Isla Mujeres Travel Blog› entry 6 of 10 › view all entries
...Yes, I stole that title from John, but really there is no other title that could work for the day that I had today.
I woke up to the sound of the waves crashing, and walked over to my window. I was absolutely delighted with my first view during daylight hours of the sea from by bedroom. There was literally nothing between me and it. Amazing.
Since I had failed to spend real time with Ryan again the day before, I was really anxious to do so. We'd been in contact for months now as I had planned to come, and I can't tell you how many times he warned me, over and over again, that he most likely wouldn't be on Isla anymore by the time I got there; but there he was regardless, and I was so very glad. I wanted to spend some real time with him today.
Ryan helps run one of the two hostels that are on Isla Mujeres; it's called Urban Hostel, and it's just an amazing place to be. The entrance for it is on the ground floor, but the door opens only to a staircase; from there it leads you to the second floor, which is where the hostel is located. When you come up the stairs you step into the main room, which is actually open air; the opposite side of it is a fantastic veranda with small tables and some chairs, and also a hammock; from these chairs you can look down at the small streets of Isla Mujeres and watch the world go by, Island style.
So after a quick splash in the sea, I took a walk over to the hostel to find that Ryan was not there, but should be back shortly; the man he works with, Ben, was there.
A little about Ben...
The first thing that struck me about Ben, besides simply his impressive height and his very no-nonsense attitude, was the fact that when you ask where he's from (I asked him this, and then heard him give the same answer to John later that night) he answers, "My parents live in Wales." I found this really interesting for some reason. Not, "I'm from Wales" or "I used to live in Wales" or "I'm of Wales decent" ... No, he left himself out of the equation completely, both times -
"My parents live in Wales."
He is taking over a lot of the work at the hostel, also works at the spear shop, loves spear fishing, and is a very smart guy. I immediately liked him a lot.
Other people staying at the hostel included:
Gabby and Michael
Gabby and Michael were also staying at Urban Hostel; this is one of the funniest couples I've ever come across - Gabby is from Mexico, Michael is an expat American who hasn't been back to the States in a long time.
On the 6th day, his new wife announced it was time to go home. Michael argued, saying they still had one day to go. When she would not agree to stay, he simply said "OK - you go ahead baby, I'm right behind you."
Six months later, Michael left Aruba. His wife of course, was no longer anywhere to be found.
This story still makes Gabby nervous; so now, whenever Michael says he's going out, the conversation goes something like this:
Michael: "Hey baby, I'm running around the corner to grab some cigars!"
Tanya is from Austria, and has been traveling around Mexico for around 5 months now. It's finally time for her to head back to Europe, and she'll be going over to Spain to find work as a chef. She's currently helping her friends make jewelry on the beach, and working on getting a decent priced ticket to Mexico City. She has an energy in her that's amazing and I liked her immediately.
Life at Urban Hostel and Unexpected Power...
I settled into my favorite chair on the veranda and started to enjoy the day with these fantastic people.
"I have to go out, I'll be back soon - and Ryan should be back in a few minutes." He then looked at Roberto, a musician from Italy that had been there a while, and said,
"You're in charge."
Then took one more step towards the stairs and said...
"What am I saying? SHE'S in charge!" and pointed to me. "YOU! You're in charge. Kick anyone out that you like."
And he walked out.
With that, I was running Urban Hostel.
Not long later Ryan returned, and we set about to be lazy with a vengeance.
Ben: "I got a fish!"
Amanda: "That's great!! Let me take a picture!" (Amanda takes a picture of Ben and his fish.)
Ben: "Well... I didn't catch it you know... I was playing volleyball. Someone gave it to me."
Amanda: "That is soooo not worth a photograph...."
A Night Out With the Boys
After spending the better part of the day like this, drinking beer, talking about nothing and everything, and watching Tanya putting dreadlocks into Gabby's hair (she says if they don't work out she'll just shave her head and start over) we decided it was time to move on.
The decor of the place was fabulous. There was a particularly horrendous monkey holding a slice of watermelon - I told John and Ryan I was sure this is what has been missing from my living room for a long time. What I liked the best however, I think I would have missed if John had not pointed it out; you know how restaurants will often have pictures of their food on the menus, so you can see what they look like? Here, instead, they have paintings on the walls. Want to see what the guacamole looks like? SURE! Just look at the vague picture of a round bowl filled with green paint. Refried beans anyone? That would be the black spot of paint.
Once we finished dinner, we took John back up to Urban Hostel; he had yet to sample the delights of the veranda. We drank more beer and checked the progress of Gabby's dreads, while the song "Beautiful Disaster" by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers played in the background. John found his personal favorite spot on the end of the veranda, did his own people watching, and got to know Ben a bit.
After some beers and a couple of very well made rum and cokes complements of Ryan "The Great", we all headed back over to Pocna because there was a keyboardist playing there, with a drummer accompanying him, and they were supposed to be quite good.
We wake up, we go out, smoke a fag, put it out, see our friends, see the sights, feel alright.
Ryan (who recommended we head over to Pocna for the show) was right - it was fabulous. The musicians were fantastic and the mood was great. One of Ryan's other friends Anya (from South Africa) was there and they danced quite a bit - I highly recommend that if you don't know the song "Alright" by Supergrass you look it up and listen to it prior to looking at the pictures of them dancing to get the full idea of the night - that's what they were dancing to, and also where the quote above comes from.
I bought a round of beers for the three of us and we settled in for a great time.
A while later, John bought a second round for us, and I was part way though mine when it hit me - I was drunk. Drunker than I've been since my 25th birthday, 10 years ago.
The music ended. We said goodbye to John, and Ryan walked me back to my hotel. We had a final nice talk by the sea, and then I tottered to my bed and fell asleep.