Monday, 25 May 2009

Maybe I just don't get it.

I know that I'm a gringa, and here in my adpoted country, we have different customs, holidays and traditions. I can really get behind alot of them (hello, pozole!) and some of them, well, I think I'm missing the whole point.

Let's talk about pinatas. Saturday was Braden's 3rd birthday party. I went with his mom, and my partner in crime, Nancy, from, to go and order the cake, the pinata, etc. a few days prior to the event. Now, Nancy chose one of the coolest lion pinatas I've ever seen, and it had to be, because she made me to to THREE different pinata stores to find it. Yes, three. I live on a small island, where you can't always find fresh milk, but apparently anyone can find a pinata a mile away from their house.

Now, this lion pinata was BIG, and Nancy had no where to hide it from a active 3 year old, so lion came to live with us for a few days. I had to put the thing on the dining room table, since that's essentially the only place we've been able to convince the cat to NEVER go, (which is ironic, since we actually eat at the thing about 4 times a year, but I digress..)

So here's where you pinata affictionados lose me. It's your kid's birthday. You have a theme for it, in this case, lions. So you go and buy your child's favorite character and then encourage them to beat the crap out of it with a stick? Seriously, if that's not years of therapy, I don't know what is.

Then, the pinatas almost never break. Seriously, all of my firend's kids are under 5 years old, meaning they're not that strong, and they have a three minute attention span, tops. There's always the excitement at the beginning, when the kids all have their first turn, and we all sing the silly song loudly, and nothing happens, because the people that make these things make them super, super thick. Can't they make special, easy to break ones for the young and the elderly?

So what generally happens is the adults stop paying attention, and only sing when it's actually their kid, and the children start wandering off to discover other shiny objects. Then some well meaning adult steps up, with a determined look in their eye. In all the years I've lived here, I have never seen a child break a pinata, it's always the desperate parent, who realizes they're losing the audience. (In one notable occasion, I actually saw a granmother take a kitchen knife to a particularly durable pinata).

I won't even get into the whole concept of arming children with sticks. Someone once told me they wen't to a party and the host used a broom handle made out of metal, and one of the kids got a little swing happy and broke someone's arm.

How about the moron who pulls the rope to make the pinata move around? First of all, it's always the wise-guy of the group, since no one else wants the job. Secondly, when you're swinging, and just want to get this whole pinata/stick thing over with, the last thing you want is some yahoo, jerking the pinata around making it harder!

So finally, the whole pinata thing comes to it's happy end, the thing breaks and candy and other edible stuff falls to the ground?? Not one of my friends would let their kid eat off the floor (that I know of..) but if it comes out of a pinata it's ok. And, generally speaking, the stuff they fill those things with is horrble. Waxy chocolate, peanuts, oranges and even toothpicks. You've gotta be kidding me here!

Again, maybe I just don't get it! Maybe I'm just missing the joy. I know Fabs has never really been able to embrace the whole concept of Groundhog Day.

Here's the pinata in the store, in happier days, prior to it's unwarranted beating.

Friday, 22 May 2009

A Slight Digression Rant, NCR

A new friend of mine is opening a salon here on the island. I'm always thrilled about new salons since it gives me a chance to wreck my hair all over again.

Seriously, I can't even keep count of the variety of hair colors I've rocked throughout the years. They're generally some variety of blonde, ranging from baby chick yellow, to, in one case, an unfortuante shade of green (thank you, Victor!) There was even the year of RED, which I'd rather not talk about....

Anyhow, here's my beef with hairdressers. The first thing they always say to you is "So what are we going to do with your hair today?"

"Um, you tell me, YOU went to beauty school!" Seriously, when I drop the car off at the mechanic, it would never occur to me to give him pointers, tips or any sort of direction. Same for the guys who paint my house. Why do hairdressers always ask that question?

It puts pressure on me, to have some limited knowlege, and frankly, I never read all those articles in "Glamour" and "Vogue" like 7 hairstyles for every face shape.

If I possessed these facts (and the skill set) would I still even need you?

Let's hope today hair wrecking goes a little different.

Oh, and for those of you who don't lurk all day and every day on Cozumel Chat boards, NCR, means Non-Cozumel Related. That's your nugget of knowledge for the day!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I'm pretty sure the CSI Crime Lab is on it's way

Does anyone know how to get rust stains out of cement? I've always said; Here, if it doesn't mold it rusts, and, as our BBQ did the slow walk of death, it left rust marks all over our patio. It looks as if we've been conducting mayan sacrifices.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Game night - painful and not to be repeated

The Fab-man has had a long standing poker engagment every Wednesday. It's a floating game, moving from house, to villa, to apartment at the host's whim. Yesterday's host encouraged spouses, who could play board games in the other room. A good idea, in theory.

I didn't really want to go; however, my friend Rosalie (of was already roped into going. I owe her, big time, plus I thought it might not be that bad. I was very wrong.

Picture the scene: there's a really fun poker game with the jokes and trash talk going on in the other room. Rosalie, I and the hostess are awkwardly gathered around a dining room table. Yes, that's right, just me and Rosalie, since other people were either smart enough to feign an interest in poker or just stay home. Rosalie's brought along some really good games, and I never really thought of it before, but I guess we're just "game people."

Our hostess was not a "game person." She was gracious and put on a good front, but it was very obvious that the first game we played was like water table torture to her. She admitted that she almost never played games, and in fact, really enjoyed watching TV much better.

The first game was punctuated by awkward pauses and long silences, as we taught hostess how to play. As I said, she was well mannered and polite, but it was obviously not how she envisioned her Wednesday night. Finally, when she got up, I said to Rosalie, "she hates this, let's switch games.."

"Good idea, thank you so much for coming so it wouldn't be just me!," replies my trusty companion in the social quagmire.

We switch games, with marginal success, our hostess seems to be better at faking interest, or maybe she was just hitting the rum bottle every time she got up. I know I wanted to.

At last it's break time, and we meet the rolicking, fun-loving, zany bunch who've been playing poker out on the terrace. We're noshing and mingling, and I'm staring off into space, recovering from the mindless social platitudes, when I spot host and hostess in front of the frige.

"Honey, are you having a nice time,? queries host

"No, dear, not really.." she musters (putting on her stalwart, "I will brave this thing through" face.)

Needless to say, that gave me a "get out of jail pass" (since I'm apparently a game person) to get out of there as soon as I could. Rosalie was forced to stick it out until the fun poker game broke up, apparently discussing aquariums in depth with our hostess. There's only so much I'm willing to take for a friend.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Beach Camping!

We just got back from beach camping on the other side of the island. Frankly, I've never understood why we call it beachcamping, since we actually stay in the wind powered hotel, and pitch the tent, just for the kids.

This is generally how it works, Lisa from Rock n Java, ( calls us all and we pack up, dogs, kids, bedding, coolers, ice and way more food than any of us can possibly eat. We then agree that this time we're getting there early, as opposed to all the other times when we skated in just before dark and had to pitch the tent with flashlights.

We still arrive just before sunset on Saturday. Since the other side of the island is completely undeveloped, the hotel is windpowered and cell reception is non-existant, it's a chance to completely get away from everything. There are crashing waves, starry skies, beaches to walk and that's about it.

Activities during beach camping generally consist of building a fire (for the BBQ) using the fire later to make s'mores for the kids (yum) and then telling them creepy ghost stories (with the flashlight under your chin) to scare the crap outta them. One time, Fabs told them all about the "pez roncador"(snoring fish) who only came out at night. It was his turn to sleep in the tent with them, and they were all a little frightened when they heard the noises, though the Pez was coming to carry them into the sea, until they realized it was him snoring!

Sunday you're up with the sunrise, since it's so beautiful and it takes place about 4 feet from your head. I've actually worn sunglasses while in bed. Yesteday, after a yummy breakfast, Nacho loaded up all the kids and his surf boards and took off to Playa Bonita. Nacho, who is the surf champion for many years here on Cozumel, can spot the best place for kids with one eye shut. I chose to remain behind, since I'm a total slacker, and I wanted to finish my book, however, Gary has the photos to prove how much fun it was.

All of the kids, including the 5 year old, got up on the board, and there's even photos of Nacho doing handstands on his short board. Nacho is super good with kids, and not too hard on the eyes, since he literally looks like a pirate. We've been pushing him for years to run a day tour teaching people to surf and I think he's about ready to actually do it.

Sunday generally solely consisits of lounge chairs, beach, water and eating, repeated throughout the day, until it's time to leave. No matter how many times I re-apply the sunscreen, I always come home pink, tired, salt crusted and covered in sand. After taking a shower, washing the dogs, unpacking, and cleaning out the cooler, I always realize what a fantastic time I had "away from it all."

I'm ready to start the week, renewed and refreshed.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Yet another reason (no. 451) why I love living here

Last night after we got home from a great dinner (thank you Don and Rosalie!) the husband and I were vegging in front of the TV, when we heard the Cheese-Man come by. For those of you who don't know, this is a gentleman who walks the streets of Cozumel with a giant cardboard box balanced on his head. The box is filled with cheese, and he sings as he walks.

"Queso Oaxaca, Queso Oaxaca!"

In addition to being the yummiest cheese in the world, I just love the whole concept! I've lived here for over 10 years now, so when I hear the chant, I start digging out my wallet.

Where else in the world can one get home cheese delivery? If one were even to attempt duplicating this at home, in say Georgia, and walked the streets with a big cardboard box on your head, chanting "I got Cheddar, Cheddar Cheese!" wouldn't the neighbors call the cops and try to have you committed?

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Deep Sea Fishing with animals

This happened a while back, however, it still makes me smile, and that's what I really wanted to do today.

So the Fab-man and his buddy, Pato, decide to go fishing in Pato's boat. They invite their friends, Don and Guido (seriously, they're from New York) to come too. At the time, Brisa, Pato's boat was kept up by Isla de Pasion, very north.

Anyone who'w ever been that far up north, can attest, that it's very pretty, very rustic and completely overrun with racoons. They're actually rather cute, and in my opinion, harmless, and will come out and beg shamelessly for a handout. I have even seen them storm into rental jeeps in search of unattended snacks, sort of along the same line as animal time-share salesmen.

Anyhow, boat is loaded, mostly with beer, and the boys cast off. According to the Fab-man, after the first 3 beers or so (yes, that's a measure of time, here) they start hearing this unidentified squeeking sound.

They're looking around, checking cell phones, boat motors, and, of course, the cooler, for the sound, when they are finally able to tell that it's coming from the front hatch of the boat. Guido, who was closest opens the front hatch only to discover that they have, indeed, invited a raccoon along with them. Raccoons apparently don't like boating, hence the sounds.

Pato's boat isn't very big, so there's no way to get away from the raccoon, and the boys have gone too far along to turn back now just because of a seasick raccoon. Don and Guido decide to toss a ham sandwich into the hatch, and lock the hasp. (Did I mention that they're from New York?)

The afternoon carrys on. The fish are biting and the beer is cold. The raccoon, either placated by the sandwich or too seasick to care, is not heard from again.

Our heros return, close to sunset, unload the boat, and as the final act of the day, open the hatch with the trapped raccoon. Fab-man tells me that they're last sight was the raccoon drunkenly staggering down the wooden pier toward land. Imagine the story he had for his buds...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Check out the bobble-head!

I've been foster-caring this adorable bobble-headed kitten since last Saturday. The Queen of the street, dropped it off at my neighbor's house, where I happend to be drinking beer at the time, so my defenses were down, and we agreed to foster-care bobble until he was either adopted (or non-infectious) and could be taken to the Humane Society.

Bobble head arrived in a plastic bag (reason number 42 why I bear the Queen of the Street ill will) and had such a bad eye infection that his little (grey) eyes were stuck shut. 3 days later and the infection is almost gone. Dr. Ivan gave me medicine for the de-worming (thanx, Ivan!) andthe little guy is on the road to recovery.

Now that he's not miserable his personality is really coming out. He follows me around and tries to always be touching me, and is purr is as big as his head. My cat, Orca, was hand raised, and adopted from the Humane Society, and I can tell you that these make the best pets ever!

Please drop me a note if you're looking for a little bundle of head to brighten your day!