Rapsodia Bazar: Showcasing Cancun’s Designers and Artists

I cannot stress enough just how happy I am that Cancun is starting to create its very own art culture.

This weekend was yet another example thanks to Rapsodia Bazar. This little market has popped up 3 times now, showcasing local Cancun artists, designers and small business owners in a 1-day event.

Saturday was my second time at Rapsodia Bazar (more on my 1st visit here), and this time they hosted the event at the large park in the Supermanzana 20 neighborhood of downtown Cancun. I didn’t make it there until 7pm and it was already dark. I also hear they had a lot more stuff earlier in the day, which surprised me because there was still quite a lot left!

Here’s a taste of what I found:

Overall I loved the location in the park, and I found tons of stuff I considered buying. My only complaint would be that some of the items didn’t seem very unique. I saw very similar items at different tables, especially some of the jewelry.

I only bought 1 thing this time: yet another piece of art by Michelle Bordon! (See Michelle’s Facebook page here.)I bought a toucan drawing from her at the last Rapsodia Bazar, and this time I bought a very large hermit crab. Normally I’m not much of an art freak, but I can’t get enough of these. They’re done with pen! This guy is gonna go in my office:

Thank you Rapsodia Bazar for contributing to Cancun’s cultural scene! You can follow Rapsodia Bazar on Facebook here.

A Night at Parque Las Palapas

Parque Las Palapas is one of my favorite places in Cancun. It’s not particularly fancy and there’s no ocean view, but the atmosphere is great.

This park (and I use the term loosely because it’s mostly paved) has a food area where you can buy tacos, tortas, etc, along with tons of junk food carts (yum!) and vendors selling tables of used books, traditional clothing, handmade jewelry and more.

Last time I went, it just happened to be the night of the pageant to crown the Junior King and Queen for the upcoming Cancun Carnaval. There was a pretty big crowd gathered around the main stage at Parque Las Palapas. I guessed that the girl in the blue dress was going to win because her dress was the most sparkly. And she won!

After the pageant, my friends and I strolled around the park and just took it all in. Lots of families, kids running around, and a group of guys playing drums for tips. It’s a fun place to just hang out with the people of Cancun.

If you’re ever in downtown Cancun one evening and want to see where all the local families go, stop by Parque Las Palapas and just walk around for a bit. Maybe buy some jewelry. Parque Las Palapas is located near the ADO  bus station, just between Avenida Tulum and Avenida Yaxchilan.

Cancun Art Right Under My Nose

Anyone who lives in Cancun knows that locals love nothing better than to complain about how little culture the city has to offer. We’re only 40 years old, and the entire state of Quintana Roo used to only be populated by a few scattered Mayan villages. Over 90% of Cancun residents are originally from other parts of Mexico (and the world), so we’re still trying to figure out who we are. Personally, I kind of love being part of something new and exciting where I can be an important element in forming the city’s culture and legacy. (I flatter myself by considering this little blog to be part of the Cancun cultural evolution process.)

At any rate, this past Sunday after church I talked Jorge into going on a field trip. We walked over to the intersection of Calle Labna and Avenida Tulum in downtown Cancun because I had seen from a distance some cool murals and graffiti on the walls surrounding a water tower. Jorge, my camera and I found a whole lot more than we expected!

First were the painted trees. I have no idea who painted them, or when, or why, but they’re pretty cool. Here are just a few…

 

Two of the walls surrounding the water tower were covered in graffiti. Have blank canvas, will tag.

Normally I’m not a fan of vandalism, but I have to admit I kinda love all the color.

 

But the other 2 walls have the best part of all: the Mayan murals. It was pretty spectacular. Dare I say the best day of my camera’s short life thus far.

 

And the most awesome element: the skull helmets. We need to make this the latest fashion trend. Who’s with me?

For more of my pics of the Mayan mural and to find out where it came from, click through to my latest blog post on Cancun360.mx.

Friday Night at Sensations Club

Friday night, a group of girlfriends invited me to a new Cancun club called Sensations. I hadn’t heard of it, but it just opened a few weeks ago and looks like the new hotspot for Cancun locals.

Sensations is an outdoor nightclub located in the downtown area on Avenida Bonampak. (Lately all the great new bars, restaurants and shopping centers seem to be popping up all along Avenida Bonampak. It’s the new place to be!) Located on the rooftop of a small plaza, it has a lounge atmosphere and great views of the lagoon, Puerto Cancun and the Hotel Zone.

The place was packed by 1 am, and the DJ played a lot of my favorite new pop songs as well as some techno (I hate techno haha)

I’ve been to so many clubs in the 7 years that I’ve lived in Cancun and I’m really picky about music, but I have to admit that Sensations was one of my favorites so far.

Viri, me and Cyndi

Amigas!

Most of the partygoers seemed to be around my age, from 18 to 30 years old. I’d highly recommend this rooftop lounge to all my local friends.

What’s your favorite club in Cancun?

 

 

Parque Ecologico Kabah

Lately I’ve been running quite often at Parque Ecologico Kabah (Kabah Eco Park) in downtown Cancun. It’s by far the best place for a run here in the city, with a 2 km trail winding through the jungle with markers every 100 meters.

If you go on a weekday, you’ll see tons of runners sweating their way along the trail, and even some bodybuilders sculpting their physique at the rustic outdoor “gym”.

The "gym"

Most of the trail looks exactly like this, with dense jungle on either side. That's my running buddy Nadia in purple!

There’s also a large playground area which is used a lot on weekends. You’ll see tons of families and school grounds exploring the park on a Saturday or Sunday.

The main playground area

Swings!

More common areas

I’ve seen lots of different animals on my trips there, including crazy huge yellow ants, chacalacas, a snake and coati (known as pizot in Yucatan Maya).

A gold star for anyone who can tell me what kind of ant this is, because I haven't been able to find out.

Ant showing off his spiderman skills

I’d heard about a pond, so I asked Nadia to show it to me on our most recent run. I was absolutely giddy when we came across this:

A huge group of coati! (Can you see them all?)

Run, dude, run!

Thanks for the picture of me, Nadia!

Coati, chickens and ducks living in harmony

Beautiful mangrove pond

So for all you Cancun expats looking for a place to run or explore, Parque Kabah is a favorite of mine. So peaceful and so beautiful!

Yours truly jogging into the sunrise

Reader Photo Requests: My Neighborhood

When I asked for Reader Photo Requests last week, Meredith and Joe asked to see more of my day-to-day life. Sometimes things that seem so ordinary to me might be interesting to someone else, like my neighborhood.

I love my neighborhood! It’s very family-oriented and everyone always says “buenos días” when they see me walking down the street. The best part about it is the parks. Even though Cancun is a tropical tourist destination, the downtown area (where the locals live) is surprisingly low on green areas and parks. We do have some great ones, but they are few and far between throughout the city. My neighborhood is one of the few exceptions! We have a small park on every corner, along with 3 large ones.

Here are some pics of the little park by my street.Whenever I walk by and see the palm trees, I remember I’m in paradise. (Minus the brown patches of grass and the middle-school graffiti, of course.)

**I apologize for the less-than-stellar photo quality. I snapped these on my way back from work while holding my gym bag and purse.**

What’s the best thing about your neighborhood?

I Famosi Italian Restaurant

Some friends of ours had recommended an Italian place near Plaza Las Americas way back in early February, and last weekend Jorge and I decided to try it out.

I Famosi is a small restaurant on Acanceh Street (behind Sports City, for all my Cancun friends). Their menu is pretty extensive, with lots of unique pastas and a wide variety of pizzas.

To start, they brought out a bread basket with a tomato dipping sauce. I could only have 1 bite because of the diet (had to save room for pizza), but it was delicious!

Jorge ordered an eggplant pasta and I had the Riccotini pizza, which was amazing. With my diet I’m only allowed thin-crust pizzas, and this one fit the bill.

When they brought the check out, the waiter mentioned that they weren’t charging us for Jorge’s meal since they gave him the wrong pasta, even though Jorge liked it so much he ate it anyway. I thought that was a really nice gesture.

We couldn’t finish a lot of it, and we ended up taking enough home for lunch the next day. (2 meals for the price of 1!)

Out total was around $120 pesos (my pizza, a water and Jorge’s Sprite). With Jorge’s discounted pasta added in, it would have been a little over $200 pesos. Not bad for a romantic evening!

Show Me Your … Parrot Eating a Tomato??

Today on Show Me Your… I’ll be killing two birds with one post 🙂

The Drama Mama asked to see my fave hangout in Cancun, and my bff from elementary school, Catie, asked to see my favorite food since moving to Cancun. So, today’s post will be about one of me & Jorge’s new fave restaurant in Cancun, “Va Que Va”.

Va Que Va  is a seafood restaurant located in downtown Cancun. Since it’s soooo far out of the way (on the opposite side of Cancun from the Hotel Zone) you’ll never see tourists here. It’s located in an average neighborhood, but you have to drive through quite a few sketchy neighborhoods to get there. It’s worth it though! Here’s why…

The entrance, hiding the restaurant from the street with foliage.

va que va!

4 out of 5 guys at my table drank micheladas

Jorge drank 2 of these! (gross?) Micheladas are basically beer mixed with Maggi steak sauce, worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, and lime juice, with salt and sometimes chili powder on the rim. Very popular in Mexico! Here at Va Que Va, they cost about $3 USD each for a liter. For $4 USD, you can get it with a skewer of shrimp in it.

I ordered a shrimp ceviche ($5 USD... that's the SMALL size!) and a frozen lime-ade.

4 of the guys split a platter for about $20 USD, which I believe included 4 kinds of shrimp and fried fish filet (you can pick and choose what you want the platter to include)

A parrot eating a tomato. Why not?

Why, hello there!

A mariachi band showed up...

...and spent the next half hour serenading the table next to ours.

We discovered this restaurant a few months ago and LOVE it. It’s always packed around lunchtime (1 – 3 pm here in Mexico). I think it’s impressive that I have seen no publicity whatsoever for this place, and yet it’s huge and fills up quickly. Just word-of-mouth, I guess.

Show Me Your Front Door, Neighborhood and Car

For today’s Show Me Your (fill-in-the-blank), I’ll be taking up three requests.

Tiffany from Incredibly Fierce, Leslie Limon from Motherhood in Mexico, and Kathryn from She Don’t Make False Claims each asked to see something, so here goes:

Tiffany asked to see the view from my front door…

Lovely view of a tiny front yard and some potholes. I will say that my window faces out onto this same view, and it's nice to hear the birds singing from that tree out front. 🙂

 Leslie Limon asked to see my neighborhood:

Here's my street...

I'm right next to a middle school, and the kids hanging out on the balconies sure do scream a lot. (This was my fiance's middle school, btw!) Man those potholes look especially nasty after a night of rain, don't they?

Some lovely grafitti (No, we don't have gangs and delincuents in my hood. It's from those lame middle schoolers... hence the crappy quality and lack of imagination.)

This just happens to be one of my fave streets in the hood because of the cute houses and pretty yards, and I usually end up walking down it at least once a day.

I found some of the elusive canteloupe bugambilias I referred to the other day in a previous post.

pretty!!

These seem to be a cross between the "neon canteloupe" bugambilias (still can't find those) and the fuschia bugambilias

This is my favorite tree in Cancun! We don't have many big trees around here (something I miss about Virginia), so this is a fun substitute.

The trunk of my fave tree

I am DYING to get into this garden. It has eluded me for 2 years now. Doesn't it look like it has amazing stuff inside?? There are huge flower trees, some cute white buildings, and huge bushes in there. Let me in!

another view... *sigh* someday it will be mine

Kathryn asked to see my car. I have no car. So what do I use? THESE!!

My taxista let me take a picture of him this morning!! Our taxis are white with green stripes down the side. They charge around 2 or 3 USD to take you anywhere downtown. ("Tips are appreciate" HAHAHA)

So there you go… that’s pretty much what I see every morning on my way to work. 🙂