Last week I received this email message, which the sender was nice enough to let me post:
We read your blog today with great interest. We have booked Color de Verano for two weeks in January & February 2010. Our last stay there was 2007 and we fell in love with the place. We are wondering if your friend, Juan Gomez Chan, will have completed his house and opened his restaurant by the time we visit the island. We would like to stop in there if he will have it open by next winter.
I hope you will keep us updated.
Terry & Terry Wilson
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Here is my response with some updates about Juan and his life on Isla Mujeres:
Terry and Terry—
Thank you for contacting me. It is difficult to say if Juan will have his house and restaurant completed by that time but he sent us photos recently that showed tremendous progress from when we were there last October.
Juan left his employment at Na Balam a few months ago after many years and is now working with his friend Ventura at Brisas Grill near the ferry dock. We’re not sure what effect this might have on his progress. Given the way the beach at Na Balam is eroding, it’s just a matter of time before the Zazil Ha bar and restaurant at Na Balam are washed away, so Juan’s timing is probably very good.
As you know from the blog, we will be spending a month there this fall, from mid-September to mid-October, and staying in the penthouse at Color de Verano. Therese has given us permission to bring our dog Scout, a one-year-old golden retriever, so it should be quite the adventure. One of our projects while we’re there, in addition to taking Spanish lessons, is to work with Paola, Juan’s wife, to put together a “tastes of Isla Mujeres” cookbook in both Spanish and English. If we get it published, I’ll send you a copy.
You can probably tell that we love it there, too. If you’re interested in one of those newer photos of Juan’s house, please let me know and I will send it along. Thanks again.
The photo at the top is one that Juan sent me back in March. If you compare it to the ones I took last October when we were there ("Isla Mujeres, Mexico" blog entry), you can see that he is getting closer to finishing his new house. The restaurant would be located on the left side of the house under the flat-roofed section. That's Juan's brother-in-law out front in the orange t-shirt. Click the photo for a full-size view.
To give a better idea of where all these places are on Isla Mujeres, I have put together a Google Map titled "Isla Mujeres". The satellite image is very dated. It doesn't show either Juan's house or the Color de Verano - Macax, just vacant lots. And it still shows plenty of beach by the Hotel Na Balam, where there is now almost none.
This blog is an account of the pursuit of a dream, to sail around the world. It is named after the sailboat that will fulfill that dream one day, Whispering Jesse. If you share the dream, please join me and we'll take the journey together.
For Charlie and Scout
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Raising Charlie: The Lessons of a Perfect Dog by John Lichty
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