Friday, September 26, 2014

Small acts of kindness

Feeling a bit hungry he walked across the road looking for a better place to eat. A loud noise, a blur of red, and then indescribable pain!  He lay flat on the roadway, unable to move, barely conscious – when he felt himself being lifted up and placed into a large container.

Jacana - slowly recovering
This was not how the young Jacana bird, Jorge, had planned to start his day; first a collision with a taxi, and then a human taking him prisoner. 

His mother had warned him about the dangers of living near humans, but sometimes you just had to take the risk to find food. Collapsing in pain inside the bucket, Jorge wondered what his fate might be.

He heard a man and a woman discussing him, saying he probably wouldn't live more than a few minutes due to his head injury. “No! I will survive.” Jorge decided. Waiting, waiting: as the hours passed Jorge slowly regained a bit of strength. The woman checked frequently to see if he was still alive. Eventually he was able to lift his head off the bottom of the bucket, and then finding a hidden reserve of energy he tucked his long-toed feet under his body and sat upright. Oh, but the pain in his head. It was fierce!

The human popped her head into the room again, pulling back the edge of the towel covering the top of the bucket, talking to him as if he understood her words. “Well, I posted on FaceBook asking if anyone knows how to help you. My friend Dan Kane offered to contact, Delfino Guevera, a local veterinarian. So we'll see what Delfino says.” she said, gently replacing the towel, leaving him alone in the dark, fretting over what would happen next.

Clinica Veterinaria de Isla Mujeres - Delfino's new clinic
A short time later the Jacana could hear another human voice, asking was he still alive? “Yes, he's here.” the woman said, “I have a bird in a bucket in my bathroom.” Jorge didn't understand why that was funny but both the woman and the man she called Delfino chuckled.  Next the veterinarian deftly moved him from the bucket into a cage that smelled alarmingly like cats! “Oh no! Was he going to be fed to cats? What a horrible end to a really bad day that would be.”

Delfino told the woman that he would take the bird, the juvenile Jacana, to his clinic.  If he survived Delfino said he would probably take him into the bird sanctuary in Cancun the following day. The trip to the clinic on a motorcycle was short and scary. Once inside the bright new building Jorge was thoroughly examined by the veterinarian and placed back in the cage. As he huddled in fear the smell of cats, and dogs, and strange chemicals swirled around him. He was accustomed to the smell of the ocean, the marshes, other birds, and nearby humans. He was not accustomed to having so many predators, his enemies, in the same area. It was terrifying!

Rosa & Codie
Very soon another male voice could be heard. “Is this the poor guy that had a run-in with the taxi?” the man asked. 

Instead of taking the bird on another stressful trip to the sanctuary in Cancun, Delfino had called an island friend who had a lot of experience helping wild birds recuperate. “I'll take him home.” Gunther Hepner said, gently picking up the bird. "We'll get him fixed up.”

Another fast ride on a motorcycle, then they entered yet another building and Jorge could smell birds – other birds! “This is Codie and Rosa.” Gunther said as he introduced his pets to Jorge, “Kids, say hello to your new roommate.”


Jorge the Jacana back in the wild
Well, this is encouraging,” Jorge thought. He was beginning to feel better already. “If this human has pet birds, then he probably won't feed me to a cat!” Jorge was put in a dark, quiet place for the night, and given water to drink. 

The next morning the man gave him a tasty breakfast of fresh flies. By now Jorge was able to stand on Gunther's hand, balancing precariously for a few minutes.   You'll be fine,” he said, “I'm going to put you back into a marshy area where you can find food and water, and similar friends. But, first, we need to have a chat about your bad behaviour. You must stay away from roads. Next time you may not be so lucky!”


Paradise!
Jorge agreed wholeheartedly. He was very lucky indeed to have so many humans helping him get better. And he was very lucky he could still enjoy life in paradise.

So the next time you see a beautifully coloured Jacana bird, it just might be Jorge. Please say hello from us.  Tell him Dan Kane, Delfino Guevera, Gunther Hepner plus Lawrie and I are very happy he survived his nearly-fatal encounter with a taxi.





Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie

Find us on the web at: 




Friday, September 19, 2014

Dia De La Independencia De Mexico

¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!  Long live Mexico!

Grito of Delores!    
At eleven at night, on September 15th Presidente Agapito Magaña Sanchez tugged on a thick ribbon-bedecked rope, ringing a large brass bell and shouting the traditional cry of independence. The huge crowd shouted back: ¡Viva! ¡Viva! ¡Viva! The energy in the air send frissons of excitement through our blood, tingling our nerve endings: Wow!


Overhead fireworks in centro
And then the fireworks started – blasting from two different directions above the crowd gathered in the city square. Whistling shrieks, then a series of booms, followed by a slight pause and the atmosphere exploded into constellations of red, green, blue, and yellow, the billowing phosphorescent smoke slowly dissipating over the city.

We, along with family members Richard and Linda Grierson, had been enjoying a late night dinner just up the street from centro at Pita Amore Restaurante, before heading to the celebrations. We fully expected everything to be running behind schedule, as is the norm, but discovered that was not the case. The event was clicking along, right on schedule.

When we arrived in centro a number of dancers were on stage. The women were dressed in huipils – the beautiful lacy tunics created from fine white cloth, colourful ribbons, and intricate embroidery. 



They had fanciful flower headdresses woven into their beautiful dark hair, topped by traditional white straw hats. Their escorts were attired entirely in white as a counterpoint to their colourful female partners.

The men in another dance troupe wore a stylized cowboy outfit while the ladies were decked out in red and blue multi-layered fiesta dresses that could be swirled high in the air when dancing. 

The music, the smiles, and the colour – an amazing sight.

We missed the very beginning of program but were able to enjoy the dancers for an hour before the cry of independence: the Grito de Delores. The original Cry of Delores was shouted in the early morning hours of September 16th 1810 by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the small town of Delores near Guanajuato. His proclamation marked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence, demanding independence from the Spanish colonial government.


And no, Cinco de Mayo is not Independence Day in Mexico. 
That date commemorates a battle between the Mexican army and the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th 1862. The Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the USA – especially since the advent of beer commercials promoting the celebration!




As the fireworks ended the ten-person band began to play fun traditional music signaling the start of the all-night festivities. The four of us looked at each other and laughed: yep, it was past our bedtime. We aren't conditioned for the all-night parties. 



Walking back to our vehicle, Lawrie picked up a couple of large pieces of tough black plastic – smoking hot pieces of plastic that had fallen out of the sky during the fireworks display. 

The shower of hot debris had sent a number of people scurrying for shelter. It's normal. Fireworks displays are always an adventure in Mexico.

Love this country!   

Feliz Dia De La Independencia!

¡Viva México! ¡Viva Isla Mujeres!

Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie

Find us on the web at:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blue Flag Beach – Going for a Touch Down!

North Beach - Playa Norte
Armed with rakes, shovels and large black plastic garbage bags a dozen or so hardworking ladies gather every morning on the public beaches of Isla Mujeres. It's their job to keep the sand clean. They chat, and rake, and pick up trash while bopping along to music played via their cell phones, IPODS or MP3 players. Their job is a never-ending task.

Beach cleaning crew
The current municipal administration of Isla Mujeres is working toward a Blue Flag designation for North Beach – Playa Norte. The list of requirements to obtain the coveted blue flag is extensive, and the list is reviewed every year before the status is renewed. For example a Blue Flag beach must provide full-time life guards, clean public washrooms, garbage containers, strict control of domestic animals using the beaches, clean drinking water, wheelchair accessibility, and frequent water quality sampling – to name just a few of the conditions.

New life guard tower - not staffed yet
If you have been down to North Beach recently you probably have noticed the addition of three life-guard towers and a big blue tractor-type beach-cleaning machine. The tractor operator sweeps past, combing up debris and leveling the sand very early in the morning before the concession operators set out their loungers and umbrellas for the day.

I often wonder when watching the process if the machine gathers up the lost necklaces, chains and other items that the metal-detector-wielding beachcombers usually search for. I wouldn't mind a turn at driving the tractor. Big machines fascinate me, just ask Lawrie who in the past has rented fun machines like a 32-foot-high-scissor-lift, or a Bob-Cat loader, or a Bush Hog Rotary Cutter, so I could do stuff around our property in Canada.

I want a turn driving this tractor!
However, back on Isla when our low-to-the-ground dog, Sparky, and I are ambling the shoreline giving him an opportunity to swim in the calmer water of Playa Norte I enjoy watching the preparations for obtaining a Blue Flag designation. The addition of clean, public washrooms would be a wonderful thing. It's a bit tricky right now for the crowds of folks who use the beaches. Many of the nearby restaurants are frustrated by the situation and have posted signage: restrooms are for the use of paying customers only. So what do the beach-users do when nature calls? I really don't want to know.

Busy beach!

And yes, I do carry my handy-dandy supply of puppy-poop bags to clean up the beach after Sparky, has done his business. However I am pretty sure that under the Blue Flag designation we will have to find him another location for swimming.


But seriously, North Beach is a beautiful area, enjoyed by thousands every month, and a little extra cleanup is a good thing. It a great place to hang out for the day, people-watching in the shade of a big old palm tree. A cold beverage or two helps the day along as well. Blue Flag or not, it's a beautiful location.

Pier near the Islander Beach Club location

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie

PS: when Sparky and I were doing his morning swim/walk we noticed this.  It is a boat which arrived at North Beach sometime just before dawn - filled with Cuban refugees looking for a better life.  


Cuban refugee boat arrived on North Beach early Sept 12th


Friday, September 5, 2014

Shocking Statistics

Fishing economy changing to tourism
Sometimes in the course of looking for ideas to write about for our weekly blog we come across information that is surprising, or even quite shocking. Part-time resident Karen Rosenberg, LISW, recently emailed me the stats on diabetes in Mexico – and they are awful!

According to Mexico’s Department of Social Health, it is believed that 20% of all Mexican women and more than 25% of men are at risk of developing the disease. It’s the nation’s #1 killer, resulting in about 70,000 deaths a year. Diabetes has also become the main cause of limb loss and blindness in Mexico.

Tourists enjoying North Beach on a sunny Sunday afternoon
The economy of Isla Mujeres is gradually shifting from a fishing community to a tourism-based community. 

In the busy season from December to May workers can conceivably earn more money in the form of tips from restaurant or bar patrons, but on average most islanders earn around $9.00 USD per day. That does not leave enough money to eat in a healthy manner. Inexpensive processed food and high-sugar beverages are commonplace. 

Affordable - Coke Cola for baby
We shudder every time we see the young construction workers pedal past on their bicycles clutching their lunch break supplies in one hand. Most days their lunch consists of a two-litre bottle of Coke Cola and a fifty-cent stack of tortillas.

A few years ago the Medical Director of the Salud Publica (health clinic on Isla Mujeres) stated that the clinic does not have glucose monitoring devices or meters available. He estimated that up to 80% of the islanders live with undiagnosed diabetes until it is a life threatening condition. 



Diabetes Clinic 
Karen Rosenberg has been coming to Isla for the past eighteen years, and hosting the Portals to the Self: Isla Mujeres Women's Retreat at the Na Balam Hotel for the past fifteen years. 
Karen said she started the clinics after a friend who worked at the hotel died from complications of undiagnosed diabetes and another friend at the Women’s Beading Coop went into a diabetic coma.
The first two free clinics were held at the Women's Beading Cooperative, but they soon outgrew the limited space and moved the next year to the English School premises. The following year the clinic was so well attended they relocated again, this time to the even larger space at the Red Cross location in La Gloria.
Diabetes Clinic workers
Another community-minded full-time resident, Kathy Ennis RN, pitched in to help with the clinics. 

Then Geovanny Avalos from the Cruz Roja Isla Mujeres, added his invaluable assistance, helping the health professionals with testing and diabetes education. 



Registration of the walk-ins is handled by members of the Women's Beading Cooperative so this effort is a collaboration of ex-pats and local Islenos.
Members of Women's Beading Cooperative at art fair
So, what can you do to help? The organizers are in desperate need of donations of test strips and meters, preferably Contour and Contour Next brands. The Fifth Annual Diabetes Clinic will be held on Thursday October 23rd, starting at 9:00 a.m., at the Red Cross. The clinic will continue during the day until the supplies run out. They will perform testing of blood sugar levels, teach the recipients how to use the meters to monitor their blood glucose, counsel them in diabetes education and give replacement supplies when needed.

Karen writes: “If you have any connection with pharmaceutical companies or reps, doctor’s offices or hospitals that can donate these supplies, (short dated or even recently expired) please contact me via private message on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/kfrlisw?fref=ts&ref=br_tf”

Money donations may be made through PayPal via kfrlisw@gmail.com. Supplies will then be purchased in your name and used for the clinic attendees.” If you would like additional information please contact Karen or Kathy via the email addresses listed below.

Hopefully these shocking numbers will motivate others to help out with the battle against diabetes on our favourite little island in paradise.

Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie


kfrlisw@gmail.com             Karen Rosenberg
kathy@kathyandkeith.mx   Kathy Ennis





Friday, August 29, 2014

Trouble in Paradise

Paradise - 99% of the time!
Arrggh!  There are a few, rare, occasions that living in a foreign country, in a foreign culture and not being fluent in the local language can make us crazy with frustration.

We seldom “bitch” about anything in this blog, preferring instead to keep it upbeat and positive, but this week Home Depot Cancun pushed all of our buttons; the Frustrated Button, the Annoyed Button, and the dreaded Crabby Button.

We have four ceiling fans in our house, one in each bedroom, and two on the downstairs floor that have been working just fine for the last seven years but were getting to the end of their usefulness. Rust, corrosion, and squeaky motors: it was time to replace them all.


The store we love to hate.
Lawrie and I went into Cancun to Home Depot and purchased four matching Hampton Bay fans – made in China and sold exclusively by Home Depot and not available anywhere else. 

The fans were a decent price, dark brown fake palm leaf-shaped blades, exterior quality so they should last for quite awhile, well, until at least one week before ten-year warranty expires that is.

When we got back to the island we called Patricio, our friend who built our home seven years ago, asking him if his electricians could install the fans. Jose, Benito, and a new trainee Juan were at our house within a few minutes. Within an hour or so the guys had all four fans installed, but only three worked.  Jose tested all the circuits and connections still nothing happening with the fourth fan. I said no worries, just take it down and put it back in the box. I'll return it to Home Depot tomorrow.


Three fans installed and working just great.
Jose grinned at me, said something to the other guys making them laugh aloud. He went on to say in Spanish something about Lawrie should have lunch, go to a movie, and doing a bit of shopping while I waited at Home Depot. 

I nodded and laughed in that polite not-quite-understanding-way that everyone uses now and again when you have absolutely no idea what the other person saying.

The following day we headed back to Cancun to exchange the fan. 



Got the original receipt? Check. Fan and all the original parts? Check. Original box? Check. Okay, good to go. We will just pop in and exchange it for an identical one. Easy.

At the Home Depot return counter we explained in Spanglish that the fan was not operating, and we would like to exchange it for a new one. Lawrie went ahead into the store to make sure they had more in stock. He loaded one into a cart and returned to wait patiently with me at the returns counter.


Hanging out at the returns counter - waiting, waiting.
The first clerk looked at the receipt, then she looked at me, looked at the box and re-checked the receipt and huffed indignantly. She took all the parts out of the box to look at them. Well, I was impressed. She must have had the parts list memorized. 

She could tell just by poking and prodding at the various little bags that we hadn't secretly held back any of the parts; that we didn't keep any of the 16 pieces of part AA Blade attachment hardware, or the 3 of part BB wire connecting nuts, or the 5 of part G Blade bracket screws, or the 1 EE a balancing kit, or even the 1 HH pull chain. What an amazing memory she must have.

Another clerk was paged and everyone repeated the process; look at us, the receipt, the box, poke at the parts, and look at us again. Nothing had been said up to this point by any of the staff members. 


The parts list
We are now feeling vaguely sleazy. We were certain the staff thought that we had somehow managed to steal this fan out from under the noses of the cashiers and security guards. 

These are the same security guards who are located ten feet from the cashiers, and consistently check every bag, box and item before stamping the receipt and allowing the customer to exit the store.


We are still waiting at the returns desk and a third clerk is paged. Same routine. Still no one is saying anything. We are now hitting the thirty-minute mark. I asked if there was a problem. No answer, instead a fourth clerk is called via a portable radio. He explains that since I had already been back to the store to return a fan I must have another receipt, that the one I had presented to them was incorrect.

Really? We purchased the fans two days previously. We live on Isla Mujeres. We have not been back to Cancun, or Home Depot to exchange any fans until today. This is the original receipt. All we want to do is exchange one non-working fan for a hopefully working fan. (Can you tell, my Crabby Button has just been pushed?)

The four clerks exchange knowing glances: “Whoa, Crabby Person! Better call in the big boss.” The department head is paged. He tests the motor to be sure that we aren't lying. It will work - if he pushes it with his fingers - but will not start on its own. No problem. He nods, and tells them to go ahead and do the exchange. He then repackages the defunct item and places it back on the shelf with the other fans that are for sale. Problem solved.


Headed home to Isla
At five minutes short of an hour we exit Home Depot with our replacement ceiling fan. Back home on Isla, I sent a text to Jose, and he was there within minutes to install it. 

That's when we read the 10-year warranty fine print: the warranty document must be stamped and signed at the time of purchase at the store where the product was sold. 

Are you kidding me? We were supposed to open the box at the store, read the warranty document, get it stamped and signed before we left the store! 

Double Arrggh!




Therapy! 
And just to be clear, Home Depot Cancun is not the only store that teaches their staff to provide poor customer service. 

It is very common. We marvel at our Mexican friends who nonchalantly accept indifferent treatment boarding on rudeness. 

They just shrug their shoulders and laugh: It's Mexico.



So, we take a deep breath, pour a glass of wine and sit on our ocean side patio. 
This is the real reason we live in Mexico. We enjoy the climate, we enjoy our island and our waterfront casa, and we truly do enjoy the Mexican culture – most of the time.


Paradise!

Oh, and did we mention the new fan squeaks like a rat caught in a trap? Sigh, looks like we will be visiting our “favourite” store again: Home Depot in Cancun.

Arrggh!


Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie




A few days later .....

Success! Paradise Reclaimed!

We have another replacement Hampton Bay ceiling fan from Home Depot and so far, fingers-crossed, it is behaving beautifully.

And how did this miraculous event happen you ask? Well I went on the internet http://www.homedepot.com/c/Contact_Us and registered my complaint in a much shorter version than the blog article, and left out most of the drama and the Arrgghs! (It wasn't nearly as much fun to write.)

1. The first response was a email acknowledging my complaint:
Shirley A. Mitchell
Resolution Expediter
Customer Care Email Team
The Home Depot - Store Support Center-
2455 Paces Ferry Road / B-3
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: (770) 433-8211 or 1-800-654-0688, Ext. 77341
Fax: (678) 556-7614



2. The second response was a follow-up email from Ms. Karen Cortés letting me know that since the complaint originated at a Mexican store she would assist us with any language problems we had:
Karen Cortés
Resolution Expediter
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: 770-433-8211 or 1-800-654-0688 Ext: 77519
Fax: 678-556-7614


3. The third response was a phone call and a very nice email, in English, from the General Manager of Home Depot Cancun, Seňor Juan Espinosa Silva.Seňor Silva arranged to meet with us on Monday September 1st to exchange the defective squeaky fan. We, of course, had optimistically tossed out all the packaging when we got the first replacement fan, thinking “oh boy, this one will work just fine.”

He said, “don't worry, just bring the fan and the receipt and we will replace it.”

I also asked about 10-year warranty fine print: the warranty document must be stamped and signed at the time of purchase at the store where the product was sold. Seňor Silva advised us to just keep a photo copy of the original purchase receipt with the warranty documents.

When we entered the store, one of the clerks recognized me, smiled and greeted me by name. Oh, rats. I guess I made a really big impression on him last week when I did my Crabby Person rant at him. Rafa was very kind, and accommodating, taking another fan out of stock, un-boxing it, testing it, and re-boxing it.

So it looks like we have the problem solved, and so very much quicker than we anticipated.

Thank you to everyone at Home Depot.

Cheers

Lynda & Lawrie






Friday, August 22, 2014

Off the beaten path

So, you've been to Isla a time or two and are getting slightly bored with hanging out at the beach all day.  

It might be a perfect time for you to explore, by golf cart, moto or bicycle, some of the local neighbourhoods instead of following the usual route along the perimeter road.





A decent map will help with your explorations.   

Laura McFarlin – the MapChick – produces a handy-dandy map and travel guide for the island.  Her map is available for sale at the hotel reception office of Marina Paraiso, located on Rueda Medina just a couple of minutes south of the whale shark statue.  

While you are at the office purchasing your map you might want to make a quick stop at Barlito's @ Marina Paraiso for a coffee and one of Brad's almost-world-famous Cinnamon Buns.  Yum!  Raisins, cinnamon, icing – three of our favourite food groups!

Okay, got your supplies? Camera?  Bottled water? Then let's go.
Head south along Rueda Medina, until you see the naval housing complex on the left side of the road.  

It is painted bright orange with a tall white perimeter fence, and a guard at the gate.  Turn left at the next street and slowly weave your way up and down the short blocks of the Caridad del Cobra and Canotal neighbourhoods.  


Located between the Salinas Grande (a land-locked salty lake) and the perimeter road this is a quiet residential area.  

Please be respectful and keep a sharp eye out for kids, cats and dogs playing in the roadway.  

A number of the roads will dead-end at the salinas or turn into pedestrian pathways necessitating turning around and retracing your route to the next through-street. 




Many of the houses in these two neighbourhoods are painted in eye-catching colour combinations of pink, purple, green, yellow, turquoise, or orange.  

Most of the really colourful houses seem to be on the streets with bird names; streets named Flamenco, Fragata, Garza Azul, Garza Blanca, Cormoran, and Aquila.  I also discovered a few on Manglero (Raccoon Street).  Unfortunately not all the streets have visible signage.  Time + sea salt = disintegration of everything metal.  


Don't assume you will always find a name for the road you are driving on.  Our road-trip theory has always been: if you don't know where you are headed, you can't get lost.  Just enjoy the experience.

And as we all know, driving in the tropical heat can be thirsty work.  Oscar's Pizza & Restaurante is on the main road, Rueda Medina.  Along the roadside entrance are a dozen or so huge wooden chairs made from the trunks of trees with twisted branches forming the back and arms.  

It's is a good place to have a cool beverage and if you are lucky enough to be there after 5:00 in the afternoon when Michael and the crew fire up the pizza ovens, well, the New York-style pizzas are amazing as are the delicious garlic knots.  Garlic knots; another favourite food group in our house!




Get out there and explore the island.  You will be glad you did.

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie





Friday, August 15, 2014

Waitin' on the African Queen

Abandoned boat  near  El Cuba Ron Restaurante
Relaxing on with a cold beverage on a dock-side bar we watch the boats slip past; there are colourful fishing pangas, and charter boats, and whale shark tour boats returning for the evening. Lush vegetation overhangs the languid blue-green water. 

Laughter. Tropical heat. Music. 

It could be the movie set from the 1951 movie, The African Queen, staring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.



Colourful panga-style fishing boat
That movie was made the year I was born, and was considered to be “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the US Library of Congress. 

That's an unusual honor considering in the movie Humphrey Bogart was portrayed as being a quirky and cantankerous Canadian while Katherine Hepburn was a proper, well-mannered Englishwoman.


View from new upper deck at El Cuba Ron
However, on this particular afternoon Lawrie and I are sitting on the new upper deck of the Varadero, also known as El Cuba Ron Restaurante, on Isla Mujeres. 

According to owner Rafael Burgos Rios the name Varadero means a place where boats are built, maintained, and repaired. His grandfather originally used the waterfront property to build and repair boats for island fishermen.


One of Rafael's family members
Born on Isla Mujeres on Mexican Independence Day in 1957 Rafael has Cuban, Spanish, and Mayan ancestors. His ancestors have been on Isla since 1896. His wife Ana Jimenez, on the other hand, was born in Havana Cuba, moving to Isla Mujeres when she married Rafael. 

When Rafael graduated from school he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, cousins, and uncles – working the boats that circulated on a trade route from Florida to Central America. The sailing ships brought oil, maize, medical supplies, shoes, clothing, and the mail. For the return trip the captains loaded live lobsters and turtles destined for American restaurants.




Ana and Rafael
For the first twelve years of operation - El Cuba Ron restaurante - was located on Guerrero Avenue in the funky old building where Pita Amour is now. Then thirteen years ago Rafael decided to move the business to the family owned property on the canal that leads to Laguna Makax. 

Built on the western side of the island near the big boat repair yard it's a great place to hang out on an afternoon, or to enjoy a tasty dinner later in the evening. 

On weekends a Cuban band plays great music from mid-afternoon to early evening.

Rafael outside the entrance
The menu selections include a number of tasty fish, chicken and pork dishes prepared in the traditional Cuban style. 

We also really enjoy their guacamole and Lawrie is a big fan of their mojitos. Mojitos are addictive and sneaky! They are a refreshing drink made with white rum, soda water, sugar, lime and crushed mint. 

The deceptively innocent taste makes it is easy to forget how many you have consumed.





Guest singer at El Cuba Ron Restaurante
While we were enjoying the sunshine, the music, and the ambiance a couple of large cruisers rafted alongside the restaurant – their passengers eager to join the fun. 

One youngster confidently stepped up to the band leader and asked if he could join the group. Pretty soon everyone was dancing and singing along to the tunes.




Well, the boat called the African Queen never did pass by, nor did we see Humphrey Bogart or Katherine Hepburn but it was still a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Try it! You'll like it!

Waterside view of El Cuba Ron Restaurante


Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie