Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock
Tiled artwork on San Francisco stairway

Swirls of patterns, and flowers, and geometric designs scramble up the stairs, enticing pedestrians to climb higher and higher still. The eye-catching designs make climbing the steep stairway a pleasant experience instead of a hot arduous task.

Street art is currently very popular in larger cities around the world; cities like San Francisco California, Seoul South Korea, Valparaíso Chile, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, or Rio de Janeiro Brazil. A quick search on the internet for “amazing stairways around the world” will bring up a plethora of steps decorated with realistic faces, piano keyboards, or perhaps a garden of flowers.

(Photo from the Bored Panda webpage)

This hotel is at the top of the Uribe stairway

On Isla Mujeres we have two sets of public stairways. One set is on Rueda Medina between the Navy base, and Bahai Chachi Hotel. 

The street sign says: Andador Virgilio Uribe. It is a shortcut from Medina the main road on the west side of the island to Juarez, the avenue that runs along the back of the Navy base and north through town. 

The other larger set is deep in the colonias, running east from Paseo de Aves the double-laned road to a single lane neighbourhood street. They are both serviceable, plain, and boring concrete.

Boring serviceable concrete stairway on Isla Mujeres

Every time I see either one of those two stairways I think: what could be done here? Flowers? Colour? Tiles? Something! 

Isla has a high percentage of artistic people living and working on the island. There could be an opportunity to showcase our little paradise with beautiful creations. I am not advocating self-centered tagging or graffiti, but well thought-out plans, with pleasing designs and bold colours. 

Almost finished – Goddess IxChel

Our neighbours Ronda and Bruce Roberts recently commissioned Sergio, the artist, to paint a mural of the Mayan Goddess IxChel on their street-side wall. It is meaningful and beautiful, and a nice addition to our neighbourhood.

Perhaps since paint is so impermanent in this hot and humid climate a picture laid in a tile mosaic might be a better option for a public area such as a stairway. 

At various times we have seen decorative murals painted on the seawalls, or public structures. After a few years the paintings fade to ghostly outlines, and then are obliterated with another coat of single colour paint. 

In centro 2010

In centro a few years ago the pillars in the square were decorated with colourful flowers and birds, unfortunately none that I recognized as being indigenous to the island, but still interesting to look at. Time, weather, and municipal budgets have their way with everything. Those fanciful designs have been painted over.

I certainly won’t be applying for permission to paint anything other than the walls of our house. My painting abilities lie strictly with the paint-by-numbers canvases that my mother bought me as a child in the vain hope that I would develop into an artistic person. 

Sorry mom, it just didn’t work!

But I can still daydream about vibrant colours and beautiful images leading me up a stairway, a colourful and artistic change from plain old concrete.

Inside Marina El Milagro – tile insets add colour

And one final note: a very heartfelt thank you to Maureen & Randy McFadden, plus Colleen & Ken Flynn for donating 20 of our bilingual The Adventures of Thomas the Cat books to the local elementary and kindergarten schools. Awesome!

Maureen, Colleen, Randy and Ken – thank you!

Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie


4 Replies to “Amazing Stairways”

  1. Hi Lynda – Just letting you know that I will be purchasing 4 books – and would appreciate them being signed!! We are leaving on Friday so we will need to connect before then!
    Thanks, Norma


  2. Hi Lynda, I will be purchasing 4 books and would appreciate them being signed. We are leaving 7/4 so we need to connect before then. Thanks, Norma


  3. I love the examples of public art you shared! It's happening everywhere – I'll send you some Austin pictures and please keep posting updates on Ronda and Bruce's!


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