Living on the island of Cozumel has continued to provide unique experiences for this retired American expat. Seldom a day goes by that is exactly like the last, and today was certainly no different. I’d been invited to a book signing event to be held at La Cocay, a restaurant just north of el centro. The event was to feature not only an author who has spent quite a bit of time on the island, that’s him on the left, but the local personalities he’s included in his latest storyline as well. Sounded like a lot of fun to me and I was quite happy to be a participant in the festivities. So, the bag was packed, the dogs were fed, and off I went to my first book signing party on the island.
I had the opportunity to meet with the writer, Paul J. Mila, for a little while before the event began. I learned that this was the fourth in an adventure series, the other three can be seen on your right, and that he is also the photographer of the scenes used on all of the covers. I discovered that Paul has not only frequented Cozumel, but he’s also traveled extensively elsewhere to follow his passion for the ocean. Among many other things, he is an avid diver, writes a monthly newsletter, and is an experienced underwater photographer. Since it was still a bit early, I had the pleasure to listen as he told a few tales of his up close and personal encounters with whales and other deep-sea creatures. It was easy to see his love for all things aquatic as he spoke and I could have listened longer. But, soon the others began to arrive and I knew he would be needed elsewhere. So I hurried up and grabbed a shot of both Paul and the event organizer, Laura, along with his latest book, Near Miss, while I still had the chance.
As mentioned, there are folks from the island included in the plot and Laura was nice enough to point them out to me as they came by. And, naturally, I had to try to get their photos. Here are a just a few of the people who can be found in the book. On your left is a pic of Kelly and her rescued pooch who, from what I’ve been told, are both featured prominently. Next I focused on Alison, a local dive shop owner, who is also an important character in the novel. That’s her on your right. I have to admit, it will make the reading even more enjoyable now that I have the actual faces to put to the names. I’ve read a lot of books, but have never met any of the characters before, so this is a first. How fun!
In between shots of the folks as they arrived I walked around to take pics of the restaurant as well. Since I’ve spent most of my time, and money, just settling in, I’ve started a ” budget list” of places to go once I’m established. La Cocay, located on calle 8 between 10 and 15, is quite a charming place with both an inside area and an outdoor garden setting that is kept pleasantly lit with candles and garland lights. With a nicely decorated bar, wooden tables, and those little touches that seem so important here on the island, it has now been added to my list. But, soon it became a bit too crowded to take shots of just the ambiance. So, once again I turned back to those who’d come to show their support.
As is always the case, no-one minded when I asked to take their photograph. Some would hold up the author’s book, others would happily agree and then simply return to what they were doing. Either way works well for me and I, once again, got to meet some very nice people including one woman who has been here since the sixties. I can only imagine the changes she has seen. And, I have to say, these events always help to validate my reasons for moving here. It’s quite nice to see such a supportive community in action.
Soon the place was beginning to fill, however, and the brief opportunity to get the individual shots, and stories, ended. That was the time to just walk around and chat a bit, or point my camera towards one group after another. Paul was busily signing away and, I’d notice, after they’d had their books autographed, people would just linger and chat. This was not the revolving door type of affair I’d assumed it would be, nor was it anything like those I’d attended before back in the states. I should have known. It seems to be part of the island way to be relaxed and interactive.
But, it was getting to be time for me to call it a night. I asked Laura for a quick shot of her and her husband. Of course they said, “yes,” and after that was when I packed my bag and headed out. It was a refreshingly cool evening and, although I’d planned on taking a cab, I ended up walking home via the main drag, Melgar. That was when I noticed that there was a cruise ship still docked covered in lights. I grabbed my camera out for yet another shot and then tucked it away for good. I secured my bag, remembered to put the straps across my body, and, from that point on, it only took about another ten minutes and I was home. It was time to sit down and write this little piece and then get some sleep. But, before I go and get that sleep, I’d like to say that it was yet another great night on Cozumel, and I’m glad you came along. Salud!
p.s. I don’t intend to promote, and I’m never compensated, but I do like to share pleasant experiences………..