Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year of the Get Out of Cancun Road Trip

Being January 31st (ahem, edit that to December, thanks Scott!), I think we all take some time to reflect on the year past and all that it has brought. We've watched Max turn from a baby into a big boy. We lost our kitty Changa and gained our lovely brothers Buzz and Ziggy. We survived a nasty hurricane season without incident. We suffered some lows, as most everyone else did and we came out the other side with a smile. Mostly what I think about is all the adventures we've had. Our good fortune brought a car into our lives this year and we took great advantage, exploring Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula more than we ever could before. This by far was the best thing about 2008, discovering new places, some touristy, some off the beaten track, all with something incredible to offer. Here's a wrap up of just some of the wonderful family times we had in the "Year of the Get Out of Cancun Road Trip". *(clicking the links takes you to original posts about that destination, clicking the pics enlarges them)

Merida- One of the first road trips we took and one of our favourites. Merida is a beautiful Colonial town with an amazing history and a trip I highly recommend. We loved the zoo and the horse drawn carriage ride, can't wait to go back and see more, and perhaps catch up with Theresa and see the Jonna and Mimi's new/old house!

Tulum- Tulum is a small town south of Playa del Carmen famous for its spectacular ruins set on the ocean. We spent Father's Day visiting the ruins and playing on the incredible beach. We had a terrific trip, this was one of the most beautiful places we visited all year.

Akumal- We visited Akumal a couple of times this year and really enjoyed ourselves. The first trip was the best, we got to hang out with Jonna and Mimi and do some fantastic snorkeling right off the beach. I will never forget my giant barracuda encounter and Hubby will always have his sea turtle memories.

Isla Mujeres- Technically not a "road" trip as the "road" is actually the sea, but a day trip nonetheless. Isla Mujeres has long been a favourite weekend destination for us, Max learned how to walk on Playa Norte and our good friend and fellow blogger Wayne lives there, great reasons to visit! This year's Latin American Blogger Meetup went off without a hitch on Isla, a fine time was had by all.

Puerto Morelos- One of our favourite destinations, Puerto Morelos is only 30 minutes away from Cancun and offers some of the best beaches in the area. With numerous visits this year, it's like our home away from home. If we were to ever win the lottery, buying a place here would be near the top of the list of things to do with our millions.

Isla Blanca- This is probably the place we visited most often, top of our convenient beach list. Isla Blanca is about 30 minutes outside of Cancun, undeveloped, rustic, clean beautiful beach. With its lack of hotels and tourists, we were often the only people there which makes it our very own private beach (or so we like to think).

Isla Holbox- This was by far my favourite road trip of the year. Isla Holbox is one of the most incredibly beautiful, peaceful, relaxing places I have ever visited. I really want to keep it a secret, any development on this little piece of paradise would be a crying shame, I want it to stay the same forever. I am dying to return, it's a place that gives me chills, sets my heart aflutter and makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. Holbox wins my "Trip of the Year" award, congratulations tiny island!

There you have it, a sampling of the Canucka family's life in 2008. There were more adventures of course, we had some incredible experiences, this is just a tiny peek into what kind of trouble we got into this past year.

I've got a "to visit" list ready to go for 2009, can't wait to share our new experiences with you! We're hoping that we'll be able to hit Vallodolid, Bacalar, Majahual and Sian Kaan, all pretty easy road trips from here. Dream trip would be the chance to visit Campeche or Chiapas and if all goes well we'll make the journey to Hubby's home town of Puebla this year (though we won't attempt the 24 hours of driving!)

A big special thank you to all my readers for hanging in with me in 2008, I truly appreciate all the support and comments, the new friends I've made and the adventures I read about in all your blogs. I wish you all an incredibly Happy New Year and may 2009 put the wind at your back, the sun on your face and sand between your toes.

Much love, see you next year,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"New" Beach, Punta Bete

Our usual Sunday routine is to get up, have some coffee, give some breakfast to da kid and decide which beach we're going to head to. Normally it's a "Puerto Morelos or Isla Blanca" discussion, but this past Sunday I was desperate to investigate some place we had never been before. After some simple Googling, I set my mind to Punta Bete, hidden away between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. There are no signs announcing this beach, we knew we would need our eagle eyes to catch the entrance, but we finally managed to spot our turnoff and down the rickety road we went. A few back and forths and turnarounds later we finally found the public beach access beside the fancy schmancy "Azul Fives" hotel. We knew there were beach clubs back there somewhere, and just wandered down the beach past the hoity toity tourists until we found "Los Piños", a rustic little place where we could pitch our umbrella and settle in.

Now, I am a "glass half full" kind of girl and Hubby is the exact opposite. The first words out of his mouth were "Esta fea, no?" ("It's ugly, eh?"). Hmrph, no respect for the goddess of the sea and beach. It may not have been the best spot compared to some we've been to this year, but it was clean and the water was blue and I thought it was a lovely place for the day. The waves were more intense than I expected and the shore was rocky, not exactly a swimming spot, Max didn't even go in the water. Hubby made it in with his snorkelling gear, but it was so rough the water was really turbulent and he said he couldn't seen anything for the silt. I made it up to about my knees before the waves and the rocky bottom chased me out. Los Piños may have been a public beach club, but it was certainly more expensive than most local places, 120 pesos for a small ceviche is robbery and they wanted 200 pesos for us to sit under a palapa to eat. (Can I say "hrmph" again?)

Anywho, we managed to suffer these horrible tragedies (yes, that is sarcasm, it wasn't THAT bad) and enjoyed our day. I saw more than my fair share of thong-clad bottoms, yo, big macho dude, if you are going to wear a teeny thong, DO NOT BEND OVER to collect shells in front of my face, I don't need to know you that well (I'll spare you that picture). I don't know if we would go back to that particular spot, combine the waves, the rocks and the very "special" tourists from the hotels and it doesn't add up to the beauty of other beaches we've visited this year. (I honestly saw a woman snap her fingers at the beach waiter to come and turn her chair a few degrees, what is with people, she was younger than I am and certainly capable of turning her own damned chair!)

Anywho, on that happy note, ahem, here are some pics of Punta Bete, Quintana Roo....

The one place I saw people managing to get
past the rocks for a swim

The seaweed covered rocks all along the shore.
Quite pretty actually, the seaweed was soft to the touch
but looked like it was alive, fun stuff (though slippery!)

Tidal Wave!!!! Run for your life!!
(I really like this pic, I can feel it moving)

Fancy Schmancy Hotel Guests
(yes, he is wearing a white speedo, designer shades, has coiffed hair
and he brought his own easel. Ahem, I'm all for art
but this guy made me giggle and roll my eyes a little)

The less than fancy Los Piños Beach Club
(200 pesos just to site on those plastic chairs? Pshaw!)

Gymnastics on the Beach
(Max can defy gravity when he really puts his mind to it)

Hubby's world turned upside down and all
he can do is bury his head in the sand

A pretty beachy vista

I took a little 360 video for you (I'm trying to collect 360's of all our beach visits, you can see some of them on my youtube page). It's near the end of the day and the waves have subsided, they were much stronger earlier. (If you look closely, you can see a nice little thongy butt in there somewhere!)

There you have it, our new discovery though it's probably the last time we will visit there. I think I'm becoming a bit of a beach snob, though I prefer the term "aficionado". I feel like I am back in the wine tasting rooms of my past, "Nice aroma, good legs, but a little rough on the finish". I've got to develop my beach rating system, categories to include cleanliness, swimmability (is that a word?), view, feel of the sand, density of people, proximity to decent bathrooms and facilities and overall vibe. Hmmmm, maybe there's a book in there somewhere.....Nah, I'm far too lazy and would just go to the beach instead of working on it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cancun Christmas Fair

Hello all, sorry for being MIA, we've been holiday busy and crazy around here. To summarize, Christmas Eve at home just the three of us with Costco catered dinner, the 25th with bestest BritFriends for a traditional English affair, a little bit of beach and a little bit of the Cancun Christmas Fair. Max and I still have a week of vacation left, the trick will be entertaining him with no money, our pockets are empty after last week!

Here are a few photos from Max's first trip to the fair. I had to take a deep breath and relax and embrace the idea that it was not going to be the nice, safe clean event that fairs are in Canada (haha, I know, country fairs are not notoriously clean or safe, but in comparison.....). We went early to avoid the drunken crowds and were glad to be out of there before 9:00, we started to see some stumblers and roustabouts in the crowd and the police had started to arrive in force. I was disappointed that they started the fair so late, I was really hoping they would be open for the kids during the day but alas, 6:00 was opening time so managed to get a few hours in before it became a scary place.

First thing you see on arrival, all the beer tents.

Next thing (naturally) were the lovely bathrooms. Three pesos
and an order to not waste water.

Food was everywhere but not a lot of variety. Hot dogs,
hamburgers, churros, tacos and french fries. We stuck with the
churros, the flies made anything else a little less than appetizing.

Max played a couple of games but alas,
did not win the Bimbo Doll.

Nice display of cheap prizes for suckers like us.

Best part? Free rides for the kids, whoohoo!

Max on his Spidercycle

Superior, high tech safety standards.

We skipped the freak show but I had to have a photo.

Me and my baby on his first bumper car trip. My
first bumper car trip with no lap belts or shoulder restraints,
only some minor heart attacks trying to keep his face
from becoming part of the steering wheel.

All my sarcastic, cynical comments aside, we did have fun and Max wants to go back. I had one good "adult" ride, a spinny one that I loved and wanted more of but poor Hubby had his hands full with Max and didn't take any photos, dang it, I look good upside down.! It was even more thrilling knowing that the ride could fall apart at any minute! The fair is on until January 11th if any locals are up for some adventure.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why I Choose to Live Here

So simple really. Here's a picture of my dad on Sunday, in my old hometown of Windsor, Ontario...(Hi mom and dad, wish you were here and glad I'm not there, see you soon!)

Now here is a photo of where I was on Sunday, Isla Blanca just outside my new hometown of Cancun.....

The choice is easy. I'll take my white Christmas in the form of powdery sand and the foam of the waves...which would you choose???

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

6th Folder, 6th Photo Meme

I'm jumping on the meme bandwagon here, a lazy post idea from Wayne on Isla. The dealio is to choose the 6th photo folder and the 6th photo within that folder and tell the story.

Strangely my 6th folder is titled "California Wedding" and yet the 6th picture is not in California, nor is it nuptial in any way. This here is "Mimi in Milk Box"......

Mimi (formerly known as "Guest Kitty") is actually the next door neighbour's cat, but she spends more time at our house than her own. She's a lovely little girl who upon entering our house will a) find the food, b) beg for food if none is out and c) destroy something. She's getting quite chunky what with her double feedings! She's an odd one, at 7:30 every night she cries at the door to go home. Not a minute sooner or later, she's got her inner clock all set. The neighbour knows she's here a lot and has apologized, but really there is nothing to apologize for, she's a part of our family too. We were actually really annoyed last night when our landlord told us the neighbour had to leave town for a funeral. They didn't tell us! And apparently they didn't leave any food out for Mimi either as she has been chowing down here like there is no tomorrow. We've decided to keep her inside until the neighbours get home, 7:30 demand to leave or no. All they had to do was tell us they were going away and we would have gladly taken care of business for them, watching their apartment and feeding Miss Mimi!

At this very moment Mimi has once again trashed the Christmas tree and eaten all the food out for my boys. Good thing she's darned cute!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Cancun Company Christmas Party Classic

Saturday, last day of work for two weeks and the company Christmas party all in one day? Fantastic! Made this Canuck very, very happy indeed! As per tradition, we gathered all the students in the lobby to sing Christmas carols and in keeping with my own personal tradition, I wore a tinsel crown and made myself into a dancing fool. Good times, good times. Let the holidays begin!

The company posada (Christmas party) is a blast every year, the boss always picks a great place for it and the teachers let loose and get their dancing shoes on. This year we headed out on Caribbean Carnaval's Pirate Adventure, a booze cruise to Isla Mujeres. I've done this particular cruise a few times, but this year was quite a bit different. No tourists!!! The boat was packed but it was all local companies having their posadas. The difference? The entire night in Spanish, the crew relaxed and having extra fun with local jokes and the partiers embracing the cheesiness and really getting into the silly games and races and jamming the dance floor to capacity. I have never seen EVERY chair empty and the stage so full!

Of course, it wouldn't be a company Christmas party if I didn't find myself on stage for one of the silly games. I used to think I needed to be the center of attention, but I've realized I just need to grab on to any opportunity to do "something", anything, experience any opportunity handed to me. Why sit and watch when you can get on the stage and DO? I found myself the first loser in the big race and was ready to face my punishment. I got off pretty easy compared to some, they simply asked me to walk sexily up to the pole in the middle of the stage and well, do a pole dance. Rum punch really helped me out with this one (and 20 years of dance training). I put on my strut, grabbed the pole and went for a spin. The MC screamed "Stop, stop, stop!". I slid to the ground, he pulled me up and said "Is this what they are teaching at (insert school name here)? Quiero aprendir ingles! (I want to learn English!)". The rest of the night I found myself surrounded by strangers calling me "Tubo Canuck (well, my real name but I never post that here)!" or "Maestra de Tubo!". Ummm, I guess there are worse things to be famous for than making a fool of yourself at the company Christmas party!

I didn't take too many photos this year, I was too busy having fun, but here's a couple for you.

Xmas Tree on Arriving at the Island
(a little different than the trees back in Canada)

I Want to Sing and Dance!
(the pirates put on a great show)

Our Fearless Capitan

A Sea of Dancers Kicking it With Pirates

I've also got a video to share with you, the punishment of one of the other losers in the competition. Very traditional indeed (and I'm glad it wasn't me). Enjoy!

And that's it, a fun time was had by all. I rolled home around four a.m. and somehow found myself without a hangover on Sunday!! I had actually planned to write the whole day off, I'm way out of drinking practice, but I made it up and out of bed and got my butt to the beach yesterday. But that's another post.....ta ta for now!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

I've been asking Max what comes at Christmas and in typical little boy fashion, he says, "Santa!". When I ask him what else happens he says, "Snow! And Santa is going to bring me a fire truck." He makes me laugh whenever he says "snow", kind of an evil laugh really, the "Hell will freeze over before we live any place snowy kiddo" kind of laugh. But I encourage him to want to know about snow, telling him what it's like (without any of my usual swear words) and showing him pictures.

We got home from a ridiculously long day and he mentioned "snow" again so I googled "Toronto snow" and lo and behold, "Snowmageddon!" A big snow storm in my old hometown. Now, adding "-ageddon" to something implies that it's earth shattering, universe exploding kind of news, not just the first snow storm of the year, but the word took off on Twitter and voila, a disaster in the minds of computer junkies everywhere. I'm not saying it wasn't a bad storm, but sheesh, I remember worse and we survived and there was no Will Smith jumping in the save the day.

Watching the video of the storm with Max I was having fun finding answers to all his "but why?" questions.

"Why did the car have an accident?".
"Because it was very slippery on the road and he couldn't stop."
"Like at the pool?".
"Yes Max, just like the deck of the pool. Except it's minus a bazillion degrees and when you fall you get wet and cold and the odds are you'll land on a big $%@$#5 chunk of ice and bruise your a$$ for a week".

"Why are they wearing those clothes?"
"Because it's REALLY cold Max."
"Like in the movies?"
"Yes, just like the over air conditioned movie theaters Max, exactly the same. Except your $%@$# nose could freeze off."

"Why is he putting salt on the road?"
"To make the ice go away and make the roads less slippery."
"Salt is good."
"Yes, salt is our friend. Especially on the rim of a fishbowl sized Margarita."

Let's just say I'm happy to be telling "In my day" snow stories instead of actually living them. Hopefully one day we can put Max on a plane by himself and send him to my parents house to see winter. I'll happily stay home and guard the house and make sure the beach is alright, I'll save my visits to Canada for the good ole summer time thank you very much.

Sending warm thoughts and virtual sunshine to all of you stuck in the snow and slush, may you find a fireplace, a hot toddy and someone to snuggle with tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Monsters Under the Bed- Aluxes Version

For months now we've been fighting the monsters under Max's bed. I thought we had it licked after De-Monsterizing, but the big bad uglies have reared their nasty heads and are putting a damper on our nights (and mornings and afternoons now). Max is convinced that there are not only monsters in his room, but the monsters have started to appear in our bathrooms and most recently at his school.

Last week he was VERY insistent that he had seen the monster outside his classroom. So insistent that he told the same story over and over, exactly the same details every time. I got called in to the school to discuss the story, as unfortunately his monster is naked and he thought he would describe him in great anatomical detail to the whole class of three year olds. I can't even tell you how many times I had to stop myself from laughing as he described "and his penis was hanging out as he ran around and I saw his bum with no clothes on!"

Yesterday as Max was walking into our bathroom and talking a mile a minute, he stopped dead in his tracks and went silent. He backed slowly out of the bathroom and whispered to me "The kid monster is in there, shhhh." Gave me the willies to be honest, it was truly like he had seen something, broad daylight or not.

Now here is where I start to get weirded out. In the past, he's only told us of a generic monster, no description other than "He's going to get me". Recently the description has become quite detailed, and always the same. "He's really tiny, like a kid, with no clothes on, he's blue and he's scary and he's going to eat my friends and get me in trouble". I asked Max how he walked and he immediately hunched his shoulders over like a little old man and started walking slowly with his hands reaching out, on his tippy toes but with his knees bent. As soon as he did that, my mind flipped to "ALUX!". He's seeing an alux, the mischievous little mythological creature of the Yucatan peninsula!

Now, before you all say "You're nuts!", I'll say it first. Ok, maybe not nuts, just open minded and willing to look to the supernatural, especially in this land so full of history and legends. Legends have to come from somewhere, right? Why couldn't he be seeing an alux? It's as good an explanation as any and far more fun than "repressed fear of abandonment, blah blah blah".

So what do we do? For starters, we've begun empowering Max over the monsters, encouraging him to address them (in a friendly way), introduce himself and ask their name, ask what they want and then tell them that this is our house and ask if they could kindly find someone else to scare. This is in addition to explaining to him that they are in his imagination and that he has control over what is happening in his mind. My parents are coming to visit in January and we plan on redecorating his room, making it warmer and more inviting (to humans, not monsters). Once we've redecorated, LisaLoveLoca has offered to do a cleansing of the room, in full shaman form to eliminate any residual bad energy. We're arming him with a flash light and a spray bottle full of "Monster Repellant" that he can spray at will (empty spray bottle, you know, imaginary spray for imaginary creatures). But mostly we are offering comforting arms, warm hugs and big kisses to soothe his scared little heart. I hate to see him so terrified, it's full on panic sometimes, it's enough to make me cry.

I guess I should be putting out some offerings to the alux too, mischievous little buggers like treats and I might as well appease them. Heck, we're going to put out milk and cookies for Santa, some hay for the Three Kings, why not some sopes and tequila for the alux?

For now, I have accepted that Max will sleep with me for a while, we cannot bear to see him suffering such horrible night terrors. We're hoping it's a phase that will pass and that with all the work we are putting into it, it will pass sooner rather than later.

Ok, Mr. Alux, leave my baby alone ok? He really doesn't need your help in causing trouble, I think he's one of your kind already. Adios!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Posada Season

One of my favourite things about living in Mexico is the posada season. It's much like Christmas/Holiday party season, with a few uniquely Mexican rituals thrown into the mix. For office posadas, of course there is the typical "drink til you say too much to the boss" aspect, but add into it the ponche (Christmas drink of Mexico, plays the same role as egg nog in other countries), the piñata and the "pidiendo posada" song and it's a different matter.

Saturday was our first posada of the year, this one without any fun alcohol as it was for Max's school, but I'm telling you, a little rum in the punch would have gone a long way. We arrived at the "jardin de fiesta" ("party garden") around 4 o'clock and set Max free with his friends to play in the bouncy house, the climbing equipment, the soccer field, the basketball court and to just enjoy the general chaos that forty kids under 5 can create. We set about chatting with the other parents, soothing the owies that happen with the inevitable collisions and waiting for the big show. I do love Max's school in this respect, they always have the kids singing and dancing to real choreography, costumes and the whole shebang. It's like bonus education in the entertainment industry. Max's class did two songs, "Navidad Rock" and "Feliz Navidad", rocking it out in grand three year old style. I took some video, but won't be posting it as Max decided to take a nose picking break in the middle of one of the songs which really ruined the beauty of the moment. Well, not ruined for me, I thought it was hysterical, but I'm guessing no one else really wants to see that.

After the big show, the winners of the piñata contest were announced and the kids commenced with whacking the crap (candy) out of the best ones. Once all the candy was collected and the tears dried of the kids who weren't aggressive enough to collect fistfuls of sugar, it was time for Santa Claus. Of course, time for more tears for the little ones who were completely terrified of the white bearded guy. Max has no such hangups and loudly announced to Santa (and everyone else) that he was "un niño bueno" (a good boy) and that Santa was going to bring him "un camion de bombero" (fire truck). Gifts and commercialism out of the way, candles were distributed and we were split into two groups for the "pidiendo posada" portion of the event. Basically it's a recreation of Mary and Joseph asking for shelter with baby Jesus, the "no room at the Inn" thing. As is the custom, half the party goers were sent outside and half stayed inside, all holding candles and the lyrics sheet. This is one of those songs that is familiar to everyone, though no one can ever remember the words (or sing it very well, it's a tough song!) Once the "peregrinos" ("pilgrims or travelers") were welcomed in again, we set about eating a fine (though child like) dinner of spaghetti, hot dogs and tamales. The kids were still running wild, now pumped full of sugar and treats, tired and hyper and certainly not willing to leave. Of course the parents were more than ready to go so the exodus of screaming, crying, sticky faced kids began and the night was sadly (blessedly) over.

Here's a couple of pics from the grand event....

Max and His Best Buddies and His Girl

Max and His Novia (girlfriend) Karyme

Little Performers Ready to Rock

The Winner of the Piñata Contest

Max at the Bat

"I've been a good boy Santa, now where's the goods?"

So, one down, several more to go. Tomorrow is the posada for Hubby's office, spouses not invited, booo. Saturday is the night of the big event for my work, it's ALWAYS a good time and I have no doubt that this year will be no different, we're off on a pirate booze cruise. I'm sure there will be a few more impromptu posadas, we seem to always get invited to some in the neighbourhood. Here's hoping that your holiday parties are full of laughs, good food and egg nog. Don't drink and drive!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Happens When You Ask for Blog Advice?

You end up writing about poop. At least if you ask for blog advice from LisaLoveLoca. I'm sitting at my computer right now with TOO many blog posts in my head and nothing written. I've got ideas aplenty and zero focus. So, I ask LLL, "What would LLL do?". And she said "poop". And since I am feeling frivolous and silly, poop it is.

So, what can I say about poop? Well, number one (er, number two?) we all do it. We might do it a little differently and more frequently in Mexico though, especially if we haven't been taking our acidophilous. Ahem. (Yeah, I knew this would get messy). The softness of toilet paper was never much of an issue back in Canada, but here I find myself squeezing the Charmin, the derriere must be treated with kid gloves in the land of hot salsa. I think I've come to the point where I can identify the bacteria or virus or parasite by the characteristics of the poop, and I can self-medicate accordingly, may the goddess bless the pharmacy system in Mexico.

Having a kid has changed my attitude about poop too. I am no longer repulsed by the idea of being near someone else's poop. I recall several fantastic baby poops that I wish I had pictures of, the colours were outstanding. Several times since having a child, I've actually had my hands full of someone else's poop and I didn't even throw up! I know that Max was testing me, pushing me for a reaction when he pooped in my hand, but I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction, sorry buddy, no gagging from mommy today no matter how funny you think it is! I will admit that I am very pleased to not be dealing with poopy diapers any more, now it's just bum wiping or skid mark cleaning, my child poop contact has diminished immensely. Max will occasionally call for me to check out an incredible poop but who hasn't wanted to show off a particularly impressive movement?

Aside from my poop and kid poop, we've got lots of other poop in the house. Lizard poop is pervasive, looks like little raisins and can be found just about everywhere. Cat poop, oooof, got that too. With two regular cats and one guest cat, the litter box is a constant source of joy for me (NOT). I'm trying to keep guest kitty out of the house right now, for a little lady her poop packs a powerful punch (man I love me some alliteration!). Dog poop can be found in our garden, as well as larger lizard poop, perhaps the poop of an iguana. This morning I found poop on my car, I'm convinced it's bat poop, it's a different colour and consistency than most bird poop and I know the bats swoop around out there at night. I guess I need a poop CSI to come in and run it through the mass spectrometer.

So, there you have it, the post you get when you ask LisaLoveLoca for blog advice and stimulation. Poop, poop and poop. I guess you could say I am just a little full of shit today, but let me remind you, it was my shithead friend that started me on this movement. I guess LLL is working as my bloggy Ex-Lax today. At least she got the juices flowing!

***all apologies to anyone who was offended by the nature of this post. I place all responsibility directly on LLL and will direct any complaints to her, thank you very much.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Visit from a Long Lost Cousin

Back to reality today after a whirlwind of a weekend with my visiting cousin. Not only was it his first time in Cancun, but it was his first time meeting Max and Hubby and the first time we've seen each other in over 13 years! This is the cousin that I was closest to while growing up and yet in our adulthood we'd drifted apart. Actually, the whole family has drifted apart much to our dismay. We used to spend lots of time together, many family events with the whole clan, cousins, uncles, aunts and more and yet since Grandma died we haven't seen each other. I guess she was the glue holding it all together. I think it's time for someone to pick up where she left off., I'm thinking family reunion in Cancun!

It was amazing to be able to reminisce about things I have not thought about in 20 years or more. He reminded me of stupid things I did as a kid and I reminded him of the stupid things he's always done (haha). We talked about Grandma's recipes for poppy seed bread and tea rings. We talked about family "scandals" and shocking information about family members that only ever made it down to the cousins after the scandalous family member had died. We mostly talked about how great both of our sets of parents are. I love his mom and dad (my aunt and uncle of course), they are amazing people, very funny and warm and adventurous. Heck, his dad is 76 and still roller-blades, rides a motorcycle and windsurfs on the Detroit River! His mom is Jamaican and has a fabulous accent, I tried out my best impersonation of her when she is angry, the memory of her voice is reverberating through my mind today. Cousin said he has modeled a lot of his life after my dad, I didn't realize how much of an impact he had had on him. I was reminded that my parents were the "cool" parents, taking in any of the cousins that had been kicked out of their houses for varying reasons, living with us on the farm to "keep them out of trouble". Oh sure, like there wasn't trouble to be found out there anyway!

Cousin's trip was short and sweet, he returns to Puebla today to continue his own ex-pat adventures. I'm trying to convince him to start a blog, the man has some good stories! Max fell in love with him and I think the feeling was mutual. Cousin gave Max his first ride on a jet ski, nothing like a little first time adventure to plant lifelong memories in my boy's head! Cousin needs to come back to Cancun, we didn't get to explore nearly enough and I feel bad that we didn't get him to the ruins because of a nasty Sunday morning hangover. Sorry cuz! Next time.....

Here are a couple of photos of our time together in Cancun.....

Big Tall Cousin

Max's First Jet Ski Ride

Hubby and Cousin Post-Jet Ski

Cousin and Max Getting Along Famously

Sunset on the Beach Behind Ambiance Villas
(best beach in Cancun right now, bar none!)

I'm so happy we got to visit and play and hang out. Thanks so much cuz, please come again soon and get that blog going, will ya? Don't make me use your momma's voice.....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vultures in Cancun

No, not the aggressive sales person kind of vulture, the real live big big bird vultures. Big birds eating dead stuff in my neighbourhood! Max and I sat and watched them for quite some time this afternoon. They really didn't want to come down for their dinner after we arrived, they circled and sat on the roof watching us, definitely wary of our company. We moved to a spot where they couldn't see us and they started circling, just like in the cartoons. They would get closer and closer and then fly out again when a car came by. Tough to get a good photo of them. My zoom stinks, so the pics aren't that great, but I was so amazed to see these creatures in the middle of downtown, urban Cancun. I think I said "So cool!" to Max a hundred times. If it wasn't for the stink of the dead possum, we might have stayed a bit longer.

Spanish word for vulture: buitre

Playa del Carmen Photos

I am so behind with some of my posts, this was meant to go up last week! We took a spur of the moment trip to Playa del Carmen last Sunday to enjoy the beach and a little bit of window shopping on Fifth Avenue. We didn't last long on the beach, it was a bit chilly and the wind was whipping sand in our eyes so we wimped out and went for a walk instead of a swim.

For those who have never had the pleasure, Playa del Carmen (affectionately known simply as "Playa") is a popular tourist town about 45 minutes south of Cancun. The community is growing fast, it's changed a lot even in the five years that I have been living in the area. Many new hotels, restaurants and condo developments, it's a regular boom town. Fifth Avenue is the main strip in town, chock full of restaurants, bars and of course, souvenir vendors. It's a beautiful street really, even if you haven't got two pesos to shop with it's fun to walk around, people watch and laugh at some of the super tacky merchandise. The beaches in Playa really seem to vary, the erosion has gotten the best of them and they are in need of replenishing.

Anywho, this story is best told with photos, so here you go, a peek at Playa del Carmen....

Beach South of Shangri La Hotel
(notice how few people are out in that weather?)

Typical Vendor with all the Tchotchkes

Brightly Coloured Crap, I Mean, Merchandise
(I shouldn't be crude, a lot of the stuff is lovely
but most of it is crap, lol)

Los Novios
(I love this store, it has some beautiful Day of the Dead art)

Oh So Safe on Fifth
(Police get fun toys)

See? Fun Toys for the Police
(Santa, please send me a clown car police vehicle for Xmas)

The Fruit Ladies

Awww, Rainbow on the Beach

Our Last Stop, the Vulcanizadora
Something every tourist should hope to miss
(and yes, he was reading a girly magazine)

The Reason for the Vulcanizadora
(I just want to say "vulcanizadora" a hundred times,
love that word! Obviously it means "tire fixin' guy)

Our Playa del Carmen Souvenir

And there you have it, a glimpse of a lovely Mexican Caribbean tourist town. My only regret is not planning the trip ahead, we may have been able to meet up with the Playa bloggers, sorry Miss Heather and Miss Michele! We'll call ahead next time.

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