Prayers for Konan

Sorry, no Just Thursday today!

This Tuesday we got our three dogs spayed at a free clinic. Suki and Dolly are just fine (except for hating to wear their head cones), but Konan has developed some pretty serious issues. Her wound re-opened a bit and she has been bleeding on and off. Last night we found out she also has a hernia.

Our vet (who lives a few blocks from me, thank goodness) told us last night that it looks as if Konan hadn’t been stitched up correctly on the inside. She’ll have to open her up this morning to see what’s going on.

Please send out some prayers for Konan. She has been in quite a lot of pain since yesterday evening, and today will be a rough day for her as well.

Cancun's Party Center Spring Break 2011

Well, we did it. We went to a nightclub in the Hotel Zone during Spring Break, which is something I had NEVER done before! I used to go to the Hotel Zone every Friday and Saturday night, except during Spring Break.

Spring Break is winding down a bit, and this week is Mexico’s Semana Santa, when they have their vacations. It was a crazy mix of Mexican and American tourists, which made for a pretty fun atmosphere.

So Friday night, we headed down to Cancun’s Party Center.

Partygoers on their way to the clubs

Party Center in full swing

We decided to go to our favorite spot, Congo. It’s an open air club that has a more casual atmosphere than some of the more upscale clubs. The ambiance was insanely good, but the service was womp womp… the waiter kept forgetting to bring my bottled water (yeah, I don’t drink much), and stopped waiting on tables entirely around 1 am. Other than that, no complaints!

They closed the bar pretty early at 4 am, which was a bit disappointing. (Most places in the Hotel Zone don’t close the bar until 5:30.)  So we got onto the bus back into downtown Cancun, and went to get some tacos. I’ve never gone to a club in the US, but here in Mexico it’s a tradition to go get tacos or tortas after a night at the club.

What are the nightclubs like where you live?

Just Thursday

If you want to link up with Just Thursday, head on over to Murdock’s Mama…

Outside my window.. sunny and 82 degrees
Today I feel.. energetic because we took the dogs for a walk this morning.
I am thankful.. that I only work a half day tomorrow, and I don’t work Saturday! Hello, 2 1/2 day weekend!
Tomorrow I am going.. Oh gosh, no idea! I’m so excited about my long weekend, yet I have nothing planned.
I am wearing.. my uniform.
I wish.. that my gym were open this week… stupid Semana Santa holidays ruining my weight loss haha
This weekend.. again, no idea! How lame is that? Maybe we’ll make it to the movies, we haven’t done that in forever.
I am reading.. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (still)
I am working on.. a marketing translation for work.
Yesterday I.. ate leftover chocolate mousse and watched Jersey Shore. (Anyone else noticing a pattern for my Wednesday nights?)
I am hoping.. that today will go by fast! (***UPDATE: Wish granted! Was just informed we will be leaving at 1 pm today.)
I am hearing.. office chit chat.
I bet you didn’t know.. that I haven’t filed my taxes yet! Hopefully I’ll figure it out this week with the help of a very lengthy and wordy e-mail I got from the IRS help department (expats have until June 15 to file)
One of my [least] favorite.. things to do is wash my hair.
One of my [most] favorite.. things to make is guacamole. I make a very awesome guacamole. Too bad avocados are $10 pesos each right now.

Xel-Ha

For my birthday this past weekend, we decided to go with some friends to Xel-Ha.

Xel-Ha is a huge ecopark set on in inlet in the Riviera Maya, just south of Playa del Carmen. It has a great All Inclusive plan (all you can eat buffets and all you can drink bars), and it’s perfect for snorkeling, exploring and just relaxing. It has cenotes, lagoons, a mile-long river you can swim through, cliffs, ziplines, a floating bridge, and the list goes on.

One of the highlights was floating down the river, but I didn’t get any pictures because I don’t have a waterproof camera. I saw lots of fish and a barracuda!

Other than that, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The dolphinarium

Its hard to get the full effect from this picure, but under this bridge were HUNDREDS of fish. Later, Jorge and I snorkeled through there... Ive never had such an amazing experience. Then someone threw fish food on top of me and I was attacked by hundreds of fish. Good times haha

Jorge and Juan trying to look cool by the floating bridge

The man of my dreams, taking a much-needed nap.

Just Thursday

Outside my window.. 83 degrees and BEAUTIFUL! Unfortunately all this sun means I’ve had to water my plants for the first time since we moved in.
Today I feel.. happy and cheerful.
I am thankful.. for my coworkers
Tomorrow I am going.. to work, then the gym, then home to relax before a busy weekend.
I am wearing.. my work uniform.
I wish.. for nothing right now. Life is pretty good.
This weekend.. is my BIRTHDAY!!!!! I’ll work a half-day Saturday, then spend the afternoon with Jorge’s family, then go to Xel-Ha on Sunday.
I am reading.. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
I am working on.. getting the living room all fixed up! We painted a wall last weekend (turquoise!!), hung curtains and hung some artwork.

Yesterday I.. ordered sushi and watched Jersey Shore.
I am hoping.. to watch Survivor online tonight (no spoilers!). I’m still not sure who I want to win… Boston Rob probably deserves it.
I am hearing.. the clicking of keyboards at work.
I bet you didn’t know.. that my dogs are adorable. Here they are helping us paint:
One of my favorite.. drinks is the Passion Hibiscus Tea at Starbucks.

Our Beaches Kick Butt

I’m so proud!

TripAdvisor’s Choice 2011: The Top 25 Beaches in the World

My state of Quintana Roo is representing! We have FOUR of the top 25 best beaches in the world (and that’s considering that they forgot Puerto Morelos!) Guess who made TripAdvisor’s list:

#5: Tulum I know I have a picture of Tulum’s beach around here somewhere… might have to look around on the iPod later tonight.

#15: Isla Mujeres Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I’m just surprised it’s not higher up!


#17: Playa del Carmen The views, the ambiance and the sand are incredible.


#20: Cancun Hurray!!!I live 20 minutes away from the 20th best beach in the world! Not too shabby, eh? I’m still going to have to disagree with this choice because Cancun has too many waves for my taste… but maybe I’m just being picky.


Guess who’s going to be at the beach this weekend? 😉

Further Proof That I'm Turning to the Dark Side

Remember when I realized I was slowly turning into a Mexican?

It’s happened again.

I used to make fun of my mother-in-law for this, as well as former roommates, landlords and friends.

And now…

Yes. I use my own oven for storage instead of baking. It’s just so darn convenient!

I think this cultural habit stems from two factors:

1. Mexican cooking requires more use of the stove, not the oven.

2. As in many non-American countries, Mexican kitchens don’t offer much in the way of cabinets.

So Voila! Perfect solution: Unused oven = storage.

American readers: Feel free to mock me.

Mexican readers: Feel free to say “I told you so”.

Time is Fluid

Here in Mexico, the culture has a very different concept of time from in the US. Growing up, my family taught me that if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late. When I tried to apply that concept here, it resulted in lots of time waiting for other people to show up.

Mexicans consider time to be fluid. There aren’t really specific times, just general times of day and periods of time when things need to be done.

When setting up a get-together with a Mexican, you can usually plan for them to be late. Recently, I got together with a bunch of girlfriends for a bridesmaids dress fitting. My friend Viri and I got there 15 minutes late, 2 girls arrived 45 minutes late, 1 girl arrived an hour late, and another girl arrived an hour and a half late! In the US, this would be completely unacceptable. Here, however, we just used it as an opportunity to have some micheladas and tortas while we waited. No problem!

A few weeks ago, I heard the perfect conversation to represent the “time is fluid” concept. We were in Chabihau, and stopped by a little shop for some machacados (a Mexican version of a slushee, made with natural fruit). As they were preparing our machacados, this conversation occurred:

 

Jorge: Are you going to be open tomorrow?

Lady: (turns to husband) Are we going to open tomorrow?

Man: Sure.

Jorge: What time?

Man: Ummm… (looks at wife)… in the afternoon? Yes, in the afternoon.

Jorge: Ok, thank you!

 

For any American, this would cause confusion. Do they open early afternoon? Late afternoon? What time do I need to be here to get my machacado tomorrow?

For the Mexican, however, this is a non-issue. If they’re open when I show up, awesome. If not, they’re probably just having Sunday lunch with the family, right?

For an American living in Mexico, it’s hard to find a balance between “local time” and what we consider to be “rude” by our American standards. I’ve learned to adjust my time to each individual. I have a few friends who are normally punctual, so I try my best to be on time as well. Other friends tend to arrive an hour late, so I’ll wait for them to text me that they’re on their way before I leave my house.

How do you feel about time? Are you punctual? Does it bother you when others are late?

**We stopped by the machacados shop the next day at 1 pm, and yes they were open.**

 

Just Thursday

It’s Just Thursday! If you want to join in, click on the button to link with Murdock’s Mama…

Outside my window.. 81 degrees and hardly a cloud in the sky! Can’t wait for my lunch hour so I can get outdoors.

Can't figure out why this pic is so dark... must have had the camera on the wrong setting. Oops!

Today I feel.. sleepy! I woke up at 4 am with allergies and haven’t been asleep since.
I am thankful.. for my giant jar of peanut butter from Sam’s Club.
Tomorrow I am going.. to work, then the gym, then to buy paint, then Jorge’s soccer game, then nowhere!
I am wearing.. my work uniform.
I wish.. I could see my family more often.
This weekend.. Jorge and I are FINALLY painting the living room! Hurrah!
I am reading..

Thank you for shipping to Mexico, Amazon.com!!!

I am working on.. getting the house looking decent.
Yesterday I.. went to Muellecito for dinner with my friend Emma.
I am hoping.. to have enough energy for Zumba class tonight.
I am hearing.. office chit chat.
I bet you didn’t know.. I can’t think of anything!!!

Have a nice Thursday!

I'm Still An American on the Inside

As I’ve mentioned before, I use taxis a lot here in Cancun. They’re easy to find, they’re cheap ($20 pesos to get almost anywhere you want in downtown Cancun), they’re fast and I even get serenaded by taxi drivers on occasion.

They do, however, have a habit that causes my inner American to scream, “Oh no he didn’t!!”

Not having change.


I totally understand if they don’t have change for larger bills. If I have anything worth $200 pesos or more, I will always ask if they have change for it before I get into the vehicle. However, what really bothers me is when they don’t have change for my $50 pesos or $100 pesos, and don’t bother to tell me until we reach our final destination.

Some will ask you from the beginning, “Do you have exact change?”, which I think is great. Usually I have it, and if I don’t, we’ll stop by a gas station along the way (gas pumpers always have change).

But what I CAN’T STAND is when we get to our destination, I hand them a $50 peso bill, and they say to me “Sorry, I don’t have any change. I just started my shift.”

WHAT?????

My American mind reels, screaming in my head that people providing services should always begin their shift with change, to make life easier for everyone and to earn money faster. I could certainly forgive someone who started their shift with change, then ran out as the day went on. Completely understandable. But not having change to begin with would seem to be just plain rude.

Still, I have to bite my tongue and remember that I’m a visitor in their country. The local culture has a tendency not to plan ahead, which works just fine for them because they have been blessed with the virtue of patience… something seriously lacking in American culture.

So when a taxi driver says to me, “Sorry, I have no change. I just started my shift”, all I can do is sigh, let go of my inner American, get in touch with my inner Mexican, and answer, “Ok, no problem… let’s go to a gas station for some change.”