Hungarian night at Wet Wendy’s

It was a Saturday night on Cozumel and the place to be was Wet Wendy’s for their Hungarian food and jazz night.   The crowd was gathering, the staff was running, and the smells from the kitchen were heavenly.  The only thing missing was music, but then the jazz began at 8:00 and, in my humble opinion, they were great!      Although I was taking time  off from my wanderings and writings, I couldn’t help myself, I had to snap a few pictures and thought I’d share them here with you.   Thanks for such a great night everyone!.

What a great smile!

                                                                                                                 

It was such a good night…………………….can’t wait for next year……………………………Salud!

A quiet morning at Chankanaab………..

It was a beautiful Friday morning on the island of Cozumel and I was looking for something  to do.  But, since becoming a resident, I have learned that it is best to ask those who’ve been here a lot longer than me.  And, that’s what I did, I asked around, and it was mentioned that Chankanaab Park was quite inexpensive for the locals.  All it takes is a residency card, which I now have,  for  entry without paying too much for my budget.  And, that’s just one of the many advantages there are to  living here .  Yes, it sounded like a good plan and, since it was such a pretty day,  I packed a day bag, grabbed a cab and headed to the park,  which is located on the southwestern side of the island.

Due to my love of photography, I make these little trips  either very early in the morning, or late in the afternoon when the sun is just right.  In this case it was the morning light I was after.  Arriving by 8:30 I was able to get inside quite early and was immediately drawn to a man dressed in the Mayan garb from the history books standing by the entry. We chatted a bit and, once he saw I was sincerely interested in his way of dress, he put on his “wings” and struck a pose.  A good start to the day.   Then, after a few shots, we chatted a bit longer and  I asked him where he would recommend I should go for photos.  He dropped his wings and gave me directions to the botanical gardens.  “Just go left, go left,” was his answer and I followed his directions.

Now, Chankanaab Park is known for many things.  People come here to snorkel, swim, scuba dive, kayak, dine, swim with dolphins, or just sit on the beach and drink.  Me?  I like to take pictures in tranquil settings and was, frankly, dubious.  But, his recommendation panned out.  What a great place to be early in the day.  There is a path that winds around through rain forest foliage and it is sprinkled with sculptures, a “home” that is an example of a residence from days past, as well as  bridges, flowers and waterfalls surrounded by lush foliage.  It was everything one could hope for if you share my love of tranquil settings that seem to transcend time.

The path really did meander and I was glad for the occasional arrow sign that pointed the way.  It turned out that I couldn’t go more than twenty feet before I saw something new and photo worthy.  And, it was so quiet that it was hard to believe that hundreds, if not more, tourists were somewhere in the vicinity.  But, surprisingly,  I did not run into another person in my wanderings, which didn’t bother me in the least.  A sculpture over here, a turtle over there, a few flowers and, often, a multitude of bamboo plants in between, who wouldn’t be content?

I must have walked for an hour, stopping here and there, before coming to the end of the gardens, but that simply gave me a view of the lagoon that is in the center of Chankanaab.  It is a sea fed, turquoise body of water surrounded by palms.  Now, there is no swimming allowed, but sitting on the banks under the palm trees is quite nice too, and that’s what I did.  However,  it was a bit closer to the more populated tourist areas so I just sat for a few minutes before I was off towards the other activities that make this park so popular.  I will say, however,  that it was with great reluctance that I left.

Next I headed to the beach for a bit of people watching, and there was plenty to see.  Guys in snorkel masks, women holding children, the bikini clad (whether they should be, or not), there were all kinds of folks everywhere.  Since the cruise ships had docked, many were enjoying the day on Cozumel for the first time.  It’s fun to see how much they try and pack in, as far as activities, in a single day.  But, who could blame them?  There’s lots to do.  I just wish more of them thought of sun block.  I know the problems that burns can create (I was wearing number 80)…….but, I digress.

Folks were kayaking, swimming, and gearing up for dives.  The staff was friendly and helpful and everywhere I looked folks were just enjoying themselves.  I decided to sit under a palapa a bit away from the crowd and take in the view.  In just a few minutes a waiter came over and I ordered a drink.  It was time to relax before the next activity.  It really is a nice way to spend a day with plenty of choices.

Finally, it was close to 10:30, which is when the first sea lion event takes place.  Now, for those of you kind enough to read my blog, you know that I try and just write, mostly,  about pleasant experiences and,  typically,   keep my outside opinions to myself.  That being said, I have to say that I, personally, have a problem with sea creatures being used for entertainment.  I don’t wish to open the floor to a debate, I do see that they are being well taken care of, and they bring much joy, but I could only go to the sea lion exhibit out of curiosity.  I, personally, didn’t want to participate in the dolphin swim.  Now, with that introduction, the sea lion show was quite entertaining, and the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves.  But, after just a few minutes,  I was happy to see that there were other things to do.

With that in mind I’d noticed that there was a Spa on the premises.  Since I’d saved so much money getting into the park  (can you hear the rationalizations?), I decided a massage would be a good thing.  I tend to twist my back into weird positions while practicing my yoga and told myself that it certainly couldn’t hurt.   Fortuitously, a young man, by the name of Francisco, approached me on the beach with a “menu” of the types of massages available.  As a side note, I was also happy to note that a bit of bartering could be practiced, always a good thing.  Once we agreed to which one I wanted, and the price,  he escorted me to the spa where there were all the essentials for a relaxing time.  It was located on a quiet part of the beach with the jungle behind it and a palapa overhead with sheer curtains for effect.    He gave me twenty minutes of a deep massage while I listened to the wildlife and, let me tell you,  he was quite good.  It was a very relaxing way to end my morning at the park.

It was getting a bit late for me to be out in the sun so I headed towards the entrance and the next taxi.  Walking past the folks just arriving I knew that I’d timed it well.    I stopped for a pic of an archway and, finally,  put away my camera.  What a nice experience.    I like my mornings quiet and I had the ability to do just that even in one of the most popular parks on the island.  Who knew?   Thanks for coming along…………Salud!

Around the corners at Buccanos

It’s nice living on Cozumel, especially once you get to know a few folks who’ve been here for a while.  They are the ones “in the know” and I’m listening to their recommendations.  Let me mention that no-one has steered me wrong yet.    One of those kind folks had mentioned that a small group might go to Buccanos on Sunday afternoon and told me that, if they went, I was welcome to join them.  She is, apparently,  quite fond of the place and spoke so highly about it that I was psyched.  Now, plans change, but once a seed is planted in my mind, and has grown out of enthusiasm, there is no stopping me.  I decided to go anyway, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.  Buccanos, on the northern end of the island, is just a wondrous place for a variety of reasons.  Oh, and let me mention that the fun pics come a little later if you want to get a real feel for the place.

It was, once, a very popular hotel, but the main building is slightly decrepit  and now merely houses a few permanent residents, so that is not necessarily the reason to visit.  But, while walking down the dirt road that leads to the social area, one can get an idea of just how great this visit might be, it is just so quiet and serene.  Tucked far back from the main road I could actually hear the palm trees rustle in the breeze.  Soon I came upon a fountain and I just sat on the edge listening for a while.  I still couldn’t hear where the people might be,  just the leaves brushing against each other and the sound of the water.

Once I tore myself away from that I rounded the corner and saw the entry way, which is huge and built from stone with wooden beams for a ceiling. Going to the left I saw the bar and ordered a drink from Oscar, the bartender, and then picked a spot where I could just take it all in and there are a lot of choices.  In this first area I just looked around at the furniture, which is not only comfortable, but fun.  Everything is covered in lush, tropical colors.   This ambiance is aided by the  open air effect with  stone archways, creative lights, and decorative ceiling fans that help to keep the place quite comfortable.   And, somehow, this combination helps to insulate one from the sounds of those who are enjoying the pool, even though the pool itself is in full view, a mere thirty feet away, or so.   However, this picture of their pool was taken from the next floor up once I started to explore, which I highly suggest everyone do that visits, there are special touches around just about every corner.

No, it didn’t take long for me to start walking about.  Since it was still too sunny and warm for me, I remained “inside.”  Walking past the bar and turning a bit to the left is when one can see the dining room.  There are a multitude of wooden tables and chairs where folks can sit and  dine while watching the ships, yachts, or fishing boats pass by.  The view is incredible.  I’d also heard their food is too and took a  quick peek at the menu, but, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a foodie.  Still, since hearing about a certain dish, macaroni and cheese with lobster, I know I’ll be going back.  Not sure who thought of that combination, but kudos to you.  I digress. Since I won’t be eating,  this time, it’s really is all about the surroundings, so I put down the menu and kept going.

First thing I noticed is that there is a love of mural art.  This piece on the left is from the main dining area, just in case you don’t want to look at the ocean.  And, there are more.  In addition to those, there are many of the little things that add even more of a sense of magic.  I know that’s an over used word, but, in this case, it’s appropriate.  There are a variety of places one can walk to find that perfect quiet spot,  admire  vases filled with greenery, or maybe stop and listen to their inside grotto area complete with a waterfall.   It seemed as if every time I turned another corner there was something worth photographing, or just to enjoy.  I was in heaven.  It was late in the afternoon, which is a great time to take a few pictures, it was comfortably protected from the heat, and it all continued to encourage exploration.  I must have wandered about taking pictures and enjoying the breeze for an hour.  It was time to head back to the poolside and see if I could get a few pictures of the people that come to Buccanos.

On my way back I came across a little path seemingly carved out of the rain forest itself.  I was tempted, but knew that I could just keep going when in that kind of a mood, so I refrained.  I settled for a couple more colorful shots while winding back around.  And, an old horse drawn cart also caught my eye.  It was a bit dark, and my camera has its limitations, but I gave it a try anyway.  Well, as mentioned, it was time to check out the folks who were enjoying the outside pool, sunning areas, and the stone pier located just a short distance away.  The first group that caught my eye consisted of ladies playing cards at an umbrella table while enjoying their meals.  Very friendly, and obviously having a good time, they readily agreed to a pic.   After that I noticed a young couple sitting apart from everyone just enjoying the view and each other.  I took their shot with my zoom because I just didn’t want to disturb them, they seemed too content to interrupt.  A few minutes later I noticed a young mother with her sleepy child.  When I pointed to my camera and gave her my usual shrug of askance, she agreed.  What a beautiful child.  He was also a great example of just how serene it is at Buccanos.  Nothing was loud enough to disturb him.

After those few moments I headed off to the restroom.  Once I opened the door I started to smile.  There is art in there as well.  A pretty sculpture is placed next to a full-length mirror for effect.  These folks are, obviously, very detail oriented.  So, there I was, in the restroom taking photos, but, why not?

Now, since it was Sunday, they were closing at 5:00.  But, I’d heard much about their sunset view and wanted to capture an example.  So, I walked just a bit down the beach and the rocky area so that I was off the property, I hope.   Glad to have remembered my bug spray, I just sat in between the hotel and a private house that looks amazing.  For me the wait was worth it and this might just be the photo I will use when I have a mural painted on my deck wall next month.  

Yes, Sunday was a good day all around, and thanks for coming along with me………….Salud!

p.s. I am never compensated for these little bits, but like to share good experiences

My Sunday Morning……….

As a woman who attended an all girls,  Catholic boarding school (for six years – my parents had a sense of humor)  let’s just say that I’m aware of the significance of Sundays.  In fact, until I was fourteen years of age I’d considered becoming a nun, which would be laughable to you if you saw me today.  I currently sport something close to a shaved head, have a few tattoos, and a tendency to dress according to the temperature and not social standards, all of which would not bring to mind a devotee.  However, I am, just in a different way.  Without discussing current beliefs, my upbringing has made its mark and, no matter my thoughts, I still look at the day as special.  I just show my devotion in other ways, one in particular being through my attempts to photograph the beauty we have around us.

Living on the island of Cozumel  makes that easy to accomplish.  There is much here to admire, and much that could make us believe in something, if we don’t already.  This morning, in particular, while “walking” with my dogs I saw the sunrise play off the church here in Corpus Christi.  This caused me to walk my guys back home fairly quickly, which, I’d like to mention, they weren’t so happy about,  just so that I could grab my camera.   It was still early enough that the attendees weren’t present, but the doors were open.  I started to take some pics, but have to mention that I just couldn’t get myself to go inside to snap a few.  My upbringing simply won’t allow me to play tourist in “the house of God.” So I stayed safely on the other side of the entryway, just in case.

It’s a rather unique building in the sense of being so large that it could become intimidating, but, due to being painted several different colors, still remains friendly.  In other words, the imposing, paired towers, along with the front  are yellow, but the rest is a rather salmon, or pinkish shade.  Not sure of the reason, but it just  might be cost prohibitive simply due to its size.   Inside there is the same slight argument between traditional and contemporary stages due to the expected stain glass windows, but with a Christ that hangs between them on a modernized, glass cross.

Why I often pick this church as subject matter is simple, it’s always busy and I live just across the street.  And, to say that this church is the hub of activities would be an understatement.   Whether there are weddings, funerals, choir practice, or the services themselves, there is always something going on.  This morning I hung around long enough that the locals began to arrive, but they merely smiled, or nodded their heads, seemingly accustomed to the church being photographed.  And, many seem quite proud of their church, understandably.

Once I got another shot, or two the sun was beginning to peek up over the top of the surrounding buildings so I went around to the side where they have an abundance of white morning glories, and red hyacinths.  I just love the flowers down here, they are gorgeous and plentiful, it is a metaphorical Eden. That being said I noticed that  I started to  snap a few shots from angles I wouldn’t normally focus on.  My idea of devotion and fun, although I do wonder what I was thinking when I snapped the church through the wire fence.  Maybe I could help another therapist to get a new car?  Nah, it was just fun.

Then I spotted them.  The perfect floral arrangement of four flowers clustered together like a corsage.   They were located just around the corner and I simply had to see what I could get.  The sun hadn’t made it over the rooftops, yet, so I started to play with my camera, flash, focus, all the things that make me smile.  Afterwards though, as I stood there looking at the pics, I realized I wanted to compare the difference in lighting, which meant hanging around on the street corner for a bit.  But, on a Sunday, in shorts, next to a church I was fairly certain no-one would mistake my intentions so I just waited.  It took about half an hour, but I’ll post the sunlit version too, and let you decide if the wait was worth it.

By then it was time to head home.  But, there was a hyacinth just over there in full sunlight, absolutely had to acknowledge that, and one of my humble house plants had managed to capture a few dew drops on its furry leaves, so I took that as well.  All in all, an enjoyable morning of photos with the added touch of hymnals being sung in the background by the truly devout.  A great start to the day,  thanks for coming along.    Salud!

A walk in the park………

This is a picture of my girls, Nity and Metta. Two critters I’ve adopted since moving to the island of Cozumel back in March.   Don’t they look sweet?  But, don’t let the calm pose fool you, they are both quite insistent about many things, and today I’m going to talk about one of their demands,  the morning walk.

They start this particular ritual around 5:00, which is when I am awakened by a Dachshund’s nose and a Doberman’s tongue, both on my face.  As soon as I get out of bed they start to show me just how serious they are by running in and out of the bedroom through the tiny kitchen, into the living room until they are right at the front door.   This is where one can see the differences in their personalities.  Nity just runs full out and has crashed into the inside screen door so many times that it needs replaced, again.  However,  Metta does a combination of hopping and running, but in a circular motion all the way out and back,  kind of a little dance of joy.    Now, just in case I don’t “get it,” they will do this five or six more times while I struggle into something that makes me hope no-one else will see us.  I’m not good with anything before a cup of coffee, but, as history has taught me,  they simply will not allow for that indulgence.  Then I brush my teeth, spray on some bug stuff, grab a plastic bag and off we go although how they have any energy left by this time is anyone’s guess.  Lord knows I don’t.

Metta, the Dachshund, has to be carried down the steps from my apartment.  This has now become quite tricky since the landlord’s puppy, Pasita,  has  learned how to climb the stairs and she likes to sleep on the top one.  So we compete with each other all the way down, the non-caffeinated woman with the chubby dog in her arms and the Pug pup who just wants to play.  I shudder to think of the possibilities.   Nity, of course,  doesn’t wait for anyone, she just flies down the stairs, pees in the center of the courtyard, and then anxiously paces by the front gate.  Leashes are put on, the gate is opened, and the next few moments are a test of both patience and flexibility.  Two dogs on leashes competing with one puppy unchained to see who goes and who stays.

Once out the gate we head across the street to the Corpus Christi church  and then walk alongside it to the park in front.   We cross the street and, if the coast is clear of other dogs, I take them off the leash and they use their energies in better ways.  This is also when I get to relax a bit since they do stay close to me and I have the supplies necessary to be responsible.  Now, if there is another dog, the only thing I tend to worry about is the human involved.  My guys get along with all other furry creatures, but try telling that to the other pet owners, which brings me to today.  You see, my dogs let me sleep in a bit, all the way to 7:00, and I was happy, but not for long.

There is a woman who walks her Toy Chihuahua (can I mention that I think that breed title is redundant)  in the park as well.   I know to keep an eye out for her, but can never be sure because her times vary and she moves in and around the trees quickly.  If I don’t happen to see her and let Nity loose, my dog will run up to say hello, but that poor woman will grab up her pup and freeze in fear.  No amount of reassurance helps, so I try and keep an eye out for her.   Today, unfortunately, I didn’t see her in time.  But, I gathered up my girl, apologized profusely, and put Nity and Metta back on their leashes until she was gone.

The coast was clear so I let them off again, but that only lasted for a moment until along  comes a woman with four small dogs, including a Beagle that can howl so convincingly that you are positive someone just got killed and he’s in mourning.  Again I leash my pups, exchange a “good morning” and off we go.  But, then there was the man with the French Bulldog, and the guy with his Pomeranian, another was walking an attractive mutt, and still another had a Dachshund.  It was a fiesta, but not the good kind.  You see, at 7:00 in the morning, these folks  all knew each other and their dogs, me and mine were the newbies.  I leashed my guys again, but this time Nity was so enthused about the potential playmates that she broke her newest collar.  It was her third, since she has this habit of stopping, looking, and then making a snap decision (pun intended) about her destination and her collars, so far, have not been able to withstand the pressure.  How I still have a shoulder in its socket is another mystery altogether.

So, there I am, trying to make a leash do two jobs, while struggling in between a Pomeranian, a Dachshund, and a French Bulldog all trying to get to know each other.   While this might have been laughable under other circumstances, this was not one of them.  In other words,  the other owners didn’t seem amused so my decision to end our morning “walk” was made.  As I hauled away my guys I glanced back to wonder how the others had gotten to that point where they could just stand and chat amiably while their dogs remained calmly at their sides whether on leashes, or not.  In fact, once I really looked at them I noticed that they were all dressed fairly well, not a mismatched outfit was to be seen.  Besides that, it looked like they’d all taken the time to take a shower and comb their hair.  In other words, they appeared ready for the entire day.  Me?  Well, let’s just say that I shouldn’t have left the house.

On the way home I realized that my dreams of sleeping in were not to be.   There are too many advantages to getting up at the crack of dawn.  My dogs are happier when they can roam a little bit and can poke and sniff anywhere they please.  The birds are joyful, the ambiance is peaceful, and it’s just too early to worry about much, especially how I look.  Yes,  I think we’ll stick with the 5:00 crowd.  Besides, my coffee tastes better because it’s been well earned.    Salud!

p.s. this is Carmella and the Pug pup, Pasita…………pics after coffee really are better

The moon and mirrors

Well, it was a full moon on the tropical island of Cozumel and I’d had a good week.  What’s one more night on the town, yes?  That was my thought,  and it seemed to be a good idea to go to a tavern, or two, that I’d not yet visited.   So, dogs walked, shower taken, clothes tossed on and out the door I went with no idea of my destination.   However,  I also made the decision that this would be my last night of exploration, for a while anyway.   I’m usually down for the day by nine and, frankly, my pillow covered bed and the remote were both looking pretty darn good.

The first place I headed to is called el Muellecito, which means the pier, and is located next to Rolandi’s on Melgar.   I walked up the stairs and was immediately aware of just how many young people there are on this island.  If I didn’t know any better I would have thought it was a flash mob of everyone under the age of thirty.  There was  the obligatory loud music, although not so loud as to drown out conversation, lots of waiters and areas both outside and in.   Although the atmosphere was casual many were quite well dressed and everyone seemed to know everyone else.  Young people went from table to table giving each other those airy cheek kisses, exchanging a few words, and carrying colorful drinks.

My waiter, Fernando, didn’t quite understand my request for a virgin drink (it was a bit early in the evening).   However, he did speak English, and I know a bit in Spanish, so we finally figured it out, but only with a lot of patience on his part.  He was nice enough to give me a small table in the back of the one room where I could just sit back and take it all in.  My camera came out, of course, and I started to get a few group shots, mood shots, and some pics of the fish on the walls.  Before long Fernando came back with a tropical dessert drink that I never did learn the name of, but it had a lot of strawberries and cream and was quite good.

Although everyone was pleasant enough, I was beginning to feel my age.  The fact that most of the customers were younger than my kids was cemented when I went into the restroom and two very pretty, and very young girls were touching up their makeup.  They politely moved aside for me to wash my hands, but, looking into the mirror, I just happened to catch them give each other a bit of a glance.  If I was them, I’d wonder too, this was not  a preferred place for retirees, but would be great for their grandchildren.  I paid for my dessert/drink and headed for another destination.

Now, I’d heard a lot about a place called The French Quarter located much closer to el centro on 5 av between 3 and Salas.  Apparently they have great food, celebrate  happy hour, and  they are also considered both a sports bar and a cajun restaurant.  Sounded like fun and I started off in their direction with the hopes that it would be a bit more age appropriate, for me.   The streets were quiet and the weather was mild, which made it quite a pleasant walk and it didn’t take more than about fifteen minutes to get there.

I took a quick pic outside and walked in and was immediately curious about their ability to be all the great things I’d heard.  Frankly, it just didn’t look big enough and I mentioned that to the woman at the bar.  She smiled and suggested that I take a peek upstairs.  Was I in for a surprise.  There was another bar, a large outdoor area with a canopy and lights, and an inside area that even had a pool table.   It had all I could hope for and the folks there were just the right age, younger,  in-between and older.   I started my usual tour to ask for photos and was, yet again, happy to see how many obliged.

There was a young couple at the bar and we chatted for a bit.  They seemed quite content and were happy to talk about their day, which included the young man’s work towards achieving the rank of dive master.  Seems they’d met here on the island and there appeared to be no regrets.

Another family downstairs was also having a good night and were even nice enough to gather together for a quick pic.  And, I’d like to mention that it’s good to see families vacationing together and actually enjoying it.  After that  it was time for a couple more shots of the wall art, which was very appealing, a peek at their menu, and a pic or two of their mood lighting and the experience became memorable.

But, this might be the time to mention that there are two reasons why I just have something to drink, but rarely test the menus.  The first reason, and the short version, is that I’m not a foodie.  Give me a jar of Jif peanut butter, a spoon, and a glass of cold milk and I’m a happy woman.  And, even the milk is optional.  I love to write about experiences, but am absolutely not qualified to talk about the many, varied choices available on Cozumel.  So, I don’t.  But, I do hear that The French Quarter’s cuisine is something to rave about and I will choose to believe those who are far more expert in those matters.  The second reason is that I’m also on a budget,  but that’s a story for another day.

Since it was still quite early I decided to make the trek to one last spot that I had only mentioned once before, in passing, but seemed to require a closer look due to all the good things I’d heard recently.   I’m talking about Woody’s Bar and Grill on 5 and 10 just off the center plaza, and they were in full swing.  There was a band and they were quite good.  The lead singer’s voice was clear and the lead guitarist was quite enthusiastic.  That’s a combination I always enjoy so I took a seat.

The crowd at Woody’s was quite diverse and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.  One of the owners, I believe her name is Nellie, stopped by my table, as she did others,  and she was charming.  I didn’t want to take up too much of her time because I could see she was quite busy, but it was nice of her to chat.  I stepped away from my table for a second so I could get a shot of the full moon just over the top of the block and realized that my next purchase will be a better camera.  I’ve seen some full moon shots that are gorgeous and I want to take one in the future.  Still, it competed nicely with the street lights and I was happy with what I got, but, once I was finished, I knew  it was time to start heading home.

A couple more quick pics and I gathered my things.  Time to walk home, let the dogs out, and put my remote to work.   So, with the full moon in full view I headed south to Corpus Christi.  What can I say?  Another good night in Cozumel and let me say thanks for coming along.   Salud!p.s. I am never compensated for these little tidbits, but I do enjoy sharing good nights