Friday, September 4, 2015

September in a Caribbean Paradise

Lawrie and Freddy - brothers from a different mother

It’s September.  

If we still lived in Canada we would be thinking of the upcoming harvest of crisp apples, juicy plums, pears and grapes; grapes to eat but more importantly grapes for delicious Okanagan Valley wines.   

Cool nights and warm sunny days.  September was always our favourite time of year in Canada.

Swimming with 40 foot Whale Sharks
Many miles to the south on our little island in paradise we have different priorities: fresh fish, pineapple, mangoes, watermelon and icy cold beer.


The days are still hot and very humid, the nights warm and a little less humid.  Occasional thunderstorms quickly roll across the island, or miss us entirely, soaking Cancun instead.  The ocean is calm, the winds light – perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming with the Whale Sharks.

In Mexico the children return to school from their summer break in late August and the day to day rhythm of the island changes.  We have more traffic on our street in the mornings as parents take sleepy children to classes that begin at seven.  Ugh!  We are early risers now, but not when we were kids.  Neither Lawrie nor I would have appreciated getting up so early to sit in a hot and stuffy classroom while a frustrated teacher tries to cram information into our sleepy brains.

Flirting is international!

In the afternoon we hear the shrieks of laughter as the pupils make their way back home.  There are many more walking home from school than to classes.  The parents deliver the kids to ensure they arrive on time, but for the most part let them find their own way home after classes.  The second shift starts at one in the afternoon and finishes up around six in the evening.  We can hear the late afternoon gaggle of gigglers passing by; boys flirting with girls and girls flirting with boys.

Girls waiting for a chance to sneak into a pool
Every September the new crop of high school students amuses us with their covert scouting of the various swimming pools along this street.  You can almost see their thought processes as they troupe along the beach in their school uniforms. 

Anyone at this house?  Anyone watching?  Maybe we can slip into the pool and no one will notice …. Oh, darn, those cranky people are watching us!  

The students preferred style of swimming is fully-dressed - removing only shoes - jumping in and out several times while covered in beach sand.  It seems to be a new-kid right-of-passage for the juniors, and a mother’s nightmare getting the uniforms clean and dry by morning.

Flag salesman - making money wherever he can
September on Isla is also known locally as Sept-Hunger.  In most of the world the youngsters are back in school and there are fewer tourists.  Less tourists equals less income for the people employed in tourist-based businesses – restaurants, bars, hotels, and tours.  

Family expenses continue plus the added expense of school supplies and uniforms for the new semesters.  Money is tight, and families struggle to make ends meet.

Cry of Delores - midnight on September 16th
But the worry about money evaporates for a day or two in mid-September with the important national celebration of Mexican Independence Day.  At midnight on September 16th, the Cry of Delores is reenacted all over Mexico.  

It’s a stirring sight to see a large crowd of nationals stand and shout: ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!  The celebration continues with fireworks and an all-night fiesta. 

Lynda - kayaking on calm seas
If you haven’t thought about visiting Mexico in September it might be time to reconsider your plans.

It’s a great time to be in Mexico!  It’s a peaceful time to be on Isla Mujeres.

Hasta Luego

Lawrie & Lynda

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