Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Busy Day on Isla Mujeres

Punta Sur, Temple to Ixchel and El Arco on Isla MujeresSunday was a busy day for us here on Isla Mujeres. In the morning, I took a boat ride with my old friend Ariel and his family. Ariel runs a fishing, snorkeling, whale shark watching and Isla Contoy tour operation with his 27-foot panga: arielsantizo@yahoo.com.mx or 011-521-998-165-6332. Ariel and his family in their panga on Isla MujeresWe motored all the way around the island while I took photos of familiar landmarks for the book I am working on. Nan didn't want to go so she stayed behind with Scout. It was a calm day, which made for easy photography. Ariel says that rounding Punta Sur can be terrible on days when the wind runs counter to the current. The first photo shows the Mayan ruins of the temple to Ixchel and El Arco, the arch under it, at the southernmost tip of the island.

Manolo playing with Scout while Juan and Paula get the mixer readyIn the afternoon, we took the golf cart down to our friend Juan's new house in Colonia Salina Grande. The house is much further along than when we saw it last October (Isla Mujeres, Mexico), but it is still not finished and may never be. There are no loans to be had, so construction is a pay-as-you-go proposition, and it has been tremendously slowed by the poor economy and lack of tourism.

Paula starting to frost her tres leches cakeThe book I am working on now is a collaboration with Juan's wife, Paula. We are writing a Mexican cookbook, Los Sabores de Isla Mujeres / Tastes of Isla Mujeres, based on Paula's traditional recipes. It will be in both Spanish and English, and there will be photos of her wonderful dishes and also of the island. The main purpose of our Sunday visit was to photograph Paula baking a tres leches (three milks) cake. Paula's tres leches cake is almost finishedIt was a three-hour affair, with time for a take-out lunch of chicken tacos and cervezas from the local tienda while the cake was in the oven. The finished cake was almost too beautiful to eat, but we all took a slice or two, and neighborhood kids came out of nowhere to help share it. There were big frosted smiles all around!

We have invited Juan and his family to our apartment at Color de Verano on Friday evening for a dinner of chicken enchiladas Nan-style. We hope to keep a back-and-forth dinner exchange going for as long as we are here. Of course, we also expect to enjoy as much of Paula's fabulous cooking as we can. We'll consider it research!

No comments: