Tag Archives: Isla mujeres

Island Art

Isla boat sign

Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun that has the feel of an older style of Mexico.  It has some posh places but is more for the people who want the experience of small shops and mom and pop eateries.

Just after my visit in 2014, a group of artists came onto the island and created murals on buildings and walls. Isla Mural 3

They were all over the island.

Isla mural 1Where there had been plain concrete walls when I was here last, now there was visual interest everywhere.

http://residenciagorila.com/project/seawalls-murals-for-oceans-isla-mujeres-2014/

Isla Mural 2

The friend that we were visiting on the island is an artist there as well that has done signs on nearly every street we would walk down.

She is currently also doing pet portraits for people and donating half of her fees to the local pet shelter.

Here is one of her Chiquita that went on the island tour with us when Devin drove us around on the golf cart.

chiquita

She also does custom shoes.

sydney swag shoes

sydney swag hightop shoeYou can catch more of her works at:

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=sydney%27s%20swag

You will get to see the water color she painted for me to take to the wedding when I get around to writing about that part of the trip.

Thanks Syd,

Love Sally

 

 

Eating our way around the Island


When I was going to Isla Mujeres in 2014, I researched things to see and do, but really the bulk of my reading was on the places to eat. I found a food critic writer from PA that seemed to have been just about everywhere on the island over the years and had something to say about them all. I could tell from his writing and reviews that he was not a snobby eater, he just liked food, so much of what I learned for that trip was from http://www.hollyeats.com/IslaMujeres.htm

I made a hand written list of the possible places I wanted to go and BA, Syd and Jen indulged my desires to eat my way around the island.

Just before this trip with Dev, I found my well used list that had been on the first trip. It evoked such good memories looking at the extra notes I had added.
My travel companion for this trip historically has not been on the adventuresome side of testing his palate but did show beginnings of trying new items and spices in the past six months or so. There was hope.

Mikey hates everything
I have to say that he did me proud and tried and liked all that we  had and loved most of it. Showing true lineage, he said that the most fun was thinking where the next meal was going to be! My boy! Loving the culinary adventures along with me.

There was a major déjà vu day though. When I was on the island the first time, I had resisted ever ordering a dish called enchiladas suiza as while it was highly recommended, it looked a bit mundane. I learned my lesson on that trip as we went to Renee & Rene’s for lunch and I ordered the recommended shrimp tacos and BA and Syd split the enchilada Suiza. After tasting their dish, I knew I had missed out on a truly awesome plate of food that was beyond what I could have imagined.
So on this trip, I told Dev I needed to go to R & R and get this dish that I had never gotten for myself. He was in the mindset that he wanted to fill his seafood quota and opted for the shrimp tacos. I laughed aloud when our plates came and he tried mine and had that Holy Wow look on his face and knew that even without tasting his own, there was slim chances that his dish could surpass the flavors of mine.

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I laughed because, as after all, I had been at the exact same table and had the same realization less than two years ago. We shared, but he wasn’t going to be satisfied waiting until his next  trip and soon was only talking about going back and getting it for himself.

There lies the problem. Only so many meals to eat and so many restaurants to try. He fit another trip to Rene and Renee’s in between two of our other meals.

My last trip, the only spot we went to twice was La Bruja for the best seafood spicy stew ever.

La Bruja seafood stewIt is still an incredible bowl of awesomeness that we had once again on this trip.

For someone who hadn’t tried much spice until recently, Dev certainly leaped over any previous threshold he might have had on his scoville scale.

A few times, he had a bit much and paid for it when eating (always eating it all for he never wanted to leave the good food even if it was fire breathing) and sometime a little later too.

Here is what hot looks like when your still involved in consuming it.

Dev on fire

Dev would finish off every evening with a stop at the Churro shop that was only open from 7-11 pm and made the best home made churros ever.  On the nights it was closed (and even on some that it wasn’t) he would have a dessert of a marquesita from one of the street vendors.

Our last night we shared a lovely seafood combo plate followed by of course the Churro’s – plain and filled for the last night treat.

Seafood at dobi's

All in all, the island has the best food consistently I have ever found in one area. You should try it.

Love, Sally

Fun and Sun

Yesterday we slept in. Or at least we think we did. Our phones keep changing times so we are never totally sure what time it is. It doesn’t much matter since everything is on island time anyway and has its own flow.

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We headed to north beach which is just around the edge from our hotel to do some snorkeling. Dev had been skeptical about the endeavor but once he got his face in the clear blue water and saw the myriad of schools of fish, he was hooked. We swam until we were prunes and decided it was time for a meal.

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We could have been happy sitting at our table on Hildago street watching (and making fun sometimes) of people all day but we had asked Lalo to get us a golf cart so we could visit the south end of the Island and eat at some of my favorite spots down in that region.

Lalo had another job to help out with, so Dev, Syd, her pup Chiquita and I took off in the cart.

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Devin drove with Chaquita as a lookout and backseat driver.

We made it to the south portion of the island just as the sun was setting over Cancun.

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We had our dinner midway Down the island at Baseball tacos. It may sound pedestrian and in looks it very much is, but these are some of the best tacos you can ever get.  They have sauces and fixings that are simply awesome.  I was full after two, Syd also had two, Dev had two and then two more and all that with drinks was only $12.00 for the three of us.

Cannot beat that. Or the day

Love from Isla Mujeres

Sally

The difference of a few hours


imageYesterday morning was cold and snow was moving in again.

Lucky for Dev and I, we were hopping onto a plane and heading south.

We arrived in Mexico to some storms of their own.

Amazingly, the shuttle driver was the same lovely gentleman that drove BA and I to the island  ferry and back last year and he remembered me.

by the time we reached the ferry dock, the storms had moved southward.

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We made it to our hotel and then over to Syd and Lalo’s for welcome hugs.

We had decided to barefoot it around town and so when we sat at our  dinner table in the sand just twenty feet from the shore, we were able to eat our seafood cocktail and whole fish with our feet buried in the beautiful sand.

What a change of pace.

Love from Isla Mujeres

Missing the Point

I am heading to Mexico this week so last week I contacted my friend BA whom I went to Isla Mujeres with in 2014 and who also works in a bank and can convert some US dollars to Pesos.  I texted her asking what her bank’s rate is as mine was a bit on the low side.  She replied in text that she would check it out and get back with me.

Then next day, I get an email at work from her. (You might remember a previous blog of email exchanges with her where topics are varied).

Her email had the subject line of: Love this Couch so Much!!

and read:

This couch is amazing. Who knew that I could get one whole cushion for only .06133 each? So if I wanted, say, a HUNDRED cushions, it would only cost me $6.14 total. Yowzer. That is a deal. As I recall, the last time I bought a couch, a hundred cushions cost me $12.00 or so. I realize that it costs me a handling fee of $15.00 to order my cushions, but still a pretty great deal. If I had a friend who also needed cushions, we could split the $15 ordering fee, too. Then we would have the best couches ever!!

I love Interior Mark.

BA
Satisfied Customer

 

I was totally in work mode and thought to myself that she must be really bored today to come up with a story where she randomly prices out her bits of story, but hey, I can play the random email game as good as anyone, so I reply:

Ma’am,
You are correct that you did indeed get the best couch ever. Unfortunately it has since been found out that those cushions that we thought were available at that low cost (and let me commend you on getting a friend to split the cost – you are a true friend) were found to be not direct from the manufacturer as we were led to believe as a reputable dealer. They were found to be returns from a donation to an animal shelter that used them in their incontinent ward. With that said, if you don’t mind considering the stains as a decorative pattern, then these are the cushions for you. Let me know as I would be willing to include as a bonus a pillow that has been shredded and threadbare.
We love happy customers and want to keep gems like you.

Best Regards,
Gladys Yormine

Getting into my mode of thought,  she then replies to me after I have left for the day with:

Oh my! Well, boy did you find the right gal! As it would happen, I have actually been living in the incontinent ward of an animal shelter for the past 16 years! This could certainly account for the fact that the cushions not only LOOK fantastic to my eye, but they also smell just like home! I can’t wait to get home and burrow my face in there! Though, time to time, when I doze off my dear Petey comes to mind. He is right there in my dreams, one leg up and a steady stream anchoring his memory to every last porous surface I have ever owned.

I thank you for your honesty, but I’m keeping these cushions! God Bless you, Gladys.

I arrive at my computer the next morning and am cracking up at my friends email and so I reply:

I’m sitting and giggling at my computer and the room of people want to know what the heck is so hilarious.
You make my days.

She then replies:

You make my day!! Hahaha! I can always count on you for fun and giggles. So…I am slightly ever-so-challenged when it comes to exchange rates. But the rate is indeed as shown below. I also checked with Syd – and on the island the exchange rate is right around 16 Pesos to the dollar. It was 12 to 1 when we were last there – or close. So do you know how much you want to get? And when are you leaving?

BA

Then I reply:

Leaving on the 15th. Whoot! Whoot! I am going to miss you and Jen not being there but am ever so grateful that Syd and Lalo will be there for us. I texted Jen on her thoughts if I should go to Chichen Itza from Tulum while I am there. I think I will. Um, I got no rates below in my email, so is it possible you forgot to attach something or copy something? I’m not too worried. I can ask devin to stand at the arrivals from Mexico gates and see who has any pesos left over from their trips.

A while later, I get another response:

So the whole cushion pricing thing was completely lost on you? Are you already drinking tequila straight from the bottle? Here, let me help:
1 Cushion (Peso) costs .06133 each. Or, about 16 pesos to the dollar. (Cushions) Geez. At least now I know that nobody reading the emails on your end will ever suspect cryptic coded messaging.

Oh, and BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Cause you just made me laugh even harder!

At this point, I finally realize I am quite in over my head and can’t believe how ridiculous this has been and completely over my head.  The entire room that I work with is laughing because I am laughing so hard at myself.  They have no idea what has happened, but when someone is clearly cracking up and cant control themselves, then others can’t help but giggle at the laugh vibes.

I write back:

Oh My Goodness, I just laughed so hard that I caused a nosebleed! I also might have an office chair that has some pee on it too if you want one of those. I am such an moron! That was sooooo lost on me. Way way over my head. I was obviously in my snorkel gear (which it took me two hours to find last night – for real)
Why are you not going to be in Mexico with us??

I am such a goober. Your intellect is far too superior for me.

Back to where this started before I just thought you were bored and making up numbers and sending me random emails…..I’m almost thinking of changing $x.00 now and splitting the fee with you if your still offering up that deal.
Let me know your thoughts.

That was the end of our emails on exchanging pesos but not the end of the story.

She came over and I gave her a check for funds to change over for me and on Monday I got a text that her account had been hacked and someone in Austria (or Germany) had hacked her account and used nearly all of the funds.  Good thing the bank covers that kind of loss, but it almost had me crying tears again but not in laughter.

Moral of the story is to be extra careful with your debit cards and check curiously odd emails from friends for hidden messages.

missing the point

I’ll send a few photos from Isla Mujeres and Tulum Mexico.

Love Sally

Good Dates to Go part 2

04/10/15

Isal Mujeres wedding beach

This was, I think, the first time I was anywhere without family of my own to care for for more than a week.  Once more, I was surrounded by women for 12 days whereas I’ve been living with only men and boys for 25 years.  Syd’s husband was around, but it was mainly my friend and the 24 year old funnier than anything young women.  They had grown up in a home without men, so privacy was a concept not a practice.

Isla south end

Every day was filled with exploration, fun, laughter and great food.  My favorite day was probably the worst one in regard to the weather.  It was rainy and windy. We had a golf cart that day and went to the south end of the island (above) as well as many other stops.

La Bruja

The food blogger had recommended the restaurant shown above in blue and red with the laundry hanging above on the open second floor.  He said to go on Sunday and get the seafood soup that is only made on that day.  It was so ramshackle that had I not already been adjusted to seeing eateries in part of someone’s home or so small that they only had two or three tables and not been so impressed with each recommendation thus far, I probably would have opted to drive on by.

seafood soup

It was the cold and rainy day, so we all decided to try the soup.  It was the best bowl of heaven I have ever had.  Lobster, conch, shrimp, squid, fish in the most delectable broth.  I know it doesn’t sound all that great, but it was the only place we visited twice while I was there (there are more great places to eat than anywhere I have ever been) so we only wanted to keep trying more places and they totally let me choose day after day.  I am positive I have never in my life gone so long without making a meal and they were all great meals.  At home, we tend to not like to go out as most times we eat better at home than can be found in the restaurants.  Not the case on the island.

first night whole fish

We had whole grilled fish fresh from the boat caught that same day.

ceviche

Incredible ceviche.  When everything is fresh that day, it just takes seafood to a whole new level.

stuffed pablano

A Poblano pepper stuffed with eggs and potatoes for brunch one day.  Breakfast was usually eaten in the hotel as part of our deal.

enchilada suiza

Enchilada Suiza’s from Rene & Rene’s cafe.  One of those small places with maybe 4 tables and the best host on the island.  Rene made everyone feel welcome and well cared for.

tacos

And of course we tried tacos from several places – each different and all fresh and tasty.  The garlic cream sauce in one of them is something I have been working on creating for friends here as it is oh so yummy.

dock hand fishing

We would sometimes go to the docks in the evening where the local men would fish with nets to catch small fish near shore and bait their hooks with the small fish and throw their lines out and fish for barracuda  and larger fish.  They had no poles, they would swing the line out like a lasso as far as they could and pull it in by hand.  One evening, the gentleman in the photo above pulled in a tuna-like three foot long fish that was so strong he had to beach it to bring it in.

isla mujeres evening at the dock

I probably thought I was going to be spending a decent amount of time on my own so they could all just have family time uninterrupted but we had such a great time all together that I really did spend most of my time with them.  They never treated me as an intrusion and was allowed to share freely in all activities, conversations, stories and food.  They gave me flack when I did something ridiculous and took it back when I was on the giving end.

snorkling

We snorkeled around the island many times and saw really great fish and sting rays, but when Lalo took us out with their diving company to the reef, it was truly amazing.  We saw sea turtles and gazillions of different fish.  It also didn’t hurt that the guy who was part of the couple that went out with us looked just like Fabio from romance novel fame.

We really did have just the most amazing time and there are so many little stories that I can recall.  Had I had this platform then, you would have all been regaled with tons more stories.  It is great when you come back from such a trip and there are a myriad of words and phrases that are now attached to fond memories.

Thank you B, J, S & L for showing me around, letting me hang out and being your wonderful selves around me the entire time.

The photo below is another reminder and fun story for another time.

karma cafe

Love Betty

Good Dates to Go

04/09/15

isla

 

Last year on the same dates I am currently scheduled to go to Australia, I was fortunate enough to be invited on another epic trip.  It was to an island off of the coast of Mexico called Isla Mujeres.

A good friend with twin daughters who were both currently living on the island invited me to travel with her down for a visit.  One of the girls had married a local and the other was staying and working on the island after working in Costa Rica for some time.

We flew into Cancun, Mx and went straight to the ferry and over to the Island.

mom ipad 1129

We stayed in a small hotel on the beach with a pool that only had something like 17 rooms.  It was the east side of the island so I could peak at the sunrise – if I wasn’t already up – without even getting out of bed. Below is the view from our balcony.

mom ipad 1661

I hadn’t spent much time with this friend over the past 20 years but had always stayed in touch if we saw each other in the grocery or at the town events we would both find ourselves at.  She had at one time worked with Barney and I and she is the biggest reason we moved to where we are now in the mountains. That is another story.

The island was just my kind of place. There are many people who live on the island and while it lives off of the tourism, it has retained a local feel.  I had found someone’s blog on the wondrous food on the island.  He was a food critic from Philadelphia and I could tell by the way he wrote and described the delectables  that I probably could trust his recommendations.

With my translators with me, I was able to pretty much taste my way around the island.  English is not always spoken everywhere on the island so I was well cared for by having that crew around me.

More on this trip tomorrow.  It was last night with son 1 so that took priority. Pray for safe travels for him driving across country tomorrow ans Sat.

Love Betty