Cozumel, my old beloved island. Where I first had the Tropical Caribbean experience with Wife, then again with Wife, then again with Daughter. And now I'm back alone, thinking about days two decades gone.
We docked at Puerto Langosta, a relatively new complex designed to funnel the cruiser through a shopping mall, so you can buy T-shirts and/or tequila. Both are on sale. Imagine that! Your lucky day, pal - your ship arrived the day they decided that the tequila might move faster if they cut the price by 20%. Of course it's a one-day-only special sale! What's that? Oh, the sign is nailed in place because it's a tropical climate, uh, and nails, uh, slip out of the wall. Humidity.
It’s for people who want to leave the ship but not too much. Access to the street is hidden away at the far end of the complex, and while you might think it’s bad design, it’s great design. You can’t leave without seeing every store. Every store is filled with the same stuff as they have in town in other stuff-stores, and every stuff-store is staffed with the same kind of people: irritated bored youth, solid unsmiling old women, and overly cheerful short men.
I just walked. I got off and headed down the street for Cinco Soles, which I remember as a place with some nice goods, and of course it has Pancho’s, where we decided on Natalie’s name over dinner. Let's head into town and see what we can see.
Zultanite! A failed attempt to see if people who were gullible enough to buy Tanzanite would bite at another ridiculously named rock? Not according to the Zultanite-Industrial complex:
Relatively new to the jewelry world, Zultanite is one gemstone whose amazing natural color changing abilities makes it well suited to savvy jewelry connoisseurs. As you watch its colors change from kiwi to champagne to raspberry, you too will be entranced by Zultanite's 100% natural beauty.
Like Tanzanite, Zultanite is so rare that it comes to you from only one source in the world, a remote mountain area in Anatolia, Turkey. Named by Murat Akgun in honor of the 36 sultans who ruled the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia in the late 13th century, Zultanite is a true Turkish delight.
Off the main drag you saw the true Coz - it has that shabby unfinished / falling apart / brand-new paint look of a Mexican small town street. Nothing is ever completed today. Tomorrow, perhaps.
If he's closed during the day when four ships have docked, he must be so happy he needs nothing else on this earth.
I went to the main square, which was always a good memory. The locals have a party there on Sundays. Little kids run around playing around the statue of an Old Notable -
And who is he?
Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and politician who served as the president of Mexico for five terms: 1858–1861 as interim, then 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872 as constitutional president.
He resisted the French occupation of Mexico, overthrew the Second Mexican Empire, restored the Republic, and used liberal measures to modernize the country.
It is a sign of my historical deficiencies that I did not know there was a Mexican empire, let alone two of them. The second ended when they overthrew a French-installed Hapsburg. Moral: don't be putting second-cousin aristos in other hemispheres.
Around the square, a hotel that's seen better days. It was decrepid when we went to Coz in the 90s, and I'm surprised it's still standing.
Don't you imagine vacationers with Bond or Uris paperbacks in their suitcases, mod print swimsuits, Nam news on the international papers in the lobby? All gone; just ghosts.
I'm surprised there's not more development. More towers, more condos for Americanos who want the island life. But I'm glad the 21st century hasn't taken some 1960s citizens. You have to go to other counties with a slower pace to see old classics like this:
Here's some more - 50 seconds around town.
And here's something . . . different.
An enjoyable afternoon. Didn’t feel like going to the beach; It’s just a beach. The city is alive, and full of local culture. All these short men in white shirts waiting by the taxi stands for hires, smoking and chatting, radios blaring. And Christmas decorations, just to make it seem really odd. It’s Christmas? I thought I had left the calendar behind.
Back on the ship. I had a podcast to do, and was stunned to find the Queen Lounge was PACKED. Not an open chair. Again, stand-up: did ten minutes of new material, based in part on something I saw earlier in the day:
I swore it was going to hit us. Begun, the cruise wars have. Anyway, after the monologue I had two guests, and we talked trade policy and other cruises, and I’ve never in my life been so damned relaxed in front of a crowd on these things, perhaps because I had the show in my hands. It felt great. I’ve had three shows and I feel like I nailed them all.
And . . . I’m DONE. Except for dinners, of course, but I’m DONE.
One last thing: I've been running some picture through Prisma, and the results are . . . pleasing.
Tomorrow: Key West, and the bygone chain store. Plus: Masons!