Saturday, May 31, 2008

Life in the Colonias

Okay, so I know I got a little behind on writing. You know how it goes on Isla…after a few days, you just want to veg. Guilty as charged. It started to rain off and on, so I took advantage of a rainstorm to get a little caught up. I know some people were looking forward to my report on the Colonias, so I’ve dedicated this post to that.

When I first arrived on Isla, I had to call Lupita, my apartment owner’s property manager, to direct my taxi driver to my new home.

Here's the view from the back porch.

And here’s my kitchenette area looking into the bedroom.

Although I knew what it looked like from pictures the owner had sent, I didn’t know what the neighborhood would be like. The apartment was basic and cute, but my first thought was, “What the hell am I doing here?? I don’t know anyone in this area…I don’t speak much Spanish…what was I thinking!?!?” I almost wanted to turn around and go home, but I knew I had to give it a chance. Luckily, I ran into the woman who lives in the house attached to my apartment, who clued me in on a few things, including getting a taxi and what to pay. So, in the next couple of days, I just started walking around and taking pictures. Of all that I took, I’ll have to say this one is my favorite of the neighbor’s little girl taken from my front porch.

Living in the Colonias is completely different than el Centro. There are almost no tourists, other than an occasional golf cart group who probably were lost or the driver said, “Let’s see what’s down this way!”…then probably got REALLY lost. The neighborhood can be kind of confusing if you’re not used to it and there was one time when I almost got lost myself walking around. There are times when I thought it was like living in a major city because it can be extremely noisy and congested. Between the bike-honking vendors…

…kids going to school…

…truck deliveries…

…and taxis and scooters, you sometimes forget you’re on a tiny little island. This is a typical scene from my front porch.

I wish I had gotten a picture of the truck that goes around the island with two live monkeys running around on top while speakers blare the tune of, “Ooh-ee-ooh-ah-ah…ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang!!” There’s something I’ve never experienced anywhere else…and, quite frankly, would never want to. I never did figure out what that was all about. But after a couple days I got used to the noise, and even thought of it as a comforting part of my temporary little home. And after a couple taxi experiences, I felt comfortable with the rides back and forth to el Centro, and on my way home would tell the driver, “Casa Virginia,” a nearby house that most locals were familiar with, which made it easier.

So here is my gallery of photos from my walks around the neighborhood. I’ve kept comments to a minimum because there are quite a few.

This little sweetie stopped by to get acquainted one day.

Another friendly creature. (I can’t believe I let the camera strap get in the way.)

I noted quite a few homes and apartments for sale or rent.

I LOVE these rocking chairs.

This group was making tortillas.

I want this front door for my house.

Felt sorry for this little guy with only one ear.

Beautiful shoreline, but I wish I could have gotten down to the water…the bluffs were too high.

There’s beauty even among the rubble.

This place looks like it belongs in Iowa with its white picket fence!

This guy has the right idea! If you’re going to have a colorful house…the golf cart should match!

It kind of amazed me that adult passengers all wear helmets when riding scooters, but many of the kids they were toting along went without.

Most of the eating places where I lived were tiny family-owned loncherias. This was the only restaurant in the area that I found…unfortunately I never got the chance to try it out.

So, that’s some of my experience in the Colonias. It was a wonderful opportunity to see a different part of the island which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you, Karen, for offering the apartment…it was perfect.


jamqueen said...

Great photos, Deb! Am really enjoying your reports.

wayne said...

You have a natural eye. You certainly captured the essense of the colonias. (that truck with the monkeys was advertising the circus)

Anonymous said...

I wondered when you were going to stop wasting your vacation doing silly things like going to the beach and get back to blogging. LOL! Great photos.
I will be on Sanibel Island, FL. The week of June 8th and plan on taking a ton of photos and blogging in the evenings while I am there. The cottages where I am staying have wifi so I can sit outside on the patio and blog away.
Looking forward to your next installment.

Melissa said...

Beautiful Deb!!! I'm speechless!!!

Islaholic Trixie said...

Great pictures Deb. Wish we could have met while I was on Isla.