As a retiree on the island of Cozumel it could certainly seem as if I have just about everything one could ask for in life. And, that would be true. But, as one who is on a budget, I have learned to do without a few things here that were once considered so essential for my life back in the states. In this case I am talking about my lack of an automobile. Since taxis are prevalent and affordable, I’ve not really missed the payments, the insurance, or the upkeep. Still, once in a while I would daydream about the possibility of going anywhere, at anytime, without having to depend on another. Naturally I’d considered renting. However, I’d allowed my license to expire and assumed that my fate was sealed. I should have known. Turns out that one can go to the Palacio and apply for a permit. All that’s needed is a passport, an electric bill to show residency, an FM3, which is a form of identification obtained through immigration, and a couple of photos. Since I had all these things I applied and am now the proud owner of a 30 day permit. Within the hour I was also the proud driver of the car you see above.
Let me start by saying that my white V.W. bug was not for the faint of heart. That it was a stick shift was not a problem. Most of my cars in the states had been a standard shift. It was the shaking, rattling, iffy clutch, and that eerie metallic sound that came from somewhere underneath that created a bit of concern. But, I was insured, it was early, and I was off to see the east side of Cozumel for the first time since I’d moved here. I packed a bag of goodies including lots of water, a couple of tangerines, and some cookies for my sweet tooth and off I went with the car shaking every step of the way. That I had to stop to re-snap the cloth roof that threatened to fly into the jungle was merely a minor inconvenience that reminded me that I still liked adventures. Nothing was going to stop me from my intent to snap some pics of the more isolated side of the island.
Now, for those less familiar, Cozumel is about thirty miles long and a bit over nine miles wide. The town of San Miguel, where most of us live, is on the western shore and much of the rest of the island is covered in lush, jungle growth. Waters by the town are calm and one can see both the shoreline of Playa del Carmen and the numerous cruise ships that come into port. The east side, however, is where one goes for the waves and those long beach walks that everyone mentions in their online dating sites. And, although this side of the island is dotted with playa (beach) bars, they are far enough apart to allow for that sense of isolation that many, like myself, enjoy. I rattled my way to the perfect spot and grabbed my camera. It only took three slams for the door to stay shut and off I went.
The sun had been up for about an hour and the light was stunning. I’d stopped by a cluster of rocks that extended way past the shoreline and began to scramble. Although the sun was getting hot, there was a great breeze carrying that ocean smell that makes me smile. Turning this way and that I just kept snapping while trying to avoid the typical beach shot. That turned out to be easy since the shoreline where I was at was not only pitted with rocks, but the waves had carved a dune out of the sand. This effect allowed for one shot that was reminiscent of a modern painting my father had hung in our dining room when I was a child. After I snapped the scene from a few angles I knew it was the perfect place to sit and snack while listening to the waves. A liter of water and two tangerines later it was time to go.
While walking back to the car I stopped and took a few shots of some beached coral. At least I think that’s what it’s called. Whatever the name, it was a nice play of light and shadows. Then, just before getting back in the driver’s seat, I focused on a jungle scene just across the road from where I’d parked my car. Nothing more than a weathered tree branch reaching up to the sky. Still, for me, it was picturesque and made for a nice contrast to the blues of the ocean.
All this took a couple of hours since there had been a lot of just sitting and taking it all in. I’ve learned that I need to put away the camera sometimes, or I might miss the chance to just relax. I coaxed my car to life and started back to town. But, just before the curve in the road that takes one away from the ocean, I saw something that was a first and I just had to stop. A pickup truck with two Brahman Bulls had pulled off the side of the road. Now, who can pass that up? I stopped and went over with my camera. Once they’d made it down the ramp to the ground the workers began brushing and putting blankets and saddles on them. I tried to ask the men about things such as rates, rides etc., but they spoke Mayan, I think, and I don’t. Still, they were all smiles while giving their beasts water and petting them. It was clear that, however I might feel about animals in servitude, these two seemed to be quite well treated and content. At least I think they were content, I don’t know much about Brahman Bulls. But, as one began to walk down the road alongside his animal I took the shot and it was the perfect end to my morning. What a great way to start the day. And, thanks for coming along. Salud!