Review: Starbucks, Chapultepec, Guadalajara (A Lesson in Din)

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Starbucks on Chapultepec, on the corner of Lopez Cotilla and Chapultepec in Guadalajara, was that it smelled musty. Luckily, I’ve since gotten used to this smell. I noticed it the first four or five times. But now, I come here everyday, so I live in the must. Love the must. The origin of this musty smell is unclear. The cleaning regimen here seems to be second to none. I often see a young man with a mop. The bathroom has a code so not just anyone off the street can walk in, though to be fair they haven’t changed the code since I’ve been here, so if I was ever in the area and needed a loo I could just walk right in. I can only assume, then, that the musty smell has something to do with the ventilation, or lack thereof. It smells a bit like a dirty bus station. But in the best possible way.

Someone criticized me yesterday for coming to Starbucks everyday, saying that in Mexico Starbucks was only for trendy people who wanted to take selfies and also that I should support something local and Mexican, and I defended myself vehemently. Granted, I had no defense against the fact that maybe I should be supporting something local. And when I say “defended myself vehemently” I don’t mean rationally or articulately. Mostly I mean that I raised my voice and became slightly aggressive. “I need a controlled environment when I write!” I said, “And Starbucks gives me that controlled environment. It’s the same everyday. I know what to expect. It’s anonymous.” I kept ranting for a few seconds more and then the argument ended in a stalemate as it was time for breakfast.

Despite the musty smell, this is a good Starbucks. It’s big and comfortable, with plenty of seating, both inside and out, and has the perfect amount of din. Din is the mix of sounds coming from the baristas and people ordering, the sound of people talking, and the music coming from the speakers. This particular Starbucks boasts a perfect din. It’s not a quiet din! In fact, as far as dins go, this is one of the louder dins. But this is classic cafe din. If you were to make a YouTube video of “cafe sounds” (and people have done this), this would be a prime candidate. The only thing I don’t like about the din this morning — and this is rare — is I hear English voices in the din. Two American girls. They’re intruding on my territory, and they must be removed.

As was bound to happen, some of the employees now know exactly what I order: A small Youthberry tea in a ceramic cup and an apple. It costs, after my for-here cup discount, 36 pesos, or $1.92. Some would consider this expenditure extravagant, but I consider it necessary. Again, this cannot be stressed enough: I need a controlled environment for writing, and one that’s not my house. I can’t write at my house. That’s like hanging out in your bed all day. Beds are for sleeping! Nothing else. Houses are for things like relaxing and watching TV and chilling on the couch, but they’re not for writing.

I will not be back here tomorrow, as I’m going to the beach. As far as I know, there’s no Starbucks in Sayulita. I’ll have to find the closest equivalent. And come Monday, I’ll be right back here. Back with my manzana and my Youthberry tea. Back with my din.

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