A few days ago a local taxi driver asked me: “Where are you from?” And I replied as I always do: “I live here, but I am originally from Canada.”
We then moved on to discussing the winter weather and how this has been a record-breaking cold winter north of the Mexico-U.S. border.
“Menos treinta grados centígrados? -30 Celsius?” He tosses both hands in the air in an expression of mock horror. (-30 C is -22 Fahrenheit. That’s damn cold on any temperature scale!)
“Por qué?” He asks. “Why? Why live there?”
“I don’t know!” I respond, grinning.
My response prompted a comedy routine. Unusually expressive, his hands hardly touched the steering wheel for the entire ride as regaled me with his thoughts on living anywhere where the temperature was less than 15 Celsius.
I was still laughing as I exited the taxi and then I started thinking of our Top Ten Reasons Why We Live in Mexico. And here they are in reverse order in the style of David Letterman:
• No. 10 — History and culture: Mexico is ancient, dating back to Mayan, Aztec and Toltec civilizations. Add in a little Spanish culture starting in the 1540s and you get a nice mix of romantic, expressive and passionate people.
• No. 9 — Sea creatures: Whale sharks, sea turtles and dolphins still abound in this ocean. Deepsea fishing is a thriving business as are the underwater photographic safaris specializing in whale shark, sailfish and marlin dives.
• No. 8 — Good restaurants and cool beverages: We can eat, drink, and be merry at a choice of restaurants, bars and taquerías. We can choose between Cuban, Italian, Swiss, Argentinian, Chinese, French, Mediterranean, Tex-Mex, or of course local Mexican flavors in a range of prices from expensive to very inexpensive.
Many of the eating establishments feature live music during the late afternoon or evening. The music adds to the festive feeling of a holiday in paradise.
• No. 7 — Sunrise and sunsets: My favorite times of the day, the beginning and the end. In the morning the sleepy sun reaches up to finger-paint the sky in pinks, and oranges and purples. It is the start of another new day.
At sunset the sun slowly gathers in the colors, putting them back into a paint-box for the night, tucked away safely until morning.
A glass of wine and my sweetie beside me as we watch the sunset — it’s a perfect ending to another great day.
• No. 6 — Beaches and boats: Two of my favorite things to photograph are the white sandy beaches, and the myriad of interesting boats moored or anchored nearby.
Many of the boats are painted delightfully cheerful combinations of yellow and blue, turquoise and white, red and yellow, or green and orange, reflecting the love of bright colors prevalent in this culture.
• No. 5 — Laughter and easy acceptance: living on Isla Mujeres is the best choice for us. It is a small community where people care about you as a person. Friends accept you for who you are, not what you were. You are simply a friend.
• No. 4 — Kids can be kids: The uncomplicated lives of local kids always brings a smile to our faces. Here the kids play: they play with friends, with toys and with older siblings and grandparents.
They ride bikes. Swim in the ocean. Explore the neighborhood. Run from house to house with friends. Giggle and laugh. We feel younger just watching their antics.
• No. 3 — Colors: Reds, blues, greens, yellows, oranges and purples tossed willy-nilly as if an omnipresent painter was having a temper tantrum, scattering tins of paint with a sweep of a large hand.
Houses decorated in fanciful combinations reflect the owners’ personal preferences. Brilliantly tinted flowers tumble over walls, in an array of reds, oranges and pinks. Eye-catching and beautiful colors abound.
• No. 2 — The weather: January is the coldest month of the year with average daytime temperatures of 27 degrees C and nighttime temperatures of 19. November to April is the dry season and that normally gives us cool dry weather with an average of nine hours of sunshine per day.
• No. 1 — New adventures keep us young: just ask any of our multitude of “senior citizen” friends. We are all healthy, happy, active and enjoying life. No one cares that we are getting older. We enjoy each day.
So, -30 C in many parts of Canada and the U.S. as opposed to +27 C in Mexico on the same day in the month of February.
No wonder the taxi driver regaled me with his comical anecdotes about Canadian weather. It was totally beyond his comprehension why people would live in colder countries.
The writers are Canadians who have been full-time residents of Isla Mujeres for eight years. You can read their blog here.