I live on the island of Cozumel and there is something that I’ve noticed. The residents are fiercely loyal and the tourists can’t wait to return because something about this place can get under our skin. Since moving here myself, back in March, I’ve been writing a blog about the ups and downs of life as an expat and readers have been kind. I often receive comments such as: “Oh, I’ve been missing the island so much, this was good to read.” Or, ” I’d forgotten about that park, thanks for reminding me.” And, one of my favorites, “You help me through my days until I can get back there.” So, I had a thought. For those of you who are anxiously waiting to return, let’s go for a walk.
Today I’m going to just stay in my neighborhood, keep it simple, so to speak. I live in Corpus Christi, which is south of downtown and it is mostly residential and very serene. Both local families and expats can be found living in pretty pastel homes with the decorative touches that remind us we’re in Mexico. Tiles, or statues of the Mother Mary can often be seen by the side of the door, grating will be painted brightly, or maybe decorative plates will line the walls. Lots of faces are included in those and most of them are smiling.
Something else that can’t be missed is the foliage. I often talk about how lush it is here, but I’m never sure that photos can do this justice. Houses can seem almost overwhelmed sometimes. The trees tower, bouganvillae can be seen just about everywhere, and fences will be brought down by the weight of a simple morning glory that just refused to stop growing. I stop and snap some pics of an iris that is glowing in the light of the rising sun. No photoshop techniques will be necessary here, the colors will be hard to believe as it is. Just a couple more shots and it’s time to head towards the ocean. I like it best just before a full sun can bake away the smell of the salty air and often have my morning coffee just watching the latest cruise ship heading our way.
But, first I hit the park in front of the Palacio Municipal. At only 6:30 in the morning the park is almost empty with the exception of the men who are busily sweeping and the folks who are getting ready to run. And, this might be a good time to mention that the photo of the woman at the top of this piece is not me, not even close. She is one of the runners I saw this morning and I thought it fun how happily she stretched before getting started.
This park is quite large and, in addition to the Palacio Municipal building, there is lots to see and do. It has an outdoor stage, a towering modern sculpture with steps to sit on, and lots of pavement and grass for gatherings. On one end can be found animal sculptures for the kids to play on and on the other there are a variety of ATM machines to help the adults play as well. I’m not sure of the dimensions, but it could certainly hold quite a crowd. While walking across I notice a few more people dressed for running and take another shot. And, I can tell the light is just right for a picture of the men who help keep the park looking great. I get a pic of them too before I head across the street towards the ocean.
There is a cruise ship way off in the distance heading our way. I walk across the road and get ready to zoom in, but I notice that a few locals have decided to take a nap close to the shoreline and decide to focus on them instead. I try to fit both in the same shot, a little contrast for commentary, until I remember that my camera can only do so much. That’s okay, it’s a great morning and I have better things to do. In fact, I don’t think I’ll stop for coffee today after all. The light is too nice and I haven’t had a chance to take a lot of photos in the sun recently. We’ve had a lot of rain, and a few noteworthy thunderstorms pass through here lately. This is partly why there is so much greenery and also, unfortunately, a few too many mosquitoes as well. Even paradise has it’s problems.
Turning north I start towards Margaritaville and The Barracuda. A parrot pirate begs to be photographed. He’s pointing the way inside, but it’s a bit early for that although I do notice that the traffic is beginning to pick up. He’ll have lots of visitors soon enough. Then I notice another pirate guarding an ATM machine. Deliberately ironic? Probably, and just one of the many reasons we love it here, that sense of fun with just a bit of a nudge.
I notice I’m walking directly into the light so I turn around and take a quick shot to include both the walkway and the giant bottle of beer balancing on the roof. It looks to be quite photogenic and I decide to go a bit further to get another angle. Only in Mexico have I ever seen beer bottles bigger than me and it’s hard for me to pass one by when I have a camera in my hand.
I cross the street again just in front of the Mega store. In just a half hour, or so, the streets are getting noticeably busier and I know it’s about time to head home. I look for that beer bottle angle, take the picture and head back to the park. I notice that the sky is that perfect blue we get down here and it frames the sculpture nicely. Time for another pic.
It’s fun being a tourist and I hope I never start to take the sights here for granted. I don’t want to be like a friend of mine from New York City who once told me, “You know, I’ve lived here for thirty years and have never been to the Statue of Liberty, or the Rockefeller Center.” Seems to me that I want to keep going to the places that fascinated me when I was a tourist, helps get me through the day to day stuff like the heat. And, speaking of that, the realities of the summer sun are starting to hit. Just a few more blocks, and a couple more shots, and this walk will be complete.
A worker’s bike over here, a bit of wire over there, and a plant between two doors are just a few of the sights I grab a hold of while heading home. There’s two sides of me when I do something like this, the friend who wants the pictures for her buddies back in the states, and the writer who hopes to catch some artistic images. Both sides are happy now.
Glancing up I see the top of a building peeking out from the trees. Very regal looking although I don’t know if it is someone’s home, a business, or a condominium. But, the child in me sees a castle and I take the shot. Who knows, I might get inspired, get a short story from the image, it’s happened before. But, as I wipe the sweat off my face, I know that I’ll wait until I’m inside and enjoying the air before I try and explore the possibilities.
Another great morning here and I’m glad you came along. I’m thinking the next little outing might be on the beach, but that’s a thought for another day. In the meanwhile, if you’re counting the days until you return, I hope this helped. Salud!