The other night I woke up somewhere in the night to a bizarre dream of a singing and dancing performance that was a blend of the Partridge Family and the Muppets. No kidding, Florence Henderson and Rolf the Dog singing away. When I awoke I realized the sound I was hearing was that of some local folks singing Karaoke at a party on the shoreline. I’m presuming this was a dinner party we saw setting up as we walked back to the marina from town with our new friends Tracy and Steve on S/V Saga Sea. It was about 11:30 when I woke up and the singing was not only off key but very loud! The DJ and the recorded music that followed were also loud but at least those singers were hitting their notes. Have I ever told you how much I love Karaoke?? NOT!
We’ve experienced parties or clubs on the shoreline in other countries we’ve visited that play their music LOUD and pointed out across the water well into the night. I’m guessing they feel that no one, at least no one that can persuade the authorities, will complain.
Isla Mujeres is definitely a tourist destination. There are several resorts and villas on the island feeding people into the downtown streets full of bars and gift shops, the locals hawking you inside with lines like “I’ve been waiting for you!!” or “Just give me a Mexican Minute!” Then there are the party boats packed full of not-so-tanned tourists drunkenly hooting to booming music with a guy on a cordless microphone whipping them into frenzy. These vessels are mainly some rather large catamarans (we lovingly call them “Cattle-marans”) with more people crammed onboard than the law should allow, packing even more people into town from the south end of the island as well as from the mainland.
There is a short reef that we can see from our anchorage where we’ve watched the local boats take groups of tourists who hover on lifejackets in packs with snorkels pointed skyward. We have visited it and found that there’s no real reef left to speak of but still plenty of tropical fish to view, mostly the largest school of Barracuda we’ve seen yet swimming against a strong current that pulls you along the reef. The whole scene reminds me of an assembly line as the boats drop their passengers off and one end and wait for them at the other.
On the good side we have met a nice enough group of cruisers here, many who stay at one of several marinas for most of the season and gather at a local eateries for food and drinks. We’re going to rent a golf cart (much more plentiful than rental cars due to the size of the island) and explore around the south end to visit an ancient Mayan temple there of a female goddess and her court that gives the island its name (Island of Women). We have joined up for a pot luck dinner on Christmas day next week that should be nice and I’m “testing the waters” about a trip to Coba, one of the Mayan ruins on the mainland about 120 miles south of Cancun.
OK, I won’t complain too much. It is warm here and the water is nice. It is something new and we’ve enjoyed some great local cooking and speaking Spanish with the locals. But it’s not really what we’re looking for, especially with the extensive dance they make you go through to clear in and out of the country. Most likely we will be moving south after the holidays when the weather gives us an opportunity.
Until then we’ll suffer through and try to enjoy the good things Mexico has to offer. Not to worry.