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Vacation Journal
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Springtime on Isla

By: brookfieldbrad
Date: 4/5/2005

This was our 3rd time on Isla, and 10th in Mexico. However, it was our 1st trip in spring (March 27th to April 3rd) since my wife's teaching job relegates us to summertime visits. The only real difference...springtime = warm water & warmer air, whereas summertime = hot water & hotter air. In any event, here are the details:

Transportation:
Drove from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Minneapolis to take advantage of $129 round trip tickets through Worry Free Vacations. I take Xanax for flying, and my wife now takes it for my driving. Plane ride was uneventful (which is good), and customs quick and easy (which is even better). Took taxi from airport to Gran Puerto, then the ferry over to Isla. Since we arrived late in the day, all the trikes were gone, so we wheeled ourselves to Posada del Mar (PDM), a short 5 block walk.

Lodging:
Pre-booked the new section of PDM in advance for $80/night and had no problem checking in. This is our 2nd time at PDM, and we continue to find it perfectly suitable for our needs. Desk guys are still indifferent, while the bartenders are still a pleasure.

Beaching:
Yeah, the hurricane hurt the Playa Norte wraparound, and the magical current between the Sunset Grill and Sergios, but nature will renew. The wind and surf was much more active on this visit than during our summer visits. Therefore, we spent a little more time circulating our money to the bartenders at Na Balam, Buhos, Sunset, and Sergios than we did frolicking in the water. Did not see as many young springbreakers as I thought we would, but the beach was generally well attended by a wide range of ages and nationalities.

Eating:
We really didnít play any favorites here. Ate at Buccaneers, 3 Amigos, Bamboo, Piquenos, Don Chepo, Jaxs, Monolos, Sunset Grill, and others I canít rename. One of the best meals, however, was at our local friendís house in the Colonias. A few years ago, we befriended a guy named Jaime, who is a waiter at the Tequilaria. He has a wife and 2 small boys who we always bring gifts, books, etc. Last year we took the whole family out to Playa Lancheros for the day, an experience that alone made our trip worthwhile. This year, they invited us to their home and made us a traditional Yucatan meal, which I cannot pronounce but could certainly consume. Jaime also made us copious servings of Mojitos, some of the best Iíve ever had (he grows his own mint). When you go to the Tequilaria, be good to Jaime and he will be good to you.

Drinking:
Itís just unbelievable how you can manage to be a polite/recreational drinker at home, but then when you hit Isla, the drumbeat of the island morphs you into a different person. Iím not talking about stinking fall down drunk, but rather, a continuous glow that lifts you above the chaos of your workaday world and allows you to truly relax. Anywho, enjoyed the bands at Jax (blues theme), Fayneís, and Bamboo (the band that used to play at Fayneís). Just a note of interest in the nightlife, Fayneís has added a late night fire juggler to their entertainment repertoire, so Bamboo (across the street) has now added a showgirl segment to their musical entertainment. And they have trumped Fayneís since the showgirls also play with fire. Hey, isnít this the place that burned down last year?

Romance:
Letís just say that the aforementioned sense of relaxation has a positive effect on all levels.

Shopping:
Since I (the husband) am writing this report, Iíve nothing to report.

Trip Conclusion:
Yes, youíve heard this before from others. That is, weíve been to some of the best all inclusives in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Playa del Carmen, Xupu Ha, etc., but we still are pulled back to the contrasts of Isla. The rough edges of their Third World existence framed by the natural beauty of the beaches, waters, and Caribbean shoreline. The serenity of the local culture painted over with the colorful personalities of the various visitors. The sense of safety that allows a dog to sleep in the middle of the same street that by night you feel perfectly at ease walking home on. The compelling and incomprehensible shades of turquoise blue water. The smells of Hildago. The sounds of street musicians, mopeds and golfcarts. The street rush of daytrippers. The conversations with locals. The intimate relationships with virtually every el bano on the island. Is it for everyoneÖno. Is it for usÖabsolutely. Isla, we will see you soon.

Brad & Patti


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