Father's Day in Chabihau

**Note: If I normally follow you and I haven’t commented on your blog in a few weeks, it’s because about 1/3 of the blogs I follow have been strangely blocked on this computer. Trying to figure out what’s going on…**

Ok, I am a horrible blogger! But it’s been a pretty busy month, which is awesome. I still haven’t shared my photos from my trip to Chabihau, Yucatan with you, and that was almost TWO WEEKS AGO. For shame. We went to the towns of Chabihau and Yobain for Father’s Day to visit Jorge’s family, and it was relaxing as usual!

The best tamales I ever had!

Jorge in his natural habitat… in front of the table.

Happy dogs!

flamingos ๐Ÿ™‚ That's as close as they get, though.

Arrow!

"chilpachole de langosta" with lobster Jorge's uncle caught that morning... HUGE!!

A new beach house in Chabihau... I'm going to steal it.

Mexico Today

Anyone who reads my blog knows just how much I love Mexico. It’s a beautiful country filled with incredible people and amazing natural resources. Regular readers have seen me get very frustrated whenever Mexico or Cancun come under attack from the media. For the last week or so, my Mexican and foreign friends here in Cancun have been talking a lot about a recent article by MSNBC Travel called “Time to Say Adios to Mexico Travel?” The article refers to Cancun as an “increasingly violent hotspot” (ha!) and even includes a poll asking readers if they’d travel to Mexico. 72% said no. That makes me so incredibly sad.

How on earth are we going to convince 72% of the population that Mexico is, in fact, a safe country? How can I get them to see what I see when CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, etc, are out on a smear campaign to post sensationalist stories to draw in readers? Over the past few years, Mexican and expat bloggers alike have been fighting back by commenting on articles and voicing thoughts on their own blogs, but our voice has been relatively small compared to the powerful media we’re up against. The frustration of defending something you love so much only to have few people believe you is very disheartening.

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide stating the folling:

“I’m writing today on behalf of the Mexico Tourism Board’s Marca Pais – Imagen de Mexico initiative, to invite you to join the Mexico Today program.ย  The program will empower writers like you to share Mexico’s true stories with the people who need to hear them the most … Marca Pais – Imagen de Mexico, is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day.”

How could I say no?

I’m proud to annouce that I will be working with Ogilvy and the Mexico Tourism Board in their Mexico Today program, along with many other Mexico bloggers! I’m so excited that we finally have the voice and the resources we need to accomplish what we’ve been trying to do for a long time now.

While this is a paid position, everything that I write will be my own opinion. I’ll be meeting up with most of the people involved in the Mexico Today project this weekend on al all-expenses-paid trip to Oaxaca, and I can’t wait to get started! I’ll give you all the details on my trip as soon as I get back next week. Click here (or on the badge onย my right sidebar) to visit Mexico Today’s Facebook page.

If you love Mexico as much as I do, I hope you follow along with the Mexico Today team as we try to reclaim Mexico’s reputation for what this country truly is: a fascinating place with incredible beauty and a warm, unique culture.

โ€œOnce the dust of Mexico has settled on your heart, you have no rest in any other land.โ€ -Anita Brenner, Mexican author

My Cancun Mailbox

Growing up in the suburbs of Virginia, I remember every house had its own mailbox set right on the street, next to the driveway. Each mailbox had a little red flag that you would put up to alert the mailman/lady that you had put something in there to mail. The mailman/lady drove by every day in a cute little van and placed our letters, bills and catalogues neatly inside the mailbox, where it was safely tucked away from the elements.

Here in Cancun? Not so much. Even when mail does reach our house (which can take months), there is nothing resembling a mailbox to put the mail in. So… we cancunenses have to be more resourceful. Every house here has a front gate or, at the very least, bars on the windows or front door. Since these bars are decorative, there’s always a place for mail.

Here’s an American Express card advertisement found in my “mailbox” this morning:

I could buy little black boxes that say “correo” to hang up outside the house, but I get a feeling the postman would ignore it anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cockroaches, Slugs and Poo… Oh My!

So the last week and a half has been interesting at my house. We had a very dry season for several months without a single drop of rain. Two Saturdays ago, however, that all changed. Torrential rains began all of a sudden. We had two days of rain, followed by a week of sunshine, followed by spurts of rain the last 2 or 3 days.

Rainy season at our house was ridiculous last year. To explain, we leave our back door open during the day when we’re not home so the dogs can go outside to do their business. (We have a back gated door as well, which remains closed. The dogs can slip out to the backyard, but no one can get in.) Anyway, when the ground is wet, my snobby princess poodles don’t want to get their precious little paws wet… which means pee and poo on my living room floor when I come home. (We hadn’t had a single incident in MONTHS, and now we’re back to square one.)

This year, however, has been far worse than last year’s rainy season at my house.

One on particular occasion last week, Suki got diarrhea and decided to leave evidence all over the living room and stairs. She also thought it would be productive to smear it around. That was a fun afternoon.

We also get some large cockroaches here in Cancun, which everyone’s kinda used to. We kill them on-site with chankletazos (meaning “hard blows with a flip-flop”… I love the Mexican language). A few days ago, I put the dog’s food bowl on the counter and poured some dog chow. I went to the fridge for yoghurt, and when I turned back around there was a huge cockroach in the dog bowl. Jorge and I looked on in horror as the cockroach grabbed a large piece of kibble, carried it out of the bowl and on to the counter, and began to eat it. A cockroach eating dog food on my counter. I don’t think I can even begin to describe how gross that is.

We also seem to have a slug infestation. I didn’t even know Cancun had slugs, much less our backyard. Since we’ve been leaving the back door open, on several occasions we’ve found a slug in the kitchen near the back door. Last night we went to the movies and got home to find about 30 – 40 slugs all over the walls and floors of our kitchen, hallway, living room, downstairs bathroom and stairs. I wish I’d taken pictures, but my memory card is broken. ๐Ÿ™ But they look like this:

So anyway, after a nice movie date, Jorge and I finished off our romantic evening by cleaning puddles of dog pee (me) and scraping slugs off the walls with a floor squeegee (Jorge). Then we watched an episode of Law and Order, because there’s no way I was going to sleep after that horror of an evening.

I’m happy to say that soon we will be fixing up the backyard with grass, shade and a doghouse so that the dogs can stay outside while we’re not home. That way we can finally actually USE our living room and keep the back door closed so the slugs and cockroaches don’t get in. *shudder*

If I don’t invite any of you over to my house until 2012… you’ll know why. On the bright side, our trees and plants look lovely.

 

Paradise Rewind: Cancun in the 1970s

As I sit here in the office with our main system down and torrential rain outside (we haven’t had rain in months, and we’re so excited!), I decided it would be a good time to share some photos of Cancun’s Hotel Zone… from the 1970s.

I’ll do my best to post before and after shots, where possible. (Sorry I don’t have good sources for these photos. Most were send to me via e-mail.)

Enjoy!

Cancun’s Party Center (looking south from Punta Cancun)

1970s
Today

Calinda Bridge

1970

Today

Punta Cancun (where you’ll find Dreams, the Hyatt, Fiesta Americana and the Convention Center)

1970

Today

Playa Chac Mool (right behind Coco Bongo) looking north

1975 (that's the Camino Real in the background... today it's Dreams!)

Today

Playa Chac Mool (right behind Coco Bongo) looking south

Punta Nizuc (southern end of the Hotel Zone)

1978

Today

ย Not sure where in the Hotel Zone this is, but it looks lovely:


The Secret Language of Mexicans

I’m not sure how to go about this post because it’s a topic that I still don’t understand after six years in Mexico.

During my time in this fascinating yet incredibly frustrating country, I’ve noticed that Mexicans have their own subtle ways of communicating that straight-shooting Americans like myself will never comprehend.

On Monday I woke up not feeling well, so I sent my boss a text message asking for the day off. He answered me with the following message:ย  “Don’t you have your interview today?” (some survey thingy our department is doing)

I texted back “No, not until tomorrow.”

I then sat around for a few minutes waiting for my boss to text me back with an answer. “Why doesn’t he say anything?” I said to Jorge.

Jorge responded with a casual, “He already gave you permission not to go in today.”

Me: “No he didn’t. He asked about my interview, and I said I didn’t have one until tomorrow.”

Jorge: “That means yes.”

Me: WHAT?!?! How does a question mean “yes”??? In the US, it doesn’t mean “yes” until someone says “yes”.

My boss never texted back and asked me how I was doing at work the next day, so I guess it did mean “yes”.

 

When I was in college here, this happened to me a lot with my classmates. There were several occasions when I might make a comment to a teacher, only to have my classmates later tell me, “Don’t you remember we agreed not to say that to the teacher?” Turns out there had been insinuations and clever nuances in previous conversations that I wasn’t even aware existed. I appeared to have broken some sort of code.

 

On weekends we go out a lot with my in-laws. Frequently we’ll get into the car to go somewhere, like Jorge’s aunt’s house, for example. We’ll then head in the direction of a supermarket. Conversations go like this:

Me: Where are we going?

Jorge: Walmart.

Me: I thought we were going to your aunt’s house?

Jorge: Yeah, but my dad said we have to stop by Walmart first to pick up some snacks.

Me: When did he say that?

Jorge: Right before we left.

Me: But WHEN did he say that? I was with you both the whole time!

 

I used to think it was a language barrier. Maybe my limited Spanish was preventing me from picking up certain sentences. Now that I speak fluent Spanish, I see that’s not the case. Mexicans have a way of saying something without directly saying it. I wish I could go into further detail, but I still have NO IDEA how it works.

Ok fellow expat bloggers in Mexico, tell me you know what I’m talking about!! What is this secret language and how does it work?