Sometimes Paradise goes awry, and everything about our May 2008 trip was not hunky dory.
On Day 1 of Week 2, we bid farewell to the friendly caretaker at Mar y Sol and headed to our rental for the second week. I'll just cut to the chase. Our new rental was not as pictured online. The decor appeared to be a mismatched jumble of worn leftovers, and what was that smell? The dipping pool had a milky appearance with scum floating on top. Then there was the broken television, the window with no shades looking directly into the open window of a squatter's shack, the musty wardrobe missing one of the plywood doors, the gray and black camouflage curtains and see through blinds, and the note on the A/C to never set it below a number that translated to hot and muggy. And the smelly bedding and pillows.
The room filled me with a sense of dread. If I recall correctly, Craig turned to me and said, "Becky, this time you've gone too cheap." He's rarely unhappy with lodging and can stay at the Sleep Inn, but he hated it. Long story short, after a sleepless night that involved a huge wolf spider on the wall over my side of the bed, someone or something on the balcony trying the slider and knocking a large conch shell off a railing, and road noise and vibration that felt like our bed was in the middle of the street out front, we were both fried. There was nothing relaxing about the location. And the biggest negative was my asthmatic reaction to something in that room. And I'd never had problems with asthma before! I sat up all night wheezing, struggling to breathe. By 6 a.m., we unanimously voted to forfeit the paid nights and get out. We wanted to salvage our last six days and nights in paradise.
Since we were up all night anyway, we showered, repacked the bags so we could leave quickly when we returned, and headed to El Centro before 7 a.m. to start hunting for a place to sleep for the remaining 6 days and nights on Isla. After checking a couple of hotels, we decided our best bet was to contact Isla Beckons to see if our favorite rental had an opening. I found an internet cafe and immediately started emailing. Long story short, an hour later I was on the phone with Gwen from Isla Beckons and she quickly arranged for us to meet Marcela at Luna Turquesa in an hour. Plop plop fizz fizz -- what a relief! Craig took care of informing the manager we'd be leaving that day and she could keep the rest of the prepaid rent. We were soon starting over in our favorite top floor studio at Luna Turquesa.
We quickly fell into the rhythm of life at our favorite spot on the island.
Waking with the sunrise.
Watching Missy and Oddy from our balcony. Back then, I'm not sure they knew their names were Missy and Odd, but they were the cute beach dogs that played and rolled in the ground cover together at dawn. We look forward to seeing them again in a few weeks.
We collected seaglass and shells on the beach out front and sorted the collection on the balcony table.
And spent mornings watching the island pass by from our perch on the upstairs balcony. This man's pulling a furniture delivery on a cart.
Since we were closer to El Centro, we spent more time at the beach.
Love this boat.
In this photo, you can tell Playa Norte was rebuilding sand in front of Maria del Mar.
The wooden piers seemed to be working.
Cute gate on Juarez.
The Tweety Bird house.
I managed to snap a photo of the skeletons at the paper maiche shop on Hidalgo without getting caught.
The median in front of the Navy base on Medina had been improved a bit with landscaping and a new monument.
We used the malecon for a cooler walk into town from the airport strip.
Playa Norte down by Maria del Mar.
Alicia, the new mayor during that time frame.
A May sunset from Bally Hoo.
Wall sculpture on Sac Bajo.
His cousin propped up behind the Pemex station.
Mural at Mininos.
Sunset on Medina.
I'd be lying if I told you this was our favorite trip to Isla Mujeres. We returned home a bit disenchanted with the island and actually vowed to try another tropical destination the next trip. The island seemed very crowded in May 2008 with traffic jams on Medina and the airport strip. And the taxi drivers just beat us down during our stay at Mar y Sol. 50 pesos from Sac Bajo road in front of the Cristalmar to Mar y Sol. Really? We got disgusted that trip and rode the bus when it was convenient. That laid back vibe that had lured us back to the island year after year seemed to be evaporating.
Looking back on it now, I realize that paradise is a state of mind. 2008 was an extremely stressful year in our lives, and sometimes you can't escape your problems by changing locations. Your baggage travels with you.
Wherever you go, there you are. (Deep thoughts by Beck.)