Showing posts from November, 2007

Vamos a la Playa

Since I am planning to go to the beach today, I figured I would leave you with my beach theme song. Presenting to you a very cheesy video from the Righeira, the 80's pop group from Italy, singing in Spanish, with a song produced in Germany. I play this every beach day to get my guys up out of bed screaming "Bajale! Turn it down! Ya voy! I'm coming!". And then I keep playing it until we actually get out the door to the beach. So "Vamos a la Playa, oooh ooh ooooooooh ooooh". (You've got to dance with them, it's the rule, they are uber-bien and you are too, now DANCE).

And JJ, if that doesn't get the bells out of your head, I don't know what will!

There's an iguana on my back!

Max and I have a big thing for iguanas. Sometimes I think he more than I but it's a close competition. He wakes up in the morning pointing out the window and saying "Take pictures iguanas mommy?". We leave his school and he says "Walk this way, iguanas there". Driving in the taxi he is constantly pointing out "iguanas" (though for the life of me I can't see them in the midday traffic). All day long "Where's iguana mommy?", followed by pulling up my shirt and finding the iguana tattoo on my back. Yesterday he cracked me up. I asked him for a change "Where's the iguana Max?" and he calmly turned around, lifted up his shirt and said "On my back mommy." Ok, makes sense to me. Mommy has an iguana tattoo on her back, I MUST have an iguana tattoo on my back. Love the logic of the two year old.

And for your viewing pleasure......iguanas! (I know, you are so shocked, you were expecting pictures of pirates per…

Stop sign, schmop sign- Playing Frogger in Cancun

Everyday I am forced to cross a very busy intersection as I am walking to pick up Max from school. Everyday I take my life in my hands in said crossing. The intersection is an enormous "glorieta" (traffic circle, roundabout, whatever you call it) with stop signs. Unfortunately, no one pays attention to the stop signs and they just seem to play Russian roulette with their cars and fly through the intersection. Of course, I do my best to RUN in my 20 peso raggedy old flip flops and dodge and weave but I still manage to get honked at, sworn at and I am pretty sure the gestures I see drivers send my way do not mean "have a nice day".

Here's the poor, abused little stop sign.....

And here's the video evidence that no one pays attention to the poor little stop sign. (Can you see the sign under the tree?) How many cars can you count that don't stop? Any bets on the day I get a "Game Over" and end up squashed like our old froggie friend from the …

Lydia Cacho update- Politicos and police violated journalist's rights

The Supreme Court of Mexico has determined that there is sufficient evidence that the governor of Puebla, Mario Marin and 29 other civil employees did indeed violate the rights of journalist Lydia Cacho. The other people involved in the "psychological torture" of Ms. Cacho include several members of the Puebla and Quintana Roo governor's offices, judges in both states, police officers and prosecutors. The orders of the governor to illegally detain Ms. Cacho were initiated by businessman Kamel Nacif who called in favours from big friends after he was implicated as being part of a pedophile ring in the book "Demons of Eden".

At this moment Marin is still acting as governor and no one has been sentenced for their involvement. The PAN party has asked that the court convene as soon as possible to determine what the sanctions may be against the governor and the co-conspirators. This is a huge scandal and the court's decision is a small step for the Mexican go…

Cats rule, dogs stink!

Before anyone gets upset, I am a huge animal lover and always have been. Any kind of animal, I turn into a baby talking mush mouth when I see something cute and furry. Growing up on a farm we always had lots of cats and dogs (and some rabbits that died a horrible wolfy death). When I left the family homestead and moved to the city, cats were all I had. I have never had a dog of my own. Until this year.

Last January we saw a notice on a local forum that fourteen poor little pups needed homes or they would be destroyed. We decided to take the plunge and rescue one of these creatures from certain death. We got ourselves to Playa del Carmen and picked out our cute little pup and named her "Lola Frijola". Here's a pic from her first day with us....

Now, Miss Lola was a cute little girl and we kept her both indoors and outside in our fenced, secure garden. Slowly she grew and rapidly became TOO MUCH for us, mostly too much of a jumper for our two year old. She knocked…

Cancun Journalist in Court

Monday November 26 the Supreme Court of Mexico will convene again in the case of Lydia Cacho. This will be the fifth time the court has heard the allegations that the Cancun journalist was the victim of a plot involving high placed officials including the "gober precioso", the governor of Puebla, Mario Marin. It is a rare occurrence in Mexico for the court to hear a matter more than once, though it seems this time there is sufficient evidence to pursue the case against the governor for his role in the incidents that occurred in late 2005 and early 2006 in Cancun and Puebla.

Lydia Cacho is an award winning journalist based in Cancun who is well respected for writing about the abuses that women and children suffer in Mexico. Her most well known book "Los Demonios del Eden" exposes a ring of pedophiles in Cancun led by prominent businessman Succar Kuri and his associates. After the book was released, Ms. Cacho was "arrested" in Cancun for defamation and d…

Lazy weekend

It's Sunday morning coffee time. Gorgeous blue skies outside, windows open with a nice breeze, the smell of the fabric softener filling the house. Lazy Sunday mornings, aaaaaah. The cleaning lady was here yesterday so I can actually focus on organizing all the crap that comes with a two year old and not worry about cleaning all the crap that comes with a two year old. It amazes me how much "stuff" accumulates over a short time! Small pieces of plastic that go with "something", not sure if it's Max's toys, Hubby's computer stuff or just random pedacitos. Piles of papers, Max's homework, Hubby's tutorials (he's constantly got stacks of printouts of computer crap) and receipts that are unrecognizable. Nobody will let me throw anything out, apparently it's all muy importante, pero no tenemos espacio por todo esto! In my random organizing I found a screwdriver, incense sticks, nail polish, a broken toy car, empty Pingüino wrapper…

Why I can't go "home"

Brice has kindly reminded me of the most dreaded event of all things's a four letter word, watch out.......S-N-O-W. Oh dear, I can't believe I actually typed that dirty dirty word. I hate it. HATE it. It's about the only thing that I actually HATE (ok, that and onions), but it is a serious revulsion. There is nothing good you can say about snow, nothing, zero, nada, bupkiss, it doesn't have a single redeeming quality, only horrible things come from snow. Hubby doesn't understand AT ALL why I don't want to go back to Canada, he sees pictures of snow and thinks it looks "cool". I say "cool schmool", it's fucking cold! (S-N-O-W is far more offensive to me than the word "fuck"). Here's some very valid reasons why I hate the cold icky stuff:

1. You have to wear clothes and lots of them. I prefer to let my skin feel the breeze and the sunshine thank you very much, I really don't like covering every i…

American Thanksgiving in Cancun

Well, I totally missed (forgot about) Canadian Thanksgiving last month, bad Canuck. Luckily, I can make up for it today and give thanks for all the great things in my life. A good friend is having a big dinner party at her house with the pile of ex-pats we call friends. Canucks, Brits and Yanks, and a few Mexicans in the mix, it's always fun to gather with this group, whatever the occasion. I wish there were a bit less drama, but hey, there is drama in any circle of friends. I just try to make sure that the drama doesn't revolve around ME, so far, so good. I like everyone, really, it's hard for me to find a person that I don't like (although there was a recent flaming incident on a forum that hurt me so bad that I can honestly say there is one person I really don't ever want to see again).

Aaaaaaaaanywho. Here are some things I am thankful for:

1. My family. My parents have always been terrific, encouraging me to explore all avenues of life, supporting me ev…

Smart lady blogging

Just wanted to let everyone know that the fabulous Gabatcha Yucateca has finally started blogging! She is one of the best friends I have ever had, mostly because she is so incredibly intelligent, wise, funny, a little bit caustic, irreverent, witty and truly one of the most open minded, generous women I know. She knows more about this area of Mexico than I will ever know and her Spanish is impeccable. She is now married to her Mayan boy and living back in the states and writing about her exploits in anthropology, the US, Mexico, life in non-profits, teaching, and I am sure some things I wouldn't even think of. She is just getting started on her blog, get in on the ground floor folks, I know she won't disappoint. (No pressure Melly!)

Find her here at Orale, Pues!

Poll results: Mexico Lindo y Querido

What's Your Mexico Connection?

I am Mexican living in Mexico- 3 (6%)
I am Mexican living outside Mexico- 1 (2%)
I am a foreigner living in Mexico- 16 (34%)
I am married to a Mexican living outside Mexico- 8 (17%)
I love to vacation in Mexico- 12 (26%)
I want to visit, but never have- 4 (8%)
Mexico? We don't need no stinkin' Mexico!- 2 (4%)

Thanks to everyone who responded, it's interesting to know who is reading. I'm guessing the two who responded "we don't need no stinkin' Mexico" were the ones who recently surfed to this blog by googling "throwing up white foam after drinking alcohol". I wish I were kidding, but it's on the Google report.

Can we get a do-over on this whole Tuesday thing?

Today has not been the best of days. Good thing I am in a positive frame of mind lately, otherwise I would be truly freaking out. As it is, I am just a bit tired. Things started off badly when at 6:30 am there were NO taxis. I waited for a long time until I finally snagged a shared ride. Only to discover that they could not get me all the way to my job because the streets were closed for Dia de la Revolucion. So, had to walk a ways to get to work, managed to get there just in time. Halfway through my first class my cel started to ring which I ignored. Then it started beeping that I had a text message it said "Sal por favor" (come out please) from my husband. Ok, not cool, something must be wrong with Max. Turns out they had to close his school this morning because none of the teachers were able to get in because of the road closures. Grrrrrrrrrr. So the rest of my class was a wreck with my two year old screaming "Mamitaaaaaaaaa, look, picture of iguana"…

The Revolutionary Law of Women

Today, November 20th, Dia de la Revolucion is celebrated in Mexico so I've been geeking out reading up on it. Well, I read a few pages to brush up on the basics (Diaz, Villa, Zapata), but got completely side tracked by the Zapatista Women's Movement. It surprised me to read about the role women played in the Mexican Revolution, after years of being second class citizens they rose up as leaders, thinkers, politicians, poets and "soldaderas", fighting in combat alongside the men. The war against Porfirio Diaz was a fight to end discrimination of all kinds, a fight for the rights of women, children and indigenous people. The battle could not have been won without the women.
On further reading, I came upon some great articles about the modern day Mujeres Zapatistas. Ancient women and young girls fighting side by side in Chiapas against a military presence and for their "Revolutionary Law of Women". Here's the first ten, I think they've got the righ…

A Mythological Moment- The Aluxes

I love learning about the myths and legends of Mexico, particularly of the Yucatan. The Mayan people have a rich culture of mystical beings and practices and the Alux (pronounced "aloosh") is one of my favourite stories.

The people of the Yucatan peninsula that experience lost items, fevers, moved furniture and even middle of the night phone calls often blame the Aluxes for their troubles. The Aluxes are small dwarf like creatures known for their mischief and playfulness. If you wish to steer clear of their pranks, you must leave offerings of food and drink for them or build them shelter on your land. If you treat the Aluxes right, they will protect your land from misfortune and can help your crops. If you don't give the Aluxes the respect they think they deserve, you may find yourself short a chicken or two. If you get lost in the jungle and they offer help, most likely their intention is to get your even more lost so be careful!

The most "famous" Alux sto…

Sharks! Piranha! Moray! Oh my!

It's a long weekend here in Cancun though in Mexico we call it a "puente" or "bridge" weekend. Whatever you call it, we've got Monday off for the Day of Revolution (which is actually Tuesday). We got up early this morning (no such thing as sleeping in for our two year old unfortunately) and decided to play tourist. We hopped on the bus and headed for Plaza La Isla, the fancy schmancy mall in the hotel zone. We had zero intention of shopping, there is nothing in our budget there (Bulgari, Ferragamo and Chanel don't really fit my lifestyle either, a two year old, a dog and a cat don't mix with designer clothing).

We headed for Casa de las Margaritas to see if they had their breakfast buffet, but they weren't open yet so we moved on. We saw a couple of McDonald's (I think there are three in the mall) but that wasn't what we were looking for at all. We ended up at Jugo de Limon, a sweet little outdoor restaurant that overlooks the dolp…

8 Random Things About Cancun Canuck

I've been tagged in a blog game by a former lurker now current commenter (is that a word?) Jonna. I've just started reading Jonna's blog and am enjoying her take on life in Merida, three beautiful dogs and life in an RV. Check it out!

Ok, here's the game plan. There are a few rules one must follow to play the game. When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to eight other people.

So, here are 8 random things about me.

1. I am an adopted child, right from birth. I get supremely annoyed when anyone asks about my "real" parents. My "real" parents gave me a home, raised me and made me who I am, "real" doesn't have anything to do with who contributed sperm and egg.

2. I have a bit of a hair phobia. I get nauseous when I am around too much hair. I can't get past the fact that as soon as hair …

Pre-Mayan Paintings discovered near Chichen Itza

photo: EFE/Jacinto Kanek

Diario de Yucatan reports that the cave paintings recently discovered in a cave near Chichen Itza are authentic and date back 7000-9000 years. Anthropologists discovered the cave called "Gruta Kab" in Kaua, about fifteen minutes outside of the latest wonder of the world, Chichen Itza. The paintings are said to be of humans, animals and birds and created using a soil rich in iron oxide as paint. Shards of dishes were also discovered as well as more recent drawings of the Mayan era. There was some doubt about the authenticity due to recent problems with graffiti in the caverns of the region. Chichen Itza is about 200 km away from Cancun and is a popular tourist destination when vacationing in this area.

photo: EFE/Jacinto Kanek
photo: EFE/Jacinto Kanek

My Christmas Wish List

"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat".

When that song goes through my head, I know it's time to write my letter to Santa. Here's my list:

1. A car! the plan is that we will buy a car in early January with our aguinaldos (Xmas bonuses) and the fondo de oro (savings plan). I can't wait, we rely so much on taxis and buses, it's a real pain with a two year old and getting more expensive as the taxi prices rise.

2. Clothes. I have nothing! I moved here four years ago with a back-pack of shorts and tees and haven't bought much since. Shopping for myself is just not a priority but I realized recently that I MUST do something about my sad excuse for a wardrobe. Three for ten dollar tank tops are not high fashion. Or even low fashion really, just cheap and comfortable.

3. Jewelry. I bought myself a necklace and a pair of earrings this morning which brings my collection of jewelry to exactly one neckl…

Poll results- What's your Spanish situation?

Over 70% of respondents indicated that they are native English speakers with Spanish as a second language. Only three people responded that they speak English only, and one person replied that English is not their first language. I will use this information carefully and scientifically (uh huh). Basically that means I can post bilingually with some translations for my monolingual readers. Yahoo! Yay multilingualism! Viva ingles, viva español!

Let's see what this week's poll tells us about your Mexican connections.....(see the left sidebar is you don't know what I am talking about).

Spanish for dummies (like me)

What I said:
"Quiero papel de baño con mantequilla".
"I want the toilet paper with butter."

What I meant:
"Quiero papel de baño con manzanilla".
"I want the toilet paper with chamomile."
(and really, what was I thinking with scented TP?)

What I said:
"Deportes bien".
"Sports good."

What I meant:
"Te portas bien."
"Behave/be good."

What I said:
"Voy a salir aceite".
"I am going to go out oil."

What I meant:
"Voy a salir a siete."
"I am going to go out at seven."

What I said:
"Estas en colita?"
"Are you in the ass?"

What I meant:
"Estas en cola?"
"Are you in line?"

What I said:
"Estoy embarazada."
"I am pregnant."

What I meant:
"Estoy apenada."
"I am embarassed."

So these are not recent mistakes, I have gotten better, I am just posting the ones that hubby likes to remind me of every time he feels the need to get me …

Pinche Max

I love the word "pinche", it's a fabulous catchall swear word in Spanish. It seems everyone says it, it's not nearly as taboo as the "F" word in English though I have had some taxi drivers tell me it's not very lady like. The phrase "pinche Max" is used often in this house, whether he's being a brat, being funny or being cute, if he affects us in some way, hubby and I look at each other and mouth "pinche Max".

Today he is "Pinche Max" because he will NOT tolerate me sitting down to the computer at all! The moment I try to get on and post a blog, he starts with the "MAMITA!"'s and physically pulls me away (I need an office chair with no wheels I guess). I try to wash the dishes and it's "MAMITA! Mira, look, mess!" and I turn to find his juice all over the floor mixed with his cookies. I was trying to make soup and I hear "MAMITA! Look!" and see him naked standing on top of the d…

Cement parks in Cancun

Cancun may be a beautiful, tropical destination for millions of visitors but for those of us who live here, we are severely deprived of outdoor recreation areas (aside from the beach of course). There are no green spaces, zero, zip, zilch, nada! There is not a single park that I feel comfortable bringing my son to to run around and play in the grass. Parque Kabah is a lovely ecological zone, but even there it's really just a running path cut through the trees, no real room for a toddler to play and this year they took the zoo out so there really isn't much for Max to see or do. It's good once in a while for a walk, but it's a mosquito haven and can be very hot in the jungle.

There are some kid play areas, but there is a fee and when living on a budget, it's a treat thing, not a weekly thing. Planeta Kids, Piccolo Mundo and Kukulkids are great but darned expensive! There are the touristy kid things but again, the pesos add up quickly!

Sooooo, we go to the cemen…

Danger! Christmas Ahead

So the season has begun. The season for excruciating shopping trips with a two year old that is. We went to Walmart this morning and both my boys (hubby is such a kid about Xmas) were delighted to see the Christmas trees out for sale and the yearly extension of the store for "Juguetilandia", the giant toy section filled with thrills and chills for the kid set. Last year Max was too small for the "gimme, gimme" part of Christmas but apparently this year he has embraced the concept.

"Dame, es mio!!!" "Give me, it's mine!"

"Quiero un coche!" "Want car!"

"Mis dulces, chocolate!" "My candies, chocolate!"


Needless to say it was a less than enjoyable shopping trip. I did buy some decorations and lights for the tree we will purchase (next month, November is too darned early as far as I am concerned!) but we managed to escape without buying any toys.

Next ti…

The Yum and the Yuck of Mexico

Taco Bell is not Mexican food!
The cuisine of Mexico is far more delicious and varied than that little chihuahua tells you. Each region of Mexico has its own unique flavour, from the way tacos are prepared to the salsas and tortillas and the cuts of meat. Mole poblano is different than the mole from Oaxaca (both are fabulous, you can't beat spicy chocolatey sauce on chicken, mmmmm). Living in Cancun I have mostly been exposed to Yucatecan dishes, recipes handed down over thousands of years by the Mayan people of this region. Here's a small sampling of some of the dishes of Mexico.....

YUM!Tacos de Arrachera.
This could well be my favourite dish, tender pieces of skirt steak done with just the right seasonings, arrachera is generally very juicy and flavourful! Add a touch of habanero salsa or some guacamole and I am very satisfied.

Tacos de ojo/eyeball tacos.
Ok seriously, I am not on Fear Factor, I shouldn't be forced to eat something as nasty as tacos made from the eyeba…