“How long has your family lived on Isla Mujeres?” I asked. “For forever,” he replied with his huge infectious grin, “since the beginning, when the first families settled on Isla.”
“I’m curious, what’s your real name?”
He smiled again, and laughed. “It doesn’t matter, no one knows me by that name. I use Apache, because my dad was called Indio. My grandfather gave him the name because as a little boy my dad was tough. He never cried even when strapped with a belt for stowing away on my grandfather’s fishing boat instead of going to school. Dad loved fishing; he hated school. My grandfather admired his son’s toughness and started calling him Indio as a nickname.”
Indio’s name is synonymous with two island businesses. The Indio’s Beach Club on the southwest side of the island was a popular place for people to hang out and enjoy a laid-back island experience. Then in 2005 Hurricane Wilma hit the island leaving a path of destruction through the beach property; the sand shifted over to the Cancun side of the bay, their buildings were damaged, and the golf carts that were stored on the property were destroyed. It was a devastating event for the family.
The other business, Indio’s Golf Cart Rentals, was started in 1994. Apache helped out at the family business from the time he was twelve years old. After assessing the hurricane damage in 2005 Indio decided to close the business, but Apache said he was interested in carrying on. He started operations with the four remaining useable golf carts. By 2014 Apache had increased the stock of golf carts to sixteen vehicles by creating a little niche market; they offer 24-hour assistance. If a rental customer needs help it is only a cell phone call away. Clients are supplied with phone numbers for Adrian, the office manager, who is fluent in English.
Just for interest sake I asked how many golf carts were available for rent on the island. With pen and paper Adrian and Apache did a quick tally estimating that there are twenty golf cart rental companies on Isla Mujeres with a total of approximately 580 carts available for rent. Even so many island rental companies are sold out during the busy times of the year, including the summer holidays. That bit of information really surprised me.
More recently Apache has branched out into deep sea fishing, acquiring a thirty-six foot boat in partnership with friends. The two family-owned pangas (small open fishing boats) were not comfortable for off-shore fishing with clients. The bigger boat has air-conditioning and cozy interior quarters.
He is hoping to attract more couples – people who want the full experience. His off-shore trips will start early in the day with fishing, then return to the Indio’s beach club property to cook the catch while enjoying music and drink a cold beverage or two. It’s island life as it used to be.
With two sons and two daughters Apache and his wife Arlina are hoping the family businesses will live on with the next generation. He has fond memories of fishing with his dad, and of learning English from his dad’s clients.
|Isauro Martinez Magaña May 2013
He has several old photos displayed on the walls of Indio’s Golf Cart rentals on Medina Avenue, photos of his dad in his younger years enjoying life and following his passion: fishing. Unfortunately Indio passed away in August of 2013, at the still young-at-heart age of 64 years.
“One last question” I said to Apache as I gathered up my things, “I have to know your real name, not knowing is driving me crazy!”
“Okay, okay!” he grinned, giving in to my cheeky persistence, “It’s Isauro Martinez Polanco.” He was named after his dad, whose first name was also Isauro.
Lynda & Lawrie
How to find Apache: www.indios-golfcarts.com or on FaceBook Isla Mujeres Indio Golf Carts and Apache’s Searious Fishing.
PS: the photos are from Apache’s collection, except the one of the golf cart, that one I took looking down from our upper patio.