A Saturday Morning in Merida

I uploaded pics to the Gringation Facebook page all weekend, so my followers are already aware that Jorge and I spent last weekend in the beautiful city of Merida, Yucatan! We went for a wedding, but we also made sure to be as touristy as possible.

Merida is a historic city only 4 hours from Cancun, so it’s easy to spend a weekend there. It’s also where we got married!

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting parts of our Merida weekend here on the blog. (There’s way to much for just 1 post!)

 

We got to Merida at 10 am on Saturday and immediately went to check in to our hotel, the Holiday Inn. Yes, I realize that the Holiday Inn is a boring choice when you’re in a historic city, but it was right next door to where our friends’ wedding would be that night. Plus it’s right on Paseo de Montejo! Convenient!

The Holiday Inn had hacienda-inspired architecture and lots of modern amenities, although we noticed that a few small details like the elevator, the hallway carpeting and our room’s closet and doors hadn’t been updated in a very long time. Still, it was very nice-looking overall and the bed was amazing. If the bed could fit in our small suitcase, I would have stolen it.

The courtyard view from our top floor balcony

Beautiful!

Right after we left our suitcase in the room, we immediately set off in search of Santa Ana market, where we’d eaten once 3 years ago. I knew the general direction, but Jorge was miraculously able to find his way all the way back to the market after all that time! I guess it’s hard to forget such delicious food. Located right by the Santa Ana church, the market has numerous food stands to choose from, but all you have to do is sit down at a table and your waiter will bring whatever you want from the menu. We opted for tortas, tacos, fruit juice and a fruit cocktail, and of course a Coke.

I want to go back already!

Have you eaten at a Mexican market before?

 

Check out the other parts of our weekend in Merida:

A Walk through Merida Centro

Looking Up at Paseo de Montejo’s Mansions

Another Wedding in Merida

Sunday Morning Coffee on Paseo de Montejo

 

Welcome to My New Page!

Well hello there! I see you made it.

As you can see, my blog has a new look and a fancy new address.

The new site is still very much under construction, but it should be easy to navigate in the meanwhile. You may have noticed the extra tabs up top, dividing my posts into different categories:

  • My Life: stories about my day-to-day experiences here in Cancun… probably having to do with my house, Jorge or the dogs
  • Travel and Tourism: stories of my adventures, beach trips, etc around the Riviera Maya and beyond
  • Mexican Culture: How to Speak Like a Mexican, how living in Cancun differs from the US, etc
  • Sponsors: still working on this detail, but I’m hoping to add on some page sponsors in the not so distant future
  • About Me: self-explanatory :):)

However, every single post will also be appearing right here on the home page as well.

Even though the blog has a new page and a new look, rest assured that the content will be just the same as it’s always been!

Don’t freak out if you see weird things going on over the next few weeks as we get the design and layout at 100%. It’s all part of the process, baby.

Also, feel free to let me know how easy or difficult it is to comment. Some of you had mentioned before that WordPress wasn’t letting you post comments easily, and I’m hoping it will be a little different over here.

What's Your Dream Home?

My parents have gotten me hooked on a show called House Hunters International (watch it on HGTV in the States).

AMAZING.

First of all, I love any show about home remodeling, redecorating or buying… but this show was about expats buying houses in foreign countries! Love, love, love! They have episodes with all sorts of budgets, in countries all over the world. Sometimes they’ll buy new condos, and other times they’ll buy old ruins on a cliff in Italy. Why not?

With our new dish system, we can watch 2 episodes of House Hunters International every evening starting at 7 pm!

Thanks to my parents and House Hunters International, I’ve now began to toy with the idea of buying an old colonial home in Merida. Not now, but someday when we have money. Why not, right?

Here are my two current dream homes:

Click on the photo for more pictures!

Click on the photo for more pictures!

Here’s what I want you to do, readers:

Comment on this post and link to a picture(s) of your dream home! Anywhere in the world. I’d looooove to see it.

If you have your own blog, feel free to do a post on it!

This post will be up all weekend. Can’t wait to see what ya’ll come up with!

Going on Vacation… 15 Minutes From My House (That Counts, Right?)

Good news! Lately my Taylor Lautner post from a few months ago has been getting some Google hits. Apparently if you search for “Taylor Lautner hot” (not sure if it’s under images or web) my post will come up within the first few pages! Exciting.

This adds to the massive amounts of hits I get each day for this post on two of my fave childhood actors. (Apparently I’m one of the first images to show up when you type in “Rufio”. Seriously… I’ve been getting 30 or 40 hits a day on this baby for the past few months.)

Anyway, just a heads up that I’ll be absent from the blogging world until Monday, July 26. Why? Because my family is coming to Cancun for my wedding! They all fly in today. 22 aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, and sisters 🙂 Life is good.

I flatter myself by thinking they’re here for me, but I’m pretty sure 60% of the reason they’re here is for the vacation. I’m ok with that! 🙂

Soooo for the next week I will be staying HERE!

And then HERE!

Wish me luck! I’ll see you soon!

Cancun Fire Drill

This is the emergency exit (I use the term loosely) at my office building. Notice anything… emm… unsafe?

**Keep in mind that the only other exits are two revolving doors that require individual keycard access. There are hundreds of people in the building, and I’m on the fifth floor. If there’s an actual fire, I’m screwed.

"Finding the Right Taco"

Oh, boy! Do I have a treat for ya’ll today! This beauty rolled across my computer screen yesterday afternoon, and I have been dying to post it.

First, a little context: I work at a travel agency office. My department is in charge of writing all the texts that go on the website (hotel descriptions, destination info, tours, etc). My specific job is a Copy Editor. Since most of the writing is done by Mexicans, my job is to edit and correct their English before it gets put online. (I do this job along with one other American girl and a Brit guy.)

When someone applies for a job in my department, they have to write a sample text in English, to see if their English is up-to-par. They can write one page on anything they want. Literally, anything. These texts are then sent to us Copy Editors to judge.

Here’s a sample text from a hopeful job applicant that we got yesterday. (I’m only including the best paragraph!)

*Note: I’m not criticizing his English. Just… just read it. You’ll see.*

Here goes:

FINDING THE RIGHT TACO


“Gringa”, for those who don’t know, means “American Chic.. or Girl…” got it? And the term compares this dish with a really-hot-american-chic… I mean, with a GREAT RACK! So this type of Quesadilla + Taco (because it has a double layer tortilla with everything that you can put inside and lots and lots of melted cheese) is very popular at all those tacos’ stands or restaurants (probably you’ve tried one already) but what’s disappointing here is that these Gringas are not as lush and exuberant as the ones I’ve tried before… These are more like the kind of anorexic-with-few-rack-kinda-girls… So it has become a real adventure to try as many Gringas as possible, in hopes of finding the one that I can call my pretty-not-so-little-chubby-one! Cuz hell, I like ‘em big!

**Side note: This is a gringa taco, for those who aren't in the know.

Spring Break Cancun 2010! Woooo!

Aaaah, yes. It’s mid-March. The bugambilias and hibiscus are in full bloom. The birds are especially chipper. The sea breeze cools down the warm atmosphere. The air smells faintly of sunshine… and booze.

Yes, folks, it’s Spring Break 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. Us locals are soooo excited to watch the gringos locos get completely trashed, as they unfailingly manage to do every single year.

Cancunense boys will undoubtedly try to flirt their way through awkward, broken English in (surprisingly successful) attempts to chat up drunk sexy gringas.

The Hotel Zone will surely be filled with groups of Spring Breakers trying to jaywalk sprint across the streets of Party Center without getting hit by a frustrated taxista.

The public bus system will overflow with obnoxiously loud exuberant college students screaming at the bus driver to let them off NOW, unaware that the bus can only stop at bus stops, not just randomly in the middle of the road. (“Dude, what’s your deal?! My hotel was back there!!”)

Nightclubs in Party Center will sponsor over-the-top bikini contests (most of which are rigged, by the way… but something tells me that nobody really cares).

Groups of Gringos will wander around downtown Cancun, lost and asking for directions to Walmart and Market 28. If you don’t speak English, they may speak loudly to eachother in English about how ignorant you are.

The streets will echo with joyous cries of “Dude, I’m so f***ing wasted!”, “Where’s our hotel?”, “Spring Break 2010! Woooo!”, and “Ladies, this is THE BEST disco in Cancun! Just come in and see! Don’t walk away… wait! Ladies!”

So come on over, Spring Breakers! We’re ready for ya! Just be safe, be respectful of locals and spring breakers alike, and please… PLEASE… try to use your indoor voices while out and about. It’s embarrassing for the rest of us when you don’t.

Is Cancun Safe? YES.

Sorry guys, I had a more upbeat post planned for ya, but recent events in other parts of the Republica Mexicana made me feel the need to put in my two cents.

I’m pretty upset to hear about the issues in Ciudad Juarez and in Acapulco, since I have many dear friends in both cities. I’m sorry for the victims’ families.

I am very frustrated, however, with the bad rap Cancun has been getting in the past few years due to issues going on in other parts of the country.

Last year around this time, we went through a tough recession due to the outbreak of the swine flu (which never even reached Cancun), not to mention the fact that the States was warning tourists not to travel to Mexico. Unfortunately, they failed to specify which parts of Mexico, and innocent Cancun became the posterboy for dangerous destinations. Many of my friends lost their jobs due to irresponsible media coverage, and we still haven’t fully recovered.

This is ridiculous to me, since Cancun is and has always been a safe destination. When was the last time you heard about a tourist being kidnapped in Cancun? (no, not that girl who ran off on her own in January) Or a tourist being caught in the crossfire of a shootout in Cancun?

Sure, bad things happen to tourists in Cancun. I will be the first to admit it. Sadly, what the media fails to take into account is that most of these incidents are caused by the stupidity and/or drunkenness of the tourists themselves. Even when you go out to enjoy Cancun’s nightlife, you’re still safe so long as you make the right decisions.

You’ll be fine so long as you:

-travel in groups

-don’t leave your drink unattended

-don’t go off with people you don’t know

-don’t get personally involved in a drug war

don’t work in my office building

Still, this is basic safety anywhere in the world, not just Cancun.

Cancun’s Hotel Zone is, in my opinion, one of the safest places in the entire world. I never hear about anything violent happening there, and the entire city (police and government included) dedicates itself to ensuring that visitors can enjoy a safe and exciting vacation.

Keep in mind that all of this weekend’s instances were most likely drug-related, not just random acts of violence. That’s not to say that the victims “had it coming” by any means, but I will say that they were all probably targeted for a reason.

Also keep in mind that the Mexican cities experiencing violent acts this week are on the other side of the country from Cancun. If there were shootouts in LA and Houston, would you then be afraid to travel to Miami? Didn’t think so.

Why, Cancun?: The Hotel Industry

As many of you may know, I came to Cancun to study tourism. The huge resorts and great destinations fascinated me. They still do.

However, a few years of college internships at various Cancun resorts shed some light on many things. While I still love tourism and all that comes with it, I am sooo glad I chose a desk job over prostituting myself out to a hotel for 500 dollars a month at ungodly hours.

As another installment in my Why, Cancun? series, here are some of the unsettling, annoying, and often hilarious things I came across during my stint in the hotel industry:

-tourists walking around in designer bikinis while I was wearing a navy blue suit that never seemed to fit quite right

-tourists complaining that the beach was too small (this happened A LOT) Yeah… sorry about NATURE. Let me get right on that for ya…

-tourists complaining about the lagoon smelling funny (again… what is it you want me to do?)

-free lunch at the employee cafeteria!!!! Yay! Oh wait… leftovers from the tourists’ dinner last night? Thaaaaanks

-waiters stealing customers behind my back when it wasn’t their turn (hostess internship)

-tourists complaining that the maid had stolen their cash/iPod/jewelry… only to later find it hidden in some compartment of their suitcase they’d forgotten about (an honest lady loses her job because you’re an idiot)

-“How hard can it be to have a room ready?!?! Are you incompetent?” (Um, sir, check-in isn’t for another two hours. The maids need time to clean the rooms of the guests who checked out today) Aaaah, the reception desk.

-an irate women complaining that the all inclusive bracelets were unattractive (Well, lady, everyone else is wearing them and you can’t eat or even be in the resort without it soooo… not much I can do)

-Did you know that for every all inclusive bracelet that goes unaccounted for, the receptionist loses 200 dollars?

-tourists fighting over pool loungers (big debate over the validity of saving a lounger with a towel you placed there at 5 a.m. before going back to sleep)

-In Mexico, apparently “goggles” is pronounced “wooglays” (tried not to crack up over the phone while on the line with the lost and found department)

-Never forget that the hotel REMEMBERS the guests who steal towels/robes/slippers. It’s pretty embarrassing to have your bags checked on your way out of the hotel on your second visit. (funny to watch, though… )

-“You need to hire maids who speak some English.” Funny… actually we don’t because we’re in MEXICO. You’re the one visiting a foreign country.

-“Unbelievable! The maid knocked three times and I didn’t answer because I was napping. THEN, she had the nerve to just walk right into the room! I think she wanted to steal my stuff!” Yeah… they tend to just walk in there when they need to do turn-down service and you neglect to place the “do not disturb” sign on the door. Sorry that the lying thief was doing her job.

*sigh* Sooo glad I’m in an office job now.