Friday, March 13, 2009

Isla Mujeres - September 2008

Saturday, Day 1 Loud Lushes, Linecutters, Ladies Night and L-L-L-Lola Usually you try to avoid a hurricane at your tropical vacation destination. This time we were trying to get out of Texas as Hurricane Ike raced toward us. Luckily, our flight at DFW was only an hour delayed, so we passed the time people watching and munching on some overpriced bagels. All of a sudden I heard whooping and applause and when I looked up at the overhead walkway I saw a group of soldiers deplaning. They kept coming and coming and I am proud to say that so did the applause. I couldn’t imagine how they felt and how their families felt to have them safely back home. We boarded and got settled in. A girl about three rows ahead of us started in immediately with, “Wooohooo! Let’s go!!! Get me a drink!!!”. From what I could see, she didn’t really need another one, but she didn’t let up. Her whoops were answered like a mating owl by a big Bubba three rows behind us. “Yeah! Git-er-dunnnn!”. Drunk Girl kept acting really weird. She’d be quiet for a little while and then just start singing really loudly. (We had not even pushed back from the gate at this point) The Pilot appeared a little ahead of Drunk Girl, looking through an overhead compartment in First Class. Drunk Girl said (with no pause in between the questions and really loudly) “I’m hungry! I’m thirsty! Are you the Captain? Are you the Captain? Are you the Captain?” I have to say that I’ve seen better behaved three year olds hopped up on Pixie Sticks, but her ability to consume that much alcohol before 10:00 AM was rather impressive. The Flight Attendants were watching her like a hawk. Finally a Security Agent came on board and had a quiet, but I’m assuming firm word with her and she shut up after that. Or maybe she just passed out. Not Bubba! He continued to talk and laugh at full volume throughout the entire flight with, “Woohoo!”, “True Dat!”, “BullSHIT!”, and other intellectually stimulating nuggets of conversation. I finally put away my book in defeat and prayed that anyone on the plane who was not from Texas didn’t think we were all that way. No line at immigration! Bubba and his lady were behind us and he was telling her and everyone within a three mile radius that he was ‘gonna kick that little faggit in the red shirt’s ass’. Apparantly, he thought this guy was trying to tell him to be quiet on the plane or something. At baggage claim, Gerald watched for our baggage while I watched Mr. Red Shirt. Bubba hadn’t gotten through immigration yet, but as soon as he did he spotted Mr. Red Shirt and made a beeline for him. He confronted Red Shirt “Were you saying somethin’ to me?”. Red Shirt said, “No, I wasn’t saying anything”. Bubba replied “Well, I am loud and my hearin’ is bad and that’s just the way I am.” Red Shirt said “That’s fine, Dude, I have no problem with you”. In a couple of minutes Bubba and Red Shirt were BFFs. Red Shirt - out of fear and confusion. Bubba -well...I don’t know, he was kinda like a big bully who just really wanted to be loved. We lined up for Customs and I noticed a woman in line a few people ahead of us. She looked nervous and kept looking back at Baggage Claim. She didn’t have any baggage. I figured out she was holding a place in line for her husband, who was still waiting on the luggage. Now, I don’t know about you, but I learned in Kindergarten to wait my turn and I could tell that these people were way beyond Kindergarten age. Soon, I saw out of the corner of my eye, a man with dreadlocks coming up with the luggage. I cavalierly maneuvered my way to block him. “Excuse me”, I heard from behind me. I turned and it was, indeed, DreadMan. “The end of the line is back there”, I said in a rather syrupy, helpful tone. “I’m up there”, DreadMan replied and motioned toward his wife. “Oh? How does that work?” I asked. He replied in a very rude tone, “You got a wife?” Or something to that effect that didn’t really make any sense. I started to move over because I had just wanted to make a point and I felt that I had made it when he barreled into me with his luggage. Gerald said, “Hey, watch it!” DreadMan replied with, “YOU watch it” and as he passed I said, “How rude.” Instant Travel Karma was with us, as Mr. & Mrs DreadMan got the red light. We were blessed with green and whizzed past them, smiling broadly in their direction and vaguely humming the tune Na-na-na-boo-boo. That’s right, I learned THAT in kindergarten, too. . I took the Travel Karma a step further in my imagination and envisioned Dreadman being put in a room in a big Cancun high rise smack dab in between Bubba and Drunk Girl. With thin walls. Ahhhh...on to Isla. We caught the 2:30 ferry and were at Playa Media Luna in a heartbeat. Wizer was there to check us in and he had our room...#16 all ready for us. We unpacked and headed down to the pool where we lounged, eating bananas from our fruit basket and sipping cold Coke Lights. That evening we walked into town and all of the restaurant smells intermingled and reminded me of how hungry I was. We decided on dinner at Chile Loco’s and even though Jorge wasn’t there, Monica took very good care of us. I had the Chili Loco and Gerald had Mar y Tera. We each had a couple of wonderful margaritas rocas. Dinner was a lovely and leisurely affair and we enjoyed it immensely, especially because it was the first night of a glorious week on the island, and that’s such a great feeling. I saved a little bit of shrimp and the shrimp tails to share with some hungry kitties that were sure to cross my path and wrapped them up in a napkin. We strolled up Hidalgo, wanting to take in all of the sights, sounds and smells and ended up at Miguel’s where we found Inge and Carmita, enjoying a Ladies Night Out. Hugs all around and they asked us to join them. We had so much fun! Gerald and I got a couple of margaritas and we all just talked and laughed and had a blast. Inge and Carmita are both so funny. Carmita told us that she doesn’t drink tequila, because ‘Tequila does not respect me!’. Inge told us to remember that you never got drunk, you were just ‘overserved’. A cute little grey kitty sidled up to my chair and I gave him the shrimp stash. He was so cute and let me take his picture. I think I heard him say, “JoAnne told me you were coming”. At one point (and no, we weren’t overserved) Inge and I both saw a ball of fire falling out of the sky toward the west. We never figured out what it was, but we know we saw something. Gerald bought us all roses when the Rose Man came by and then we saw Robert walking down Hidalgo. He stopped to chat and claiming to have been overserved, he then went on. We chatted with Miguel and he danced to the awesome 80s music he was playing. As Madonna sang “Holiday”, we noticed a lady standing about half a block South of us, wearing a short short skirt and high platform heels and striking that certain pose that not so subtly says ‘Hello, Sailor!’. Carmita thought it was a man and I wanted to get my picture taken with him/her. Her shoes really were fantastic, but we got distracted and then she was gone. I have to tell you, if you get a chance to hang out with Carmita and Inge, they are so sweet and so much fun, do it! These ladies are the Divas of Isla. We just love them. We bid the lovely ladies goodnight and headed back North on Hidalgo, stopping at COOL for some helados. Gerald had Cinnamon at Carmita’s suggestion and I had Kahlua. They were both fantastic and we traded halfway through as we walked back to Playa Media Luna and fell asleep to the sound of the huge crashing waves ala Ike. Me and my true love, Cool helados. Notice the gentleman behind me. I think he was overserved. Sunday, Day Two Getting into Isla Lazy Mode We woke up slowly, around 7:30 and enjoyed breakfast at our hotel of watermelon, toast, juice and coffee. The tv was on in the dining room and we watched the report of Ike’s damage. I was so sad to see what a hit Galveston had taken, but thankfully, Houston didn’t seem to have sustained that much damage. We figured that our fence was still standing, being that we live North of Dallas. Gerald set up our ‘living room’ out by the pool, under the shade of the deck. Two big white cushioned chaise lounges at the end, facing the sea and a table and chairs right behind the loungers. One chair placed in between the loungers to serve as an end table. Home, sweet home. The sea was a deep blue, like a mood ring. The beach was calling, so I went out to collect treasures and couldn’t believe the bounty of sea glass and shells that were mine for the taking, courtesy of Ike. A little boy, who was around 8 years old joined me in my quest for a while and picked up several pieces and handed them to me. I thought it was very sweet of him. When I returned with my booty (of sea glass and shells!) I arranged everything on the table so that I could show Gerald what I’d found. We lazed the morning away, reading, journaling and swimming until our stomachs requested a visit downtown. The pizza at Rolandi’s hit the spot. I love their Marinara pizza with shrimp because of the nice thin crust. We were almost the only people in the place and it was festively decorated with red, white and green banners for the upcoming Independence Day. The grocery store was our next stop and we stocked up on necessities. Fritos, Bran Fruit bars, Pastries, Rum, Coke Light, Water and Cat Food. I also found this awesome Catholic candle with a Grim Reaper on it called ‘Santisma Muerte’ for Halloween. Dinner was at Fredy’s where we indulged in Mojitos, Baked Shrimp with cilantro and cheese and Garlic Grouper. The dinners came with a small baked potato and were delicious, but I would have been happier if they had come with some veggies, also or if we had been given some pico de gallo and chips to start with. I wasn’t too upset because...we had room for more ice cream!! Coconut was the choice for both of us and we stayed for a while and talked to Rosemary, who owns COOL, along with her boyfriend. She is such a cute and sweet girl and each night we would stop by for ice cream and get to talking with her until we finally had to remind her that we needed to pay her. She added a shot of Kahlua to the Coconut ice cream and it was wonderful. On our way back we stopped and fed a family of cats across the street from Fredy’s and then stopped at ‘Kitty Corner’ down at the end of Hidalgo and fed many kitties. A little Calico was so friendly and personable that I just fell in love with her. I had taken some cat food in a zip lock baggie in my purse and continued that for the rest of the trip. Back at Media Luna, we lounged out on our balcony and watched a storm brewing off in the distance before retiring for the night. Monday, Day Three El Grito! While getting ready in the room that morning, I heard a strange ringing noise. What was that? I looked around, clueless. Soon, I found a telephone and sure enough, that was the noise! I picked it up and it was Donna, who was downstairs. I went down and visited with her and we exchanged goods. Books for me and a package for her that a client had sent via my house. It was good to see Donna and she looked great, as always. Life on Isla certainly does agree with her. After enjoying a breakfast of sweet, fresh cantaloupe, toast and coffee, Gerald headed to the pool and I went to visit Hortensia. I had a huge ‘order’ from my girlfriends at work and from my daughter, Chloe. Hortensia’s granddaughter was there with her. She’s four months old now and just a little doll with big brown eyes. I joined Gerald out by the pool and GASP...someone had taken ‘our’ chairs! Don’t they know who we are??? I recovered from the shock of the Chairstealers and went out for more beachcombing, this time creating a star design with my treasures. I apotted our little black kitty friend, who hangs out at Media Luna, much to the dismay of the owners. We knew her father, who lived there before her and she is actually much, much sweeter. We dined on ceviche, guacamole and chicken tacos that we had delivered poolside from Buho's and we lounged, swam and read the afternoon away. When I went upstairs to the room later, I noticed that I had gotten too much sun on my face. Because of my big black sunglasses, I had a red triangle on my nose. I do this every time, even though I tell myself I won’t do it, and then I end up mad at myself. I have this red triangle nose and look like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. And believe me, the irony of him being the one seeking a brain is not lost on me at all. A guy with a big bongo drum was out on the beach with some friends. They all perched on the rocks, facing the beach and gave a bongo drum concert from a stage made of rocks. It was awesome. Tonight was the big celebration in the zocalo for El Grito (the night before Independence Day, I think). But it didn’t get started until late. I knew that if Gerald got out and ate a big dinner, I’d never be able to keep him awake late enough, so my plan was to delay going out to dinner as long as possible. My advantage? A hotel room with a hot tub on the balcony! I ran the tub full and climbed in. Then I looked over and saw a gigantic orange moon rising out of the sea! It was fantastic!!! Later...much later...we went into town. My evil plan had worked. (Super evil laugh) We stopped on the way to dinner at Kitty Corner and across from Fredy’s to feed the masses, then meandered down to Miguel’s for dinner. Inge was there, too, with some friends. I had a club sandwich (I love the way they make them on the island with a fried egg) and fries and Gerald had a filet mignon and potato. While our dinner was prepared we munched on chips and delicious pico de gallo and sipped Miguel’s special Pomegranate Margaritas and watched the families of Isla go by toward the zocala, all dressed up and ready to celebrate. The children were all so cute. After dinner, I had a mild asthma issue and Gerald kindly ran back to the hotel to retrieve my inhaler. I don’t have them often and had forgotten to put my inhaler in my purse. While Gerald was gone, Miguel brought me a shot of Pomegranite tequila and then brought us each one when Gerald returned. Ahh...my heros. Both Gerald and Miguel! A couple who was walking down the street recognized us from the plane and stopped to say hello. We invited them to join us for a drink and we chatted and watched the fireworks. I fed a couple of cute little kitties that were hanging around. The fireworks were great! The couple was from Fort Worth and they were staying at The Palace. Their plans included going to Garrafon and Dolpin Discovery. I tried to steer them toward Playa Norte (they hadn’t been there yet) and snorkeling with Captain Tony, in order to give them a more authentic (in my opinion) Isla experience. It was late and we were tired, so we said goodnight. As we walked back home it was fun to see all of the Isla families out for a late dinner for the holiday with their precious children. It reminded me of when I was a kid and we got to stay up late for a special occasion. Tuesday, Day Four Cuban Food and Coconut Butts Gerald brought me breakfast in bed which included coffee, bananas and coffee cake. Mmmm Then we headed over to Rueda Medina for the parade. I acquired fresh squeezed orange juice from the juice man and we picked out a step to sit on. Does it get any better than this? The parade consisted of children from various schools, all in uniform and marching in unison, the Navy (both in full formal dress and some in combat gear) and the Red Cross. It was very nice - I love small town parades and obviously Isla Mujeres was happy to show off its’ treasures - the children. After the parade was over, we walked down a mostly deserted Hidalgo - most of the shops were still closed - and dropped by Plaza Alamendros to pick up JoAnne’s memory cards. Back at Media Luna pool, the Chairstealers had confiscated our spot again. We chatted with Daniella, who was leaving soon and she bequeathed us some Bailey’s (which I promptly drank - it’s kind of a breakfasty food, isn’t it?) and a candle. We promised to feed black kitty for her and exchanged email addresses. I went beachcombing and created a moon from my prizes. The book I was reading, “The Girl With No Shadow”, was about some women with witch like powers. One of the little spells talked about in the book was to get rid of people and it involved a hand gesture and a ‘Tsk tsk, be gone’. I did that toward the Chairstealers (no, not THAT type of hand gesture) and within five minutes they were gone. My evil powers seem to be increasing on a daily basis. Good to know. Later, I went into town to pick up lunch for us to enjoy poolside. Donna had recommended Qubano, which I had wanted to try anyway, so I headed there. When I arrived, I noticed a man in the restaurant who was staying at Media Luna. Gerald had pointed him out to me and said that he was really cool and that I needed to meet him. I met Vivian, who owns the restaurant and ordered a Cuban Sandwich and a Vivian Salad to go and started talking to Gerald’s friend, whose name I learned was Enzo. When Enzo figured out that I was married to Gerald he just lit up and told me that Gerald had told him all about me and he had wanted to meet me, too. He told me to tell Gerald that ‘some guy at Qubano had been relentlessly hitting on me and even gave me his card’. I had a nice talk with Enzo and Vivian and then took my food back to the pool. I told Gerald the fabricated story and he didn’t seem too worried at all that someone was hitting on me. (Hmm) When I pulled out the card that Enzo had given me he started to laugh. The food from Qubano was out of this world. The salad was a bounty of lettuce, tomato, ribbons of carrot, cucumbers, jicima, garbanzo beans and avocado swathed in a refreshingly light dressing. Two circles of goat cheese, rolled in bread crumbs and toasted were the crowning glory. The sandwich was layers of chicken, ham and cheese, all toasty on delicious bread with mustard and pickle. Yum! Gerald started talking to two girls in the pool, who turned out to be the lovely Lily, 9 and Andrea, 7, whose family owns the hotel. They were with their Nanny. Gerald asked the Nanny, “Are they the owner’s daughters?” Both girls at once replied, “She doesn’t speak English!” But they did, and perfectly. Soon they were playing with Gerald, racing for coconuts (which, we found, make the best pool toys) and seeing who could hold their breath the longest. Gerald taught Lily how to relax and slow down her breathing and then take a deep breath so she could swim the length of the pool underwater. Andrea said, “We live here.” Gerald replied, “I know. I’m jealous.” Eruption of giggles. It was just like at home at our neighborhood pool, with Chloe and her friends playing with Gerald. Kids and animals love him. That’s good enough for me. Andrea came over and visited with me for a long time and told me about her school and the parade (it was hot) and her friend at school and her father and her bunnies and cats and her dog who is older than she is and how they braided his hair yesterday. She was incredibly cute. Then she ran off to join her sister and their Nanny on the beach with the white poodle trailing behind. It was an overcast day, not too hot and with the absence of the sun moving across the sky, the day seemed timeless, like a dream. The girls came back and we swam with them. Andrea showed us how the coconut (which had a hole in it) could ‘pee’ and that the hole where the stem had been ‘looks like a butthole’. Giggle giggle. After a while, their Nanny said it was time to go and Andrea promised that she would come back later and show me her bunnies. Kitty came over and joined us for a snack and lounging. Since it was a holiday, there was no one working at the bar, so no ‘blue shirt’ men to chase her off. She got very comfy and cuddly. Later, I went back to pick up clothes from Hortensia and decided to order some more and also had her make me some little drawstring bags for Christmas gifts. More lounging and enjoying the beach, since it was our last day at Playa Media Luna before moving over to Casa Sirena. On our way back to our room, we ran into Enzo and asked if he would join us for dinner. We made plans to meet in the lobby later. Angelo’s was appropriately the restaurant of choice for the night since Enzo was Italian (he has lived in the States for many years, but grew up in Rome) and also knew the owner. We wanted to start with a bottle of wine and Enzo suggested that I choose the wine. Now, I don’t know very much about wine, but I know what I like, so I chose a Pinot Grigio. Enzo proclaimed that a most excellent choice and I’m not sure if it was (although I enjoyed it) or if he just had impeccable manners. We all decided on Frutti de Mare (linguine with black mussels, clams and shrimp). The food was delicious, the wine flowed and the conversation was so much fun. Enzo and I talked about Italian Renaissance Art (I’m a geek for that) and we talked about traveling to Italy and to Greece and he had us both in stitches and totally fascinated, being the natural storyteller and comedian that he is. I’ve never met anyone quite like Enzo. He exudes Old World charm and sophistication, and is one of the kindest, down to earth guys I’ve ever met. I felt so lucky to be out on the town with two such charming gentlemen. At the end of the meal Enzo told us that he was treating us like his children and he very generously picked up the tab (as long as we took him for ice cream!). We are working on those adoption papers as we speak. We walked across the street to COOL and visited with Rosemary. I had cinnamon, Gerald settled on lemon lime sorbet and Enzo chose chocolate. We strolled leisurely back to Playa Media Luna and called it a night. Wednesday, Day Five Succumbing Completely to Isla Laziness Syndrome The early bird gets the worm and the early risers get the good lounge chairs. I think that’s how the saying goes. Anyway, we rose early and claimed our lounge chairs and ate breakfast there as the sun warmed the beach. Wizer came out with a cordless phone and said I had a phone call. When I found out it was Steve, from Casa Sirena, my heart started again. You know how it is when you’re away from your children. Steve said that there were a lot of issues with the construction and he would not be ready for guests until the weekend. He offered to put us up anywhere we wanted to go and was so apologetic. I checked with Wizer and found out that we could stay where we were. No problem! I told Steve that we really wanted to hang out with him and he asked if we could come by the next day. Perfect. Little Miss Black Kitty joined us for breakfast, I went beach combing and made a beach castle. I will be moving in soon and possibly renting out the turrets. The Chairstealers were out on the other side of the pool and I made a tactical move. I went over and introduced myself and told them that I had observed that they liked that area of the deck, also, and then I offered to move our chairs over and make room for two more so we could share. Yes, I was being nice (they were very nice and quiet, so it wouldn’t have been a big deal) but I was also setting it up for us to share the area, if they got there first the next time. They thanked me, but declined and left to go to town shortly thereafter. At this point, we guessed that there was only us, Enzo, the Chairstealers and maybe one other couple at the hotel at this time. One group of people who swarmed the pool loudly and thankfully briefly each day had left, thus leaving the whole place to us. Ahhhhh. (Tsk Tsk be gone!) It was sunny and bright and the sea was a brilliant and satisfied blue. I read, relaxed and we stayed put all day, even ordering lunch from Buho’s. We headed over to Ballyhoo to meet up with Jim, Carmita and Inge at 3:00 (American time). Jim was there alone, having been left by the girls to run urgent errands in Cancun. Gotta do what ya gotta do. Ballyhoo is so nice, the description of ‘it’s behind the gas station’, just doesn’t do it justice. We hung out with Jim and talked about everything and had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the breeze and the lovely view. It was a fun afternoon and it was good to see Jim. Jim was kind enough to give us a lift back to the grocery store, where we restocked some of our supplies. That night we ate at Cockteleria Justica Social and it was very good. I love eating dinner on the docks, listening to the ocean and watching the boats bob up and down. Gerald ordered Garlic Shrimp and I had Grilled Fish. It was very good, seasoned perfectly and the portions were generous. So much so that we skipped our nightly ice cream. The staff was very friendly and we even got to meet Jorge’s dad, Jorge Sr. Thursday, Day Six Pagan Ceremonies, Jesus and a Hookah Mr. Wonderful brought me breakfast in bed (and you wonder how he got that nickname) after he had documented the sunrise that I snoozed through. He picked up a golf cart and swung back by to get me and we headed out to explore. We drove South on the West side (very little traffic!) And turned right at the circle, up toward Rolandi’s. The cab drivers were piled up outside of Dolphin Discovery. Some were playing what looked like checkers with coke bottle tops. Down to the cool house on the end and back and to Punta Sur, but there were no market stalls set up. Maybe it was too early in the day. Maybe it was too late in the season. We droppped back by Steve’s and checked out the construction at Casa Sirena. Wow! He had built on another level that would be a sundeck for hammocks (spanning overhead from the bar to the doorway of the rooftop, for those of you who have been there) He was also redoing a lot of the tile and the walls and rearranging the back garden. It’s going to look fantastic and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Steve has impeccable taste and Casa Sirena is gorgeous! Since he was getting ready to take out a beautiful red Hibiscus plant, Steve let me take all of the blooms off of it. Qubana was calling my name, so we stopped there for lunch to quiet it down. Not surprisingly, Enzo was also there. We hung out and talked with Enzo for a while and also with Vivian. Vivian gave me a tall cold glass of Watermelon Water that hit the spot. We took our lunch back to hang out at the pool and cool off. After we ate, a couple came out to the pool area. It turns out that their flight had just arrived from Chicago and they had two other couples who joined them a shortly. They were very nice and were in ‘First Day Party Mode’. Many, many beers later (okay, okay...and a ‘tsk tsk be gone’) they left. The pool area transformed back to our quiet haven and Enzo came out to join us. Late in the afternoon we headed back South on the golfcart. When we dropped off a donation at La Gloria English School, we spoke with Lupe, Nelsy’s Aunt, for a while. She told us that Nelsy was really enjoying college. Big smiles. We went back to Punta Sur, as I had some business to take care of. One of my friends is trying to get pregnant, so I told her that I would perform a ceremony at Ixchel’s temple in her behalf. I sprinkled an area on the side of the Temple with an offering of bottled water and placed a white candle on it that my friend had blessed. All around the candle I arranged the red Hibiscus blossoms from Steve and some other flowers that we had collected along the way. I sat down and prayed and meditated. Luckily, we were the only people there. (NOTE: The ceremony worked, but a little differently than I had planned. I thought I had 'aimed wrong' because shortly after my trip, my other coworker turned up pregnant. Yeah....the one with one year old twins! But, six months after the trip, Trisha is now pregnant! In fact, everyone woman in my office that can get pregnant is now pregnant. Okay...that's only two, but out of eight women and all the rest of us are fixed, it's pretty cool) We walked around for a little while and then went back up to where the golfcart was parked. A fire truck and an ambulance were over in the market stall area and it looked like one of the guys was getting all geared up to rappel down the side of the cliff. We looked down and didn’t see anyone there and he was taking his own sweet time, so we figured it must be practice (however, as Gerald pointed out this IS Mexico...maybe it was just a really slow rescue –he was kidding!). We cruised back North on the Caribbean side, grateful for the lovely breeze that was blowing. Dinner was at Comono that night and it was perfect. We shared hummus, spicy shrimp and a kabob plate. It was absolutely delicious and what made it even better was that my wine was served in a coffee cup, due to the bending of some certain laws. A guy who looked like Jesus came in and he had many followers. Some hostel-y kids at the next table ordered a hookah. What exactly IS in those? I asked the waiter and either he was teasing me or you can get just about anything you want. The kids puffed on their hookah, Jesus played backgammon and I sipped my ‘coffee’ and listened to the hypnotic Indian music as cats darted around the tables. It was all rather surreal and quite enjoyable. We stopped off at COOL to visit with Rosemary and, of course, for ice cream. I had Kahlua and Gerald chose Mango Sorbet. Both were excellent. There was a sweet dog laying by the tables and Rosemary told us that he was a street dog and Dr. Delfino had just given him a shot for his ears (he has chronic ear problems). The dog seemed a little woozy and Rosemary was worried about him and said she would take him home with her for the night. I purchased a bottle of lotion that smelled really good and the proceeds benefit Amigas de los Animals. Next, to kitty corner to feed my little Calico girl and her friends. We stood nearby and watched them eat and some American tourists walked by, presumably a bit overserved. “Look. Those cats are eating something”, said one of the girls, “Some sort of pellets”. I couldn’t resist. “It’s cat food”, I replied. “Oh, that’s nice”, she said to her friend, “someone gave them cat food.” She looked at me, “Did YOU give them cat food?” “Yes”, I replied, “I am the crazy cat lady”. Just then a guy barreled into kitty corner on a scooter. “Watch out!” Overserved Girl said. “The crazy cat lady will get you!” They laughed and took off. Scooter Dude looked at me and I tried to glare menacingly. He left the kitties to their pellets and when they were done, little Calico came over to thank us. Upon returning to PML, we sat outside for a little while and then went to bed. Friday, Day Seven Got up and zoomed off on the golf cart! I wanted to stop at the cemetery and take some pics before it got too hot, so we did. As soon as we walked in a gentleman pointed us toward Mundaca’s tomb. There are so many pretty tombs there. All of a sudden I heard music. It was faint and it was....Christmas music! We followed the sound to a tomb that was decorated with blinking Christmas lights and the music was coming from inside the little ‘offering case’ for lack of the correct term. You know, the little glass case the holds bottled water, photos, a crucifix, etc. It was one of those little Christmas medley things that must have been on a timer. Anyway, it was kinda creepy. This little Cemetary Kitty was very friendly and looked well fed Breakfast was at Alexia y Giovanni’s and it was delicious. I had pancakes and bacon and Mr. Wonderful dined on scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and orange juice. Total bill was 110 pesos. We returned the golf cart and went to Casa Sirena to visit with Steve. A friend of mine who is an artist, Dale, had made a Merman Grotto with Steve and Daniel in it. Steve loved it. It was extremely fabulous. Chloe and I have one of us, too. Here they are: Steve invited us to a cocktail party at Dennis’s condo at Ixchel and to the Perla Mas Bella de Caribe beauty pageant. I was so excited! A drag show in the colonias?! Count me in!!! We met Enzo at Qubano for lunch. Vivian had told us about the Friday special, Arroz Cuba and we were all about Vivian’s cooking. Enzo told us that the Mayan woman who works with Vivian at Qubano calls him ‘Senor Malo’ because he is divorced. He tried to charm her, but to no avail. Vivian told us about a street dog that she and Rosemary had helped hold onto while Dr. Delphino had given him a shot the previous night. Sometimes Isla is such a small island. I laughed and told Vivian that the dog was doing fine and had gone home with sweet Rosemary for the night. Two street dogs lay at the steps of the restaurant and no matter how hard Vivian tried to shoo them away, they weren’t falling for it. The Arroz Cuba was fantastic. Tender, moist chicken and saffron rice, with a side of fried plantains and a sauce to pour over it all. We were all in heaven. Just then Rosemary walked in and joined us. She said the dog was doing well and that she would probably keep him since he got along well with her other dogs. If you don’t know Vivian and Rosemary, get to know them. Not only will they feed you like royalty, but they are the sweetest ladies. After lunch we relaxed by the pool at Playa Media Luna and played with Andrea and Lilly. Andrea brought her bunny out and plopped him in my lap. He was huge! After swimming for a while, they decided that Gerald needed a new hairdo. Taking all of their assorted barrettes and elastics out of their hair, Andrea was able to fashion up a beautiful ‘do. Enzo joined us and got a big kick out of it, telling Gerald he was all ready for the show tonight. Enzo was cooking for the Lima family tonight. He has known them for a long time. We told Lilly and Andrea that some crazy old Italian man was cooking for them and to watch out! We arrived at the Ixchel condos just as Carmita pulled up in her red car with Inge and Bev. The condos are very pretty and it was weird to get in an elevator on Isla! The condo itself was beautiful and had a really great view of Playa Norte and the pool area from the large balcony. What a great group of people! Then....Miss Chinatown 1958 made her debut! Gorgeous! After a while we decided that we should head down to the bar by the ballpark for the beauty pageant, which was supposed to start at 10:00. Carmita said she would give us a lift and when we got out to her car she looked at the dead end alley (that looked plenty wide to me)and said “How am I going to get this car turned around?”. Gerald offered to drive and she took him up on it. Inge and I rode in the back. Now, if you are ever going to have someone drive your car, let me tell you, Gerald is your man. He loves cars, is a very good driver and will take better care of your car than you do. Each time we came up to a topes Carmita and Inge would instruct him. “You have to hit this one at an angle”, “This one is really big”, etc etc. Each time, Gerald would perform perfectly and Carmita would purr, “Thank you, Baby. You are taking such good care of my little car”. Inge said “You know who I wish was here? Tim and JoAnne”. I totally agreed. We arrived at the bar and it was packed! Luckily we had VIP seating up front at a large reserved table. Nothing but beer, so we got some cold beers and goofed around taking pictures. Finally at midnight the contest started. The contestants first came out in sparkly silver one piece bathing suits. Some of them had some really big Texas hair. The talent/lip synch/impersonation portion was my favorite. I especially enjoyed Rhiana and Tina Turner, who really got the crowd going with Proud Mary. I wish I knew how to say “You go, Girl” in Spanish. Next were the fancy costumes with humongous head dresses. One almost was a casualty of a ceiling fan. They looked like Vegas Showgirls. Lots of local people, but we were primarily the ones whooping and having an obvious good time. There were probably a couple of hundred people there. Around 2:00 we decided it was time to go. We were exhausted and had to get up early and leave the next morning. We said our goodbyes. I was sad to leave the party, knowing it was our last night. One of the girls in our group followed us out (I’m sorry I have forgotten her name, but she was from England and a friend of Margaret’s who’s family owns Casa del Pio, a cute place!) We walked for a while and then found a cab, dropped off our friend and back to PML. The next morning we got up and said our goodbyes to Enzo and Wizar. It was a beautiful trip and I have to say that I had a few tears roll down my cheeks on the evil ferry ride back to Cancun. I can’t wait to go back. I miss my island and all of the wonderful people there, both new friends and old.

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Some of these entries are vintage travel reports and have been restored from a lost blog. I hope you enjoy them.