My night at Xoximilco

Xochimilco (with a ‘ch’) is one of the main tourist attractions in Mexico city and thanks to it’s grand display of Mexican culture and tradition has been declared a Cultural Heritage for Humanity by the UNESCO.

Xochimilco © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent

Xochimilco © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent

I have traveled to Mexico city various times during the 9 years I have been here in Mexico however I have never had the chance to visit Xochimilco, so when I first heard that Xoximilco would be opened by the company that owns Xcaret and Xel-Ha,  I just knew that I had to go and last week I was lucky enough to get invited! Best of all I was able to go surrounded by a ton of my friends and colleagues which just added to the whole experience!

The gates open a full hour before the ‘trajineras’ set sail which gives you plenty of time to get registered and pose  for some awesome photos. They also have an area when you can try fresh fruit waters, or something stronger if you would like, as well as try the traditional Mexican snack of Esquites, which are small cups of cooked corn grains topped with salt, chile and mayonnaise!

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After you’re all registered and are assigned your boat you are sent off to cover yourself from head to toe in bug repellent! Take my word on this one, you will not want to miss any areas! In the bathroom areas they have huge pots of repellent, which is a pretty nice touch as you don’t have to worry about remembering to bring your own! I’m normally one of those lucky people that doesn’t tend to get bitten but even with the repellent I finished the night with quite a few bites around my ankles!

As the sun set it was time for one last group photo before we boarded the trajinera and set sail into the canals of Xoximilco!

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When the sun goes down is when the fun really begins, from the moment you step onto the trajinera you are transported to a different world of Mexican culture and tradition. As we were a large group we had a private trajinera just for us which just added to the whole experience. The guides and oarsman are over-the-top and make sure everyone gets involved in the fun whether it is demonstrating how to perform a tradition Mexican ‘grito’ or explaining how certain Mexican traditions came to be. My personal favourite was the story of the rabbit on the moon.

Snacks and drinks are already set up on board the trajinera for you however take my recommendation and don’t over do it on the snacks as there really is a never ending supply of Mexican dishes served to you throughout the evening! The ‘kitchen boats’ as I started to call them, are set up in strategic points throughout the canal and each trajinera is expertly moored beside them in order to transport the plates from one boat to another. As a vegetarian I have to say that the Vegetarian options were phenomenal, I had the chance to try banana ‘meatballs’, Mushroom tamales, grilled asaparagus among others. It was absolutely delicious!

Between courses you are also treated to live performances from groups and artists playing music originating from the various states of Mexico. My favourite always has been, and probably always will be, the Mariachis!

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As the tour is at night one of the nicest aspects is the fact that they have professional photographers strategically placed throughout the route taking photos in prime locations which of course came out way better than any photos I could have possibly taken with my camera or iphone! Plus it’s always nice to be able to get group photos where everyone is in the photo and you don’t have the dilemma of having to look for someone to take the pic! At the end of the evening you are given the opportunity to view all the photos that were taken and rather than having to choose your favourites and purchase them individually, you are able to buy a USB which contains all of the photos taken! An awesome feature as you have the digital copies of the photos and can print them as many times as you please or upload them to Facebook and make all your friends jealous!

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The tour itself lasted little over 3 hours but felt a lot longer as it is non stop entertainment and fun! I truly had a blast and I definitely plan on going again when my family are in town!

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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.

F is for Fería

Fería is the spanish word for Fair or Fairground and can be anything from a few stalls selling food to a huge fairground with rides and the whole show.

Living in Playa del Carmen, which essentially is still a pretty small town, when the fair comes to town its a pretty big deal. Last week there was a trade fair here from the state of Oaxaca specializing in the food and local crafts. So, of course, we had to go one evening and there is only one word that could sum it up YUMMY!

Oaxaca is principaly known for its cheese however in the fair they were offering so much more than just cheese. They had the most amazing fresh bread and cakes available as well as cooked and seasoned crickets. Yep, crickets, as in the little jumpy bugs. GROSS! But of course I had to try one. Ok so that last phrase should probably be elaborated on…. there was no way on earth that I was gonna put a crispy little bug in the mouth and chew on it however it seems that the entire fair decided to make their way to that particular stall at that moment and decided that it was their duty to pressurize me into eating one! So to cut a long story short I did end up eating it and I have to say that even though I was freaking out it wasn’t actually THAT bad. I won’t be eating them again anytime soon though!

Apart from the food, they also had a huge stage set up with a live Mariachi band playing which just added to the great atmosphere! There really is nothing better (or more Mexican) than strolling around with the smell of fresh food and live music in the background!

Fair from Oaxaca

Fair from Oaxaca

DELICIOUS Mexican Candy

DELICIOUS Mexican Candy

Yummy Fresh Bread

Yummy Fresh Bread

Live Mariachi Band

Live Mariachi Band

Time flies when you’re having fun!

It’s my ‘Mexican Life’ anniversary! Yep that’s right, it was 8 years ago today that I said goodbye to my life in London and boarded the plane to come back to Playa Del Carmen! It’s true, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

The past 8 years have been full of life experiences, learning to live in a new culture, learning a new language, learning to be away from everything I’ve ever known. Has it been easy? Not at all, but I wouldnt change a single thing (ok that’s a lie, I probably would change a few things lol). Everything I have been through has made me the person I am today!

Here’s a glimpse back at some of the best bits of the last 8 years of my Mexican Life..

My first NYE in Mexico

Las casadas de Misol Ha in Chiapas

Monte Alban in Oaxaca

Teotihuacan – Mexico City

Isla Mujeres

My furbabies

Isla Holbox with my dad

Debuting my new truck

My 30th (shock horror) Birthday

And that pretty much brings us up to date.. I’ve travelled all over the country, celebrated ‘numerous’ birthdays, xmas’s and new years, bought a  car, bought a house, sold the car, bought a truck, managed to accumulate 7 dogs and I’m still alive and more importantly still smiling and living my dream…

Living The Mexican Dream