Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cozumel, with Returning Special Guest Star

Yesterday’s stop was the small Mexican island of Cozumel, which I always get confused with Cancun, even though they’re entirely different places. Our ship pulled into port yesterday morning and I expected to see phalanxes of high-rise hotels — I suppose because Cozumel is a popular tourist spot. But that’s not the vibe of this island at all. Instead the landscape is mostly forest — low clusters of fan palms, sea grapes and gumbo limbo trees.

The small main town and port areas are on the side of the island facing the channel and the Yucatan. There's a long waterfront sidewalk lined with little dive shops and family-run hotels. And that’s where I got to meet today’s Returning Special Guest Star.

If you read Mary Moon’s blog, Bless Our Hearts, you know that she’s in Cozumel right now with her husband Glen. When we realized I’d be passing through at the same time, we engineered a blogger rendezvous!

Dave wasn't feeling well yesterday, so he stayed on the ship. But I got off and walked to the Moons' hotel, not too far from the port.

Mary and Glen are staying in a terrific little hotel right on the water, with unforgettable Caribbean colors all around. Even the most mundane scenes seem twice as beautiful.

There’s a black hotel cat named Bagheera — the namesake of the panther in The Jungle Book — who quite happily crawled into this leftover pizza box. (I’m not sure anything about this picture is in focus but I like it anyway.)

The Moons generously gave me almost an entire day of their vacation, showing me authentic Cozumel — from the glamorous gas pump jockey in her carefully applied makeup to the pickup truck packed with larger-than-life statues of Disney characters. Mexico can be a mysterious place.

Since I gave up on the idea of trying to take cruise excursions to Chichen Itza or Tulum, because they’re just too darn far away, my main goal was to see some Mayan ruins. Fortunately, there are some right in the middle of Cozumel!

The ruins are called San Gervasio, and we explored the winding rocky paths laid by Mayans hundreds and hundreds of years ago. I chased yellow-breasted birds and bright blue butterflies with my lens, but the butterflies in particular were a challenge to photograph. They just would not open their wings and sit still.

We saw Iguanas only slightly smaller than Olga.

At San Gervasio we were given wristbands when we paid our entrance fees, and I still can’t bring myself to take mine off. As I told Mary, it’s like when you go clubbing as a young person and you wear your wristband the next day to show everyone where you went. It’s my souvenir.

After the ruins, the Moons drove me around the island in their rental car. We passed the windblown gulfside beaches and rocky, protected tide pools where children swam. We’d originally intended to have lunch in a remote gulf-front restaurant, but by this time it was 2 p.m. and I needed to be back to the ship at 4 p.m. So we retreated back to town and had tangy chicken-and-lime soup in a sidewalk cafe, where Jesus presided over us from a nook in the corner. Fab!

This was the second time I’d met Mary, and let me just say, anyone who says you don’t make real friends via the Internet is clueless. She and Glen are such open, genuine people — I feel like we share fundamental values that bind us together just as tightly as any of my friends. (Even though Mary revoked my hippie card because I didn’t know about Dr. Bronner’s soap.)

They dropped me back at my ship right on time, and today I’ll be cruising back to Tampa, crossing the wide expanse of the Gulf of Mexico. Tomorrow, it’s back to real life in Florida, and in just a few days Dave and I will be back in London — which seems very surreal to me now.

Speaking of London, I traded e-mails with Olga’s dog sitter. Apparently Olga is happy and well. She probably won’t even want to come home!


  1. I wish I could have been your fourth wheel! Three of my favorite people together in Cozumel! I know what you mean about the depth of blogging friendships. Whenever I've met friends from this virtual community in real life, we find that we know each other at a soul level, we've already shared so much. This was a week for blog friend meet ups as I had dinner with Scott and Yolie in NYC this week. Mary already met and loves them. You would have loved them too.

  2. I hope Dave is OK...He seems to have missed several events. You have provided me with a lovely trip in pictures and words.

  3. Yes to all of that. What beautiful pictures you have given us of my beautiful island! I'm so glad we had that day but I'm so sorry that Dave couldn't join us. Safe travels home, dear Steve!

  4. so glad you got to see Cozumel. it was our go to vacation spot for many many years but I bet it's been 15 years or more since we went. and yeas, these friendships are real. I met up with two this year and it was like old home week.

  5. That sounds like a fabulous day spent with friends in an exotic location. I love what you said about friends made "on-line". I couldn't agree more.

  6. How great that you got to meet up with Ms Moon again!

  7. How lovely to meet up with Mr and Mrs Moon. They gave you a special day that fellow cruise passengers did not experience. Cozumell sounds great. Thank you for taking us there.

  8. Now that just all looks fabulous. We might have to check out this route for our next cruise (which will be in a couple of years after we get over the craziness of moving). So glad you got to meet up with Ms. Moon!

  9. Isn't Blogland wonderful? I'm sitting here in my tiny village in Norfolk (unfortunately with pleurisy) and by some astral coincidence I read both yours and Ms Moon's blogs. And I've been able to vicariously enjoy your experiences. (I hope that doesn't sound too creepy) , but I haven't been able to go out for ages. The emergency doctor wanted to admit me to hospital, but I haven't had the energy to wax my legs, so that was a no go! I may be old, but I'm still a lady Oh God, now I sound like David Walliams. I must cut back on the spiced rum. But seriously I deeply envy you the Mayan ruins (South. American civilisations being one of my passions) I hope you have a wonderful time, Blessings for the New Year

  10. I really admire your style of tourism. You march into a place and see the daily lives of the people. To have a guide is a bonus.

  11. Mmm ... pizza scented cat :)

    How nice to meet up with Mr. and Ms. Moon! And did you really mean it about the size of the iguanas? I've only seen little ones, the kind people keep for pets. So I have no idea.

  12. So what's the story with the mural - apart from the fact some-one seems to be painting it out.
    And what are those guys holding?

    I think the floor at the very forefront of the cat photo is in focus. But who cares? Not me.

    You've had a great holiday.


  13. I am so envious of both the Moons and you for having all met one another!