And I replied as I always do: "I live here, but I am originally from Canada." We then moved on to discussing the winter weather and how this has been a record-breaking cold winter north of the US/Mexican border.
"Menos treinta grados centígrados?" He tosses both hands in the air in an expression of mock horror. (-30 Celsius is -22 Fahrenheit. That's damn cold!) "Por qué?" He asks. "Why? Why live there?"
"I don't know!" I respond, grinning.
My response prompted a comedy routine. Unusually expressive, his hands hardly touched the steering wheel for the entire ride as regaled me with his thoughts on living anywhere where the temperature was less than 15 Celsius. (59 Fahrenheit) I was still laughing as I exited the taxi and then I started thinking of our Top Ten Reasons Why We Live in Mexico. And here they are in reverse order in the style of the David Letterman Late Night Show:
Number 10 - History and culture: Mexico is ancient, dating back to Mayan, Aztec and Toltec civilizations. Add in a little Spanish culture starting in the 1540's and you get a nice mix of romantic, expressive and passionate people.
A deeply religious culture the citizens have a number of fiestas and celebrations throughout the year adding colour and music to the environment.
Number 9 - Sea creatures: Whale sharks, sea turtles, and dolphins still abound in this ocean. Deep sea fishing is a thriving business as are the underwater photographic safaris specializing in whale shark, sailfish, and marlin dives. I have experienced swimming with the whale sharks, twice. It is a fabulous feeling when a forty-foot-long creature glides past, uncaring that I am floating just a few feet away, suspended in its world. Wow! Diving and photographing the sailfish are still on my bucket list.
Number 8 - Good restaurants and cool beverages: We can eat, drink, and be merry at a choice of over 100 restaurants, bars and taquerías on the island. We can choose between Cuban, Italian, Swiss, Argentinian, Chinese, French, Mediterranean, Tex-Mex, or of course local Mexican flavours in a range of prices from expensive to very inexpensive. Lounge on a beach, dine on the street, tuck yourself away in a hidden beach bar - the choices are amazing. Many of the eating establishments feature live music during the late afternoon, or evening. The music adds to the festive feeling of a holiday in paradise.
Number 7 - Sunrise and sunsets: My favourite times of the day, the beginning and the end. In the morning the sleepy sun reaches up to fingerpaint the sky in pinks, and oranges, and purples. It is the start of another new day. At sunset the sun slowly gathers in the colours, putting them back into storage for the night, tucked away safely until morning. A glass of wine, and my sweetie beside me as we watch the sunset - it's a perfect ending to another great day.
Number 6 - Beaches and boats:
Two of my favourite things to photograph are the white sandy beaches, and the myriad of interesting boats moored or anchored nearby.
Many of the boats are painted delightfully cheerful combinations of yellow and blue, turquoise and white, red and yellow, or green and orange, reflecting the love of bright colours prevalent in this culture.
Number 5 - Laughter and easy acceptance: Living on Isla Mujeres is the best choice for us. It is a small community where people care about you as a person. Friends accept you for who you are, not what you were. In other words if you were an important person in your previous life, or just an uncomplicated worker, it doesn't make any difference either way here on the island. You are simply a friend.
Number 3 - Colours: Reds, blues, greens, yellows, oranges and purples tossed willy-nilly as if a omnipresent painter was having a temper tantrum, scattering tins of paint with a sweep of a large hand. Houses decorated in fanciful combinations, reflect the owners personal preferences. Frequently clothing hung on an outside line to dry in the sun will be as colourful as the outside walls of the home. Brilliantly tinted flowers tumble over walls, in an array of reds, oranges, and pinks. Fruit vendors offer up papayas, pineapples, and melons. Eye-catching and beautiful colours abound.
|Early morning on January 29th 2014, at North Beach|
Number 2 - The weather: January is the coldest month of the year with average daytime temperatures of 27 degrees C, (81F) and nighttime temperatures of 19 degrees C. (67F)
January is also part way through the dry season starting in November and ending in April. That means cool dry weather with an average of nine hours of sunshine per day.
There is no time for what one friend referred to as "the Florida organ recitals" as in my kidneys hurt, my stomach aches, my gall bladder is acting up .... and on and on. No one cares that we are getting older. We enjoy each day.
So, -30C in many parts of Canada and the USA as opposed to +27C in Mexico on the same day in the month of January. No wonder the taxi driver regaled me with his comical anecdotes about Canadian weather. It is totally beyond his comprehension why people live in colder countries.
Lynda & Lawrie