I like to watch a town come to life. It begins Cozumel around 5:30 am and it starts slow. A hotel sees of a pilot in the dark and another car goes by 2 or 3 minutes later. Around 6 am a man in an unrecognizable uniform that has orange reflective bands pushes a large cart of equally unrecognizable items past a coffee shop that is turning chairs right side up.
I sit and drink their coffee as I watch the scooters drive by one then two then four in a minute. 6:30 now and the sky isn’t dark anymore but it is not light either. There is a steady flow of mopeds with workers and sometimes families of three.
My new friend asks if I want more coffee at 6:47 I say no and try to sort out what I am doing after the sun comes up.
It’s is 7:02 and my friend is bored because his customers haven’t gotten off their ships yet to meet him. He asks me questions so that he can practice his English and I practice my Spanish. We don’t say much but we talk a lot using the wrong words but we encourage one another. We shake hands, happy that we will keep each other’s secret.
At 7:06 I notice that music has been playing this whole time. Did my friend turn it up to draw people in as they disembark or was it just a mellow morning song before.
The exercisers are jogging by now every couple of minutes. Men without uniforms ride their bikes to work.
A huge ship blots our the horizon and excitement grows as the anticipation of receiving thousands of new friends builds with the music and the wind and speed of conversation.
The wind shifts and tide rises with the sun and the town is awake save the drunkards that clanged and shouted echoes into the night. They will stumble into our morning bleary eyed and try to catch up later. But for now there are exactly the right amount of people, a warm wind, hot coffee, and music that is trying to make everyone dance with the waves.
Cozumel is awake!