Friday, February 24, 2017

Where the heck are we? Tourist photo-ops,

Dance troupe at the whale shark statue on Isla Mujeres
We’ve all done it, posed beside a large decorative sign with a recognizable name.  The signs are memory joggers for photo-buffs, those of us who snap hundreds of pictures on a two-week holiday trying to capture all of the excitement, all of the beauty.  The signs remind us of the location of a fun experience, a quirky building, or an interesting street scene.

Sunrise side of Isla Mujeres

Recently we have seen an increase bright, cheerful signs simply proclaiming – Isla Mujeres.  We think the signs have been installed to help combat TCS, tourist-confusion-syndrome. Symptoms of TCS include an inability to distinguish between one city and another. Sufferers of TCS are usually oblivious to their surrounding due to the over-use of selfie-sticks and alcohol. Conversations with a visitor who suffers from TCS can sound something like this:

“This is my favourite part of Cancun,” the bikini-clad woman said. 

“Cancun?”  The islander asked, his eyebrows lifting, questioning. Then he noticed the woman was wearing identification wristband from an all-inclusive resort, located on the Riviera Maya.   

“Yes, we are on a day trip from the hotel zone.  This is my favourite part of Cancun.”

“Actually, this isn't Cancun.” He patiently replied, “We're a separate community. This is Isla Mujeres.”

“Oh! I’ve never heard of it.”       


Arriving on Isla Mujeres
If you are here on a day-trip, the first indication that you aren’t in Cancun is the enormous metal sign spread across the top of the Ultramar passenger ferry terminal – Isla Mujeres. Snap a phone pic of that one to help you remember where you were. Or just a few steps from the boat, at the head of the wharf is another photo opportunity – an anchor, a painted wooden sign, and the beautiful blue ocean. During the Christmas holidays an enormous inflatable, wooly bear complete with Santa hat and scarf sat beside the anchor. It is an ideal stop for a memory-jogging photo.

Whale Shark statue at night
If you rent a golf cart to tour the island, there will be several other visual clues that you are not in Cancun, you are on Isla Mujeres. There is a large whale shark statue, suspended over a sculpture of a small fishing boat, a panga. It is located about five minutes south from centro, on the western side where the Malécon runs along the water’s edge.  The statue is a popular place to stop for a touristy photo. Driving past this area can get dramatic at times when golf-cart drivers suddenly brake and swerve to the curb, pointing excitedly at the statue with their selfie-stick.

Sunrise side of Isla on winter solstice December 21st 
Back in centro on the eastern shoreline, the sunrise side of the island there is a newer, yet already rusting large sign proclaiming the name of our small community: Isla Mujeres, Island of Women.  The sign is located behind the Casa de la Cultura.  Abasolo Avenue will take you right to the sign – but please remember the Malécon is a walkway.  It isn’t a place to play dodge-em with dog-walkers, joggers, and parents walking small children. The Malécon narrows and ends at a wall, leaving you the obviously-not-an-islander, red-faced, and reversing to extricate yourself from the jam. 

For the folks that are only visiting for a few hours, and plan to walk around centro one of the newer tourist stores on the double-wide Rueda Medina Avenue, Plaza Don Agustin, has a perfect place for a memory-jogging photo inside their store.  On the wall is a depiction of a whale shark along with the name of our community.

In the same neighbourhood is the Miramar Restaurante, located on Rueda Medina Avenue and across from the Señor Frog store. After enjoying a snack, or lunch, or perhaps a cold beverage you can walk out on their dock for yet another Isla Mujeres photo op.

Islanders try their best to help cure TCS, tourist-confusion-syndrome.
Now, if someone could just convince the souvenir sales-people to stop selling Cancun printed t-shirts, and touristy gee-gaws, maybe we could make some real progress.


Lynda & Lawrie

$2.99 USD on Amazon Kindle e-book

By Marcia on February 4, 2017

Really enjoyed this fast moving and entertaining mystery. Loved her characters and since I read the book while on Isla Mujeres it was twice as much fun! I also really enjoyed all the background and historical facts about the island that was woven throughout the story. Can't wait for the next book.

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