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: Way back in September when we finally managed to find land to build on the plan was that Phil alone would visit the build in December and then we would both visit the island again in February when the project was due to be finished.
: You could see this happening couldnít you!
: I allowed myself a month or so of silent martyrdom before emotionally blackmailing the guys I work with into more time off and found a flight cheap enough to allow me to go to Isla too. Phil of course had all along expected this outcome. If you were building a house on Isla would you stay home if there were an opportunity to go???
: The cheap flight meant we would be on the island for Christmas and also allowed the kids to clean up on the Christmas presents front. Naomi negotiated hard and took full advantage of the guilt complex gene I carry.
: Guilt free having spent a fortune on the kids (could have paid for another flight!) we headed for Isla on 18th December. After the usual joy of an 11 hour flight into a 150 mph headwind we arrived in Cancun to a northerly gale and the airport workers acting like it was subzero and wearing fur edged parkas! We found it a balmy 70 degrees and very pleasant.
: After the quickest trip through customs ever and rapid transit to Puerto Juarez with Cancun Valet we arrived at Isla just as the gale dropped and the sun broke through the clouds for a lovely island sunset.
: We were staying at Posada Del Mar for the first two nights so we walked from the ferry to the hotel for check-in. We had expected the island to be a lot busier as it was now high season but by this time of late afternoon it was pretty quiet. It stayed that way most of our visit, busy in the day with ďthe banded onesĒ and relatively quiet night with fewer visitors and the locals.
: As we walked up to the entrance of Posada a tall, elegant lady with blonde braids walked past us, heading towards the street. Phil and I looked at each other. Was that Kathryn of TravelFrom? A brief and vicious argument took place over who was going to go after her and force an introduction. I won because I had the check-in paperwork for the hotel and wouldnít hand it over. With gritted teeth Phil girds the necessary bits, assumes best British Roger Moore accent and strides off to accost innocent, and possibly wrong, American lady.
: Fortunately it was Kathryn and she was charm itself and came back to the hotel for a chat and a cup of coffee. It was lovely to meet her and we found we had so much in common from rotten ailments to insane Maine Coon cats! Nice to know that other people have lives as weird as ours.
: As we enjoyed a coffee at Pinguinos a motorised parade took place, one of the daily Posada Navidads where children in Christmas costume parade around the island. It was totally charming and the children waved and shouted Felice Navidad as they drove along the front. We waved and called back to them and took pictures that didnít come out because Phil hadnít read the instruction booklet on the new digi cam during the flight!
: Here is a picture of another one of the parades we saw over the next few days. Cute isnít it. Donít know what the devil stands for though???
: After taking up far too much of Kathrynís valuable time (we could have talked for ages) we eventually went and settled into our room.
: As always Posada Del Mar does not disappoint. It is what it says on the label, a good value, clean and efficient hotel with friendly staff, a nice bar, great location and with a handy restaurant. Our only problem there was we were kept awake all the second night by lousy music from, I think, Jaxís that went on until 4am. I doubt if I would have slept anyway, the time difference takes a few days to get used to.
: Posada now has cable tvís in the rooms but no remote controls yet. The choice of channels is mainly Spanish with CNN, an American sports channel and some HBO with subtitles. Hot water was again a hit and miss affair and if your shower was the same time as everyone elses it did tend to run out.
: Here's a picture of the area taken from the top deck of the car ferry.
: Despite the very long day and because of the time difference we didnít sleep all that well, as we were excited about seeing the build project. First thing the next morning we hired a golf cart and headed south to see our house.
: Here I must tell you a truly evil tale of how my husband indulged in cruel mental torture.
: We headed south along the Caribbean side, scooting along as rapidly as possible, as always in love with the view of the waves crashing on the beaches and the brilliant colours of the water. As we passed other houses Phil and I would compare them to how we thought ours would look. We assured each other that we would not be disappointed no matter what it looked like and that it was bound to be smaller than it had looked in the pics.
: As we neared the Shell House I started craning my neck to see if I could see the house above the jungle. At this point evil husband began to speed up as much as one can in a golf cart. He zoomed up the Caribbean side road not allowing me to look. I threw a tantrum and threatened everything from physical harm to more children but he wouldnít stop!
: We rounded the curve at the south end of the island and driving past Garrafon headed towards the Cancun side turning to our house. After a bit of wild swerving in an attempt to prolong the agony a little longer Phil eventually turned into the lane and drove up to the house.
: It was an amazing moment. The house looked huge. It was so high and had come on so much. All the main construction work was now completed. We were amazed. Julian was there smiling proudly and so was Maria our real estate agent and great friend who works so hard for us. None of this would have been possible without Maria and the guys at Caribbean Realty - they have helped with eveything from ensuring title was secure to working with us all the way through.
: I really couldnít believe the house, it was so much more than we expected.
: I hugged Julian and thanked him for all the work so far, Maria was laughing with Phil and the workers (all 17 of them!) were smiling and waving. It was a great moment, they could all see how happy we were with what they had made.
: Over the next week we spent as much time as possible at the site, going over things with the contractors and the electricians, getting in the way of the construction crew and taking loads of pictures.
: Here's a view of the house from the Caribbean side road when I finally got to look at it from that angle. I love the way it rises out of the jungle.
: We were delighted to find we had views of both sides of the island and from the second floor and roof terrace you can see the sunrise and the sunset. We are so happy with it.
: And our view of the Cancun side. We've now got a camera that can take 360 degree photos so in February we'll take a pics of the full circle view we get, and we'll take it at sunrise and sunset so you can see it better. Right now clambering round building sites in the dark wasn't too good an idea - especially when you are as clumsy as me!
: We spent hours just hanging out there, learning the sounds and sights of the area, listening to the waves on the Caribbean side, watching the butterflies and spotting the birds. We just love the peace and quiet up there. We canít wait to move in.
: Iíve travelled over 30,000 miles and spent three entire days in planes over the last six months going back and fore to Isla. Iíve stayed in so many hotels and nice as they are Iím sick of them. I want to settle down into our Isla home and have a real HOLIDAY. Hereís a list of things I canít wait to do:-
: Make coffee in my new kitchen and drink in on the roof terrace watching the sunrise
: Lie in our pool in the dark and watch the stars
: Have a barbecue in our garden
: Lie in my hammock in the evening and watch the sunset and listen to the waves
: Invite friends round for dinner
: Find a place for every single thing I have collected to go in this house
: Anyway, enough self indulgence, more about Isla for you patient reader. Iíll end this section here and get on to writing some restaurant reviews and a review of Garrafon De Castille where we stayed for four nights.
: To end here is a sunset photo from Garrafon.
: Bye for now