Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock
Our home in Penticton BC a few years ago

Shivering despite wearing a turtle-necked sweater over a second sweater, her image is projected, via Skype, from her house in the north to our computer in Mexico.   It is -5 Celsius, or 23 Fahrenheit!  The heating system is struggling to warm their house.  

The driveway has been snowed covered for two weeks, with never enough time between snow storms to completely clear it.  It is snowing again as we chat with her.  Brrr.  

Every winter a few of our dedicated friends and family members make the two-week trek back to northern homes to visit with grown children and grandchildren for the holiday season.  Are they crazy?  Probably.

Lawrie leading the way on a hike across our property.

When we lived in Canada Lawrie’s dad would make his annual sales pitch to his three grown children and grandchildren.  “Let’s go to Hawaii for Christmas this year!”  

And every year we all pooh-poohed the idea.  “It’s not Christmas without snow.  It’s just not Christmas with palm trees and sandy beaches.”  Were we crazy?  Yep!

Friends and family enjoying a winter lunch at Ballyhoo

In Mexico we can swim, snorkel, fish, boat, and buzz around on a motorcycle or golf cart twelve months of the year.  

Occasionally we experience a cold front from the north that drops the temperature by ten degrees, blowing fine white sand into our swimming pool and killing the more delicate tropical plants.  

Central heating for houses is unheard of here, so when the odd “norte” hits we simply add an extra blanket to the bed at night.  The “norte” also creates my only gardening challenge; finding plants that can survive the salty winds.

John and Lynda, 1986, x-country skiing

In the north during the winter months you can snow-ski, snow-board, ice skate, toboggan, build snow-people, and shovel the white stuff from driveways, or scrape the ice from your car windshield every morning. 

Annually in October we drove our vehicles to the local garage to have winter-tread tires installed, and then in April we reversed the process to switch back to summer-tread tires.  In later years with the advent of good all-season tires this tiresome chore was thankfully deleted from our annual to-do-list.  

World-famous Ice Wine harvest in Okanagan Valley BC

Every fall I’d carefully put my garden to bed for the winter, covering over less hardy plants with straw mulch, cleaning out pots of geraniums and stacking the terracotta pots in the garage until spring. 

In Canada we prided ourselves on not feeling the cold, wearing lightweight clothing during the winter months as proof that we were truly Canadian, tough like our pioneer forefathers, and able to face adversity. 

Friends and family enjoying a winter in Mexico

When we first moved to Isla Mujeres we snickered at the sight of locals bundled up in parkas, with toques pulled down tightly over their heads, and knee-high boots covering chilly skin.  Strangely enough after living here for four years, we are comfortable wearing jeans and occasionally a sweater during the winter months.  

Our northern blood is thinning, we are acclimatizing.  All the more reason to spend winters here and not there.


2 Replies to “Winter here …. Winter there”

  1. Our northern blood has also thinned. The sure signs of a snowbird here in Arizona are shorts, t-shirts, and crop pants in the 60 degree dry desert wind. Brrrrrr. The Arizona desert in the winter is cold enough for me! I've been covering plants this last week every night since the temps have been dropping below freezing. Pretty snow photos. Nice to look at, but wouldn't want to be there.


  2. We didn't mind the snow – until we spent three months here in 2007. Then when we returned to Canada … we sold everything that wouldn't fit in the car and drove to Mexico. No more snow for us! I do love Arizona and New Mexico as well. Such a pretty area.


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