Friday, November 23, 2012

Nothing remains quite the same

It’s been ten years since we discovered Isla Mujeres.  Ten years!  That’s a mere slice of time compared to a number of our friends who stumbled upon this island paradise 20, 30 or 40 years ago.  We are relative newbies to this island.  Looking back through some of our many photos I thought it might be fun to share a few of the older ones. 

The first time we visited we crossed the strait between the mainland and Isla Mujeres on one of the Magaña boats, the dank and smelly Caribbean Miss spewing diesel fumes as it laboured across the water.  The after-sunset taxi ride from Centro led along a bewildering series of dark streets, curving roads, and a potholed-almost-not-a-road, eventually depositing us at our rental house at Villa Makax, Steve and Lindell Lehrer’s cute little casita.  

Our first view a few days later of the famed North Beach was stunningly beautiful – sugar white sand stretching across the top the island, with an unobstructed view all the way to the Avalon Hotel.  Before the IxChel One and IxChel Two condo developments, before the Privileges Aluxes Hotel the only other tall structure at the north end of Isla was the old lighthouse next to Jax Bar and Grill.  Smitten with the island we returned several times either visiting family, or introducing friends to Isla, finally purchasing our lot in June of 2006. 

The changes we notice most are funny little things, things that have personal meaning for us.  For instance, the palms trees at Casa Luna Turquesa that now almost obscure the house.  We and two Canadian friends bought the first two palms for that yard.  We purchased two little sticks, with a few feathery leaves poking out the tops at a garden centre on the island.  

We hustled the palms back to Casa Luna in two taxis - with drivers that were competing to see who could get their passengers back the quickest.  Big tip for the winning driver!

New UltraMar docks under construction 2006
Other changes that have affected us personally include a much better choice of grocery stores.  The first visit we could only see a choice of eating at restaurants, or shopping at the convenience store, Mirtita, in Centro.  

By the time we had built our home in 2007 a St. Francisco Super X-Press had located in Centro across from the municipal plaza and the church.  

Opening Day at Chedraui Super Store December 2011

A second Super X-Press opened in Colonia La Gloria in 2009 and the Chedraui Super Store with a great bakery department, decent produce section and a good selection of wine opened in December of 2011.  

We still venture off to Cancun at least once a month to get the other extras that are not stocked on the island.  This week when we were doing the Cancun run we ran into at least a dozen islanders in Home Depot and the same dozen people in Costco a few minutes later.  We all had a good laugh about doing the circuit of Cancun.

But for me, the best change is the choice in passenger ferry boats, or as we call them, water taxis.  

Instead of enduring the rolling, bobbing, smelly Caribbean Miss, we can ride in air conditioned comfort on the twin-hulled UltraMar jet boats, and make the crossing in fifteen minutes.  

Thank goodness nothing remains quite the same.


Rose Obenhaus said...

I remember changes too: My first visit to Isla was in 1984. My husband and I took a taxi from the dock to the south end to snorkle. The only way the taxi could honk his horn was to brush 2 split wires together under the dash. We rumbled down a dirt road. The fish and reef were spectacular. (open beach, beautiful coral and tons of fish, no admission park) The taxi ride "back" to the dock at the end of the day cost 3xs the original price (haha) We loved our 1st Isla visit! I think I left a piece of my heart there. Rose O.

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Hi Rose: So much fun hearing about other people's experiences with Isla. It is a fabulous little island. Cheers Lynda