Thursday, May 23, 2013


Hasta Luego Mexico

Niki Wiki at anchor Isla Mujeres, Mexico
The sun is setting on our time here on the island of Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Yes, don't let the photo confuse you. We are on the east coast of Mexico and the sun still does set in the west. But, we are on the west side of an island off the coast of the Yucatan so we get to see the sun set over Cancun on the mainland.

We've totally enjoyed the constant sea breezes and lower temperatures up north here (OK, so "north" is relative, but we are 380 miles north of the Rio Dulce in Guatemala). The availability of fresh fruits and vegetables and  filleted fish from the local fisherman's cooperative have been a real treat.

Jonesy on the UltraMar Ferry to Cancun
Speaking of treats...Jonesy and I took the ferry over to Cancun to go shopping for those special items (from the USA) and Mexican foods that can be found in this tourist mecca. The water between the island and the mainland is stunningly beautiful. While Jonesy chatted with a tourist, I was simply mesmerized by the water - trying to visually soak it all up so that I could remember the colors when I need a "happy place" to go to in my head if needed in the future.

Of course we sat up on top of the ferry in the open air seats!
Downstairs and inside were cushy seats, air conditioning and televisions blaring. But up topside we had the breeze and lovely music played by a live guitarist.  Really, I think I could just spend the day riding back and forth on the ferry enjoying the music and scenery while I knit. That could get expensive at $13 US a round trip.

Once in the city of Cancun we grabbed a taxi and headed out to shop. We first hit the Costco - whooo hoooo! They had bags of a dried fruit and nut mixture that had no added sugars or oils. Perfect! We also picked up a bag of "trail mix" that included chocolate pieces for those times that we needed our chocolate fix. Sure, we can get some raisin, peanut, and pepitas mixtures in Guatemala, which are yummy, but not with dried cherries! These treats are for when we are sailing south to Belize and then into Guatemala. During passages we need simple, and easy to grab snacks to keep us going.
Kranky Krank candy bar

And talking about keeping us about some Krank? Especially if you're feeling Kranky - this chocolate and rice crisp candy bar is perfert for when you are just plain mean in the morning and need a little jolt along with your coffee. I haven't tried it yet (it's for the passage) but I'll let you know how it works out.

Transportation on the island of Isla Mujeres is primarily by taxi, golf cart or for the locals, motor bikes.
Motor Bike with Kiddie Seat
We see entire families loaded up on these bikes zipping around the island. Apparently there is a helmet law for the adults as they ALL wear helmets, but not for the kids (?!)

It gives me the shudders when I see moms holding onto their dozing kids while they drive. How do they all fit on a single bike? Here's a photo of the improvised kiddie seat on a motor bike. My guess (and hope) is that in a short time helmets will be required for all riders. These things take time and having access to such luxuries as motorized personal transportation is relatively new in this part of the world for most folks.

Let's see if I can understand the sign in the next photo. Yes, Pensionados are what we understand to be the other retired folks who apply to stay in some of these Latin American countries and live on their pension income. Panama has a lot of pensionados from the USA and other countries.

Cajones, the next word on the sign. Isn't that slang for balls? So now we're confused. What is this sign in Cancun telling us to do? We weren't sure so being the obedient gringos that we are, we stood our Pensionado Cajones right up under the sign. There. Best we could do at the time.

Of course later we researched the words and found that there are alternative meanings. Pensionados also can mean "residents" as in the residents of the building here. and Cajones is a drawer in a piece of furniture, but it is often the way that cojones is mispronounced and spelled in the US. So this is simply resident's parking I guess. Oh well, just one of many language difficulties we experience most every day.

The solution to the mental exhaustion we have at the end of such a day is to find a good place to hang out with friends and have a nice meal. We ran into a knitter friend, Nancy on the sailing vessel Dixsea who was busy with a beverage and knitting up a dishcloth in the pool bar at Marina Pariso.
Nancy knits at the bar
Another knitter was cooling off in the swimming pool at Pariso so I stopped to chat about yarns for the socks we make for the kids in the orphanage in Kazakhstan. Then off we went to meet friends at another marina for dinner.

So many of the other boats here have already left for the states or to go south to the safety of the Rio Dulce. But we still have a few folks here that we've known for years from other places that we've been. That's how it is with cruisers - we move about and leave our friends but sometimes we even run into them again. In fact, we met up here in Isla Mujeres with a boat that we knew from way back in 2006 when we were working on this boat getting ready to go cruising for the first time. That was in San Diego California! Sailing vessel China Doll has made it's way through the Panama Canal and up to Mexico too!
How do you like THIS chair? I think I could live in it! It has cup holders and places to stash my knitting. Oscar's Marina and Restaurant has many of these chairs on their grounds. It must take a special artisan to create these working from the natural twists of the wood.

OK - gotta go - my internet will shut off in just a few minutes. Then we'll be off the grid for a week while we sail south to Belize. The boat is ready to go, we just checked out with the Port Captain and Immigration so we are ready to go too! Hasta Luego, Mexico!

I like knitting at the bar too. Even when I get chastised by bartenders and a few customers. I usually remind them what the Vietnamese would do with sharp tiny pieces of bamboo as I show them my needles and they don't bother me anymore.
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