Thursday, June 25, 2009

Scottish Tourist Missing from Moon Palace

Missing: Julia Howard
(photo courtesy The Scottish Sun)

It's a mystery. A family from Scotland reports that 78 year old Julia Howard went missing at the Moon Palace resort on June 15th. She apparently left the pool area to retrieve a hat from her room and has not been seen since. The family states that the hotel and the authorities did little to help them until earlier this week when the news hit the press. In addition to a lack of appropriate response, the attorney general of the state of Quintana Roo made a completely inappropriate statement about the matter:

"The Quintana Roo AG, Bello Melchor Rodriguez Carrillo, was quoted by Focus Radio in Mexico as stating;
“The first presumption is that the Attorney General’s (Office) is against the family, they just had to take care of the management of this person, because we don’t know the clinical history of this person (Julia Howard), who may have mental deficiencies, (we’re) totally unaware of the physical health this person arrived in and this seems to be that the family, her (Howards’) son and daughter were in a recreational area in the pool area of Hotel Moon Palace, and when she said that the case was to return to the room, to find some things, and to join up again with them, and it seems that (she) left for a time, and as I said the people responsible for her, these guests (Howard’s adult children), which apparently they took of no great importance, continued to enjoy their holiday ” . (courtesy Dangers: CancunCasa)

It seems unlikely to me that the woman met with foul play, there have been no reports of ransom demands and no evidence of an attack or robbery, she simply disappeared. I would speculate (as dangerous as that may be) that she fell victim to a crocodile or an accidental drowning in the sea. There seems to be so little information that it is really difficult to guess what exactly happened. The family states that she was a healthy woman, perhaps she simply chose to disappear, stranger things have happened. The police and hotel staff are apparently now conducting an in depth search, utilizing marine police, mounted police and canine units to search the area.

Until such time as real evidence appears, my thoughts go out to the family of Julia Howard. I hope they find answers and something to bring them peace. I know many residents of Quintana Roo read this blog, please look at the picture carefully, more eyes searching may be of benefit to the investigation.

You can keep up with the news on the Trip Advisor Cancun forum or over at Dangers' blog (thanks to him for bringing this to my attention). Click here for today's article from Diario de Quintana Roo (Spanish of course).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ketchup. Er, Catch Up

Wow, can't believe it's been so long since I blogged, let's play catch up, see if I have some good excuses for not posting lately.

1. The Big Show- Every year Max's school does an end of year production in a theater, fancy costumes, lights, choreography and chaos. Last week we had a rehearsal on the stage during the week and the performance on Saturday morning. I always get so emotional at these events, I guess that's the curse of the parent isn't it? My little guy's class (Kinder 1) did three numbers, the first one was the English song and dance to "Heigh Ho" from Snow White. I personally think they could have picked a better song, "dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig" is a bit repetitive, but it was cute. Particularly since it seems most of the kids thought that the words were "I'm HOME" instead of "Heigh Ho", they sure belted out the chorus. The main event for Kinder 1 was their Yucatecan dance , they looked adorable in their traditional costumes and almost no one got hurt in the intricate choreography (yes, almost, Max did bang heads with some poor kid and four of the girls ended up in tears). For an extra special treat, a handful of fathers (Hubby included) did a dance to the "Mariachi Loco", I was almost laughing to hard to take photos.

Max and His Best Friend
(yes, they are the same age but look at the size difference)

Kinder 1- The Yucatecos
(To Max's right, your left is his "wife", he told me
they got married two weeks ago)

The Dads and Their Big Finish

2. The Great Outdoors- We've been getting out of the house a LOT. It has been hot, hot, hot, but the summer season always thrills me, time to get out to the beach and enjoy the breezes. After Max's rehearsal last week we made a last minute decision to go to Isla Mujeres (Wayne, I think I have a wrong number for you!) Max LOVES going to Isla as he gets to ride on the big boat. I was excited to see the "new" ferry (don't know how long it's been in service, but it was new to me!), it seemed to be a faster ride and I love the floor to ceiling windows that give a fantastic view of the Bay of Isla Mujeres. We walked up to Playa Norte and played on the beach all afternoon. Max made friends with a couple of kids who were selling chicles and they frolicked for hours on the giant sandbags that seem to be helping the beach come back. I met a lovely couple from Canada and their baby, and found it very interesting that three Canucks were communicating in Spanish (they were French Canadians and I lost my French years ago). Of all the beaches in Quintana Roo, I think that Playa Norte is by far the best swimming beach, clear shallow waters with almost zero waves, you can float forever!

The New Ferry to Isla

Max's New Amigo and his Starfish Friend

Jumping off the Sandbags
(What? You don't know that game?)

3. Social media junkie- Oh the addiction of Twitter! I've been "slacking" in my Tweets recently (much like my slacking in the blog department), just checking in once or twice a day. It's all Facebook these days! For a long time I barely checked my Facebook but recently my extended family has found their way on to FB and I have been enjoying myself immensely. After my grandma died, the family really grew apart, it's been at least 15 years since I have been in communication with first cousins and aunts and uncles, 30 years for some of them!! We've been exchanging messages and photos on Facebook and getting to know each other all over again. I think Grandma would be happy (though perhaps flummoxed by the whole internet phenomenon). So, sorry blog and Twitter, I'm currently a FB junkie enjoying some family time!

4. Work- My regular job is going great, I am digging my classes, but in addition to teaching I've been getting some writing jobs. This is oh so good and oh so exciting. It's little jobs here and there, not enough to quit the day job or even pay the bills, but anything extra right now is great, Hubby and I are still working on reduced salaries because of stinky swine flu. Don't get too excited, I'm not writing novels or in depth reports on anything of import, it's mostly commercial travel pieces, ad copy for folks selling all manner of travel related things. But, work is work and I'll take it where I can get it!

And there you have it, my big excuses for not blogging lately. Hopefully I'll get back in the flow of things this week, let's see if I can get some of this work out of the way so I can focus again. Hope you are all well, have a fab day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frickin' Mumble- Language Lessons

The language in our house is constantly evolving, a four year old learning new words and phrases everyday and the Canuck trying to improve her Spanish (and occasionally correcting Hubby's English). Max has been having a bit of a language explosion lately, but not always in a positive way. On the plus side, instead of whining and crying and throwing a useless tantrum, he's learned to say "Mommy, I'm frustrated, it's hard being a kid because (insert problem of the moment here)". I'm thrilled that he's learning to communicate his feelings, "Use your words Max!", the mood in the house is much nicer without the foot stomping and whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiines that can come out of a preschooler. On the other hand, he's far more of a mimic than I like, reflecting some of my own bad behaviour and using some of the more adult words that really shouldn't be coming out of his little mouth. It's hard not to laugh, I still get the giggles when I think of his outburst on the beach Sunday "Mommmmmmmy, where's my FRICKIN' goggles????" I guess it's better than using the real curse word, but I still don't think my parents are going to like it much. I have to stop myself from snickering when he expresses his frustration with another of my phrases "Fine! Just forget it! Never mind lady!" (he doesn't call me "mom" when he's mad, I am "lady", apparently losing my position in the family order).

On my end of the language learning curve, I'm fighting my way through the verb "gustar" and feeling like a four year old. It's one of those weird verbs that doesn't fit a regular pattern and at first it wasn't making much sense to me. "Te entiendo" means "I understand you". "Te quiero" means "I love you". But, "te gusto" means "you like me". Heh? "Gustar" literally means "it pleases me", so what I would consider the object of the sentence is actually the subject of the verb and this gets me twisted in knots. "Me gusta pizza", "pizza pleases me". I would think it should be "le gusto pizza" or "I like pizza", but oh no, they've got to mess with me! I still haven't found an easy to understand explanation of the difference between "por" and "para" either, both mean "for" and I just randomly choose one as I really cannot determine when to use which. Usually I'll just mumble it so it sounds like it could be either (mumbling the parts that I am not sure of is a tactic I use too frequently when speaking, too bad I can't mumble when typing). I find I am working more on my Spanish everyday, especially while using Twitter. I follow both English and Spanish tweeters and I tweet in both languages. I am sure that at times my Mexicano tweeple get a good laugh at my mistakes, but hey, I'm trying! I learn a lot by following Spanish tweeters and reading their blogs, it's a great way to flex those language muscles! Twitter is actually quite useful for language learning, I love it when I receive a correction from a follower, it's always done in a friendly way and I learn a lot.

In attempting to learn Spanish (or any language really), the internet is a vast classroom, some teachers better than others just like when we were in high school. The boring dry teachers and the witty and cool ones, finding the right mix of structure and fun can be difficult. Last week I stumbled on a set of very funny Spanish learning videos, I am not exactly learning from them (some of them are quite basic), but I am having a good laugh! I have to share this one with you, but fair warning, it's a bit PG-13 and not for the kiddie set!

So, what's your language learning goal for the day? How's that second language coming along? Que tengan un buen dia! (Have a great day!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hot Sunday in Puerto Morelos

The weather has been hot, hot, hot down here in the tropics, fine inspiration to head to the beach (like I need a reason). It's been a while since we were in Puerto Morelos, so off we went for some fun in the hot sun and the warm ocean. We played, we frolicked, we walked, we swam, we snorkeled a little and there were even a couple of moments of relaxation. Overall a good time was had by all. Here's a few pics of our day....

Puerto Morelos does NOT need the beach reconstruction,
the beach is wide and gorgeous for many kilometers

Sundays are big for families
(I loved this umbrella and their little circle of love)

Snorkel/dive boat
(with a wee pirate attempting to sneak aboard up the rope)

Max practicing his LandSnorkeling

My favourite shot of the day
Nestor the Amazing Beach Doggie!

We're all brown and toasty today and TIRED. Yeah, yeah, we have such a rough life I know. But hey, I work six days a week (er, part time, ahem), one day of rest is not enough! We are really looking forward to my parents' visit in a few weeks, we're off to an all inclusive in Akumal where we can relax and enjoy the family time together. One day in Puerto Morelos is just a practice run, perhaps we'll do another before the folks get down here, we want to be a in good form for vacation!

Hope you had a fantabulous weekend, what fun did you get up to?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mexican Junk Food

A few weeks ago I encountered an intriguing challenge on Twitter. Sher is an American living in Czech Republic and she set up the "World Blog Surf Day" , an event for expat bloggers everywhere. The rules are simple, write about "food", anything about food, what you love, miss, hate, find strange, anything at all and then link to the next person in the blog chain. I thought it sounded like a fun way to find new blogs and read about yummy stuff at the same time so I threw my hat in the ring. With 31 other bloggers from around the world, I'm sure there will be a great variety of delicious material to read, please check everyone out here.

So, food in Mexico. Well that's a pretty big topic and one I've been thinking about for weeks. I could have written about all the variations of "taco", the use of chiles, local Yucatecan treats or what I find in the grocery store. Instead, I chose to go with something near and dear to my heart, junk food! I've always been a snacker, my tastes leaning towards salty and sour. Salt and vinegar chips and sour keys are two of the few things I miss from Canada. Luckily salty and sour are two flavours that are widely available here in Mexico, with an added twist. Spice. There is chile on just about everything (that's "chile" like chili pepper, not like con carne, I can't imagine my sour keys topped with ground beef).

Kids here grow up sucking on candies covered in chile or just dipping their fingers into bags of powdered chile and sugar. Popcorn is covered in chile sauce. Even the healthy snackers put chile sauce on their cut carrots and mango. Don't let it scare you away if you don't like spice, it's more like a "zing" in the mouth than a sweat inducing, tongue burning, crying on the throne the next day kind of flavour. A little sour, a little sweet, think Chinese plum sauce with an extra kick.

Just a small sampling of the salsa aisle

The chips are much spicier than in Canada. But we still add salsa!

My personal addiction, Skwinkles! Mmmmm,
sour candy covered in chile (droooooooling)

Rockaleta- Super Sour and four layers of chile!
Gum in the middle of course, mango flavour

Lucas Pelucas- One of a variety of strange
tamarind goo candies that kids love to suck
on. With chile of course!

It's not all sour and spicy of course, sweets are popular as well. Cajeta (burnt goat's milk that comes out like caramel) is used in a lot of recipes, eaten straight out of the jar and used in candies too. Obleas are extremely popular, not my fave by any means, reminds me too much of taking communion, if I am going to snack, it's going to be sinful!

Obleas- The sweet communion wafer
(Are the women on the package trying to tempt us?)

And of course there is chocolate. Sweet, sweet chocolate. Living in the land of the Maya (inventors of chocolate according to some sources), it would be a crime to not eat at least a little chocolate every week. You know, just to stay on the good side of the Mayan gods. Hot chocolate is a Mexican specialty, thick and rich and somehow, you guessed it, a little bit spicy. Bubu Lubus are a favourite of mine, a slab of marshmallow and a smear of red jelly covered in chocolate, sickeningly sweet and divine, I can only eat a little at a time.

Carlos V- Popular Mexican milk chocolate bar
(the fine print says "Dare to be king",
but I'll be chocolate queen if I must!)

So there you have it, a small taste (sorry, couldn't help myself) of the packaged, mass-produced yumminess (crap) that I love. This doesn't even touch on the incredible variety of candy and snacks that are found in each region of Mexico that are hand made with love and not in a factory, camotes from Puebla, ate from Morelia, Michoacan or chongos Zamoranos. Next time you are in Mexico, don't reach for the Mars bar at the tienda, try something new and exciting, you might just find yourself with a taste for sugar and spice! For those of you without a ticket in hand, Mexgrocer has a decent selection of Mexican treats available for order online.

Now, in keeping with World Blog Surf day etiquette, I invite you to check out Leigh's contribution at "The Future is Red: Traveling the World One Day at a Time" in Argentina. Provecho, bon apetit, enjoy!

(If you would like to keep up with World Blog Surf Day on Twitter, please follow Anastasia Ashman,
an American cultural producer based in Instanbul, and a creator of Expat Harem, the anthology by foreign women about modern Turkey. She'll be tweeting about all the participants and will be making her own contribution to the event.)

Cancun News Bites June 12, 2009

Just a few tidbits of news that may be interesting to tourists and locals alike. Happy Friday!

1. Beach recovery dates set- "Mexicana de Dragados S.A. de C.V", the Mexican branch of Jan de Nul (the company who originally did the beach recovery in 2006) is set to begin work on July 15 on rebuilding the beaches of Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. The project is slated to take 151 days at a cost of 773 million pesos, with a ten year maintenance plan. No word yet as to where they will be starting, I will keep you posted when I have any details about which areas will be having work done and when. (Source: Noticaribe)

photo courtesy Novedades (Sipse)

2. Fire in Casa Maya- There was a small fire in the Casa Maya hotel yesterday in the early evening. A electrical short in some machinery is said to be the cause. Guests were temporarily evacuated to the beach, but there is apparently no damage to the guest areas and no one was injured. (Source: Novedades de Quintana Roo)

3. Occupancy in Cancun and Riviera Maya reaches 50%- After the "infodemic" of swine flu, the areas of Cancun and the Riviera Maya suffered a huge blow, with occupancy numbers reaching devastating levels and thousands and thousands of employees found themselves without jobs. While people are still living on reduced salaries and hours, there is hope as the Cancun Visitors Bureau announced that occupancy levels have reached 50% this week. This is far below previous years during the same period, but it's a bright spot for those who rely on tourism to feed their families. Promotions to bring tourism back are being implemented by both the government and private businesses, some amazing deals are to be found. (source: Noticaribe)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Buzz and Ziggy- Kittehs Done Growed Up

Ok, remember these little guys? This was May of last year when we first adopted our little brothers...

Ziggy (left) and Buzz (right)

And here they are now, just a year later.....

Ziggy (left) and Buzz (right)



Jabba the Buzz

Ummmm, yeah, so they've put on some pounds. They really ballooned after their neutering and when Max decided that they needed to be fed every time their bowl was empty. I caught him refilling and had to explain to him that they don't need THAT much food. Their exercise regimen is now his responsibility, the pulling of the yarn, the throwing of the ball, we must get these chubbas to shed those kilos! They're both really lovely cats, purry and soft and well, cat-like in all the good ways.

Please don't forget that not all animals in Cancun have an all you can eat buffet at their disposal. There is a huge problem of unwanted, homeless, sick and abused animals in the streets of Cancun and the state of Quintana Roo. If you are so inclined, please visit the site for RAP Cancun Animal Rescue and make a small donation or adopt a Mexican pup! I've also recently learned about Coco's Cat Rescue in Playa del Carmen, sounds like an amazing organization set to help the kitty population out. Take a moment to check out these great organizations and do what you can to help out, the fluffy little bundles will thank you forever!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cancun Beach Recovery Update June 9, 2009

Noticaribe is reporting that the Secretary of Tourism announced today that a company has finally been contracted to restore the devastated beaches of Cancun and Quintana Roo. The Mexican company "Dragados" has been selected to rebuild the beaches of Cancun, Playacar, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, with the project slated to start in fifteen days, for a duration of approximately four months. While visiting Quintana Roo last week, President Felipe Calderon pledged one billion pesos toward the project, though he offered no explanations of how the money was to be administered. The project is funded through a trust involving the federal, state and municipal governments, responsible for the initial operations and a ten year period of maintenance.

Since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, the beaches of Cancun and Quintana Roo have suffered greatly. In 2006 the original beach recovery program was implemented, though the suggested maintenance and erosion prevention measures were not taken and the beach was once again swept out to sea. The planning of this second attempt has been fraught with delays and impediments, from debates over which parties would pay for the work to environmentalists' concerns over the ecological effects. One thing is perfectly clear. The state is in desperate need of this program, with the negative press about Mexico and the resultant decline in tourism, it's vital for the beach to come back. Bring back the beach, bring back the tourists, bring back the jobs and get people working again. It's certainly not the only thing that needs to be done, but it is a high priority.

So, salud, cheers, let's hope it all goes smoothly, on time, on budget and without any hurricane interruptions. (Is my skepticism showing?)

Puppy Love

So perhaps cockroaches are not your cup of tea, how about puppies? Everybody likes puppies! You may recall that a little while ago I helped rescue a lovely dog I named "Princesa" from the parking lot where I work. I took her for shots and to get her fixed, but she was in heat so we had to wait for the surgery. I brought her to her new home and a few days later when I pulled into work, she was there in the parking lot. When I asked her new daddy what happened, he told me she had broken her leash the night before and taken off, he was as surprised as I was that she ended up back where we found her. He brought her home and realized a short time later that in her night of freedom she had managed to get herself knocked up (tramp!) She had her puppies last week so I went to pay a visit to the new mom today.

Princesa and her brood of five

I call him "Hedgehog"

Apparently this one is named "Max". At least according to Max.
(He/she just opened her eyes today, first of the bunch to do so!)

I wanted to eat this one, so I call her/him "Caramelo"

Smooshy faces of love

The Whole Cute Team

One kind reader has already offered to adopt one of these little guys, anyone else have a home for them? Five in total, don't know their gender, I do know that they are edibly adorable and their mom has an incredible temperament for a street doggie. Drop me some mail if you know someone looking for a pup, once they're weaned, they're all yours! I've been told it's actually quite easy to bring pets back to the states or Canada from Mexico, if you're coming on vacation what better souvenir than an authentic Mexican doggie?

Our Newest Pet

We still need to get a leash and give it a name, but here's the latest addition to the household.....

Look at those fuzzy wittle wegs! Who doesn't want to give him a snuggle? Oh right, ME, I don't want to give him anything except the sole of my shoe (except that I couldn't even bring myself to do that for fear that he would emerge bigger/stronger/faster and crawl up my leg and whisper terrible things in my ear). This is the biggest, nastiest cockroach I've seen in my home in almost six years here, thought he deserved a post in memoriam. Yes, he has gone on to the big drain pipe in the sky, thanks to an ever so brave (but oh so late) Hubby. R.I.P. Rey de las Cucarachas. And don't come back. Tell your friends we've got big shoes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reality vs. Fantasy- A Burger King Tale

Something happened to me on Friday that I've been stewing about. A situation arose, I chose a course of action and as soon as it was over I started rewriting the scene in my head with fantasies of how else it could have gone down. Part of me really, really wished I had done something different, but alas, upon reflection, I made the best choice for me and my character. Here's how it really went:

Scene: Burger King, day, woman (that's me!) sits reading a book while her son creates chaos in the play area. Tattooed gringo man enters BK and starts to approach woman. She realizes who he is and wonders what he wants, her heart pounding in anticipation of a confrontation.

Man (in an Alabama accent): Maam, I see you wearing the uniform for (insert my company's name here) so I know you teach English, can you help me out? My wife and I are trying to make a phone call back to the states, we're staying in a hostel and lost all our money, can you spare a few dollars so we can make a call?

Woman (calmly, hiding her incredulity and anger): Sorry, I've got nothing, just had enough to pay for my son's lunch.

Man (nervously): Ok, just need to find two freaking dollars.....mumble mumble

Man walks away, bothers other patrons in BK and finds someone willing to give him a few pesos.

the end

Now here is my fantasy about how I might have played it......

Scene: Burger King, day, woman sits reading a book while her son creates chaos in the play area. Tattooed gringo man enters BK and starts to approach woman. She realizes who he is and wonders what he wants, her heart pounding in anticipation of a confrontation.

Man (in an Alabama accent): Maam, I see you wearing the uniform for (insert my company's name here) so I know you teach English, can you help me out? My wife and I are trying to make a phone call back to the states, we're staying in a hostel and lost all our money, can you spare a few dollars so we can make a call?

Woman: Really? Really? You're a tourist in a hostel but you know that the name of the company on my shirt is an English school in Cancun? And you mention a wife but I don't see her or a ring? Oh, and how about the part that I know who YOU are MIKE. What, you don't remember me? But you were in my apartment, back on Sayil! Yes, in my apartment when I wasn't there stealing my stuff, my jewelry, DVD player, my camera with my Belize pictures still on it, you must remember that, you scored that day! And you don't recall when we caught you robbing another apartment in the complex and the neighbours beat the crap out of you? No? Not ringing any bells you $%@#$%?

Man (with jaw on floor): But, but....uh,

Woman: And you don't recall being hauled off to jail? Or coming back to the same apartment complex to try to rob it again and being accused of assaulting the property manager? Oh, I remember you quite clearly MIKE. And I know you are a wanted man in the USA aren't you? The police told us you were wanted in connection with a methamphetamine operation but they couldn't do anything. Love the Hell's Angels tats by the way. And gee, let's see, you're in Mexico illegally too, or did you get an FM3 permit to beg and scam people in restaurants? Hold on for sec while I call my friends in immigration.....

Woman kicks man in the nuts and ties him up with her belt as she calls her immigration friends into action. The friendly neighbourhood police officer shows up to help her out, holding Man down while they wait for the INM officers. INM shows up with the paddy wagon and promptly removes man from BK, thanking the woman profusely for her good deed in finding this illegal criminal in Cancun, telling her that he will be extradited immediately and sent to jail in the US for his crimes. The police, immigration officers and the woman shout "Hip hip hooray for justice!" and raise their large sodas in a toast.

the end

Well, the end of my fantasy. All the things that I could have said to Man are true, it was the man that robbed us years ago in our first Cancun apartment, he lived in the same building . I think he recognized me as he was making his pitch (LYING) to me, but he couldn't back down after starting, he took my "No" very quickly and walked away hiding his face. I know I did the right thing in just letting it pass, but man, the fantasy sequence (especially the nut kicking part) sure makes me smile! Sometimes I wish I was better at confrontation, but I think it was healthier (and safer) to just let this one pass. Too bad, he really deserves that kick!

What would you have done?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

El Fish Fritanga- "Secret" Cancun Restaurant

Cancun's hotel zone is chock full of restaurants, from American chains to those fancy schmancy high end places that we've never set foot in (fine dining at tourist prices is not in our budget). Hidden away between the white linen/thirty dollar appetizer establishments is a little known place called "El Fish Fritanga" (their website needs some help, but wanted to share it with you anyway). From the outside it doesn't look like much, but locals know that a few stone steps lead to a lovely little outdoor garden set on the lagoon.

Here you'll find a great selection of seafood, from the 10 peso "pescadallas" (deep fried fish tacos) to the special Mayan style "tikin xic" fish (prices vary by season), anyone who loves "mariscos" will find something to suit their tastes. I'm quite fond of their "dedos de pescado" (fish fingers), always fresh and delicious and at around 50 pesos, a bargain. Hubby usually goes for the ceviche (ok, he goes for ceviche wherever we are, he's got an addiction), though yesterday he mixed it up and ordered the "camaroncillas" (deep fried shrimp tacos). I snuck a little bite and had to restrain myself from eating his lunch too. Max was busy playing on the climbing toys (a big reason we like the place, Max can run himself silly, play on the swings and slides while we chat over a couple of cold cheladas/micheladas) so didn't eat much of his seafood soup, but it was very yummy and made on the spot, no old soup at El Fish Fritanga.

Aside from a beautiful location with great views of the lagoon, El Fish Fritanga always, ALWAYS has great service. The wait staff is attentive without being intrusive, we never have to chase them down when we need something and they keep an eye out for our wandering boy, making sure he doesn't get too close to the edge of the lagoon and find himself being eaten for lunch by the crocodiles. (Crocs usually don't come out until late afternoon, early evening, but we're careful nonetheless!) While most of the clientele are local folks, we saw a few glowing white/lobster red people that were definitely tourists and they were treated very well by the English speaking staff. They all had smiles on their faces and I heard a few "Wow, delicious!" comments while chasing Max around.

The Deceiving Street Entrance
(doesn't look like much from here!)

The Secret Garden

Mmm, Micheladas and Cheladas....

El Fish Fritanga (view from the marina dock)

View of the Lagoon from the top of the Stairs

Next time you're in Cancun, I hope you make an effort to find this little hideaway, I don't think you'll be disappointed. They're open from 11 am until 8 pm, seven days a week, located on the main street, Kukulcan, at km 12.5, next to La Europea, close to the police/fire station and Kukulcan mall. Provecho!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This and That and the Other

I've been feeling rather uninspired lately, no big news, not much of anything exciting going on, so here are just a few random thoughts and things and stuff that have been running around in my mind.

1. Max has just finished his final exams at school. I drilled him on all his English stuff and he knew it cold, but his English teacher said he couldn't name some of the animals. He knows them, he just didn't want to tell her. I think he thinks she's dense, "Well duh teacher, you don't know? Well, I'm not going to tell you!"

2. Car troubles. The "service engine soon" light has been on in the car for ages and ages and we've had to ignore it ($$$). Last week the car started to make a sound like "squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaal squeal squeal squeaaaaaaal" when driving so we thought it would be best to get it looked at. 2000 pesos got us oil/filter change and a few other goodies, but alas, the squeal was a result of the dying brakes. So, off to the brake place today for 1500 pesos, hopefully that will allow the neighbours to get their hearing back. Of course, the original mechanic says we've got to overhaul a whole bunch of other things, but they can wait, brakes seem to be an essential part of the machine, any other problems won't lead to us flying off a bridge into the abyss. (Ok ok, not many bridges or abysses (abysi?) in Cancun, but allow me my literary expression please!)

3. Work (my "real" work, not playing on the internet "work") is going very well. Still working at a reduced rate of pay, but continuing to love my job. Friday I'll be running a workshop, training the other teachers. I'm excited about it! I'm secretly calling it "The Grammar Hammer: How to Pound Verbs into Thick Skulls".

4. With the parents coming to visit real soon, I have continued looking for the perfect escape with them. I am really leaning towards Holbox, but want their opinion on it. I've been calling them and calling them and haven't been able to contact them for about five days! Dad works (worked?) at GM World Headquarters, what do you think the chances are he ran off with the petty cash and went to Vegas? (About 50/50, haha). Just kidding Dad but hey, give me a call!

5. Puppies! You may recall some time ago that I had helped to rescue a pretty little street doggy named Princesa. I had taken her to the vet to get fixed but they couldn't do the surgery as she was in heat. I took her to her new home with a co-worker and said we could take care of the spaying in a few weeks. A few days later I pulled into the parking lot at work and there she was! I asked her why she was there but she just looked at me lovingly and wagged her tail, very uncommunicative. I got inside and found her new "daddy" who told me she had broken her leash the night before and took off. Somehow she found her way back to where we had found her. Cut to this week. DoggyDaddy announced that Princesa/Sasquatcha had had puppies. Little tramp went and got herself knocked up during her night of freedom. Watch this space for pictures and pleas for adoption!

And that's about it. Or, that's about all I have the focus for today. Feeling quite scattered and loopy, sorry for the randomness of this post. Have a fab day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cancun Weather- It's Rainy Season, Relax

It was bound to happen, the emails have started to arrive from people who are desperately checking their favourite weather sites to see how things are shaping up for their upcoming vacations. It's that time of year people, the forecasts are always going to call for rain, whether (not weather, haha) it's accurate or not. It is rainy season after all, the humidity is high, the ocean is heating up and we're bound to see a little of the wet stuff.

(Here's the part where I cover my a$$ and remind you all that I am NOT a meteorologist, nor a scientist. Heck, I'm not an expert of any kind, just sharing what I've experienced in the hopes of easing some stressed out travelers' minds....)

Generally at this time of year we'll see forecasts full of ominous black clouds and fancy numbers indicating the likelihood of rain and storms. The reality is usually that we'll have hot and sunny weather during the day and a little rain at night. Some showers might blow in during the day, but they'll pass quickly, you probably won't even get out of the pool and it will likely feel quite refreshing after the scorching heat of summer. This past weekend for example, the forecasts called for rain, rain, rain. We were out and about and enjoying ourselves at the Andalucia ranch, nary a drop to be seen all day long, forgot all about the weather reports. The exception of course is in the event of a hurricane, a totally different animal than a little shower, but we'll have a few days notice of that kind of weather event heading our way.

So, I wish I could promise you totally sunny skies for your trip, but alas, I have no such power. I wish I could guarantee that the "quick shower" scenario is what you'll get, but my crystal ball has a crack in it too. All I can say is "relax, whatcha gonna do?" My best advice? Stop looking at the weather sites, hope for the best and find a way to enjoy a rainy day if indeed we get a little of the wet stuff. You don't have run away from a shower, enjoy the warm droplets of joy, play a little rain volleyball and have another shot of tequila, it's all good and it makes the flowers grow, there's as much beauty in a rain storm as a bright sunny day.

September Storm Rolling in To Isla Blanca
(we didn't bother to go home, we rode it out in the sea and it was lovely)

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...