Showing posts from July, 2009

Los Ah, Beh, Ceh's

Por fin, por fin, por fin tengo una maestra de español! (Finally, finally, finally I have a Spanish teacher!)

After almost six years of living in Mexico and learning Spanish on my own, I am thrilled to have started classes with a real teacher. My first private lesson was on Monday with a lovely American woman who has been living in Mexico for more than 30 years. She used to work with me at the English school and we always got along well, I knew she would be a great choice. She's a grammar and pronunciation taskmaster but kind and funny which takes away some of the pain.

Having always communicated with each other in English, the first couple of classes have been about evaluating my level of Spanish and finding my bad habits. We're starting from scratch, working our way through a text book, first step being general pronunciation and lists and lists and lists of vocabulary which I must repeat. We've discovered my problem areas and I am busting my jaw trying to break free …

Parque las Palapas

One of our semi-regular weekend routines is an hour or so spent in Parque las Palapas. This has become the "zocalo" (town square) of Cancun, families gather to play, people watch, eat, dance and let the kids romp. Max is particularly fond of this park as they have little battery-powered cars that the kids can drive, he cruises around checking out the ladies and pretending he's Mario Andretti. It's a strange place to be, an incredible amount of action and seemingly chaotic, yet it always feels peaceful and laid back. I walk around with a contented smile on my face watching the acrobats, clowns, cadets, dancers, kids, and vendors, eating my churros and enjoying the vibe. There's always music mixed with the screams of the children, the whir of the little cars, babies crying, whistles blowing, bells ringing from the man selling paletas. And yet it is still peaceful to me. The aroma is that of grease, tacos, churros, marquesitas, esquites and tamales, scents th…

Just "off"

I have been feeling out of sorts lately, can't put my finger on anything being specifically wrong, just feeling "meh". It could be a combination of things, my parents visiting then leaving, having a wealth of exciting adventures over the last few weeks and now having nothing planned, or just plain old "hot and sweaty" syndrome. You would think I would be riding a high after so much activity, but, for lack of a better turn of phrase, I feel like I am "coming down". And really, how can you beat whale sharks? Nothing is going to seem fantabulous after that adventure and since I have no plans and no "extra" work right now, I feel like I am just floating along with nothing to look forward to.

I've had recurring dreams all my life off and on and lately they've been coming at me strong and hard. I wake up feeling very emotional, either anxious or depressed depending on where in the dream's story I awake. When I was a kid the dreams…

Remains of Missing Tourist Found

Sad news from Cancun this morning as local media reports indicate that skeletal remains found near the Moon Palace hotel are those of missing Scottish tourist Julia Howard. State attorney Bello Melchor Rodríguez has confirmed that the remains found in the jungle in an area of jungle about 1.5 kms away from the Moon Palace are those of Ms. Howard. The identification was based on a metal hip prosthesis and other personal belongings identified as belonging to the missing woman, including a ring and a watch. According to Noticaribe's report, there were no signs of violence and the theory of the prosecutor is that the elderly woman wandered off and was unable to find her way back.

Ms. Howard was reported missing June 15th after she left her family at the hotel pool and did not return.

My personal condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Howard.

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Cancun

One of my dreams came true yesterday, a whale of a dream in fact. A few weeks ago my good friends called to ask if I was interested in swimming with the whale sharks. My heart raced as I enthusiastically told them to count me in and I was giddy with excitement in the lead up to the big day.

Whale sharks are fascinating and mysterious creatures, little is known about their habits though there are a couple of spots in the world where they appear every year for a short time. We are fortunate to have them visit the waters off the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula every year around the same time, May through September. Scientists come from around the world to study them and lucky tourists have the opportunity to swim with these gentle giants.

Yesterday I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for my 7:00 am pick up, kicking myself for going out the night before when I had sworn to myself that I would be in bed early (and sober). My very good friends T, G and their daughter R (for …

Rio Secreto - Hidden Caves of the Riviera Maya

Traditional Sunday morning conversation in the Canuck household....

Hubby- "Que quieres hacer hoy mi vida?" ("What do you want to do today my life?")

Canucka- "Something new!"

Yes, that is every Sunday morning, I am always looking to see something we haven't seen before, have a new experience, find a hidden beach. This past Sunday our conversation led to a call to Rio Secreto to find out if they had a discount for Quintanaroonenses. Upon discovery that yes indeedy-do the entrance fee is half price for locals (250 pesos instead of $50 USD), we hit the road in a race to make the 11:00 tour.

Oh, wait, where and what is Rio Secreto you ask? Rio Secreto is located just south of Playa del Carmen and is a series of underground caves and cenotes that are absolutely out of this world. Deep in the jungle, a local man stumbled upon the entrance to this amazing hidden world about five years ago. He contacted the local authorities and cave specialists and they d…

Bovino's Restaurant Cancun

One of the treats my parents gave us during their visit was a "date night", just grown ups, just Hubby and I. How odd, I forgot that we could go to restaurants that don't have play areas and crayons on the table! I had just read in one of the local "society" magazines about a new restaurant opening up downtown and thought we would give it a try.

Bovino's is a Brazilian-style restaurant located just across the street from Costco. I had no idea what to expect, though I knew we were going to be eating meat. (Bovino's, bovine, cow, yeah, you got it). We walked into the restaurant and were immediately greeted with a friendly smile and seated in the dining room. The place was lovely, warm woods, kind of an upscale cabin feel to it. In the center of the room was a large buffet, I thought it was just a salad bar at first but on closer inspection I saw the salmon, shrimp, prosciutto (one of my absolutely favourite flavours), a variety of cheeses, veggies, …

Akumal Beach Resort

When my parents told me they were coming to visit, we decided to take a little vacation with them and I started researching hotels down south. I hemmed and hawed about where to go, so many options and places I had never been, but finally settled on Akumal. I pulled up one of my favourite resources for the Riviera Maya, LocoGringo and checked out the specials and discounts they had for hotels in the area and finally decided on the Akumal Beach Resort. The deal just couldn't be beat, an all-inclusive resort on a great beach, close to snorkeling and at a reduced price, 40% off the regular rate (ended up being about $57 USD per person per day, Max was free). Living here we don't have a lot of experience actually staying at resorts, so anything was going to be a treat for us. I knew we weren't going to a 5 star luxury resort, and that was just fine by me, as long as someone else was cooking and cleaning everything was going to be A-OK.

We arrived at the hotel on July 1st a…

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

I'm baaaaack. The parents have left the building and I am back in the land of online living. Two weeks away from the internetz was a nice break, but I am ready to jump back into blogging (and Twittering and Facebooking and emailing, etc, etc, etc.). There is just too much to tell you so I thought I would start with a general "Hi, I'm alive and all is good in the hood" post and a general wrap up of my vacay and then dig into photos, hotel reviews, restaurant reviews and tour and location reviews in separate posts.

So, it was fantastic to have my parents here. They are so good to us and excellent guests in our home. My mom turned into a silly little girl with Max, down on the floor playing cars and generally making him laugh and entertaining him every day. My dad was the "tough guy" with Max, hopefully teaching him some lessons about respect and listening and being a good boy. It was great to watch him get down on Max's level, force him to look him …

Snorkel Akumal- Turtle Heaven

Well, we're back from the resort portion of the family visit and we're exhausted. We need a vacation from our vacation! We spent a few days in Akumal, a couple hours down the coast and a spectacular destination for snorkelers and divers, particularly if you've got a love for turtles. We stayed at the Akumal Beach Resort (more on that later) and were able to snorkel right off the beach as well as in the nearby Yal Ku lagoon. The whole family got in on the snorkel action, even my mom who is nervous with a mask and tube. By the end of the week Max really had a handle on the equipment and was snorkeling like a pro! We've taken him out before but this was really the first time that he "got" it, he kept popping his head out of the water and screaming that he saw a "giant fishy!" I swear that my first time in the water I saw ten turtles in about ten minutes, I was ecstatic. The Yal Ku lagoon is a great place for beginner snorkelers, it's calm a…

Powdery soft sand, shimmering blue sea....

Phew, finished the travel writing project just in time for the parents to arrive! Glad to have a break from writing about beach resort hotels, there are only so many ways to describe the beach and ocean without losing your mind. I'm not complaining, I hope to have many more days writing about luxury, economical, bargain, land sports, water sports, volleyball, snorkeling, diving, swim up bars, jacuzzis, shopping, butlers, room service, restaurants, pillow menus, premium liquor, kids' clubs, adults only, turquoise/multi-hued/sparkling/shimmering seas, soft/powdery/glistening white sand.

The parents arrived yesterday and we couldn't be happier. We took them out to Fish Fritanga, Costco, Walmart (can NOT find a floating pool chair that my mom wants, what kind of beach town is this?) and played dice games all night. Max is beyond ecstatic to have his grandparents here, he's been a great little helper guy, telling them funny stories and making them laugh. I think they…