Jonnie came back from Isla Mujures (Island of Women) raving about it, so a few of us decided to take the boat over for a few days and check it out. We started out by taking a "collectivo" to Port Juarez to catch the boat. This was my first experience taking a collectivo, but would not be my last.
Basically, it's a shared taxi, but realistically it's a van that's been gutted and fitted with benches and no seat belts. You just have to be bold, wave one down, jump in before he takes off again and hold on for dear life because usually you're driving around with the door open and they are always crammed. There is no such thing as personal space in a collectivo!!
We arrived on the Island after a 30 min ferry ride and it was really beautiful. The Island is so small that most people drive around in golf carts, on mopeds or by bicycle. We stayed at Poc-na, the only hostel on the Island. Erica and I were put in a dorm with 6 men all ranging from 20-70 years old, but they all turned out to be really nice and even let us borrow their snorkling gear. Not sure what happened to Ollie, we saw him around here and there, I think he was still there when we left.
Everyone we spoke to raved about this hostel and how cool it was, but I was less then impressed. They had live music and bands playing every night and classes you could take during the day (yoga, hula hooping etc... hula hooping...Really???) and everynight at midnight everything stopped in the hostel and the party moved to the beach bar on the grounds.
So there was some really cool things about this hostel, but not enough to distract me from the disgusting matresses that were so uncomfortable and stained all over with god knows what or the dust that fell on you when the ceiling fan was on (if you were unfortunate like me and had to sleep on a top bunk) or the rotten smell in the toilets, which always had wet floors. Basically the place was filthy, but I seemed to be the only one that noticed. The place is owned and run by a family of dirty, hippies from Argentina, who seemed more interested in having a good time then actually working. I slept flat on my back in the middle of the bed every night and tried not to move just in case I touched something gross!
It was on this little adventure that I realised Erica, my new Mexican friend from Vancouver was a crazy, born-again Christian, bible thumper!! Every day it was "We are soo lucky that God has allowed our eyes to see this beautiful place" or "My family knows no disease, no cancer, no migrains, no pain, all because of the power of prayer and God" . If it wasn't that then she would start talking about God and quoting bible scripture to everyone she would meet. It was like being on holiday with Dot Cotton!
We went to a variety of beaches and every single one was beautiful with crystal clear water that was calm and warm. The sand was super soft and brilliant white and there was a few good places to go snorlking and see some fish. On the first night we went to dinner at another authenic Mexican restaurant. Erica, as well as loving Jesus, really, really loves Mexico and tells you all the time just how great it is (so great she lives in Canada!). She goes on about how Mexico has the best cuisine, the most interesting culture, the nicest landscapes, the best music etc etc. and we should embrace all of it, all the time. I'm not disagreeing with her, but she really needs to back off a bit (and no it wasn't just me that noticed her craziness). Safe to say we only ate at authenic Mexican restaurants/cafes while on the Island. It was at one of these restaurants that I watched my first full episode of a telenovella. All the staff were watching it and I got totally sucked in as well. It was soo overly dramatic and very funny. I could follow along and get the gist of it, but I think I need to learn Spanish, so I can watch them all the time!
We hired bikes one day and cycled to the other side of the Island, which only took 45min, but it was nice to get out and get some exercise. Once there we stopped at a well known beuaty spot for more swimming, snorkling and a bit of lunch and then cycled back around the other side. Eating out was a bit more expensive here then in Cancun, but not too bad.
One night I went out for dinner with Eugene, my new 70 something roommate, who lent me the snorkle gear. He was from NY and came to Mexico every year on holiday, spent a week on the Island and a week in Playa and never got bored of it. I think staying in the hostels made him feel young again or something. Anyways, we went to this place called Pitta Amore, which did these amazing sandwiches and we started talking to these two really nice American couples on holiday. The Americans left before us and when Eugene and I went to pay it seems the Americans had already paid for our meals...how nice was that!
We spent our last day on the beach soaking up the sun. I went to the swing bar on the beach for lunch (where they have swings instead of seats) and for a little break from Erica and her Jesus saves propoganda! While I was there I ran into the Americans from the night before (it's a really small island) and thanked them for paying for our dinner. After a couple more hours at the beach we went to leave and I realised I had no flip flops. I must have left them at the swing bar and never even noticed, luckily I had a spare pair with me. This was only the beginning of my battle with the flip flop!
On the boat back from Isla Mujures the sun was setting and they had a guy singing and playing the guitar for the passengers. Thinking this would be good we headed up to the open top deck to listen. This was a mistake...he basically butchered La bamba for 45 min at top volume and it got worse when some drunken Americans decided to join in! That boat ride could NOT have been any longer. Clearly this was not the fantastic music and culture Erica had been so keen for us all to embrace, although she was one of the weirdos joining in with the horror show!
Arrived back in Cancun, after yet another exciting collectivo ride and poor Kat was still hanging around the hostel with her crutches. She hadn't left the hostel since she arrived almost a week ago. Everyone took turns getting her groceries from the store and entertaining her, so it wasn't too bad. I was soo glad she was still there though cause after 3 days alone with Erica I though I was going mental and desperatly needed someone sensible to talk to. So, Isla Mujures was definitely worth the trip, but next time I would stay somewhere different and maybe leave Erica on the mainland!