Whenever the words Isla Mujeres are mentioned in my household I feel as if my family and I are talking about my second home. The last time I set foot on Isla was January of this year. Usually when Isla was ever mentioned I would always remember all of my great memories there and start to complain about how I missed it and wanted to go NOW!! Well, now at the age of 19 when I hear Isla brought up in conversation I just know that I am going to go back and continue to create more memories throughout the years. Isla has naturally grown to be apart of me.
I swear it has to be genes that I am addicted to Isla. It all started when my parents took a trip to Cancun many years ago in 1994. Thankfully, they stumbled upon Isla on a day trip and have returned every year up until this day!
Thank God my parents didn't keep this island to themselves! I was lucky, along with my 3 brothers, to experience this piece of paradise throughout my life! They took me on my first trip to Isla in November of 1994 when I was freshly 8 years old, along with my big brother at the age of 13 and my younger one at the age of 6. I believe Isla is so important to me , due to the fact that I experienced some of my very firsts in Isla. I experienced my first plane ride, my first new culture, and so much more!
What I can vividly remember is gawking at the Mexicans speaking a whole different language, and seeing my first topless lady on the beach. I remember my older brother vividly playing catch with his football and throwing it near the girls laying topless. There were long hours spent on the beach with my family during these trips. North Beach was always our place to go. My little brother and I would always make sand castles and walk out forever in the water. The days on the beach were priceless.
Of the night life I will never forget going to Arriba's for supper. That is our family restaurant on Isla and we continue to go to this day. We always eat at least 5 meals there our whole trip...(sometimes waaay more..). While I was young my family and I fell in love with a shop keeper who lives there no longer. His name was Jorge Frias. We loved "uncle geoge, as we called him. We would always make the trip to his shop every night as we pounded down the blue steps from Arriba's and would just sit and joke around with him. He was the greatest guy there is. (today I heard he lives in Playa del Carmen...I'm sad..someday i'll go find him!!) What my little brother and I loved the most was the fact that he had 2 kids that were our age, Flory and Manuel. We would run around for hours playing with them at night. We would run the steets with out our parents thinking we were the coolest kids ever. It was so much fun chasing my little brother Mark and Flory's brother Manuel around town playing hide and go seek. There were times when there was a carnival going on in town while we were on vacation and we would play endless games of fuzzball throughout the night. The funny thing is, I didn't know any spanish and Flory didn't know any english. Somehow I managed to find out that Flory liked this guy who loaded beer cases for the beer truck. So everytime I see a driver driving a beer truck I wonder if it was the young guy back in teh day that Flory had a crush on.
Flory sadly moved away and my brother Mark and I were left to Isla on our own. We still had good times playing basketball in the square and just roaming the streets on our own. During our middle school years our family always stayed at the Marina Isla Mujeres Hotel. We would spend our lazy days there and enjoy our times walking to watch the dolphins and walking down the beach to see the turtles. My brother Mark learned how to fish the Mexican way w/ just a line and hook. I don't know if he ever caught anything the whole time that he fished all those years...
Also while down in Isla my mom and Dad went there while my mom was pregnant. We have family pics from the trip of my mom with her whale belly in a bakini. It is quite comical. She had my little brother when I was 10 and he has been coming to Mexico ever since he was 8 months old... So isla is definatly a second home to him!
Once I got to high school I got into the "i'm too cool for my parents stage". Well, I brought my best friend with me on vacation for the first time. It was one of the funnest trips I remember. That year my friend Cora and I experienced some more firsts. We started to realize that we are at the age (15...) where we can start to recieve whistles from the guys. Not only did we recieve the whistles...we recieved the famous stares. My mom and dad sure didn't enjoy this much, and started to monitor what Cora and I would do... :( . It was fun going out and dancing at KoKonuts while it was still open. We thought we were the cat's meow at that age. We made many friends with many of the waiters and to this day they remain friends. Cora and I also learned how to be a bit sneaky to on this trip. We realized that we could get alchahol any time we wanted without having to be 18. So Cora and I would tell my parents we were going to the square to play basketball...but...no... We would hit up the women drink free nights at Mr. Papa's(i think that was what it was called then..) They didn't catch on luckily because we could never consume enough alchahol in the short amount of time we were allowed away. But that year I discovered that I really wanted to go back to MExico more than ever!
Isla has held many firsts for me. The first time I puked my guts out on New Years Eve of the Year I was 18(this year)my dad was right along side me telling me "malena...the hospital is closed...". Even though it is a stupid example, Isla always seems to bond us more together as a family while we are there. My parents give me the respect that I deserve while on vacation and the freedom and trust that I have gained. Many people would be embarressed to say they were drinking with their mom and dad, but in Isla Mom and Dad seem to turn cool. Something about Isla makes me get along with my brothers and actually play in the sand with my 9 year old brother. I try new things and try running in 90 degree weather to get a work out. (I don't reccomend it...I've learned laying on the beach directly in the sun can make you sweat just as much! haha)I actually step out of my shell and become social and socialize with people of all ages while I was down there. I never knew that some 60 year olds could be so cool! My family soon incorperates others that we meet into a new family. So now, I can say while going to Isla I have a whole other family while there.
Right now, as my parents talk about leaving for Mexico over Christmas break for their 25th anniversary I really don't get jealous. I know that I am a poor college student right now, and that I will make my way there on my own time. I want my next trip to Isla to be an independent venture for me so I can say, "now i'm creating my own history with Isla".As my big brother plans to take his honeymoon there with his wife he is also creating his own personal bond with Isla. As our family continues to grow up and take off into the world I am happy to say that we have Isla "in our genes".