Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

Signs, Signs, Everywhere signs ….

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Not far from our house, but mostly faded away now.

Waking up around three in the morning with a bright idea on what to write for our next blog, I scribbled a note to myself, a reminder for when I am fully awake.   Later while drinking my first cup of morning coffee I looked at a fellow blogger’s page.  Signs, she’d posted numerous photos of local signs.  I must have been channelling her thoughts.  During the dark hours of the morning I had scribbled: write about the art of hand-painted signs.  Weird.

La Esperanza – 2008 photo
For me, hand-painted signs are soulful expressions from the heart.  They are unique, individual, unlike the vinyl computer-generated signs that have almost decimated the traditional sign painting businesses in North America.   

Here on Isla one of my favourite hand-painted creations is the sign for La Esperanza, left over from a little gift store on Juarez that ceased operation long before we arrived on the island.  

The whimsical black cat still sits under a large shade tree patiently waiting beside the bright red door, hoping someone will let her inside.  Bit by bit the painting is disappearing.  Fortunately in 2008 I took a decent photo of the mural for my collection of Isla memorabilia.

Hotel Las Palmas – cheerful exterior

More recently I noticed the amazing canvas that decorates the street-side entrance of the Hotel Las Palmas on Guerrero Avenue.  It is a happy mix of peacocks, flamingoes, palm trees and tropical flowers.  

What a great way to sparkle up the exterior, and to fix the tropical experience in the mind of their guests.  How can anyone resist taking a photo or two of that entrance?

May 2010 Election sign
During federal, state, or municipal election campaigns local sign-painters find a bonanza of work for a few weeks, painting the colours, slogans, and promises on fences, and walls.  

Then shortly after the campaign has been won or lost the signs are covered over with a coat of white paint, waiting as a blank canvas for the next election.

Colegio de Bachilleres painters 2009 – Rob Bietting photo

For the most part the signs are created by one or perhaps two painters working together, but when the Colegio de Bachilleres (high school) decided to repaint the wall across the street from our house in March of 2009 they organized a work party.  

At one point we counted ten guys chatting, painting, clowning around and dancing to their I-Tunes.  

My cousin Rob snapped a dozen or so photos keeping a time-line of their progress.  Either it was good planning and teamwork, or luck; the sign turned out just fine – straight letters, and nice inside-the-lines painting.  Four years later it is still legible.

Between the centro mercado and a school

It may be a dying art in most of North America, but here on Isla Mujeres the incredible art of hand-painted signage gives the island a quirky and memorable personality.  

For next week’s blog, I wonder if I can tap into Becky’s thoughts again for more ideas?   

Hasta Luego          
Lynda and Lawrie


4 Replies to “Signs, Signs, Everywhere signs ….”

  1. the house with the black cat. The address is 13. It doesnt show in the pic here though. I wonder if the owner made it intentional 🙂


  2. Good morning Becky! If you are going to send me more ideas via “mind melding” it before Thursday so I can research the idea!! Hope you are enjoying the rest of your holiday – the neighbourhood is too quiet without you and Craig.

    And good morning Anonymous: I tried to answer your comment but for some reason it does not show on the blog. I hadn't noticed the number 13 on La Esperanza building, the one with the mural of the black cat and tree. I didn't include that in my photo – probably didn't see it. Too funny!


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