Friday, August 11, 2017

Isla from a kid’s point of view.

Dancing, dancing, dancing - carefree and happy.   
To get a different perspective on life on the island, we decided to write about Isla from a kid’s point of view.  
We asked several of our friends if their youngsters would be willing to answer a few questions. Here are their responses.

Where were you born? 
Cancun and the USA were the most common answers.

Hanging out with friends

How long have you lived on Isla Mujeres?
My whole life, or in some cases the youngsters answered with the number of years. 

It sounds so very grown-up, but from their perspective, it is their whole life.

If you have lived in another country do you miss anything from that country? 

The mountains.  

Interesting enough none of the kids mentioned missing a particular food, which according to our grown-up friends is one of the biggest adjustments they had to make. We have friends who ‘mule’ down a variety of their favourite items every time they return from their country of origin. We, on the other hand, have adjusted to the food and flavours that are available here, with the exception of my favourite brand of hard, salty Dutch licorice. That I get ‘muled’ to us a couple of times a year. It’s a must-have.

Bike riding on the Malecon

Is living on Isla fun?
Everyone answered that one with a big YES!

Why wouldn’t it be?  There are parades and fireworks several times a year for Carnaval, Independence Day, and Revolution Day. Then there are traditional dance groups, musicians, and Carnaval dancers. 


Trick or treating for several days is common

A youngster can celebrate Christmas with their Canadian or American friends, and still convince mom and dad that they should receive presents on the Night of the Kings, January 6th.  Or they can trick-or-treat for Halloween, then continue through November 1st and 2nd, for the Day of the Dead. 

The tradition of trick-or-treating was brought to Mexico by visitors, and the local kids adapted just fine to the custom expanding it into a five or six-day binge of collecting candy and pocket change from tourists.





One of several basketball courts 
What is your favourite thing to do on Isla?
These answers ranged from playing video games, going out for dinner, hanging out at the beach, and enjoying the annual Carnaval dances and parades. 

Us too, except the video games. We’re terrible at those! With a choice of hundreds of restaurants ranging from high-end gourmet to economical home-style, it’s a great way to introduce youngsters to new foods and a new culture. 
Revolution Day parade on Isla Mujeres
Kids can also learn to play baseball, basketball or soccer. Then there is fishing either with a few friends or as a participant in the annual kid’s fishing tournament. Ride a bike. Learn to skateboard. Go swimming, or just chill at the beach. With the exception of a few storms that roll across the island the weather is normally warm, sunny and great for outdoor activities. No snowsuits required!
Playing in Centro

What languages do you speak?
Everyone answered English and Spanish. 

Other languages that we have heard local youngsters speak include Hebrew, French, Italian and a number of Spanish dialects from South American. How lucky for the kids to be fluent in a number of languages at such a young age.

Annual Fishing Tournament for the young islanders

Do you sometimes translate for your parents?  
Most said no, that their parents are bilingual, some said yes their parents are still learning Spanish or that they translated for grandparents. 

We need one of those! We still struggle to learn the language after nearly ten years of living on Isla. A fluency in other languages is so helpful when you travel to other countries. I struggled with five years of mandatory French when I was in school.  Lawrie chose Latin, which strangely enough has been very useful for deciphering written instructions or road signs in French, Spanish or Italian.
 
Summer fun all year around
Is your best friend the child of a foreigner?  Or a Mexican child? 
The majority of the responses were: I have many friends who are from the USA, Canada, Europe, and Mexico. What a great mix of experiences for island kids.

Where do you go to school?
Most of the youngsters attend school on the island whether it is private school or public school. One is being homeschooled by parents.

Do you like school?
Ha! The answers were pretty plain which ones were boys and which ones were girls. Boys-no! Girls-yes!

Any advice for parents who are thinking of moving with their children to Isla Mujeres? 

Parents, for the most part, answered that question:

Celebrating Independence Day in Centro
Living in Isla is great with kids, safe, and fun. Most of the things I thought I needed to raise a child it turned out I did not need at all. Learning to live simply is the best lesson of all!  

Rent a golf cart, get to know the island and get a house.

Learn the culture, learn the language, and get involved with the island.

Enjoy your week,
Cheers

Lynda & Lawrie 


Treasure Isla

Have you got yours yet? $2.99 on amazon e-books
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. 



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. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Saving Lola!

Julie Goth pouring water on stuck mama turtle.   
“Hey Lawrie! There’s a sea turtle stuck between two rocks! Can you help me get her free?”

Rob Goth, our neighbour a few houses to the north of us, stood in our courtyard shouting towards our upper deck. 

It was early in the morning and we still had our bedroom door closed with the a/c running. We hadn’t heard him shout, but the dogs Sparky and Max had. They woofed, and Lawrie opened the door to investigate. 


Julie, Lawrie, and Rob - how are we going to do this?
Then Lawrie yelled an explanation to me and took off, leaving me to scramble out of the shower, toss on clothes, and dash after him with my camera in hand.

When I arrived on the beach side of Rob and Julie’s house, appropriately named Casa de Tortuga, Julie was gently pouring water over the turtle’s head and Rob and Lawrie were discussing ideas to free her. 

The temperature was already a sweltering 30C but felt like 36C due to the high humidity, that’s 86 and 97 in the American temperature scale. 

Rob Goth, sun umbrella for turtle
The turtles can survive on land for short periods to lay their eggs, but the ladies always arrive after dark and usually leave by sunrise.

This poor mama was hot, and getting hotter.
She was tightly jammed in a crevice between a ledge and an enormous chunk of rock. 

Fortunately she was in the upright position, not standing on her head. 

Lawrie suggested lifting her out by her flippers. I said no, that might injure the muscles in her shoulders and then she wouldn’t be able to swim. (What do I know?)

Rob went back their house for small, red and white beach umbrella and a bigger bucket to pour water more over her. 

Rob Goth, hat for him, bigger umbrella for turtle
I zipped up to the street, looking for a local who might know the number for the Tortugranja, the Turtle Farm. 

Tony Gutierrez was passing by, I asked him if he knew anyone at the Turtle Farm, He said yes, and offered to drive over to tell them we needed help.

Other neighbours, Cesar Sepúlveda and Sylvia Leal supplied a bigger beach umbrella, and another bucket. Their daughter Fanny pitched in with filling buckets of water and passing them to Rob. 

Visitors from Kansas City, who were staying at Vidrio del Mar, the Sea Glass house next to Rob and Julie's helped wherever they could. As did a guest from nearby Punta Piedra.


Fanny lugging water. Guest from 'Sea Glass House" helping
Cesar hopped into the family golf cart and drove to the Turtle Farm looking for help, not realizing I had already spoken to Tony Gutierrez.

More people arrived, everyone curious and trying to be helpful. Some of the new arrivals took turns pouring the water over her head and body, hoping to prevent heat exhaustion. 

Lawrie and I both grabbed large coils of rope from our house. 



More helpers arriving
Cesar and Sylvia contributed flat tie-down straps used for holding cargo in place.

It seemed like forever, but in reality it was probably about thirty minutes before the turtle farm employees arrived. 

They decided to lift her out by her flippers …. as I said, what do I know? (Yes, honey, you were right.)

The guys used the tie-down straps instead of the rope because the thin straps were easier to maneuver between the turtle’s body and her flippers. 

Success! She's moving.
Then Luis, Amado and Emir lifted her, one on each side and one grabbing her shell behind her neck. The first attempt didn’t work, Amado asked for a hammer and chisel, thinking to chip away a bit of the rock. 

Rob reached in and suggested they give it one more try, poof – she was out.

Cheers erupted, everyone grinning like little kids at the circus. 

Turtle guys and helpful visitors - hold her for a minute

The mama started off but she was dragging a strap still attached to her front flipper. 

Three guys struggled to hold her back while another (Luis maybe?) undid the strap. And then she was off.

Amado escorted her to the water’s edge, waving her a farewell.

Everyone happy and turtle headed back to ocean
It was heartwarming to see so many people from Canada, the USA, and Mexico come together to help this one creature. 

The next day was Rob Goth's birthday and as he said, "This was the best gift I could have dreamed of."

A really big thank you to the Tortugranja employees from all of us.



As we headed home, carrying two really heavy coils of rope, I turned to Julie Goth and Sylvia Leal, “Hey, what’s her name?” I asked, pointing at the retreating turtle.

Amado escorting 'Lola" back to her home.
“Lola!” They yelled back.

From all of us, happy travels Lola, and for heaven’s sake, watch where you are going!

Hasta luego,

Lynda & Lawrie


The numbers for turtle emergencies: 

998-134-0712   Kai Creamer

A further update, today Aug 5th Capt. Tony Garcia found another mama turtle stuck near Casa Coral. 

He was able to rescue her as well. Might be an idea for home owners on the Caribbean side of the island to do a morning check for trapped mama turtles.  Better than letting them bake to death in the sunshine. 






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. 



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.