It you are visiting Playa Del Carmen and strictly in a tourist area you may miss out on a lot of local culture that takes place everyday in neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in Mexico are still very communal and friendly open places to live. There are the corner stores where you can buy your fresh tortillas for the day and everyone there knows who lives in the area by name or face. There are small shops like the local Laundromats that service just the area you live in. Then there are the people that come through your neighborhood with services. This can be very convenient and timesaving for you. The most important is the drinking water people that bring large bottles to you and saves you the effort of lugging one back home from the store. There are also people that play a tune on a flute which announces they are in the area to sharpen knives or fix shoes. When you hear “Pan” you also know when the bread guy is on your street. All of these things create a special close knit community.
Usually you will get used to the call of the “Pan, Pan, Pan” just like a dog knows his masters voice. These sellers doing the same pattern of crisscrossing the streets for years and know more about the neighborhood then most that live there. They know the eating habits of families and what they like off their carts. Of course “pan” refers to bread in Spanish but it really means bakery goods in this situation.
When the “pan man” comes up the street people will clap or call out to him. Then he bikes over and pulls back the plastic cover and shows you the daily selection of pastries. After you select what you want he take tongs and puts them in a plastic bag for you.
What a luxury it is, or curse to have a daily passby of pastries. They usually are only 5 pesos or about 40 cents (USD). The pastries are usually the same style and selection of the supermarkets but having it wheeled by your house on the tricycle bikes is something that makes Playa Del Carmen special.
So if you do not live in a local neighborhood and you are out and about in Playa Del Carmen and hear “Pan” you know who it is and maybe you should just stop for a little treat of local culture.