Showing posts from September, 2008

Arrests in Morelia Bombing

Three men have been arrested for the Independence Day bombing in Morelia, Michoacan. As suspected, they are members of the gulf coast cartel "The Zetas". The men have confessed and report that their actions were meant to provoke the government, not as a direct threat against anyone in particular. The men claim they did not mean to hurt anyone, that their instructions were to launch the grenades in an area with no people but that they panicked and threw the weapons into a crowded area.

The actions of these three men and the people they work for took the lives of eight people, injured a hundred more and has put fear into the hearts of people across Mexico.

The English news story can be found here.

Two Tulum Resorts Closed

The rumours have been abundant since PROFEPA started closing hotels in Tulum in July, the big question from many people being whether Dreams Tulum would be affected. I've received many emails with questions about this and I really knew nothing about it, rumours only, but I've just read the breaking news that Dreams has indeed been closed today for environmental infractions. Another large resort, the Eurostar Blue has also received notice that 85% of the hotel will be closed. This brings the total number of closures to 14, with the likelihood of more to come.

Please read the full story here in Spanish and a rough English translation here.

Edited to add: Two more sources this morning, Novedades and El Periodico de Quintana Roo.

If You Don't Like It, Leave

In my five years of living in Mexico I've been pretty active on the message boards (and more recently the blogs) for foreigners living here. One of the things I've noticed is that as soon as a foreigner says anything negative about the country, people will jump on them, "If you don't like it, leave" is the common theme, often with much stronger language than that. This is the response whether the person has complained about the food, the culture, the living conditions, way of life or current events.

I am not by nature a complainer. I think my blog is pretty darned positive about my life in Mexico and that is why I was surprised to receive the "why don't you leave" email yesterday in regards to my last post about the news items that I have been reading. I don't believe that the post was a complaint, nor a criticism, it was simply reporting the current events of the day. The person who emailed me suggested that as a foreigner I can never under…

In the News, On My Mind

So you've probably figured out that I am a bit of a news junkie. I wish I could post about all the stories I read everyday, but I figure you'd be bored to tears or I would be quietly asked to leave Mexico. Since I'm currently "stewing" about some of the news pieces I've recently read, I thought I would share with you the ones that are on my mind today. Snippets, nuggets, not full stories, you'll have to click the links for the big picture.

1. Security. Cancun has changed dramatically over the last year or so and NO ONE feels secure. I'm happy to have our little Vecinos Vigilantes thing going on in the neighbourhood, but it doesn't look like the mayor is going to be doing anything anytime soon about the city's problems. A report today says "no tiene prisa", "he's in no hurry" to take care of business. Guess we're going to have to do our best with whistles and neighbourhood watch.

2. The bombing in Morelia. A …

Crococun Zoo

Yesterday Hubby and Max left me all alone and took off for some father son time at the Crococun Zoo. This is an interactive zoo that is really hands on, you can hold baby crocodiles, snakes and iguanas and feed the deer and monkeys. We've been there a couple of times before and always enjoy it. The last time we went Max was really quite small and not old enough to really understand what was going on. This time he was ready to embrace the joys of the animal kingdom! I got the full report when they got home, Max said the crocodiles were "scary" and the snake "tickled my neck and was yucky", but he had big smiles when he talked about his whole day, I think he loved having some special time with his daddy and the monkeys.

Since I wasn't there this time, I'll just let the pictures do the talking from here....

Viva Vecinos Vigilantes!

The whistle brigade was put to the test and passed! A short while ago Hubby jumped up from the couch and ran outside, he heard the whistles before I did. I didn't know what was going on until I heard a symphony of referee whistles. I grabbed our whistle and started blowing and could hear the neighbours calling the police. People were running, cars were peeling down the street , whistles were screeching and the chase was on.

A neighbour had seen a young man in a blue shirt and orange cap attempting to break into an apartment three buildings down from ours. The vigilant neighbour started the whistles going and the young man started to run while the neighbourhood came out in force. The police actually arrived about ten minutes later (AMAZING).

While the young man was not caught (yet, they are still looking), he was foiled and scared. The apartment and its belongings were protected and no one was hurt

And that my friends, is what Vecinos Vigilantes (the Mexican Neighbourhood Wat…

Yeehaw, I's Going to Americuh!

Soooo, I am going to little bro's wedding!!! Flight to Los Angeles is booked for October 24th, I am really excited, I can't wait to see the family but I must admit to being nervous about going NOB (north of border). It's been four years since I last left Mexico. Four years living simply, four years of living life outside the house in Spanish, four years without setting foot in Target, four years wearing twenty peso chanklas (flip flops) instead of shoes, four years without a York Peppermint Patty (they better still make them!), four years putting the toilet paper in the bin instead of the potty, four years since I've listened to an English radio station. I think I am in for some culture shock! I've never seen a Blackberry, don't really know what a Bluetooth is (is it painful?) and Wii Fit just sounds like bad grammar. I almost feel like I will be stepping into a time machine set for the future. I've been told that Triscuits now come in different fla…

Beware the Xtabay!

I love hearing the legends of Mexico, particularly of the Yucatan peninsula which is rich in Mayan mythology. The story of the Xtabay is one of my favourites.....

Once upon a time in an ancient Mayan village in the Yucatan, there were two very beautiful women. The first woman was known to be "loose", giving her favours to many men and she was therefore named "Xkeban" (pronounced ish-ka-ban), meaning "prostitute". The other woman was virginal, never giving herself to any man and she was called Utz-colel, meaning "virtuous, decent. and clean" . The first woman may have been easy, but she had a heart of gold, generously giving food and water to those less fortunate and taking care of homeless and unwanted animals. The virtuous woman was the opposite, a cold-hearted, egotistical snob who never helped anyone except herself. She openly judged anyone who she deemed to not be pure of body and was repulsed by illness and poverty.

One day the villagers…

Tragic Independence Day

On Monday night all across the nation of Mexico, communities gathered in their town squares to celebrate the independence of Mexico. Cries of "Viva Mexico!" reverberated across the land, leaders recited the famous "El Grito" speech ("The Scream") and the bells were rung in one of the most important and usually joyous occasions in the country. Families gathered together with friends, children waved flags and painted their faces red, white and green and everyone felt the pride of living in a free Mexico.

And then "El Grito" turned into real screams. Screams for help, screams of terror, screams of despair.

At 11:00 pm on Monday night in Morelia, Michoacan, terrorists attacked the innocent revelers, throwing grenades into the crowds, killing seven people (some sources say eight) and injuring more than one hundred others. While no group has claimed responsibility, it is suspected that the drug cartels are involved, though this act against innocent …

Wedding Bells!

I am so very excited and pleased today! My brother called last night to tell me that he and his partner of many years are going to officially tie the knot on October 25th. K and J are the perfect match, in that opposites attract kind of way and I couldn't be happier for them. I sooo wish I could be there with them, but there is about 1% chance of being able to come up with air fare for the trip to Los Angeles (little bro is an ex-pat too, he moved to the States way back in 1990). I adore my brother in law J, we have lots of laughs together and he is already a part of the family, though October 25th will make it all "official".

I'm thrilled for them, but saddened that they have to put a rush on the wedding because of the possibility of California repealing the gay marriage law on November 3rd. Why on earth would they do that? K and J love each other, have made a home together and certainly have a more stable relationship than many married "breeders" I…

Becoming Teacher and Mama

Last week I blogged about all the crazy jobs I had and that led to the question of how I became a teacher in Mexico. Good question considering my background, it may have made more sense for me to become a mopatera (shot girl) or professional tequila taster but here I am four years later and I am "Teacher". (Students don't call me by name, it's always "Teacher! What means 'however'/'humble'/hothead'?" "Teacher, is cold", "Teacher, I no understand").

Let's jump in the old time machine back to the year 2004. After living in Cozumel for six months, Hubby and I moved to Cancun for his new job in March. I of course, did not have a job, I was living free and easy on some savings and having a grand time doing it. Come July, the funds had run out and I knew it was time to get back in the job market. Basically I knew nothin' bout nothin'. I didn't really know where to start, we didn't have a computer …

Feeling the Fingers of Ike

While Cancun and the region are in no danger from any serious hurricane action from Ike, we are definitely feeling his effects right now. We're just on the fringes of the storm and it's windy enough that the windows are rattling and it's been raining off and on all day. Currently it's coming down strong, Hubby just walked in soaking wet from work. You can feel the low pressure in the air and the animals are staying pretty close to me today.

Ike is only a category 1 at this point, but it has wreaked a path of destruction in the Caribbean. Cuba has been hit very hard, devastating the country after just being hit by Gustav two weeks ago. Pinar del Rio province is the closest point to Cancun, only about 100 miles away. and Ike did some serious damage in that area. Hurricane Ike is moving over the Gulf of Mexico towards the Texas coast where it is expected to strike around Saturday.

Keep watching the skies, the National Hurricane Center and Wunderground have very good c…

A Little Fall of Rain

With all my worries and stresses about health and life, I knew I needed to get to the beach on Sunday, weather forecast be damned! It didn't look too bad when we headed out, though I think we knew we might see a little rain at some point during the day, it was a little sunny with a few clouds scattered around. Isla Blanca was pretty deserted, not too many others taking the chance. We weren't there very long before the skies really started to change. We could see Isla Mujeres getting rained on in the distance and the wind was moving towards us, but we decided to just wait it out and see what the weather gods would bring us. What's the worst that could happen? We were already wet from swimming, couldn't get any wetter.

This is what was coming our way....

Blue skies still trying to peek through...

Now the rain has dark as the clouds were at a distance, they weren't nearly as bad once they were on top of us. The wind and rain sure felt cold after th…

Teens Be Smart

I really like my job. I meet interesting people with a wide variety of opinions and levels of education, different levels of exposure to the world outside Mexico and varying levels of interest in global issues. I normally teach young adults, in their twenties working in the tourism industry (or with the desire to). Occasionally I get myself a "teens" class, ages ranging from 12-15 which again makes for a very different kind of class. I find myself surfing MTV or Billboard sites and catching up with the lastest video game crazes to be able to communicate with them on their level.

This past Saturday I started a new round of classes with a teen group. They blew my mind. They were far more interested in world issues than in the latest Coldplay release. I wrote "Global Issues" on the board and asked them to give me some examples of the problems the earth is facing. Normally I would be doing a lot of prompting, not only for the English words but for ideas as well.…

Please Pass the (Smelling) Salt

I had a freaky freaky thing happen last night. LisaLove dropped by to say hi and we were having a friendly chat through the fence. I suddenly started to not feel so well and the next thing I know I couldn't see anything but I could faintly hear Lisa calling Hubby's name and asking me if I was ok. I had fainted! Blacked out, flat on the ground! I remember giving Lisa a cheek kiss good bye then BAM, down. I felt the blood rushing through my ears and everything was spinning and I couldn't see. I could feel the dog licking me (and got the hives to prove it later) but I couldn't do anything to get her off of me or to get up off the ground. Poor Lisa was on the other side of our locked gate and couldn't get in to help me, but she managed to yell loud enough that Hubby heard and came running. He got me inside and onto the couch and got me some water. As my head started to clear I realized that my arms were numb and that my hands felt like they were the size of …

My So Called Old Life

This week my boss asked me to fill out an application form "for the files" for the job I have had for four years. It was very strange, I hadn't though about old jobs or references or high school or university transcripts in a very long time, it took me a while to figure out how to fill the thing out. Once I did, it got me thinking about my "old" life, the life B.M. (before Mexico). I realized I had some interesting jobs at some interesting places and I thought I might share a little of my life before becoming "Cancun Canuck". Here are some of my favourite jobs ever.....

1. Co-producer of "Pirate Video Cabaret". PVC or "Pirates" as it was often called was a weekly comedy show in Toronto that I worked on with my now ex-husband and another very funny friend. We were a real variety show, with stand up comics, sketch comedy groups, singers, bands, puppeteers, improv artists, poets, performance artists and short films and videos. …

A Little Relieved, A Lot of Questions

The last few months I have been having some health issues. I won't get into the gory details, but things just aren't right. I finally got myself to the doctor last Thursday and she scared the crap out of me. "Surgery" she says. Serious surgery. She said this before any tests had been done, solely from a physical examination. I've spent the last few days absolutely stressing, worrying myself sick about what was to come in the next little while if indeed I needed to go under the knife. Would I be ok physically? Mentally? Financially? How could I care for Max? Would I do the surgery here or go to Canada or to Puebla or to Merida? Blah blah blah, my mind has been awhirl and I've been a bit of a basket case.

I went for an ultrasound today and within two seconds the technician said "Normal". "No hay nada?" I said ("There's nothing?). "No hay nada, todo es normal". ("There's nothing, everything is normal&…