Isla Mujeres

by spaghettipirate

Today was the last day we had in Cancun – and can you imagine at the starting of this – I fear I will have to wait until tomorrow early to finish, I still have not packed my suitcase. Or rather, my backpack. (Mostly my clothes that were washed today still haven’t dried, so)

And even though it was thundering and storming here in and around the house, the rain never appeared and we were off to Isla Mujeres.

So while Mario grudgingly went to clean both the patio and the dogs who really needed the bath, my aunt and I hopped on a bus to take us to ferry which would take us to the island.

The kids wanted to come today – but for reasons that I will spare you all with – for there are not enough words about how much of a brute a certain someone can be – they had to stay at home. This prompted a tantrum from both of the kids, and really I was a bit disheartened because who knows when the next time I will see them will be, and frankly I do enjoy their company.

Of course I forgot my hat in the car from yesterday, and in the noonday sun the UV rays can be absolutely brutal on your skin. And seeing as I already am sunburnt from yesterday, I was slathering what remained of the sun block on my shoulders and legs. I did bring the sun tent on my back though which proved to be a genius doing, as there would not be any palapas for us to have and the only shade offered was that of the palm trees by the sidewalk.

The ferry ride to the island (which is a rather small island, easily walkable) is on this giant motorized catamaran that hums beneath your feet and there was a man with an amplifier and dressed up as a gaucho singing us Mexican ballads and dancing to entertain us while we took the approximate half hour ride into Isla.

The water on the open ocean is even better because it’s this darker blue, but at Isla it’s something else entirely because it’s so clear – like drinking water – you can clearly see the fish swimming along at the bottom of the bay. The dark blue of the ocean is mottled with the reefs and seaweed blocks, and in the sun they took take on a navy appearance and of course I took a bunch of pictures of it, it’s such a special sight.

When we finally landed the first thing I did was to buy a hat, and its bright orange just the way I like it and says Isla Mujeres which frankly, I also like.

The heat was so bad that even walking the brief 3 minutes to the beach you can feel the sweat dripping down your spine and into your brow and just about every place else. I was worried that we hadn’t brought enough water.

And while we didn’t have hammocks which to hang we did have the egg-shell sun tent which we propped up to great use, and spent the afternoon lounging in there and in the water. My aunt didn’t get in the water – claiming she had had enough water as of yesterday – but I certainly did because it’s another type of ocean there too and I simply must try all the various ocean types.

We brought snorkel gear so that I could dive and see the fish and the little fish dart between the feet of the tourists and pick at the seaweed patches.

The second time that I got into the water – indeed retiring to the safety of the tent to chill and chit-chat with my aunt – there was a school of kids non of whom which was older than 8. And it had started out simply enough. The kids I think were the kids of the locals of the island when a little pudgy girl asked me if she could borrow my goggles. Splashing around and thinking nothing of it, I said yes.

Then one kid became two became five became twelve little kids wanting to borrow the goggles for a while to see the fish. I was feeling hungry but it didn’t bother me much because they were having fun and what joy such a simple thing can bring a child. And then one asked if I could carry him on my shoulders to whirl him around the beach. And of course I said yes. Which then became me tugging up to 4 kids at once on my back like a choo-choo train laughing my head off as the rest of the kids tried to give chase and wading in the “deep” end where they couldn’t touch. The adults all found it funny as the kids clambered over me, and honestly I didn’t much mind except for when they touched the more sensitive parts of my sunburn.

Kids are the best in the sense that they have no social anxiety or inhibitions and the same rules we foolishly apply to ourselves about “can’t do this, can’t do that” don’t apply to them. Or they don’t see it that way. Theyre more brave and innocent and as we age out, we all lose much of that.

Finally my stomach got the best of me and asking politely for my goggles back I exited the water to help tuck up the tent with my aunt. Which was a bigger pain than you’d think and I am still not sure how we did it so nicely the first time around.

We stepped into eat at the first restaurant we found – which was again by the orilla of the ocean, but the fish was nowhere near as good as the one in Playa Del Carmen. Before the restaurant though, there was a man on the sidewalk selling conch shells – 4 of them – for 40 Mexican pesos apiece. Naturally my aunt and I both bought one. I know that in the stores they sell for a lot more, but 40 pesos is almost a gift and I would have given him more had he asked for it.

The one drawback is that they’re not peeled. Which is to say that all the salt and algae and rest of the sea is stuck to the shell, and by one manner or another we’re going to have to clean off the gunk to make the shell really shine. Either way the dark pink of this shell is not to be missed. (I am not entirely sure how I am going to get this thing back home but damn if I won’t at least try)

I think the shells will become ours because we have put so much labor into them – indeed I have scratched my nails as we sat at the restaurant, making a right mess of the sand where we were throwing away all the “skin” of the conch. The ladies running the place didn’t much seem to mind. Even as we stayed there until just about sundown.

The one drawback to the whole time spent in Isla was that today in Cancun were the local elections. And by government law, for the 24 hrs before and the 24 hrs the election, it will become a dry town. (This also meant no alcohol in Xel-Ha)

So no liquor served at any of the restaurants. And even if the mojito we had was really good, it was just missing that last little bit.

By the time that we decided to leave the island the sun was already starting to set, which meant the ferry ride back across the ocean was against cloud painted pink and a navy ocean.

The singer on this ferry was about 100x better than the one going in, as he could use his voice to make trumpet noises  and clicks and held a note for longer than you’d think possible. He also introduced me to new(old) mexican cha-cha dancing music which okay even this morning as I am writing this I am listening to.

We didn’t come into the same port that we left, so we had to catch a bus back to the same terminal.

And at this bus terminal we were waiting for a bus that would never come.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited. Until about 40 minutes of waiting – by which point it was already past 21.00 – and we called Mariana if she could come scoop us up.

It would mean – and you guessed it – more waiting (again for reasons I will spare you with but it’s all power games)

And given that neither of us had packed, we were less than thrilled.

In the end however, we were saved from that bus stop, and my aunt even managed to peel most of the sea gunk off of her shell.

And I wasn’t about to let a little bit of waiting ruin the day or the whole of Cancun in general

Besides I got a conch shell out of it, I think I won the day.

And now I am packed and drinking my smoothie to start the morning off right while the kids are still slumbering.

I am sad that they didn’t get a chance to come swim with us at La Isla, but what can you do as a third-party?

So this chapter of my life is now closing, but I know that I will return one day. And as far as chapters of my life and adventures go? What a thrill. I think I have loved just about every second of it.

And in half hour’s time we’re off to the airport, to catch a plane back to the city of Mexico

This all being in preparation for our upcoming trip to Veracruz.

So much to do, so many places to see, I am already looking forward to it.