Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Faux Ruins

Our first visit to Isla Mujeres, we may have thought this structure and wall around the area were Mayan ruins -- or at least very old structures.  All I can say is not!

Recently I read a comment on a Facebook message board referring to this as a Mayan ruin, so I thought I'd further muddle the issue on this blog.

I read the explanation years ago on a message board that's been defunct since 2004 and the poster has since passed away.  He was one of the original ex-pat's to build on the south end, but it's possible his rendition from the Isla coconut telegraph could be inaccurate.  Add that my memory has also faded.  The tale went something like this:

Sometime in the not so distant past (pre-2000), an ex mayor (or former government official) decided to build his own soccer field/ball yard at Punta Sur.  This structure and the walls surrounding it were part of project.  During the process something went wrong and his dream never came to fruition. 

I snap a few photos each trip of the ever-evolving scene.  The boat blocking the path has been moved (or pushed back?), but now the plants and birds have taken over the scene. 
We thought about doing a retake of the old muscle shot from 2002 with our little canine friend, but never got around to it.  Dang!

These masks on the original walls, photographed five years ago, are mostly consumed by vines now.

The new masks in the Punta Sur parking lot mirror the masks on the other wall's pillars.

Long story short -- what's left of the Mayan ruin, Temple Ixchel, can be accessed by the Punta Sur path beyond the sculpture garden.  That is the only ruin at Punta Sur.
If any readers have the entire story or a different rendition of the failed project, I'd love to hear more!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Walking Juarez

Where is Juarez?  It's the north/south street between Medina, the dock street, and Hidalgo, the main shopping/restaurant street on Isla Mujeres.  Medina is where you'll see the most fishermen, boats, commissionistas, and daytrippers, and Hidalgo consists mainly of restaurants and shops.  Juarez is more of a local's street with a mixture of shops, loncherias, and homes.  It's a good street to walk down if you want to witness the local culture.

The island wakes up in the morning with locals walking to work on Juarez.   Notice all the crossed wiring.  I rarely look up, but it's a tangle in this photo.

Juarez is home to some of the oldest most colorful homes on the island.

This mosaic wonder is a fairly recent (within the last few years) addition to Juarez.

 La Susanita, a local loncheria on Juarez.
Juarez is peppered with these signs nailed to residences along the street.  The sign means please, no parking.  People who live there need to be able to park their vehicles.

Some blue gingerbread trim on another historic casa.
La Lomita, a small loncheria up the hill at the south end of Juarez, is known for its bean soup, enchilada suizas, and ever evolving shrine.
Another colorful address on Juarez, Galeria 13 Juarez, houses a decor store.
Poc Chuc, a well known loncheria on the corner of Juarez, has a menu board outside where you can take a photo!  Stick your head through!  I did!
Local women walking past my favorite spot at Mogagua.
 Mogagua's the best place for frappes and watching the world pass by on Juarez!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Sopa

It sounds crazy  I got hooked on Azteca Soup from Amigos in July when the temp was 90 degrees (real feel 105)!  
I hate to admit it, but we hadn't eaten at Amigos since 2005.  After noticing friends repeatedly seated there in the evening, we decided it was time to revisit our restaurant choices.  We made up for lost time this trip with repeated visits.
Back in 2004, we always ordered the Roquefort Steak.  Craig tried it again and yum!  I stuck to my soup (with many bites of his steak) and was never disappointed!  The soup also comes with the puffy bread, another favorite.  
You gotta try it!  Tell them the crazy lady who kept ordering the sopa in July and mopping up the bowl with the puffy bread sent you!
Amigos is located on Hidalgo across from Suites Los Arcos next to El Patio.  Most nights El Patio has music up top and if you're sitting at Amigos, the sound level is just right!  Bonus!
When I return home from our trip to the Northwest in August, I have to try this recipe for Azteca Soup!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Da' Beach

You'll be relieved to know da' beach is still there.  The sand is white and the water is a beautiful shade of pale turquoise, but I have a confession. 
Craig and I really don't love going to Playa Norte, especially in the hot summer months when the sun is so intense.  I do love swimming in the warm Caribe water in June/July, but neither of us enjoy sitting on the beach. 
We usually spend less than two hours on Playa Norte when we go.  I water walk, but still haven't mastered the zen art of walking on water.  After I've had my dip, Craig steps in for a few minutes to cool off and we leave. 
We probably trudged through the sand of Playa Norte no more than 5 times in the three weeks we were on island in June/July.

Here's my June photo of the FeliPez booth.  Right after I took the first photo, a guy came running, gave me an angry look, and quickly shut all the doors.  The guys who work there usually pose and make bunny ears for my photos.  Surely they didn't get in trouble over bunny ears?  I'm still scratching my head.

The lilies were blooming in the white sand.

And the palms where we place our beach chair were decorated with colorful pareos and clothes.

Chimbo's mural looked improved since our January trip.

Along with a new lobster door!
We go early before the crowds arrive and leave before noon.  I know you must think we're crazy not to spend every day lounging on da' beach, but don't feel sorry for us.  There's an attractive alternative to Playa Norte on hot summer days.
It's 10 degrees cooler in a pool on the Caribe side!  Ta daaaa.  Stay cool!

Friday, July 24, 2015

What We Did on Our Summer Vacation!

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

Easiest blogpost ever!  I'm sending everyone over to my favorite Isla Mujeres blog -- Notes from Paradise! -- for a report on our summer vacation!  (Click on Notes from Paradise!  That's the link.)

Thanks to Lynda, Lawrie, Thomas, and Sparky for the most relaxing vacation in paradise ever! We so enjoyed every moment of our time on the island at their lovely home with our favorite Isla pets!

Enjoy!  We certainly did!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Muelle 7

People back home in Arizona often ask me how we can stand to eat Mexican food everyday for a month when we're on Isla Mujeres.  Say what? 

All types of cuisine ranging from American bar food, Italian, Mediterranean, Cuban, Mayan, Asian fusion, Mexican traditional, and a sprinkling of the Tex/Mex that we Americans classify as Mexican food can be found on the island.  I've heard there's even a Kentucky Fried Chicken type restaurant and Chinese carryout in La Gloria.  Since we're visiting an island in the Caribbean and hail from a landlocked state in the U.S., we can't get enough of the fish and seafood that locals catch and sell to restaurants everyday.

This lovely warm June evening, we were in Quintana Roo on Isla Mujeres, but we weren't dining at our usual haunt down at the docks -- Bally Hoo.

Instead we decided to stroll the sidewalk a few doors south on the Rueda Medina waterfront and dine at another favorite -- Muelle 7.  (In case you're wondering, Muelle 7 translates to Pier 7.)

I ordered the Fish Veracruz and it was amazing! 

Craig ate the freshly caught tuna cooked to medium perfection.  Both fish dishes were placed atop a bed of rice with crisp grilled veggie kebabs. Yum!

After finishing my fish, I noticed the Happy Hooker's dinghy propped against a palm next to the dining palapa on the beach.  No pun intended, but Muelle 7's food always creates a happy ending to a fun evening on Isla!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Everyday People

A malatero delivering a shipment of flowers early Thursday morning (probably to a friend who arranges flowers for weddings).

Hector serenading us at dinner one night.

A local woman protecting herself from the hot summer sun with an umbrella.

A Chiapas girl arranging the merchandise early one morning on Medina.

A vendor preparing his orange juice cart for business that day.

A malatero delivering purified water garrafons.

 This man rides the streets of El Centro delivering fish (or pollo?) in his bucket.


A little girl purchasing a fruity treat from a street vendor.

 The balloon man on Hidalgo at night.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Down Sac Bajo Way

We took a spin down Sac Bajo yesterday.  It hasn't changed much with the exception of the Zoetry sign replacing the Villa Rolandi insignia.  It's still one big coconut/seashell/trinket stand!

I've always loved the little purple cottages.

And this door.

The pace is slow.  Is this a crab liberation sign?  LOL

 Richard Sowa's floating island still appears intact.  He's had quite a run with no big hurricanes since Wilma in 2005.

The funniest sight was the performer across from the new Ice Bar gyrating wildly to a boom box to try and attract customers. I did not capture his act.

On the way back, I totally missed the picture of the day due to the fact that Craig does not slow for photos.  It's always the man's fault.  The trash truck was stopped in front of the Ice Bar entrance.  The garbage man on the tippy top of the truck was dancin' like there's no tomorrow to the tune blasting from the performer's boom box.  His face was one gigantic grin!

How I wish my eye was a camera lens and I could blink and capture the moment!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Coconut Telegraph


A lot of news on a small island gets spread by way of the coconut telegraph.  It's like a game of Button Button where you whisper a secret in someone's ear and see how it changes as it passes round the circle. 

But I'm teasing.  I have no secrets to tell -- just a few updates.

The summer is no longer low season.  People comment on message boards about summer being 'slow' season, but that must be in September?  El Centro seems packed during the day with a traffic jam each afternoon, and most restaurants have a healthy amount of patrons. 

Lobster's in season now.  It's fresh!

The new Sunset Grill is open out in the marina area south on Medina next to Bahia Tortuga.

It is not raining on Isla.  I fully expected a tropical wave or two during our three weeks, but nada. 

That's not to say it's not HOT.  My best tip for summer travelers is stay along the Caribe windward side.  It feels 10 degrees cooler than Playa Norte or the bay side.

The bus is running.  No wait.  It's broken down on the corner of Casa Ixchel, so don't wait for it!  Oops.  It's gone this morning, so maybe it's running again!

This I know is true!  Coco Frios can be purchased all over the island.  The stand pictured above is on the southern Caribe side in Guadalupana where all the shell stands are located out front.

That's all I've got for now!  If I hear any good secrets, you probably won't read them here.  LOL

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Neighborhood Walk

I'm trying to reform my lazy ways the final days of our three weeks on Isla Mujeres with a morning walk through the colonias before the heat and humidity of the day descends.  Currently at 2:30 pm the temp is 90 degrees, but the real feel is 105, so walks take place early!

This house was a landmark for us back in the day when we rode bikes through the colonias.   I think the paint's still the same color.  I first noticed the house because I was fascinated by family altars.

This woman's been setting up her fruit/vegetable stand on the same corner forever.  Later in the day, she moves around the corner to escape the hot sun.

I've always loved these two side by side doors.  Different rooms?  Separate apartments?

We noticed this tacqueria on a street that curves toward Chedraui for the first time yesterday.

Horse trailer? Another one just like it sits on a lot on the Caribe side.

                                    A second tortilleria a few blocks south of the one below.


I should start counting the number of Bugs I see on each morning walk, but I get too distracted by clotheslines!

Happy Domingo!