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Archive for January, 2010

I am bubbling over with¬†joy, shaking with happiness, thrilled to pieces…did I win the lottery? NO, did I get a raise?, NO, have I lost weight?, NO–well maybe just a little ūüôā So what has happened you may ask? An immigration miracle..that is what has happened to me. I had heard a rumour that they existed but for the 15 years that I have been living¬†here I have never experienced one myself¬†nor even known someone who has experienced one either but it has finally happened to me, me ,me !!!

As I have ¬†mentioned before¬†I have been living in Cancun¬†since 1995. I started out with a document called a FM3¬†which allowed me to work. I had to renew it every year and every year it took weeks to do and involved at least 6-7 visits¬†and often more. Immigration Cancun is NOT organized at all and everything changes from one day to the next and did I mention the lineups? Oh the dreaded¬†lineups! Some of the staff are friendly but on the whole¬†they are not and every year I start stressing about the whole¬†process weeks in advance of my paper’s expiration date.

Many years ago¬†after 5 years you could apply for your¬†citizenship but I decided not to as I had brought a Nissan Pathfinder from Canada so I would have had to give my SUV up once I changed my immigration status….looking back now I realize that was a HUGE mistake as shortly afterwards¬†Immigration laws changed and you now have to have a FM2¬†for a few years before you can apply for citizenship–they have added an extra¬†step to the immigration process. When I went to apply for my FM2¬†many¬†years ¬†ago I was informed¬†that because a lawyer at the Palace Resorts had put my papers in late 1 year I had lost all my antiquity and so I had to start the FM3¬†process all over again. I had always done my own papers but for a while I was working for the Palace Resorts and they insisted on letting their lawyers take care of your papers–gee thanks Palace¬†Resorts!

So after a few more years of a FM3 I was finally allowed to get my FM2 last year!! Yipee! It costs more and it took immigration 3 months to do and over 20 visits¬†and by the end of it all I was in tears and¬†I am sure that¬†the¬†experience shaved years off my life!¬† So you can understand my stress factor when my expiration date rolled around again this year. Like every year I filled out my form took a million photo copies and headed down to Immigration expecting as always a HUGE line-up but that day there wasn’t one. I handed everything in and was told¬†to come¬† back in a week to check on the progress which ¬†usually means that you have another 3-4 visits¬†to go as they always ask for something else or they havent had a chance¬†to look at them yet…yaddah¬†yaddah yaddah. Well 7 days went by and today I went to “check” on my status and that folks is when the Immigration miracle happened. Again, there wasn’t a line-up and when I asked the woman how my papers were going I was informed…wait for it…THAT THEY WERE READY!!

READY? I asked just to be sure. YES, READY! My face lit up with joy. I was smiling from ear to ear and a warm fuzzy feeling spread throughout my body. All the anticipated stress just melted away. I went outside with my payment form and called my friend Lisa and Erika (also foreigners) to share the glorious news and to tell them that yes, immigration miracles do in fact EXIST!

So tomorrow I am off to the bank to pay my 280 dollars and then to pick up my renewed Fm2. One more year to go and I can start the citizenship process which I am sure will prove to be even more stressful but at least this year I experienced my own little immigration miracle. To anyone else who is dealing with immigration right now my heart goes out to you and keep the faith as Immigration miracles do in fact exist and happen!

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I am bubbling over with¬†joy, shaking with happiness, thrilled to pieces…did I win the lottery? NO, did I get a raise?, NO, have I lost weight?, NO–well maybe just a little ūüôā So what has happened you may ask? An immigration miracle..that is what has happened to me. I had heard a rumour that they existed but for the 15 years that I have been living¬†here I have never experienced one myself¬†nor even known someone who has experienced one either but it has finally happened to me, me ,me !!!

As I have ¬†mentioned before¬†I have been living in Cancun¬†since 1995. I started out with a document called a FM3¬†which allowed me to work. I had to renew it every year and every year it took weeks to do and involved at least 6-7 visits¬†and often more. Immigration Cancun is NOT organized at all and everything changes from one day to the next and did I mention the lineups? Oh the dreaded¬†lineups! Some of the staff are friendly but on the whole¬†they are not and every year I start stressing about the whole¬†process weeks in advance of my paper’s expiration date.

Many years ago¬†after 5 years you could apply for your¬†citizenship but I decided not to as I had brought a Nissan Pathfinder from Canada so I would have had to give my SUV up once I changed my immigration status….looking back now I realize that was a HUGE mistake as shortly afterwards¬†Immigration laws changed and you now have to have a FM2¬†for a few years before you can apply for citizenship–they have added an extra¬†step to the immigration process. When I went to apply for my FM2¬†many¬†years ¬†ago I was informed¬†that because a lawyer at the Palace Resorts had put my papers in late 1 year I had lost all my antiquity and so I had to start the FM3¬†process all over again. I had always done my own papers but for a while I was working for the Palace Resorts and they insisted on letting their lawyers take care of your papers–gee thanks Palace¬†Resorts!

So after a few more years of a FM3 I was finally allowed to get my FM2 last year!! Yipee! It costs more and it took immigration 3 months to do and over 20 visits¬†and by the end of it all I was in tears and¬†I am sure that¬†the¬†experience shaved years off my life!¬† So you can understand my stress factor when my expiration date rolled around again this year. Like every year I filled out my form took a million photo copies and headed down to Immigration expecting as always a HUGE line-up but that day there wasn’t one. I handed everything in and was told¬†to come¬† back in a week to check on the progress which ¬†usually means that you have another 3-4 visits¬†to go as they always ask for something else or they havent had a chance¬†to look at them yet…yaddah¬†yaddah yaddah. Well 7 days went by and today I went to “check” on my status and that folks is when the Immigration miracle happened. Again, there wasn’t a line-up and when I asked the woman how my papers were going I was informed…wait for it…THAT THEY WERE READY!!

READY? I asked just to be sure. YES, READY! My face lit up with joy. I was smiling from ear to ear and a warm fuzzy feeling spread throughout my body. All the anticipated stress just melted away. I went outside with my payment form and called my friend Lisa and Erika (also foreigners) to share the glorious news and to tell them that yes, immigration miracles do in fact EXIST!

So tomorrow I am off to the bank to pay my 280 dollars and then to pick up my renewed Fm2. One more year to go and I can start the citizenship process which I am sure will prove to be even more stressful but at least this year I experienced my own little immigration miracle. To anyone else who is dealing with immigration right now my heart goes out to you and keep the faith as Immigration miracles do in fact exist and happen!

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Last Thursday Cesar and I¬†decided to check out Cafe Chianti, a restaurant/bar near our home. We have passed by¬†it several times since it is very close to Marakame Cafe https://ashlied.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/marakame-cafe/, a favourite of ours. It has been around for about a year and since first opening they have added a very nice outdoor patio and since I love outdoor patios we thought that it was time to check it out-plus I was looking for something to blog about ūüôā

Cafe Chianti

 Chianti wine which hails from the Chianti region in Tuscany  usually brings to mind a wine bottle in a basket sitting on a red checkered table-cloth with a candle in it in a small Mom and Pop neighbourhood  Italian restaurant. I remember eating in such a place when I was a teenager with my first real boyfriend when we went out for a romantic dinner.Now, Chianti wine is more often than not found in a standard glass bottle but I believe some brands still use the basket.

We were craving a cheese plate and me, a glass of red¬†wine and Cesar a beer so before even parking the car I jumped out to see whether they had a cheese plate on their menu.They did! There was one other table taken but other than that both indoors and outdoors was empty–but it was fairly early in the evening still. We settled into our seats on the patio and a very friendly waiter gave us our menus. I ordered a glass of wine 65 pesos and Cesar a beer about 35 pesos.They had a cheese plate, a cold meat plate and a mixed plate. We chose the¬†cheese plate as I really am a cheese hound at heart.My glass of wine arrived–strike one!–very chincy¬†for the price. For the same price at Marakame¬†you are served¬†a better¬†sized glass of wine. Then the cheese plate arrived–strike two! Again, for the price (214 pesos) we were expecting a lot more and from the beginning I wasn’t all that thrilled with their cheese selection-not very flavourful and quite bland.¬†And once again Marakame¬†reigns supreme for their cheese plate. In all fairness though Cafe Chianti had a wonderful parmesan cheese basket on the plate filled with grapes and they had four delicious salsas¬†on the side–chipotle, roasted habanero, habanero¬†pur√©e and an avocado salsa.

Cafe Chianti Cheese plate

We looked over the rest of the menu and they had several items that I would like to go back and try at a later date. Let’s hope that their other dishes fare¬†better on the Ashlie-scale!¬† A few more people arrived as we were leaving which was great to see and it also meant that the owner could hover over their table for a while¬†instead of ours. ūüôā¬†When all is said¬†and done¬†I had a pleasant time as the company was great ( my husband) and it is always nice to get out of the house and try new places.¬†We will go back again but next time I will order a beer, no cheese plate and we will try some of¬† their other dishes.

Cafe Chianti outdoor patio

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When everyone thinks of Cancun they imagine long stretches of white sandy beaches for as long as the eye can see and that is exactly how Cancun’s beaches used to be¬†before several hurricanes gradually eroded our beaches away. Many hotels “lost” their beautiful sandy beaches and tourists and Cancunenses alike mourned the days of Cancun past.

Because Cancun and Mexico as a country ¬†rely heavily on Cancun’s tourist industry it was necessary to come up with a plan to “save” our beaches and ensure¬†our reputation as a beautiful beach destination. So on September 4th 2009 after much planning and setbacks The Beach Recovery Project went into effect with a staggering total investment of 957 million pesos (about $85,446,428.00 CDN) WOW! The project was funded¬†by federal, state and municipal government as well as private investors. The idea being that not only would Cancun recover its beaches but also the project would provide positive¬†longterm environmental results. The expected¬†completion date is for February 10th 2010.

Heavy equipment weighing more than 2000 tons arrived last September with the goal of putting back 6.1 million cubic metres of sand. There were several delays due to bad weather but as of December 1st 2009 more than 1,191,550 m2 of sand had been replaced¬†on the beaches which represents about 23% of the project’s total¬†goal.¬†The project should take between ¬†70-80 days and will cover the area from Punta Cancun-Punta Nizuc. The sand is being¬†dredged¬†from two offshore ¬†sand banks called¬†La Ollita¬†and Punta Norte.

La Mirador-you can see the Geotubes

On Tuesday I took my Mother to the airport to pick up a friend of hers who was coming to visit Cancun for 9 days and we decided to take the Hotel Zone route back from the airport so that she could get an idea of Cancun and also to give her the chance to look¬† at Cancun’s amazing turquoise ocean for the first time. We stopped at La Mirador¬†which ¬†is a public beach (¬†about¬†18 kms¬†from downtown Cancun) with vendors selling anything from ceviche, tortas, kibis¬†to fresh fruit. There is also a look- out -point¬†and an amazing view so it is a very popular spot for people who either want to spend the day at the beach or just sit in their cars or walk out on the look-out-point and admire the beauty of Cancun. Unfortunately on Tuesday by the time we had picked up my Mom’s friend Cancun’s skies had clouded over and it had just started to rain. We were only able to spend a few minutes before the skies opened up and it poured but I was able to take a few photos of some of the work being done on the beach.

Tug boats and geotubes

It will be great once the project finishes and I hope that this time the sand will stay so that tourists and Cancunenses alike can once again enjoy the beauty of Cancun, its beaches and everything else that it has to offer as a premier vacation destination.

Beach Recovery Project

 

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On Saturday Cesar and I had hoped to check out a flea market; however, we were never actually able to find it. I am not referring to the typical Cancun tourist flea market but a local one that is usually held on Saturdays at one location¬†and Sundays at another location. So we ended up eating a late lunch at one of my favourite little “hole in the wall” restaurants called Los Pescaditos.

Cesar in front of Los Pescaditos

Los Pescaditos¬†have two locations in Cancun and we went to the one on Yaxchilan¬†Ave. as they often feature¬†live music and we are friendly with the staff. They always have people so there is a nice buzz and the food is always great. Their specialties¬†are lightly battered fish sticks using grouper and fried tacos with either fish or shrimp in them. They also make a great fish and shrimp ceviche Acapulco- style which means that the fish and shrimp have been ‘cooked” in lime juice. If you are looking for something else to try they also have shrimp stuffed jalape√Īo poppers and assorted fish/shrimp/oyster ¬†based soups which are great for a hangover ūüôā We ordered the fish sticks and decided to share a fish ceviche.

Yummy!!!

Unfortunately, by the time we arrived we had missed the live band but as usual they were playing some great music on their stereo. IF you are in Cancun and looking for a reasonably cheap place with great food and atmosphere look no further, hail a taxi and tell them you want to go to Los Pescaditos! Buen Provecho!

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My husband and I are avid movie-goers so¬†we try to go to the cinema at least once a week if there is something good on. We always go to the movies at Plaza Las Americas because it is close to where we live and they have a VIP movie theatre. Now I know some of you are probably thinking how pretentious that sounds but hang on before you judge me and¬†read on…

The regular theatre experience¬†usually goes something like this: You arrive and ¬†there are line-ups everywhere first to buy tickets and then to buy your snacks. I don’t know about you but I HATE to lineup for anything and I avoid it at all costs. Once you have bought your tickets and the usual movie snacks you then line up again to enter the theatre and then everyone scrambles for a decent seat. The seats are pretty good, better than they used to be, roomy and you have enough leg room. You watch the movie and hopefully there aren’t too many children or adults talking through the entire movie. The movie ends and you leave. Your movie-going experience was pretty good.

VIP Cinema Cancun

Now, imagine the following: You arrive and walk by all the people lining up and continue on to a separate¬†area where invariably there is no line up. You pay for your tickets which are only about 4 dollars more than the regular theatre and you select your seats on a screen and the attendant prints out your ticket. Now you can sit and enjoy a¬†nice hot¬†coffee or a Chai Tea Frappe¬†in the cafe¬†before entering the theatre. Once you decide to¬†go into¬†the theatre you leisurely walk¬† to the seat that you had pre-picked and you slide into a love-seat¬† as each set of couches are made¬†for two–that’s right you read correctly–COUCHES– soft, leather couches! On each side there are wooden tables and a lamp and there are also small individual glass tables that you can swivel into a better position¬†for eating. Now that brings me to my next point–food! Forget popcorn, hotdogs¬†and nachos unless that is what you are in the mood for but if you are having a yen for something more ethnic how about sushi, yakimeshi¬†or an Italian baguette? Sweet tooth? No problem, there are various cakes to choose from as well. Just push the button on your seat and a friendly waitress arrives with a menu¬†to take your order. You can even have a glass of wine or beer with your meal.How’s that for service? Once the movie begins use the small lever on the side and presto your love-seat¬†converts into a lazy boy. Lay back and enjoy the show! It is like watching a movie in your own¬†private¬†home theatre.

VIP seats before opening into lazy boy position

I do go on occasion to the regular theatre to watch the 3D movies as they haven’t offered them yet at the VIP but for all other movies we always go to the VIP. For less than 10 dollars a show it really is great bang for your buck all that is missing is a nice blanket to snuggle under during the show. Now I ask you where would you go if you had a choice?

Seats at 1/2 lazy boy position

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I have been living in Cancun year round since 1995 and it has been quite an adventure to say the least. The below list is in no particular order and is meant to be taken in the spirit in which it was written- musings from a Canadian Cancunense.

I will probably add more to this as they come to me but for now….

You Know You Have Been Living in Cancun, Mexico a Long Time When…….

  • When you dream in Spanish and English
  • When you have to stop and think how to spell some words in English as the Spanish equivalent is what first comes to mind.
  • When you count in your head in Spanish
  • When you eat lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 9pm
  • When most of your friends sell Time Share
  • When you call your day planner an ‚Äúagenda‚ÄĚ
  • When you drink cheladas ( beer in a salt rimmed glass with ice and lime) instead of just a beer
  • When you go into taco withdrawal while away on vacation in Canada
  • When you can play boggle in two languages
  • When you have a party that starts at 10 pm and you tell your friends that its starts at 8 pm so that they arrive on time
  • When you use your car horn everyday while driving
  • When you just tap the brakes instead of coming to a full stop at stop signs
  • When you understand that ‚Äúmordida‚ÄĚ means more than just ‚Äú bite‚ÄĚ
  • When you have favourite Spanish songs
  • When you kiss people on the cheek when you enter a room even if you have never met them before in your life.
  • When you eat ‚Äúcarnitas‚ÄĚ for breakfast on occasion.
  • When you can‚Äôt imagine life without a cleaning lady
  • When you start saying ‚Äúmanana‚ÄĚ (tomorrow) I will do it
  • When you put habernero sauce on everything
  • When you put chili-salt on your fruit
  • When you start believing that a shot of tequila will indeed cure your cold
  • When you have been to a ‚Äúbruja‚ÄĚ who tells you that you have been ‚Äúcursed‚ÄĚ and you pay them money to get rid of it just in case it‚Äôs true.
  • When you are used to seeing military soldiers walk down the beach in full combat gear and Uzis and you don‚Äôt flinch.
  • When you yell out your apartment window ‚Äú aqui aqui‚ÄĚ (here, here) when you hear the water guy, the gas guy, the guy who sharpens knives, the cheese truck, the tamale guy, or just some guy selling something.
  • When you no longer notice the pink, purple, blue, mint green or fuchsia coloured houses on your street.
  • When you say you have to go to the ‚Äúsuper‚ÄĚ instead of the supermarket to do your grocery shopping.
  • When 15 degrees Celsius is considered really cold and you bundle up in a couple of sweaters.
  • When you can pronounce Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Tzintzuntzan and Guanajuato correctly‚Ķjust to name a few.
  • When you use the shoulder on the highway to pass cars
  • When you are no longer surprised when your building runs out of water, gas or the elevator doesn‚Äôt work for weeks on end

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