|Early morning calm|
At seven in the morning the azure water gently taps against the edge of the white coral sand, a slight breeze shifts the palm fronds with a gentle rattle. Bliss.
By noon of the same day, it’s another story. It’s a different world. The beaches are smeared with bodies large and small, fat and thin, short and tall in various states of undress: bathing suits, thongs, wraps, t-shirts and shorts. It’s the Easter holidays or Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Situated just a short ferry ride from the metropolis of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a favourite day-trip for many city dwellers during the holidays.
The two car ferries are jammed with extra passengers, so many that the taxi drivers are lined up waiting for customers outside the terminal gates.
|Taxis waiting at car ferry for customers|
The quicker passenger ferries have three large boats doing a continuous circuit about every twenty minutes instead of the usual thirty minute departures. Noisy chattering families crowd the sidewalks lugging their picnic food, coolers, and sun paraphernalia. It’s a mad, mad world.
|Electronic Beach Festival|
This year during Semana Santa a new event, an Electronic Beach Festival, featured various bands and DJ’s blasting out music from eleven in the morning to nine in the evening. We did a couple of drive by photo-shoots, snapping pictures of the crowds and mayhem, but didn’t actually join in the festivities. We enjoy live music, but hot beaches and big crowds just weren’t doing it for us this time around.
Near the corner of Avenida Rueda Medina and Calle Matamoros a group of neighbourhood ladies had tucked themselves under the shade of a tree. The overhead branches are decorated with fishing red, blue, green and yellow castoff fishing floats.
One wall of their outdoor living room is a rack of fishing nets drying in the mid-day sun, providing more shade for the women. Sitting on a collection of red plastic chairs, the friends enjoy their afternoon gossip session, peacefully ignoring the throngs of boisterous visitors steaming past.
Over on the north-eastern side of the island Fenix Restaurante started off their Easter Sunday morning with a beautiful baptism ceremony on the beach, and then segued into their Sunday Funday with a live band playing salsa music. The nearby beach is obliterated by bodies and blankets, the smell of coconut oil permeates the air. The narrow streets are jammed with motorcycles, and golf carts, necessitating careful navigation of the roads.
The lagoon near the Hotel Villa Kiin resembles bouillabaisse soup with dozens of people marinating in the warm water. All I can think of is: The poor fish, all those people peeing in their ocean!
By sundown the weary sun-baked day-trippers begin trekking back to their mainland communities. The lineups for the passenger boats snake out into the street, vendors begin closing up for the night, and the music event is winding down.
Semana Santa is a crazy time of year. Busy and noisy and fun. And we’re very glad when it is over. Thankfully we have our own peaceful little bit of paradise where we can share a cold beverage and contemplate life. Bliss.
Lynda & Lawrie