Friday, July 21, 2017

It ain’t easy!

Another spectacular day on Isla Mujeres.      
It sounds easy; tour around Isla Mujeres on a golf cart. Just point the front end, stomp the gas pedal and off you go.

Caritos de golf aren’t fast and are relatively easy to steer depending on the overall condition of the vehicle. Uneven pavement, unmarked pot holes, or the numerous speed bumps, called topes, can jostle a poorly maintained vehicle around.

Richard and Lawrie - our island vehicle
A typical golf cart is just darn basic. It comes equipped with four wheels, a steering wheel, seats front and back and a one-cylinder seven-horsepower gas engine. 

They don’t have turn signals, brake lights, windshield wipers and of course no seat belts, airbags, or baby seats. In the slightly upgraded models a horn is included and if you are lucky it might actually work. 

Your arms are the turn signals. (Although it seems at times that drivers born after 1980 were never taught how to use hand signals.)

Accident in front of our house
When driving on Isla indicate your movements, lane changes, and direction changes clearly or you will find yourself being driven in a cop car to the police station. There you will pay for the damages to the vehicle that you hit, damages to the vehicle that you were driving, the other persons’ medical bills, your medical bills, and a number of vague traffic ‘fines’ that can mount up to several hundreds of dollars.

Busy streets on Isla Mujeres
The whole process of straightening out your accident can burn up hours and hours of your vacation time.  We know from personal experience after helping other folks deal with the situation. 

And please, don’t think about leaving the island without paying for the damages. You are a long way from home, and Mexican jails won’t win any Trip Advisor Awards for Excellence. 

(Prisoners are not fed, they must make their own arrangements for food and water to be brought in to them.)
Move over - we're coming through!
But the most important accessory on a carito de golf is the rear view mirror.  Make sure your rental vehicle has one, and check it frequently.  Motos, motorcycles and scooters will pass on either side of you. 

Drive as far to the right-hand side of the lane as you safely can because other vehicles will pass on corners, hills or wherever there is a little bit of space. 

For a taxi driver time is money. If you are hogging the lane the taxi drivers will become impatient and pass you, expecting you to move over and make room for their vehicle to squeeze by.

Vacationers - let's go to Isla and rent a golf cart!
During the year when families are on vacations watch out for young children steering a golf cart. 

It’s illegal, but for some reason folks think that the streets on Isla are quiet little country lanes with a few golf carts puttering along, and that it’s a cute idea to teach a youngster how to aim a vehicle on a busy road. 

Look again folks. There are ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles, propane trucks, or tractor-trailer units, over a thousand rental golf carts, plus hundreds of taxis, motorcycles and bicycles all vying for limited road space. 

There is no 'slow season' on Isla anymore. 
Another challenge of driving on Isla is the abundance of drivers posing for ‘selfies,’ weaving back and forth in the lane as they try for the perfect shot of themselves and friends. 

Add a few cervezas and margaritas and later in the afternoon we hear the ambulances whizzing past our house, responding to yet another accident involving golf carts and motos, or golf carts and taxis, or golf carts and pedestrians.

Watch out for unmarked hazards.
One of our island-born friends, recently lamented, “They think they are in Disneyland when they come to Isla.” 

Enjoy your visit to the island, and don’t become one of the accident statistics. 

It’s not the way to finish up your vacation in paradise.

Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie


Treasure Isla
Have you got yours yet?

Treasure Isla is a humorous Caribbean adventure set on Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the eastern coast of Mexico. Two twenty-something women find themselves in possession of a seemingly authentic treasure map, which leads them on a chaotic search for buried treasure while navigating the dangers of too much tequila, disreputable men, and a killer. And there is a dog, a lovable rescue-mutt.  
$2.99 USD on Amazon ebooks.

The cover of Treasure Isla has a new look courtesy of one of my favourite mystery writers Carmen Amato. She is the creator of the popular Emilia Cruz Detective series set in Acapulco. 

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