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June, 2010:

Elisabeth Shue launches misspelled clothing line in Mexico

I would like to be the first to congratulate Elisabeth Shue on the launch of her new clothing line here in Mexico City. For anyone unfamiliar with the illustrious actress, do I really have to remind you of her classic hits like Adventures in Babysitting and Cocktail??

As children of the 80's, who didn't hold out hope for a babysitting experience as thrilling as this with a babysitter as cool/trendy as this??

Anyway, I was grocery shopping at Chedraui (supermarket/hub for fashionistas) yesterday and nearly walked right by this gem, until the dangling tag caught my eye. Elizabeth Shue!!

I expect to see this trend sweeping Mexico by storm this summer.

As an newly-minted MBA, I might advise Elisabeth to consider hiring better proofreaders to ensure a consistent brand image. However outside of the whole name-misspelled thing, I think this piece really embodies the persona that I can only assume she’s trying to project–  a skull with a stake piercing it, Ed Hardy knockoffs, slashed/rocker-chic, etc. All in all, well played, Elisabeth….well played…  :)

Doesn't she just seem to be saying, "Yes, I'm a hardcore, drinking, drug-using, pot-smoking, biker/rocker chick, and my new clothing line will show the world my true colors."?

My husband protects me from screaming, naked girls

Today marks the 5th full day of our Yucatan Peninsula vacation, and we’re currently in beautiful Tulum on the east cost of Quintana Roo, Mexico. (Isla Holbox & Valladolid were great; more to come!) We’re staying in a house (Casa de las Olas) on the very south bit of Tulum’s beachfront, literally the last property before the Sian Ka’an bioreserve & right below Rancho San Eric shown on this map.

We have a lovely 2nd floor vista of the beach & ocean, with a balcony whose doors we leave open in hopes of luring any nearby breezes into our non-air-conditioned eco-room. Being good little temporary eco-hippies, we went to bed fairly early last night with hopes of being lulled to sleep by nothing but waves crashing against the beach.

A shot of palm trees, beach and ocean from our balcony at Casa de las Olas

Instead, our attempted slumber was interrupted by screams of increasing volume from the beach. No, it wasn’t what some of you Mexico skeptics out there may be thinking–  these were not screams of narco violence. Rather, these were screams of moron college girls prancing around naked in the surf at midnight.

We both ignored it in silence for a bit. I can understand that when you’re running around in the ocean, drunk and nude, there may be the occasion for a scream every now and then. But it quickly reached the point where I began to wonder if these girls had encountered a new nesting grounds for poisonous jellyfish, or if all of Tulum’s fishermen had suddenly arrived on the scene & had begun to vigorously tickle these twits en masse. Right in front of our window. Ok, I thought silently. That’s enough.

Apparently John sensed my “¿¿en serio??” vibe, as he got up from the bed right about then. “Idiots. They’re probably out there skinny-dipping,” he grumbled.

“Oh, they definitely are,” I informed him. “Didn’t you hear the one shout ‘OMG, are you naked?!?! tee hee hee!'”

John began to glance around the darkened room. “Where’s your camera?” I pointed him towards the camera lying impotently on the side table, with its battery tucked into the charger & rudely suckling away at the house’s limited solar energy reserve…  He reassembled the camera, and headed for the balcony.

“This should take care of things pretty quickly,” he said confidently.

He stood at the edge of our terraza, which as you can sort of see from the photo above, is set back a ways from the actual ocean behind the beach, a few palm trees and the roof of the suite on the 1st floor. Obviously, you’re not going to be able to take a photo of someone in the ocean, much less at night. This much is clear to you and I and John. But for all those girls knew, John was a professional journalist with a telephoto lens. 😉

He began snapping photos with as bright of a flash as our little Canon point-and-shoot could muster. The palm trees lit up brilliantly with each click. It took a couple pictures, but suddenly the girls erupted in a flurry of new screeches of actual concern.

“Someone’s up there taking photos of us!!!!” one yelped. “Aaaaaaaaahhh!!!!” shouted another. Most of their other words of wisdom were conveniently blurred by the sounds of the ocean.

The naked beach party quickly began to shift its location, in so taking with it the high-pitched shrills of tipsy coeds. Who knows where it went, but it was no longer directly in front of our peaceful balcony.

I sat on the bed giggling as John finished his photo shoot and returned to bed. “That was easy. But if they come back, I’m going down to the beach with a camera AND a flashlight.”

“Of course you are honey.”

This was the best photo from "The Night the Drunk Coeds Confused Tulum with Señor Frogs in Cancun"... (and this was only *after* I used Picasa's "I'm Feeling Lucky" photo editing feature, where it magically shows you the photo you meant to take if you were a master of the time-space-camera continuum). :)

John may not having a glowing future as a paparazzi, but if I’ve learned nothing else, it is that he will always be happy to intercede between me and annoying, drunk, naked, screaming girls. :)

Big Pimpin’: Holiday Inn Express, Cancun

John & I have been incredibly lucky to be able to do a *ton* of traveling around Mexico during our two years here. The last item to check off our list has been Yucatan & Quintana Roo states, better known to most gringos as CANCUN. :) Truth be told, I have never had a burning desire to visit Cancun itself– nothing against Cancun, but I’m just not a big all-inclusive, high-rise hotel type, as its Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is largely known for. However, the area around Cancun (a.k.a. the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo) have a veritable festival of amazing sights, gorgeous beaches, and restaurants that aren’t Señor Frogs. 😉

While it may seem like I have been traveling up a storm, John (bless his little heart) has been trapped at work for many moons. So we decided to make this our last big hurrah– 10 days of vacation, because he deserves it. :) AND we’re belatedly celebrating our two year wedding anniversary (since I was in China on May 22)!  We carefully mapped out our itinerary (read as: sent out rapid-fire B&B/hotel inquiries over the last 5 days) to include 2 nights on Isla Holbox, 1 night in Valladolid, 3 nights in Tulum, and 3 nights in Playa del Carmen.

However, our flight from Mexico City arrived into Cancun Airport around 6PM the first night, so we thought it would be easiest to just spend tonite in Cancun and start the ~2 hour drive to Chiquila in the morning. (Chiquila is where the ferry departs for Isla Holbox.)

In good Midwestern tradition, I felt that we shouldn’t waste money staying in a fancy-pants Cancun hotel if we’re only going to be there for 1 night & leaving early. When looking for a cheapy-but-clean hotel, I have traditionally been a Holiday Inn Express fan due to their combo of free internet, free breakfast, and white sheets not covered in a dirty, skeevy-looking comforter. Also with plenty of beach time coming up, we felt ok with skipping a beach-side locale for one nite.

So it is that we are here tonite, big pimpin’, in the land-locked Holiday Inn Express near-ish to Cancun’s Zona Hotelera. And so it is that I learn that Holiday Inn Express may be a better choice when one is in land-locked southwestern Virginia rather than Cancun, Mexico.

In the event that you decide to consider the Holiday Inn Express for your next trip to Cancun, bear in mind that your views of sunsets & sounds of crashing waves will be few and far between.

Sign of Hotel Big Pimpin #1: this letter we received at check in:

I'm sorry, no electricity from 7-10:30AM...? Hey, I am all for maintenance projects, but I don't think I'm overstating expectations when I say that in paying for a hotel with electricity/lights, I expect electricity/lights during some portion of the morning...?

Sign of Hotel Big Pimpin #2: hotel pool doubles as murder scene for slow-moving mice.

I went to sit on the edge of the pool briefly when we got back to the room. I saw an employee come walking around the right side of the pool, who then began vigorously swabbing (? I thought) the steps along the side of the pool. As she approached me, I said, "Buenas Noches" to no response. I turned away, but then swiftly glanced back to see that what she was doing was SQUEEGEING A MOUSE TO DEATH with a long-handled squeegee. Eew. Uh, we'll talk later. This photo depicts the location of Mickey's death, on the 3rd step.

Sign of Hotel Big Pimpin’ #3: Me drinking high-rent Cris-tal water while wearing my Mexico team colors, sitting on the hotel bed.

That's pronounced Cris-TAL, to you laypersons.

Anyway, I anticipate things perking up when we get to Holbox tomorrow. :) Signing out from Cancun’s finest, the Holiday Inn Express!!

Pork Consumption: China’s beating you, Mexico…

To further the undeserved reputation I have of being a crazy bacon/pork advocate, I thought it was time for another pig-related post. Two years of living in Mexico has opened my eyes to a whole new level of involvement between pigs & your daily food intake. The sheer number of chicharrones (fried piggie skins) on display at every corner + the frequency with which I see massive bubbling pots filled with assorted internal piggie organs & snouts & tails made me think that perhaps I was residing in the hub of pork consumption.

Then I went on this trip to China, and I realized that Mexico has some catching up to do.  To be fair, I guess the whole “China is 5x larger in area and has almost 12x as many people” thing helps give them an edge in sheer numbers. But regardless, China is totally kicking butt with about 50% of the world’s pork production (446 MILLION piggies in 2008 vs. a mere 15 million in Mexico acc. to porkmag.com) and over 50% of the world’s pork consumption. Someone in Shanghai told me that China eats as much pork in a day as Mexico does in a year, but I haven’t found any data on the internets to back up this audacious claim.

In paging through my China photos upon my return to Mexico, I realized I had subconsciously managed to capture a few pork examples (sheer luck, I assure you). Perhaps if Mexico adopts enough of these, we will be able to move even further up the pork consumption ladder??

Award for best use of pork: pork-n-broth-filled dumplings. These things were magical little pockets of flavour, with a tasty porky-meatball center swimming in pork broth.

Award for plate that most merits being licked clean: short ribs at South Beauty restaurant in Shanghai

Award for most mysterious pork source: these random meat skewers in 'street food alley' in Beijing. I'm 90% sure something in that case has to be pork. On top of the counter, note the bonus starfish and live scorpions. You can't see how vigorously they were writhing around in this photo, but let me assure you that they seemed displeased about having a wooden skewer shoved through their little scorpion bodies.

Award for weirdest pork shape: barbecued pork strips/sheets in Macau. I tried a sample of this from one street vendor-- a little sweet for me, but overall pretty tasty. One of things where you don't want to know too much about how they're made...

Award for wittiest pork product name: Porkablock, as seen at a bakery in the Oriental Plaza mall in Beijing. Porkablock sounds like something that would top the list of "Weight Watchers' Things Not to Eat": fluffy bread filled with pork & topped with some cheese just for good measure. I particularly like the "preview windows" built into the bread.

Award for best pork shout-out that's not made of pork: this blown sugar pig. Who could eat a pig with a smile like that? Sidenote: as per the two open bottles in this photo, apparently it requires a LOT of beer to make it through a long day of blowing sugar animals. Hmm.

(Note: China-related posting will continue until I feel I have sufficiently bored you all with the highlights of my recent trip. Sorry to all of you assuming that a blog entitled “Midwesterner in Mexico” would be only about Mexico…)  :)

Radio Silence!

Wow, it’s been a solid 2 weeks since I’ve managed to share any riveting, witty stories with my loyal blog readers. But I have a good excuse! Upon return from my 15 days in China, I spent a couple nites in Mexico City & then was off on a plane again to Phoenix, Arizona. Off to protest the new immigration law, you may wonder? Certainly a possibility!

But in fact, I have been busy finishing my MBA @ Thunderbird School of Global Management! It’s been both an exciting and exhausting week & there will be many more photos to come, but first just one to prove that I’m all done. :)

An MBA + a valedictorian plaque to boot! Yipee!!

We have a couple days in Sedona to recuperate, so expect more final China updates + MBA celebration news in the near future! Thanks for your patience, and I will be welcoming any job offers with open arms… 😉

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