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Vacation Journal
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Isla in July

By: johanna (View Profile)
Date: 10/5/2007

I went back to Isla in July with my son, Chris, and grandson, Kyle. We were very interested in having an inexpensive trip, and Chris wanted to stay downtown. We chose to stay at Maria Leticia for the price, the kitchen, and the air conditioning! My biggest problem with Maria Leticia was a sign in English saying no guests were allowed whatsoever. We really like to have friends stop by to play games or just talk. I didn't feel very comfortable having company. And, new towels were given every third day. No one told us, and our towels were all mixed up before I found out we weren't getting new ones the next day. There were no extra towels on the premises to solve our problem either. Otherwise, it was a nice, clean, place with a lovely courtyard.

We ate most of our meals in this time, but I do have my experience with La Bruja to share. This restaurant is in La Gloria - very close to the Red Cross. Dona Mari, who also runs the taller (where the bead ladies work) owns this restaurant with her husband, Roberto. They have converted the porch and part of their house into a very nice place. We really enjoyed our meal there. Dona Mari invited us to her birthday party at the restaurant the next day. She said it would start at 8:00 p.m. We got there about 8:30 figuring Isla time, and there was no party yet. We went back about 10:00 p.m., and they were sort of thinking about starting - they gave us drinks. Around 10:30, she gave us little spicy hot dog slices, spaghetti in tomato sauce, and offered us tacos! We just couldn't manage any more food that late at night. Her birthday desert was called an Impossible Cake as it was moist chocolate cake with flan on top - very interesting.

Then I asked Dona Mari if we could have a birthday party for one of my Isla friends, Daniel, at the restaurant. She even went out and picked up my favorite Tres Leches cake for the fiesta! All the people at the party liked their food including the ceviche that Daniel said was excellent. He shared the cake with everyone in the restaurant, and I took some home for my breakfast. We took Daniel a white helmet for his birthday. After we made sure it fit, we decorated it with sharpies that I had brought and signed our names to make a very unique present.

It is traditional for me to make spaghetti when Chris and Kyle go to Isla with me. I even pack a great big pan for the sauce. We took it over to Daniel's house to share with his family. This time I packed a Sorry game also. So, we asked another family to join us for the evening. That meant there were eleven for dinner. I certainly hoped they would like my spaghetti! They tell me they usually make it with cream, ham, and bacon. However, everyone seemed to be happy with my tomato and ground beef recipe.

Then we got the Sorry game out. Since there were so many of us, nine of us played as four teams. You have probably never heard such a rousing game of Sorry. There was a great deal of cheering and huge fake cries of "Sorry". I have been playing this game for years and never had such fun before. Both families wanted to have their own game! I left the game with one family and said I'll bring another on my next trip.

We went swimming almost every day. Kyle liked the sea but loved the pools - less salty. We went to Zama's Beach Club which was a beautiful experience. There were two regular pools, and a small pool for "lounging". We took Jose Carlos' two children with us. (Jose has the store across from the golden laundromat and kitty corner from Poc Chuc Restaurante - a lovely man. His English is pretty good, and his prices are fair.) The boys didn't have much language in common but knew how to have fun! I was grateful there was a kid's menu available when the time came to order lunch since a pitcher of limonada was 55 pesos. They all said that the hamburgers were very good.

Then another day, Zina, (Zina's Guest House - where I stayed my previous trip), picked us up in the golf cart to go to the Villa Vera Marina for lunch and swimming. It has the biggest pool on Isla. The pool has a little fountain and a swim-up bar. The yachts were pulling in and out there - another view of a different side of life than I usually encounter. It was an amazing place. The food was about the same price as in town and tasty. We had the most relaxing day by the pool and would love to go back.

In the middle of the week, I joined Zina for happy hour at Casa Sirena and got the grand tour. Casa Sirena has a very tranquil feel to it. As soon as the front door closed, the peaceful atmosphere surrounded me. I walked a little further and could hear water cascading into the pool - it was wonderful. There were stained glass lamps in the spacious rooms - WOW. And, happy hour was up on the roof with a fantastic view of the sunset and the surroundings. Plus, the drinks were delicious! We all went to Bally Hoo afterward for a late dinner. I loved the location with the water and boats almost close enough to touch. However, I could only manage a salad.

While Kyle loves to snorkel, Chris and I are not as enthusiastic. I thought it would be nice to go out on a boat and see Isla from the water. Captain Tony took us out for a sunset ride. We toured the lagoon area and saw all the big yachts at their moorings. Then he stopped at a shallow area, and Kyle went swimming while we waited for the sun to set. The sunset wasn't very good, but the trip was extremely interesting and most enjoyable.

On our last full day, we went to Garrafon Castilla for snorkeling at 40 pesos each. They sold us little five-peso containers of food for the fish. My son said it smelled just like dog food! The greedy fish were swarming around every little morsel, so I guess they thought it was fish food. It took a while to get used to all the fish in my space. I tried to make myself look "BIG" as I didn't want to be nipped. When I left the shallow area, there were less fish; and it was more comfortable for me. A short distance from the water, there were nice chairs and lots of very brave iguanas. They ate the "whatever" food as well!

As usual, I connected with many friends from previous trips. I am now sure that 10 days are not enough for me on Isla! I do much better with at least 17 days. Every trip is so different for me depending on where I stay and who travels with me. But when I go back next Spring, I will return to Zina's Guest House for some quality time in the "hood". I'm looking forward to relaxing in a nice two-room apartment (where having company is not a problem) and enjoying the yummy food choices, including La Bruja Restaurante, in La Gloria.


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