Friday, November 28, 2008

What's This? The results....

Yesterday I posted this photo and asked you lovely readers to identify it.....

The answers included "roots of some kind, extreme close-up of my pubic hair, George Clinton's hair, a broom, internet cables, mangrove and palm tree roots". The winner is "My Guey" with her answer of palm tree roots! My dear, you have won my respect, my un-dying devotion and 10 points, congrats!

I'm amazed that these trees that can reach such heights are supported by such measly little root systems. I'm saddened to see how the erosion of the beach is affecting Playa del Carmen, this poor little tree might not last if the erosion continues to get worse. I hope the beach recovery program gets going in time to rescue not only the tree, but the cabana beside it, any more beach loss and that cabana is going to be in big trouble!

Here are some longer shots of the same palm, you can see how almost all the roots are bare. Notice the red "DANGER" tape on the cabana? Normally I would think "crime scene", but the only crime here is the terrible toll nature has taken on this little piece of paradise.

Currently the beach recovery program is slated to go ahead in the new year, though firm dates and details have yet to be announced. There has been a lot of back and forth and bickering and changing of minds in the process of getting the project underway, when I know something for sure, I will post it. This is an extremely vital undertaking, without beaches, the whole area could lose thousands of tourists and millions of dollars, I hope the politicos and hotel owners get it together and get rolling soon! Once implemented, the project will be set to repair the beaches in Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Can't wait for things to get started!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What's This?

Ten points and bragging rights to the person who can tell me exactly what this is...(sorry, no trophies or cash prizes today)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Potholes in Cancun

I thought since posting yesterday about roads being repaired, that I should actually show you why the roads need to be repaired. I managed to grab some photos of some lovely potholes not too far from my house without killing myself in the process, phew!

Since a picture says a thousand words, I won't, at least not today. The evidence speaks for itself, the roads here are a wreck!

There you have it, the obstacle course that is Cancun. And that was only one street and not the worst of them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shocking Photos!

Ok, got your attention and I am sad to say there is no nudity in this post. Just photos of something rarely seen in Cancun, a road crew actually fixing our rotten streets! I was so shocked that I thought I had better call the press, this was breaking news!

For those of you who don't live here, you might not get the joke. The streets of Cancun are a DISASTER. Truly, pot holes the size of cenotes, they're swallowing cars whole, I swear. Driving anywhere is like off-roading blindfolded, swerving, steering this way and that to avoid the gigantic pits in the streets and never quite succeeding, I always manage to have one neck-jarring jolt wherever I go. The media has been attacking the mayor for months now about his inability to fulfill his promise of fixing the problem. Two months of rain didn't help the issue, just made things much much worse.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I witnessed this while walking with Max last week.....

Lots of Men for Lots of Holes
(though there seemed to be a lot of standing around)

Hand Crafted Streets

Soooo tempting to write my name in the fresh asphalt

Complete! Look at that sweet, smooth surface
(it will be a wreck in another month)

With the enormous number of bad streets in the city, I expect to see a lot more of this work going on. Here's hoping they are actually doing it right so we might possibly have a few months of decent roads before they start to cave in again! So, Gregorio Sanchez (the mayor), keep it up, keep the crews moving and give us more, more, more! And hey, how about cleaning up the trash and getting your garbage collectors moving, eh? Promises, promises.....

Joker, Joker, Joker!

As a mom I am realizing that we can always "feel" a change in our kids, at least I can. There's nothing you can put your finger on, just something is different. Max has recently been through such a change. It's not a developmental thing that you can put on a chart, it's like another little light went on in his brain and he's found a new part of his personality. I call it "joker". He is really developing his sense of humour and he thinks he's quite clever. He's becoming a story teller too, sharing his tales of super heroes and kitties that need rescuing, but always managing to get a zinger in that sends him to the floor with laughter. Yes, he thinks farts and bums are funny, but he's getting beyond that as well. I've got a regular Shecky Greene on my hands and I couldn't be happier.

For example:

"One day, there was a Spiderman in my house. He was the black one and I was the red one. The kitties were crying, 'Help me, meow meow'. Spiderman the black one said 'hmm, someone's in trouble, we need to save them'. He used his webs and got the kitties out the tree and then he farted and everybody fell down. Theeeeeee Ennnnnnnd." (I've heard a million versions of this one, never fails to crack him up).


"Papa, me abres el vidrio por favor?"
"Max, esta abierto!"
"Ahhhh, te fallaste, te fallaste, te fallaste" (howls of laughter)


"Daddy, open the window for me please?"
"Max, it's open!"
"Haha, you fell for it, you fell for it, you fell for it!"

(repeat and repeat and repeat)

I am so happy to have a funny kid on my hands (alright, so he's not Carlin yet, but we're working on it!). All my years working in comedy in Toronto made me a lover of the comedic arts, I hope to continue to nurture his funny bone and maybe one day I'll have a little David Sedaris on my hands.

Here are some pics from a little walk we took the other day, he was full of stories for me! (Yes, he's got a mustache, he had to dress up like Pancho Villa for the Day of the Revolution and he refused to let me clean it off. In fact, he made me re-apply it a couple of times, silly kid.)

The kid is full of piss and vinegar as they used to say, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cancun Party Center

We rarely ever get out to the hotel zone of Cancun. We never really spent a lot of time out there anyway but since Hubby changed jobs and doesn't work in the zona, our trips to TouristLandia are few and far between. We can't afford the restaurants, the night clubs just don't hold that much appeal and the beaches in the zone can't hold a candle to our secret little places out of town.

For those of you who don't know, Cancun is divided into the zona hotelera (hotel zone) and centro. (downtown) The HZ (as we often refer to it) is actually an island, a sand bar if you will, covered in hotels, restaurants and night clubs. There are a few residential areas, but they are mostly for "da rich folk" or folks richer than us anyway. Centro is where most of us peons live, residential areas for almost 700 000 residents of varying degrees of income and mall after mall after mall.

On Tuesday evening as we were very early for the Delgadillo concert (at Teatro Cancun in the HZ) we wandered around the party center for a while to kill time. The party center is an area chock full of bars and nightclubs, where all the spring break type action takes place every night of the year. We were there early while most tourists were still taking advantage of their all inclusive bars so it was pretty quiet, but I did snap a few pics of our little Vegas.

My Place R.I.P.
For old friends Joe and Janet

This was the friendliest bar in town
Wonder what's going in next? So sad to see
it like this after all J and J put into it.

Coco Bongo
Perhaps the most famous bar in town
(I've never been, shock, gasp!)

There's ALWAYS a bikini contest somewhere in town
This is the Playa Cabana beach club
A Place Where the Rich and Beautiful Play
(I cannot justify paying 200 pesos just to walk in)

Dady Rock and Terrasta
I like Dady Rock as it's not as huge as
some of the other clubs and they've got a live band

Famous for male hard body contests
and bikini contests
(Nope, haven't been there either!)

Hooters! Girls No Cover at Dady'O!
Yep, sex rules in Cancun

The Church of Christ has a tough job, trying to compete with
Hooters and hard bodies
(I can't believe I had never seen this sign before, it
cracked me up all night)

And there you have it, a brief look at a part of Cancun I rarely show you. I think I prefer the natural side of life here, all that neon hurts the eyes and all that booze hurts the head. I am glad it's there though, jobs and income from tourists is a vital part of life here, but I think I'll leave it to the tourists to enjoy. Salud!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Air Supply in Cancun!

We were driving past Plaza de Toros today and saw a huge banner for Air Supply! I almost broke my neck trying to see the dates. December 11th my pre-teen obsession (well, one of many) will be playing live in the house of the tortured bull!

Dear Santa.......

Yet Another Cancun Weather Post

I know, I know, everyone up in Canada and the US and a whole whack of other countries have it much worse than we do weather-wise. I shouldn't complain and the cool weather shouldn't affect me. I grew up with blizzards, snow days and ice storms! I'm not "complaining" per se, just um, reporting the weather. The day time is alright now that it's sunny, it's actually delightful to be able to go for long walks without sweating like a hog. The mornings and evenings on the other hand are down right chilly. Shivery cold. Teeth chattering at times. Yes, I've suffered far worse winters, but I don't have to pretend that I like the cold.

We're feeling the chill right now from cold front Number 10, affecting almost the entire country of Mexico. The Civil Protection Agency of Quintana Roo is warning people to take care of children and the elderly as temperatures may reach as low as 8 C in parts of the state. States in Central and Northern Mexico are being affected by cold temperatures, with the possibility of rain. Currently it's sunny but feeling chilly (oh dear goddess I just checked the temps according to the weather sites, they say it's 80 F/25 C but I swear to you my hands are like ice cubes!)

So, it's not just me. And I am pretty lucky compared to others in the country. I think I'll survive wearing socks and jeans and sweat pants. I refuse to cave in to my hands' apparent desire for gloves, that would just be too weird and I'm not going to do it no matter how frigid my digits become. So there. And I won't let it stop me from going to the beach tomorrow, I'll just bring extra fleece.

Hope you are all cozy and warm somewhere.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fernando Delgadillo in Concert

A few weeks ago we were driving along when Hubby saw a sign for a concert and sighed deeply saying how much he would like to see the show. I had never heard of the singer but since I lurve Hubby so much I went out and bought tickets for the concert as a surprise. I searched Youtube for videos to know what I was getting myself into and I fell in love. Fernando Delgadillo is a "trovador" (troubador), a folk singer from Mexico who has been performing for the last twenty years. His music reminds me so much of my "good ole days" in Toronto when I worked with a lot of folk singers, I listened to a few songs and got a little misty to be honest.

Tuesday night finally rolled around and Miss LisaLoveLoca took the role of niƱera (babysitter) f and off we went for a (shock gasp!) couple's night out! No three year old? Whatever would we do? I was a bit of an idiot and thought the concert started at 7 pm so we were two hours early for the 9 pm start. Ahem, oops. We went to the party center in the hotel zone for a walk around and a couple of drinks at the Black Pearl, killing time til the concert started. (Will have a post soon about the party center) then drove back to the Teatro Cancun for the show.

The theater was packed! I people watched and acted as fashion police while Hubby went for snacks. I was amazed at the range of wardrobe, from ripped jeans and sneakers to high fashion gowns, Mr. Delgadillo obviously appeals to all kinds of people, rich, poor, young, old, this was not just for us middle aged folk. When Fernando finally stepped onto a very bare stage, the crowd went crazy, it was very exciting! And then I fell in love with him. Really, his repartee was so easy going, calming, warm and funny. His songs really struck a chord with me, several pieces about the ocean and love and life, I was mesmerized. In between songs he would tell stories or read some of his poems. He read a poem about sea shells that I am desperately trying to find online but alas, no luck! I had goosebumps while he read it, I really connected to his words (in Spanish no less). At one point Hubby leaned over to me and whispered "He's a genius", and I must agree. We had a lovely time and would like to thank LisaLove for her help in child wrangling, it was nice to get out just the two of us, I don't remember the last time that happened!

Fernando Delgadillo
Teatro Cancun, November 18

Here's a couple of performance videos. I wish I could translate all of it for you, he's very funny and has such an interesting and warm view of the world. A true poet, a fascinating trovador and a beautiful musician. I chose clips where he was telling a story to introduce the song, his tales were a highlight of his performance. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crazy Canuck "Chills" on the Beach

Well, it's official, I am crazy about the beach. The weather has been lousy, cold and windy but that didn't stop us from heading out to Isla Blanca on our holiday Monday. We bundled up a little more than usual and for the first time we didn't actually do any swimming, but we had a fine time making sand castles and "found item art". Max and I scoured the beach looking for things we could use to make pictures on the sand, much fun! I did have to clarify that I was looking for natural items and not all the trash that was lying around, who wants to see a mermaid made with old shoes and broken beer bottles? There's not a huge amount of trash on Isla Blanca and what is there pretty obviously came from boats, there just isn't enough beach traffic to warrant the pieces we found. Please, clean up after yourself on the beach and don't throw trash off of your boats, let's keep the ocean a beautiful and pure place!

Big Sky Day on Isla Blanca

First Attempt: Found Item Reindeer

Beach Kitty

Princesa del Mar
Princess of the Sea

Early afternoon and it got a little too windy for us, the sand was stinging and getting in Max's eyes so we went for a little drive to see what we could see. I'd always been curious about the Ikarus Kite Boarding School so we stopped in to check out the lay of the land. I was so glad we did, it was beautiful! The wind was perfect for the sport and there were lots of folks out flying on their boards with their multi-coloured sails. It looks like a tonne of fun, but a whole lot of work too, these guys had some impressive arms!

We continued our little journey by driving out to the end of the road. It's not the end of the island but it is as far as you can go driving. We had a quick look around at the lagoon side, had a little refreshment at the beach shack restaurant (no running water or electricity, it's rustic!) and decided that we had had enough wind for the day. My ears still hurt, it was certainly gusty!

Lagoon Side of Isla Blanca
A Different Kind of Pretty

Ocean Side at the End of the Road

Fancy Schmancy Eatin'

So, a different kind of beach day for us, but no less fun than those hot scorching days. I am hoping this weather turns around, I certainly don't need a cold winter here, I can get those back in Canada! I have to say though, it's a whole lot easier to deal with sand whipping us in the face than snow or ice!

Ok, off to find some mittens, it's a freezing 75 F here, brrrrrrr! ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Please Pass the Poi

Well hello all, welcome back. We had a long holiday weekend here so I took a little break but I'm baaaaack.

The weather hasn't been great around here, too cold and windy for my liking, but I did get out to the beach a couple of times over the weekend. Who says it needs to be 90 with a scorching sun? Saturday was my first excursion and a lovely one it was. I had a much needed break and was able to join LisaLoveLoca and some of her friends on their secret beach for some poi ball spinning. Hmm, poi ball spinning? Yes, poi ball spinning. Five chicks with toys on a secret hideaway beach, what could be more fun than that? Many moons ago I was a dancer. I studied for 20 years and part of my training was in polynesian dance so I am not a stranger to the poi though it's been a looooong time since I had the balls in my hot little hands. (Get your mind out of the gutter please!) It was incredible to find that my body remembered a lot of the tricks and I could keep up with these fine women who do it on a regular basis.

I realized that I don't have enough of a social life outside of Max and Hubby. I NEED afternoons with the ladies to refresh and come back home a more relaxed and therefore more patient mommy. It took a while before I could relax and realize that I didn't have to be watching out for a three year old and making sure he didn't crack his head open or break an arm. Unwinding with the poi and with some intelligent and interesting women was a real treat. I think it's also important for Max and Hubby to have some manly time together, they had a wonderful afternoon just the two of them and I hope they get the chance to do more things without me and vice versa.

Here are some pics from the afternoon, look how fine Miss LisaLove is, her abs are to die for!

Muscle Memory
Twenty Years of Ballet Can Not Be Forgotten

Groovy Hot Poi Chick Lisa

Such Pretty Poi!

A Beautiful Girl on a Beautiful Beach

Umm, It Was Really Windy?

Some Practice Required

Aside from getting fresh air and exercise, I was glad to meet some new friends. Lisa's ladies were a great bunch, interesting and intelligent, funny and kind, I enjoyed them all very much. It was fun to be in a group where not everyone shared a language and interesting to see how it played out. One woman spoke no English, another no Spanish, Lisa and another are completely bilingual and I'm "partially" bilingual. Watching the languages switch, mix and translate was fantastic, everyone was very aware of the others' levels of understanding and no one got left out of the jokes. So, a thoroughly stimulating afternoon indeed, thanks for the invite LisaLove, let's do it again soon!

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Day of Swimming Lessons

I am pleased to announce that Max is on his way to being the next Michael Phelps. Or Aquaman if you ask him. We've been meaning to get him into swimming lessons forever and finally got him enrolled in some classes. Mommy and Daddy's bodies are going to be very grateful, all our beach visits end with sore backs and necks from an ever growing three year old hanging off of us. We're also extremely eager to take Max snorkeling and therefore, he must know how to swim. (Can I get a "duh!"?)

Max has never been afraid of the water, quite the opposite really, he loves it. He just won't let go of us if we are in deeper water. I've tried to teach him how to float, but he hates to get the water in his ears, so my own efforts at swimming instruction have not come to much, time for the pros!

After only one class I am thrilled with what I saw. The class is small, four kids to one teacher and a very patient teacher he is indeed. I spoke with some of the other parents whose kids have been there a little longer and they are delighted with the results and have nothing but glowing praise for the teacher Manuel. One little boy in Max's group was doing great, I asked his mom how long he had been in class and she said only a month. And before he started, he was terrified of the water, wouldn't even get in the pool. Looking at him yesterday, you would never know it, he was pretty much swimming on his own and had no fear about going under water. Another little, teeny, tiny girl was screaming and crying but Manuel got in the water with her early and calmed her down. Her father said she's been going for a couple of weeks and yesterday was the first time she actually stopped crying and stayed in the pool for the whole class. Go Manuel!

Max was his typical hyper self, interrupting the teacher, getting out of the pool, etc, etc, but overall he was pretty good. He's so competitive! If you tell him someone else can do something better than he can, he's determined to show that he can do it too. Manuel said "Quien puede mojar la cabeza?!" ("Who can get their head wet?") and my three and a half year old who never, ever puts his head under water screamed "YO!" ("Me!") and dunked himself right under! I actually said "No manches!" much to the amusement of the other parents there. (Mexicans love to hear non-native speakers use colloquialisms correctly, they think it's a gas.) Max was cracking everyone up with his non-stop chatter, though I must admit I wished he would shut up for a second so the teacher could talk! In the end Max was spending a lot of time underwater, was almost floating on his own and did a couple of laps of the pool with a floatie toy. Mommy is very pleased.

A Moment of Quiet Contemplation Before Class
(and I mean a "moment", quiet never lasts long with Max)

Kicking and Splashing is Way Fun

A Look of Determination from Max
(he HAD to be the fastest of course)

No Manches, My Kid is Underwater!!!

"Quien va a ganar?" "YO!"
"Who's going to win?" "ME!"

In the end the real winner is going to be the whole family. Mommy and Daddy will be able to swim unencumbered and Max will be a whole lot safer in the water. Snorkel trip, here we come! (Psst, Jonna and Mimi, can we come to your place when he's ready?)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kicking Myself for Kicking Myself

I'm so good at self flagellating, I could make it an Olympic sport. I criticize myself, second guess myself and wonder WTF I am doing all the time. One of the drawbacks of years of therapy is that I can recognize it when I am doing it, know that it is wrong, and guessed it, I kick myself for kicking myself.

Conversation between me and me....

"I'm a terrible mother, I am screwing up royally, who let me have a baby?"

"Don't be ridiculous, you know you are a good mother, you are doing the best you can. You've got to stop being so hard on yourself."

"Oh you are right, I am too hard on myself, how stupid could I be to be so insecure? I know better than that, I am the worst, stupid, stupid, stupid."

"Now you are being stupid about being stupid, stop!"

"Oh you are right again, I am such a fool. I know I am smart and a good person, what an idiot I am for thinking otherwise. Idiot, idiot, idiot."

And so on and so on, in circles and around again. This has happened all my life, though it's certainly escalated since becoming a parent. I think it's natural to have doubts about your parenting, and I know that I need to remember that every child and every family is different, but I can't help but think that I am somehow messing up my kid. Logically I know that I am not, I make my best effort every day to do all that I can for him. I read a lot of parenting advice articles, books and forums, I work and study to be the best mommy that I can be. I'm confident that I am giving it my all. But then I worry, then I berate myself for worrying. I stew, I toss and turn and then I smack myself for being so insecure. The ever running circle of awareness.

I thought awareness was meant to bring inner peace! Guess it's time to hit the shrink's couch again. Nah, I'm doing ok. NO, you are not doing ok, look at you, talking to yourself on the internet about how great/horrible you are and what a confident/insecure person you are, you're a wreck! I'm not a wreck, I'm fully aware of all my insecurities/egocentricities (is that even a word?). I think, therefore I am ok.

I'm going to make myself crazy thinking that I am crazy but knowing that I am sane.

Man, I hope this post makes sense to someone who doesn't live inside my wacky brain. If not, forgive me and come back tomorrow for something a tad less rambling.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At Last, At Last, a Beach Day At Last!

Two months. TWO MONTHS without going to the beach, I was about to have a serious breakdown/tantrum/crying jag when Sunday rolled around all beautiful blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Yahoo, beach day, beach day, let's go to Puerto Morelos! The half hour drive was painful, Max has not yet discovered the phrase "Are we there yet?" but he was chanting "Beach, beach, beach!" the whole trip, then screaming "I can't see the beach, I want the beach!" for the last ten minutes. I think the kid was as desperate as I was, can't blame him. We hit our usual spot behind the Ojo de Agua hotel and got to work building sandcastles, jumping in the water and taking a long walk. I am refreshed, reborn and satisfied, amazing how one little beach day can change a girl's whole outlook on life. I can once again say "It's all good" when people ask how my life is going. For me the sea has a way of washing away all of life's little (and big) worries, I feel cleansed and pure (er, no white at the wedding, but you know what I mean) and my inner peace has been mostly restored. Bless you Oh Goddess of the Sea!

The Famous Old Lighthouse
(hit by hurricane Beulah in 1967, it is now
a proud symbol of survival for the community)

Sunday is the day for just hanging out and watching
pretty girls

The Pier and a Typical Fishing Boat

Lots of Typical Fishing Boats

Fishing Net on the Pier

Fresh (and I mean FRESH) Ceviche

More Ceviche! Can't go to a fishing village and not eat it

Nothing like a little accordion music on the beach

How to keep a hyper child still for five minutes
Bury him up to his neck!

Cheesy Mommy and Son Footprint Photo
(I swear I don't have Jurassic toe!)

I'm ready to go back again, the weather has been PERFECT, low 80's, no humidity, light breeze and fluffy white clouds, who can stay home on a day like that? Hmmm, blog done, dishes done.....looks like it might be a beachy afternoon! Hasta pronto lovely readers, I think I might be off to get some sand in my pants.

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...