Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day of the Dead

Having been on Isla Mujeres a few times for Day of the Dead, I love the way Mexicans honor their loved ones who have passed on.  A friend recently posted this video on a Facebook page, so I thought I'd share it to give an example of a traditional Day of the Dead ceremony.  The video gives me goose bumps.

On message boards, visitors frequently ask what events take place on the island.  In my experience it varies from year to year.  In 2004, I viewed a procession down Hidalgo to the cemetery in the late afternoon, and a ceremony with children and adults in traditional dress in the zocalo that evening.  The photos below were taken in 2006.  In 2009, altars set up in the square were short-lived because they were demolished by rain and wind.  Halloween was almost a no show that year, with very few trick or treaters on Hidalgo and one lone Dracula riding his tricycle round and round the zocalo in the pouring rain.  Every year, families spend time with their loved ones at the cemetery decorating graves and lighting candles.

Locals setting up altars on the zocalo to honor family members.  Notice they include photos and favorite items and foods.

The cemetery's also a very busy place during this time.  During one of my visits in late October, vendors set up stands on the street outside selling flowers, candles, and even drinks.

 A candle left at a grave.

And then we have the Halloween holiday here at home.  People in this neighborhood go all out with the decorations.  I'll try to get some photos today while we're out walking or riding bikes.  Yesterday, Craig insisted on buying a huge bag of chocolate candy bars at Costco to hand out at the door tonight.  I usually buy candy I don't like so I won't be tempted to eat it, but he won the war.  So my goal is not to play the gorging game and eat one every time I hear the words -- TRICK OR TREAT!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Bug's Life

If you've read my blog for a few years, you realize I'm obsessed with taking photos of Volkswagen Beetles, especially in Mexico.  I even have an exasperating newer generation VW Beetle convertible in my garage.  We call it the money pit, but that's another blog post. 

Check out this cool video of the Vochol Beetle decorated by Huichols.  This Wikipedia link gives more background on the project. 

Wouldn't I love to have this fabulous Beetle!  Here are a few more pics of Isla Beetles taken over the years.

Red bug on Juarez.

Town crier.

He must have run the wheels off this one!

Nice paint job!

Zebra stripes!

Cow theme?

Love this chartreuse beauty!

This one has a trash bag roof?  Must be covering a sunroof.

                                                                              Dolphin Discovery Mobile

And here's a vintage Bug from the liberal enclave of Bisbee, Arizona.   If that was left sitting on a street around here, I shudder to think what would happen to it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

She Sells Seashells Down by the Seashore

Life must be harder than ever now for the vendor who sells seashells down by the sea, especially in tropical destinations where most travelers arrive by plane.  With all the new baggage fees and restrictions, most tourists bypass the big conchs in favor of a small souvenir that can be tucked away into a carry on bag.

 I still have a conch purchased on my first trip to the Gulf of Mexico back in 1958.  (That's my brother and I playing at the beach on that trip in the right margin.)  Back in 2002 on our first trip to Isla Mujeres, I bought two huge conchs from a vendor along Medina and hauled them home.  Once in awhile, I still like to hold one up to my ear to hear the sound of the sea (actually, the sound of blood pulsing through my ear -- LOL).

Remember the magic of holding your ear up to a conch when you were a child? It rates right up there with the first time my parents bought me Mexican jumping beans back in the 1950's on Olvera Street in L.A.  I can't remember the last time I saw Mexican jumping beans!  I bet those wouldn't get through customs!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Isla Food Porn Blowout

 As always, we ate with wild abandon on our June 2012 trip to Isla Mujeres.  I didn't come home with the usual number of food photos because we dined with friends quite a few meals.  When that happens, I get engrossed in conversation and just forget to pull out the camera.  I'm also hesitant because I'm sure acquaintances think it's  weird when I insist on photographing the food.

I often read posts on message boards where visitors choose A.I. options when visiting the island and eat all their meals onsite.  I wonder if it's fear of eating outside the hotel?  It's a shame because the restaurant choices and local food on Isla are outstanding.  If there's any doubt as to whether the food on Isla Mujeres is safe to eat, I can honestly say I've never experienced a food-borne illness in the ten plus years we've habitually traveled to the island.

I should play the name that plate game with readers, but this sampling wouldn't be a challenge for frequent visitors.

A cazuela and omelet from M & J's Cazuela.

The Shrimp/Avocado Salad from JAX.

A BLT Avocado Bagel and Mexicana Omelet from Bally Hoo.

Mojito and guacamole at El Veradero.  A usually avoid alcohol, but those mojitos are good!

I will play name that plate with readers here.  These are dishes from Basto's and for the life of me, I can't remember what the dishes are called.  I think the plate above is an huarache de arrachera.  The dish below eludes me. Anyone know?

Watermelon liquadas and a gorgeous burrito at the Mango Cafe!

Both of these tasty selections are from Monchi's.  Once again, I need someone to name that plate because I always struggle with the menu there. Ramon has to translate when we order. 

The fruit plate and Huevos Mexicana from Alex and Giovanni.  Great way to start the day!

The Hawaiian Burger and fries from JAX.  Craig and I split it because it's huge and muy tasty!

I almost needed a phone a friend with this plate.  Then I realized it's the breakfast tacos from JAX.  A friend wanted to eat breakfast there, and we'll definitely make a repeat visit on our next trip!  They were so good!

 Fish tacos and a shrimp cocktail at Bally Hoo!

Two huge platters of fish and fixin's from Victor's Havana Cafe on Juarez.  We dined on the malecon that night!  I dream about that fish!

A Philly Steak Sandwich at Bahia Tortuga!  I ordered a hamburger and it was also delish!

Vivian's watermelon liquada at Qubano on Hidalgo.

The Cobb and Vivian's Salad at Qubano.  Those are fried goat cheese croutons on top the salad below and they are to die for!  Vivian's now open for lunch and dinner at the new location!

Enchilada Suizas at La Lomita on Juarez.  OMG!  I ate it and I felt guilty afterwards, but I'm sure I'll do it again -- many times.

This wonderful Mediterranean fish dish on couscous is from Comonos.  Yum!

We ate all this and so much more on our last trip.  Fredy's was closed, so I missed his baked shrimp.  I forgot to take pictures when we ate at Mama Rosa's, Brisas Grill, Barlito, and some of our other usual haunts.  

Right now my stomach is growling!  What to eat . . . what to eat!  I haven't started a countdown yet, but we'll be back again soon!  


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Dog Ate My Homework

Life has been intervening lately with blog posting time, not to mention we're currently not traveling and I don't have anything novel to write about.  And here's the dog ate my homework excuse -- my former laptop crashed in the late spring and destroyed all my photo files prior to our last Isla trip in June.  That's made posting very time-consuming and difficult.  I do have most of my photo files on a backup device, but I'm reluctant to risk this laptop because who knows what's lurking there. 

I could tell you about the recent books I've read that I loved (The Thread, In the Kingdom of Men, Cuba Diaries, etc...), but you can catch that down on the sidebar.  I've also been mulling whether I want to continue posting on any kind of regular basis, or just occasionally when I have trip stories and photos to share.

As you can tell, I'm befuddled and bamboozled at the moment!  : )  For now, instead of declaring a total departure, I may post the occasional rerun until our next adventure in November.   Or maybe I could just show filmstrips everyday like my son's seventh grade science teacher!

Hope I'm forgiven for my current slacker attitude!  This too shall pass!

Here's a video from our 2011 November/December trip to Isla Mujeres.  I'm hoping our upcoming trip will be just as much fun (without any dental complications)!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another October

Another year -- but October!  2009 to be exact!  People frequently ask what the weather will be like in October on Isla Mujeres.  Well, it could be sunny, it could be cloudy, or it could be rainy.  Perhaps all three in one day. The best way to get an accurate prediction is to ask a local expert -- a fisherman or boat operator!

October 2009 brought a lot of sun and a lot of rain!  And early November brought a hurricane!  Here are some scenes from the sunny beach days.