Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hanging with Nelsy in Isla

Gerald and I are always happy when we get to meet up with our student, Nelsy, on the island. Each time we get to know each other a little bit better and we’ve learned that we all have a pretty goofy sense of humor, which transcends any language barriers. This time we didn’t have Maggie there to translate and I was very impressed at how well Nelsy did with her English. We met at LGES and Nelsy presented me with some beautiful earrings that she had made for me! Last time we met up was in April and Nelsy, Maggie, and I discussed that we all make jewelry and I showed them some of my creations. Well, this time it was my turn to be impressed! Nelsy’s medium is the tiny seed beads that I can barely even see without my glasses. She had made two different types of earrings, one design shaped like a leaf and another design that is a small column with different colors of beads in a swirly pattern. They are beautifully made and I was so touched that she had made a pair especially for me that would go with black, because she knows I wear black all the time! She gave me a few pair of her earrings to sell on my website, too. (There are a few left, but a couple of pair didn’t even make it to the website before my friends snapped them up!) From LGES, we went by Nelsy’s Aunt’s house, where her little cousin was sitting out front playing with his action figures. He reminded me of my own son at that age, in his own little world. Nelsy’s parents came out to meet us with big hugs and warm smiles. I know that they are so proud of Nelsy, as are we, and I am in awe of the parenting skills they possess to be able to raise such a wonderful child. (Their younger daughter, Conchi, is a gem, as well. Unfortunately, she was in class that day and we didn’t get to see her). They asked if we wanted to see their home in Guadalupana and I was very excited at the opportunity. Many people refer to this new Colonia as “Squatterville”, but it’s now been around for almost five years and from what I understand, it’s going to become an official Colonia soon. Gerald, Nelsy and I hopped on our golf cart and followed her parents on their moto South on the Caribbean road, the ocean stretching out to forever in the brilliant sun. We turned into Guadalupana and giggled as we avoided huge potholes and made our way up to the tidy rows of houses. Tidy rows of homes and the minisuper at the end Nelsy pointed out the Mini Super, which was painted bright turquoise and then we arrived at her house. Her father had built the house by himself and I was so impressed with what a fantastic job he had done. It was sturdy, neat, and absolutely amazing! They have a really nice little fenced yard and a great window on the front of the house. Nelsy with her parents and their dog in front of their home Nelsy’s Mother showed me all of her beautiful flowering shrubs in the yard, and gave me a flower sample from each. What a green thumb she has! An empty 2 liter Coke bottle hung on its’ side from the gate, with a big hole cut in it and filled with potting soil as a makeshift container for a little starter plant. How resourceful! All of the yards were filled with flowering plants and had fences of one kind or other. Everything looked neat and tidy. Nelsy's Aunt and cousin Another of Nelsy’s Aunts and a cousin came by to say hi and Nelsy joked around with her Father, saying he was a monkey because he climbed up on top of the roof and built it all himself. They seemed to have a very warm and loving relationship. Even their dog was sweet. Nelsy said that he usually barks at strangers and she was surprised that he didn’t bark at us. Her Father showed us how their dog could ‘shake hands’ and I rewarded him with some scratching behind his ears. We figured it was about time to go and I snapped a few pics. I could even see the ocean from Nelsy’s front yard! Gerald and I felt privileged to meet Nelsy’s family and be invited to their home. Nelsy is now starting her second year in college in Cancun. She wakes up every morning at 5:00 so that she can catch the 6:30 ferry over to Cancun and spend the day in class. Her grades were wonderful her freshman year, which is not surprising since she graduated from high school with nearly perfect grades. We feel lucky to be a small part of Nelsy's success story. If you are interested in more information about the scholarship program, or are interested in becoming a sponsor for an Isla Student, please let me know. It costs less than you think and it makes a huge difference in someone's life. Please don't forget my jewelry that I make from Sea Glass and shells collected on the island of Isla Mujeres. All proceeds go to pay for Nelsy's scholarship. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6323072

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mimosas

No, not the kind you drink at baby showers. I'm talking about the trees. I parked my car under one the other day and it reminded me that my Grandparents had two huge Mimosa trees in their front yard when I was a kid and I spent many happy hours perched up in them. I loved their soft, fern like leaves and the feathery hot pink blooms that smell so good and attract butterflies and hummingbirds, too. There is something about the way their branches spread out so wide that makes them perfect for climbing. My Grandparents also had a gigantic Weeping Willow in the backyard, that made a perfect playhouse under the fall of branches in the cool shade. My friends and I would set up little homesteads in there and play all day. There was also another tree of some sort in the backyard that had very slippery bark. My Granddad could take out his ubiquitous pocket knife and slice off a little twig from that tree, about the diameter of a pencil, cut a notch or two in it and the bark would slip up and down it, making an instant whistle. It was so cool! Sadly enough, as I zoom into look at their old house on Google Earth, I see that the Mimosa trees are no more. The Weeping Willow is gone, also, but there is a tree where the 'Slippery Bark' tree was that could possibly be the same tree and it looks like the big Magnolia is still out front. The neighborhood has changed. It was so 'out in the country' when I was a kid. I still remember hearing the far off train whistles at night and sleeping with the attic fan on and the windows open. Long white curtains fluttered gracefully in the breeze like friendly ghosts and I always woke in the morning to a chorus of birds and the smell of something delicious cooking in the kitchen. I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents' red brick home when I was a child and was allowed to eat as much ice cream as I wanted. I am almost afraid to drive by the house when I go to Tulsa to visit, because I think I would be overcome with memories and sad that it didn't look the same. God forbid someone has neglected it. I remember every tiny detail of that house, from the copper pulls on the cabinets to the tiny hexagonal aqua tile in the bathroom and I still dream that I'm there quite often. Sometimes my Grandparents are even there with me and I know, in my dream, that they have passed on and what a rare opportunity I am afforded to get to spend some more time with them. Next time, I'll be sure and look out the big plate glass window in the front room and see the Mimosa Trees. I know they'll be there!

Isla Mujeres - July 2009 Part 3 "People"

As always,on the enchanted island of Isla Mujeres, we meet new wonderful people and reconnect with old friends. We did get to see Big Jim and hang with him, however, we were stopped in customs and all of the pics were erased. :) Just kidding, but it was good to see Jim and I didn't want to omit him. This, of course, is my husband, Gerald aka Mr. Wonderful and he's enjoying the first rum and coke of the trip poolside. And this is me, on a mission to seek out sea glass and shells. I love to walk along the beach in the sun. This is Marta and Anna Gloria. They were selling the beautiful Mayan headbands, bracelets, purses downtown next to Aqua Adventures and kindly let me take their pic. I saw Marta several times the rest of the week and each time she smiled and waved. What a cutie. Hanging at COOL with Rosemary and Dr. Pepe and friend. Looks like I got a little sun that first day. Patti and me. Patti was staying at Media Luna, also, and I knew her from the message boards. We had missed each other by a day or two on the island a few times, so it was nice to finally meet her. If you look up 'Cool' in the dictionary, Patti's pic is there. She is adorable, funny, smart and just plain cool. We enjoyed hanging poolside with her and happy hour/dinner out with Patti and the whole gang. Now I have to tell you a little story. One afternoon we were lazing around the pool at Media Luna, when we noticed some snorkelers off the beach. This beach is a pretty rough place, huge rocks and big waves. Not really a swimming beach. We watched as the snorkelers approached the beach and the man got out of the ocean, over the slippery, sharp rocks and made it up the beach. The woman, however, was having a little trouble. Her fins weren't helping. God bless her, we watched, cheering her on, her husband coaching her from the beach. Patti wondered why he wasn't going back in to help! Finally the woman emerged, fins in hand high above her head and approached the man. Was she going to smack him with those fins? Nope, all was well and we all sighed a breath of relief. They began making thier way up the beach toward us and started waving. Did I know them? Did they need medical attention? "Jana! Gerald!" they yelled. Then I realized it was Linda and Ali, who I have known for years from the message boards and we had planned to meet up since our vacations coincided! They knew where we were staying and what we looked like. We all had a huge laugh about it and Gerald was really mad that he didn't get Linda's escape from the sea on video. So, that's how we met Linda and Ali! The Gang - Mark and Donna, Me and Geraldo, Linda and Ali and Patti. Christine took the pic. We all enjoyed happy hour at Mark and Donna's and then went to dinner at Miguel's. Mark and Donna are awesome, as is their daughter, Christine (who's ability to nap and eat all day and stay skinny makes me mad, but she's so dang cute I let it slide...) They live pretty close to us and we wish we could all get together more often. Really, I wish we could meet up in Isla more often :) . They are a blast and they are our cosponsors for Nelsy, our college student who lives on the island. Not only are they fun, but Mark and Donna are some of the most generous and kind people I've ever met. Love those guys!!!! We were lucky enough to have the Dual Divas of Isla join us for dinner that night at Miguel's. Gerald and I had drinks with Inge the day before and were overjoyed that Inge and Carmita met up with us all that night. From front, clockwise: Patti, Mark, Donna, Christine, Carmita, Inge, Gerald, me. Linda and Ali had made plans to meet up with some friends for dinner, but joined us a little later. Christine Donna and Christine (look at those blue eyes!!) Sunday Ribs at Soggy Peso. Donna and Inge Rose (smokin' a stogie) and Chris from Reno. Super nice couple and lots of fun. The Pixar people - Andy, Renee and Lori (director, editor and assistant director of many of your fave Pixar movies! Cool, huh?) and Jeff and Jacques, two fabulous guys from Quebec. Jeff and the Virgin of Guadalupe Happy Hour Girls at Casa Sirena. Me, Rose, Kate and Natalie Mr. Wonderful rising from the sea Evaristo "Bubu" Gerald and I, enjoying dinner at Lolo Lorena Evaristo, Zina and Lolo. It was nice to finally meet Zina after 'knowing' her on the message boards for so long. And Margaret of Casa el Pio on the right Pierre, who we all just met that night. I think he was a friend of Margaret's. And Steve of Casa Sirena. Leo and Trisha! What a cool couple. We enjoyed dinner with them at Lolo's and earlier in the week at Rolandi's. A great couple with a wonderful sense of humor, we really enjoyed hanging out with Trisha and Leo. We also got to hear about their Isla house plans, which was a lot of fun. I rode down to Lolo's in a cab with Trisha and was BLOWN AWAY by her mastery of the Spanish language!!! She was amazing chatting with the cab driver. Dan the Man clowning in the Colonias. We got to meet Dan's new significant other and he was charming. Nelsy and her parents. They are so sweet! And their dog was adorable. More on them in a seperate blog Please don't forget my jewelry that I make from Sea Glass and shells collected on the island of Isla Mujeres. All proceeds go to pay for a college scholarship for a local Isla girl! Thanks! http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6323072

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Isla Mujeres July 2009, Part 2 "The Food"

*Warning* This entry will make you hungry!!! It may not be ALL about the food, but okay....it is a lot about the food. The food on Isla Mujeres is some of the best. This short video of Christine and Donna at Miguel's explains it all video We try to hit COOL every day for an ice cream fix. Rosemary is a sweetheart and I just have to keep trying all of the flavors to try and decide which is my favorite. Kahlua, Banana with Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mango, Blackberry. For now, I think it's Coconut with a dash of Kahlua poured over it. Mmmmm. A Rum Tasting at Casa Sirena. All of the rums were excellent. Breakfast at Casa Sirena. Chicken Enchiladas. Enchiladas for breakfast?! Oh, yeah!! Fruit plate at Casa Sirena B'fast. The white and purple fruit with black speckles is Dragonfruit. It's yummy! Dinner at Comono, one of my favorite spots. We had Spicy Shrimp, Hummus and Grilled Meat Plate. It was all delicious! Dinner at Brisas Grill was wonderful. We went out with new friends, Rose and Chris. The food was fantastic and the atomosphere was perfect. Table on the beach....toes in the sand. Really good service, too! Lobster Quesadillas Tequila Shrimp - to die for!! Qubano - my favorite lunch spot. Not only is the food fantastic, but I adore Vivian, the owner. We ended up in a great groove of going to the beach and staying until about 3:00, stopping by Qubano for lunch and then going back to the room for showers and naps. Happy hour at 7:00 and dinner around 9:00 or 10:00. Heaven Sandia Agua Fresca - Fresh Watermelon Water. Cool and refreshing! Vivian's Hungarian Potatoes. O.M.G.!!! Oops...forgot to snap a pic of the Toston Sandwich! Instead of bread, it is served between two fried plantains. Delicious and different. A staple for me, the Vivian salad. Lettuce, tomato, radishes, jicima, garbanzo beans, carrot ribbons, avocado, cucumber in a light and tasty dressing and topped off with breaded and fried goat cheese medallions. Lolo Lorena - An experience like no other. It's like being invited over to Lolo's for dinner. The restaurant actually is her home and she also has beautiful rooms to rent. Both Lolo and her husband/boyfriend(?), Evaristo, whom she affectionately calls "Bubu" joined us for dinner. Also joining us were Zina, Margaret of Casa el Pio, a gentleman named Pierre, who had been living in Africa for several years working on the AIDS crisis there, Steve of Casa Sirena and Leo and his beautiful wife, Trisha. It was a great group and I enjoyed the conversation, the delicious food and the wine. What a lovely evening! Our meal began with an appetizer that was creamy with a big chunk of fresh salmon. Mmmmm Lolo's famous Lovers' Salad. Shaved Conch and Carrots. Delicious and fresh. A household member came by to say hi Main Course - when given a choice of two entrees, we all decided that we wanted to sample both. The shrimp was one of the best things I've ever eaten, also tender chicken and potatoes and rice. Dessert - An icy cold strawberry sorbet in the cup on the left and on the right a carmel-y treat with cake and a pecan crown. Fantastic! Ballyhoo - You really wouldn't expect such a great place to be 'behind the gas station', but it is. It's on a dock, so you are surrounded by water and the bobbing colorful fishing boats. A cool breeze blows and they serve up some of the best margaritas on the island. Shrimp tacos (Donna, I know this is killing you) are out of this world! Crunchy, creamy, spicy. Oh, yes! The fish and chips are awesome. Tender chunks of fresh mild white fish in a crispy batter. Not greasy. Divine. We had breakfast at Tacos Tumbras one morning. It is is the market stalls, down from Alexia y Giovanni, where we usually eat, but they were closed. It was a great place. I had pancakes and they were delicious. Great value, too! Dinner at Miguel's Moonlite -- Yummm!!! I love Miguel's Coconut Shrimp and we had such a fun night out with the gang. Pomegranite margaritas are delicious and Miguel's specialty! Lunch delivered poolside from Buho's. Shrimp Ceviche and Guacamole. Does it get any better than this? Not for me, it doesn't! Chile Loco's is a good spot to people watch on Hidalgo and the food is great. I absolutely love their margaritas, too. Two is just enough. :) Gerald had Mar y Ter I had the Chile Loco - a chile rellano stuffed with shrimp and cheese. Mmmmm Sunday Lunch at The Soggy Peso was a blast! We got there a few minutes late (Sucks to be on Mexican time going to an American owned establishment)and everyone else was already there! Mark, Donna, Christine, Inge, and Zina were there. We got the last table available at the time. Jim and Carmita showed up a little bit later and a table had magically opened up for them. Carmita is the Queen, tho, so I'm not surprised. The ribs were fantastic and I'm not a "Rib Person". They were smokey, lean and so tender they fell apart. Not greasy or fatty. We shared a huge plate of ribs, cole slaw, beans, and cornbread. All washed down with icy cold beer. It was delicious. Mark, Donna and Christine gave us a lift home on their golfcart. Christine drove, but we survived anyway. Soggy Peso ribs wouldn't have been a bad last supper, tho. "I want some ribs!!"

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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.