...And Relax

Isla Mujeres Travel Blog

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The view from my bedroom window. Seriously.



...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.

The Urban Hostel, in all it's glory.



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.

Ben grooving.


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.

Michael and Gabby.
  Prior to meeting Gabby, Michael was married twice before; the second time, he was 40, and his new bride was 20.  For their honeymoon, they went to Aruba for one week. 

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!"

Gabby:  "OKEY!!...

Tanya works on Gabby's dreads.
......   You come back, or no?"


Priceless.  :-)



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.

Isla in the afternoon.
  At one point I went to borrow the computer, which was on a desk near the stairs; I was in the middle of an email to yet another Travbuddy (Hi Matt) when Ben came through and announced,

"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.  "YOUYou're in charge.  Kick anyone out that you like." 

And he walked out.

With that, I was running Urban Hostel. 



Ryan Returns

Not long later Ryan returned, and we set about to be lazy with a vengeance.

I took the picture before I knew he didn't catch it...
  Ben came and went, making us an awesome lunch of chicken salad with something I am STILL not convinced you can call salad dressing (Ryan says anything you dress a salad with is salad dressing) and then left again.  Later, he returned looking quite pleased with himself, his chest covered in sand and holding a dripping fish, fresh from the sea. 

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.

What every room needs.
  We went over to Pocna, the other hostel on the Island, where John was staying.  We found him and the three of us headed out to dinner at a place Ryan recommended.

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.

John finds his favorite spot on the veranda
  Clearer on what you want to order now?  :-)


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.

Look at them go


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.

John enjoying the music and "violent" dancing. This is the best picture I have seen of John, plus I took it - Double Score. :-)
  Oops?  How many beers had I had?  I hadn't thought it was THAT many... was it the rum and cokes?  Oh who knows.  Anyway, big mistake.  I don't drink that often, and really should know better. 


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. 


wanderlass says:
What a lovely day! And how interesting people to meet on travel non? I love it!
Posted on: Jun 13, 2007
Amanda says:
...Just tell them the true;
You know where he's from...
Posted on: May 07, 2007
dougal says:
Supergrass - yay!! "Here comes your mum - she knows what you've done..."
Posted on: May 07, 2007
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The view from my bedroom window.  …
The view from my bedroom window. …
The Urban Hostel, in all its glor…
The Urban Hostel, in all it's glo…
Ben grooving.
Ben grooving.
Michael and Gabby.
Michael and Gabby.
Tanya works on Gabbys dreads.
Tanya works on Gabby's dreads.
Isla in the afternoon.
Isla in the afternoon.
I took the picture before I knew h…
I took the picture before I knew …
What every room needs.
What every room needs.
John finds his favorite spot on th…
John finds his favorite spot on t…
Look at them go
Look at them go
John enjoying the music and viole…
John enjoying the music and "viol…
I would really, really love to tel…
I would really, really love to te…
Our final toast to the weekend - R…
Our final toast to the weekend - …
My favorite is the guacamole.  Joh…
My favorite is the guacamole. Jo…
John bonding with Ryan over a disc…
John bonding with Ryan over a dis…
Ryan also enjoying his talk with J…
Ryan also enjoying his talk with …
On his list of top 10 hammocks, th…
On his list of top 10 hammocks, t…
UK men bonding over... UK things? …
UK men bonding over... UK things?…
Fantastic musician
Fantastic musician
My beloved veranda.
My beloved veranda.
I asked John if he knew the differ…
I asked John if he knew the diffe…
The streets of the island.
The streets of the island.
After a while, Tanyas boyfriend s…
After a while, Tanya's boyfriend …
The lunch Ben made us.
The lunch Ben made us.
Ryan and Anya dancing
Ryan and Anya dancing
Gabby and me.
Gabby and me.
Isla Mujeres Hotels & Accommodations review
Hmmmmm..... I have quite a bit to say regarding this hotel; some positive, some negative. Actually, in considering what to write, I began to fear (an… read entire review
Isla Mujeres
photo by: Shunya