On paper, it seemed like a good idea. I’d take the ferry over from the port in Cancun, Mexico to Isla Mujeres, start off at one end of the island and spend the whole day just meandering the entire shoreline to the opposite end while while making casual images along the way.
If I made good time, I’d loop back all along the other side of the island on a return loop to the ferry port. Have a cold cerveza or three, and catch a late ferry back.
Figured if the sun got too intense, or the promise of an early cerveza got too strong to resist, I could just hitch a ride with one of the dozens of other tourist’s perpetually making the same loop in rented golf carts.
What I hadn’t counted on, was that these other tourists would not be so keen in giving a lift to a stranger in a foreign country, no matter if he was a fellow gringo. I mean, “Really?! That guy looks harmless, with his sandals and camera dangling around is neck… but that could be his disguise! He could be some serial killer hiding out from the law for all we know. No thank you mister!”
So, that’s the way it went. The sun beat me down hard, and there was no ride to be had for this sad ol’ hombre. No one would even make friendly eye contact once they caught a glimpse of my lowly thumb potentially blocking their view of the delightful Caribbean Sea vistas.
I could have hired a taxi, but to them I was obviously a tourist with a giant, fat gringo wallet just leaking out hundreds of dollars everywhere I went. Right.
It was also the end of a month-long trip and I was trying to stretch those last lonely pesos to the brink, and ended up having to put a few more miles on my tired sun and sandal beaten feet.
There was a shack to my left with some beat up old tables hosting an assortment of seashells for sale. The woman looked bohemian with a lost hippy vibe about her. Hair all matted and basically tied back with twine. She looked a little forlorn from lack of seashell sales, but she also appeared to be utterly relaxed without a single care in the world.
I saw the sort of make shift mobile signage hanging off a piece of driftwood with the turquoise sea providing a perfect backdrop and readied my camera. I looked back at her to see if she minded. She could tell I wasn’t shopping for seashells and she’d watched a half dozen tourists pass me by without even a glance.
She looked out toward the shot I was about to make, smiled, then nodded with approval. I smiled and nodded back before making this shot. Then just stood there watching the sea treasures magically clinking in the warm tropical breeze. All the pain in my abused feet, burned skin, and frustration just melted away.
For this one image, and those few precious minutes communing with the breeze and sea that felt like they could have been a glimpse of eternal bliss, it was all worthwhile.