Friday, February 26, 2016

Doggy dreams in paradise

Dreaming in paradise
He’s an old, slightly arthritic, black dog snoozing in the sunshine under a rickety red table: dreaming.  His feet twitch, and his eyelids flutter as he relives his younger years.

He dreams of racing with his neighbourhood pals along the white sand beaches, dashing into the rolling surf to retrieve a floating coconut, tussling with his friends over possession of a stick.  

Summer camp for pooches

On hot summer days there were always plenty of neighbours who would play with him.  

The humans liked to wade in the warm ocean, splashing and laughing – willing to toss a stick for him to retrieve, again and again. 

Tiny but tough!

Sometimes when he was younger he would roam the nearby neighbourhoods looking for a girlfriend or two.  As he tramped up and down the streets he occasionally met up with other male dogs who didn’t want him trespassing on their territory.  

Scuffles ensued and one or the other of the dogs would suffer a tattered ear or a bitten neck.  No matter.  He’d shake it off and head back home to lick his wounds. 

"Maybe I can find a treat here ..."
Occasionally when he explored the island he would nose out a tasty treat near a taco stand, something dropped by a customer, or perhaps left in an unsecured garbage can.  Even following food vendors could be like winning a lottery.  As the vendors stopped to sell their goodies, tidbits might escape and fall to the ground.  Bonus!  He wasn’t starving, but different foods were always a welcome change from the normal dry dog kibble provided by his humans.

Stay out of my territory!
He was so much luckier, he thought, than the rooftop dogs, the ones that were confined to the upper level of a house, unable to run free.  

He loved to torment them by strutting past, tail in the air: look at me.  I’m walking in your neighbourhood.  I’m checking your garbage cans for treats.  And I’m romancing your ladies.  

Tony Garcia photo credit
The rooftop dogs would bark and growl in frustration unable to reach him, unable to teach him a lesson about trespassing.  

This was the best game ever!  Even better than chasing cats and iguanas.  

Although he thought that riding on a moto-scooter, like a few of his luckier friends were allowed to do, would be the very best adventure.  

He would stand nice and tall with his paws on the handlebars, and pretend he was steering the motorbike.  Awesome.

Cuban refugee boat - providing shade for a friend

Then he was dreaming of another late night adventure a few years ago when a strange boat landed on the beach in front of his house.  A group of twenty people scrambled off tossing aside unwanted clothing and food items.  

Early in the morning a number of navy Marines and the municipal police arrived to check the boat.  Someone mentioned Cuban refugees.  

He had no idea what that meant but he and his friends thought that Christmas had arrived, as they nosed around in the castoffs for soggy crackers and discarded packaged foods.  Living near the beach was always interesting.

Home Sweet Home
As he snoozed in the sunshine a noisy group of tourists stopped in front of his resting place, exclaiming over the beautiful shells and trinkets that his humans had for sale.  

Yawning, he stretched and slowly ambled out from under the table. 

Ah well, I might as well get up and be friendly, wag my tail a time or two.  Maybe I can earn my kibble by convincing the tourists to buy a few more shells. 

Hasta Luego
Lawrie & Lynda

Apologies to the pooch and his people for fictionalizing his life.  He was an interesting looking dog that I wanted to write about.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

A wacky week of fun – something for everyone

Just hanging out with family and friends
It’s February in paradise, the high season for tourism, and there is fun for everyone.  

You can buy beautiful crafts, listen to Nashville performers, go deep sea fishing, hang out with friends, or have a visit with a free-roaming crocodile. 

On Monday night the Mexican Artesian Pavilion was officially opened by local dignitaries.  This national exhibition is here on Isla until February 21st.  

Beautiful crafts from all of Mexico - City FB page photo
The big white tent in centro houses an assortment of beautifully handmade items from several different Mexican states, featuring a tasteful assortment pottery, hats, jewelry and clothing.  

It’s a fun place to do a little shopping in the afternoon, especially earlier in the week when unexpected downpour put a one hour hold on many of the other activities, such as the Island Time Music Fest.

Hidalgo Avenue - after 20 minute down-pour
Now in their 7th year the Island Time Music Fest – and Island Time Fishing Tournament started rocking the island with music and Nashville singers on Monday February 15th.  

Originally a smaller, two-venue event it has grown to include a variety of restaurants and bars scattered around the island.  And for the diehards, there is still the exciting fishing component of the event – sailfish, marlin, wahoo, Dorado, and yummy tuna.  

All proceeds from the week-long extravaganza go to funding the Little Yellow School House on Isla Mujeres.

Island Time Music Fest - FB page photo

For us we have had a more personal, but very fun time with family members, first-time-to-Mexico cousins, and an assortment of Canadian friends.  

We ate, drank, napped, ate, drank and napped our way through two laughter-filled weeks.  

If the fun doesn’t end soon, we will have to buy our clothes at Jones Tents & Awnings. 

Richard, Scott & Judy (cousins) Lynda, Linda, Lawrie
The margaritas at the Soggy Peso are now on the “that’s-never-gonna-cross-my-lips-again” list for a number of our friends.  Something to do with memory loss, I think.

As for the visit with the free-roaming crocodile, Lawrie’s cousin Scott and I were driving back from taking the two pooches out for their morning swim, and I spotted a local woman standing beside the pond near the new hospital.  

“Ah ha, I bet she is taking a picture of the croc.”  

Smile - say Tequila!
I did a u-turn and we parked alongside the pond.  Yep!  There was the crocodile stretched out and sunning on a mat of vegetation.  

The crocodile didn’t seem at all concerned at the attention, just continued to sun itself, although I think it was keeping a hopeful eye on the two dogs.  Perhaps it was hoping a little morning snack would just happen to come its way.

Just another fun week in paradise!

Hasta Luego
Lawrie & Lynda

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Tangled - the parade that never was

Pretty Carnaval dancer
A hot salsa beat pounds out of enormous speakers, as a truck and trailer filled to overflowing with Carnaval dancers heads for the parade assembly area.  

The street is stuffed with happy spectators.  The street-side restaurants are overflowing with celebrants waiting for the start of the Carnaval parade.  It’s all part of the fun, knowing that the parade never, ever starts on time.  

And knowing the wait will be worth it when the dancers finally arrive.

Group arriving at the north end near Jax Bar & Grill
Truckloads of costumed dancers drive past our chosen viewing outpost on Rueda Medina.  

The groups lurch forward, then stop as the troupe manager decides they should do an impromptu performance – hoping to make a little more money from the crowd to help pay for their expensive costumes.  

The street is a whirl of pink and purple and green and orange.  

Great-grandmothers and Grandmothers
Great-grandmothers and grandmothers strut and twirl.  Their daughters, granddaughters and grandsons follow with more energetic routines. 

The traffic stutter-steps along the proposed route, inching along in the wrong direction.  Other groups have assembled near the Navy base for the three o’clock start time, while the renegade groups buck the system and party on.  

High flying dancer
By four o’clock we decide to walk south along Rueda Medina, towards the beginning of the parade, looking for more dancers.  

Many groups are still performing in the street, nowhere near the assembly point.  The crowd doesn’t care.  Everyone is having a great time. 

A little further south, directly in front of the UltraMar passenger ferry terminal we finally find a dance troupe that is headed in the correct direction.  This group is also dancing enthusiastically and their forward progress is slow, very slow.  

Energetic dancers outside UltraMar terminal
The street is noisy and awash in bright colours as costumed performers strut, twirl, leap and spin.  

Arriving ferry passengers are caught up in the mad whirl.  

Some are startled by the pandemonium, others instantly meld into the chaos – bouncing to the beat as they weave their way through the crowd, dragging unruly suitcases along bumpy sidewalks.  

For them it’s an unforgettable introduction to Carnaval.

Fun introduction for visitors to Carnaval in Mexico
The south-bound trucks get diverted by the municipal police, the wrong way on a one-way street, to enable the troupes to join the parade line-up.  By six o’clock in the afternoon we have given up on the idea of an actual parade.  

Groups of dancers come and go in front of us.  I snap photo after photo, wondering how soon I will exhaust the camera battery.  The last and the largest group finished their spectacular display in a candy-coloured whirl of pink, orange, blue, green and yellow.  Worn out from all the fun we walk back to where we parked our car. 

Last and largest dance group
The next morning while chatting with friends, we discovered that the parade never did get as far as the corner by Jax Restaurant and Grill - the official end of the route.  

Many groups gave up part way along, too exhausted by their three full days of energetic dancing, and then the energy-sapping long delays during parade. 

Ah well, there is always next year!

It’s Carnaval.  It’s Mexico!  Nothing ever goes as planned.

Hasta Luego
Lawrie & Lynda

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Several of our friends dancing in this group

Friday, February 5, 2016

If a picture is worth a thousand words .... then this is a really long blog ....

It's Carnaval 2016 Starting Friday February 5th.   

It is one of our favourite times of the year!  We are too busy having fun right now to be creative with words.  See you next time.

So many photos of fun times, we decided just to post pictures of previous years.


Grab your camera and get out there to enjoy the 5-day event.  


Lynda & Lawrie