It’s official.. I am a Grinch

I still remember my very first christmas here in Mexico, it was pretty significant as it was my first christmas away from home and away from my family and I have to admit that it didn’t really bother me. I spent the entire day on the beach lapping up the free cocktails and soaking up every ray of sunshine that I could… Those were the days…

I have to admit though that as the years have gone by (this year will be my 8th christmas away from home) Christmas has started to feel less and less festive. Maybe because I grew up celebrating christmas with the huge tree and the ENORMOUS pile of presents all delicately wrapped and placed under the tree while I was sleeping, maybe because I am used to spending Christmas day in my (almost always new) pijamas, crashed out in from of the TV stuffing my face with all the Christmas chocolates that my grandmother insisted on buying or maybe it’s just because I can’t get my head around celebrating away from my family.

When you tell people you will be spending Christmas in the Caribbean you always lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and the oh-so-common ‘you’re so lucky’ but I am really lucky? Would you honestly give up spending the festive period with your family and loved ones for a few rays of sunshine?

I have to admit that last year my boyfriend did attempt to snap me out of my full on grinch mode by making me put up a tree, cue lots of complaining on my behalf about how it was a waste of time and that the dogs were going to eat it BUT it was there and it did add a certain amount of festivity to the house and made for very pretty christmas photos; well it did until the dogs made it come crashing down on Christmas day!

My tree in all it's glory!

My tree in all it’s glory!

The custom Xmas photo

So as we approach the festive month of the year, I’ll be putting on that HUGE festive smile that I have to wear at work and wishing everyone Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas on the beach whilst secretly wishing that I was on a plane flying home to the arctic temperatures of London to spend Christmas with my family!

ViDAS 3012 – Pt. 2

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Just a pile of puppies..

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and more puppies..

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and more..

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Loved this little scruffy guy..

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Coco was loving the drugs..

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ViDAS

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Keeping records of all the dogs operated!

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Not al the dogs liked waking up with no balls..

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No clinic is complete without the T-Shirt souvenir..

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By FAR one of my favourite dogs.. I named him Dave!

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A face full of wrinkles..

ViDAS 2013 – Pt. 1

Every year, around this time the wonderful people at ViDAS set up a clinic here in Playa Del Carmen for local people to bring their dogs and cats to be sterilized for free. ViDAS (Spanish for LIVES), is a non-profit organization made up of veterinarians, veterinary students and other animal lovers dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through veterinary medicine and education. The clinic itself is set up in one of the many local schools and each of the classrooms is set up to form operating theatres and recovery rooms. All of the material, food, drink, medication and everything else used is donated by wonderful people both here in Mexico as well as around the world in order to make these clinics a complete success. I had the opportunity to help them out this year and it really is a wonderful experience seeing how so many people bring their pets to the clinic knowing that neutering them will give them a much better quality of life.

Street dogs here in Mexico are becoming an issue, mainly due to bad ownership. The saying “There is no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner” really does apply here. People love getting a cute little puppy but then it grows and they realize the full extent of the responsibility involved and the costs generated. This unfortunately leads to people abandoning their pets in the streets. Most of these animals are not sterilized so it’s like a vicious circle as more and more puppies are born on the streets everyday. I’ve written before about animal rescue refuges but they can only take in so many animals and do so much. The real issue that needs to be tackled is educating people into realizing that sterilizing their animals is the way forward. It is sad but a lot of people, mainly men, see neutering their dogs as a direct reflection of their own masculinity! Seriously people, cutting your dogs balls off does not make you less of a man!

The clinic really is a fantastic idea  and last year alone 1130 cats and dogs safely sterilized during the 6 day clinic in Playa del Carmen! There is still a few more days left of the Clinic here which I’ll be attending and I’m sure I’ll have a ton of new friends and fun stories to share at the end of it! The heat is overwhelming and everyone spends their days pulling out ticks and combating fleas but knowing that you are improving the animal’s way of life is reward enough. Just seeing the difference between how the animal comes in and how it leaves is priceless. There are several volunteers who also take it upon themselves to collect dogs and cats from the street to bring them in, some lucky ones are adopted there and then by other volunteers or taken back to the US and Canada in the hope of finding them a home there. Of course this is not the case for all the animals brought in, unfortunately some of them do have to be returned to the street but at least they go back clean, tick and flea free and sterilized

These photos were taken just during the first few hours of day one:

Even the smallest puppies were brought in to be sterilized.

Even the rain didn’t stop the people from coming to the clinic with their dogs and cats

Little Blackie right after surgery – a few minutes after this photo was taken she was running around again!

Two little ones waiting their turn

Volunteers taking care of the animals as they woke up from the anesthetic

Out for the count..

Just a small selection of the medication donated and used at the clinic

De-fleaing and de-ticking the animals while they were still out from the anesthetic

If you would like to make a donation to VIDAS to keep helping them do what they do you can just click the image below. Even the smallest amount can help:

Ni Modo

So I’m gonna start off apologizing for the HUGE gap in between posts.. it’s been a hectic few weeks. So many highs and lows, up and coming changes, life has literally been turned upside down but if there is one phrase that I’ve learnt here in Mexico that pretty sums life up at the moment it’s ‘Ni Modo’. I don’t think there is an actual translation for Ni Modo in English but it pretty much means: Shit happens, there’s not much you can do about it, so just move on!

So, moving on.. tomorrow I’ll be going on a new tour here in the Riviera Maya. Its called Xenotes and looks like it’s gonna be an absolute blast.

The Xenotes Tour includes a visit to four cenotes (sinkholes) where you will enjoy activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, rappelling, zip lines, inner tubes and swimming, with a period of relaxation to enjoy a Glam Picnic, a true moment of adventure in contact with nature.

The website for Xenotes promises me a day full of fun and nature combined so make sure you check back and see if they did live up to everything they promised! I’m pretty sure it will!

I also found out today that the annual Playa Del Carmen fair or feria as it is known here is in town. It’s gonna be here for at least a week so that will definitely involve a few visits! For those of you that have read my previous posts, you will know me now that I do love a Feria. It’s a great place to really get to know the real Mexico!

So all in all it’s gonna be a busy week, time to get back in to the Blog!

And just as an afternote (not that it is by any means a less significant occasion) today is my Dad’s Birthday! So, Happy Birthday Daddy! Love you x

My Daddy & Me

Celebrating Father’s Day in Mexico

Father’s day in Mexico is known as Día del Padre and like all Mexican celebrations it’s a day full of fun, fiestas and of course food. Father’s day here is celebrated on the 3rd sunday of June like most other countries which in my case is very useful. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have forgotten Mother’s day as here in Mexico it is celebrated in May but back home it is in March! Needless to say my mum now gets to celebrate 3 mother’s day a year just in case! Thank god for international flower delivery companies and paypal!

Family is very important here in Mexico, maybe more so than in other countries, so celebrations such as Father’s Day are always celebrated in a big way. Although it is not a national holiday that doesnt make it any less celebrated (although an extra day of work wouldn’t be bad). Mexican chocolate and all kinds of sweet goodies normally play a big part on the day itself!

My dad is normally here with me at this time of year but due to health issues, this year we’ll be celebrating Father’s Day apart. So Dad.. this blog post is dedicated to you and I can’t wait to see you soon. No matter where I am, or how old I get, I’ll always be your little girl. I love you daddy!

Rain, Rain and more Rain.. Welcome to (a very wet) Paradise!

Everyone assumes that living in the Caribbean means sunshine 365 years a year! I have to admit that the weather did have something to do with me moving to Mexico however little did I know that the rain can be just as strong as the sun and this week was a classic example of such.

It started raning on Saturday and continued all the way through to Wednesday, and when I say rain I don’t mean regular rain; I mean full blow tropical thunderstorm. It was our official welcoming into the Cancun rainy season. I like to think of it as preparation for Hurricane Season! According to regional news reports, we received 35% of our yearly rainfall in just a few days.

comopezJust a portion of the main Cancun-Playa Del Carmen that I had the great pleasure of driving through various times during the storm! I have a whole new respect for my truck who managed to survive the beating I gave it this week! The sign above says “Como Pez En El Agua” translates as “Like A Fish In Water” . Completely unintentional however entirely fabulous promotion for the water park XelHa. And below one of the main streets in Playa Del Carmen right in the middle of the storm..

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Everyone laughed when I bought these boots…… Guess who’s laughing now! hehehe I got to go play in the rain and still keep my feet dry!

My Sexy Union Jack Wellies!!

Unfortunately one of the downfalls (no pun intended) of getting so much rain in such a short period of time is that the streets and drainage systems are not able to cope leading to severe flooding in the entire state. On the plus side, it did only last a few days and the sun is shining again now so i’m heading off to the Beach.. Have a great sunday everyone!

Gran Bazar Primavera de Andale

Here in this part of Mexico there is a free local magazine called the ‘Andale’. If you are looking to buy, sell, rent etc,, then the Andale should always be your first port of call! It truly is a lifesend when you find yourself being told by your landlord that you have to move out the following day cause he made a mistake on the date of the contract (but that’s a whole other story..)!

Well every year in the middle of May, Andale organizes a huge street sale called the the Gran Bazar. It costs $200pesos to rent a space and according to the rules you are only allowed to sell second hand goods or handicrafts! Many locals look forward to the event and even though is doesnt open to the public til 8am there are normally crowds of people waiting to get the first bargains! You can find arts and crafts not sold in the regular stores as well as used books, clothing, jewelry, homemade cakes and pies and sooooo much more. They close off around 6 blocks of an entire avenue and the event runs from 8am through to 8pm! I remember visiting the bazaar during my first few years of being here in Mexico and finding some great bargains, you know what they say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” but then again saying that I am a sucker for anything on sale!

Well this year I finaly decided that it was time to have a sort out and try and make some money while I was at it! So I convinced my partner in crime (otherwise known as my boyfriend) that it was a good idea and so we went for it… All in all it was a good day, far TOO hot and boy does it show that I spent 12 hours in the sun, I am now a rather fetching shade of fuscia but I sold most of what I took with me and made a little bit of extra cash which always comes in handy! I now feel rather obliged to replace all the shoes I sold, it’s only fair right?

While I was busy debuting my entrepreneurial spirit, my boyfriend was off doing what he does best, taking photos and I fully credit him for all the great images below:

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At the beginning of the day before the crowds descended

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Next year I am definitely clearing my closet before hand! Clothes were definitely the best seller of the day!

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Cute little hand made phone pouches

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Let the buying and selling begin!

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The Mexican equivalent of a slush puppy! Always popular on a hot day!

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No street event would be complete without a snack from a bike!

My hand made magnets!

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Let the party begin….

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Yours truly in full selling mode!

After 12 hours of sun with easily a humidity factor of 100% I was well and truly glad to pack up and go home but all in all it’s an amazing street fair, and something Playa should do a bit more frequently than once a year! Although if I have to be honest I think it is safe to say I am definitely happier doing the buying rather than the selling!