Life in Cozumel is what you might expect, once you get past all the hustle and bustle of the tourism. It is a pretty quiet, sleepy place, where people do what they do in their own way. They are on island time, in the Caribbean, so they do what needs to get done in their own time. Nothing is rushed or hurried. For the most part, life on Isla de Cozumel is carried out pretty much the same way it has been for eons and eons.
The sea is a way of life for most of the people, since after all, it is an island. Boats are are big part of people’s lives too, particularly diving or fishing boats.
There is even a boat dedicated to the art and voices of the locals.
Making and drinking tequila is also a way of life that has been around for centuries. As you can imagine, tequila is very popular and comes in many different varieties. Tequila is known as America’s Native Spirit. The Aztecs prized a fermented drink known as pulque, which used the sap of the agave plant (this technique was also likely used by the Olmecs, an even older civilization dating back to 1000 B.C. that was based in the lowlands of Mexico). During the 1400’s and 1500’s, the Spanish couldn’t be without their brandy for too long, so when supplies began to run low, they improvised with mud and agave, essentially creating what we know today as mezcal. (Remember: All tequilas are technically mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas.) In the mid-1500s, the Spanish government opened a trade route between Manila and Mexico, and in the early 1600s, the Marquis of Altamira built the first large-scale distillery in what is now Tequila, Jalisco.
Mexico is very proud of its tequila industry, and like France with its wine, has protected it as intellectual property. In a move to take ownership of the term “tequila,” the Mexican government declared the term as its intellectual property in 1974. This made it necessary for tequila to be made and aged in certain areas of Mexico, and it also made it illegal for other countries to produce or sell their own “tequila.” The Tequila Regulatory Council was additionally created to ensure quality and promote the culture surrounding the spirit. This was done in 1974.
Horses have been a part of the Mexican culture for centuries as well. Since their arrival aboard Spanish ships in the 1500s, horses have been part of the story of the New World. In Mexico, there is perhaps no better representative of the country’s combined cultures and history than the horse trained for “charreria,” the Mexican version of a rodeo.
Horses have also been a means of transportation for centuries as well, though now, it is more part of the tourist industry, at least in the heavy tourist destinations.
Most of the work is still done by hand, and most people, regardless of the tasks being done, are considered to be artisans at their trade. It was fun to capture this man painting the logo on this building, doing it all by hand.
The finished result.
Music too is and always has been a large part of the culture. The guitar is synonymous to Mexico, it’s culture and its music. Everyone knows how to play.
Sometimes, the best things in life really are the simple things. Often, we forget that. Simple often equates to happiness, much more so than we realize.
Stay safe, stay well, and keep it simple. ‘Til next time.