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Vacation Journal
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My first, but far from last, trip to Isla Mujeres

By: MAKTUB
Date: 1/21/2006

I believe it only fitting to set the scene for my first Isla Mujeres adventure. Several months ago, in the midst of turmoil in my home state, as fate would have itan instant friendship formed unlike any I had known. Through our endeavors in the time we spent together, Eileen told me intriguing stories and love for Isla Mujeres. She spoke of it's intrinsic values and the mystical influence of the island, the people and their culture. We agreed that at some point in time, never imagining it would happen in the near future, we would travel their together.

Eileen lives in a state where snow is prevalent during the winter months. In our many discussions I expressed that "playing in the snow" was on my list of things to do. Being from the Bayous of Louisianaand the multitude of places I have been; the closest I had come to snow was the white capped mountains of British Columbia off in the distance. Eileen invited me to spend the Holidays with her, her family and friends. In the early part of December I ventured out, spending time with friends in Ky., then on to Eileen's. From there the intent was to go to Niagara Falls, Maine and possibly into Torornto. Once at Eileen's the days seemed to pass ever so quickly.I did have occaision to stand outside, arms outreached, looking upward to the sky as flurries fell. I stood in splender as I looked around at the snow covered landscape. I was having my opportunity to "play in the snow." Of course, I believe Eileen thought I was a bit off the mark considering her ideal was the warmth of Isla Mujeres. Yet, I saw, felt and enjoyed the beauty of where I was and always will.

One night, in celebration of Christmas, I was extended the invitation of going to Isla Mujeres with Debbie, Carl and Kerry. As much as I wanted to go I initially declined. I didn't want to go without Eileen, who had shared so much of Isla with me through her minds eye and the fact that we had spoken of going there together. Before all was said and done, Eileen and Doug agreed to go; we were all scheduled to go.

Upon arrival, in Isla, I fell silent to a great degree. Not that I didn't have the words to describe what I was seeing and feeling but because I was in complete awe. I was captivated by the vibrant hues, the fresh smell of the air and the utter calm that overtook me. I had become lost in a completely new state of mind and frame of being. Absolutely beautiful was all I could say when initially asked of my thoughts. I was experiencing and understood the mystical essence that absorbs every part of one's senses. I now knew, first hand, what Eileen had spoken of. I found myself taking the deepest breaths that were followed by complete relaxation. Nothing else seemed to matter with exception to the moment, the sights and the way I had come to feel so immediately.

The New Year was brought in with celebration in the square, an area filled with local families. I watched the joy brought to the children, the smiles on the faces of their families, as my friends walked throughout giving glowsticks that were a mere reflection of the light they gave in doing so. So simple, yet, so meaningful in and of itself. Though I had no linguistic understanding of the local language all was very self evident.

I was introduced to Sergio's and watching the sunset. Most every evening evening we'd meet there. Socializing was more like a family gathering. Come sunset all would become quiet as the last arc of the, brilliant orange, sun would come to rest below the horizon line of the, seemingly cobalt blue, water. All eyes gazed in that direction and when the last glimpse of the suns light was gone cheers and clapping would follow. It was then on with whatever activities of the night followed. Of course; I had the pleasure of meeting Sergio himself. I was greeted by him as though I had been there before. I listened to and watched a man of character speak of experiencing Wilma in her fury then, shortly thereafter; laugh and joke lightheartedly about other events and interact with, not customers of his establishment but, friends who had returned.

Captain Polpo; where do I begin? Being born and raised on the water my love for fishing is almost an obsession. Arrangements for a fishing trip were made for Eileen, Debbie and me. For as much time as I have spent on the water back home, not to undermine being on the water there; this surpassed any fishing trip I have ever made. It was a girls day out. The sight of the water as it's values of blue transformed from one variation to another to the point that, at times, it belnded into the sky. As though I were there now; I can hear Capt. Polpo referring to us as flowers, reverently questioning our comfort and calling out, "FISH ON." Barracuda, a species I was only familiar with through the Discovery Channel and an episode of 911 where a woman was actually attacked. I have to laugh at myself. As I am not fearful of many things, I was excited and in my element fishing, some of the photos of me and my first showed my ear to ear smile but at closer glance also showed my reservations. At the end of our trip; we were brought back to Sergio's where of course more photos were taken of our catch and us with Captain Polpo. Our fish were cleaned and we were treated to an excellent dinner at Sergio's.

Then there was Captain Tony who took us snorkling on our way to the Ilse of Contoy. That was definately a first for me and I saw sights that I can't ever imagine escaping my memory. The beauty of the coral reefs; the differing species of fish and their broad spectrum of colors which simply emanated. Contoy, itself, a refuge, need more be said. A Manta Ray at the shoreline that was able to be touched, the fascination over snorkling the waters there and observing octopus, conch, other species of fish, before unseen by me, and yes a Barracuda I didn't see but was informed was about three feet from me. Of course that brought a chuckle to my friends as they watched me swim feverishly to get away and out of the water. Then on our way back watching Captain Tony handline for barracuda and the smile on Debbie's face as she was given the opportunity to catch and pull one in. A perfect day to say the least.

May I not forget Romey. His ever smiling face and gestures as he made our drinks and intertained us with little comments.

I believe that which had the most impact on me was meeting Angelica. A, young, local woman whose story I had heard from Eileen. Although there was the language barrior, I watched as her eyes and expressions, as she held her youngest child, told a story in itself.

Although I am back on the Bayou I find myself, more times than not, closing my eyes and returning to Isla Mujeres and I'm there if only in my mind. The undescribable peace I found is with me and I call it my Isla mode. Thankful for having gone and with every intent of returning; I abhorred the thought of leaving because I was quite content and at home. The mystique of Mujeres is with me as I truly think part of me has remained there.

My heartfelt thanks and love to my friends, Eileen, Doug, Debbie, Carl and Kerry for sharing this part of their world with me. More than I could ever say it is a gift that has made a change and will never be forgotten. BTW, I really like Bimbo Dogs.

MaryAnne, I'm glad I got to meet you and thank you for the pin. I promised my story on Isla. Sitting here in retrospect there is so much more I could say but my story has perpetuated into mini book and I've never been accused of being shortwinded so I will close.

Pat






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