Cozumel’s Passion Play

It’s Semana Santa (Easter week) here on the island of Cozumel.  And, with Mexico having one of the world’s largest Catholic populations, it is quite a sight to behold.  Between the crowds of tourists (I hear we have 90% occupancy) and the crowds of the faithful, let’s just say that it’s a good idea to give yourself some extra time before going anywhere.  But, in this case, I consider myself quite fortunate since I live directly across the street from a large Catholic church in the so-called Corpus Christi neighborhood.  That gives me the extra benefit of easily walking over to photograph one of the local customs, the Passion Play.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the Passion Play is a reenactment of the  trials and suffering that Jesus endured just prior to the crucifixion.  Now, this is not to be confused with “The Passion Play,” which, up north, is also a dramatic interpretation of the same events, but that play uses professional actors.  Our little production consists solely of devout parishioners dressed in homemade clothing to depict the historical time period.  These folks may indeed share the passion, but little to no formal training is either expected, or required, which leads to a sense of reality that I, personally, enjoy.  Picture this: altar boys, dressed in white and carrying candle, are then followed by Christ, joined by the two men who were crucified along with him, and all are led down the road by Roman guards while Mary and the devout walk behind.  The guards soon stop, flog him, and force him to wear a crown of thorns and carry a wooden cross.  Today this procession was also followed by well over a hundred local folks and a pickup truck with loud speakers that played somber music.  It really is quite an event to see.

Now, without me rambling on any further, I think I’ll just let my photos tell the rest of the story.  I’ll start with a few faces in the crowd, work up to the nervous antics of the participants just prior to the event, and will end with the Christ, himself.  I hope you enjoy and let me also take a moment to wish all of you a meaningful, and peaceful, weekend.  Salud!



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Back to Buccanos Bar & Grill

tin lizardMonday was my birthday and I decided to spend it quietly.  I might live on an island filled with possibilities, but it just seemed to be a day to spend at home.  So, after a morning swim,tree I lounged on my deck, did a bit of gardening, and a little light reading.  When it got a bit too warm  I went inside, put on the air conditioner and watched some classic movies with my dogs complete with a great big bowl of popcorn, we shared.   All in all, it was a good day!

fountainBut, when I woke up the next morning I had an urge to go to one of my favorite places,boat and chair  Buccanos.  A great little beach club located on the northern side of the island that has all the food and activities that one could hope for here on Cozumel.  I’ve been there before, and even wrote about it a couple of years back, but it is just such a lovely place that it seemed time to take another look and share it with you.  If you’ve been there, this will help remind you of why you went in the first place.   If you haven’t stopped there yet, maybe this will help show you why you should include it for your bucket list.

birdsNow this business is not new.  In fact, once known as Club Cozumelsign Caribe, they’ve been around for so long that they have a list of celebrities that have visited including Jackie Onassis and Princess Grace.  Yes, it really is that special.  Located on a quiet strip of land right next to the blues of the Caribbean, it has lots to offer including a lush view.  That view was what I was after so I grabbed a lounge chair on the beach under a palm tree for shade.  I could see both the ocean and the folks coming in from one of the seven cruise ships that had docked here for the day.

staffMy waiter was Tony and he was by my side in a matter of a fewmother and child minutes with a big smile and a friendly manner.  I started out with some coffee and settled back for a bit of people watching.  After snapping a few pics of the tourists, and finishing my coffee, I then headed off to take some photos on the grounds before the light got too harsh.

muralThere are lots of choices for photos at Buccanos, which is one of thegrotto reasons I enjoy visiting.  The owners really know how to make the day special with plenty of those little touches that combine the colors of the tropics with the beauty of the man-made.  Colorful murals decorate the walls, large stone arches give way to scenic walkways, huge vases are filled with flowers, and there’s even a grotto with a waterfall and a giant tin lizard.  In fact, everywhere you look there is something special that will make you appreciate island living.

poolNow, in addition to just wandering about snapping photos theremassage are lots of activities.  There is a large pool, snorkeling, massage options, great food, and cute little shops.  Oh, and that pic on your right is of my luncheon choice, lobster with mac & cheese, two of my favorite foods.  Pure genius was at work the day they came up with that combo, it was excellent!  I did everything but lick the bowl.  Once finished I did a bit of reading and then headed off for an hour of snorkeling.  I lobster mac and cheesewasn’t worried about my stuff since the staff makes sure to keep an eye on things for you.  So, without worries, I leisurely swam about checking out all the colorful fish and coral.  The current was strong, but I swim in the ocean a lot, so I wasn’t concerned.

Back in my lounge chair I spent another hour with a bit of reading.  Then the cruise ship dining roombenchcrowd was starting to thin so I just sat back and watched folks reluctantly pack up their things.  Another hour of that and it was time for me to go too.  I paid my check, reluctantly packed up my things as well, and headed for a taxi.  Like a little kid I shuffled down the road that takes you past a fountain, a wall climbing challenge, and more Bougainvillea than you could possibly imagine.  Finally, a cab stopped and I headed off to a friend’s home.  She’d promised me a free massage for my birthday and I just couldn’t say no.

wood benchNow, this is where I would usually sign off, but I have to say that after my perfect morning I also got the most relaxing massage I’ve ever experienced.  Yes, it was a free birthday gift, and, no, I wasn’t asked to write about it.  But, it was just wonderful so I’m going to mention it anyway.  For a deep tissue massage, let me recommend Barefoot in Cozumel, a local  business that can be found on Facebook.  That’s all I’m going to say since I really don’t accept suggestions, or compensation, but I do still like to pass on good experiences.  And today was  filled with just that, good experiences.  My birthday wish is this:  I hope all of you can have a day like I just did.  We all deserve it!  Salud!

p.s. I don’t receive compensation and I don’t write upon request, I just like to share good experiences!  And, if you’re thinking about going somewhere on the island and want to get an idea of what’s in store for you, just type the name of the place in the search bar above.  If I’ve been there I’ve written about it and included pics.  Happy hunting!

Special thanks to Lynda and Amethyst




my sanctuary

As an expat living on the island of Cozumel I had quickly learned that, in spite of all the activities we have to offer, sometimes it’s just nice to take it easy at home.  So, about two years ago, as a woman on a budget, I rented a small apartment in a great location with a lot of potential.  My landlord is quite accommodating so he’s allowed me to paint and decorate the interior to my preference.  But, then I focused on the reason I rented it in the first place.  It has a huge ‘L’ shaped deck out front (and another smaller one in the back), which is good since I have four dogs, but it needed something.  It was long, white, and hot even though it has a nice little overhang in the center.  So, decision was made, plain and hot had to go.  I gave it a lot of thought, but almost immediately realized that the changes I envisioned would take some time due to said budget.  I love animals, plants, and tropical colors, and scratched my head for a while to figure out how to put it all together.  But, now (with the exception of the deck floor) it’s complete, thanks to muralist Mariano Petit de Murat, a wood craftsman who is known as “Carpenter Chris” (and his assistant), lounge furniture from Mega, and plants from the local landscape shops.  If you like what you see, and the work Mariano and Chris have done, I’ll put their contact info at the bottom of this piece.  Otherwise, this will be yet another photo blog that will show you how it all turned out from start to finish, including a towel covered couch for the dogs (yes, they’re spoiled).  It took two years, but I’m a happy woman with a pretty little sanctuary.  I also included some pics of my first guests, Dan, who came in on a cruise ship yesterday (carrying Miracle Whip and Butterfingers, huge thanks) and Jean, a lovely woman I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with lately, she’s been a great friend.  I hope you enjoy, salud!1

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first guests

p.s. the muralist and graphic designer, Mariano Petit de Murat, can be found on Facebook under his name, if you’d like to contact him for work just send him a message on his FB site…………..Carpenter Chris can be found on ave 10, across from a lavenderia with a blue sign, just turn onto ten from 11 sur, go past the graveyard and look for the blue lavenderia sign on the right and he is directly across the street……..they are both so nice, very talented and quite reasonable!

An eastside perspective

beach entranceThere is so much beauty on the island of Cozumel that words often aren’t enough.  Thankfully, I take a lot of photos.  We’ve had some lovely weather this past week and I’ve had the opportunity to go to the eastside, twice.  That’s where the beaches stretch for miles, the waves crash to shore, and there are enough little beach clubs that assure you won’t go hungry, but spaced far enough apart you can just enjoy the sound of the surf if you choose.  With that said, I’ve decided to make this piece a photo blog. I’ve included some pics of the scenery, the folks, the activities and, hopefully, captured some of the ambiance found on the “other side” of Cozumel.  Like I said, words often aren’t enough, but maybe these pics can help.  I hope you enjoy, Salud!ocean and rockscrazyguyswithsailswoodbeach sleepercoupletourist traplyndalynda on beach by woodmoped girlbetterflowerwater through woodguitar manbeach tent

sunsetting at the money bar

mb2Okay, so I’ve not quite been myself lately.  Suffered some losses, which I handled badly.  Found myself a bit frustrated with a few of the local customs, which is something I need to get over, it is Mexico after all.  So this expat decided to do mb1something I almost never do, went to a well-known restaurant/bar/beach club to do a little dancing, take a few photos and, basically, try and get out of the rut I’ve been in.  And, I’m happy to say that it worked, for a while anyway.  Let me tell you what happened.

mb8I went to the world-famous Money Bar, which is located 1.5 miles south from Puerta Maya (the main cruise ship dock).  The poor taxi driver was really trying to beat the clock for me since I was hoping to get a few pics of the sunset.  I’d was originally hoping to go with a friend, but some things fell through at the last moment, so a cab was my only option.  But, to his credit, and without disobeying too many speeding laws, he got me there just in time.

mbsunsetFirst thing I did was head to the restaurant terrace for that sunset shot.  Lined up with about half a dozen others, we clicked away until there was nothing left.  Then I began to focus on the folks there and there were a lot.  Eating, drinking, many wearing those balloon hats that are always mb5fun to see.  And all were waiting for the band to set up.  While they were doing that I took the opportunity to walk around to different tables and ask if I could take their pictures.  Once again, no-one said, “no.” But, here is where I’ll apologize for showing mb4so few, it was hard to choose since everyone was clearly in their best vacation spirits so there were smiles all around.  And I must have taken a hundred shots.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to show them all, but I think you’ll get the idea of the festivities.

The band was quite good and folks were immediately up and dancing.  A little reggae,mb3 a bit of rock, it was a nice eclectic mix and it attracted folks of all ages.  And, I’m not kidding.  There was a little girl about 6 or 7 and a woman who must have been close to 80 and she had as much energy as the little girl.  It was a lot of fun to watch.

mb7And, speaking of eclectic, what a mix of folks.  All ages,mb15 ethnicities, couples, singles, groups large and small.  There were the surfers, the business men, the young (newly in love) couples, a clown who was making the balloon hats, hippies, dive masters, you name the type and they were there.

mb10While the band took a break there was a group of young local boys called the “Crazy Breakers.”  And I really hope I have their name correct, someone please mb11let me know if I don’t.  Talented guys who flipped, stood on one hand, did circles on the floor and, basically, demonstrated that gravity has no effect on them.  They put on quite the show and for tips only.  I really hope people dug deep, they were that good.

mb12mb6After that I ran into a few people I know and we talked a bit.  I actually let someone take a picture of me with Paco, a very interesting local personality.  Yea, that’s us on the right.  I took some more pics of my friends, and then it really was time for me to get home.  I’d given up my night owl ways over a year ago, and hope to get back with my usual program soon.  But, in the meanwhile, it was a great way to forget about any and all issues, at least for the evening.

Before I end this though, I want to mention that the service staff was gracious, themb13 mb9customers were fun, the music was great, and the break dancing was impressive.  Not bad for a single night on the island of Cozumel.  If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it.  Oh, and they have great snorkeling in the daytime, and hammocks where you can just rock away your problems.  In fact, the next time I go, I think that is exactly what I will do.  Just lay in a hammock and stare at the sea.  Somehow all seems to get better when I do that.  Salud!


p.s. I never receive compensation, and I don’t intend to promote, I just like sharing good experiences!



What’s it like to live down here?

mw 2Just a few days ago I was lingering on the dock of the Blue Angel resort here on the island of Cozumel.  I swim with a group of women in the mornings (the mermaids) and I like to stay behind a bit longer just to enjoy the ocean before going back to my little apartment with its rather limited view of a busy street and the side of a really big church.   While sitting there watching the waves lap the dock a couple, who happened to be 1505518_403753766436891_1416634126_nsitting in lounge chairs close by, asked me if I lived here.  I smiled and said, “yes.”  Then they asked me the question I hear the most, “what’s it like to live down here?”  Now, depending upon my mood, recent events, and my life, at that moment, I have several ways of answering.  When things are a touch iffy for me I just smile and say, “it’s wonderful.”   After all, they aren’t really asking about my life, so I spare them the details.  But, when everything is going well, and it sunset furyseems as if the one doing the asking really wants to know some details, I sit down and give them a bit more.   But, and here’s the point I want to start with, the one asking the question is in that tourist tainted “pink cloud,” whereas I live here permanently and that lovely little “pink cloud” has been behind me for a while now.   This is my home, and, just like everyone else, when one is at home life can get very real. Let me explain.

Cozumel is wondrous.  It’s hard to remain in a bad mood when you have IMG_3499 (2)endless options of strolling on lovely beaches, swimming in clear waters, or dancing at one of our many local, and free to attend, events.  I mean, come on, how bad can it be to not appreciate the many little things that the island has to offer?  But, I still have to pay bills, clean my house, get the groceries, go to the doctor, run errands, and pick up the poo left behind by each of my nity and pasita 3four dogs.  And, this is where I’m going to mention that I often wonder if I’m feeding my pack  just a bit too much. Sometimes it boggles the mind just how 003many (recycled) bags I use.  I digress.  Yes, even while living on Cozumel I worry about finances, wait for the water guy, and listen for the gas man.  No-one is folding my towels in the shape of swans, there’s no chocolate on my pillows, unless it’s left over from the Milky Way bar I ate the night before, and, no, not everyone speaks English.  Not by a long shot.

Now, I’m certainly not complaining.  With the winter weather I see happening p5in my former location in the U. S. A., I wouldn’t dare.  No longer do I have to drive on icy roads, pour salt on my walkway, or bundle up in four layers just to survive.   I cannot express my gratitude enough for the ability to swim in the ocean in January.  But, while applying for my permanent residency card I had, on a few occasions, questioned my sanity.  I’m living in a foreign country on a limited budget, with less ability to communicate than I’d like.   It can get hot as hell, and the pelican staremosquitoes are mutated versions who will lick off repellent just for an appetizer.  Compromise becomes the word of the day while shopping for groceries, and patience becomes the need of the moment while trying to pelican in flightask for a simple item’s location.  Patience on both parts, mine and the store employee who’s merely trying to help.  Oh, and about the location of items, if you want root beer, look in the liquor aisle.  After all, there is the word “beer.”  Sometimes merely thinking “outside the box” doesn’t work down here.  Sometime you need to throw the box out altogether.

Bottom line?  I’m not in Kansas anymore, nor am I in Ohio, California, New in the trashYork, or Florida, all states I’ve lived in.  Friends need to mule down Miracle Whip and Butterfingers, I don’t get mail, can’t drink the tap water,  and toilet paper goes in the trash can (I live in an older house with the older plumbing).  Not to mention I’ve been searching for a reuben sandwich and german chocolate cake for two years now. Oh, and, yes, we do have crime.  We are 90,000 strong at this point, with hundreds of thousands of tourists added to the mix annually, so, a poor man's facesome crime is to be expected.  Especially with the contrasts of the very rich vs. the extremely poor.   And then there’s the folks who handle my small account in the U.S. who can’t seem to wire monies correctly, which causes me to have no funds, nada, for days, if not weeks, at a time.  Clothes made for Mexicans do not fit me, at 5’3″ and 130 lbs., I’m considered an extra large.  That fact I learned after trying bathing suits on for over an hour in Chedruai.  Electronics are expensive,  taxes went up, and having parasites was my latest disease.  Nope, it’s certainly not Kansas.

mw 4So, in answer to the question “what’s it like to live down here?”   It’s wondrous, frustrating, delightful, vexing,pasita5 incredible, disappointing, invigorating, disheartening, humorous, maddening, and the list could go on and on.  But, would I recommend it?  Absolutely!   To quote a fellow expat (thanks, Zazzu), “life is great and everything is possible.”  And I couldn’t agree more!  Just remove the rose colored glasses before you get here.  The water looks better without them anyway.  Salud!

p.s.  I feel the need to explain that my pug was not my pug when she was dressed in the pink faux leather tutu.  She still belonged to my landlord’s daughter and I was asked to photograph her in this outfit for her birthday present.  But, it is “national dress up your dog” day, so I figured, why not?

The year begins…….

Well, after actively covering holiday events, I’d decided to take a break from my blog.  But, the break is over, my friends, and it’s time to share some pics from our little island of Cozumel.   And I’m excited to get started.   You see, I gave myself a little Christmas present this year, a Canon EOS Rebel T2i, and I am officially in love.  And, here is how that happened.  It turned out that a dear friend of mine had a camera she no longer needed, whereas I had a sincere desire for a new one,  so we worked something out.  Yes,  I am a girl on a budget, but I have such good friends (thanks, Myrna).

Now, what does this have to do with my blog?   Well, if I’m not covering an event that needs description and narrative details, my blog will consist of, mostly, photographs from Cozumel.  I will be shooting in RAW format, using a touch of photoshop, and doing my best to capture the beauty that is our island.  I hope you approve.

I’ll start off with some pics from a Medicine Wheel Ceremony held on the east side New Year’s morning, an incredibly spiritual way to start the new year. I will also include a photo of the locals from that same morning who were truly captivated by the event (wink,wink).   From there we’ll go to the first sunrise of the year and, finally, some random shots I’ve been taking while getting to know my new toy.  I think they’ll all be self-explanatory.  After all,  it is a tropical island where the fun goes on forever.  Here’s to new beginnings!    Salud!

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