Showing posts from March, 2009

BBC Interview with Mexican President Felipe Calderon

In preparation for the upcoming G20 summit, Mexican President Felipe Calderon sat down for an interview with John Simpson of the BBC to discuss the current problems in Mexico. President Calderon addressed the issue of corruption, candidly stating that the governments of both the United States and Mexico must deal with the problem of corrupt officials. The president described the successes Mexico has had in arresting corrupt politicians, police and cartel members since he took office and began his fight against the drug trade.

It's interesting to hear the President speaking about the current issues in English. I think I've only ever heard him speak Spanish, with the exception of the occasional sound byte. For those of you who have never seen him speak or don't understand him when you do hear him, this video is well worth the ten minutes.

"If you see some dust in the air, it's because we're cleaning"- President Felipe Calderon, March 30, 2009

video courtes…

Finding a School in Cancun

"Finding a school", something that was never an issue in Canada but it certainly is here. In Canada, you go to the closest school in the zone in which you pay taxes, usually you've got a choice of public, Catholic and in some places, French immersion, but beyond that, you don't have much choice. While we are happy with Max's current school, they only offer classes up to Kinder 3 so we've got to find a primary school. He's got two years left of Kinder, but in speaking with other mommies, it seems the pressure is on to figure out what we're going to do with him come grade one. I saw a flyer last week for an exposition of Cancun schools, so Saturday we jumped in the car and headed to the Cancun Convention Center.

What a huge disappointment that was! I fully expected to see all the big schools represented and was hoping to speak with each of them to see what they have to offer. There was only ONE, I repeat, ONE school that offered primary education.…

You're Not Invited to My Party!

We've been hearing this phrase for months and months and months. Max is obsessed with his upcoming birthday and the "requisite" party he thinks is his due. If we do something he doesn't like, the arms cross, the brows furrow and "You're not invited to my party! No te invito a mi fiesta!" is shouted in our faces. Wow, what a threat kid, you mean we don't have to hang out with twenty 4 year olds? Shucks darn. He talks about his party EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's becoming quite annoying actually. He uses his party to play Hubby and I off each other as well, "You're not invited to my party, just Daddy, hmph!", at which point we say we all go or there is no party, leading to "I make my party with my friends, not you!". Good luck kid, how's that job hunt going, you got money?

All this party talk is leading us into the world of guilt. We cannot afford to give him the party that he is imagining, in a "jardin de fiesta…

Bring on the Cancun Beach Recovery Please!

I think it's become quite obvious that I am a beach lover, obvious at least if you've followed the blog for oh, five minutes. You may have noticed that though we live in Cancun, we rarely visit the beaches here, we go out of town when looking for sea and sand. There are a number of reasons for that, number one, calmer waters in Puerto Morelos and Isla Blanca are better for Max, number two, fewer tourists (no offense intended!) and number three, the beautiful beaches of Cancun have taken quite a beating since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The beach erosion on the east side of Cancun island is noticeable and sad. When I first arrived in 2003, I was blown away by the huge spans of sand, soft and white and seemingly endless. Wilma did her number on us and took it all away, leaving the ocean pounding against sea walls and exposing rocks and boulders all along the shore. While the government and hotels spent millions of dollars to recover the beaches in 2006, they ignored the advic…

Are You Ready for Some Futbol?

Futbol (soccer) or "fut" (pronounced like "food", not "hut") is to Mexico as hockey is to Canada. Kids here are soccer crazy, getting their first kicks in as soon as their little legs start moving. It's the great equalizer, something that everyone can share from the poorest to the richest, youngest to oldest, find a scrap of bare land and something to kick, and game ON. From neighbourhood pick up games to full fledged official tournaments, everyone gets in on the action, I've even seen abuelas (grandmas) out-playing their grandkids in the park.

Not only is it a game that is played by everyone, but the professional league is a daily topic of conversation. In Cancun we've got the pro team "Atlante", new to town just last year and already a success. I may not be a soccer lover myself, but I'm always happy to support the local franchise, Arriba Potros! (Potros is the team nickname, means, "young horses"). I don't…

My Kingdom for a Blue Box! (not) Recycling in Cancun

My first few months in Mexico were a maze of confusion. About everything! I hadn't planned on moving here so knew very little of how things worked. (For those behind on the story, I came on vacation with a backpack and accidentally stayed here, anywho....). One of my first realizations that life here was different came when I tried to dispose of my refuse. Every day I would gather my garbage and my bags of recycling and go looking for blue boxes. I was convinced that they had to be somewhere, it couldn't be possible that in 2003 they weren't recycling! I would ask people where to put my cans and paper and they would point to the garbage cans. I would try to express, "No, no, this is special garbage, it has a special place" which of course led to numerous guffaws and pointing at the stupid white girl. After a while I grudgingly put my cans in the trash bin, feeling the ache of guilt in my heart and the small ray of hope that some day I would find the magi…

How I Spent My Birthday

I'm older, I'm older, but I'm still feelin' fine! Well, starting to, I am still kind of recovering from my weekend of debauchery. Hmm, "debauchery" might be too strong a strong word, but I certainly imbibed more than usual. I used to be such a "good drinker" (is there really such a thing and should I have been proud of my ability to suck back a 2-4 of Keith's?). I guess age and a lack of recent experience has decreased my abilities to put away large quantities of alcohol. Four women, seven bottles of wine (another smart friend stuck to a couple of mojitos then went home), I think all of us were feeling the pain on Sunday morning! We had a lovely time at Marakame, I really like this little oasis in the city, I recommend it for a "chill" night out in Cancun. No shot girls, no wet t-shirts, even with all the wine we socked away, we still felt "classy". Though I suspect that we didn't look elegant as we stumbled down …

A Canuck in Cancun Wins the Bloggie!

I am a very happy blogger today, the winners of the 2009 Bloggies were announced yesterday at the SXSW conference in Texas and I am pleased to announce that this little blog was the winner in the category of "Best Latin American Blog". I was truly shocked, I didn't expect to win, the blogs in the Latin American category were great and I didn't think I had a chance. I want to tip my hat to the other competitors and to offer congratulations to all the category winners this year. I wish I had been able to attend the ceremony and do a shot with you all.

I would really like to thank all of you, my wonderful readers for your votes, your support and your continued reading and commenting. Obviously if it wasn't for you, I would just be talking to thin air and I wouldn't have received this honour. I know a lot of people feel that awards such as these are quite meaningless (and in the grand scheme of things, they are), but it makes me feel good to know that there a…

Random Canuck Thoughts

My head has been all aflutter lately, not much focus, kind of like a cat watching dust balls and seeing something shiny go by. Sitting down to write a comprehensive blog post seems beyond me right now, so I thought I would just share some random "goings on" and things and stuff on the mind of the Canucka.

1. I'm officially a professional writer! A lovely Canadian woman in Oaxaca contacted me about writing something for and I gladly accepted. I've never considered myself a writer, I just think through my keyboard, but thankfully I have changed my tune and may actually be at the beginning of something that could help us out financially. Check out my first piece of writing with my photos, "A Guide to the Beaches of Cancun and the Riviera Maya."

2. It's almost my birthday! That's right, I'm about to be older. One year older in fact. Sunday March 15th I'll be turning 38, recovering from a hangover from Saturday night's celeb…

Am I Going to Be a Victim of Violence in Mexico?

I don't think I've ever "re-blogged" anything, but I just can't resist with this one. With so many questions about safety in Cancun and Mexico in general, this quiz written by the blogger "Midwesterner in Mexico" answers a whole lot of questions and gives some great advice. The more I read it, the more I like it. So, with the blogger's permission, I give you.....
The Official Quiz for Determining your Risk of Violence in Mexico(please answer yes or no to the following questions)I am the head of a powerful drug cartel.I am employed by a recent drug cartel start-up, and my title is “Business Development Manager, Mexico”.I cannot leave the house without my 3 diamond rings, diamond stud earrnings, and emerald necklace.I only travel by limo.I insist on wearing shorts, sandals with socks pulled up to mid-calf, a Hawaiian shirt, and a floppy hat at all times, while using my obnoxious American “outside voice”.I have a tendency to …

Cenote Snorkeling in Tankah

Max woke me up this morning begging to go snorkeling. We were prepared to go to the beach today as per usual, but decided to check out a cenote instead to please the little man. I'd recently read about Mindy and her family's trip to Casa Cenote and thought that might be a good adventure for the day. We hit the road, stopped for Ty-Coz on the highway (15 peso tortas, hot fresh baguettes and ham, yum) and filled up with drinks and snacks for the hour and a half trip south.

Casa Cenote is located just outside of Tulum, in an "almost" town called Tankah. There is a small entrance fee (20 pesos) and kayaks are available for rent for 100 pesos an hour. The cenote is extremely close to the ocean, just a few steps across the road brings you to the incredible Caribbean Sea and a small beach side restaurant.

The snorkeling was great fun, lots to see under the cool waters of Casa Cenote. I think instead of blah blah blahing about it, I'll just let the pictures and video…

Stinky Walmart

I really hate going to Walmart. As Max told me yesterday "No, not Walmart, it's stinky!". Perhaps it's my imagination, but there is an odor about Walmart that just doesn't stimulate my appetite. Can't put my finger on what it is, wet cardboard/fish/cleaning products, it's not overwhelming, it just perches on the edge of my nose and makes me want to get out fast. Unfortunately, the main Walmart in town is in between work and home and Max's school and home and is therefore convenient when I am driving and have the "Oh crap, we need eggs and milk" moment. For the big shopping excursions, we'll choose Soriana or Mega over Walmart every time, but on days when I only need a couple of things, the convenience of the big blue W forces me through its doors. In addition to the "aroma", Walmart is usually packed, has long lines at the checkouts and less than friendly cashiers. It's also a tourist mecca, wife beater shirts and s…

Resort Towns Safe in Mexico

With the apparent hysteria in the media about the dangers of Mexico and the anxious emails I'm receiving about upcoming trips, I thought I would touch on this subject one more time (see previous post here). In Cancun and Quintana Roo, at this moment in time, all is peaceful, all is calm and tourists are safe. According to today's local paper "El Periodico", the US State Department released a letter stating that their warning was intended to urge people to exercise caution in the border areas of the country, not to prohibit travel or imply that resort areas are unsafe. There have been no tourists killed in Cancun as a result of the war on drugs. Do people die here? Why, yes they do, car accidents, heart attacks, drownings, suicides, of course people die here, but random murders just don't happen. The entire city of Cancun had only 65 murders last year, none of the victims were tourists. For a city of about 700 000 residents with millions of tourists visitin…

A Visit to Cancun's Hotel Zone

We rarely go to the hotel zone of Cancun, we just don't have the need and we certainly don't have the money to play at the big boy restaurants. The clubs don't interest us, the beaches are better outside of the city and neither of us works in the zone, so we just live our little lives downtown or in the secret hideaways of Quintana Roo. Yesterday I needed to go to the "HZ" (as some of us call it, Spanish speakers "la zona" or "zona hotelera") and decided to snap some pics for the blog at the same time. These are pretty random, some chosen because I like the shot, some for their story, enjoy!

Beach Club, Welcome!
200 pesos to use the facilities, no drinks or food included
(Please note I have no interior shots, I refuse to pay the price!)

The "Beach" Behind the 200 Peso Beach Club
Mmm, something seems to be missing....
Look at the photos on their website, can you see
what part of the equation is gone?
Right, there's no beach at the beac…

Hechos, No Palabras

The local Cancun government's latest slogan is "Hechos, No Palabras", "Actions, Not Words" and posters and billboards are all over town with this phrase and logo. This billboard is advertising the "Dragon", the road machine set to transform the streets of Cancun. While the city is still plagued by horrid potholes, it seems like some work really is getting done, slowly but surely streets are actually being fixed (though I have yet to see "The Dragon" in action, oh maybe one day I will be so lucky!). Will be interesting to see how long the repairs last once we see rainy season.

Now, I wonder if they've got a machine up their sleeves for cleaning up graffiti?