnel and view how they abused me and took advantage of me.

I decided I needed to get twelve (12) liters of gas for the drive to Merida. I had read many cautions, in travel tour guide books and travel blogs, regarding the “tricks” the Pemex pump personnel perform, when a traveler asks them to “fill-up” the gas tank. Therefore: I decided to only get twelve (12) liters at a time. It meant stopping for gas more often, but I figured, I would be a less likely “tourist rip-off target,” Little did I know, the Pemex pump personnel had generated a whole new series of ambushes and traps, to add significant misery to a tourist’s trip to the Yucatan Peninsula.

I pulled into the Pemex Gas Station, just outside of Piste and Highway 79. I entered and I drove up to the first series of gas pumps, I parked the car on the inside of that island. Two (2) Pemex pump gas personnel were there, first (1st) one took my order and second (2nd) one cleaned my front and back windshields. Suddenly, a third (3rd) Pemex Pump personnel abruptly arrived, and without my permission or discussion, put some types of FLUID SUBSTANCE on my front tire (the driver’s side). I was very, very distracted, from all the brouhaha that was going on. There was a first (1st) person pumping the gas, the second (2nd) person cleaning the windows, and finally the third (3rd) person. He was wiping on, with a dirty rag, some UNKNOWN FLUID SUBSTANCE on the driver’s side front tire. I was being extremely naïve; I thought it was some “concierge” type of service, whereby they added tire cleaning to my basic service.

The Pemex third (3rd) gas person, who was putting the unknown fluid substance- on the driver’s front side tire, asked me many questions. He inquired about, if the car was a rental car, where I was going, and why I was traveling through the Yucatan Peninsula. I am originally from New York City, my “city smarts” should have kicked in and warned me to not answer any more questions. He could tell I was traveling alone; I was a perfect “tourist patsy!” If I knew what was about to happen, I would have immediately went to a police station to instigate an investigation into this incident. I paid for my gas and tipped all the gas pumped personnel.

In about forty-five (45) minutes, the front driver’s side tire completely shredded and burst from the outside seams on the Highway180D (Cuota) - Cancun to Kantunil/Merida- between Piste (about fifty {50} kilometers) and Kantunil. Luckily, I was the ninety (90) miles per hour speed limit, and I was in the slow lane. When the tire blew- the car swerved seriously to the right highway shoulder. I stopped when the car fell into the sloping edge of the highway. It was easily, 90F or 32C degrees; plus the humidity was extremely high. I did not have a cell phone, which worked in the Yucatan Peninsula, MX. I had tried to get a temporary phone in Cancun, Q. Roo, MX. After inquiring in three (3) stores, I received not much help or assistance. In retrospect, I wish- I would have been more definite and assertive in obtaining a Mexican cell phone. I was unaware of the Emergency Road Service services procedures, for obtaining help, on the Yucatan Peninsula, MX.

I picked up my Sixt Rental Car, Sixt Cancun, Carr Cancun Tulum KM17, MZ0A8 L8 SM 301 CANCUN Q: 1-Vehicle #: M39A15, Type: Red Atos License #: 3579TRN 2- Sixt Rental Car Agreement No: KA002765: 3- Rental Length Time: 7 Days- Wednesday, 13/2/2013 to Tuesday, 19/2/2013. The Sixt Car Rental Company personnel did not explain to me the procedure for an Emergency Call on the Yucatan Peninsula or the AutoVia. During my internet research, to obtain all of your addresses, I came upon a “What to Do and Who to Call- and Number List” for the AutoVia.

I stood on the Highway, for about twenty (20) minutes, attempting to wave down a car to stop. I was hoping, someone who be kind enough to stop. I would to get a ride to the nearest town or pay phone. I was even willing to pay them to help me change the tire. In my entire driving career (forty-one {41} years), I have always had car insurance with the following supports systems: help with a “lock-out,” flat tires, and tows to the nearest gas station for mechanical help. I didn’t know who to call for help! Little did I know, the nearest town Kantunil, was almost fifty (50) kilometers away. It was 16:00; the sun was starting to set. I knew I had to “learn how to change a tire”–FAST! I did not want to be on this isolated stretch of highway, when it was dark. All I could think about was that the whole situation was a “set-up.” The Pemex pump personnel, who rubbed the unknown fluid substance on that tire, could possibly be driving around looking for this stranded tourist. My rental car was blood red- it would be pretty easy to spot me in the dark. I was scared.

I took the spare tire out of the trunk, that part was easy. The jack was the “new” compact style. It was held in by a bracket; I looked and looked at it. I was trying to figure out how to get the jack mechanism to release. After twenty (20) minutes, I was no closer to a solution. I used the metal turner to pry the mechanism so I could open up it and use it. I had to figure out how to safety lift the car high enough so I could remove the shredded tire, and replace it with the working spare tire.

This turned out to be much more of an ordeal then I had imagined. The lug nuts, on the tire were tightened using an Impact Torque Wrench. I only had a manual wrench. I literally had to jump up and down on it to loosen the lug nuts. I could have easily missed the wrench; I could have sustained significant bodily injury. Each lug nut took five (5) to six (6) jumps to loosen it. I finally was able to remove the burst tire, and I put on the spare tire. It was now seventeen –thirty (17:30).

I got back into the car and I drove to Merida. I arrived in Merida on Friday, 15/02/2013 @ approximately 18:30 PM. It was Friday Night “RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC,” it was night time already. It was a very trying and taxing experience for me. There was “NO” inside reading light in the Sixt-Atos Rental Car. I had a map of where the hotel was located. I was unable to read it. Other drivers were “riding my bumper,” and honking at me, for going so slow. In desperation, I “double parked” at the Plaza de Armas in Merida. There was a “traffic policeman” at the intersection. I don’t speak or understand much Spanish, so I attempted to explain my predicament to him. He, in Spanish, gave me instructions to my hotel. I still ended up driving around for another forty-five (45) minutes before I arrived at the hotel. I was exhausted!


• If I would have had a video necklace camera, where I could have secretly recorded the incident; you would be able to officially identify the Pemex Pump Personnel and view how he abused me and took advantage of me.

I drove into the Pemex Gas Station- on Benito Juarez, Playa del Carmen, on Tuesday, 19/2/13 @ approximately 12:30 PM. I had just gone to the ATM; I had taken out a large sum of money. It was supposed to last me for a couple of days. As I opened my wallet, the Pemex Pump Personnel was looking into the contents of my wallet. I found a five hundred (500) peso note, and I gave it to him to pay for the twelve (12) liters of gas I had ordered. I was cleaning the front windshield myself, and I turned my back on him. Suddenly the five hundred (500) peso note turned into a fifty peso (50) note. I ended up giving him a two hundred (200) peso note to complete and “pay-in-full” my gas purchase. It cost me seven hundred and fifty (750) pesos for twelve liters of gas. WHAT A BARGAIN!!

I am unclear, what the "Mission Statement" is for Pemex Corporation and what service and performance standards are expected of it’s Pump Personnel for the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Treating tourists, in a manner which reflects common courtesy, honesty, and respect, should be a priority. Maybe your Pemex Pump Personnel could benefit from attending a course in on basic ethics and decency. They could have the opportunity to be on the other side of this experience, so they can feel how slimy it feels.

I would appreciate you responding to my letter and email. If I don’t receive any communication from you, I will then instigate a plan to share this letter and my experience with all major tour guide books, travel blogs for the Yucatan Peninsula, and traveler warning websites.

I appreciate the time you spent reading this letter. If you have any questions, comments, or need for clarification, please feel free to contact me at:

 Telephone: +001-415-572- 8511

 Email: lawjanssen@gmail.com

Yours sincerely,

Lawrence-Cobalt Janssen Thursday, April 04, 2013

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