As I've said many times, before I moved here permanently in 2003, I had been coming here as a tourist for 13 years. In that amount of time, one sees a lot of changes. Some for the good, some for the bad. Let's do some comparison.
There used to be a staircase that led out of the side of the square. On the ocean side. It was almost directly across from what is now Bamboo Too. This picture was taken standing at the top of those stairs, looking toward the grocery store.
I really miss that old town square. Foolish, foolish, needless renovation of it. That staircase where I was above no longer exists. Here's the current state of the square taken in the same space.
Here I was standing in the middle of the square, facing the Palacio. (duh!)
Except for its' color, the building has hardly changed at all. The landscaping sure has though.
Over by the same staircase, I captured this picture of the Church.
Same angle now. Notice the addition of the Madonna on top. I'll be talking about her in another post.
Heading to North Beach. I showed you this view the other day, only it was a dirt street and facing the other way.
After it got the cobblestones, not much changed. The building that serves as headquarters for SeaHawk diving now blocks the view directly to Maria del Mar. A Convention Center was put in and all the trashy buildings were taken out and that space is now occupied by Cabanas del Prado.
Here we are at the old bridge that used to cross over to the Avalon. Except it was a very ruined El Presidente back then. Hurricane Gilbert all but destroyed it and it sat abandoned for years.
The bridge in the picture above was taken out by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. It was replaced with this wooden one. That in turn was half destroyed by Hurricane Wilma and then rebuilt with the addition of guardrails.
Just to the left of that bridge is a little inlet around the island that the Avalon sits upon. Several snorkel companies anchor their boats there. Notice the stick in the left of the picture.
That same stick now.
I knew when I set off to take the pictures for this post that it was going to be interesting. It was forcing me to relive a moment in time and to try to recapture it. What I did not expect was how profoundly sad it made me. Especially this next picture. It's North Beach in 1998.
The whole length of North Beach looked like that back then. And until Hurricane Wilma and the rebuilding of Cancun's beaches came along in 2005, it still basically looked the same. Except that the palm trees were bigger and there are definitely more beach chairs around.
So here's the exact same view last Sunday.
I know it is the same position for a couple of reasons. The first being that all the landmarks line up. Secondly, I enlisted the aid of one of the guys who rents beach chairs. I have known him for years and he would remember for sure where that lifeguard tower pictured above used to sit. It was totally destroyed and washed out to sea with Wilma. Together we tracked down the exact spot. It was really heartbreaking to stand there looking at the old picture I held in my hand and then looking up to see it today. Sad. Just sad.
Okay, so there you have it. Another little trip down Memory Lane to the old Isla.