Mexican Ghost Stories: Bad Dreams

*Note: Suki the Mexican Poodle has surgery this morning! I also found a large lump on her lower back yesterday, which worries me. Prayers are welcome.*

This week, I’m posting various ghost stories that I’ve heard throughout my time living in Mexico. If you missed out on my last post, check it out here:

The Beach House

The Mirror

The Guestroom

Ok… here’s one that really creeped me out a few months ago.

Bad Dreams

My fiance’s brother, Darwin, has always been afraid of the dark. Even at the age of 22, he still insists on sleeping with the light on. He has his own room, while Jorge and his other brother share a second room.

About a year ago, Darwin began sleeping in his brothers’ room. (Jorge and Darwin each in a bed, and the other bro in a hammock.) One day, I asked him what was wrong with his room? Why wasn’t he sleeping there? To which he replied, “I’ve been having these awful dreams… and it’s because of that room. There’s just a heavy atmosphere in there. I can’t stand it.”

Right at that moment, my dog Suki walked over to the door of Darwin’s bedroom, sat down, stared into it, and began to growl.

Mexican Ghost Stories: The Beach House

One of the biggest cultural differences I’ve found between Mexico and the USA is that Mexico tends to believe more in superstitions and the supernatural. This is not to say that no one in the States believes in ghosts, nor that everyone in Mexico does! I will say that I have never heard of any of my American friends seeing a ghost, whereas numerous Mexican friends of mine have stories.

 

Over the next week, I will be posting some of the favorite ghost stories I’ve heard over my last 5 years here.

Here goes one that I heard a few months ago from Jorge:

The Beach House

My suegra is from a small beach town on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula called Chabihau, near Merida. She and her brother both own the house they grew up in, but today it has been divided into two separate houses (both of which are still under construction). Whenever we visit, we always sleep in hammocks in the larger bedroom.

Jorge pushing his little cousin on a swing right outside the beach house

About 4 or 5 years ago (before he met me), my fiance Jorge had brought some of his friends from Cancun to visit Chabihau. One night, Jorge, his friends and his cousins packed their things into their suitcases in preparation for leaving the next day. One friend had left his camera sitting out.

They were hanging out outside the house, when they saw the flash from the camera go off and the lights to the house suddenly went out. Being the wimps that they are, they freaked out, left, and slept at someone else’s house.

The next morning, they returned to the house only to find their suitcases opened and all their belongings strewn all over the floor of the larger bedroom, even though the door to the house had been locked. Back in Cancun, one of Jorge’s friends tried to reveal the photos from the trip… and they all came back white.

A bunch of guys with too much beer? Or a haunted Mexican beach town?

For more Mexican Ghost Stories, check out the following links:

Bad Dreams

The Mirror

The Guestroom

Suki the Mexican Poodle: Upcoming Surgery

What a trooper!

Remember the peeing issues my dog was having a few weeks ago?

It seemed innocent enough at the time, but a few days later blood started to show up in her urine. Talk about scary! Obviously our first stop was the vet, who gave her a shot and prescribed some strong antibiotics for the following week. That night, Suki started vomiting uncontrollably (8 times in one night! have to get a new rug…).

A friend highly recommended another vet, who I visited a few days later. She’s so popular, there’s always a looong line for a consult! They don’t take reservations.

She was so sweet. They ran some urine tests which all came back fine, letting us know that her kidneys and liver were working perfectly. The vet assumed it was just a urinary tract infection, and prescribed some milder antibiotics.

2 weeks later… no change. Suki even began to pee more frequently and would wake me up every 2 hours each night just to go out. (I finally just started leaving the back door open all night.) Even though she still has tons of energy and always has a smile on her face, I can tell she’s in pain… especially when she pees.

I called the vet, who asked to see her again to decide if she needed x-rays or an ultrasound. Turns out an ultrasound would be the best bet! So the following morning (yesterday) we went to get her ultrasound.

The doctor found a large stone in her bladder. It was scary to see on the screen, since it takes up an entire half of her bladder. (stone was 2cm x 2cm) He said she will definitely need surgery, since the stone is far too big to pass or break down. *sigh*

When asked what the cause might be, I was very surprised by his answer. Apparently, it’s not good to give your dog kibble every day!! Crazy! Actually, it’s pretty logical. Since dogs are carnivores, large amounts of carbohydrates can cause stones, mainly when there’s an existing genetic predisposition. Turns out kibble has lots of carbs. So from now on, it’s ground beef, chicken and tuna four times a week for this pup!

Her surgery is on Wednesday, so I’m a little nervous. Luckily it’s a common procedure and she’s young, so the doctor doesn’t foresee any issues. I can’t imagine how it must feel when this happens to a child! I’m already freaking out, and it’s just a dog, for crying out loud.

I Got My Man a Super Nintendo Part 2

Remember this from yesterday??

We moved the Super Nintendo to my house last weekend so Jorge could play while I cleaned. The landlord showed up with his 7-year-old son and his 2 daughters to check on some plumbing issues. The little boy heard the Nintendo noises, and we had a lovely conversation that went something like this:

Kid: Is that a Wii inside?

Me: No, it’s a Super Nintendo.

Kid: Playstation 3?

Me: No… it’s one of the popular ones from about 15 years ago… before Wii. An old Nintendo. From when I was a kid.

Kid: Playstation 3?

Me: No.

Kid: *blank stare*

Me: Why don’t you go play with your sister?

*sigh* What are they teaching kids these days?

P.S. The Super Nintendo is still plugged in at my house. My evil plan to make it all mine has worked. BWA-HA-HA-HA!

I Got My Man a Super Nintendo

For my fiance’s birthday/Christmas present, I bought him an old-school Super Nintendo off of MercadoLibre.com (the Mexican version of E-Bay!), complete with Street Fighter II, Aladdin, Super Mario World, and Super Mario Kart, plus a crazy-hard game called Prince of Persia (movie coming out soon) that my parents had gotten him. Needless to say, I’m psyched. I couldn’t wait to kick some butt on Super Mario Kart!!! (My sisters and I are pretty awesome.)

Suki the Mexican Poodle was psyched as well, despite her lack of opposable thumbs, which unfortunately made it impossible for her to beat me in the first Bowser’s Castle level of Mario Kart.

It works!

Just look at Birthday Boy’s excitement! Apparently, he can still play Super Mario World while blindfolded. Ok, we haven’t tried it blindfolded, but he does have craaaazy muscle memory from childhood! He knows when those troopas are gonna pop up.

"Finding the Right Taco"

Oh, boy! Do I have a treat for ya’ll today! This beauty rolled across my computer screen yesterday afternoon, and I have been dying to post it.

First, a little context: I work at a travel agency office. My department is in charge of writing all the texts that go on the website (hotel descriptions, destination info, tours, etc). My specific job is a Copy Editor. Since most of the writing is done by Mexicans, my job is to edit and correct their English before it gets put online. (I do this job along with one other American girl and a Brit guy.)

When someone applies for a job in my department, they have to write a sample text in English, to see if their English is up-to-par. They can write one page on anything they want. Literally, anything. These texts are then sent to us Copy Editors to judge.

Here’s a sample text from a hopeful job applicant that we got yesterday. (I’m only including the best paragraph!)

*Note: I’m not criticizing his English. Just… just read it. You’ll see.*

Here goes:

FINDING THE RIGHT TACO


“Gringa”, for those who don’t know, means “American Chic.. or Girl…” got it? And the term compares this dish with a really-hot-american-chic… I mean, with a GREAT RACK! So this type of Quesadilla + Taco (because it has a double layer tortilla with everything that you can put inside and lots and lots of melted cheese) is very popular at all those tacos’ stands or restaurants (probably you’ve tried one already) but what’s disappointing here is that these Gringas are not as lush and exuberant as the ones I’ve tried before… These are more like the kind of anorexic-with-few-rack-kinda-girls… So it has become a real adventure to try as many Gringas as possible, in hopes of finding the one that I can call my pretty-not-so-little-chubby-one! Cuz hell, I like ‘em big!

**Side note: This is a gringa taco, for those who aren't in the know.

Spring Break Cancun 2010! Woooo!

Aaaah, yes. It’s mid-March. The bugambilias and hibiscus are in full bloom. The birds are especially chipper. The sea breeze cools down the warm atmosphere. The air smells faintly of sunshine… and booze.

Yes, folks, it’s Spring Break 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. Us locals are soooo excited to watch the gringos locos get completely trashed, as they unfailingly manage to do every single year.

Cancunense boys will undoubtedly try to flirt their way through awkward, broken English in (surprisingly successful) attempts to chat up drunk sexy gringas.

The Hotel Zone will surely be filled with groups of Spring Breakers trying to jaywalk sprint across the streets of Party Center without getting hit by a frustrated taxista.

The public bus system will overflow with obnoxiously loud exuberant college students screaming at the bus driver to let them off NOW, unaware that the bus can only stop at bus stops, not just randomly in the middle of the road. (“Dude, what’s your deal?! My hotel was back there!!”)

Nightclubs in Party Center will sponsor over-the-top bikini contests (most of which are rigged, by the way… but something tells me that nobody really cares).

Groups of Gringos will wander around downtown Cancun, lost and asking for directions to Walmart and Market 28. If you don’t speak English, they may speak loudly to eachother in English about how ignorant you are.

The streets will echo with joyous cries of “Dude, I’m so f***ing wasted!”, “Where’s our hotel?”, “Spring Break 2010! Woooo!”, and “Ladies, this is THE BEST disco in Cancun! Just come in and see! Don’t walk away… wait! Ladies!”

So come on over, Spring Breakers! We’re ready for ya! Just be safe, be respectful of locals and spring breakers alike, and please… PLEASE… try to use your indoor voices while out and about. It’s embarrassing for the rest of us when you don’t.

Is Cancun Safe? YES.

Sorry guys, I had a more upbeat post planned for ya, but recent events in other parts of the Republica Mexicana made me feel the need to put in my two cents.

I’m pretty upset to hear about the issues in Ciudad Juarez and in Acapulco, since I have many dear friends in both cities. I’m sorry for the victims’ families.

I am very frustrated, however, with the bad rap Cancun has been getting in the past few years due to issues going on in other parts of the country.

Last year around this time, we went through a tough recession due to the outbreak of the swine flu (which never even reached Cancun), not to mention the fact that the States was warning tourists not to travel to Mexico. Unfortunately, they failed to specify which parts of Mexico, and innocent Cancun became the posterboy for dangerous destinations. Many of my friends lost their jobs due to irresponsible media coverage, and we still haven’t fully recovered.

This is ridiculous to me, since Cancun is and has always been a safe destination. When was the last time you heard about a tourist being kidnapped in Cancun? (no, not that girl who ran off on her own in January) Or a tourist being caught in the crossfire of a shootout in Cancun?

Sure, bad things happen to tourists in Cancun. I will be the first to admit it. Sadly, what the media fails to take into account is that most of these incidents are caused by the stupidity and/or drunkenness of the tourists themselves. Even when you go out to enjoy Cancun’s nightlife, you’re still safe so long as you make the right decisions.

You’ll be fine so long as you:

-travel in groups

-don’t leave your drink unattended

-don’t go off with people you don’t know

-don’t get personally involved in a drug war

don’t work in my office building

Still, this is basic safety anywhere in the world, not just Cancun.

Cancun’s Hotel Zone is, in my opinion, one of the safest places in the entire world. I never hear about anything violent happening there, and the entire city (police and government included) dedicates itself to ensuring that visitors can enjoy a safe and exciting vacation.

Keep in mind that all of this weekend’s instances were most likely drug-related, not just random acts of violence. That’s not to say that the victims “had it coming” by any means, but I will say that they were all probably targeted for a reason.

Also keep in mind that the Mexican cities experiencing violent acts this week are on the other side of the country from Cancun. If there were shootouts in LA and Houston, would you then be afraid to travel to Miami? Didn’t think so.

Why, Cancun?: The Hotel Industry

As many of you may know, I came to Cancun to study tourism. The huge resorts and great destinations fascinated me. They still do.

However, a few years of college internships at various Cancun resorts shed some light on many things. While I still love tourism and all that comes with it, I am sooo glad I chose a desk job over prostituting myself out to a hotel for 500 dollars a month at ungodly hours.

As another installment in my Why, Cancun? series, here are some of the unsettling, annoying, and often hilarious things I came across during my stint in the hotel industry:

-tourists walking around in designer bikinis while I was wearing a navy blue suit that never seemed to fit quite right

-tourists complaining that the beach was too small (this happened A LOT) Yeah… sorry about NATURE. Let me get right on that for ya…

-tourists complaining about the lagoon smelling funny (again… what is it you want me to do?)

-free lunch at the employee cafeteria!!!! Yay! Oh wait… leftovers from the tourists’ dinner last night? Thaaaaanks

-waiters stealing customers behind my back when it wasn’t their turn (hostess internship)

-tourists complaining that the maid had stolen their cash/iPod/jewelry… only to later find it hidden in some compartment of their suitcase they’d forgotten about (an honest lady loses her job because you’re an idiot)

-“How hard can it be to have a room ready?!?! Are you incompetent?” (Um, sir, check-in isn’t for another two hours. The maids need time to clean the rooms of the guests who checked out today) Aaaah, the reception desk.

-an irate women complaining that the all inclusive bracelets were unattractive (Well, lady, everyone else is wearing them and you can’t eat or even be in the resort without it soooo… not much I can do)

-Did you know that for every all inclusive bracelet that goes unaccounted for, the receptionist loses 200 dollars?

-tourists fighting over pool loungers (big debate over the validity of saving a lounger with a towel you placed there at 5 a.m. before going back to sleep)

-In Mexico, apparently “goggles” is pronounced “wooglays” (tried not to crack up over the phone while on the line with the lost and found department)

-Never forget that the hotel REMEMBERS the guests who steal towels/robes/slippers. It’s pretty embarrassing to have your bags checked on your way out of the hotel on your second visit. (funny to watch, though… )

-“You need to hire maids who speak some English.” Funny… actually we don’t because we’re in MEXICO. You’re the one visiting a foreign country.

-“Unbelievable! The maid knocked three times and I didn’t answer because I was napping. THEN, she had the nerve to just walk right into the room! I think she wanted to steal my stuff!” Yeah… they tend to just walk in there when they need to do turn-down service and you neglect to place the “do not disturb” sign on the door. Sorry that the lying thief was doing her job.

*sigh* Sooo glad I’m in an office job now.