Beach Day With Some Amigos

I haven’t been posting as much lately because I’ve been ridiculously busy (a very very good kind of busy, even if it drives me crazy sometimes), but I did get some free time this weekend to go to the beach with some friends. We went to Forum Beach in the Cancun Hotel Zone on a whim, and it was such a cool day.

Here come the pics…

My amigo Miguel

Missey and Miguel

Me and Missey

Missey and me

Who do you like to go to the beach with?

Gringation Cancun Nominated as a Top 5 Mexico Blog

Despite the fact that I’m up against my boss and a good blogger friend (Hi Michele and Leslie!), I’m really excited to be nominated as a Top 5 Favorite Mexico Blog by About.com’s Readers’ Choice Awards! If you love reading this blog as much as I love writing it, please go in and vote for me. It’s so easy… just click on Gringation Cancun, write in your e-mail address and voila!

Click here to vote for your me as your Favorite Mexico Blog

Click here to vote for other Mexico travel categories (favorite resort, favorite beach destination, etc)

 

My Mexican Friends Were Right All Along

I tried sushi for the first time about 5 years ago, and it was love at first bite.

In Mexico, sushi is served with two kinds of soy sauce:

  1. Soy sauce with lime
  2. Soy sauce with jalapeño

I have always been enamoured with the lime soy sauce. (Seriously, don’t even try to give me sushi with regular soy sauce. It’s kinda gross.) The jalapeño soy sauce, however… not so much. I always thought, “Jalapeño soy sauce? What’s wrong with Mexicans?”

Then I started ordering a sushi roll that came with a side of chipotle mayo. HEAVEN. DIVINE. That little kick of spice was just perfect. Just the lime soy sauce was no longer enough to satisfy my weekly sushi binges. I NEEDED spicy with my sushi.

Then yesterday, I realized I had evolved to this:

My new-found need for spicy sushi has now led me to actually using the jalapeño soy sauce I used to make fun of Mexicans for. (bonus points if there’s chipotle mayo AND jalapeño soy sauce)

I’m becoming one of them. This should automatically qualify me for Mexican citizenship.

Somebody slap me when I start putting ketchup and worcestershire sauce on my pizza.

Need more proof I’m turning Mexican? Check these out:

 

What We’ve Been Up To

I know I’ve been writing a ton about our little adventures over the past few months, but I haven’t talked much about the day-to-day lately. With Tulum vacations and hanging out on Cancun beaches, what have we been doing between our mini vacations?

This semester, Jorge got a teaching job at a Cancun high school. He’s teaching calculus, geometry and physics, and he seems to really love it. I’ve seen him tutor his cousins before, so I knew teaching was really his thing. It’s fun to hear him talk about his students (he has over 40 students in each class. Yikes!) and to see him grading papers and making lesson plans at home. So proud!

For a few years, my goal has been to get enough freelance writing work so I can quit my day job and work from home. As much as I like my office job, it’s my dream to be able to go on tours, on vacation, etc (and write about it!) without having to limit myself to my vacation days. In the past few months I’ve gotten a few new freelance jobs, and it looks like I might be very close to my goal. Unfortunately, right now this means that I’m working 4 jobs!! I get home from work and continue working on the computer every evening. It’s been tiring, but I still enjoy it. Writing about being on vacation isn’t so bad!

A few weeks ago I also got to meet a blogger who I’ve known online for 3 years! Ang (of Football, Sushi and the Pursuit of Happiness) was staying at a Cancun resort with her fiance Steve. We got lunch at Fish Fritanga, which I hadn’t tried before but it was amazing, then went to Plaza La Isla to walk around and have some drinks.

The dogs have been pretty good, too. My idea of relaxation is being able to hang out at home with these lovely ladies…

Konan caught sleeping in our bed

Dolly with the puppy dog eyes

Suki in her favorite sleeping spot... on my purse

We also went to Cozumel over the weekend for Carnaval, and we got to snorkel with starfish! Pics to come. 🙂

I Bet The Ancient Mayans Wished They Had Sunglasses

I was so excited to go to the Mayan ruins of Tulum last weekend. I hadn’t been since 2007, and I was dying to finally have some amazing photos of the site. I was envisioning posting professional-quality photos to the blog that would have National Geographic green with envy.

Let’s say things didn’t go quite according to plan.

The weather was… um… interesting. We arrived at the ruins to crazy bright sunshine and extreme heat (strange for February), so Jorge and I had a hard time adjusting the lighting settings on the new camera. The first group of photos turned out ok, but not quite the quality I was hoping for.

I'm not pregnant. It's the wind.

After about 5 minutes, a very ominous rain cloud approached and we spent awhile cowering under a tree before the rain stopped and the crazy sunshine and heat returned. (The ominous cloud pics turned out kinda cool, though.)

Bougainvillea flower drenched in rain

And so we continued on with camera difficulties as we tried to get used to the beating sunshine and overpowering wind. I wish our shots could reflect the beauty of what we saw in person, but I guess it wasn’t our day. We got a few good ones in there, though.

Jorge was mesmerized by this carved face! We also thought it was cool to see the hints of red paint that still remained on this structure.


Proof of the crazy wind that day

Soon the temptation of the beach was too much to resist, so we climbed down the wood staircase to the stretch of sand below the ruins. There, the weather continued to keep us on our toes with blazing sunshine interspersed with ominous clouds, ridiculous winds and the threat of rain that never came. The weather was so weird that I couldn’t even find good conditions for taking photos on the beach (plus there were quite a lot of people blocking the good views haha).

Despite the ridiculous weather, we had a really great time. Every time I visit Mayan ruins around the Yucatan Peninsula, I always try to imagine what it must have been like to walk through a real ancient Mayan city, to see the pyramids with all their color, to see a real Mayan ball game… I can only imagine!

 

 

 

Dancing Under the Stars in Tulum

Moving on with the posts from our 3-day weekend in Tulum…

Saturday night we were still getting the feel for Tulum, so we decided to see what the nightlife was like in town.

The verdict: not too exciting

We had a great dinner at an Argentinean restaurant called Buenos Aires, then walked up and down the main street taking pictures and eating ice cream.

The main street had lots of cute restaurants and bars so we had a hard time choosing which one to go to. There were also street bands (mostly drums) and a few bars with hippies (for lack of a better term) hanging out outside to listen to the live bands. Overall a quiet but interesting atmosphere, but not as much fun as we were hoping for.

We ended up choosing a 2nd story palapa club that was playing salsa music… but as soon as we got there, the salsa quickly changed to hip hop and reggaeton (fine by me!). Lots of locals started to show up, and Jorge and I started to wonder “Where are all the tourists?”

We found the tourists the next night.

A taxi driver and our hotel recommended Zebra hotel in the Tulum hotel zone (along the beach) for dinner and drinks. We hadn’t considered going to the hotel zone before because we’re used to Cancun, where the hotels are for guests only. Not the case in Tulum! In Tulum, all the tourists just kinda hang out at whatever restaurant they feel like at any hotel. I’m jealous.

Zebra was amazing.  I got a Mexican-style lasagna and Jorge got stuffed chicken, and there were also caipirinhas and beers involved. The place was filled with all kinds of other travelers, all in flowy dresses or casual shorts. Much much much more laid-back than Cancun or even Playa del Carmen.

As they finished their dinner, everyone slowly made their way to the bar, then outside to the beach. Turns out, Zebra hosts a salsa party on the beach every Sunday night, with a great live band.


We mostly watched for awhile, then  Jorge asked me to dance. We didn’t want to get crushed on the packed dance floor, so we just danced on the sand under a palm tree.

Just before it was time to go, I looked up and saw thousands upon thousands of stars above the ocean. You can’t see that many stars in Cancun.

Maison Tulum: A Beautiful Boutique Hotel

Lots of you have asked me where we chose to stay during our weekend in Tulum. I spend a very, very long time trying to find a hotel a month in advance before giving up for awhile. All the beach hotels were booked up!

At the last minute we decided to try again, so this time I tried to find a good and inexpensive hotel in the town area of Tulum. Lots of the accommodations in town are hostels with no website, but I was finally able to find something within our budget ($80 a night), downtown, with a website and that fits my high-ish standards

Maison Tulum had a good location just 2 blocks from the ADO bus station. There was hot water with great pressure, a little bakery with cheap but delicious breakfasts, bike rental (which we didn’t use due to my fear of bikes), a rooftop terrace, a beautiful courtyard and great rooms.


We were very, very happy with our stay at this hotel. Great personalized service, only 8 rooms and so, so, so beautiful. We booked through Tulum Boutique Hotels (thanks Mat!)

The Many Beaches of Tulum

All my Facebook followers know that Jorge and I just got back from a 3-day weekend in Tulum. We’d both been to Tulum ruins before, but we’d never visited the beaches, the hotels or the town. I’ll post pics of our hotel, the nightlife and the ruins over the next week, but today let’s start with the best part: the beaches of Tulum.

Saturday Afternoon: La Vita E Bella beach club

Jorge

Sunday Afternoon: Tulum ruins beach

My best Sports Illustrated attempt

 Monday Afternoon: Mezzanine Beach

A beach day isn't complete without me being smacked by a giant wave in front of a small crowd or a camera (photo taken just before falling into the sand) Every. Single. Time.

Yay!

Taking pictures on the beach in Tulum was a bit of a challenge… lots of people doing yoga and even more topless ladies that I tried to keep out of the lens. Still, I got creative and made it work with the angles available to me.

Have you ever been to Tulum? Ever been knocked over by a wave?

Mexican Safety

Mexico is not known for its safety procedures. I’ve seen numerous construction workers with no helmets, carseats are almost unheard of, and 99% of taxis have no seatbelts in the back seat. I can’t say this is a bad thing because there don’t seem to be more accident-related deaths in Mexico than in the States.

Still, one Mexican safety practice that always makes me laugh a little is the Coke bottle cover-up. Anytime you see rebar sticking out of a not-completed house (or sometimes a completed house!), it will probably have Coke bottles stuck on it to prevent injury.

I saw this beauty on the street the other day:

Coca-Cola… saving lives, one piece of broken metal at a time.

You Know You’ve Been Living in Mexico Too Long When…

Yesterday morning as I went downstairs to make breakfast, I noticed a few signs that made me realize just how Mexican I’ve become:

1. I heard the neighbor’s rooster crowing in the distance

2. I saw a pan full of leftover refried beans on the stove

 


I think I’m turning into my mother-in-law.