Showing posts from July, 2008


Vigilancia- (n) vigilance, state of being watchful and alert (especially to the possibility of danger); surveillance, careful observation of a person or group, observation

Soooooooo, we are in a state of vigilance. Watchfulness. Perhaps leaning towards paranoia. Yep, definitely leaning towards paranoia. When I got home from work yesterday I saw a crowd of neighbours standing on our street talking to some police officers. I didn't stop, didn't want to get involved, but told Hubby about it. When he got home from work he went to speak to the neighbours to find out what was up. I almost wish he hadn't but I guess it's a good thing he did. Apparently there has been a rash of robberies on our street. Not just break and enters, these are robberies at gun point while the residents are at home. ON MY STREET. A woman was robbed in broad daylight yesterday, they stole her valuables, her keys, her cel phone and then proceeded to call her home number from her cel all day…

Mexican Paremiology

Paremiology? Heh? Paremiology is the study of proverbs and since I was teaching English proverbs to my students today, I decided they could teach me some famous Mexican ones. Here's what I learned. (Yeah yeah, I know, I'm paid to teach not to learn, but a girl gets her kicks where she can, right?)

"Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente"
Literal translation: "The shrimp that sleep get taken by the current".

"Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda"
Literal translation: "He who gets up early, God helps"

Zapatero a sus zapatos
Literal translation: "Shoemaker to his shoes"

El que tiene tienda que la atienda
Literal translation: "He who has a store should attend it"

Agua que no has de beber, dejala correr
Literal translation: "Water that you are not going to drink, let it run"

Hijo de tigre pintito
Literal translation: "Son of the striped tiger"

En la casa del jabonero el que no cae resbala
Literal translation: &…

Earthquake in Los Angeles

A moderate earthquake hit Los Angeles about an hour ago, reaching 5.8 on the Richter scale. No damages or injuries reported. The city is anticipating some aftershocks, but hopefully this will turn out to be nothing serious.

And what does that have to do with a Canadian living in Mexico you ask? Well, this particular Canadian has a brother living in Los Angeles and this is not the first time I have freaked out about his well being. Luckily he's a smart guy and called my mom immediately to say that all was well, no need to worry the folks for nothing! Mom passed the word on to me and we are all relieved that this is not the "Big One". I vividly recall the North Ridge earthquake of 1994. My brother lived about 10 minutes from the epicenter and we were terrified for him. Many of the buildings around him were severely damaged, telecommunications were knocked out and it was a couple of days before I was finally able to speak to him and find out he was ok. He was darned…


Aww, a few days off from the blog and I am feeling refreshed. I have been frustrated lately as it seems the only things I want to blog about are "taboo", with the potential to cause conflict and get me into trouble, so I stepped away from the computer and joined "real life" for a few days and am feeling a whole lot better about things. Thanks to those of you who sent emails of concern, all is well, I have not disappeared and it is nice to be missed!

Saturday afternoon sure helped my mood. We were invited to a party given by friends of Hubby's family. We see them once or twice a year and always have a good time with them. We were pretty much the only people at this party who were not doctors, it was interesting to hear debate and discussion of the problems with health care in Mexico from a doctor's perspective. It was kind of odd being the only foreigner there, I think at first it made everyone a bit uncomfortable, especially when we really got into the…

Local Cancun Photographer

I've recently discovered that one of my co-workers is a photographer and I wanted to share some of his work with you. His name is Bertrhan Hernandez and his photos show a side of Cancun you don't see in the travel brochures, slices of real life. He currently has an exhibit running at "El Tigre y El Toro" on Nader St., though I believe it closes this weekend. He has other shows coming up and I will keep you posted as to when and where. If you are able to get out in the next couple of days and you live in Cancun, go support some local art!

If anyone is interested in purchasing photos, please contact me and I will put you in touch with Bertrhan. Please note that the Spanish titles are the artist's, I have provided an English translation.


"Adios a mis amigos"
"Good bye to my friends"


"El Viajero y su sombra"
"The traveler and his shadow"

"Me Voy&qu…

Kitten Update!

Ok, remember these little guys?

Ziggy left, Buzz right

Well they done growed up, look at my babies now!!

Ziggy left, Buzz right

Buzz is my little darling, calm, cool and quiet, a very serious cat but a big purr-head when he wants to be. He takes a back seat to Ziggy's pushiness, even with two plates of food out, my docile baby Buzz waits until Ziggy is done eating to dig in! Buzz is the more serious hunter of the two, if there's a fly in the house he won't rest until he's got it. Ziggy is far more easily distracted, especially by anything that might possibly resemble food. The crack of the fridge opening will bring both of them running though, they eat like horses!

My Buzz

Ziggy is Max's best buddy. Where you find one, you find the other. Max takes great care of Ziggy and Ziggy tolerates every caring snuggle/crush. The first thing Max does when he comes in is dig Ziggy out of whatever cozy little place he's found to sleep and carry him around the house like a …

My American Cousin in Puebla

I was speaking to my parents on the weekend and they told me that my cousin Bruce was possibly going to be moving to Mexico. They didn't know where or when or even if it was going to happen, just a possibility. I haven't seen Bruce in about 13 years, but he was always my closest cousin in age and we had a lot of fun together. Our opening greetings always consist of telling each other we spell our names wrong. We have the same last name, our fathers are brothers, but they spell it differently. Somewhere something got screwed up and my uncle (and therefore my cousins) started spelling the family name wrong. Well, "wrong" isn't exactly accurate, there are more than ten ways to spell our last name, but ribbing each other is fun. I also like to tease him about being "Americuhn" as he lives in the states, but he always makes sure to remind me that he was born in Canada. Border baby, my aunt and uncle lived in Detroit (USA) but were in Windsor (Canada)…

Moments of Zen in Mexico

I've recently discovered a blog that has me fascinated. The writer of "Tales from Zapata Street" lives in Michoacan and shares his daily insights about life on his ranchito with "La Señora Guapa". His words and pictures are poetry, his calm and peaceful look at life make me sigh with pleasure. I've only just begun perusing his older posts, it's like a moment of Zen when I am able to sit down and read his lyrical musings. I am just starting to immerse myself in the photos of his beautiful ranchito and the surroundings filled with flowers, plants and wildlife. If you are looking for a positive slice of life blog from Mexico with a poetic flair, I highly recommend immersing yourself in "Tales from Zapata Street", it's a soul-pleasing read. Be sure to see his photo site as well, some lovely pictures to behold!

Still Stormy in Cancun, Dolly Moves North

Tropical Storm Dolly has passed Cancun but we are still experiencing heavy rains and thunderstorms. It seems to be worse than when TS Dolly was here. It's raining hard enough that I almost can't see across the street and we are experiencing quite a bit of lightning.

It rained off and on all day but right now it's pretty heavy. I drove through streets with water well up over the tire rims, when cars got out of the "puddles" you could see big puffs coming out of the exhaust pipes. I thought the Tracker was going to stall at one point, I was wondering if my feet were getting wet the water was so deep. I did see some city trucks out cleaning the drains which was encouraging, first time for everything I guess.

Tropical Storm Dolly continues to move over the Gulf of Mexico towards the northeastern coast states of Mexico and Texas. She seems to be gathering some strength as she moves over the warm waters and outer bands are starting to form. There are hurricane an…

Bye Bye Dolly

Tropical Storm Dolly was a non-event here in Cancun, a few scattered showers but no wind to speak of. It's still cloudy and raining occasionally, but the storm has now moved over the Gulf of Mexico so things should clear up in the next day I suspect. People on the more northern coasts of Mexico and in Texas may feel Dolly's influence, the NHC reports that parts of the Mexican coast are on hurricane watch and Texas is under a tropical storm watch.

You can see by the satellite that we are still feeling the effects of Dolly but the worst has definitely passed.

image courtesy National Hurricane Center

And since I am a HUGE musical fan and this storm had such a great name, I leave you with the fabulous Barbra Streisand singing "So Long Dearie" from "Hello Dolly". Come on, watch it, you know you can't resist!

Tropical Storm Dolly Update

Authorities in Quintana Roo have apparently evacuated hundreds of tourists from the Riviera Maya in preparation for the oncoming Tropical Storm Dolly. The entire coast of Quintana Roo is under a tropical storm warning and Civil Protection has announced an orange alert (high danger). The storm is expected to hit the coast later tonight, starting south and working it's way north to Cancun then over to the Yucatan closer to morning. Winds are reaching 75 km/h (46 m/h) with gusts up to 95 km/h (59 m/h) and 4 to 6 inches of rain is expected for the area. The storm is currently about 76 km/265 miles south of Cozumel.

Here in Cancun it's 7:30 pm and we're just getting a little bit of rain off and on and it's a bit breezy, nothing that feels like a tropical storm yet. (Though as I type we're starting to get some good gusts). Too bad yet another storm is coming at night so I can't get any pictures. Hope my fellow bloggers down the coast, especially Jonna and Mimi

Tropical Storm Dolly Cancun

Well, Hello Dolly! The government of Mexico (such a vague report, which government?) has issued a tropical storm warning for the Yucatan Peninsula. This means that tropical storm force winds are to be expected within the next 24 hours. Tropical Storm Dolly is expected to cross the Yucatan Peninsula tonight and move into the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. We should expect heavy rains and winds over the next little while. This is the fourth named storm in the Atlantic this year.

We've had some rain already this morning and the winds are starting to pick up. The clouds come and go, sunny one minute, downpour the next, though I suspect we'll have some sustained rain later on today. This doesn't look to serious to me, I doubt we will see much damage, it's just a tropical storm, not a hurricane. I think our friends in Merida may see a more serious side of Dolly, though of course things may change rapidly. The National Hurricane Center reports that once Tropical Storm Dolly …

That Which Will Not Be Named

I wasn't going to post about this but I can't get it off my mind. I wasn't going to get into this as it may bring upon me exactly what I don't want it to and I know this will be a tricky entry to write. What the heck are you getting at Canucka, you say? Fear, free speech and self censorship, that's what I am getting at.

It is not unusual for me to receive emails from readers with "warnings" or gentle reminders that I might be at risk with some of the things I write about. When this first started happening, I kind of "pshawed" at them, but the more I read, the more I wrote and the more emails I received, I realized there is some truth to the matter. I, as a foreigner in Mexico, do not have the freedom to write about everything I would like to. If I say anything negative about politics or the government or the country and it comes to the attention of the wrong people, there is a chance that I could be in danger of deportation (or worse).

This …

I've Got a Little Gas Problem

No, this is not related to any health issues. If you recall last week I mentioned that we had run out of gas. Well, yesterday we finally got Zeta Gas to come out to fill'er up. After looking at our budget (insert sobbing sounds here), we chose to only put 500 pesos into the tank (it holds about 1500 pesos). I was happy to see the truck arrive after a week of creative cooking without a stove!

Zeta Gas (they've got a song they play
on their roving trucks that will NOT
leave your head once it's in there)

The nice men from Zeta Gas are always fast and courteous, the technician was hooked up into our line in a matter of minutes. There is a pipe going up to the tank on the roof, he brings the hose to the spout (nozzle? doohickey?) and after a quick "pffffffft" sound that always makes me jump, he's in business.

Nice Man Going Pfffft
(hey landlord, paint the $#%@#$ house!!!)

The whole process took about five minutes total. Max and I went back inside to chill out until Hu…

Garden Buddy

Yesterday I discovered a huge, sprawling spider web in the garden and this lovely little guy getting his chow on. He is definitely an expert web designer (hardy har), he had bugs aplenty lined up for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I tried to get some pics without getting too close, the first one shows you his wicked cool colours, the second gives you a general idea of how big he is. Click on the pics to enlarge them, he's a real beauty (and this coming from someone who is usually screaming like a little girl when she sees a spider).

Any spider lovers want to tell me what he is? Or do I want to know? If you are going to tell me that he is a jumping, spitting, biting spider that can cause instant death, you better tell me fast before I stupidly try to take any more close-ups!

Zero Energy

I don't know what's wrong with me lately, I have no energy, nada, zip, zero. I'm starting to worry that I may be sick, though I don't really feel ill. I am sleeping a LOT. In bed every night around 10, wake up at 5:45. Back from work around 11, surf blogs a bit, then a little nap. Pick Max up at 2 pm, back home for more nap. Wake up around 5, back into bed by 10. What's with all the sleeping? Twelve hours a day?? And I never feel rested. I've been losing a lot of weight recently too, maybe it's time to shake up my diet or take vitamins or heck, get some exercise! It's been a long time since I have had a regular doctor "check up" too, perhaps my old friend anemia is back. The only time I have any energy is right after my giant cup of coffee in the morning and all that energy is thrown into my teaching then I crash right out again. Keeping my eyes open during some conversations is becoming difficult, I hate to appear like I am not l…

Smells like Decomp

I am a huge fan of all the CSI shows, no matter how ridiculous they are (does the medical examiner really wear designer duds and spiky heeled shoes when arriving at a crime scene?) I love when the beautiful women just crinkle their cute little noses and say "Smells like decomp" like they're sniffing roses. I've always wanted an opportunity to do the same (not that I really wanted to find a dead body or anything, just looking for the right moment to use the line) and now I've got it.

We have a mystery stench. Something that smells so badly that is just has to be something dead. Smells like decomp. But we can't find the source. We've narrowed it down to the laundry room, but for all my sniffing and poking around, I cannot find the dead thing. We're guessing dead lizard, only because that's a pretty common thing here, but with the power of this smell, we could have something a little bigger on our hands. But oh, if only we could put our hands…

Beach Escape to Puerto Morelos

Last night over some ice cold chelas, Lisa Love and mi familia decided we would hit the beach together today. We discussed various beach options and all the pros and cons and didn't come to a conclusion. The conversation made me giggle as Lisa seems to be my beach soul mate, the minutiae we discussed and the intimate knowledge shared of each beach would bore most people to tears. When Lisa arrived this morning we finally chose Puerto Morelos and hit the road around 10 am.

Lisa and a very pretty flower. Stop looking at her boobs
I meant the other flower.

We set up camp a little north of the Ojo de Agua beach club. We'd stopped for 15 peso tortas from Ty Coz and refrescos and water at the Extra, no beach club for the budget conscious! We had our tent, umbrella, a giant beach sheet from Lisa with a million pareos and a woven mat. Three kinds of sunblock, shovels, pails, cars and boats. We were ready.

Max makes new friends with a woman who
waves like the Queen and her faithful …

Tulum Hotel Closures Cause Controversy

The closure of several hotels in Tulum literally overnight has caused many to condemn the actions of the Mexican environmental protection agency, Profepa. Five hotels have definitively been served notice that they are closed as of today. Some sources report eight hotels, while others suggest there are up to twelve more in danger of being closed down in the near future. The hotels in question are mostly small, eco-friendly resorts with anywhere from 10 to 30 rooms, many of them using alternate energy sources. There are rumours and speculation that one of the large mega resorts in Tulum is destined for demolition as well, but there is no official confirmation of this report.

Roberto Palazuelos, a popular Mexican soap opera actor and the president of the Tulum Hotel Owners Association (as well as the owner of one of the affected hotels, the Diamante K) has lashed out at the authorities, threatening the functionaries and suggesting that what they have done may be construed as criminal

Mexican Government Closes Tulum Hotels

Profepa, the Mexican equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency, has reportedly closed down five hotels in Tulum, using the military to enforce the closures, forcing tourists to find alternate lodgings by Friday. The agency apparently has taken these actions as a result of the hoteliers not being able to provide proof of environmental impact statements, permissions for land use or payments for the use of federal land. Officials say the hotels have not provided sufficient evidence of titles, are on federally protected land and are too close to the ruins.

The five hotels that have been affected are small, ECO hotels, priding themselves on protecting the environment. Some of them have occupied the land for twenty years and make use of alternate energy sources. The five hotels are the Diamante K, the Mezzanine, El Paraiso Tulum, Cabañas Mayan Grill, and Mar Caribe. I think the biggest of them is 30 rooms.

Local agencies and politicians are divided on the issue, wondering why the…

Climbing Iztaccíhuatl For a Cause

Fellow blogger and good guy Gary at the Mexile has asked for help in getting the word out about a big bold adventure he is planning to undertake. Gary is gearing up to climb a mountain, and not just any mountain, the sleeping beauty herself, Iztaccíhuatl. A huge challenge for anyone, he's doing this to help raise money for Wildcoast, a charity dedicated to protecting the coasts and oceans of California and Latin America and all the wildlife that make the ocean their home. Gary is famed for his love of turtles, seems like this is a perfect match for him.

Please visit his site, "La Mujer Dormida" to keep up with his preparations and adventures and don't forget to contribute to his very worthy cause, there is a button on his page for donations. I personally wish him all the best of luck in this gigantic undertaking (heck, learning how to pronounce the name of the mountain left me breathless) and I hope all my lovely readers will support him in his quest to help a ver…

How to Save 100 Pesos

Home hair cuts!

I think I'll splurge and spend the 100 pesos for my own hair, I like mine short, but not THAT short and I think that's the only cut that Hubby knows. The Sinead look is soooo early 90's, maybe Max can bring it back but I don't think I could pull it off, though it sure is tempting in the summer heat!

A Drum Roll for the New Blog Roll!

Some of you may have noticed that I have updated my blog roll to the new fancy schmancy format of blogger. Not only is it a new format, but there are some new additions to the list as well. Have a peek to the left side of your screen and mosey on over to some good reading.

Some of the new additions include:

Casa de la Cultura- A local community center that offers readings, musical events, art events and stuff for kids

A Word from Yelapa- A writer from Yelapa, Jalisco who shares new Spanish phrases, photos and captures moments of life in this west coast town.

New Beginnings Manzanillo- A new blog from a Canadian woman who is just about to move to Manzanillo with her beagle and her Mexican boyfriend.

Hell's Half Acre- Not a new blog, I've been reading for a while but never got around to adding this lovely mama to my blog roll. Life in Paamul, Quintana Roo with four kids is never dull!

In the Silent World to See- Fabulous deaf mama to two beautiful little girls living in Las Ve…

The Most Beautiful Flag in the World

An online poll to determine the most beautiful national flag in the world has ended with Mexico as the winner by a large margin over Peru. The Spanish website "20minutos" reports having over 7 million votes throughout the contest which included flags from 104 different countries. Mexico garnered 901 627 points, with second place Peru earning 340 901 and third place Guatemala 272 541.

The Mexican flag is not only beautiful to behold, but it has a lovely sense of symbolism and history. The green stripe is said by some to represent the hope of the independence movement, white is for purity and peace and red for bravery, valour and for the blood of the national heroes who defended their land against Spain. According to legend, the Aztec people were told they should establish their city in the place they found the "caracara" holding a snake in its mouth, perched on a cactus and thus the central design element of the flag captures this piece of mythology/history. The…

Dinner is Ruined and a Cold Shower

Sometimes I forget that the basic things we take for granted in Canada just aren't the same here. Water and gas for instance. I had been marinating a lovely pork loin roast for a couple of days and my mouth had been watering for it's delicious, juicy roasted goodness. Until I went to light the stove and discovered we were out of gas. See, there aren't any pipelines or constant delivery of gas here, you have tanks (stationary or portable) that you need to fill with gas in order to do things like, oh, cook. Of course, there is no little warning of "you have three days of gas left" or "the tank is almost empty, don't forget to fill it" or a buzzer or a light or anything, you find out you don't have gas when you don't have gas. And of course it's always when you have a lovely meal planned that requires the stove. As you might suspect, I was quite disappointed after all my tender meat loving care. I improvised (had to, no other food o…

Coming and Going

I had a pretty social weekend (for me), one going away party and one welcome home barbecue. It seems that living here you are always going to one event or the other, it's a transient kind of city which makes it difficult to really invest yourself in friendships. The going away party was nice, good to see a lot of old friends together in one place, but I still haven't accepted the reality that I am losing one of my oldest friends here. I think once I do, there will be some tears and sadness, but for right now, I am doing that old childhood thing of hands over ears, eyes closed, screaming "LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA" to make it less real.

I'm extremely happy to have my other good friend back from travels abroad and was thrilled to spend the afternoon romping in the pool, chatting and eating. I have my fingers crossed that they are going to be around for a while, but again, with the nature of this city, you just never know. I don't know of man…

Lost and Found

Things I've Lost in Mexico
Two digital camerasTwo pairs of expensive sunglassesInnumerable pairs of cheap sunglassesThe "now, now, now, I need it yesterday!" attitude of the big city
Thirty pounds/thirteen kilos of excess flabMy sense of cynicism and negativityMy perky breastsThe need for scarves and gloves and boots
My dry, cracking, white Canadian skinAn alcohol problemDependence on anti-depressantsMy addiction to the telephoneThe ability to rock and roll all night and party every day
Things I've Found/Gained in Mexico
Deep profound respect for familyPatiencePerma-tan/perma-tan linesA son and husband (not in that order)A love of teachingAn appreciation of the planet outside of the first world, "What's in it for me?" way of life
Innumerable pairs of cheap sunglassesA tattooA climate I can jump up and down about
A second languageScars, both physical and psychologicalBeach, beach, beach, ocean, ocean, oceanOily skin, black heads and pimples (first time ever, I …

He Did It!

Max's regular school year has come to an end and I thought I would take a moment to share his accomplishments. I'm a pretty proud mommy, he's turning into a very smart and thoughtful boy. He's still got his moments, one of the things he learned was how to throw a wicked tantrum, but they are coming less and less and he is quick to calm down now. His behaviour is definitely on an upswing and I couldn't be happier.

So, here's what my three year old learned this year:

1. The alphabet, English and Spanish. He is working on identifying the letters when he sees them, but he can sing the whole alphabet song. He understands that letters make words and words make stories, so we're well on our way to reading. Now when I read to him, he'll take the book from me, run his fingers under the words and "read" to me, sharing the story the way he sees it, he's got a great little imagination!

2. Numbers 1-20, English and Spanish. Counting actual objects…

Sinking of Sea Star Catamaran Update

The Ministry of Communications and Transportation has declared that the sinking of the catamaran the "Sea Star" which took the life of a young woman and destroyed protected coral reefs was caused by human error. The local media states that the captain of the ship was inexperienced in the region of the reef and did not understand the depths of the water and the effect of the waves. It was his first time navigating in the area. The boat itself was not overloaded for normal use, but in the shallow and tricky waters of the reef, it was approved for only 83 people by the port master. In actuality it was carrying 215 passengers, and the company only reported 63. In addition, it is alleged that the company running the tour deliberately underreported the number of people on the boat to avoid paying fees required to visit the protected reef.

Amidst allegations of corruption and deceit, the Ministry has dismissed top port officials from office, including Captain Vicente Martine…

Me Feel Wonky

This week my schedule changed slightly at work and it has thrown me into a tizzy. I didn't realize just what a creature of habit I am, apparently I really like my routine. I'm going in to work an hour later which means that instead of having a nice, peaceful morning to get ready, I am primping with two grumpy boys in the house. Normally I am out the door at the time they are waking up, missing the screaming and whining and complaining. And it's not just Hubby, Max is no joy either! The two of them together are giving me a stress headache before 8 am.

We're having a training week at work, thus the later start. It also means that instead of teaching for three hours, I am in class for four. I miss my breakfast/cigarette break and my hour and half of computer (read: blog) time that I usually get before picking Max up from school. Now I am on the move, in action, all morning long, surviving on one lonely coffee and one measly ciggie.

We seem to have a lot to do this w…