Monday, October 27, 2008

More Retro Isla

For all you Islaholics, I know you'll be able to tell me what's great about these two photos. I found them yesterday in a grouping from our first trip to Isla. The photos were taken with my first digital camera, so they're all extremely lacking in megapixels. But I was thrilled with the non-claustrophobic view from the cemetery!

The rest of the pictures from that trip made me think about what Isla felt like when viewed for the first time. A slow carefree flip flop world. No phone calls. No newspapers. Very little television. No driving and little traffic except for golf carts, motos, scattered taxi's and delivery trucks. Friendly people, despite the fact that we didn't speak Spanish. It was the most relaxing place we'd ever visited. Very little polish or sophistication to the island then. It was just after Easter in 2002 and the pace was very slow. Most evenings, there were only a handful of people in any of the restaurants we chose. We'd stroll the streets watching locals going about their daily routine. A little friend with a red, green, and white collar found us on our morning walks and tagged along. We thought he was angling for a ride home with us, but I now realize he was just waiting to share our breakfast. He camped out under our table after the walk and dined on toast, omelet, and bacon scraps.

Remember all the hub-bub over the Convention Center dogs? I remember all the arguments on the old message board. Here they are on the beach out in front of Secreto.

We stayed at Secreto that trip and it had just opened. $75 a night including tax and continental breakfast. And I can also remember the rants on the old message board about Isla inflation and who the heck would pay $75 at the Secreto on Isla. That still makes me laugh. At the time, we couldn't have stayed at the Travelodge at the Seattle airport for $75 a night, so we were extremely happy with my find and hoped the price would never change! Secreto was beautiful, but probably a lot less polished than it is today.

Here are some other photos from around the island. I can't really put the exact words to my feelings when I look at these pics, but Isla just seemed a bit fresher and more innocent that first trip!

Hotel Garrafon dock was still straight and useable, especially for the birds!

Dinner at Caso O's. The waiter was beside himself because El Presidente was at a table on the lower deck. I'm thinking El Presidente was Paulino back then?

We were there on May 1, so we watched the workers parade.

Hugging the pyramid wall on top of El Castillo.

Since it was our first trip to the Yucatan, we wanted to see Chichen Itza. I'm allergic (seriously) to diesel fumes and have motion sickness issues with buses, so we found an agency on Isla (Prisma) that set us up with a private driver who met us at the Puerto Juarez ferry dock in Cancun and drove us to Chichen Itza and back. I referred to the driver as El Dangeroso because he sped down that humpback backroad at about 90 mph (not the toll road) all the way. He didn't speak much English, and we didn't speak Spanish. I felt like I was taking a big leap of faith (since I'm a bit of a control freak). Last year I realized El Dangeroso was Gaby at Sergio's Playa del Sol. Tee hee. He's a nice guy and his English has improved tremendously. Gaby also took us to a cenote, the square in Valladolid, and several other small towns on the way back. Here are some more photos from our off-island trip.

The Cenote

Cathedral in Valladolid

Not having traveled much outside the U.S., the Yucatan was a world away from anywhere we'd visited. I was amazed at the stick houses in the villages. It reminded me of the Three Pigs. It seemed a wolf could huff and puff and blow those stick/palapa huts down. I didn't take any pictures because Gaby was moving too fast and I also felt it would be ugly to jump out and take pictures of their humble dwellings. At one point during the trip, Craig needed a bathroom, so Gaby stopped and checked out several places looking for a bano for Craig. Craig said it was one of those hole in the floor setups, so I was glad I limited the fluids!

Another zocalo and old church in a small Yucatan town.

I have to say it was probably the best vacation we've had on so many levels. We were discovering a location and culture totally different than anyplace we'd been. And the turquoise clear waters of the Caribe made Isla more striking than any beach location we'd visited. And the place was so s-l-o-w at a time in our lives when we really needed it! And I never dreamed I'd end up being such a repeat visitor and making so many new friends. :)


Moongrl722 said...

What beautiful pictures. The old pics of Isla do make us nostalgic, don't they? It was like we'd found a wormhole back in time. I have pictures from out on the beach of Media Luna before Secreto was even built!

Vee said...

Another wonderful post. Amazing how 2002 seems like forever ago on that little island. Your blog is always fun to read - there's nothing like a dose of Mana on Monday morning. I now have headphones at work so I can listen while I read your latest entry.

Life's a Beach! said...

Jana, I'd love to see your older pics of Media Luna beach! And Vee, 2002 does seem like a long time ago. It's unbelievable how much Isla has developed in such a short period of time. :(