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Vacation Journal
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Alaskans first journey to wonderful Isla Mujeres! It's long - grab a cup of tea or a beer. :)

By: alaskadenise (View Profile)
Date: 2/7/2006

Well, it all began with my husband saying - Let's go to Mexico next winter! I have to research a vacation to death and am teased, but man, do I find some great places. Everyone seems to have their favorite places in Mexico, but I just have that inquisitive mind that has to know more!! So, I read several books about Mexico, and the more I read about the Yucatan, that sounded so wonderful, but I am so not your Cancun kind of traveler, and then I read this little blurb about Isla Mujeres. Then the real research began, and how delighted I was to find this website! I used other sources, but this was by far, the most thorough in information and help!

So, by July, I was checking into figuring out what hotels and when we would go . . . started booking things a month or so later and felt so great . . . and then the hurricanes started hitting. It was so hard to explain to people when Wilma hit - I so ached for everyone on Isla, though I had yet to travel there. Because of this board and it's fabulous pictures, I felt like I knew people here . . . it was more than just a possible vacation being ruined. But by November we realized though damaged, we could still come, so then it was just waiting for January to arrive.

Many of you may realize . . .Alaska is a long ways away - it took almost 24 hrs of traveling to get to Isla, but here is how it went. Good flights, landed in Cancun, and could not believe it, but saw a couple we know from our small town in Alaska as we got off the plane!! All we could do was laugh! Then we went thru customs - that first part and then to collect our luggage. Alas - 2 suitcases were missing . . . one w/Brett's clothes and all of our snorkel gear and one that was full of donations for La Gloria English School - bummer! I thought that would be the end of those bags. The polite lost baggage lady took our hotel info from us, but that put a dampner on our spirits - not quite the way you want to begin your vacation! Then, we went thru the actual customs/baggage inspection - you'll never guess what held us up for a few moments - chalk! We had school supplies for La Gloria and Little Yellowschool house, and apparently it looks like bullets on the xray machines. :) Then we changed some $$- yes, pesos do feel like play money. Ah, then us wide eyed first time to Mexico travelers got nailed by the time share sharks!! We thought they were just greeters - NO! Lessons to be learned . . . just didn't expect them right there, even after reading all the warnings. But we finally dodged them, and got outside . . . found Best Day and were taken to our van - relief! First they had to drop a Canadian couple in Cancun, on a Friday evening no less. We were so relieved to NOT being staying anywhere in the area. To the ferry, and bought our tickets to Isla . . . well, then it kind of hit us ... it was dark, we were exhausted, and everyone all around us were speaking Spanish . . . I looked at my husband and thought oh no - this was too much! Heck, they could be taking us anywhere!! But we arrived on Isla . . . found one of the bicycle baggage guys, and off we went to find the Frances Arlene. Then it hit us - the smells!! Oh, man does that smell so delicious. He took us down some of Hidalgo . . . it immediately reminded us of a smaller, Mexican version of Lahaina on Maui. All the colors and sounds. We put our stuff in our hotel - rather plain room, but oh how that place grew on us. So clean and the staff so friendly. Oh, and I think it was 2 nights later, there were our missing bags!! Second week, we stayed at Posada del Mar - lovely, but I think we liked the Frances better . . . oh, and how much fun I had leaving things for the maids everyday. :)

Now to summarize, as we were on Isla for 2 full weeks - lucky us and besides, you don't want to read every detail I am sure!! Our first day we walked all over, and how nice it was to walk everywhere - perfect weather for that. Most days, we went to the beach - loved the beach in the area near Posada del Mar, and of course, the North section. That sand and water are almost unreal!! Brett took scuba lessons (open water-PADI) from Aqua Adventures, so Donna was the first person we met from the Board - so nice to put a face w/a person. We also did a snorkel trip w/them -was that cool! We tried a few times our second week to go to Contoy w/Capt Tony, but the wind wasn't cooperating, so we just have to go back. We also went to both Sergio's and Jax for the board meetings, and was that ever fun to meet so many people!! Carl, Lynda, JanP and friend Cindy, Al and Diana, Terry/Gypsy, Packergranny, Zina, and many more. We also did some activities w/others -a few meals here and there, some golf cart adventures, etc. That was fun! Had a nice tour of La Gloria with Maggie and Co. and dropped off stuff - what a blessing that place is!! And all the people - so kind and friendly, no matter how lame our attempts at Spanish were. I have also never traveled where I felt so safe. Oh, and Digame's sure was handy and nice to meet Chris!

But the food - how can you not talk about that?!? I have always loved Mexican food, but man oh man . . . we ate all our meals out - no problem, other than we didn't get to try them all! :) My favorite meal had to be at Bamboo's -try their shrimp in a cilantro lime sauce - ah! And dessert at Color de Verano. So many incredible meals - can't say we had a bad meal anywhere, though some were better than others. How we loved to eat near the streets and people watch - that has to be one of the best activities on Isla. And chatting w/fellow travelers - people were so kind and friendly.

I am sure I missed some things. So how did we like it? We loved it!! We knew when we came home, life would seem so colorless . . . and I have tried to describe it to people. Yes, I have been on prettier islands (love Kauai), but you have to take Isla as a whole - the people . . . so warm, friendly, beautiful and gracious, the food and smells, the colors of the buildings and the ocean, the music and the musical sound of Spanish, the activity and smiles everywhere. The dogs on buildings, and entire families on a moped, and interesting/amusing trips to the bathroom. :) You know how as you are walking around, you can't help but look in peoples open doorways as you are walking around . . . and our last night, after dinner, we happened to glance and see this mother and daughter dancing in their living room . . . little moments like that were so frequent and precious - just captivated us. Was sure hard to get on that ferry and leave Isla,(not to mention coming home to -40 degrees). But even those last few moments - standing in line for the ferry - seeing a little boy w/his puppy in a tote bag . . . we got on the top of the ferry (and got sunburned for the journey home!) and when we hit the first wave, the kids all got the giggles, and we were all laughing right along w/them. How can you not fall in love w/people who find such delight and joy in life and sharing that so nicely with us visitors??!! We can't wait to come back to Isla someday!
Denise :)

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