I get to meet people from all over the world here in Mahahual, and at the cruise ship port. Several years ago I met a woman from Croatia working here at Diamond’s International at the port, when I was working there. Diamond’s International hires people from all over the world to work at their jewelry stores at the ports here in Mexico, and they have a very diverse work force. I have met people from Serbia, Croatia, South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, and a lot of other countries in Europe working at the port. All of these workers speak English, so they are hired to deal with the cruise ship tourists here.
Several years ago I met a woman named Ivana Serenčeš from Croatia who worked for Diamond’s International. Her and her friend were here working for a year before they returned to their home country of Croatia. I got to know them around town, and Ivana knew all about movies and television from the USA. I could not name a movie she had not seen, even the old ones.
This is Ivana on the right, and her friend from Croatia Angelina Pejic, in a photo I took of them at the port several years ago. They both worked and lived together here in Mahahual.
Ivana worked here for around a year, and then she moved to Playa del Carmen for a while before she returned to Croatia. I think she worked in the cruise ship business and tourism in Europe for some time, and then returned to Croatia to go into business for herself, and opened a restaurant. We have kept in touch through Facebook, and she always asks me about Mahahual, and how things are going here. She told me she really missed Mahahual, and wanted to return here sometime in the future.
I talked to her last week, and I asked her if she would give me her thoughts about Mahahaul, and her reflections of living here. She is very well-educated, and I thought it would be a good read for some people. I get a lot of readers from Europe on this blog, and I thought they might enjoy a woman from Croatia’s perspective of living in Mahahual. So she sent me this morning.
“Did you ever think how living in a small Caribbean village in Mexico could make such a huge impact on your life and change you for good? For me, Mahahual managed to do so. Before moving there I did a bit of research just so that I approximately know what to expect. I was aware of the fact how I am moving and stepping on to something completely different which both excited me and scared me. it is hard to express with words the magic that you feel when you experience life in Mahahual. That is a place that you love and hate at the same time. You love it because of the easy-going and “we have time” lifestyle, but ,when because of that life style you are not able to flush your toilet, or you can’t go to Chetumal which is the nearest larger city, because there is no space in the Colectivo van, you hate it, but only for a moment. Cause shortly you will see some familiar face and end up eating, drinking and finally dancing on tables in Padrinos… no stress over nothing… you will think about that tomorrow… It’s a truly magical place with so many positive and friendly people who greet you and invite you to their home even if they never met you before. Nobody talks about politics and are not even interested in it at all. Hard to believe now! Suddenly , my life was all about the simple life style…will I have enough water, will my casita get flooded with the next rainy day or how to keep wild animals away from my swimming pool were my priorities now. And I liked it more than I thought. I remember one day , on a hot January afternoon, while waiting for the truck with the gas to arrive, and standing in the middle of the jungle surrounded with iguanas, crabs and strange wild birds which I was able to see and who knows what other species far away from my sight, with no people near me, just the sun burning my skin and absorbing the sweat that was coming down my face, and as I was standing there thoughts cross my mind if only one of my Croatian friends could see me know.. Strange, but since it was my first time leaving and moving from home, of course I did miss family and friends, but not enough to leave from there. These days now I have found a similar place here in Croatia with which I can relate to Mahahual. Its called the island of Mljet and it is a true paradise… Guess that’s what happens if you don’t end up living for good in Mahahual like my friend Stewart did…you try to find the place in your country which is the most similar to it. You may leave from Mahahual, but it stays in you forever. Still, I don’t know where life will take me. Mexico or some other part of the world.. who knows..But wherever, I’m sure ill find some of Mahahual in it.” Ivana Serenčeš
Ivana now has a restaurant on Mljet island in Croatia called Calypso. They serve seafood, Mediterranean, European, and Croatia cuisine. The restaurant has a beautiful view. On the island of Mljet. It’s like Croatian Mahahual, according to Ivana.
They don’t have cruise ships, only private yachts and sailing boats.
So if you are ever on the island of Mljet in Croatia, be sure to go by and visit Ivana at her restaurant and ask her to tell you stories about Mahahual.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina