Here are just some fun shots with my son’s GoPro camera on my last visit. This will be my last trip to Isla Mujeres. It has become “discovered” by daytrippers and HGTV, and it just isn’t the same to me. Adios, Isla…I will cherish the memories.
One of the best things about working at a university is that you get two paid weeks off over Christmas and you don’t have to use your vacation time. Sweet. Since it’s been a very busy fall semester, I am now finally able to get to a couple final short blog posts on my trip to Isla Mujeres this past summer. They’re just random shots I took in the last couple of days there.
I decided to have another beach day on my last full day there.
I mostly hung out at this place…which I can’t remember the name of now. It’s just a bit down from where Sergio’s used to be towards Privilege Aluxes. By the way, this is a screen shot taken from Google Maps. It is amazing how you can go almost everywhere on Google Maps now…it’s almost like being there yourself.
It never rained a drop while I was there for the whole two weeks. I wish it would have just to cool things off a bit. So as I was sitting on the beach, I noticed a lot of private boats go by…more than I’ve ever noticed before. I don’t know whether these are chartered or owned, but they sure were nice. And they seem to come so close to shore.
I stopped by Asia Caribe for an appetizer. These spring rolls were very good and the ingredients were very fresh.
This was a new (well, at least to me) gift shop along Rueda Medina.
I don’t know how authentic the items are there, but I liked this little lady. I’m not sure where a person would put this in a home…and it would be really difficult to take on a plane, so I had to pass it up.
I had an early dinner at this place on Rueda Medina, which was also new to me. This is also a Google Maps screen shot since I forgot to take a photo of the front.
I will have to confess that one of the main reasons I went here is because it was air-conditioned. After two weeks in the intense heat, I felt like I had become a puddle of sweat walking around on the island…gross, but true.
Here was the complimentary bread. The pesto/garlic butter was really good, but the bread was pretty crunchy and hard. More like big croutons.
I ordered a sampling of the pasta and it was really good. I wished I had the time to go back and try some other things there.
A final picture of the view from Bally Hoo…
It was nothing to write home about. I wish I could have gone to the loncherias for my last breakfast but, alas, they weren’t open.
I went back to the apartment to gather up my stuff and say ‘goodbye’ to the neighbor. He didn’t seem to care too much that I was leaving.
The sad final shots as the ferry backs away from the dock.
Lunch at the Cancun airport. Bleah!! And it made me realize I had completely forgotten to get a Bimbo Dog while I was on Isla…oh, no!!!
I will do one more post on the trip of some fun pictures I took with my son’s GoPro camera, so stay tuned for that.
This will be my last post on this trip to Isla. As usual…it’s a little lengthy, but I didn’t want to divide it into two posts because my trip was kind of random so there wasn’t much of a subject matter. I was just about to post it on the Isla Chatter Board when I read rnwendyl’s post that one of the brothers who plays at Minino’s stabbed the other for tips. How incredibly sad. I have sat there many times listening to them. These people must truly be desperate to survive. I wonder what will happen to them now.
So, on that sad note, I will continue with what I was going to post…here are a couple of panoramics I took this time…several pictures stitched together. (You can click on them to get the full effect.)
Looks attractive with the colorful bread, but I was disappointed. I know this place has gotten rave reviews on the chatter board, but maybe I just made the wrong choice. It was extremely heavy and just kind of mushy in the middle…
I hate to disappoint my viewers, but I will have to say that Isla is losing its appeal to me. It seems that more and more foreigners are owning the restaurants there which, to me, takes away from the Mexican appeal. When a friend introduced me to Isla back in 2006, I was mesmerized and just wanted to come back again and again because of its charm. As more resorts overtake the island and it becomes more of a metropolitan meeting place rather than a Mexican fishing village, it saddens me and I don’t feel the connection I once did. And I’ve only been going there since 2006! I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I had seen it when all the streets were sand. But I wish I could have experienced it then. And then when I hear that an 80+ year-old man is stabbed by his brother for tips…how horrible is that? I know that crime happens everywhere…but I think we all hope that it doesn’t happen on Isla.
On that note, I will be moving on to some other adventures on my next trip. Not because of this crime, but because I guess I have a little bit (or a lot) of wunderlust and I need to see some new places. I suppose I got it from my dad who packed up my mom, me, and my three older brothers for a road trip through Mexico in 1960. Yeah…this is me after the spoils of a bullfight at four years old…
When I was in Merida during this trip, I ran into an American guy on the street who helped me with directions. We got to talking and he told me that he had been an engineer in the United States. After a board meeting one day, he left, said “that’s it”…and moved to Mexico. He lives in a small town outside of Merida and loves it…and would never move back. He was taking pictures of doorways in Merida to help him decide on what kind of door to put on the house he was building. After my post on doorways in Merida, I realized he had a lot to choose from. I told him that I had been to Mexico nine times in the past six years and he said it’s time to move and threatened to take my passport…haha! Hmmm…maybe he’s right, though.
Anyway, Isla is a wonderful place and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It certainly has its share of beautiful sunsets…these were taken from Zazil Ha.
So, when I first got to Isla on this trip, I started out at the Suites los Arcos. I didn’t get any pictures of it, but I was not impressed. It’s average at best, and overpriced at $98 a night. Maybe it would have been better if I had had a room with a balcony overlooking Hidalgo. At any rate, I left after two nights and spent the next night at the Rocamar…better priced at $72 a night. I’ve never stayed here before, but how could you go wrong with a view like this? The rooms are very stark and basic, but very clean. It’s nice to be able to sleep with the door open so you can hear the waves.
They didn’t have a room for my last two nights there, so I set out walking to find something else. I’ve always heard good things about the Maria Leticia, so I stopped in to see if they had a vacancy. I didn’t expect them to because I know they have quite a following of regulars who book way in advance to stay here. But luck was with me and they had a room for both nights…at $350 pesos per night. You can’t beat that with a stick.
Again, very basic, but I really felt at home here. I loved the windows that offered a cross breeze and didn’t even use the air conditioning at night. The beds are comfortable and I also felt very safe here. (Although I’ve never felt UNsafe on Isla.)
Nice little kitchen area with a full-sized fridge and coffee maker. This was the only place I stayed at on this trip that had de Pelicula on TV…the station that plays old black and white Mexican movies. Sweet.
The little courtyard is nice with all the flowers and palm trees. The owner is very watchful and you feel like he’s very protective of his guests. I would highly recommend the Maria Leticia…it’s convenient to everything, yet you feel like you’re off the beaten path when you are in your room.
This little guy belonged to a some people who had a boat on this dock. His owner would walk down the pier and this sweetie would hurry behind him trying to keep up. But his feet were so small, he keep tripping on the spaces between the boards. You can get an idea of his size by comparing him with the foot in the upper left-hand part of the photo. It was definitely one of those “Awwwww” moments.
When I started posting on this Isla trip, I was going to just do brief little reports with maybe 10-15 pictures each. Well, after uploading about 35 photos on this post, I guess that thought went by the wayside, so here’s just another photo-heavy report from me.
One of my first stops on this trip was the Mango Cafe. It had been a couple years since I had been there and I’ve heard so many great things about it, I had to try it again. I’m glad I did.
The group sitting at the table next to me recommended the West Indies Tacos…so that’s what I went with. OMG…they were absolutely delicious! The peanut coconut sauce was a wonderful complement. The dish comes with three large tacos which is actually too much for one person. So, if you’re going with someone else, you can definitely split one dish. I got through half of the first taco and realized I hadn’t taken a picture, so I had to reorganize my plate for a photo. That’s what happens when you’re digging into good food.
One of my quests on this trip was to find the Chuuk Kay restaurant. I drove my golf cart all over the place going towards Punta Sur but didn’t find it. On the way back, I stopped at Oscar’s and took this picture of the marina in the back. Unique use of the canoe or kayak or whatever that is…
Stopped by Jax one evening to sit on the upper level. I’m not a big Jax fan. I use them for their internet, but they’re a little too Americanized for me. I always get something to eat if I use their internet. Their nachos were okay…a little too cheesy.
This is the one in my living room. Yeah, it’s kind of grisly, but he didn’t have much of a selection when I picked this one, and I do like the colors. When I was robbed last December and the police came to dust for fingerprints, I saw one of the officers take a double-take at this wall hanging. He probably thought I was some weird demonic witch-like person who likes to eat hearts. Haha!
On a final note, he was giving out little free samples which I thought was a really sweet touch. My son gave me this little jewelry case last Mother’s Day, and I have never been able to figure out what to put in the photo frame. Sergio solved that problem. Talk about perfect, right?
Here I am on Isla Mujeres again for spring break. I hadn’t originally planned to come to Isla, but my plans changed, so whaddya do? Enjoy yourself, of course!
I have lots more to report, but one of the first things I wanted to do was get out to the south end since I didn’t go there last time. I wanted to get some good photographs of the wonderful shoreline there. It is so incredibly beautiful with the incredible colors…
This is looking out from the Acantilado Restaurant on Punta Sur. A very nice view although I bet it can get hot out on that patio in the middle of summer.
Sure is pretty, though. I didn’t eat here…just had a lemonade.
And then looking towards the tip from the area where the little gift shops are. I want a little house with a nice porch right where those “ruins” sit so that I can be the first person in Mexico to see the sun rise. You think the Isla mayor would be okay with that??
I was searching photos from previous Isla visits today and found this photo I took back in 2007…
For the life of me, I don’t remember seeing all these statues when I was there last month. I noticed this one was falling apart…it’s from a United States artist. But I’m thinking that all of these statues are gradually becoming victims to the salt and sea air.
This will be my last post on this trip to Isla Mujeres. I’ve already done a post on why Isla lovers love Isla, but I will reiterate. No matter how many times I go there, I will never be able to believe how blue the water is. I am amazed every single time. And that is probably one of the reasons I keep going back. I think once you’ve seen it, you’re hooked. And photographs don’t do it justice…it’s something you just have to see to believe. I think that’s why they painted the Ultramar ferries yellow. Since blue is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel, both colors seem to pop when you put them together.
Then there are the beautiful beaches…
I saw a wedding on the Posada del Mar beach one day. I’d like to think that a marriage that starts on Isla would be one that would last forever. (I know…that’s the romantic in me.)
This would sure make a nice shop for some kind of business. But between the lousy economy and the bad publicity about Mexico, it would probably be a risk…especially since it’s not on Hidalgo or Medina.
Here’s a little fixer-upper on the south end of the malecon. It looks small, but just imagine what a nice deck you could put in that empty space which would look out to the sea. Food for thought. I wonder how much it is.
So, I was coming back from Playa Norte one day, and I took a picture of this place just as he was coming out the front door. It made me think. The vast majority of natives on the island are very, very poor. What must it be like to totally rely on comfortable tourists to make their very meager living?
And to see all these people coming off boats (who kind of remind me of lemmings as they’re walking down the pier) to have fun, spend money, have a bunch of cervezas and margaritas…and then go back to their homes with flat screen TVs and granite countertops. Most of these natives will never have that. And we can pretend that they’re happy living the way they are, but how patronizing is that…especially when they see wealthy strangers spending lots of money while they’re there? They will try to get by as best as they can by selling their goods, but they will always have a very hard life just trying to make a living. Civilization has introduced a whole new world to Isla which is inevitable, but I can’t say that it’s good. More and more foreigners are buying property there. I would venture to say that Isla will eventually be an island full of foreigners because they will make it too expensive and impossible for native Mexicans to stay there. How sad that would that be?
This place is also along the malecon, which could probably bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m glad that the owner is still holding out and living there no matter how unappealing the place may look to tourists.
So, it’s time to leave. I was sad, but for a different reason. I want to go to Mexico to experience Mexico. While I enjoy meeting new people, when I’m there, I want to meet the locals. I can meet Americans every day of my life, so it’s not on the top of my list to meet Americans when I’m in Mexico. Call me strange. In fact, I cringe when I see the stereotypical loud-mouthed, arrogant foreigners who act like they know everything and have that “attitude” like they’re seasoned travelers. Give me a break. They’re the ones who complain if the bathroom isn’t up to par or they didn’t get a lime with their cerveza. While I was waiting for the ferry on my trip back, I had the pleasure of listening to a man in a group who who was wearing a fedora and wielding a cane going on and on about all his experiences. I wanted to grab the cane and hit him with it. Those are the times when I’m embarrassed for my so-called fellow Americans.
…and couldn’t resist getting a shot of this woman’s boots waiting in line to get on the plane in front of me. Definitely back in civilization. They kind of reminded me of the wicked witch of the west’s shoes when the house fell on her and the toes of her boots curled up. Hell would freeze over before I would wear these…well, maybe on Halloween.
Since this is my last post on Isla, I’m going to start doing some posts on prior visits to Mexico…like Valladolid, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Puerto Morelos, etc. It will be like re-living some of my vacations and giving me the opportunity to redo some of my photos. And Spring break is coming up…who knows what that will bring!
Hasta luego, Isla…
Since I didn’t really have an agenda on my last visit to Isla (other than a side trip to Akumal), I don’t have any stories to tell. So, I’m just going to post a slideshow of some miscellaneous photos. I think music enhances slideshows, but not everyone wants to hear it, so if you want a soundtrack to the show, click on the right arrow just below…
Then you can advance the slideshow at your own pace by clicking on the right arrow at the bottom. If you want to view the photos in full screen, click on the “menu” button at the bottom left of the screen and it will give you that option. Hope you enjoy.
One of the things I played around with on this last trip was taking panoramic photos. Actually, they’re separate photos taken in a row and then stitched together with a software program…mine being Photoshop CS5. If your camera has this feature, you take a picture in the stitch mode, turn a little, take another one…and so on. Then the software program does most of the work stitching them together. As you can probably guess, the more pictures you put together, the skinnier and longer the end product gets. For example, this photo was only two shots. (You can click on it to get the full effect.)
I actually took four pictures of this scene, but for some reason, Photoshop did NOT want to stitch them all together, so I settled for two.
This one is three photos…
So, when you stitch these photos together, this can be the result. It pulls them together in a way that it thinks it should look, with a lot of white space where things don’t line up. Normally, you would have to crop inside the photo to get rid of the white space which would make it really long and skinny.
But Photoshop CS5 has a feature that fills in that white area with what’s called “content aware” in which it takes neighboring pixels and figures out how to match them to complete the photo. Amazing. You usually have to fix a few flaws, but it’s incredible how accurate it is.
Although sometimes it does get confused. I was standing at the end of this pier when I took this series of photos. For some reason, Photoshop decided the pier should end about 20 feet in front of me. Haha! Oh, well…still kind of a neat effect.
I decided to spend a little more time in Isla’s tiny cemetery on my last visit. I wanted to do this post showing respect for those who have passed, while illustrating the uniqueness, color and history of this special (and crowded) place. I try not to step on the graves when I walk through the cemetery, which is extremely difficult considering almost every square inch is “occupied”.
One thing I particularly noticed on this visit were the little angels that sat on some of the graves. Some of them were adorable, although there is a sadness about them.
In addition to candles, flowers and/or statues, it was interesting to note that most of them had either cups or soda bottles inside these areas. I posted a question on the Isla Chatter Board about what these meant, and I received this reply: “I asked a Mexican this question. It is for the dead person so they can have a drink. They leave it for them and it acually evaporates. They said the person who cleans the cemetery probably turns them over when they clean.” So there you go.
So, I turned around to leave, and just about jumped out of my skin because a woman had walked in without me hearing her and was standing right behind me. Geez, you just don’t do that to people in cemeteries! Haha!
So that’s my little walk through the Cementerio Municipal. The caretaker encourages visitors and doesn’t mind if you take pictures…just be respectful.
My most recent trip to Isla was just a relaxing getaway. I didn’t want to think about anything…just veg. And I can’t think of a better place to do this. Isla seems to have “healing powers”…a place to let things go and just appreciate life. I don’t feel that in Texas. I am not a native Texan…I don’t wear cowboy boots, I don’t do the two-step, and I’m not a country-western fan, so I don’t feel that loyalty that so many natives feel here. I guess I’ll always be an outsider…which is why I enjoy going to Isla (or anywhere in Mexico for that matter) to get away from all that.
So why do I love Isla? Let me count the ways. First of all…to get my toes in the sand…
Not to mention the serenity…
Secondly…I love the colors and the activity. Waking up after my first night, I head out to breakfast and/or coffee and just love watching the activity as the island comes to life. Vendors delivering newspapers…
The shrimp cocktail at Picus…
The quirky… (I’m sorry, but it would haven’t taken about 60 seconds to paint the back side of the ball on top of that post, but I guess because it was at the end of the malecon, it didn’t matter…haha…that’s Mexico.)
And the animals. This little sweetie was laying on the sidewalk and I clicked my tongue so that it would look at me for a picture. Well, it got up and walked over to me and just sat at my feet while I massaged its ears. Sooooooooo cute…and I love the sweater!!
Amazing likeness, huh? Apparently, the vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female…just a little tidbit of information. Anyway, this little sweetie would wait for me outside the hotel every morning, so it was like going out and greeting Nutter each day. In fact, I would go outside and say, “Hi, Nutter!” She didn’t care if I didn’t get the name right…she was down for a little affection.
Some of you may remember me from my other blog, Choosing Doorways. I decided to start a new blog which is totally dedicated to my travels in Mexico. Since I have come to love the country and all it has to offer, I thought it deserved a blog all to its own, separate from my life in Texas. Between you and me, however, my life in Texas is not nearly as fun or interesting as my visits to Mexico, so I haven’t had much to blog about at “home”. To be honest, in the past five years I have felt more at home in Mexico and spend much of my time thinking how I can end up there some day. I still have a lot to explore and am looking forward to learning much more about Mexico.
I’ll start out with my most recent visit a week ago to Isla Mujeres. It was a spur-of-the-minute kind of trip because of a surprising drop in airfares between Austin and Cancun right before Christmas.
This was my seventh trip there, but I just wanted to go to relax, eat some good food, and soak up some sun (and cervezas and Margaritas, of course). Because all the electronics in my house were stolen the week before I left, I did not take a laptop this time (which I missed). I did, however, get a new camera (a Canon G12 to replace my G10), which I gave a good workout during my stay. I thought these shots just before landing in Cancun were pretty interesting.
My first day was pretty uneventful as I didn’t arrive on the island until about 4:00 p.m. I used Best Day for shuttle service again and I was very happy with them. I’ve heard some people complain about them, but I’ve always had the best of service. In fact, most times I’ve used them to get to Puerto Juarez, I’ve been the only passenger. Same thing both ways this time, as well. In fact, my solo ride to the ferry was in a big black unmarked SUV…made me feel like people might think we were with a drug cartel…hahaha!
Adios, Puerto Juarez…
Rueda Medina is a mess right now with the northbound lane under construction. They did make some progress while I was there, so hopefully, they will be finishing soon. I think it has to be hurting the businesses on that side of the street.
I stayed at the Hotel Plaza Almendros…which I will never do again during times when school is not in session. WAY too many kids there this time. I should have taken someone’s suggestion of staying at the Suites Los Arcos instead. Live and learn.
Sidebar: As if it wasn’t bad enough that the kids could be noisy, the couple that checked in to the room next to me a couple days after I arrived were even worse. The first night, they woke me up at 3:00 in the morning with their arguing…which lasted about an hour…seriously. Actually, the woman was doing all the arguing. The guy would just mumble something every ten minutes or so, which would just set the woman off again. I should have complained or knocked on the wall, but I kept thinking they would stop. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have actually heard what they were saying because that would probably have made it MUCH more interesting (haha), but the concrete walls muffled their words. Then I didn’t hear or see them for a couple days and I thought they were gone, but then they showed up the day before I left. Weird.
I walked around a little bit before heading over to Picus. This is the new sculpture where M&Js used to be.