|Dzul Ha photo from Denise Shannon|
The difference between then and now on Cozumel is significant. Those of us who have been around twenty years or more remember a much different island than when we arrived. Cruise ships one day a week, laid back places for local families to enjoy the beach on Sundays, waiters we all knew by name at every place. The old Carlos and Charlie's, Coconuts (thanksfully is still pretty much the same, thank God) and Dzul Ha.
Back then the local people were mostly from the Yucatan Peninsula. If they had grown up on the island, they still had family in Merida, Valladolid or other Yucatan towns. Women still wore the traditional Mayan dress with the pretty slip that showed from underneath. We had no OXXO's or 7 Elevens, but instead enjoyed small mom and pop abarrotes at every corner. We knew each other by name.
I called it Mexican Mayberry, as there was definitely a party line about what went on. We couldn't go out on a Saturday night, without everybody discussing it on Sunday - what we wore, where we went. When I brought my Mercedes from Miami, it was the talk of the town.
I miss those days. I can say a lot of things are better. They are. Remember the roads were impassable in October when the rains came, with so many pot holes in the roads. But the sense of comradery and family values were more apparent. Children were delighted with small toys. People smiled and spoke to one another everywhere.
We still experience this Cozumel in a lot of local places, but the island has grown. Cruise ships have been the most defining thing that has changed the island. Most of the small abarrotes stores are gone. The island is full of 20 to 30 year olds from all over the country and all over the world.
So on this end of year, I say Happy New Year. I wonder what the new years ahead will bring. But I do want to shed a tear for those things from the past that brought me so much joy, like Dzul Ha.