Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Just Another Week

One English man we met had a sweet casita with a backyard full to the brim of palms dripping every variety of orchid that grew in Cozumel.  He had even arranged a sort of driftwood grid to his plastered yard wall for orchids to cling to.

The sun shining in through the vines and palms was quite spectacular!

There were moments of sudden and unexpected beauty that took my breath away.  Like the bougainvillea trying to take over this stop sign on my walk to the Kingdom Hall for service one day. You can see how humid it is, moisture is beading up even on the sign!

In Canada, one goes to Tim Horton's for a coffee break.  Here, you stop and pick up a fresh fish taco or two from the back of a pickup truck that's parked on the same street every day.  Yes, I've been warned about street food in Mexico, but this particular vendor has a very good reputation.  My friends Brad and Michelle (who moved here from Canada about 10 years ago) eat here several times a week and no one has ever gotten ill.  At just over a dollar a piece, these are a lip-smacking treat. And then you don't need lunch when you get home!  

The vacant lot that the truck parks next to is very wild and overgrown with jungle.  One day we saw little wild pigs rooting about, and to my relief, they had  no interest in making a deeper connection with us.  Only then could I admit that yes, at that size, they were kind of cute.  (My ambivalence about pigs, wild or otherwise, goes way back.)

Chen Rio Beach...again.

The above is the view of the port from the tourist side of the island.  There were some spectacular sunsets.

The patio upstairs at Starbucks was THE place to watch the sunset over the water.  Even after the last rays were gone, the view was phenomenal.  Sometimes J would watch the kids play on the Malecon or at the edge of the water, and I would go to Starbucks, buy their cheapest beverage and go enjoy the open air sunset from above street level, on a comfy couch with big cooling fans wafting the scent of coffee over me.

When there were multiple drinks needed, a better choice was to hit up the slurpee machines at Oxxo, then find a clean and friendly step to sit and enjoy.

Wading at the water's edge.  Careful - very slippery!

We had planned to rent a car when we got here.  Then we found out that including insurance, it would cost us $45 US per day, and that was a deal from a friend of a friend.  We decided to walk. Most of the time, it worked very well.  The only time we really missed having our own vehicle was when haggling with a taxi driver over how much they would charge to take us to the Wild Side, or wondering if they would really come back for us.  

We didn't want to burden any of our friends with 5 extra passengers, so J and I took turns taking one or two kids in service with us at a time.  Since taxis ranged between 2 and 6 pesos anywhere within town, it really wasn't a big deal to shell out every couple days for something like a ride home from the grocery store, laden with bags.  

We could walk up the Transversal highway to the meeting in about twenty minutes, but we weren't crazy about doing so in the dark (sidewalks, when they exist, can be full of potholes or puddles or cracks.  Not to mention lots of doggy doo...)  Part of the way is mostly vacant lots, without street lights.  So we saved that walk for daylight, and when we weren't running late! 

One evening we left for the meeting early, with very good intentions.  There wasn't a taxi to be had at that time of day - all full with other passengers.  We finally realized we were going to be late anyway, so we set off in the direction of the Kingdom Hall on foot, in the waning light.  A few blocks in, we got stopped by an intense young guy with a cigarette.  "Are you a brother?" he asked in English. Turned out, he used to study the Bible with the brothers, and wanted someone to come and call on him again.  J was happy to take his information.  

We kept walking.  About 10 minutes later, a small car veered to the side of the road and the passenger door flew open.  "You want a ride?" asked a smiling young Mexican man in working clothes. To reassure us, he said in English, "I'm not wearing my 'brother uniform' because I'm going home from work, but I am a Witness from a Spanish congregation."  We were so happy to tumble into the backseat and laugh with him the rest of the way on how he knew we were headed for the Kingdom Hall.  His detective work?  "Gringos wearing suits and ties are not usually walking this way up the highway at this time of night!"  Aleksi is a friendly guy, and a few days later I got a request from him to follow our family on instagram. Making friends was very easy in Cozumel!