¿Puedo bombear los neumáticos?

*** remember to refresh this page, as I am adding photo-images after publishing the written part.

the Sun sets on Fire!

admittedly, I have very little Spanish and when I have tried to say that to People in the past it has brought great laughter, as the subtleties of the language do get lost in translation. I have been relying heavily on the dang google translator, which really doesn’t get the subtleties, either… Yesterday day morning I cam down, all set to get to the Playa Norte early and as I reached my bicycle, I saw that the read tire was flat… I stood sadly in the gateway with the bike and the Momma of the family, Mary, who was on the phone, saw me and quickly called Rolando over, He and his two eldest Sons quickly came to where I was and assessed the situation. All doing a similar action, looking at the tire, shaking their heads while simultaneously scratching their chins… They all explain at once in Spanish and with gestures, that, for some reason, it cannot be easily fixed and so they will give me another bike… quickly the next bike is brought out, one son on the front tire, one on the back, Rolando with the pump, little tire caps unscrewed and pump attached, tires pumped, can of grease, sprayed on all moving parts… “¡Listo!” Rolando calls, proudly! I am thankful this didn’t take very long as I could see the Women setting the table for the first of at least three Sunday meals, all of which have the table completely broken down and put away and then set back up in between, plus cooking all the food and taking care of all the people.

Pollo on the wall grill at the little Restaurant around the corner.

I’m gonna put something here about the middle part of the day or the time-frame between Sunday morning and Monday night. Searching for the Laboratorio is like searching for the Lost City of Gold… I am convinced it’s out there… but where? And then frustratingly finally finding it, exactly where the directions said it would be, except that the road it’s on isn’t called what it’s called on the computer, in real life… So, tomorrow I go again to see if any actual Humans are there… there is supposedly also a Doctor So-and-So at a Hotel that can administer a test for even more pesos.

in the morning at the Beach. A combination of elements conspired to create this beard style…

if my records are accurate (counting on fingers), I have now swam 7 days in a row of twice on each of those. I have also been swimming 25 straight days in a row, which is certainly an all-time record for me. I would swim every next day from here on out if it were a possibility. I had to take a new route to the beach and back this day, the eastern road is being paved, which starts with a giant mound of tar in the middle of the route and they smooth it out in both directions, on top of some sprayed down stuff, which goes on first, of course.

Casa Rolando!
Rana painting
next Rana painting.

tonight I tried a next Italian place, down south of here… I started out under an amazing sunset, riding to the edge of the cliffs and watching the Sea, which was an incredible sea-foam color, that seemed to be lit from beneath… there was a Guy on a bench there, near where I stood, he was missing all of it, looking at his phone… I had forgotten my camera-phone, which could only take a picture, anyway, so I just had to soak in that moment, the sky was on fire, the Moon was up over the glowing sea and a warm, warm breeze was blowing all around me, it made me feel electric, like I could float up and ride on a current, like those Frigata Birds, overhead. So I go over to a place that my Dad and I ate at a lot, last year, Basto’s Grill but Basto is closed, I decided to ride back along that wide road that goes around the Salina and see what was there. I came to an Italian Mexican place that had an open table outside (there were two tables but only one was set and because of the pandemic, that was it) and had a look at the menu. It looked good so I sat and took out my booklet. A waiter approached me with a menu and I ordered an espresso, it was delicioso, so I asked the waiter if I could have an American-style coffee (because Mexican-style isn’t available) and then put another shot of espresso inside, he repeated the instruction back to me in a wonderful Italian accent and disappeared. I was surrounded by four Gatos for a while and then a Lady came up and the Cats encircled her and then they all left for somewhere and after a while, the Lady came back. I ordered grilled Calamari and the waiter brought out warm bread and pickled eggplant in olive oil… now, some of You may know of my aversion to eggplant but this was really yummy, in conjunction with the warm bread and olive oil, so I ate all of that. The waiter brought my American-style “shot in the dark” which was also delicioso, the best coffee on this whole island, so far, hands down, down on the ground, supporting my whole self sticking straight up in the air! I ate the Calamari, which was ever-so-slightly breaded and then grilled, it had some anonymous colored shapes under it but I did not ever eat them. Then the waiter came again and told me about a special dessert, the Pineapple crumble with Passionfruit ice cream, which was a lot like Gelatato with watermelon-esque seeds in it… that’s distracting to me, as if it’s trying to prove it’s something unique… I don’t want a seed in my ice cream but what-the-heck? I ate them and the warm pineapple crumble… it was quite yummy. Afterward, I rode back home in this very warm night, under Moonlight with a ring, it was only about 4 blocks away from where I stay.

la Luna.

the Mexican night is thick and deep and filled with delights, fragrant and unknown scents float by upon this buoyant air stream.

el altar de la Virgen resplandeciente.

the wind blew all night long, el viento, and I went out about 6:20am but the clouds clouded the horizon area all along the east and southeastern edges, so no Southern Cross, again. Other strange shapes were up there, connect-the-dots Star formations I never even knew, there are two or three others that are kite-like but the Southern Cross really stands out when You see it, all right? The sun has finally come up but it’s just too windy to write outside, I put some coffee on the stove, although I am still full from last night’s two espressos and the american-style coffee. I think that it must be all American-style, as we are in North America, they don’t really mean “American” like USA, do they? And besides, black coffee in a cup can’t possibly be so unique to just one country… it must be drip-coffee, maybe that’s it, although that was very hot for a dripper…

a well-worn mural I saw as I searched for the Laboratorio…

Frigate Birds flying South on Sunday morning.

This is currently in progress, a huge plume of Frigate Birds was swirling up from a point down South of here, I can see them clearly… then from the North end, there are reinforcements on the wind, el viento!

Frigate Birds on a vent of pure air:

There are more coming… by the millions, they must be!

If I ever get back to El Lago del Mar…

panoramic Playa Norte:

I have a tune I’ve been working on, ever since I’ve been gone down to Mexico for the first time, back in 2016, even then I wondered why it had taken me so long to get there. The tune has lyrics, too about that place, which is not really called El Lago del Mar, the Lake of the Sea, or Sea Lake, whichever You please:

If I ever get back to El Lago del Mar,

I’ll be gliding along on the breeze,

I’ll be flying along on the wind and the waves,

I’ll be hopin’ for yourSelf to see!

(it goes on to describe how Our small group made its way across time and space to reach the (now famous) Bar-be-Que Chicken Joint, currently known as Pollo Pollo!

the song includes details of the group’s journey to reach their destination:

You will come to a wide-open country,

You will travel ‘cross the river and back.

You will come to a wide-open country,

if was there that You’ll open Your pack!

Today has been the day for stopping along the way…

Sometimes I take voice memos during my bike ride, an audio note, if You will, that helps me remember my thought-process (even better than the previous way I mentioned, which I still can’t remember, yet), as I glide along beside that sparkly Caribbean. Here are some ones from this day: Today has been the day for stopping along the way, to see what I can say, from certain vantage points… I use my own terms, in Ology, which is where terms come from, if You wait and see, in Ology, the place where terms come from… they are made there… unfortunately in Isla Mujeres, there are only three songs in heavy rotation, “YMCA” by the Village People, “Staying Alive!” by… whoever that was and what sounds like the Gypsy Kings, doing their version of the most over-played song of all-times… “Hotel California”.

a sign of the times:

this morning, I confirmed something that I have been thinking about for a while, there is an easy way down to the little beach at the end of my street and on a calm day like this, I will be able to get into a sandy spot in the shallow water and have a dip… I am also looking forward to this. I love my bike rides to the Playa Norte and those are bookends of my day but in between, there will be other items, that cold cuts that make up the sandwich meats!

somewhere along that Northeastern coastline…

it’s a clear blue Caribbean day like I haven’t seen my entire stay, there are usually clouds lurking somewhere and I do enjoy all the types of weather, I love when it rains and swimming in the rain is something I hope to do again. The sun adds sparkles and I know I talk a lot about those but they indicate and/or incite enchantment and that is usually filed right next to delight!

I did go to the beach at the end of the street, it’s at the bottom of some small cliffs and the pathway to the bottom is quite smooth, once I found it. The sand of the beach is the same ultra soft sand of the other beaches and the water, while much more sea-like, is the same lovely blue-green, as a sea should be! I got right out there and an older man came out, too, there were some big corals popping out of the waves but I only stayed where the water was the lightest color, which means sandy bottom. I was out there for a while, then came back in and walked to home and grabbed my beach bag to ride down to the Playa Norte for another Paleta de Oreo, then reading and swimming after that.

a tiny beach at the end of my street…

When I got back to here, I saw some of the Family down in the main outside part of the compound, the Grandfather had his golf cart loaded up with what I would describe as a catering service, tureens and stacks of platters, et cetera. We exchanged a greeting which changes depending on what time of day, of course, so everyone is always looking around and then saying the appropriate one… “Buenas Tardes” this time. Something was cooking and Rolando was in the back by the grills, I could see his silhouette and then he laughed his big, hearty laugh and a barrage of positive terminologies. I made a gesture to show the fumes from what he was cooking coming to me and I said, “¡muy delicioso!“, Rolando smiled and laughed and nodded from his grilling zone, which is no joke, by the way… he has two of those metal half barrels on legs that are wood or charcoal grills, here He was grilling the fish..

Rolando came up the stairs with a platter for me... He had a BIG smile and a plate with tortillas, rice and corn and salsa fresca (onions, tomatoes and jalapeños) and, "¡Pescado!" He announced... I said, "Gracias, muy bueno!", he laughed again, "¡muy bien! ¡muy bien!" I always get that mixed up, for something like food, it's "muy bien" not "bueno", si? Cooked Fish is what it was, pescado cocinado
grilled Pescado, arroz and salsa fresca with tortillas to make fish tacos.


Nadar en el Mar (el océano) para vientidós dias. (1.22.21)

the other side of the wide shallow sea pool where I swim, the current flows right through the middle from the sea!
there are some sea plants that grow along the edge of the water and also, a whole lot of seaweed that comes up into this area.
I am looking forward to swimming on this day, I am optimistic that it will be my Twenty-second day in a row to swim. I pulled it off, once again, and I’ve also been able to swim twice a day now, the past four days in a row! This day it was no problem to swim as it is absolutely idyllic... the perfect sunny pure blue, everything seems suspended in time and as I pull my arms back to either side and glide through the cool blue water with the impossible sparkles shimmering along the rippled, soft, sandy bottom, I thought of a cosmic turtle's shell, the patterns are of light, that refracts all around me, as in pure delight!
This Goddess of the Sea watches over Isla Mujeres as She emerges from Her conch shell home!
this plaque is displayed on the base of the statue (above).
Here is a painting of Mayans on a wall near my area:
It is late now, this whole day has been a whirlwind, coming and going, drawing, reading, swimming and writing, communicating with Friends and Family, I am grateful for it all. Also for the Sun and Moon and all the Stars, the Sea and the fact that el Viento has chilled out for a few hours, after blowing pretty much non-stop.

Yesterday as I was swimming in the afternoon, I suddenly had a craving for a Ham and Cheese sandwich... I've seen one on the menu at the Mercado but that closes at 1:00pm (Uno hora), so I went back to swimming and walking in the sand. On my way back to home, I circled the lovely Lady of the Sea, who is there on the Malecon, I like to do that and say some blessings as I roll around her. I saw the Food Truck that is always there, so I pulled up and got off my bike, some Guys came out with menus and explained to me what food they had... I order a puerco torta (pork sandwich) and a cappuccino.

I wish I could share the smell of food cooking that is pouring into my space, right now, at almost 10:00pm on a Friday night and the cheering of a crowd somewhere that seems to go on almost all of the waking hours of the day but so far, I have found no source of these multitudes of celebratory sound makers. I went again to the Panaderia, which is open randomly and when it is You'd better queue up quick, it's just two at time inside with Your tray and tongs. The Lady in front of me had each of her 10 pastries tied up in individual bags, when my turn came, I told the Lady behind the counter, "todo en una bolsa, ¡por favor!" please put all of this in one bag.

with each passing day, one less remains before I am to fly home, if all goes according to plan, I will do so on the 31st of this month, if not, then I will make a new plan, it seems pretty straight forward from here but there are new travel rules and I am in an unfamiliar place.

I have managed to publish this before I was ready, so bear with me, as I sort this out, por favor.

Stay tuned for SOON a report on So Many Mini-Supers (one about every half block)!
fresh Baked Items at the Panaderia, around the corner from my apArtamento:
Cappuccino by the sea… I was skeptical when I saw a Guy with a milk and a strange device, similar to a milkshake mixer… #cappuccinoparfait

Do You look for the Spider Starfish?

this is the other side of the wide shallow sea pool, protected from the wild Caribbean side by a coral rock breaker and the SCUBA Hotel, which looks like a pink spaceship ocean liner.

when I was out for my second swim of the day, I popped up for air and there was a man with a mask and snorkel, pulled back casually, on his head (I found out later that he was leading the snorkeling school students across the Playa Norte), He asked me, “do You speak Spanish?”, I said “poquito”, he nodded and then asked, “do You look for the spider starfish?” the words rolled around in my brain, in the choppy saltwater and sparkling sun of late afternoon… “ummm” I was able to say, then He pulled two spider starfish out from below the surface of the water, they were both the size of his palm and were quite wiggly and ready to go back to their ocean home. He was taking them to show the estudiantes but had run into me about half way across the wide shallow sea pool where I was swimming. Also, previous to going in the water, I had finally purchased a popsicle from the Mexican Ice Cream Man, who slugs his dang freezer cart up and down the beach… I asked if He had chocolate? He listed off about 5 different ones, choco-de-coconut, choco-de-mocho, et cetera… I stopped him at oreo (oreos inside of a chocolate pop)… it was muy delicioso and only 25 pesos, which is approximately $1.25 US. After him came a small man, who looked like he had been high, high up in the Mountains for many, many years, before returning to the Sea, wrapped in a brightly colored blanket and well worn Cowboy Hat and he was carrying a large covered tray of unusual pastries, and a folding legs set, over his shoulder, that he would put down and set the tray on to display the items for any interested parties… I have wanted to try these but was full on my choco-de-oreo pop. Choc-pop chocked full of oreos!

this photo was taken by using a timer and no selfie-sticks were used, I just propped up my camera-phone on a concrete and ran back, then walked up.

Walkin’ barefoot down these dusty streets, with sandy feet, just can’t be beat! It was sunny and warm at the beach, so I walked around and back. I swam extra far, also, under the bridge and on… carried by the current to the spit and I keep smelling bacon… or churros, something yummy frying, close by and it is wafting out over the water. I ain’t got no selfie stick but I am Jungle “Jimbo” Ronzini, so look out! With a belly full of spicy quesadilla de carne asada, I am by the seaside for my swimming time… I reckon I’ll find out about my characters, first… As soon as I got out and dried off, the bright sun was shining, that cloud it was just behind seemed like it never would pass and then, at last, it’s gone. It doesn’t mean darkness is forever banished, however, darkness is always lurking and like the old saying goes, “where You least expect it…”

the Spit, that I mentioned above, is in the middle of a very wide shallow section that the current from the sea on the other side of the wide shallow sea pool comes across and deposits sand, just like a river delta, I reckon.

Today, after my second swim, with my white towel wrapped around me, a sign of no frills type of style, I flagged down the small, sun-darkened man with the assorted pastries, he set up his little stand and explained them to me, I settled on the first item he listed, Cannoli de Sweet Potato but I let him list all of what he had there. Everything was 30 pesos, including spicy tamarindo and sweet tamarindo. I met a Brazilian Couple, on the beach, they are here on a bathing holiday, the Man said that the diving around Cancun was some of the best in all the World… I said well, isn’t Brasil the most beautiful of all? and He chuckled. As we parted ways, I said, “adiós” and they both said something in Portuguese, and then the Man said to me, “Very good, Your vacation!” I said the same to them and was once again on my way.

I rode on back toward the South, stopping along the Malecon to draw another picture of it, I wanna get a few different takes before I go back to USA, I’ll have enough sketches, I believe, to keep me busy for quite a while, mixed with all that will surely come upon my return… with any luck, it’s gonna be a BIG year! Returning to my balcony, looking out across the neighbor toward the sea, everything was glowing in the late afternoon sun light. I stayed up top until just after dark and then went down to do a walk around and see what’s what along the streets near my apartment. I went into a little restaurant and the prices were so low that I knew it wasn’t gonna work with the 500 peso note I had in my pocket. Feeling like a big jerk, I showed it to the little Lady in there and She shook her head when I asked. “too mucho?” Ok, adiós, so I cruised on and turned up at Mike’s Pizza and Pasta, where I pass the guy sitting out there, at least twice every day. There was no sign of that guy and they were playing a McMerican news channel I didn’t want to hear, so I moved along. I finally reach a pricey Seafood and Steaks place that is frequented by the Golf Cart set. I figured I could find something on the menu and I did, I order Bohemia dark beer and a Pulpo Ceviche, which was way more than I expected, by which I mean, the amount of food… I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat it all but I did not want to waste it, so I powered through and finished it. The little waiter gave me a special discount for some reason, and I thanked him, paid my bill and was gone, it was only a zig-zag block or two back to home from there.

a view of the Malecon from where I sat to draw it.
this may be too dark to see, it’s the sketch I was working on this afternoon.
Pulpo Ceviche.
a second pencil outlining, captured in sunlight.

El Camino de Lago del Mar

(*** Author’s notification, sometimes these blog posts unfold over multiple days)

Frigate Birds forever! (¡Fragatas para siempre!)

Here I am on Sunday, just after noon, I’ve had my quesadilla, read a chapter and the Sun has still refused to make its presence truly known. The wind (el viento) blows a little less forcefully than yesterday. I gotta get in the water if I wanna maintain my streak, see, today will be seventeen in a row, if I go… I’ve passed the center point, so it has to be yes, not no. I did it, I swam and I really swam, until I popped up finally, from that oxygen rich, briny water, breathing heavily from the working out of my whole body at once.

On the Malecon, as my Mom pointed out, it’s a wonder it ever got built…

I have ways I try to remember the ideas I have when I can’t write them down, which at this point aren’t many. Trudging along in the traffic upon my bicicleta, is certainly one such time, so I developed a way to remember the thoughts, which for the life of me, I cannot now remember! I spilled most of my quesadilla sauce on my lap when that mischievous wind whipped up and blew away the catchment tray… if only that sauce could be captured and rechanneled into, well, my brain! Spicey goodness, come again! Today I began speaking with the Juice Lady (la Agua Fresca) told me that the place where I was awaiting the completion of my quesadilla, was the best of the best, which is mad props from the Juice Lady, also She told me that I need to try the Panuchos… it’s a little thing that seems to be diamond shaped, from her gestured description, and inside goes frijoles and then You put puerco… She rubbed her belly. I could just drink that orange juice all dang day… I crave it, the way I crave churros, or swimming in the sea.

We’re gonna need some more wires, down here and an electrical engineer…

One problem here, a first world problem in a… well, a not exactly first world scenario (and as time continues, we’ll surely meet in the middle somewhere), is that the bank machines give out all 500 peso notes but all the small vendors really need the small currency, they don’t have endless change for 500 pesos. So, one must navigate this situation by sticking it to the BIG Box joints like the Chedraui Grocery Store, which I really dislike but it’s the only place I can get something to cook in my apArtment, that I have figured out, so far… even still, the Chedraui check-out Ladies, ask, as everyone, “Do You have any change?” nobody has change. There is no communication, just like in the USA, between the automated and the actual humans. How long will this go on? As long as a company can save money with automated systems, is this what I want to think about on a Monday morning? Hell no!

a cross between BiLo and Best Buy and Big Lots, Chedraui!

these words are really just filler for in between the pictures… just like the Taco place back home uses cauliflower filler in its beans dip… they seem like such an endless vat of beans. Using the word “vat” makes me experience the slightest Deja Vu, and recently I’ve had a few. I’m thinking about these People I see and the different Holidays that they are on and also about my own limited and unique perspective, and specifically my Bathing Holiday, going on right now. I think the Airlines anticipated this janky no-frills status… they must have. What I lack in physical weight, I do make up for it in pieces of Seaglass, stashed inside my suit bag, which carries no suits, save for the two bathing pairs that I brought down here. Some beach girls go by with their boys in their opposing bathing attire, their parfum and cologne scents the air momentarily… I’ve never been really fond of parfum since I knew better.

My Island Transportation, only one speed

All the big birds have gone now, back to the Southwest for supper, or either that, or over to Isla Contoy, the sea island preserve where they stay. Just a routine emergency trip to the surface (in Submariner speak). The perpetual storm of the Sea has caused me to miss yet another afternoon swim… it’s too chilly and hard to get dry once again, with the rain and naturally, no sun in sight. I’ve gotten my bike rides in, though and I sit on the beach, now, to type these words for You. The warm night wind is blowing, the clouds cover stars and then move away, I search and search the night sky… it is mysterious, especially where the dark, limitless spots appear with their twinkling pinpoint stars.

at the Hoss High-enda (Hacienda)

Hoss High-end on the tippy-top (thirty-two steps from the bottom).

I am thankful to share with You in this space, it is not as personal as face-to-face but I know there aren’t many people reading these words, and that’s not a complaint, it’s a compliment to the few who do! Thank You. Here is this day, a Saturday, the geographical center of January, the very first month of the year, the aftermath of all the merry-making that ushered out the old year, which wasn’t even very old but had worn out its welcome, already. Now, as far as I can make out from the tidbits of “news” that reach me, it is off to an even more bizarre start, this new year. I remember last year, I was here with my Pop and we saw some Asian People wearing masks along the beach… I just figured that they are so used to wearing them that it’s just a habbit, little did I know… habbit, rabbit and down the hole We go! (I borrowed that last bit from Abbott Vaughn Meader who was obsessed, to say the least, with Alice and her adventures in Wonderland)

Seagulls hovering over the tip of the Playa Norte.

I am here in Mexico, on the third floor of a multi-generational and multi-multi membered Family, of Rolando y Mary and their parents, sisters, cousins, children’s children’s best friends and all of their animal companions. Downstairs they are taking down the Luces de Navidad, I asked the Man, Mary’s Poppa, what is this one called? He held the light string in his hands…”this one is cadena de luces!” he proudly announced… a lights string.

at the end of the alley, past the old Oasis…
if You look anywhere, there is inspiration to find.

I rode to the Mercado, intending to get a jugo de naranja and a quesadilla but the 2 very plastic 20 peso notes (those pesos are gone with the wind!) had blown clean out of my inside pouch pocket on my ride down, so I was 10 pesos short for the Loncheria “Nic-Teha”… so, I just got my OJ and went to read in the sand. I was hopeful that the clouds cover would melt away and I could swim in the sunlit water, I did great swimming, with all long glides in the very buoyant sea, I stayed in for even longer than usual, waiting for the sun but the sun did not come out until I got back to Rolando’s… I had to do the chilly walk in the whipping wind, the water is so warm, though, it’s no trouble to just stay in.

the wide-shallow sea pool where I swim, each day.

Now I’m cooking bacon in my cocina on this blustery but sunny January afternoon, it’s a Saturday and all along the merry way between here and the Playa Norte and back again, everything is bustlin’, riders of every type of vehicle are faster than me, I just stay close to the side and they all pass by. Yesterday everyone was stopped, all the traffic, to watch the Helicopter of the Mexican Marines, take off… quite a spectacle… up it went, sounding a little squeaky but everything held together and they went noisily off to the North, presumably back to land somewhere on the Mainland.

Egg & bacon lunch.

the light is fading once again, the time from dawn ’til dusk goes by so quickly and the night stretches out forever, it seems like. I stand out on the lanai and watch some great atmospherics and get my first glimpse of this next moon, tiny and glimmering, like a magic (as a magic) in the Western sky. I think I will go eventually to see if the Panaderia is open… I have eaten all my cookies that I got last time. I got two lovely swimming experiences in today, the second one was so sunny and so chilly to get out in the stiff breeze… I danced around and toweled off like a wild man, tucked in nearby to a whole vacationing family, with their boom-box and pop-tops… everybody down here has a boom box, you know, the modern version, which, of course, has get nothing on the original… who has those anymore, I reckon somebody does.

Andador 5 from above.

a little guy goes by on his bike with a big case of baked goods, honking his horn wildly, in case You wanna come out and buy one or more… there is also a mixed nuts guy… I wish they had a churros cart through the neighborhoods but it’s just as well that they don’t. I sit out up top and sip hot coffee after dark, the semi-flavorless beverage is warm and it adds to the sensation of this cool night. I am beneath Orion, just like at home and a new next Moon sliver is floating up in the Western sky, it’s another beautiful night but this one has lots of stars, let’s hope it stays clear or is clear again at around 5:00am…

Cochinita Pibil:

los Espíritus del Viento! (the Spirits of the Wind)

the Malecon (mi bicicleta included).

here, the mischievous Wind Spirits dart all about, changing direction on a whim and blowing rain straight off of the Ocean. They also blow away the clouds and make a chill on Your skin, coming out of an afternoon swim. With any luck at all the same winds have blown back the puffy tropical cloud forms and let the Sun shine through, to dry the salt water quickly. Today we had these perfect conditions. I got to swim twice, which is ideal and I also rode my bicicleta, again, to la Punta Sur for Churros, the first time since Monday.

la Punta Sur.

Have You ever been a wonderin’ where-oh-where You’ve been and suddenly seen it all laid clean and clearly out before You? No… it’s just a dream or an attempt at a clever rhyme scheme. In this long conversation with mySelf that I’ve been having, it seems that a chief complaint of mine is not knowing enough… good heavens, with the little that I do know or suppose I know, I have plenty to keep mySelf occupied (ocupado). All this time, though, my skin grows thicker, so fewer of those slings and arrows may pierce it than they once did, but still, I am no Achilles.

at the Playa Norte.

tonight marks the two-week point in this month-long solo retreat of mine, I ate again at my favorite place, so far, this time I was the only diner the entire time I was there. I had Pasta al Cartoccio, the House Special and my favorite dish. I also had a Coffee, with crema, as usual and also a margarita, on the way home I stopped for more candles. Two weeks from now I will still be here but with less than 48 hours to go. I have expanded completely into this space and need to keep an eye on it expanding any further because it all needs to back in the two small bags that it came here in. I also need to get my laundry done and there seem to be plenty of places where I can take it right to them.

Da Luisa Italian Caribbean Restaurant.

for the past four days in one row, I have been able to ride down to the Playa Norte to swim, twice each day and I plan to continue that trend as long as the bike and my legs hold out, or until about 11:00am on Sunday, January 31st, when I need to be removed from here by the Ferry to meet the Happy Shuttle driver on the other side of the water. That makes 15 days in a row that I’ve been swimming, that’s probably the most in ages, sadly. I’d swim every day if I were so lucky but I regularly have other stuff to do and not such proximity to a lovely place to swim. I am thankful and trying to be so aware of what a special treat this is and how I shouldn’t take it for granted. When I swim, I swim for Everybody who is unable to but would like to, if they could.

Sunset along my route this Evening.
a typical home on Isla Mujeres.

No Virgen here… sea shells worshipped!

if there is one thing I kmow to be true, it’s that the Mexican night is enchanting, with all of its sounds and smells and yes, even sights, a myriad of twinkling lights, the many decorations still going from Navidad, although starting to look a little long in the tooth. I looked out just now, into the gently breezy night, it is much quieter than previous nights and I am up the latest I have been this whole trip, to experience it.

Mexican Candles (mirror image)

toda la noche el viento se mantuvo fuerte!

the wind, el viento (which sounds like biento to my wonky ears), has been blowing like mad all night… for the first time since I reached here, I had to close all the windows and the door, the rain was blowing right in. I didn’t notice it at first but by the time I did, it was all over the kitchen… thankfully the magic of this place includes a quick-drying feature (la función de secado rápido!) that I am not used to in Western North Carolina!

the smell from the Panaderia reaches my balcony when they are baking.

Today I got to swim two times, each of which was sandwiched between 2 kilometer bicicleta rides from my accommodations to the Playa Norte, via the Malecon, et cetera, each way, so today I road 8 kilometers, approximately. I went to the Mercado and got a bag of ground coffee and a bottle of Orange Juice, always from the same Juice Lady. I went to swim at my favorite spot, the wide shallow Sea pool where the Playa Norte meets the deep, blue Caribbean… it is amazing to me that wild waves are crashing and suddenly smooth out into a clear pool that is nowhere over my head, completely and most places only 3 feet deep, although it is not measured in feet here. On my second swim I saw a big honkin’ blow fish, the biggest one I’ve ever seen, it looked right at me and moved along.

a quite spot on the Playa Norte.

I woke up this morning at 5:40am and walked out on my roof-top to see what was happening… el viento was still blowing but the sky had cleared, I looked to see no familiar constellations but then, as I got my bearings, I looked to find the Southern Cross, that I’ve only seen a handful of times, it looks more like a Kite to me but I know it now and it is really WoW! It never can be seen in the night sky to which my eyes are regularly accustomed.

this image belongs to Roger Groom but it is of the Stars which belong to Everyone…

Orange juice on the top of spice is the truth. Sunny, mellow morning at the beach. A Lady in a floral print thong-bikini, which is standard issue here, is having a solo photo-shoot… A lone snorkeler with an instructor is in the wide-shallow sea pool, in between the rickety bridge to the SCUBA Hotel and the place where the waves break from the full-on sea. The photo-shoot Lady checks the light… in a matter of moments it’s sunny again. The water is the lightest teal blue or brightest sea foam turquoise. It only gets ever so slightly more aquamarine in the deep spots which run as the current flows and then rise into sandbars only a foot or so below the surface of said water.

dinner for one diner at Da Luisa.

“tonight”, my Host tells me, “mucho rain…” I can see the sky growing darker in the North. I ask about the Frigate Birds (pájaros Fragata), between He and I we each know so little of the other’s language but it’s safe to say, He knows more of mine. He tells me they are always here and also another Island, which he indicates through hand gestures, is to the North, an Island where no tourists are, only Animals, possibly called Cortada? I’d better hurry or this storm will beat me back to the Beach.

wires and spires of Isla Mujeres.

I reach back to home to find my feet so sandy… I have an odd feeling walking down the street from the Beach, where I swam in the rain… the warm air and the rain on my back… it’s a time-out-of-place scenario… now the rain has stopped and it’s getting dark… the wind has also stopped, after blowing for days… it’s also odd.

the afternoon Sea.

a rainy Mexican morning

on my tenth morning in Mexico, I woke up to a gentle rain, that seems to have come from the East, out of the Caribbean. The Sea meets the shore only two blocks from where I am staying and I can see little blue bits of it on a sunny morning. Now the sea is lost in mist and the rain comes down all around us on this spit of land between the sea and the Salina directly opposite of it. East is below me, according to the direction of the sunrise (on days when I can see it), so the Salina must be Southwest of me, it is another two blocks, maybe. I can’t get my maps to work, here, so I am limited in what I can say for certain. I have to give thanks for what I have which is always a thing to remember.

¡here at the Hacienda Casa Hacienda!

the rain comes down heavily and then tapers off, once everything is already soaked, it might as well keep going. Two Doves sit on a palm frond and make their gurgling noises, which build into the familiar tropical morning cooing hoot, not dissimilar to a Rooster’s crow. In watching one closely, it seemed beyond his control. The rain has knocked out the internet here, which was out all day on a sunny day, last week… it isn’t crucial at all but it is one something I have taken for granted.

the waves crash now, with more authority than before, they’re filled up with the full-strength of this morning’s storm. I’m gonna head out into it and see what I can find… I’m planning to ride the Southeasterly route ’til it ends a la Punta Sur and then work my way back along the Bayside.I’ll sit here for a bit while I digest the quesadilla I just ate, the second day in a row of doing so… I form patterns and it takes a lot to change them. I accepted, though opted out of eating, the pico de gallo, you know those fresh tomatoes and onions, et cetera with some herbs and an oil, spicy. I sit by the sea watching a rain out there to the northeast, more up in the Gulf, past Holbox, this is an ideal spot and no one else is on the beach at all this late Monday (lunes) morning…

morning lead into midday and now on to nearly early evening here, the day light, while a lengthier period of time than back at home, high up in those dark, old, wintry mountains, is still very fleeting. I really need to get an earlier start. I missed my second swim of the day, but I did ride down, again, to la Punta Sur and there I got the best and freshest Churros yet… I asked the Lady for “Churros Natural” She shook her head, “Churros normale…” again with the no, finally, I read what it said before me, “Churros Tradicionales!” Si! said She and began the process from the play-dough like churros pumper-outer gizmo, into the hot oil, with great care, even removing one that wasn’t just right. As I ate my Churros, I happened to loook up at the “Light House” and saw something I had never before seen, the Frigate Birds perched on the railing, thereof. I had mentioned this twice, this morning and here they all were!

Carne asada quesadilla.
In the hot oil vat!
the fresh churros!