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Showing posts from 2010

Da Blues and Blogger Guilt

Meh. Pft. Whatever. My mood has been pretty low of late, I keep thinking "I must blog!" but my depressed mind says "Who cares? Nobody, that's who, nobody wants to hear your blah blah blah". And so I sit and stew and toss and turn at night and write blogs in my brain that never hit the keyboard. I really do have lots to say and not all of it negative (though admittedly a good majority of my "brain posts" are on the downer side of the blog scale of happiness).

I had a lot of adventures this year, some of them really fantastic, out of this world even! The whale shark experience of 2010 was phenomenal, I loved my day at Xplor and the unique day in Cozumel scuba diving with dolphins. I did the "Day of the Dead Festival" at Xcaret, snorkeled many cenotes and Xel Ha, climbed Coba, camped on the beach, discovered "El Meco" and Sian Kaan, watched a mama turtle lay eggs and later watched a different nest of turtles hatching. But I h…

Celebrating Latin America at Ground Level

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Steven Roll is passionate about Latin America, his blog Travel Ojos shares tales and experiences throughout the region with joy and a love for the culture. I've enjoyed his blog immensely since it began and I was thrilled when he invited me to participate in his "Celebrating Latin America at Ground Level" e-book project. With contributions from 29 locals and ex-pats from a variety of countries, the book covers everything from food to culture to language and life, a fascinating look at the wonderful region we call home. I've loved reading all the stories and tales, some truly talented writers make this a "must download" for anyone with a love of all things Latin American. Please take a moment to download the FREE e-book and enjoy a peek at life south of the border from some talented bloggers. Big thanks to Steven for putting it all together and inviting me to be a part of this terrific project!
Here's a list of the participants and their blogs, show …

Dot Your T's and Cross Your Eyes

Bureaucracy. A vile truth in every country, though I am starting to believe that Mexico should hold the title for "Biggest Pile of Bureaucratic BS in the Whole Wide World". Getting anything accomplished here is a bit of a nightmare. I've written in the past about the flaming hoops we must jump through for our immigration papers, but that really is just the beginning of the nonsense. I'm starting to believe that people add extra hoops and extra gas to the flames just to see you dance.

Por ejemplo....With the idea in mind that I would take Max to visit Canada this winter, we got to work putting everything together for his Mexican passport. Check, double check, print off the list from SRE, extra photocopies of everything they asked for, pre-pay at the bank. We made our appointment for this morning, showed up early and expected to turn over the papers they requested on their website and be on our way. What were we thinking? Of COURSE it can't be that easy. Th…

Macho, Macho Man

ma·cho / ˈmächō/ • adj. showing aggressive pride in one's masculinity: the big macho tough guy.• n. (pl. -chos) a man who is aggressively proud of his masculinity. ∎ machismo.

Machismo, one my biggest turn-offs. When I hear the word I think of hairy chests and men grabbing their crotch while ordering their women to get them another damned beer. Mexico (and other Latin countries) has a reputation for being a society dominated by macho men, and while I hate to stereotype, I would have to say that it is somewhat true. Women are evolving here, but the culture of man being dominant certainly still exists. Chauvinism is alive and well, evident in cultural events such as lucha libre (wrestling), cock fights, bull fights, domestic abuse and the cantinas packed with men seeing who can drink the most tequila or eat the hottest salsa while ogling the waitresses. I must be clear, this is certainly not ALL men in Mexico, and it's not just a Mexican problem, but…

Hurricane Paula a Bust in Cancun, But I Got a Bonus!

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I feel like I need a cold shower, I got all worked up just to be let down by the latest hurricane tease Miss Laura. She came out of nowhere, threatened to hit us directly as a category two then poof, gone, headed over to Cuba with her nasty business. Yes yes, I should be relieved and I am, it's just all the excitement of a potential hurricane gets me all giddy inside! I love chasing the storm, reading all the meteorology geek sites, following the funky spaghetti models and contemplating the possibilities. After surviving Hurricane Wilma, all other hurricanes are going to seem like a light breeze and a drizzle, no biggie. Yes, we'll get wet and yes, perhaps some damage will be done but in the end I know that it will all be ok. The thrill of the storm is really in the chase, but if at the end of the pursuit you find out you've been chasing nothing, it feels like that necking session in the car that got interrupted by dad.

Anywho, I went out to the hotel zone of Cancun t…

7 Things in 7 Years

Today, October 10th, 2010 marks my seventh anniversary of coming to Mexico. I boarded the plane in Toronto, waved goodbye and set off for my "divorce recovery vacation". Well, recover I did but the vacation has turned into a life. Seven years living in a foreign country has taught me a million things, but since seven is a lucky number, I'm going to share with you seven things I have learned (it's also a lot more concise than trying to make a million point list).

1. Living in a first world country it's easy to forget just how good you've got it. Obviously I still keep in touch with Canadian and American friends and family and I have noticed something big. The "gripes" of those living my old life are small, really, really small yet for those who don't know any better they seem huge. People bitch and moan about not having enough money, thoughts they share from their iPhone, sitting in their climate controlled house, while the kids play Xbox a…

It Ain't All Sunshine and Cenotes

I know that usually I put on a happy face for the blog and other internet outlets, but I have to be honest, life isn't always easy. That's true for everyone I am sure, unless you're a pampered lap dog living in luxury, eating doggie cookies out of carefully manicured fingers. My doggie cookies are hard-earned and come from fingers worn down to nubs from the overuse of a keyboard.

I don't talk about it often, but I have a long history with clinical depression. Clinical depression that led to years of high doses of anti-depressants and hundreds of hours on the psychiatrist's couch. Since living in Mexico, I have overcome much of the disease and am med-free, but that doesn't mean that the depression doesn't raise its ugly head now and again. The sunshine helps, a LOT, if you've never experienced a dark and dreary winter you may mock the idea of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), but it's a proven fact that a lack of sun can lead to serious depressi…

Work, Work, Work (or what I did on my summer non-cation)

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"Oh man, next weekend I have to go to Cozumel on Friday, Xplor on Saturday, Tulum Music Fest at night, I'm going to be exhausted!"

"Um Canucka? Shut up! Wah wah wah, I have to live a life of adventure, wah wah wah."
And thus a close friend reminded me that I live a pretty sweet life and have a pretty cool job. The irony is I truly was thinking about how tired I was going to be rather than all the fun I was going to have. I appreciated the kick and quickly turned my frown upside down. I also got to thinking about the adventures I've had over the last couple of months and thought I would make a list.
Max teaching Grandpa how to snorkel the reef

1. Vacation with da folks- My parents were here in April and we managed to get a weekend on Isla Mujeres and a few days in Tulum, in addition to various trips to beaches and snorkeling in Puerto Morelos. Max loooooved having his grandparents here and was eager to show them how to live the life in paradise.
Looking d…

Whale Shark Adventure

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Dramamine? Check. Biodegradable sunblock? Check. Underwater camera? Check. Ready to rock, ready to get in the water with the biggest, most gigantic, most incredible creatures of the sea. Some of you may remember my attempt to swim with whale sharks from last year, a day full of seasickness and near disappointment. This year I was much better prepared for the adventure, took anti-seasick pills the night before and the morning of, got to bed super early, ate bananas, took vitamins, drank ginger tea, following every recommendation I could find to avoid being seasick. (Last year was the one and only time in my life I had EVER been seasick and I was not going to have a repeat). I was up and out the door early, glad to see clear blue skies and no wind.

I'd been following the whale shark reports closely this year, anxiously awaiting the day I would be paying them a visit. The sharks had come a little late, but when they arrived, they arrived in great numbers and much closer to …

He's Lucky He's Cute

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I've been looking at old baby pics of Max recently, fondly remembering the days when he hadn't yet begun to talk. Pining for those days actually. Yearning. Clicking my heels together and closing my eyes and chanting, wishing for a time machine to go back to the days of relative silence. Oh sure, babies cry, but that's easy compared to what we're dealing with now. I'll take a full-on baby screaming, crying, trying everything-but don't-know-what-to-do day over the CONSTANT questions, chatter, demands, complaints, tantrums and Michael Jackson songs that we're experiencing now. In two languages no less, sometimes three.

"Remember mommy? In English we say "blue", in Spanish we say "azul' and in French it's "bleu". How do you say "blue" in Maya? In Chinese? In Italian? I have a friend, remember? His name is Raoul, he's teaching me Italian. I don't know Chinese but I think you say "buh"…

Where the Boys Aren't: Girls' Beach Getaway

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Mission: ESCAPE to the beach in Tulum
Work, kid, house, work, kid, house, work, kid, house. Everybody knows that story and everybody needs a getaway sometimes. I had the chance to get outta Dodge last weekend with my dear friend Lisa to visit Heather down in Tulum at the Casa de las Olas and I jumped at the opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I love my kid and my life, but sometimes a girl just needs some girl time and the chances don't come along very often.

My first boogie board attempt. Wave got me goooood.

Lisa and I hit the road on Friday night in her multi-coloured convertible bocho (Volkswagen bug) and toodled down the highway screaming over the wind and the ole car's engine. I started to lose my voice as we approached Tulum, cold chelas were definitely in order! We stopped at the supermarket, stocked up on some noms and beverages and got in line to check out. The people in front of us seemed to take forever, no biggie, we're on vacation. Until it became a BI…

Odds and Ends

Summertime and the living is easy. Easy-ish. I like the longer days and the heat (yeah, call me crazy) and seeing friends in Canada and the US wearing shorts and having BBQs in their Facebook albums. School for Max finished on Friday, now it's strictly play time for him. I was tempted to teach him the "No more teachers, no more books" rhyme, but after the "Punch buggy" debacle (broken record chatter from the back seat!), I'll just keep it to myself. While we've been having some behaviour issues with Max, he ACED his final exams, receiving "excelente" in Spanish, Math, French and English (well, "excelente plus" in English). His grade in culture was only "bien" as he decided that Christopher Robin discovered America along with Pooh and Tigger. Smart kid, too smart, he knows what he can get away with and he pushes all our buttons. He's lucky he's cute. He started in gymnastics about a month ago and is rocking …