Happy 1-2-13!

Getting from point A to point B sometimes requires many modes of transportation!  On our way from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Isla Mujeres we used 8 different types of transporters, if we include our feet too!  From the cruise ship we walked to a taxi (a frightening ride through traffic with a rather sauced driver who was going as fast as possible so that his tire didn’t go flat along the way….ha!), then to an airplane, with a stop in Miami that included a tram, another airplane (ahhh  first class finally), a van, a ferry, and another little red taxi, Isla style!

Ferry to Isla Mujeres

Ferry to Isla Mujeres

Now we are on Isla time; putt-zing around the island in our little golf cart.  That’s one of the main things we like about this spot – the slower pace and the friendly people.  We can joke with anyone and get an immediate smile in return.  The Isla has changed a bit since we were here last, about 5 years ago.  There are more large buildings outside of town and more for sale signs on empty lots.  There are also lots more police, however that may be just because of the holiday crowds; we’ll wait to see how the week progresses.  We’re staying at Villa Vera, which also has a large marina, so we’re enjoying walking the docks and visualizing Happy Dance pulling into a slip in a few years (our favorite mode of transportation).

The view of the marina from our room

The view of the marina from our room

Today is walking day, as we need to stretch our legs a bit and work off some of the guacamole..ha!  Last night we had dinner at our favorite restaurant (well one of our favs..), called Cafe Mogagua.  We had Sangria and fish and steak tacos….yum…finally had the really good fresh tortillas and fresh fish with plenty of spicy seasoning.  The restaurant is located on a corner in town, with no walls, and just like our last visit, it rained while we were there!  Love the sound of the rain on all the tile rooftops against the soft Spanish music.

YUM!  Arracherra Tacos!!!

YUM! Arracherra Tacos!!!

We also enjoyed our other favorite restaurant on New Years.  It’s a place on the walking street in town and they have a huge open bar-b-que grill right outside that they use.  I always have the Pescador Entero a la Parrilla…(aka grilled whole Red Snapper).  My absolute fav!

Last week we were on the cruise ship, a different mode of transportation for us, but fun.  We spent lots of time just walking the decks and watching the waves go by.  From our balcony we could hear only the water sluicing down the side of the ship, so it was a quiet place to watch the stars and the full moon…awesome!  We enjoyed walking into towns, but with so many ships in the harbors the locals seemed a bit overrun.  We did get a few sincere smiles when we tried to engage them in something other than orders and silly questions!

Enjoying a cold one on St. Maarten

Enjoying a cold one on St. Maarten

While on-board the ship we ventured into the casino a bit – I played the blackjack table (an 8-deck shoe mind you), and won ….for awhile…ha!  Marty joined a Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament.  It was played on an electronic video table, with 10 seats.  There was no dealer; it just automatically moved the dealer button around the table so that the antes would change.  And guess what?!  Marty WON the whole shebang!  By winning this feeder tournament he earned a free spot in the big tournament in November, where the entry fee is $750 and the winnings could be as high as $75,000!  Unfortunately we probably won’t go on the cruise that the tournament is on, but he’s hoping to sell his seat…anyone interested???

After a couple of days on the boat we decided to try an excursion…bad idea..ha!  We were herded onto a shuttle bus with 30 of our closest friends, and driven through lots of traffic to a lookout above Marigot Bay, a scenic little bay used as a movie location for a number of films.  We were told we had 10 minutes for photos and to use the rest room.

Marigot Bay on St. Lucia

Marigot Bay on St. Lucia

We walked to the edge, took our obligatory photo, tasted the banana ketchup, and back on the bus (we passed on the chance for the $1 pee stop).  Off we went to the Batik Factory – where we were given a 5 minute well rehearsed speech about how batik is made (no photos please…the flash ya know).  After the speech I asked a question and showed that I was truly interested, and the lady morphed into this whole new friendly and smiling persona…nice to see.  Next stop was the rum factory!  Another quick speech and then all the rum you cared to taste.  I never realized how many flavors of rum there were!

The Caribbean islands are beautiful (duh), and we can’t wait to come back in Happy Dance, and take the time to learn our way around smaller villages in sleepier ports.

The rest of our trip will be a bit of a culture change.  We will be here relaxing on Isla Mujeres for a few more days, and then we pull out the winter jackets to head for the ferry, to head for the bus, to head for the airport…ha!  We will fly from here to Norfolk Virginia, and stay in Williamsburg for a week!  After some history lessons about the first settlements and Civil War battles in that area, we’ll take the train up to Washington DC, where we’ll explore the capital, the Smithsonian, and even visit the White House!

So, happy 1-2-13 to everyone!  We send hugs and happy dances to all.

PS – Since the general theme here is transportation, we thought we should mention that we “lost” ours today!  We parked our golf cart (with the rather generic key) next to Buho’s Beach Bar and went for a walk on the beach.  When we came back a couple of hours later our cart was gone!  We walked around a bit to see if maybe it had been moved by someone who thought it was theirs, but couldn’t find it.  RutRow!!!  We taxied back to Villa Vera where we’d rented it (no papers and cash only), and thought that we were really glad we hadn’t signed anything..ha!  The lady wasn’t too concerned however, and said she’d have someone look for it and let us know.  This is an island after all, with no car ferries on and off, so it had to be nearby!  A little later we get a phone call at the pool, and it turns out someone had taken it to the south end of the island before realizing it wasn’t theirs!  Long story short –  it was now safely parked back in our lot.  Ahhhh, life on the Isla…ha!

Marty and the disappearing golf cart

Marty and the disappearing golf cart

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