Showing posts from January, 2009

Preschool Education in Mexico

Having been out of Canada for more than five years and out of preschool for more than thirty five (sigh), my knowledge of kindergarten is limited to what we are experiencing here in Cancun with my almost four year old son Max. He started going to school at 18 months old and yes, I mean school with uniforms, books and homework. He's in his third year, in the class called "Kinder 1" with ten other three-going-on-four year old kids. He has homework everyday in math, English and Spanish and has exams about once a month. The exams also have a "cultura" component where the kids must be able to identify the significant event or events of the current month. Yesterday we received the list of things he will be tested on next week so we can study and practice all weekend. My parents were shocked by what is expected of these still very young kids but since I have no idea what goes on anywhere else, it just seems "normal" (I hate that word) to me. So, tell …

Weekend Road Trip to Merida

With my parents here for their sixth visit, it was time to show them something new. They've seen a lot of Quintana Roo but had never been to our closest neighbouring state of Yucatan, so we hopped in the trusty Tracker and headed west to fine city of Merida. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Merida, it's a beautiful city full of history and culture with some incredible Colonial architecture. It's the capital city of Yucatan, with a population of almost 800 000 people. To get to Merida from Cancun there are two options, the "cuota" (toll highway) or the "libre" (free) road. We chose to take the cuota as it is a very direct and quick trip, about three hours of seeing absolutely nothing except trees and road. The tolls total 319 pesos each way, but it's well worth it for the smooth, clean highway. It's highly recommended to fill up on gas before taking off, there is only one gas station on the route and it's about half way there. …

The Curse of the Cancun Canuck Clan

(Yeah yeah, I love alliteration).

The curse has struck again. This is the sixth time my family has come to visit since I moved to Mexico and it's the sixth time that one or more of us has gotten sick during the trip. We have such fond memories of my dad being ill on the side of the road between Playa del Carmen and Cancun (gall bladder) and of course the infamous "Six Sick in Six Days" visit where ALL of us were very ill for the entire length of their stay. Colds, flus, gall bladders, bad backs and bad tummies, we've suffered it all. This visit is no exception. Max woke up Saturday morning in Merida with a very bad little tummy, forcing us to spend more time in the hotel room than we really wanted, filling him with liquids and medicine and watching cartoons rather than exploring the city.

And now it is my turn. I woke up far too early this morning to find myself running to the loo for a little quality time with the cool white bowl. I'm dizzy and nauseous an…

Weblog Awards- I'm a Bloggies Finalist!

Well faithful readers, it's time to put your mouse to work and clickety clickety vote in the 9th Annual Weblog Awards. Vote for this blog that is, "A Canuck in Cancun" is a finalist in the category of Best Latin American Blog and I would be eternally grateful if you would drop on over and vote for me!

Here's what the Bloggies website says about the awards:

It's time for the 2009 Weblog Awards, the annual non-profit ceremony that celebrates the best in blogging. The Bloggies are the Web's longest-running blog awards, and the nominations, finalist selection, and votes are all up to you, the blog reader. So get your votes in and discover which blogs are this year's champions.

I'm quite pleased to be a finalist, I've got a big smile on my face and your vote would make that smile even bigger, please give me a click and show me the love! Gracias a todos and thanks to the adjudicators at the Bloggies who have given me this opportunity.

Here's the link …

Checking In

Ok, grabbing a moment to give you a quick update, my parents arrived in Cancun on Monday morning and we have been running around ever since. I thought I would still have a chance to blog, but alas, time with family is precious and I haven't been able to steal away.

Max is keeping us all on our toes, entertaining the grandparents immensely. We are painting and fixing up his room and he has been a very helpful (though messy) little boy. He is thrilled to have grandma and grandpa here, doesn't want to leave their side. My poor mom got a migraine the first day here, I guess she isn't used to the constant chatter of a preschooler full of excitement. I tried to get Max out of their hair for a couple of hours today, but he was having none of that. He actually turned down a trip to McDonald's (usually a BIG treat) because he said he wanted to see the grandparents and help them paint.

The funniest problem has been trying to find a temperature that is acceptable to all. Th…

Cold Fronts Assault Mexico

Being Canadian you would think a little cold front in Cancun wouldn't affect me. Sure, I grew up with "wind chill factors" and "blizzards", but I also grew up with snow suits and scarves and indoor heat. Living down south we don't have such "luxuries" and cool temperatures really affect me (and everyone else who lives here). We live in houses designed for maximum cooling effect, cold tile floors and ample breezes. That's if you are lucky enough to have a house, many people live in little more than shacks with no protection from the elements. We wear chanklas (flip flops or sandals) and tank tops or light fabric clothing. I own exactly one sweater and I have been wearing it every day. So a little bit of cold goes a long way here, it has been freezing, particularly at night.

Currently the entire country of Mexico is feeling the effects of cold front number 24, with number 25 expected to roll in this weekend, bringing with it even colder te…

RAP Cancun Animal Rescue

As many of you know, the problem of homeless, stray, starving animals is huge in Cancun. It's impossible to move throughout the city and not see these poor animals wandering the streets. There are few resources and even fewer organizations to help curb this problem. One organization that is very much in need of your help is RAP Cancun Animal Rescue. "RAP" stands for "respeta, ayuda y protege", "respect, help and protect" and their mission is to decrease the stray population through sterilization programs, to provide rehabilitation for injured and diseased animals and to educate the public about responsible pet care and management of street animals.

I have blogged about RAP in the past, but as they have just launched their new website, it's a good time to do it again. They do so much but with your help they can do so much more. We were particularly grateful for their sterilization clinic that was held a few months ago, they were great with o…

Only in Mexico

My parents are coming to visit next week and since my dad is such a handyman, they're going to help us fix up some problems in the house. As renters we haven't done much, I really don't want to invest money in someone else's house, but we are at the point where we don't have a functioning toilet so something's gotta give. Having guests in the house means we really should have a toilet that flushes without having to open it up every time and taps on the sink that work, don't you think? I can't be telling my folks that they can only wash their hands in the kitchen sink, so gauche. We're also going to redecorate Max's room in the hopes that he might actually want to sleep in there. (**note, Max says the monsters are gone after our limpieza, but he still won't sleep in his own bed). So, what all this means is a visit to Home Depot and various plumbing places around town in the search for all "da stuff" we need for these repairs.


Red Tape Fiesta in Mexico

If you follow Mexican bloggers, you know that we've all complained about the bureaucratic red tape and the hoops we must jump through in order to accomplish, well, just about anything related to the government.  Please don't jump on us, it's not just ex-pats who have a beef with the system.  The Mexican populace has spoken loud and clear in their objections to the massive amounts of useless "trámites" (forms) that are required to achieve the simplest of actions in governmental agencies.  In order to address the people's dissatisfaction, President Felipe Calderon held a contest to find the most useless trámite in Mexico.
The results were revealed today, with Mexico's Social Security organization earning the dubious distinction of being the most inefficient agency in the land.  Citizens were invited to share with the government their choice for worst of the bunch and Cecilia Deyanira Velázquez Tello was selected as the winning entrant for her tale of wasted …

New Look!

I have finally pulled the trigger on a new look for the blog.  Phew, I've been wanting to do this for a long time.  I think it's still a bit of a work in progress, but I won't mess around with it too much.  I did lose my blog roll in the switch and am working on getting it back up, if you feel like you've been snubbed, I assure you it wasn't intentional, just give me a nudge with your link and I'll get it up.  I think my blog roll is too long, but I can't bring myself to snip it, I would hate to hurt anyone's feelings.  I do try to keep it to relevant blogs (ex-pats in Mexico or Latin America), with a few friends thrown in, at least it's not as long as my Google Reader list!  So, if you think you belong and are not there, let me know!
So, whaddaya think?

A Sluggish Ramble

I have been seriously incapable of focusing lately. My brain is jumping from one topic to another, I feel unable to make decisions and doing anything at all seems like a great effort. I have to go to the grocery store, but that seems daunting today and I know I would come home with nothing that I need and a whole lot of stupid things like nail polish or a piñata. I know I need to sweep and mop, but the thought of it makes my shoulders droop and my head hang low (nothing new in that now that I think about it). Even the idea of going to the beach seems like a huge undertaking. (shocking!) I'm lacking energy, patience and my normal perky outlook on life. Post holiday blues? Too much mommy/Max time and not enough time for myself? Or just plain ole depression? Probably a mix of a whole lot of things, all I know is that my energy is at zero today and my focus is a big blur. Perhaps I need a list. Hey, I know, I'll share it with you!

1. Sweep and mop (but you knew that alr…

Wet n Wild Cancun

Since we had a super quiet New Year's Eve (in bed sober by 10:30), we decided to treat ourselves to a day at Wet N Wild on the first day of 2009. We'd never been before and we were pleasantly surprised by the place. The design made me feel like I'd jumped back in time to the seventies but it was very clean, safe and a whole lot of fun for a three year old. Not many "thrill" rides, I'd be disappointed if I was a teenager (I love me some big rides!) but with Max we were happy in the kiddie area anyway. I knew that they offered Cancunense discounts and had heard 250 pesos, kids free. Turns out it was $25 USD, Max pays too, so it was a pretty steep 1000 pesos to walk in, but at least all the food and drinks were included. The park was not busy, we never felt crowded and not one tourist ticked me off. (Sorry travelers, but you know the bad tourists, you see them too, the obnoxious ones make you as crazy as they make me, I just have to see them more often)…

Canadians Shot In Cabo

Once again the Canadian media has some Mexican meat to chew on as reports of two Canadian men shot in Cabo San Lucas spread like wildfire. Local Cabo San Lucas newspaper "Tribuna de Los Cabos" reports that the two men were in "Mermaids", a popular strip club when they were struck down by gun fire. Witnesses claim that the men were sitting with an American tourist when they were suddenly and without warning attacked by two unknown men. The men suffered non-fatal wounds and are in stable condition in the local hospital.

This event has stirred the Canadian media to use phrases like "wave of violence against Canadians". In the last two years five Canadians have been killed in Mexico under suspicious circumstances, but I wouldn't exactly call that a "wave of violence". If one were to read only the Canadian press, one would assume that there is a Mexican around every corner just waiting for their chance to attack anyone wearing the maple leaf.…