Why We Love Cinepolis

Even though I sometimes complain about Cancun’s lack of “amenities” (like reasonably priced bedsheets, organic food, cute clothes, etc etc), I will say that Mexico goes above and beyond the US when it comes to movie theaters.

The most popular chain of movie theaters in Cancun is Cinepolis, with showings costing around $5 US. There’s even a Cinepolis VIP where you can enjoy reclining leather seats, waiter service right to your chair, your own mini-table and an amazing menu (complete with some alcoholic beverages for movie-goers who like to party), all for just $100 pesos (about $8 US). Jorge and I always go to VIP for “special occasion” movies that we get excited about, like Hunger Games, Twilight (shut up) and The Avengers.

Image via MexicoToday.org

Now, Cinepolis is stepping things up even more by going 100% digital! They should complete the process by 2013. All I can say is that the other Latin American movie theater chains had better up their game.

Cinepolis Theaters Plan to Go 100% Digital by 2013 – via MexicoToday.org

Do you have a cool movie theater in your city?

Worst Diet Ever

Last Friday I went back to the nutritionist for my 2-week weigh-in. Once again, I had lost almost no weight.

The nutritionist told me I have reached a plateau (again), and asked if I’d like to try a much different, more difficult diet for the next 2 weeks to “jump start” my system. I figured I’d give it a go.

Well, this new diet had better work because it is AWFUL. I feel like I’ve only been eating shrimp, lettuce and slices of turkey since Monday, and it’s all starting to taste pretty gross. On top of that, I am starving by mid-afternoon. So far I’ve cheated with sushi (Wednesday night) and half a bagel (last night) because my stomach just can’t handle how little it’s being given right now.

Today I’m excited because it’s “all fruit, all day… plus a sandwich” day! I love fruit and sandwiches, so I’m happy for the next 24 hours.

I’ll give it a few more days and if I’m still hungry, I’ll send the nutritionist an e-mail to see if we can’t beef up this diet a bit so I can survive the next 10 days without binging on pizza, Dr. Pepper and Froot Loops.

Here’s another before and after to keep me motivated through next week.

Before - 160 pounds (with my sister Sarah and... Elvis.)

After - 140 pounds (I've lost another 5 pounds since this picture)

These last 7 pounds are killing me.


Should Immigrants Learn the Language?

**Note: When writing this post, I struggled with accuracy between terms like immigrant, expat, American, English-speaking, native English-speaking, Mexican, hispanic, etc etc etc. I did my best with the terminology considering that different definitions exist for many of these, so please bear with me.**

You know how in the USA, many Americans complain when hispanic immigrants don’t bother to learn English?

Turns out… Americans aren’t much better!

Over the past few years in Cancun, I’ve spent more time with local English-speaking (American/Canadian/British/Australian/etc) expats, and the fact that many of them do not bother to learn Spanish is a popular topic in the expat community. In my time in Cancun, I’ve known 5 English-speaking expats who learned fluent Spanish, myself included. A select few speak somewhat advanced Spanish, while most speak light conversational Spanish or just a few key words.

"Hola Jorge. Mucho gusto."

Personally, this isn’t something that bothers me. I feel like many immigrants tend to gravitate toward their own culture when they move to a new country, so whether it’s Mexicans in the US or Americans in Mexico, there’s often no need to learn the host language. In Cancun, almost all of the locals speak excellent English anyway.

It’s also interesting to me that while many Americans are angered by immigrants not learning English, Mexicans (at least the Cancun locals) really don’t seem to care whether immigrants to their country learn Spanish or not. On the contrary, most of my Mexican friends are more than happy to practice their English!

I’m not really trying to make any points here, to be honest. I just find it interesting that the whole “not learning the host language” is not exclusive to one culture.

Culture Shock and Bedsheets

I’ve written about Culture Shock before, and how I’m currently in Phase 3, where I have a more realistic view on living in Mexico: sometimes good, sometimes bad.

As you can probably tell from my blog, I am usually ecstatic to be living in Cancun. It’s such a beautiful place with great people.

The life.

However, there are still rare occasions when I think, “What the heck am I doing here?” This weekend was one of those moments.

From out of the blue, I’d spent the past few days thinking how nice it might be to live in the States again. I had fantasies of sprawling Target stores, malls filled with cute clothes, driving my SUV around town, filling up on Tex-Mex, central air conditioning, watching movies without mentally criticizing the Spanish subtitles, not living in fear of flying cockroaches … glorious. I wasn’t upset about Mexico, just thinking how moving back to the US might be an option someday.

Then on Sunday, things took an ugly turn. After a nice movie date, Jorge and I went to several department stores around Plaza Las Americas in search of new bedsheets. Much to my dismay, there wasn’t a single set of bedsheets for under $750 pesos. Most were around $1000 pesos (about $80 US). For that price, those sheets better give me a friggin foot massage. And none of them were even attractive. Jorge suggested getting sheets from the grocery store. Grocery store sheets in Mexico are undeniably cheap, but they also feel like sandpaper. (Trust me, I bought many grocery store bedsheets during my university years in Cancun. Never. Again.)

Wanting to get a comfortable night’s sleep without having to sell our firstborn child, Jorge said we could look online to order some from the US, then I could pick them up with I go to the US for Christmas. Well… I don’t want to wait until December. But that’s probably what we’ll end up doing.

I was in a bad mood the rest of the afternoon. When we got home, I started telling Jorge I was going through culture shock this weekend. Then I rambled on and on about giant pretzels, reasonably priced sheets, and Arby’s roast beef sandwiches with root beer.

And that’s when I started to cry.

Which Jorge thought was hilarious.

Until I Googled a picture of an Arby’s roast beef sandwich, and he suddenly became more understanding.

Update: OH MY GOSH Thanks so much to all my friends and readers who have offered to get me sheets! So, so sweet. I love the internet.

Puppy Love

I haven’t done many posts about the dogs lately because it’s hard to get pictures of them (unless they look like this). They’re always on the move! Last night Suki (Dog #1) found a new favorite spot and I was finally able to take a photo.

Seconds later, Konan (Dog #3) fell/rolled off the couch and the moment was ruined. Gosh, I love them.


Jorge vs. The Flying Cockroach

So last night I was calmly watching TV when out of the corner of my eye I saw Konan staring at a black critter making its way up the staircase wall. I thought “Oh, the black lizard from the front patio must have ventured indoors!” Then, I noticed it had somehow gotten way up on the bannister right by my head, and it was a GIANT COCKROACH.

I gave a girly scream and rushed out of my recliner, twisting my toe on the way. I took shelter on the chair across the room, half watching TV and half keeping my eye on the roach. After a good 20 minutes of wiggling his antennae, I suddenly realized he wasn’t on the bannister anymore. I ran to the middle of the living room and, letting out a stream of profanities, looked around the room to find him.

He was right behind my chair and walking across the ceiling, in true Spiderman fashion. This is when I took shelter in the hallway.

He then disappeared again, and it took me quite awhile to find him from my post cowering in the hall. Turns out… he had mastered the art of camoflage.

At this point I retreated to the kitchen, only peeking out from time to time to check the cockroach’s position and make sure he wasn’t plotting my demise. I considered using the can of Raid, but any mexpat knows that cockroaches are only angered by bug spray.

I waited a full hour for Jorge to come home. He asked me, “Where’s the roach killer Raid?”

“The cleaning lady used up the last of it last week. All we have is the garden Raid,” I replied.

“Are you kidding? He’s going to laugh in my face when he sees that! Give my your flip flop.”

Armed with the garden spray in his right hand and my flip flop in his left, Jorge approached the curtain and sprayed the roach to get it out of his hiding spot. With one swift motion of his left arm, the flying roach was defeated with a fatal chancletazo.

Something tells me he still lives, somewhere in the depths of our garbage bin.

Who kills the bugs in your house?

Weight Loss Before and After: Part 4

Weight Loss Before and After: Part 1

Weight Loss Before and After: Part 2

Weight Loss Before and After: Part 3

Sadly, only 1 pound lost and no noticeable changes since my last weight loss update. Now I’m down to 134 pounds.

Here’s what happened: When my family was here in late May, I missed 2 weeks at the gym. Despite all of our dinners in Playa del Carmen, I was proud that I was still able to control my portions. My nutritionist was a bit disappointed that I only lost 1 pound at my weigh-in, but I am thrilled that I didn’t gain any weight with little exercise and all that temptation (including a day at an All Inclusive resort)!

There was even a 5-layer chocolate fudge cake at work that I didn’t eat! I even cut slices for everyone in the office and had it sitting within my line of sight the entire work day. So, so proud.

My goal is to lose 1.2 kilos (2.6 pounds) in 2 weeks (by this Friday), which would get me down to 60 kilos! (132 pounds) It doesn’t sound like much, but when you get down to the last few pounds, it gets harder and harder to let go of the weight.

Now that I’ve got the diet and temptation part down, I need to pick up the pace at the gym. I don’t want to fall into the “skinny fat” category, so it’s time to work on my tone. It’s already gotten so much better in just a few months, but this gringa’s got a long way to go!

To keep me motivated, here are some more before and after pics so you can see the difference in my face:

Before - 160 pounds

After - 134 pounds

What’s the biggest food temptation you’ve ever resisted?

Father’s Day in Puerto Morelos

Jorge and I spent all day yesterday with my suegros for Father’s Day. After a call to my own dad (miss you!), we had tacos de lechon for what can only be described as pre-lunch.

After a quick siesta, my suegro wanted to go to Puerto Morelos for lunch. (Mexican lunch is around 3 or 4 pm.) We drove half an hour down the highway and looked around for a beachfront restaurant.

We tried a fun place called La Panza Es Primero (The Tummy Comes First), but decided to only get appetizers because the service was snail-pace slow. The food was delicious! Jorge and I shared a spicy seafood soup that was amazing, but the poor service was too much to handle.

La Panza Es Primero

La Panza Es Primero menu

For our real lunch, we went to the popular Pelicanos restaurant, right by the main plaza of Puerto Morelos. I had a Cuban sandwich that was to die for!


Sorry I didn’t get any food pictures, but here are some shots from our day in Puerto Morelos, Mexico:

What did you do for Father’s Day this year?

Las Cuijas de Mi Casa

Geckos are common household critters in Mexico, but unlike spiders and slugs, they’re actually welcome!

In the Yucatan, these little beige geckos are called cuijas (“kwee-has”). I love having them around the house. They even make a cool clicking/squeaking noise that I find cute and comforting.

Cuijas eat insects and they tend to stay at the top of the walls, near the ceiling. At our current house, we have Living Room Cuija and Kitchen Cuija (along with Big Lizard and Little Lizard on the front patio).

Kitchen Cuija likes to hang out above the counter, but as soon as anyone walks in, he scurries behind the fridge or the oven. So far, I’ve only ever seen him as a blur.

Living Room Cuija is more sociable, climbing around our front window and above the TV. I’d noticed he lost his tail a few weeks ago, but now it has started to grow back! I managed to get a picture, but he was being quite shy and it turned out a bit blurry.

Yesterday I saw a new cuija on my front door when I came home from work. Even when I started to stare at him as I opened the door, he remained motionless and stared right back. I’m hoping this gutsy cuija sticks around.

Do you have any critters in your house?