Comments from recent first-time visitors to Isla:
1. The food is expensive.
2. The food is cheap.
3. It is so beautiful here.
4. I saw a dead dog in a garbage bag and it made me cry.
5. The people on Playa Norte don't look happy. Not the tourists, not the waiters.
6. We like being out of town. We enjoy exploring the island.
7. The fish is amazing.
I can relate to all but #7.
#1 and 2...Depending on where you eat, and what you are used to paying, the food IS either cheap or expensive. It's all perspective.
#3...It IS so beautiful here. The current administration has gone all out to clean up the trash and it really shows. At the moment there is a lot of trash out there again, but that is due to the holiday; I'm sure (hope) they will have it cleaned up again in no time. In general the island is trimmed up, the roads are in good shape, the plants are healthy, and the sea is as beautiful as ever. Natural beauty, can't beat it.
#4...I saw the dead dog too, and it made me sad too. In the last month I've seen a lot more dead dogs and cats at the side of the road than in all my other time here. Why? More traffic? More dogs and cats? (I don't think so). More speed? Less caring people? All of the above?
#5...I remember my early days here as a tourist. Solo trips, where I'd sit at a table on the street and watch the people passing by. And often the look on their faces was boredom, apathy, arrogance, perhaps. Not a lot of smiling, and yet I know people love being here. Maybe a lot of cultures just do not beam and smile and grin and laugh in public like those of us from Canada and the US? And the service people - there have always been great ones, good ones, inattentive ones, and horrible ones. Store clerks who looked so bored and had such little energy to help me that I couldn't wait to get away from them. But then there are the places with wonderful wait staff - they smile, they have fun with you, and they enjoy what they do. Because of those types of people I would grow a smile too.
#6...I like being out of town too. And I look forward to our frequent island tours on the golf cart. Not as much as Loco does, but it is fun to see the changes on the island. And I've noticed that almost everyone we pass as we drive around has a smile on their face. Maybe the happiest people are out of town!?
#7...And the fish? Well, don't ask me, because what I have to say about it will not do it justice. I don't eat it. I don't like it. I don't like how it smells. I don't like how it looks - not on the plate, not in the ocean, not through a snorkel mask. Nada.