Z is for Zebra… or is it?

The A-Z blog challenge has come to an end.. I still can’t believe just how fast the month has gone and to be honest I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with it and completing all the posts! Well seeing as this will be the last post of the month I though it only appropriate to end the challenge with another of my funny (well I think they’re funny anyway) Mexican life experience.

So, one day the fair come to town as it usually does however this time it was much larger and had fairground rides and animals. Being the animal lover that I am, of course as soon as we arrived I made a beeline straight for the animal section. They had a ton of cute little piglets and ponies however there was a huge group of people surrounding one of the areas. Everyone knows that when there is a group of people looking at something, it is common nature to want to see what they are looking at. I managed to squeeze through to the front of the group and saw that there was a Zebra! Obviously a Zebra here in mexico is extremely rare and obviously was a huge attraction!

Animals kept in captivity anywhere in the world, but more so here in Mexico, is a REAL problem for me especially if they are not kept in the right conditions and seeing this Zebra I could see that it had an apparent skin condition. It’s skin was all flaky and dry. So, I’m standing there looking at this Zebra feeling all sorry for it when all of a sudden it started walking over to my side of the enclosure. The closer it got, the more attention I was paying and the ‘weirder’ it looked. I had never seen a Zebra look like that?!? Well the Zebra decided it wanted to pose right in front of where I was standing and then and there it dawned on me…… I had never seen a Zebra like that because it wasn’t a Zebra! It was a white horse with black stripes painted on. The flaky skin that I had seen was actually the dry paint starting to come off! Just to set the record straight, I am in no way a fan of painting a horse but even I have to admit that it was a pretty ingenious way of attracting people!!

Image Courtesy of VH1.com

Y is for Yaxche

image courtesy of Mayancuisine.com

Yaxche Restaurant

Yaxche is by far one of my favourite restaurants in Playa Del Carmen. Pronounced YAGSHEY, they specialize in Mayan Cuisine and traditional dishes from the area. It truly is like Food combined with Art. Each plate is beautifully presented and is absolutely delicious.

Image courtesy of Yaxche

An example of the AMAZING presentation at Yaxche

My favourite dish there is definitely the Tikin Xic Fish which is grilled fish fillet marinated in Axiote aromatized in Epazote wrapped in a banana leaf. Sounds strange, I know, but it is a traditional recipe from the southeast region of Mexico.

Image courtesy of Yaxche

Preparation of Tikin Xic Fish

If you’re looking for good, traditional Mayan cuisine when you’re in this area, you should definitely take a trip to Yaxche.

You can check out the Yaxche menu on their official website: Yaxche Dinner Menu

X is for Xel Ha

Xel-Ha, one of the amazing attractions in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Mexico, a natural aquarium park considered the largest aquarium in the world, the perfect place to perform activities in Riviera Maya. If you love nature, there is no better place than Xel-Ha to practice snorkeling and water activities

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Xel Ha Park

Xel Ha has got to be one of my favourite places to go when I have time off. It is a natural park that is based around a huge lagoon and an awesome place if you like water activities such as snorkeling. They have an amazing lazy river that you can snorkel through or if you’re lazy like me, they have inflatable donuts that you can use to just float down the river.

image courtesy of TripAdvisor

Inner tubes in the Lazy River

There are tons of cool fish and sealife to see and it is all completely natural. None of the fish in the park are in captivity, they are there because they want to be. Xel Has is commonly known as the world’s largest natural aquarium.

Enjoying a day off at Xel Ha

Xel Ha

Once you pay your entrance to the park it is all inclusive and another HUGE bonus of this park is the food they have available throughout the day. I think I can safely say that I would go just for the food.

Xel Ha are very big on the environment and biodegradable sunblock is a must when you are visiting the park. Keep in mind that biodegradable sunblock can be thicker than regular sunblock so don’t over do it with the cream!!

Biodegradable Sunblock

Another unique activity that Xel Ha park offers is the Dolphin Sea Trek. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience and if you are a non-diver like myself it is the closest you will get to feeling like a dive master.

My Sea Trek Experience at Xel Ha

Hugging a Dolphin

If you’re visiting this area, a visit to Xel Ha is a must do!

The incredible views at Xel Ha

The lagoon at Xel Ha

W is for Working Visa

Being a foreigner here in Mexico, in order to work you have to get a working Visa; also known as an FM2 or FM3. When I first arrived it was actually extremely easy for me to get my FM3 as the company that I started working for had a lawyer with immigration connections and it only took a few days for me to get all the papers in order. Unfortunately it is not that easy anymore. Due to recent immigrations laws, people wishing to stay and work in Mexico now need to apply for their working visa before they even arrive in the country. They are also now requesting, although it is not yet an official requirement, that people speak at least basic level spanish before entering the country to work. It is worth mentioning that you are able to enter Mexico on a tourist visa and stay for up to 6 months however you are not allowed to work during this time.

Image courtesy of Mexonline.com

Tourist Visa form

Unlike most other countries where, once you have the visa you are able to work anywhere you wish, here in Mexico the working visa is job specific so it makes it extremely complicated if you start working in a place or a position that you are not happy with as it can take up to 3 months to change the details on the visa itself and the law states that you are not allowed to work during this process. This can either mean that the company hiring you is not willing to wait 3 months for their new employee or simply you do not have enough money to survive the 3 months without any form of income.

I have actually been very lucky during my time here and all of the jobs I have had have been brilliant and I’ve loved them, I’ve only ever changed jobs due to a better offer coming along rather than for my own personal preference. When applying for a job here in Mexico it is worth asking if the company has an immigration lawyer and if the company itself will be willing to cover your immigrations costs as it can work out to be rather expensive. The visa is only valid for 1 year, so you are required to renew it every year.

Image courtesy of Visasmex.com

Example of an FM3 working visa

Image courtesy of Visasmex.com

Example of an FM2 working visa

The FM3 visa is the initial working visa here in Mexico and after an established period of time (usually 5 years) you are able to change your imigration status and apply for an FM2 which is essentially the same however it restricts the amount of time you are able to leave the country at any given moment but it does provide you with additional benefits such as being able to apply for credit. The process used to be Fm3, Fm2 and then Mexican nationality however they have no introduced an additional stage which is permanent resident, this is the stage that I am at now. Being a British citizen I am able to have dual nationality so my ultimate aim is to adquire Mexican nationality as well as my own however there are many countries that don’t allow dual citizenship and therefore it will be up to the individual if they are willing to give up their own nationality in order to take Mexican nationality or if they will just keep their original passport and remain in Mexico on a visa basis.

The immigration laws are always being changed and updated so it is advisable to continuously check with the local immigration office or if you have an immigration lawyer they should advise you of any giving changes. The information above is applicable for the immigration offices here in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun however immigration offices in other parts of the country may have their own set of rules and requirements.

V is for Vacation

va·ca·tion –

noun
1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest,
recreation, or travel;recess or holiday
One of the most common questions I receive from people that are here in Mexico on vacation is Where do I go on vacation? Living in a vacation paradise I understand their point as they travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to where I live in order to pass their vacations.
Whenever I get a decent amount of vacation time off from work, and when I say decent I mean at least a few weeks, the only place that I ever go is home. Home being London, England.
It’s kind of ironic that I live by the beach in a tropical caribbean country and choose to spend my only vacations in a cold country BUT that is home to me and it’s is actually a nice break from the heat. It also means I get the time to see my family and friends, who I miss so much all the time when I am here. I love being at home when I am there but it still makes me realize that I made the right decision in coming to live in Mexico.

U is for Us

In several of my posts I have referred to my boyf and my dogs as they are such a big part of my life so I figured it was only fair to dedicate at least one of my blog posts to them hence U is for US.

Ramon & Me

Ramon, Charly & Me

My boyfriend and partner in crime, Ramon, is one of the most understanding and genuinely nice people I have ever met. We’ve actually known each other for years but we’ve only actually been a couple for 10 months. You know the saying ‘Love Me, Love my Dog’? That is definitely the case with me. Having 7 dogs is a challenge in every aspect of the word however I wouldn’t change them for the world so anybody that is planning on being with me has to take all of US as a complete package and that is exactly what Ramon did. I think that I can safely say that he loves those dogs almost as much as I do.

Ramon & Maya.. How could I not love him when I see things like this??

And now just to introduce you all to my collection of Furbabies:

Lexi

Charly

Maya

Sasha

Canela

Lily

Miley

So there you have it.. this is US…

T is for Terrified

I’m the first person to admit that I am not a huge fun of bugs, flying things, creepy crawlies and any other such creatures but living in the Caribbean means that I have had to learn to share my life with these…things.

For a long time, cockroaches were top of my list of bugs I hate the most. Especially seeing as Mexican Cockroaches fly, yes that’s right they fly and normally straight at you. Apparently it’s there way of defending themselves?!? well either way I hate them, with a passion.

BUT one day, I came across a new bug. Well it probably isn’t new new, it’s probably been around for millions of years however it was new to me and it was AWFUL! I’m still not quite sure what it was but it definitely shot straight to the top of my Most Hated List. It was some sort of weird hybrid made up of a cockroach, a spider and a scorpion and is if that wasn’t enough, it could fly as well! Well you can imagine my reaction when I saw it walking towards me.. Terrified was an understatement. I am proud to say I didnt kill it, I ran in the opposite direction and refused to go back in the house until it was gone BUT I didn’t kill it… Even the dogs didn’t wanna mess with that thing

Anybody have an ideas as to what kinda bug it was? Sorry about the quality of the photo but I took it with my phone and used the whole zoom capacity as there was no way I was going near it to take a better photo..

THE BUG