Spring Break Cancun Craziness

Well this past 3-day weekend was crazy, to say the least!

Friday night we went to Party Center in the Hotel Zone with some of Jorge’s guy friends to see some of the Spring Break 2012 action.

Line outside Coco Bongo

This shirt was a Christmas present, and it didn

Mandala - filled up!

We wandered around Party Center for awhile, then decided on XX Bar because it was cheap, and the only place that wasn’t 100% packed yet.

**Note to my female readers: Dancing on bars is fun, but I recommend wearing jeans, not miniskirts. It may seem fun at the time, but you won’t like that YouTube video filmed by some stranger once you’re home from vacation.

**Note to my male readers: Don’t dance on bars. Ever. You may fall into the concrete bar pit like this one shirtless body builder we saw. Hilarious for us. Not an easy embarrassment to shake off for him.

The best part of the night: I got hit on! Since I’m always out with Jorge, I haven’t gotten hit on much in the past 5 years. 30 seconds by myself at the bar, and I was turning guys down. Nice to know I still got it!

We left XX Bar around 4 am and snuck into went to Plaza Forum for some late-night pizza. Yum!

The Surfin Burrito

One of our favorite places to go when we have nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon is The Surfin Burrito. It’s located in the Cancun Hotel Zone, and since it opened a few months ago it’s become quite popular with tourists and a lot of my expat friends. It’s also open 24 hours a day and right next to Party Center, so it’s perfect for some 4 am burritos right after you leave the club.

They have beers, cocktails, tacos, ceviches, burritos and even some burgers, perfect for a quick and delicious meal.

This Sunday, Jorge and I ordered some pico de gallo ($25 pesos) that was absolutely perfect… spicy, but not so spicy it makes my nose run! Then we split a build-your-own burrito (around $70 pesos), with fish, a spinach tortilla, chipotle, rice, beans and God only knows what else!


I love this place… it’s super tiny (only 3 tables), very casual, and always has a mixed crowd hanging out and talking about their latest escapades.

We spent $160 pesos (about $13 US) total, including our pico de gallo, 1 burrito, some sodas and a tip.

Yet another Cancun restaurant that fits the 3 B’s: Bueno, Bonito y Barato!

5 Year Anniversary Surprise

Can you still celebrate dating anniversaries once you’re married?

Well, we did it anyway.

On Friday we had our 5 year dating anniversary, and Jorge wanted to take me on a dinner date to a surprise location. I wore my favorite yellow dress because I don’t get many fancy occasions for it.

I was really excited when we got there and I found out we were going to Elefanta, an upscale Indian restaurant at Plaza La Isla. We had a table under a palapa by the lagoon, which was lovely. About halfway through the meal, we felt water misting our feet. The waiter explained it’s their bug repellant spray to protect the legs. Pretty cool.

We’d never had Indian food before, but it was DELICIOUS. We started with potato and cheese naan bread, then had saffron and cheese shrimp and some kind of amazing spiced chicken for the main course.

I didn’t take many pictures because who wants to take pictures on a date? Plus “romantic lighting” isn’t very photo-friendly. You can check out Elefanta’s photo gallery, though. It’s a really, really beautiful restaurant.

All I have for you is a shot of my view of the lagoon:

I love upscale restaurants, hotels, etc, but for some reason I always feel out of place in fancy venues. What if the waiters find out that I’m not rich like the rest of the customers? That we had to save up for months for this dinner? That this is my only (sort of) expensive dress? That we took the city bus to get here? Totally irrational. But I love going anyway 🙂

 

**Update: By “popular” demand, here’s a picture of my favorite yellow dress:

Saturdays at the "Tianguis"

The last 2 Saturdays, Jorge and I have gone to his aunt’s house to sell our used stuff at the local tianguis (pronounced “Tee-AHN-geese”), a kind of Mexican flea market. In his aunt’s neighborhood, people set up stands along the street to sell snacks, books, used clothing, video games, makeup, and the list goes on and on. In previous years I’ve sold my used clothes to earn up to $500 pesos in a day (about $50 dollars for my US readers). We haven’t been so lucky the last 2 weekends because we keep getting rained out, but we’ll keep trying until there’s sunshine. At any rate the afternoon is never a total loss since Jorge’s aunts always have tamales, brazo de reina, and fried fish on-hand for lunch!

Here are some photos from Cancun’s Saturday tianguis

This last photo is my makeshift used clothes stand. I love so many of the clothes I’m selling, but many no longer fit me since I’ve lost weight. And some of those shoes have amazing memories! I haven’t had the chance to wear them in years (I wear a work uniform 6 days a week), but haven’t been willing to let them go for a very long time. I also have 2 bridesmaids dresses from my wedding, but I doubt I’ll be able to sell them at the tianguis since they’re more expensive items.

What kind of local markets do you have in your city?

Splash! Restaurant in Cancun’s Hotel Zone

Right after our afternoon at the beach last Sunday, Jorge and I took the Hotel Zone bus to a restaurant we’d been wanting to try called Splash. It’s located right on the lagoon (by where Basic nightclub used to be, for all you partiers) and has some pretty decent prices!

My lettuce tacos (shrimp, salmon/caviar, and tuna)

Jorge with his michelada

We spent $260 pesos total (several tacos each, drinks and tip).

Jorge says we have to return because this place has “The 3 B’s… Bueno, Bonito y Barato“!

Sunday at Cancun’s Playa Delfines

Jorge and I spent Sunday at Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach) in Cancun. It has been years since we hung out at the beach in the Hotel Zone! Usually we prefer Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen or Puerto Morelos, but I’m glad we finally came around and decided to enjoy our city for once.

Why I Love Cancun’s Plaza La Isla

Sometimes when you live in a beautiful tourist destination like Cancun, it’s easy to get sucked into everyday life. Even though I’m just minutes away from some of the world’s best beaches and most incredible All Inclusive resorts, I often forget there’s more to life than wake up, go to work, go to the gym, watch TV, sleep, repeat.

So when I really want to feel like a tourist in Cancun, there’s one perfect place that’s just a cheap bus ride away: Plaza La Isla.

Plaza La Isla is a beautiful outdoor mall set in the middle of the Hotel Zone, complete with charming canals, luxury boutiques, inexpensive brands, high-end department stores, fast food, fun restaurant and upscale dining. It’s unbeatable location right on the lagoon makes it the perfect spot for a romantic evening.

One thing I love about Plaza La Isla is the fountains, which always manage to draw in a crowd! Everyone oohs and aahs over the jumping water fountain, while kids can be seen running through the ground fountain by the lagoon.

See? Kids can't help themselves 🙂

So many of my best Cancun memories have been in Plaza La Isla: margaritas with my sister, dinners at Thai Lounge, a quincenera party at Planet Hollywood, tons of photo ops by the fountain, shopping at Guess (my favorite), root beers at Johnny Rockett’s, petting a shark, panoramic views of the Hotel Zone from the top of the parking deck, and of course… Jorge proposing to me by the lagoon.

Next time you’re in Cancun, make sure to visit this beautiful outdoor mall. I recomend arriving around 4 pm so you can see it in the daylight, at sunset and in the evening.

View of the Hotel Zone across the lagoon

What’s your favorite place to shop in your city?

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Cheester: Is There Such a Thing as Bad Publicity?

One of my Cancun favorites, Cheester restaurant put up a post on its Facebook page this past Saturday that sparked quite the controversy all over Cancun’s social media culture:

hola amigos de cheester es de vital importancia que si es tu piensas festejar tu cumpleaños, reunion, posada, graduacion etc debes decirle a tus amigos que mesas mayores a 12 personas esperaras por lo menos 45 min si llegas en horas pico digamos entre 2 y 6 y entre 8 y 10 de la noche y que tenemos un consumo minimo de 100 pesos por persona, mas el 15 % de servicio asi que avisales a tus amigos, esto quiere decir que si vienes a ocupar un espacio y no vas a consumir mejor vayan a mac donalds evitenme la pena de causarte un mal momento SI ESTAS DE ACUERDO CON LAS REGLAS Y SON PERSONAS CIVILIZADAS ESTAMOS EN LA MEJOR DISPOSICION DE ATENERLES ( MESAS MAYORES DE 12 ES CASI IMPOSIBLE DE SERVIR DEVIDO A LA CAPACIDAD DEL RESTAURANTE ) POR SU COMPRENCION GRACIAS Y LOS ESPERAMOS

Here’s my rough translation (complete with spelling and grammar errors):

Hello friends of cheester it’s of vital importance that if you’re planning to celebrate your birthday, get-together, posada, graduation etc you should tell your friends that tables of more than 12 people will wait at least 45 minutes if you arrive during peak hours let’s say from 2 to 6 and from 8 to 10 at night and there’s a minimum bill of 100 pesos (about $10 USD) per person, plus 15 % service so let your friends know, this means that if you’re coming to take up space and you’re not going to eat you’d better go to mac donalds don’t make me have to ruin your evening IF YOU AGREE WITH THE RULES AND ARE CIVILIZED PEOPLE WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SERVE YOU ( TABLES MORE THAN 12 ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SERVE DO TO THE CAPACITY OF THE RESTAURANT ) THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDIN AND HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON

Followers were immediately in an uproar over this statement, mainly due to the mean tone of the post.

I was upset at first as well because it made me feel unwelcome as a customer, but I’m ok with it now for several reasons:

  1. Cheester is and has always been known for its sarcastic, no BS attitude. Their original restaurant even has a list of rules posted, insisting you not be cheap and tip your waiter, no special orders, we close promptly at 11, etc etc. I’ve been personally yelled at by the chef for making a special order, and the chef has also come out to tell my friends to stop using their Blackberries at dinner (haha). They have always been known for their acidic humor and everyone just thought it was funny, so why should they be expected to change now?
  2. If I read over this carefully, they’re actually pretty good rules and advisories.
    • The restaurant is VERY small, and doesn’t fit groups of 12. Thanks for the heads up.
    • Yes there will be a wait, especially for groups. Cheester doesn’t accept reservations and is always packed. Again, thanks for the heads up.
    • Automatic 15% service for large groups is standard for pretty much every restaurant.
    • $100 pesos minimum… I think this is a bit high considering Cheester dishes each cost around $100 and are meant for 2 or more people… but I get their point that you can’t just be sitting there taking up space.

New anti-Cheester Facebook groups have been formed calling for boycotts, and many are using the hashtag #CheesterSucks on Twitter.

Cheester has since posted 3 apologies on its Facebook page.

What do you think? Did they cross the line this time? Should they have to apologize? Is this good or bad publicity for Cheester?

Juan, Viri, Jorge and me at Cheester a few months back

Catrinas and Calaveras in Cancun

Mexico is known across the globe for its vibrant and colorful holidays. Here, even death itself takes on a joyful vibe every year on El Dia de los Muertos (“The Day of the Dead”). Held on November 1 and 2, this holiday celebrates loved ones who have passed on with altars to the deceased called ofrendas and an annual visit to grave sites.

Since Day of the Dead falls so close to Halloween, the two holidays are often combined here in Cancun. Children roam neighborhoods trick-or-treating with parents and friends, while the streets fill up with images of La Catrina, an elegant lady skeleton symbolizing Day of the Dead.

One of the many Catrinas I found in Cancun’s Parque Las Palapas tonight

 Tonight was an interesting one for Jorge and me. We had several groups of trick-or-treaters stop by, and we gave them some classic Mexican candies. (Jorge’s enjoying the leftovers as I write this.) Then we took a stroll around Parque Las Palapas, which had lots of family activities, people in costume, and a show with colorful Mexican dances.

My best friend Viri had an ofrenda for her brother and grandfather set up at her home, and her parents were kind enough to let me take some pictures. It has many of the classic ofrenda elements, with incense, marigolds (Flor de Muerto), pan de muerto, candles to guide the way of the deceased, sugar skulls (calaveras) and some of their favorite food and drinks from when they were living.

I always feel like Day of the Dead is a fascinating mix of intimate family memories and vivid social traditions, bringing together families and communities alike. This year in Cancun was no different.

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Lamest. Hurricane. Ever.

We spent yesterday hanging out with Juan and Viri since I got the day off of work for Hurricane Rina, and she sure was taking her time in getting to Cancun. We went to the mall and had lunch at Pescaditos on Yaxchilan Avenue.

God bless you, Pescaditos.

Then we all went home to prepare for the big hurricane. Since Jorge and I had stashed our outdoor stuff inside already, all that was left was to cuddle up and watch the new episode of X Factor. There was tons of lightning and thunder that caused lots of growling from my dogs (apparently Dolly has learned to meow??) and that’s about it. Our power didn’t go out all night, and neither did our Sky dish service.

I woke up this morning to the sun shining and the birds singing… not a single fallen branch in my neighborhood.

The weather was so nice that I got called back into work today. Fabulous.

Image from Cancun’s Best