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Archive for September, 2010

Last Wednesday Mexico celebrated 200 years of Independence and instead of holing up in some bar or throwing a house party like we usually do Cesar and I decided to hit the streets, specifically Tulum Ave., and celebrate with fellow Cancunenses. We started off at Tapatio for a traditional bowl of pozole, mine red and Cesar’s white, and then parked the car near Tulum and we strolled past the heavily armed soldiers until we came to City Hall.

My red pozole

We were greeted by tons of people, mainly families, all decked out in various kinds of festive wear, from red, green and white wigs to people’s favourite football team’s t-shirts and many were waving neon sound makers.I started snapping photos, feeling very touristy, of all the different types of food stands. There were tacos de pastor, churros, esquites,platanos fritos and even french fries to sample but we were still full from our pozole. City Hall was aglow in lights and there was folkloric dancing to watch on the stage.

Cancun's City Hall/Ayuntamiento

We decided to head over to Parque de las Palapas to check out the scene there and on our way we stopped for a drink. The park was  full of a constant stream of people coming and going between Tulum Ave. and there was live entertainment as well.Just before 11 pm we slowly made our way through the crowds back to City Hall to be ready for El Grito. At  11 pm  President Calderon shouted out for all of Mexico to hear (in our case via live radio) the traditional  Grito. The crowd went crazy as we all yelled “Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico!!!” over and over again and whether one is Mexican or not one couldn’t help but feel very patriotic at that moment. Then there were some loud bangs as the firework display commenced  and we all continued cheering as the sky lit up again and again.

Traditional dishes

We didn’t want to be stuck in the crowd when the show ended so we started making our way back to the car. After dropping the car off we went to our friends Lisa and Enrique’s house where they were having a small dinner party and we joined in with their after dinner festivities. Kelly from A Canuck in Cancun and her brood were there as well and we  immediately all started doing some tequila shots. It wasn’t long before Cesar and Enrique were singing along to ranchera style music. We stayed there long into the night and when we finally made it home we both agreed that this particular Grito had been one of the most enjoyable.

Fireworks

 

Our crooners

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Today is a very important day for Mexico and I wanted to share with my readers some historical background on what September 15th and 16th mean for Mexicans and those of us who have made Mexico our home. Tonight my husband and I will be going out for a traditional  bowl of pozole and then we will head over to el Ayuntamiento (town hall) to join in the festivities which include firworks and “el grito” which starts at 11pm and maybe even a stop at a cantina afterwards. With fingers crossed that it stops raining as we are experiencing some of the effects of tropical storm Karl we hope to celebrate tonight with many other Cancunenses.

I asked my Mom, who also likes to write, if she could put together a brief summary of this very important day in Mexican history and she happily agreed. So from her computer in Vancouver to my blog in Cancun below is a great read for history buffs.

Mexican Independence Day

This important and proud day in the history of Mexico, commemorates the beginning of the Mexican revolution to order to overthrow the Spanish conquerors then occupying Mexico. On the night of September 15th in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato, ordered church bells to be rung, and gathered his congregation together in front of the church.  In a bid to rally his small band of revolutionaries and armed men into attacking Spanish troops, he uttered the now famous battle cry “Grito de Dolores” (Cry of Dolores). Four days later, the Battle of Guanajuato occurred, which effectively began the War of Mexican Independence. However, it wasn’t until Sept 27, 1821 that Spain formally signed “The Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire.”

Each year, on the night of September 15th, the Mexican president rings a bell at the National Palace in the famous Zocalo plaza in Mexico City, and repeats the famous battle cry of Hildalgo, “Grito Mexicano.”   Similar celebrations takes place all across the country and September 16th, the actual day of Independence, is known as Fiesta Patria, Holiday of the Fatherland.

By Sheilan Dove (thanks Mom 🙂 )

What are your plans for tonight and tomorrow?

Viva Mexico!!!!

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Our Canadian Adventure

Now that we are back from our vacation to my hometown of Vancouver it all seems like it was a long time ago and not just over a week. I have settled back into the Cancun groove and I will next blog about all things Cancun but before I do I thought that I would share just a few of our many experiences on this last trip home. As always our time was spent catching up with family and friends, eating out at my favourite restaurants, enjoying the great outdoors and the cooler climate.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

This year we spent the first week with my Dad. We arrived and we were whisked away to Echo Valley Ranch & Spa where we were treated to a Thai massage and a morning ride. Then we were off to Hyder, Alaska for the night to see the grizzlie bears while they caught and ate the abundant salmon that had made their long journey upstream to spawn and then die. We even got hyder-ized at the local bar which simply means we drank170 proof evergreen alcohol (moonshine 🙂 ) and we were given certificates to prove it. Then it is was on to Victoria to spend a few days with my sisters where we visited the aquarium and shot a few holes of mini golf.

Flying to Hyder, Alaska

 

Grizzly Bear

 

Dinner with my sisters

Next, we went to stay with my Mom where we took her bikes out and rode around Stanley Park admiring the beauty of Vancouver’s mountains and forests. We took in the Pacific Nationl Exhibitions’ 100 year parade and spent many an evening chatting over good wine and food. Then we spent the weekend with my cousin and his family in White Rock grilling up steaks and halibut and laughing until I couldn’t laugh anymore.

Biking with my Mom

Back in Vancouver again we met up with some more friends and went to Cultus Lake for the day where we enjoyed a typical Canadian picnic and cooled ourselves off in the lake. We, of course, shopped–boy oh boy did we shop! and biked some more and met up with even more friends for an alcohol fueled night at the Yale Blues Club. So many great times and memories that will stay with me forever.

Cultus Lake

 

Friends at the Yale

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As most of my readers already know I recently returned from a three-week vacation  in Vancouver. My husband Cesar and I had a fantastic time visiting  family and friends. Now, I am back in Cancun, back to work and back to blogging but before I start writing about Cancun related topics again I wanted to post two blogs about my trip home. In this first blog, which will be mostly a photo blog, I would like to share with all of you some images of all the great food that we ate while away. As I have mentioned countless times before hubby and I are major foodies and Vancouver is a virtual mecca for people who love food. So, if you haven’t eaten already you probably should as the following images are bound to cause severe hunger pains. 

Eggs Benny on shrimp and english muffins

 

Pho noodles and other Asian favourites

 

Stanley Park hot-dog (slightly distorted)

 

Seared tuna with clams

 

Watermelon salad with goat cheese, honey and pepper

 

Incredibly fresh sashimi

 

And that was only just a few of the amazing dishes that we ate while on vacation!!!! 

Next blog…some of our adventures! 

What is your favourite food?

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August 31st Hubby, Mom and I woke up to blaring alarms set for 4am so that we could make the long journey home to Cancun after spending 19 fantastic  days in my hometown of Vancouver with family and friends. We struggled with our luggage which now consisted of 2 suitcases, 1 duffel bag and a box thanks to various end of summer sales. Trying not to wake everyone in the building we managed to load everything into the elevator and then into my Mom’s low slung  space- challenged car. We arrived before everyone else and after an uneventful check-in and a teary farewell with my Mom we continued on to customs as passengers going to Mexico via the States (Houston in our case) clear American customs while in the Vancouver airport. We cleared customs without a hitch.So far so good.

We parked ourselves in the food court and enjoyed our pre-packed breakfast and then walked over to the sitting area by our gate. 10 minutes before boarding time I pulled out our documents bag (a zip lock freezer bag)) in anticipation of our imminent boarding and my whole world came to a screeching halt! I saw 1 passport (Mexican) 1 FM2 (my Mexican immigration papers) 1 pen for filling out forms but NO Canadian passport. A cold tingling sensation shot through my body like a rocket and settled in my stomach. We frantically searched through our backpack and computer cases several times until we had to face the awful reality that my passport was gone. I informed the Continental Airlines agents who radioed around while I frantically retraced my steps but still no passport. By now I was on the verge of tears and when they informed me that my luggage had to be deplaned and that Cesar should go on ahead my face crumpled. I bid another tearful farewell this time to my husband and watched as he disappeared down the gangway.

I was now left alone with Louise, a very kind Continental rep, who calmed me down and told me that once I got a new passport they would put me on standby status for another flight the next day to avoid having to pay almost $400 in change of ticket fees as well as the fare upgrade difference. The following flight was fully booked but not overbooked and she was pretty confident that I would get on. Shell shocked I called my Mom at home for a ride and made my way out of the airport passing through Canadian customs and baggage claim. By the time my Mom picked me up she had a plan.God bless her!

We headed straight to the passport office which, incredibly, was empty thanks to all the rain that morning. I picked up some forms, had photos taken,hot footed it over to an old family friend, who used to be a lawyer, and asked him  to be my guarantor, and then his legal colleague kindly signed the declaration of loss form as it had to be notorized.We rushed back to the Canadian Passport office ,through the incessant rain in my now very wet Cancun ready sandals, with everything completed and paid the regular fee as well as a “fast-track” fee (grand total $157). I informed my two personal references and family friend to expect a phone call from the passport office within the hour as they would be checking me out since I was requesting a passport in 1 day. I was asked to return at 3pm and maybe just maybe my passport would be ready that day.It had been a very long day so far and we were wet from all the running around so we made our way home for lunch and to wait.

Bang on 3pm we were at the passport office again where to my absolute joy I was handed a new passport and treated to a small lecture about taking care of this official document. The afternoon was spent at home working on my computer, having a quiet dinner and going to sleep early.

4 am rolled around faster than I would have liked and I woke up feeling like I was stuck in Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” flick. I showered, lugged my box, my suitcase, and computer down to my Mom’s car and off we went to the airport in the dead of night…again! I met with Louise and I was given standby tickets, I said goodbye to my Mom, cleared customs and then waited at my flight’s gate in hopes that I would be going home today. This time my Mom waited on the other side just in case….. Aren’t Mom’s just the BEST??

 After the flight had boarded…everyone showed up 😦  I was once again escorted down to Canadian customs but only after Saint Louise (my new name for her) booked me on tomorrow’s flights no more standby for this girl. She must have taken pity on me after being present through most of my ordeal. So now I sit here still at my Mom’s place, sipping on a glass of wine and sharing my tale with all of  you, not quite able to fully relax and  feeling like I am not entirely in Vancouver but somehow still in transit. We are going out for an early dinner at the local Thai restaurant and then it will be another early night and early start but this time I hope I will finally get off this merry-go-round and make it home tomorrow night.

Have you ever lost your passport?

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