Monday, March 31, 2008

Scary threat or stupid prank?


The picture above is a copy of a "letter" received by my friend/boss last week. In fact, she received two of them. For those of you who are "Spanishly challenged", it says "This is your first and last warning, your family is also in the sights. Los Gruperos ("the groupies", but someone said it's a specific group) aren't believers....".

Both letters were sent to our work address though they each had a separate return address, one from the U.S., one from Tamaulipas (another state in Mexico). Neither of them were actually sent from the return address, they were both stamped as mailed in Chiapas, on the same day. The work address is typed exactly as it is listed on the company website (and yes, her name is on the website too). She has reported this to the owner of the company and asked other directors to watch their mail, so far no one else has reported receiving anything similar.

My friend/boss doesn't know anyone named Sofia and she doesn't know the woman in the picture. She also doesn't know why anyone would go to the trouble of sending this to her from Chiapas. She has no known enemies and no known problems with psychos. She has not told her husband as she says he will go a little crazy. She has not phoned or reported this to the police because, well, we all know how effective that might be. No demands have been made, there was no request for money, nothing other than what you see above. SPOOKY and WEIRD. At first she laughed it off, but she showed it to enough of us who freaked out that we may have freaked her out a bit in the process.

My guess is that it is nothing to worry about, but there is that nagging feeling (yeah yeah, I know, lose the nagging feeling Canucka) that this is something she should be afraid of. I don't know what I would do if I received the same thing, (blog about it first, lol). I think I would go to the police, just because that's an ingrained Canadian habit, but at heart I know there would be nothing they could do. I guess I would just like it to be on file for when the bullets started to fly. At the very least, it didn't go to her home address, though knowing where she works is good enough to find her.

So there ya go. I'm creeped out. Any suggestions, comments, queries? Anyone know anything about threatening letter scams in Mexico? Should she be changing her identity and moving to Tahiti?




Saturday, March 29, 2008

Do Re Meme

Rivergirl (and others) have tagged me in this getting to know you meme, I know I am last on the bandwagon here, even Liz Miss Anti-Meme joined in! So, here I go.....



What are your top 3 favorite foods?
Steak, cheese and Coca Cola.

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
The last book I read was "Until I Find You" by John Irving. Yes, I would recommend it, anything by John Irving is good by me, his books are like cozy old comforters you can just wrap yourself in and snuggle down for the night.

What are your top 3 favorite places?
Caye Caulker Belize, New York City and any beach in the Caribbean.

What was the last lie you told?
I told Max there was no chocolate but when his back was turned I gobbled down a Bubu Lubu.

What are your favorite 3 sports (to watch or participate in)?
I am not much of a sports fan at all. My last few years in Toronto I did become an avid Raptors (basketball) fan. I despise hockey and don't like soccer much, any game that can last more than an hour and remain scoreless is BOOOOOOOORRRRRRIIING.

What was the last movie you watched and would you recommend it?
We just got back from seeing "Horton Hears a Who". I might recommend it if it weren't DUBBED.

List 3 things you can see outside of the nearest window.
Lots of ivy, a few lizards and a cat perched on a ledge.

Where was the last place you went?
MmmCinemas at Paseo Cancun to see Horton.

What are your top 3 favorite “good causes” or charities?
While I am a lefty at heart, I am not very active in the charity scene. I think my priorities have changed since moving here. In Toronto I supported PFLAG and NORML, but here there are some problems that need fixing first like the issue of street animals, poverty and education. I wish I could be more like Rivergirl, she devotes a lot of her time to some great causes.

What was the last thing you did for someone else?
When is the last time anything was for me!? Ok seriously? I helped a student write a cover letter in English for a job application.

Name 3 places you have never been that you want to visit.
Greece, the South Pacific and Egypt.

What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling?
Cigarette butts.

Name 3 things on your bedside table.
Books, books and books.

Describe or name the last piece of art you looked at.
"Iguana" by Max. On paper (and the table cloth), in blue magic marker.

What are the top 3 things that your job requires you to think about?
Grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.

What was the last musical or theatrical event that you attended?
Oh wow. Um, let's see. Do mariachis count? If not, it has been quite a while. We went to Los Cuatro Elementos last year and saw some live trova (Latin folk music) performances. This meme has reminded me how much we enjoyed it and that we should do it again.

What are the first 3 things you would do if you won the lottery?
Buy champagne, throw a party for my friends and get my breast reduction. Hey, I gotta be honest here!

Describe or name the last serious injury or illness you had?
Illness would be having salmonella and amoebas at the same time. Injury was that damned cat bite.

What are the top 3 things that you wish you could do?
I wish I could make money without working, travel more often and I really wish I could scuba dive (I discovered that ear problems won't allow me to do more than snorkel, booooo)

What was the last thing that someone said to you that you will remember forever?
I love YOU more mommy.

Gosh, in terms of tagging I feel like so many of you in my blogosphere have already done this one! I will toss it out to Theresa, Jennifer, Heather in Paradise and Brice if they feel inclined to participate.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Never Trust a Three Year Old

While writing my last blog post......

Me: Where are you going Max?
Max: To the bafroom.
Me: Do you need help?
Max: No, I do it.

(five minutes of silence later....)

Me: What are you doing Max?
Max: Nothing!
Me: Uh oh. (running downstairs)
Max: Look at me, I did it! Yay!
Me: **sigh** (grabs camera)



Lesson learned. Well, Mommy learned, not so sure Max won't try this one again if Mommy forgets lesson and trusts him to be alone for more than two minutes. At least the house has that new baby smell to it.

Learning Spanish

I've been following Brenda and Roy's adventures in learning Spanish and thought I would jump on the band wagon with my own experiences in the realm of language acquisition. When I first got to Mexico, I had no idea that I was going to end up living here, so I didn't even think about learning a whole new language. My first few weeks in Cozumel I picked up the essentials, "cerveza, una mas, otra ronda, cigaros, cenicero, el baño, vamos a la playa y la cuenta por favor". The boys in the bar were my first teachers, a word or two a day, lots of swear words to start with. Nothing funnier than the white girl from Canada saying "No manches, pinche turistas!" Little by little I was adding vocabulary, but I didn't have a clue about grammar or verbs.

When we moved from Cozumel to Cancun, I knew that I would need a whole lot more Spanish to survive. Living in Cozumel, everyone seemed to speak English. My landlord, my boss, store keepers, none of them required me to speak Spanish. Moving to Cancun meant living downtown and survival depended on my fast tracking my language skills. Hubby wasn't a whole lot of help, I think it's impossible to learn a language from a romantic partner, it just doesn't work. We didn't have a computer and my cyber cafe time was spent catching up with friends, not finding Spanish sites. I was unemployed at that time so spending wads of cash on a teacher wasn't in the cards either. So, I grabbed my dictionary and the newspaper and sat down to teach myself. Again, this was a great help to my vocabulary, not so great for grammar, dictionaries and newspapers don't conjugate. I bought myself a verb book, but it was overwhelming and focused on Castellano Spanish which isn't really useful in Mexico. (For instance, the use of "vosotros" versus "ustedes"). I would try to practice with Hubby and he would laugh at my Spain Spanish and tell me that people don't talk that way in Mexico.

In the four and a half years I have been here, I have learned a lot. I would say that most of what I have learned came from taxi drivers, I've spent a lot of time in cabs making small talk. The drivers are always a great help, happy to correct me and give me encouragement. I have not taken any formal classes, it's just not in our budget, and I am envious of my friends who have had real training in the language. I have discovered several websites to help me with those pesky grammar points. Here's a short list:

Study Spanish
Spanish Language Exercises
Conjugator
Spanish Phrases and Slang
The Spanish CALL Project

I've recently come across a great blog for Spanish learners as well, check out the Learning Spanish Blog.

I think I have made great progress for a self taught speaker, though "todavia me da pena", I am still embarrassed sometimes as I know that I continue to make a lot of mistakes. The best and worst thing someone can say to me is "No te preocupes, te entiendo", meaning "Don't worry, I understand you". Great, you can understand me whoohoo, but does that mean you understand me even though I speak lousy Spanish? I can absolutely communicate, heck I can sit with Hubby's family for hours on end only speaking Spanish, but I still feel like a babe in the woods. They are very kind and always comment on how well my Spanish is coming along, though they do laugh at my accent, they say I speak like a Yucataca. Speaking on the phone is still a bit of a problem, but I am getting there. It's much easier when someone is standing in front of me as I can see their facial expressions and their hand gestures, the non-verbal language cues that help so much. I do try to write in Spanish as well, but my writing is not as strong as my speaking. I can read the newspaper, visit a doctor or ER room on my own, shop for anything and negotiate, listen to the radio and share beers with non-English speakers. I make a great effort to speak Spanish to my Mexican friends, even if they speak English. I think in comparison to a lot of gringos here, I am doing very well indeed. I'm always amazed when I meet folks who have lived here a lot longer than I have that don't even try to speak Spanish and when they do I have to restrain myself from correcting them.

I think my biggest battle right now is Max! He has taken to getting very angry if he hears me speaking Spanish, I have been sent to "time out" several times this week for not speaking English. I'll gladly suffer time out if it means he is embracing the fact that we have an English relationship and that he can differentiate between the two languages, big step for him.

So, generally I am happy with learning "poco a poco" (little by little). Some days are great, I will never forget the security guard at the mall who after five minutes of conversation asked me if I was from Argentina. Some days are horrid, when I can't express myself as fully as I would like to, particularly when I am angry and really want to tell someone off, the only words that come to my head are English swear words! I still yearn for a real teacher, someone to get me over the problems with ser/estar, por/para and the ever present problem with masculine/feminine. Past tense verbs continue to plague me, reflexive pronouns still confuse me at times and the "albur" or double talk might always go right over my head. But overall, I am thrilled to have a second language and am excited about having a perfectly bilingual son, I know when he is older he will become my grammar coach and teacher and I bet I will have lots of time outs for my mistakes. (He's a tough nut that Max, a serious disciplinarian, I'd better learn fast!)



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Give Me Subtitles or Give Me Death!

Ok, I don't rant or get negative here very often, forgive me for doing so now. I am having a $@#$#@$% day. Max is dying to see the Horton movie which has just opened up here, but as usual, all the theaters are showing it DUBBED. I despise dubbed movies! The actors were hired for their voice talent, I think it's a shame not to appreciate the movie as it was originally intended. When movies are dubbed, the voices are never as good as the original actors AND they change the jokes! Shrek is not Shrek without Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. Finding Nemo is lame without Ellen Degeneres. And Daffy Duck should be called Daffy Duck, what's up with changing his name to Pato Lucas? The Addams Family loses Uncle Fester and gets Tio Lucas. Who decided that Lucas was the quintessential "Spanish" name of the foil? The dubbing never matches the animated lips, the funny stuff doesn't translate and it just rubs me all the wrong ways to suffer through a movie that is not in its original form. I think I would give a limb to see a subtitled animated film in the theater with my son.

I know, it's selfish, but my relationship with Max is in English. We are using the OPOL method of bilingual language acquisition, so taking him to a movie by myself should be an English experience. Because of all the kid movies being dubbed, this means that Max only goes to movies with both of us or only with his Dad, I can't take him by myself. I would love to take Max to the movies this afternoon as a treat, but I won't, I can't, I will not subject myself to hearing some Jaime Carey trying to be Jim Carrey. I won't subject the other patrons to my English translations to Max. Why oh why oh why can't they just show us a subtitled version??? Yeah yeah, I know, kids can't read but sheesh, pick one viewing time and give us the original version, there are enough bilingual families in this town that I know they could fill the theater!

Thank the goddess for DVDs, we've got options. If Max is watching with Hubby, we can change the audio to Spanish, with me, to English. If we're all watching together, we can use the subtitles in the non-audio language. But, until the distant day that Horton comes out on DVD, I am in a jam. And a bad mood, if Max asks one more time for the "elephant movie, PWEEEEEEASE mommy", I might just scream.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't Go Into the Basement!

You know when you are watching a good old horror movie and you just know that something horrible is about to happen?  The tightening of the muscles, the roiling of the stomach, the racing heartbeat, the need to warn the characters in the movie that an axe murderer is in their basement?  That's the feeling I have right now.  I woke up with a horrible sense of anxiety, a fear for the day, a dread that something really bad is going to happen to me or someone I love.  Logically, everything in my life is just peachy right now, jobs are good, family is good, bills are paid, no money troubles, nothing hanging over my head that would make me feel this way.  Which makes it even scarier!  I am no stranger to anxiety, but I can usually put a name to it.  Right now there is no reason for me to feel this way and yet my tummy is in knots!


I drove with extra caution this morning.  I went to check on my car in the parking lot three times to make sure it was still there and still locked.  I held onto the stair railings and carefully walked up when normally I take the stairs in leaps and bounds.  I've triple checked my voice mails and emails to make sure there wasn't some tragic news waiting for me.  I feel the need to call my parents just to reassure myself they are ok.  


I'll be honest, I am actually dizzy and finding myself on the verge of a full blown anxiety attack, FOR NO REASON.  What's wrong with me?  What phase is the moon in right now?  Should I go check my horoscope or the farmer's almanac?  Or should I just have a long hot bath with a glass of wine to calm down?  (Oops, no, too much risk of drowning, scratch that).  


Alright, going to try to calm myself down.  I just wanted to get this into a post so when the apocalypse happens I can say "I told you so!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teaching English in Cancun

Me gots good English.

I've received lots of emails lately asking for advice on getting a job teaching English in Cancun so I thought it was about time I just laid it all out in one concise post. Much easier to paste a link than to type and re-type the same information over and over. Not that I mind helping, I am just streamlining. So, here's Canucka's FAQ's on the world of ESL in Cancun (may also apply to other parts of Mexico).

1. Do I need a special teaching certificate to get a job?- No. It can help, but it is not a necessity. From what I have witnessed, people are hired based on their ability to speak English, general intelligence and personality. The willingness to work strange long hours also helps. Some teaching experience, even volunteer work can be an asset.

2. Is it hard to get a job teaching ESL?- Yes, it can be. Immigration imposes a limit to the amount of foreigners a school can employ at any one time. Best advice is to come down with enough money to survive a couple of months and get your walking shoes on. Go to every school, introduce yourself and express your willingness to work. Hopefully something will open up before you run out of funds.

3. What are the major schools?- The main players in the market of private English language education are Harmon Hall, Interlingua, Quick Learning, and the famous Berlitz. There are sometimes openings in the regular schools (I mean regular like readin', writin', 'rthmetic, history kind of schools), but usually only once a year and the jobs are very limited. Some hotels have in-house teachers as well, but again, they don't open up too often.

4. Does the job pay well?- That all depends on your expectations. Do not come here thinking you will make the same amount as back home, but in comparison to other jobs in Mexico the pay is pretty good. A full time teacher can make anywhere from 10 000 to 15 000 pesos per month. Compare that to the legal minimum wage of 47 pesos a day, and you are doing rather well.

5. What kind of hours are expected?- Again, depends on the institution. My place of employment (which shall remain nameless for security reasons) holds classes starting at 7 am and the school closes at 9 pm. If you are a full time teacher, usually your schedule would be 7-10:30 am, then 4:30 to 9 pm, plus Saturdays 8-1. Everyone works six days a week, no exceptions. It's a tough schedule, thus I only work part time, 7-10:30 plus Saturdays. In addition to those hours, you will have many hours of unpaid prep time, training and workshops. When you first start the job, you have to train for one month, unpaid, be prepared for that!

6. What's the best part of your job?- My students! They are mostly young adults who work in the tourism industry. I admire them so much, they come to school before working 10-12 hours a day, sometimes they go to university after their jobs, go home to do homework and take care of their families and their homes then get up and do it all over again. They work HARD and pay a lot of money to better themselves. It's wonderful to watch them grow and learn and there is nothing more satisfying than hearing from a student that I made a difference in their lives.

7. What's the worst part of the job?- The hours and the corporate B.S.. It took a long time for me to get accustomed to being full of energy at 7 am, I have never been a morning person at all. Working for any large company comes with the normal corporate B.S., I've had my fair share in my life and have never enjoyed it, but it comes with the territory and is tolerable.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. The basics of teaching ESL in Cancun. It's not necessarily an easy life, but I love it and plan on doing it until we win the lottery. For me it beats the alternative which is selling time share, oh the horror, the horror of having to sell time share!

Now class, any questions or shall we just take the quiz?

Poll results- Do you believe in spanking or corporal punishment?

I have to admit I am a bit surprised by the results on this one. Here's what you had to say about spanking....

Do you believe in spanking or corporal punishment?
Yes- 15 (39%)

No- 8 (21%)

Depends- 15 (39%)


I guess I am in the minority of those polled. I do not believe in using any kind of physical punishment on my son. My personal feeling is that if I feel the need to hit my child, I am the one with the problem and need to get a hold of my anger. Sometimes I DO get the urge, but there is nothing he could do that deserves physical pain and humiliation. My frustrations are exactly that, MINE, he shouldn't suffer because I cannot use reason and intelligence to solve a problem. I've read a lot about the subject, and I believe that spanking has the potential to be very damaging to the psyche and it has not been proven to work as a deterrent. If it worked, you would only have to do it once, right? I do not want my son to live in fear of me, I want to show him respect for his person so he can learn respect for others. One of our biggest discipline battles right now is hitting. How can I say "No hitting" and follow that up by hitting him? Seems rather contradictory to me. If he's crying and throwing a tantrum, a spanking is only going to make him cry harder, it's not going to halt the behaviour. I could write a lengthy post on the matter, but I will leave it at this. Every parent has the right to discipline at their discretion. What concerns me is what some people consider a spanking or discipline is actually abuse, so where do we draw the line? I would love to see a law banning any kind of physical punishment, but some people think it infringes on their rights. Oooook, and what about the rights of that little one who is getting hit? Who protects them?

Ok, off my soap box.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Isla Blanca Revisited

We returned to Isla Blanca yesterday to enjoy the relative peace and quiet. Cancun is a ZOO right now, last week was the peak tourist time of the year. Not only Spring Breakers, but Mexican Nationals come here to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) jammed hotels, restaurants, beaches and bars. We knew the hotel zone beaches would be nutso, so we set out once again for our Pirate's Refuge. I was quite surprised to find even less people there than our last visit, I thought for sure that the last day of vacation would be reason enough for locals to pack the sunny shores. I'm not complaining, all the better for us! Once again the service of the beach club was slow, but it was a bit better than our last visit. The weather managed to stay ok for us, though there were some dark clouds threatening throughout the day. The water was gorgeous, not cold at all but cool enough to be refreshing in the heat of the day. There were lots of folks out on the pier fishing, they were kind enough to show all their pecesitos to Max and let him try to catch them in his little hands in their bucket, he was thrilled, "I touch fishy mommy!". There was a BIG fish swimming under the dock, mocking and taunting all the fisher-people, approaching their lines and nets and then backing off with a "Psych!", I swear I could see him laughing.

Here's a few random shots from the day.


Going for the Big One on the pier
Nice day for a stroll

Shrimpy Cocktail

Cuties in the Sun

Sand Siesta (ok 80's friends, this picture gets me singing The Cure, can you guess which song?)

And one for Wayne, that's Isla Mujeres in the distance
(we could see it so clearly that I could pick out individual
buildings, but couldn't see you Wayne!)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blogger Meeting stuff again- Important!

Time is fast approaching and our dear Wayne is working hard to get everything in line for the Latin American Blogger Meetup. He's got a request out for attendees to please contact him via email so he can start a mailing list for contact. islagringo@yahoo.com is his address, please see his post here for more info.

Big thanks again to Wayne for organizing all the details, good work amigo, much appreciated!

Alright, we're off to the beach today, hasta pronto!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Downtown Cancun Breakfast Hideaway

Ahhh, what a gorgeous day we are having. It's sunny, breezy, about 29 C/84 F, not too hot, not too cold, just perfect. We got out of the house this morning to go for some brekkie and run some errands (bank, car wash, grocery store) and I treated myself to a couple of hours in the salon for a haircut, mani/pedi and waxing. I'm only inside now waiting for Max and Hubby to wake up from their nap then I am getting us all out of the house again, no use wasting this lovely day!

I though I would share with you our new favourite breakfast place downtown, our BritFriends introduced it to us a couple of weeks ago and we liked it enough to go back again today, with camera in hand. It's called "La Playa" and is located on Acanceh, about a block down from Sport City. It is such a beautiful little spot, well maintained palapas on the outdoor terrace and a huge gorgeous garden with big climby toys for Max. He went crazy running around! The service has been excellent both times we have been. The menu is yum, last time I had eggs benedict (not a common Cancun menu item) and today I had steak and eggs (also not usually found around here). The steak and eggs came with chilaquiles and frijoles, the meat was done just right, as was my egg (and I order "weird" according to Hubby, I like my eggs HARD, I want to be able to cut around the nasty yolk and not have it bleed all over the delicious whites). Max and Hubby split their usual tacos de barbacoa and consomme, very nice indeed. I find their prices very reasonable too, considering how beautiful the surroundings are they could jack them up higher than they are.

The location is actually two restaurants side by side, in the afternoon the "Asador" opens and they have an outdoor grill. I had a peek at their lunch and dinner menus and I will definitely be paying them a visit. Afternoons they have a great selection of seafood, ceviches and cocktails among other goodies. The evening menu was a nice selection of grill items, again, reasonably priced. They had lobster and shrimp, steak and chicken and a good looking dessert menu. Sooo, locals or visitors, I recommend finding this place and giving them a whirl, we'll be going back again for sure.


La Playa Restaurante

Outdoor Palapa Dining

Great big garden and climby toys

My Little MexiCanadian and his tacos de barbacoa

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Life of Privilege- I've been tagged

Miss Mexpat tagged me with a meme about how you were raised. The premise is that you "bold" all the statements that are true. The more bold lines one has, the more privileged one's formative years were.

Please note: The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

***

Father went to college

Father finished college-
A couple of times, he went back to get his Masters when I was a kid

Mother went to college


Mother finished college


Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor -


Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
(I think they mean social class)

Had more than 50 books in your childhood home


Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
- I was a book fiend, it was the one thing that was always on my Christmas list and books were what I begged for, no dollies, no toys, just books

Were read children’s books by a parent


Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18


Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
- dance, gymnastics, piano, singing, acting, sailing, driving (haha)

The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively


Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18


Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs


Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs-
and a scholarship

Went to a private high school


Went to summer camp
- Lots and lots of them

Had a private tutor before you turned 18
- I didn't need one, I WAS the tutor to other students

Family vacations involved staying at hotels


Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18


Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
- Yep, and I was a pissy little sixteen year old who complained about the colour

There was original art in your house when you were a child
- Yes, though I can't recall most of it except for my brother's paintings (he's good)

Had a phone in your room before you turned 18


You and your family lived in a single family house


Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home


You had your own room as a child


Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course- Didn't need it in Canada back in my day, don't remember hearing anything about SAT's except on TV


Had your own TV in your room in High School -


Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
- Do savings bonds count?

Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
- We traveled quite a bit, first overseas flight at 9 years old when we went to England and Scotland

Went on a cruise with your family
- No cruises, but we did always own a boat

Went on more than one cruise with your family


Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up


You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

-----

So there you have it. I think I did indeed have a pretty privileged upbringing, gracias padres! I could tag people, but I think I will leave it open to anyone who wants to try it. Though I am tempted to bug Rivergirl and make her do it, haha, I know how much she loves memes. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Latin American Bloggers Unite!

Ok gang, the time is fast approaching for our weekend of kicking back on Isla Mujeres! Our fine Isla blogger Wayne has made arrangements for the group at the Hotel Carmelina. Great deal, $27.50 USD a night, yahoo, more money for beer! Please don't book the hotel on your own, contact Wayne and he's going to do all the dirty work for us. (Thanks Wayne!)

See Wayne's post here for details and pictures of the Hotel Carmelina.

Can't wait to meet you all, invitations are still open for those who haven't made up their mind yet!

And for your viewing pleasure, my oldest Isla Mujeres video taken two years ago when Max was ten months old and learning how to walk. Yes, he learned how to walk on the beach, he is Cancunense after all! Sigh....look how grand Playa Norte was, I sure hope it comes back! (No, your speakers aren't broken, no sound on this one, sorry!)


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Musings on Merida

Sunday morning we woke up with our nice champagne hangovers and for some reason we were feeling adventurous and said "Let's go to Merida!". Hubby went to pick up Max from the Nanny (of course crossing paths with the Nanny who was bringing Max here, haha). I took Max and ordered Hubby to buy a DVD player for the car, no way were we making this trip with a hyperactive almost three year old in the car with nothing to do. The prize winning purchase made, we hit the road about 11 am excited about our upcoming adventure. I had never been to Merida, but Hubby had lived there a few years back. Hubby was so adventurous he didn't pack a thing, not a pair of underwear or a toothbrush, he just said we would buy everything there. Ooook Mr. Big Spender I Just Got a New Job. We basically had two nights and one day in Merida so it was a really quick trip, here's just a few of my thoughts, reflections and musings on the whole experience.

- The toll highway is one of the most boring stretches of road ever and the car DVD player is the best toy ever invented for road trips with kids. Having not done the free road, I have no idea if our 300 pesos was well spent, but the road was in good condition, clean and STRAIGHT. I mean straight, nothing to see, no curves, no nada. 300 kms of nothing but road. I wish I had stocked up more on some snacks and bevvies, I (like a dumb Canuck) had visions of the 401 hwy in Ontario with its bustling service centers. I at least thought we would find some road side vendors if not Pemex stations, but alas, there is really nothing between Cancun and Merida so stock up ahead of time and fill up with gas before leaving.

- We stayed at the lovely El Conquistador hotel, a treat and reward for us, we wouldn't normally spend so much on accommodations but we decided to splurge and got the last room they had left which was a junior suite. We had dropped in on four other hotels which were all full, oops, traveling during Semana Santa/Holy Week without reservations was a bit risky but paid off. The hotel was great.

- Merida has very clean, well repaired streets. I don't know how many times we said "My god the streets are nice here." I know, not exactly stuff that makes the tour books, but after the pothole-filled, garbage-filled streets of downtown Cancun, it was a shock to see a city that takes care of its roads and its trash.

- The Colonial architecture is amazing. "Wow!" came out of my mouth a million times seeing the old homes in their varying stages of decay, reconstruction or well kept beauty. It was odd to see things like Nextel or internet cafes in these very old buildings, but the dichotomy was cool. Also odd to see a big beautiful Colonial next to a Burger King, but again, not a bad thing, just interesting.

-The people in Merida move SLOOOOOOOOOWLY. It was hard to walk through the city or the mall as everyone seemed to be in slow motion. The service in every single restaurant was beyond slow, we almost walked out of a few places. The pace of the city was kind of frustrating, perhaps we would have gotten used to it with some more time there, but doing Merida in a rush was making us a bit impatient (well, Max is ALWAYS impatient) and when we were starving and waiting over half an hour for food it was almost infuriating. Now, I am a very patient person, so for me to say this you know it had to be a serious matter, it was a really noticeable change of pace from what we are used to, and not in a good, let's relax way.

- I was wandering around the town square and lost track of Hubby and Max for a minute. I saw them walk into the cathedral and tried to follow them. The priest asked me for money to enter, alas, my money was inside with the Hubby. (I probably would have been struck by lightning walking in there anyway). When he came out I asked him how much he paid and he scoffed, "You don't pay to go to church!" Well, apparently white girls have to pay to go to church.

- We did a traditional city tour on a horse drawn carriage which was a great way to see the highlights of the city. It took about 45 minutes and cost 200 pesos and was worth our time and money. Max was delighted, though he fell asleep about 1/2 hour into the journey. The driver was unobtrusive but informative when asked.

- The Merida Zoo was one of the attractions we hoped to see and we were not disappointed. The zoo is small but fairly well kept and the price was right, FREE. There is a little train that goes around the park, cost us a whopping one peso each to ride, it may have been the highlight of Max's trip. The zoo is peaceful and green, lots of trees and pretty plants to see in addition to the animals. Max melted my heart at every installation. He would see the animals, his face would light up and he would say "Looooook! A tiger/monkey/turtle!" followed by the sad face and "He wants his mommy, poor tiger". Every single animal apparently wanted its mommy, bless my little guy's heart.

Overall I really liked the city and hope to go back again soon. Hubby kept asking me if I wanted to live there, and while I liked it, it wasn't home. You know me, why do you think I say that? No beach and no ocean, lol! I would like to spend more time there to really see the place and to check out up close and personal the museums and theaters. I think I need to go back without a three year old and see it through adult eyes to really understand and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

Alrighty then, here's a selection of photos for you of our whirlwind trip to Merida, Yucatan.


Sunrise Over Merida

Ready for the Horsey Ride Outside the Cathedral


The Cathedral (the oldest on the continent)


A Saint (Peter?) on the Cathedral

The Main Square
A Big Old Building (Hey, I'm not the historian here, though I
think it's the municipal building)

Another big beautiful building

(there was an identical one next to it, our guide called
them the "twins")

Monument to the Flag
(Our guide told us it took 11 years to build by hand
by one man, the details were amazing)

Closer view of the monument to the flag

Crumbling Colonials

My own little monkey at the zoo

Choo Choo Zoo Zoo

This flamingo had a LOT to say, he was talking away to us
Sunset over Merida

Well, there you have it folks. Quick trip, long post. I'm happy to answer any questions, happy to have anyone add information or opinions and actually just plain old happy. We'll be going again, I'm sure it will be a whole new experience the second time around, this was the fast and dirty gringo tourist version which we greatly enjoyed. Next time we'll slow down a bit, when in Rome and all that. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Champagne Wishes....

Alright, this is a few days late but here it is. Saturday March 15th was my birthday, yay, I'm older. I had to work in the morning but I knew there would be cake so it wasn't such a bad idea, plus it was my last day before a week's vacation so the mood was good. I also knew that Hubby would be going in to sign a contract for a new job, the day was shaping up nicely. I had received a text Friday afternoon from my dear friend informing me that she and her hubby had arranged for me to swim with the dolphins on Saturday afternoon. If you can stand the positivity, we also had plans to send Max off with the beloved Nanny for an overnight while we adults went on the famoso lobster dinner cruise. I performed many a happy dance on Saturday morning while teaching.

I finished work at one o'clock, did a little "Yabba dabba doooo" Fred Flintstone style while running down the stairs and headed home. I sneakily changed into my bikini trying not to let Max see, but alas the kid's beach sensors are high and he started running around gathering his beach stuff. So sad for him, but this was mommy's time and he was left waving good bye in the car as I entered the Dreams hotel to meet my dolphin. I've only done the dolphin thing once before, back in January we did the "experience" with Max on Isla Mujeres at Dolphin Discovery. Coming into Dreams was different, the environment sure isn't as nice as Isla, but the trainers were great and the dolphins appeared to be quite healthy and happy. I had a great swim, it was exciting to be able to do the bigger "tricks" without Max in tow. The foot push was a high-light, this is where two dolphins push you through the water by your feet with their noses. I got right up out of the water, desperately holding onto my bikini bottoms (they had warned us to hold on if we were worried, glad I did!) Overall I would say the two experiences were different, I liked both though I still prefer the setting on Isla Mujeres but I enjoyed doing small group (only five of us) and the big activities at Dreams. I HAD to buy this picture, I usually don't spend on too many tourist trap things, but I cracked up when I saw this one. Ok, I know, totally naco that I took a picture of a picture, but we don't have a scanner and I wanted to share.




After the swim I grabbed a cab home to get ready for our night out. Hubby took a very excited Max to the Nanny's house, I got dolled up and we struck out for our BritFriends' home in the hotel zone. Hubby knows I have a penchant for champagne and had brought along a bottle of Moët & Chandon for a birthday treat. We polished that off nicely (and a bottle of sparkling that just happened to be in BritFriends' fridge) and hit the road for a night on the lagoon on the Lobster Dinner Cruise with an open bar, steak and lobster and good friends. The night was lovely and warm, the deeply polished wood boat was divine, the sax player was surly (odd but true) and the company delightful. The steak was inedible but the lobster was good, and the cruise seemed to end in no time. We weren't ready to end the night yet so we glided on over to Azucar where we drained another bottle of Moët, and danced the night away. A highlight was a pretty young tourist who approached myself and my friend in the ladies room and nervously asked us if we were in a swingers club. We laughed heartily and reassured her that it was just a dance club, but I will giggle about that for a while, poor girl. There was a lot of partner swapping but it was all on the dance floor.

Here's me looking pretty darned happy for being a year older.....



We followed up with a short nightcap at the BritFriends' house and trundled ourselves off to a snore-filled sleep. An excellent birthday indeed.

Next post: Sunday morning hangover decision.....stay tuned

Watch This Space

I've been out of town for a few days, just got in and am swamped with emails and a messy house. When I get settled I promise to fill you all in on the details of the following:

1. Birthday celebrations including swimming with the dolphins, a lobster dinner cruise and salsa dancing at Azucar!

2. A spur of the moment, hungover decision to just get in the car and drive to Merida.

Ok, the list is shorter than I expected, but the details will flesh that out some. Hopefully I'll get down to business soon, sorry to be away so long! (I'll be getting to your emails and comments soon too, pinky swear).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

An Easy Guessing Game

Based on these videos can you guess what today is?


I highly recommend watching this one, I find it hysterical what someone chose to do to a Beatles song.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Poll results- Which deadly sin are you?

Oh you sinners you (it's why I love you!). Here's what my readers had to say about sin:

Lust- 8 (19%)
Gluttony- 9 (21%)
Greed- 3 (7%)
Sloth- 1 (2%)
Wrath- 1 (2%)
Envy-
1 (2%)
Pride-
1 (2%)
Sin? I never, ever sin, see my halo?- 3 (7%)
All of the above, see my horns?- 14 (34%)

Well, that was honest, 34% of us are big giant sinners! Life is more fun that way, isn't it? My top two would have to be sloth and lust, I can be L-A-Z-Y if left to my own devices and lust, well, must I explain? Wrath and greed are my bottom two, it takes a lot to make me angry and I am not a person who needs a lot of "stuff" to be happy.

So dish, fess up, let's here it, what's your weakness?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Rather Cheesy Post

I've been stewing all day. Gnashing my teeth and stewing. The whole morning was filled with bad news. Not personal bad news, just bad news in the world around me. Friends of friends who have recently been victimized either by criminals or the police or personal tragedy and losses. Newspapers all around me with gruesome photos of crime scenes and grisly accidents. Friends and family with health problems. With all this stewing I was still drawing a blank on how to blog my feelings of the day. I don't really want to get into all the negativity, so I will tell you about the thing that is making me happy today.

CHEESE.

And lots of it. I realize that lately I will eat anything as long as it is cheesy. Mac N Cheese, crackers and cheese, tortillas slathered in cream cheese, cheesy dips for my Ruffles including Herb flavoured, pepper flavoured and garlic, even processed cheese slices. Cheese flavoured chips, spicy cheesy Doritos, those little packages of pretzels with nacho cheese dip. But more than anything, handful after handful of delicious Oaxaca cheese. I heart Oaxaca cheese, but ONLY if it is the Catavina brand. If they don't have the right brand, I would rather go without. I know, picky picky for someone who eats processed cheese slices and no name macaroni and cheese. I'm ordering all my tacos with cheese which I don't normally do. I am adding extra extra cheese to the little deli pizzas I whip up in the microwave. I brought home tortas from Ty-Coz and slathered them with cream cheese AND added Oaxaca cheese. I think I've gone cheese mad.


So yeah, CHEESE. Much nicer thing to think about than what is in the news and around me. Mmmmm, cheese. Happy happy cheese.

Not surprisingly, this is one of my favourite quotes, I say it loud and proud....


Homer: Mmmmm... 64 slices of American cheese. 64 (munch munch munch)... 63 (munch munch munch)
(cut to much later)
Homer: 2... (munch munch munch) ... 1 (munch munch munch)
Marge: Homer, have you been up all night eating cheese?

Homer: I think I'm blind

And the biggest cheese classic of all time, from the masters themselves, Monty Python....

So if you find yourselves feeling down about the war in Iraq, the murder and mayhem of the world, women living in bathrooms for two years, governors getting their groove on, snow drifts higher than your head or baseball heroes taking roids, think about cheese. It might just save your sanity too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

The continuing adventures of a boy and his tricycle.  I posted this a couple of months ago when Max first got his Apache tricycle.  Now watch today's video and measure his amazing progress, he actually uses his pedals, TA DA!  Rock and roll baby!  


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh the Antici-pa-pa-pa-ation

And the nausea and the heart palpitations. I woke up this morning thinking (obsessively) about my FM3. The FM3 is the visa issued by Mexican immigration that allows me to live and work here. Mine expires April 21 and I am already stressing out about it. The whole procedure should be so simple but of course it never is, we are dealing with a government agency here.

Last year was the worst experience I've had yet with the whole process. Two months to complete everything, something like 14 or 16 visits to the immigration office and more tears than I care to tell you about. Having done this a few times now, I have files of my past applications so I figure what was good last year is good for this year. Not! They always seem to find one more piece of paper (in triplicate) that they need. The rules and requirements change from week to week. They LOSE whole applications or parts of applications. I have learned to bring an extra copy of everything and have them stamp it as received and I get the person who received it to initial or sign it. That helped me out last year when they lost several pieces that I had brought them. The last straw for me last year was when I went into the office to pick up the (FINALLY) completed visa only to be told that I hadn't paid. Wrongo, I had paid and brought in all the necessary documents and photo copies of documents and luckily I had my own stamped, signed copy. Of course they wanted to fight with me, telling me they needed the original, not a copy. Ummm, I GAVE YOU THE ORIGINAL. No, you didn't, yes I did, no you didn't, yes I did, until I saw the man who had taken my proof of payment and he actually admitted it and admitted he had lost it. Grrrrr. And the circle goes on and on and on.

The month before renewal I am tense. They can (though likely won't) refuse to renew and I can be deported (been there, done that, twice). I've been told by people on the inside that they won't deport someone who has a child born in Mexico, but then again I have heard stories of them doing exactly that. The two times I was deported they gave me fifteen days to leave the country. So here I am living my life, working, taking my son to school, paying taxes and BAM, adios amiga! The thought terrifies me.

I know I shouldn't get all worked up over this, but it is my life at stake. This year I am going to take the advice of some friends and use a lawyer for the whole thing. He charges more than the FM3 costs, but I figure if he can save me all the aggravation, I am IN like Flynn. It's going to be a bit of a confusing year, I have to decide if I will make a change to an FM2 (and see if I am eligible to do so) or stick with the FM3 for one more year. I would like to apply for Mexican citizenship, in which case the new laws (they change frequently!) state that I must have an FM2 not an FM3. I'm open to advice from anyone who has done this or knows what this weeks rules are!

I have heard that the difficulties we experience in the Cancun immigration office are not found in other areas of Mexico. Some places seem to welcome foreigners and make the process a whole lot easier. I guess soooo many people want to come to Cancun to live La Vida Loca that they try to scare people away and make their lives miserable enough that they leave.

I don't want to argue about what should or shouldn't be, or whether I have the right to complain as I am in a foreign country, we get enough of that on the forums. I don't think I am really complaining as much as I am expressing my fear and anxiety about having to go through the whole thing again. If life treats me kind, I will become a Mexican citizen this year and won't have to go through this ever again!

My Beloved (though abused looking) FM3

(And for those of you who missed the joke of the post title, you obviously didn't grow up with Frank in Rocky Horror, check out this classic video, the joke is close to the end but you shouldn't mind watching the performances!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Deadline for Blogger Meeting RSVP

Wayne and I are getting excited about the upcoming "Latin American Bloggers" meet up set for April 18, 19 and 20th and we hope you are too! We'll be meeting up on Isla Mujeres for socializing with our compatriots, fellow bloggers in Mexico and parts south (if y'all can make it). If you are looking to be in the same hotel as the rest of the gang, please contact Wayne or myself by March 14th so we can secure some rooms. Anyone who makes a late decision will not be guaranteed a room in the same party palace as the rest of us.

We'll be nailing down the agenda within the next couple of weeks, though it looks like Friday will be meet and greet dinner and drinks and whatever normally follows dinner and drinks (more drinks?). Saturday we'll be having a golf cart caravan around the island and more dinner and drinks and some beachy time. It's pretty loose, we're not out to change the world, just meet face to face and have some fun. If you can't RSVP, doesn't mean you can't come, keep the dates open and come on over and join us if you can, we're bound to have some serious laughs. (Serious laughs? Is that an oxymoron?)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Canuck in Mexican Jail Hospitalized

Back in January I wrote about the case of Brenda Martin, a Canadian woman in jail in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ms. Martin has been in prison for over two years, without being convicted of a crime. I have read more and more and I am convinced that this is an innocent woman languishing in jail and she needs more help than the Canadian government seems to be giving her. I have said in the past that I am wary of blogging about political matters, but I just can't sit on my hands on this one (though I will try to phrase my post in a very general, informational way).

A few weeks ago her Canadian attorney was told by the Mexican Foreign Affairs minister that the court would finally convene this past Friday to determine if her rights have been violated. When she was arrested, she was not provided any kind of translation service and was processed in Spanish without understanding what was going on. There is no evidence to suggest that she was a participant in the crime she is accused of. The man who did perpetrate the crime has written letters stating that she was not involved, that she in fact was another one of his victims. Friday arrived and ........no court. It is unclear if it was miscommunication or if there is some political playing going on here, but this poor woman is distraught. Watching the video on this page (see "interview with Mike Duffy) just about broke my heart, this is a woman who is obviously at the end of her rope.

Today's news is sadder still. Ms. Martin has been transferred out of the jail to a hospital, heavily sedated and on suicide watch. I hope she receives the monitoring and care she needs and deserves and I really hope that someone from the Canadian government is there to oversee everything that goes into her treatment.

I don't want to editorialize (well, I do, but I am afraid to), but clearly something must be done. Both governments need to work together to ensure that this woman's rights have been upheld, that her health is taken into account and to clear this case once and for all. No one should have to sit in jail for over two years without a conviction! As a Canadian living in Mexico, I AM afraid of the authorities, I would hope for more assistance from the Canadian government than Ms. Martin seems to be getting.

Please sign this petition to push the Canadian government to step up its intervention, and here is a page to raise funds to assist in her legal fees. Please, sign the petition, donate money if you can, and spread the word about this woman's predicament. If anyone can think of anything else that can be done, let us know! My thoughts are with Brenda Martin today, please send positive energy to her in her very precarious state.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

If I Had Four Million Dollars

In my daily surfing of the net I sometimes go off into "Fantasy Land" and pretend that one day we might actually be able to afford to buy a house. I start off somewhere close to reality, looking at houses like this. Reasonable price, less than $100 000 USD. (Still fantasy, but not too far off). Then I start to get a little crazy, moving up to places like this. I know, big jump from $100 000 to over a million, but remember, this is Dreamland. Then, I discover this. Private ranch on Isla Blanca, five bedrooms, swimming pool, private cenote and Mayan ruins on site, pretty cool. Then I notice the one line that makes me go "Huh???".

"Laboratory for scientific investigations".

Just what I was looking for! Isn't every house hunter seeking that hideaway ranch/secret scientific lair? Perfect for curing cancer or taking over the world! Who lives in this house? A modern day Einstein, Dr. Emmett Brown or the world's latest version of Mengele? I'm seriously considering dressing up in my millionaire clothes just to check out the property, but I would be very nervous about ever getting out alive. Is there a special green glow on the land after sun goes down? A secret burial ground of experiments gone awry? I guess $4 000 000 would give me a lot of answers, can anyone spare some change?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Canucka Revealed!

Alright, this may appear to be self indulgent but really it's at the request of some of my readers! I've had a few people email me to ask why I never post any pics of myself. No, I am not an enigma, I have nothing to hide nor do I have any kind of freaky deformities (yet). The reality is that the camera is almost always in my hands, there are very few pics of me in my files of thousands and thousands of photos! So, to appease my gentle readers (enquiring minds want to know, ya know) here are a few pics of Da Canucka. (I promise not to impose too many of me, the beaches and Max are far more interesting subjects).




Alright, that's enough. Hope that satisfies everyone's curiosity, it might be another year before someone catches me on camera again!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Poll results- What are you afraid of?

Here are the results from the latest poll, "What are you afraid of?"

Spiders/insects- 19 (48%)
Snakes- 10 (25%)
Dogs- 4 (10%)
Failure- 5 (12%)
Enclosed spaces- 5 (12%)
Pauly Shore- 1 (2%)
Heights- 12 (30%)
Flying- 2 (5%)
Clowns- 2 (5%)
Using public restrooms- 3 (7%)
Another republican in the White House- 13 (33%)
Other, come on, surprise me- 9 (23%)

I'll admit to having a fear of insects, with spiders being the biggest baddest yuckiest most fear-inducing creature of all for me! Whenever I see a spider I always flash back to being eight years old at Gesstwood Camp. I was having a great time out in the forest, sleeping in a cabin and getting my first "kiss" from a boy. Ok, the "boy" was a counselor named "Moose" (isn't there always a counselor named Moose?) and he gave me a good night kiss on the forehead. When I woke up in the morning post-kiss, I couldn't open my eyes. My whole face had swollen up like a watermelon! I thought for sure it was the result of having a boy kiss me, I panicked and cried and was so ashamed. They rushed me to the hospital where they determined that it was just an icky spider bite on my forehead, exactly where Moose's delicious teenage lips had touched me.

Luckily, I came out of the situation with a fear of spiders, not of kissing. I'd hate for it to be the other way around.

So, tell me your fear stories, what, why, have you overcome them or are you a candidate for some serious therapy?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Isla Blanca- A Pirate's Refuge

Once again, yes, we went to the beach on Sunday. Now that we've got the car, we have soooo much freedom to explore Quintana Roo and get out and see some new things instead of the same old boring beaches (haha, like a beach could ever be boring). This week we decided to check out Isla Blanca, a small peninsula located about 25 minutes away from Cancun.

Driving past Puerto Juarez, you'll find yourself on a beautiful street lined on both sides by lush plants and flowers, great to see undisturbed nature only a couple of kilometers outside of downtown cement Cancun. For the first part of the trip it is a paved road. When you reach the entrance to Isla Blanca, you are in for some off-roading fun on a sand road full of potholes! We bounced around and got very dusty, wheeee! (Though on our return, we did get stuck and needed the assistance of four burly men to dig us out of the sand).

The Road Out of Puerto Juarez
(technically in an area called Playa Mujeres)
The Sandy Road of Isla Blanca

We drove for a few minutes in this luscious land until we saw the skull and crossbones, "Argh, ahoy matey's, this be the place for us". Ok, yep, I have a pirate thing. We had no plans about where to go, but this looked like as good a place as any to start. We pulled in the bumpy driveway and found ourselves in "El Refugio del Pirata Morgan" (Pirate Morgan's Refuge).

There was a small charge to enter (25 pesos per adult, 15 for kids) and that gave us use of the beach club facilities (bathrooms, shower, chairs and tables, loungers, etc..) There was a reasonably priced menu (the most expensive thing was ceviche for 80 pesos) and wait service on the beach. The service was slow, but we were in no rush. We could always have gone up to the beach bar if we felt pressed for time or were suffering unbearable thirst. There is a 150 peso charge to bring in a cooler or refreshments, they did check our cooler but let us go in with the milk and kid snacks for Max. They had kayaks, ATV's and jet skis for rent, though we didn't play so can't tell you much about that experience. There were a couple of groups of tourists there that had been brought from some all inclusive or another, doing a package deal. I overhead (um, listened in?) the owner telling them that their day included the ATV's, jet skis to a snorkeling spot and a full meal, though I don't know how much they paid for that.


The place also had ten little cabanas available for rent. These are your no-frills, palapa-roofed, no electricity, you get four walls and a bed kind of cabanas, but the location is great. Renting the cabana is 500 pesos per night. There were generators running for electric in the day, but I don't know how long they leave them on. They've also got an area designated for camping, so whip out your tents and get a spot for 60 pesos. Here's the view walking past the cabanas toward the beach.
The Cabanas viewed from the beach

The Beach Bar
(sodas 15 pesos, beer 20 pesos)
The View Down the Beach
(this is behind an abandoned hotel next door to El Refugio)

Mommy having fun with Max
(Er, Max running circles around Mommy)
The Karate Kid
We really enjoyed our day and will go back to El Refugio. Can't fight the pull of the pirates! It was great to get out of the hustle bustle of Cancun and find a relatively peaceful stretch of beach. I think at the busiest point of the day, there may have been 60 people there, pretty darned quiet indeed. I've decided that when we win the lottery (yes, I said "when", I'm using my powers of positivity to swing those numbers my way), I would like to buy a piece of land on Isla Blanca or in Puerto Juarez. I'm loving discovering new parts of Quintana Roo, I hope you are enjoying the ride with me!


D is for Dengue, Depression and Dread

I'm currently sitting in my Cancun apartment, staving off the Covid 19 panic and using all my Jungle Kelly powers to maintain my cal...