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Showing posts from 2012

Ek Balam Archaeological Site- It's NOT A RUIN!

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I've become really adverse to the term "ruins". I don't use it, I don't like it, it's just so...ugly. When I visit an archaeological site I see beauty, incredible architecture that has survived for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, not the destruction that the word "ruin" implies. The Kukulkán Pyramid at Chichén Itzá is hardly a pile of rubble, nor are the stunning structures of Uxmal, Cobá, Tulum and so many others that rise from the Yucatan jungle in testament to their hearty Maya construction and ingenuity.



The site of Ek Balam is one of the best examples of my "Not a Ruin!!" obsession. The stunningly well-preserved buildings look more like Hollywood movie sets than post-Apocalyptic ruins. (Let's not get into the impending "apocalypse" debate of Dec. 21, m'kay?) I visited Ek Balam for the first time recently and while the phrase may be overused in travel writing, I must say it was "breathtaking". Li…

Genesis Eco-Retreat, Ek Balam, Yucatan

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Quirquiriqui, quiquiriqui, quiquiriqui!

For those of you are Spanish/bird-speak impaired, that is the sound a rooster makes in Mexico. The small pueblo of Ek Balam, Yucatan echoes with the alerts of the roosters as I lie in bed at the Genesis Retreat, the only sound apart from the barking dogs in the early morning hours. Their compelling calls urge me to get out of bed, though we still cannot see the light of the sun. I continue my repose and despite the urgency of the roosters and the dogs cries, I find myself enjoying a rather peaceful moment. 


It is difficult not to be at peace at the Genesis Retreat. Tucked away in the small village of Ek Balam, just off the grounds of the archaeological site of the same name, it is a refuge for people looking for a escape from the hustle bustle of big city life. Backpackers, writers, artists and history lovers gather to soak in the atmosphere and take a moment to breathe and reinvigorate, create and relax. The charming cabañas and rooms all have…

Three Steps to Inner Peace in Veracruz, Mexico

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Letting in the peace in Nanciyaga
Inner peace. Cheesy phrase really, overused by many and the true meaning of the words elude most people, myself included. I don't know that I have ever set out in search of "inner peace", but on my recent trip to Veracruz for the ATMEX convention, it kind of found me.

The last few years of my life have been...well..."chaotic".  My personal growth was stunted and I was trapped in a cycle of negativity and self-doubt that seemed endless. My life situation has been improving over the last year, IMMENSELY actually, but I still hadn't found that light inside of myself that allowed me to breathe with ease and truly enjoy the good things I have in my life.

On my departure for Veracruz, I looked forward to adventure and business contacts and a break from my routine. What I did not foresee was the spiritual voyage I was embarking on. Reading the agenda for the government sponsored fam trip with 50 travel professionals, I certainly …

Market 23 Cancun

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Fresh meat

"Cheaper than Walmart!" "One dollar, one dollar!" "I rip you off less!"

The typical phrases of the vendors in the touristy markets of Cancun like Mercado 28 and Coral Negro, hawking their t-shirts and shot glasses to sunburnt travellers and trying to make a few pesos to feed their families. Unfortunately most tourists think that these are traditional Mexican markets, but in a real market you won't hear those shouts, certainly not in English. 

"El Granero", the place for party and piñata supplies
A "real" market is a place where locals gather to purchase fresh vegetables, cheeses, meats and fish, in addition to various gew gaws, decorations, art and of course piñatas and religious relics.
Everyone needs a religious dolly
The local market in Cancun is called "Mercado 23", a lively and colourful place where you'll find few if any tourists. The twisty-turny paths may at first seem random, but after a couple of…

Cenote Jardin del Eden in the Riviera Maya

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"Mommy, PLEEEEASE let me jump from the tree, PLEASE!"

Max looking on enviously at the girl in the tree
Uhhh, no. I rarely stop Max from doing something adventurous, but as the cliff was over 4 meters high and the tree added at least another 2, I felt it was my motherly duty to say "no" to a 6 meter leap into a cenote. I love that he is daring (like his mom), but I suppose I have to draw the line somewhere (don't I?).



To his credit, he accepted the "no" with only a minor grumble and proceeded to jump from the cliff. Over and over and over again. People were lined up on the top to take their turn, many hesitating for a long time, some deciding they did not have the courage. Max embarrassed a few "chickens" into making the jump, their friends mocking them saying "The little kid has done it a hundred times, just do it once!"

Playing with the new camera, the "Half in, Half Out" shot
Gorgeous fishies (though they tend to fight!…

White Water Rafting in Veracruz

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Rafting the Rio Antigua
"Paddles up! Langostinos!" Shouts ring out over the roar of the river, celebrating the crossing of our first set of rapids. We're on the Rio Antigua in Jalcomulco, Veracruz, we're on a floating, bouncing piece of yellow rubber, we are wet and we are desperately holding on to our "50 dollars" (the formal name given to the paddles by our guides, losing them was going to cost us). And we are eager for the next rapid run.

When I received the invitation to attend the ATMEX conference in Veracruz, I was honoured. When I discovered that the trip included a white water rafting excursion, I was through the roof. It would be my first time on a rapids adventure, first time in Veracruz and first time "glamping" (glamour camping). The month before the trip I found myself obsessively watching rafting videos and checking out photos of our accommodations in Jalcomulco with Mexico Verde Expediciones. I went through the very girly phase of …

Catching Up with Canuck

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A Nanciyaga, Veracruz moment with Canucka
Oh my it has been a long time. Too long. I realize that the blog has been hanging out in the shadows of my mind, nudging me from time to time and whispering "Hoooooola, te extrañoooooo¨.  The truth of the matter is that I lost track of what this blog is about. Expat/mommy/news/adventure/general nonsense, I have kind of covered it all since beginning in 2007.  In becoming a "professional" blogger, writer and social media maven, the time for my personal blog mostly disappeared, the inspiration was lost and it all seemed like a duty instead of something fabulous and fun. I have begun to really it miss it though and hope that by taking a leap with this (unplanned/unstructured/off the top of my head) post, I can get the ball rolling again.

On top of the world. Well, on top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid at Coba.
So, what have you missed? Or where should I start? "Hi, my name is Kelly and I am a M.I.A. blogger trying to get back on t…

Meeting Mexico Part Five: Last Day

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This is part five, the final chapter in a series of guest posts from the charming Samantha Bennett...see previous posts here...






Last day. My flight does not leave until 7 tonight. A pall hangs in the air, the day, speckled with goodbyes. A final trip into town where I purchase a silver gecko keychain, so each time I leave and enter my home and car I will touch something to remind me of my time here. I write this from the beach, my last few hours here in the sand. I am hyper aware of all the ‘lasts’- last lunch with Mumsy, last swim in the Spanish surf. My heart is already in knots, thinking of saying goodbye to Mum. This has been our first holiday alone together, and we have discovered we are good room-mates, and compadres. Our energies and preferences are similar enough that we weave around and through each other with ease. She sits near me now, reading in our palapa, and I miss her already. Christ. I am such a sap today. I walk to the shore to have a final saunter through the shallow…

Meeting Mexico Part Four: Ixtapa Island and further ex-pats

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This is part four of a series of guest posts from the marvelous Samantha Bennett....see previous posts here

Sammy and the Sea
Never turn your back on the sea. It will tumble you like dice. Up becomes down. All control is torn from you in one wet reeling moment. Outstanding.



Whole fish experience
Madeline’s kids arrive today. Fresh blood! Mads has been skipping about all morning in anticipation, and when they arrive I can see why. Twinkley, handsome Michael and his pretty wife, Michelle. Mad’s daughter Cathy and her wife, Audrey. Everyone friendly, happy. We group troop to Maxim’s for supper and I make the dubious choice of ordering a whole red snapper, which arrives, of course, with head and tail, one dead eye staring glassily up at me from the plate. I stare back silently until Jayme offers to de-bone the thing for me. I can’t get it into her hands fast enough, and watch with fascinated horror as she neatly chops off the head, slits its belly open, and removes its entire rib cage and s…

Meeting Mexico Part Three: Zihua and Barra de Potosi

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This is part three of a series of guest posts from my beautiful friend Samantha Bennett.... see previous posts here


Sweet Sammy and the beach dogs
The town of Zihuatanejo has been a fishing village for many decades. Everyone calls it Zihua ( Zeewa). Resorts and high rises tried to move in but were unsuccessful. Locals said no, and they said no firmly. The town hunkers down around a lovely bay filled with ships and boats of all sizes. Hills rise up on three sides, and ramshackle houses cluster everywhere. Little open-air stalls rub elbows with the pricier boutiques that can afford a glass front and door. Everyone talks to us as we walk by: “Hola Senorita! Good price for you today. Almost free!” The shops bulge with bright cotton dresses, jewellery of silver, obsidian, shells and wood. Carvings too of dolphins, turtles, swordfish, whale. Lean dogs slink around the moving cars and wander the streets, some of them clearly sick with mange, fleas, and a host of other afflictions. The Mothers…

Meeting Mexico Part Two: Ixtapa

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This is part two of a series of guest posts from my wonderful friend Samantha Bennett, recounting her tales of her recent first visit to Mexico. Click here for part one.



Ixtapa once consisted entirely of coconuts, miles and miles of plantation acreage. In the 1970’s developers moved in and hotels sprang up along the beautiful beach. We leave the compound and walk to the town along manicured boulevards and pretty sidewalks inlaid with shell and stone. It is very clean, very neat, until we reach a sort of flea market, dozens of little stalls crammed together. I feel like I am in Mexico again when I enter here. It is dirty, smelly, hot and raucous, stuffed with jewels, bright clothes, ceramics, key chains, bags, hats. You name it and it is probably available to you. After 30 minutes of this I am claustrophobic and dart back out to the open air with Mumsy, and we continue our stroll past their version of 7 eleven, Oxxo, past Scruples, the big grocery store, and end up on the pretty side-wa…