Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Help for Haiti from Cancun and Quintana Roo

The tragedy in Haiti has struck the hearts of everyone around the world. Organizations in every country are contributing to the relief effort and the kindness and generosity of humankind is clearly evident in the response to pleas for help. The local community in Cancun is doing their part in many ways, mostly through the local "Cruz Roja" (Red Cross) which has set up collection centers for donations around the city and at their main location. The word is being spread through the Cruz Roja event page on Facebook, please join if you feel you can make a contribution. I've been receiving messages with lists of supplies needed and a plea for assistance in packing the boxes to be sent to Haiti. We've contributed medicine and medical supplies and today Max and I went to the Cruz Roja to spend the afternoon doing whatever we could do to help. Max was eager to participate, he jumped right in filling boxes and counting their contents, feeling very proud of himself to be working alongside the firefighters. If you are in Cancun, please, donate an hour or two or sixteen to the Cruz Roja to help the people of Haiti! They need people daily from 9 am to 9 pm.

Further south in Quintana Roo, "Hope for Haiti" events will be happening this Sunday, January 24th, 2010 in Akumal, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos. "Hope for Haiti" is a grassroots effort being organized to raise funds specifically for Doctors Without Borders to assist in the disaster relief in Haiti. With music, food and entertainment, all proceeds will benefit those whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake in Haiti. Locals and visitors, please do what you can to attend these events, just click on the links for all the details. If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute to the cause, please click here to make a donation to "Hope for Haiti".

Back to the Beach

For a girl with a beach addiction, the last couple of months have been torture! Between health issues and cold temps, we haven't had any beach frolic time since November 22nd!! No wonder I've been miserable. Sure, I've run out to the hotel zone to catch photos of the beach recovery for work, but a short hour in my uniform is not the same as playing in my bikini for an afternoon. Yesterday the sun was out and it was warm enough for a quick trip to the new beach at Playa Delfines in the hotel zone, oh thank you Mother Nature! I picked Max up from school, made him promise to do his homework when we finished with the beach and dashed out to la playa to catch the last couple hours of sunshine.

The beach project is almost done, they should be finished in Cancun this week so I knew we'd have a wide stretch of sand. The work is currently behind the Solaris hotels, probably a kilometer away from where we were, but the pipes were still on Playa Delfines. No biggie, just toss Max over and make a little jump myself. There is a big ledge of sand near the water's edge, but it was scalable and Max had a ball scrambling up and down all afternoon, making sand angels, "Just like in the snow in Canada mommy!". Apparently the Christmas movies made an impact, he's never been to Canada let alone made snow angels.

Within ten minutes of being on the beach we had some excitement. The lifeguards started blowing their whistles like mad then made a beeline for the water. A teenager had got in trouble in the waves and was going down. Baywatch moment (without the ripped abs and great hair) ensues, they rescue the boy and drag him onto the beach. They pumped his chest for a minute, he vomited water and all was well. Good lesson moment for Max to treat the sea with respect and to be grateful to the lifeguards. We both went up and thanked the guards for their quick action and attention and they listed the rules of the beach to Max. Number one (I thought this was a good rule, but number one?), no wearing street clothes in the sea. The kid who went down was wearing JEANS. Number two, don't swim where no one else is swimming. Makes sense to me. Number three, ask the guards where it's safe to swim. Number four, don't drink and swim. This was in response to the second big whistle moment of the day when two idiots walked into the sea in their jeans hoisting their beer bottles over their head. They didn't understand why the guards kicked them out and said they would bring the cops down if they went in the water again. Overall, I was impressed by the guards and their attention and care to what was going down.

When the sun started to go down and the clouds started to gather, I got a chill and realized our adventure was coming to an end. Max insisted he wasn't cold, but he actually got up and left without a fight (a big deal these days). We walked up to the top of the hill, had a little kibi snack and were on our merry way home practice to our sums. An afternoon on the beach refreshed our bodies, minds and souls and we thank the goddess of the ocean for her perpetual ability to renew.

Now, mother nature, listen up, no more "nortes", we need our sun, sea and sand! Just look at that little boy's face, see what happens when you bring us nice weather?

Hotels in Mexico

Friday, January 8, 2010

It Came from the North

Normally we consider Cancun to be a tropical paradise, land of sunburns and heat stroke, but the winter months can bring us the dreaded "norte", cold fronts from the north that leave us shivering. Being a Canadian girl, you might think that the cool temperatures would be tolerable, it's not like we have snow and minus zero, but after a few years here the blood thins and the body just cannot accept that it is less than 75 F/23 C. This week has felt FRIGID, temps have gone as low as 57 F/14 C. I know, I know, we are hardly suffering like those of you where it's minus a million with piles of snow, but there are some things to keep in mind. Houses here are built to stay cool, there is no central heating, windows don't shut all the way and very few people have a wardrobe for what are really Canadian fall temps. Most of us are lucky enough to actually live in cement houses where we can snuggle up with a couple of pairs of socks and our loved ones under two blankets, but there are many in the country who do not have that luxury. Many folks in the small pueblas live in palapa style huts, nothing to keep out the cold temps. These people are often the poorest of the poor, they do not have the funds to go out and buy warm clothes or take precautions against the cold. This climate is dangerous for many, this week four people died in the northern states of Mexico because of the cold. (It's even colder up there than here, some states have been hit with temperatures below zero). So while I bitch and moan and shiver, I have to remember that we are certainly more fortunate than a whole lot of people.

The biggest problem in our house is trying to keep Max warm. This is a kid who loves to be naked, will not sleep under a blanket and really hates wearing a jacket. We have to wait until he falls asleep and then smother him in sweat pants and long sleeve shirts, then all night long we pull up the blankets after he kicks them off. Max is such a weirdo, I don't know if he is just "being contrary", but we're freezing our butts off the other night and he slyly walked over and turned on the air conditioning! I can't imagine that he was actually feeling hot, but who knows, maybe his constitution is totally different than ours and he just doesn't feel it. Maybe he needs a little visit to Canada for a polar bear plunge, could be just his thing. I'll be happy when this norte passes and we can actually get some sleep around here.

Speaking of things that come from the north, my good friend Matt and his fiancee are in Cancun! I posted a while back about an online video contest and you fine folks helped out with the voting. Hurrah, thank you, he won the contest and I get visitors from Canada! We're meeting up with them for dinner tonight and I can't wait to see them. We should be spending more time with them this weekend, in between their jaunts to Chichen Itza and Xelha. I'm hoping that they're not disappointed in the weather we're having, though I suspect after coming from the bitter cold of Toronto that this feels like heaven.

Here's hoping you are warm and cozy wherever you are, I hope to heck this cold front passes and I can get back to sweating like a pig real soon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Want a Bionic Body!

Ok, ok, I've been MIA, I am sorry! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that good stuff to you all, I hope 2010 has kicked off to a good start for everyone.

Now, let's see, what's been happening around here. I think the biggest thing is that I just can't seem to get healthy and that is causing problems in so many other ways. Way back at the beginning of December I came down with a heck of a flu, off work for a week and sick for probably three weeks with a heavy cough. Near the end of my recovery, I had the "back incident" that knocked me out again. More recently I had a another scary health issue. I'll warn you, this might be considered "too much information", but heck, that's reality.

The Saturday after Christmas I woke up with a very sore breast (see, told you). The pain was constant and intense and I proceeded to do a little exam. I didn't find any lumps and just took some ibuprofen. Sunday I still hurt, then Monday came and the pain was almost excruciating. It was Monday that I found a lump, probably three centimeters in diameter and it really seemed to spring up overnight. By Tuesday the pain was intolerable and the fear of the big "C" was firmly planted in my brain so I took Max to a play area with nannies and got myself into the E.R.. By now the breast was red and hot, like someone had taken an iron to it (and that's pretty much how it felt). The docs checked it out, said it was a breast abscess and sent me home with antibiotics and pain killers and orders for a mammogram and blood work. The next few days were awful, the pain was horrid and I felt like I had a flu through my whole body. I stayed home by myself on New Year's Eve as I just couldn't bear the thought of going to a party and grimacing every time my bra rubbed the wrong way. The lump kept getting bigger and the pain kept getting worse until finally this past Sunday I started to feel some relief. I am still on the meds but seem to be on the mend, the lump has shrunk to about a centimeter and the pain has dulled enough so that I think I can actually tolerate the mammogram this week to see what led to the infection.

So I really haven't been healthy since November. This leads to depression (not the only cause, there are other things going on including the general holiday blues and some other personal stuff). I feel "meh". Just "meh". Add to the mix that the weather has been freezing cold and I haven't been to the beach in a month and I am just a big ball of "meh". I have got to dig myself out of this hole, get over the "meh" and get back to life. My new year's resolution has been to get healthy, start eating better (well, eating more often, I've got issues), taking my vitamins, switching from regular Coke to Coke Zero (a little thing to some, a big thing for this addict) and getting some exercise. So far, it's going ok, it's still a battle forcing myself to eat during the day, but I am trying! Once I get this whole boob thing sorted out, I'll start with an exercise routine and hopefully feel like my old energetic self again.

I think what I really want is to be Jaime Sommers, a bionic body would rock my world! Just think of what I could do. Always healthy and if something does go wrong, just twisting a screw or replacing a faulty wire would do the trick and I would be back to flying over the trees in a wink. Where oh where are the Oscar Goldmans of the new century? The Bionic Woman was awesome in the 1970's, just imagine what a bionic body would be like in 2010! Oh to dream.....I guess I'll stick to eating some apples and taking vitamin supplements since I am pretty sure my health insurance doesn't cover the whole bionic thing. Too bad.

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...