Monday, April 23, 2007

Accidental Blog Meet

Check out Alex and Ombi at Very Itchy Feet as they cruise through the Americas and the Caribbean, making a short stop in Belize where they met two overly caffeinated, I mean cool girls, wearing fringe on the bottom of all their clothes named Jessica and Lee.

Later that week we got to meet a few friends that were on vacation together and who also coincidentally worked for Typepad. Espresso drinks all around, after all, they were from Seattle.

More Merida

A wandering musician came up to our table as we were enjoying highly caffeinated drinks in the morning and sang a song for us. Look at how little the people are here. Bigness is sitting down and is almost as tall as he is. I caught about 1-in-10 words, but Bigness caught them all. They were something like, you’re wife is juicy, she gives you lots of … something or another, she makes you happy, you like to squeeze her… juiciness

Bigness: haw haw haw
Me: what’s he saying?
Bigness: haw haw haw haw, … nothing
Me: no, really what’s he saying?
Bigness: ssshhhhh!
Me: …
Bigness: nothing gial, just a lotta rass. He thinks you’re juicy that’s all.
Me: … I guess they like big ting here too.

The Shopping Trip
(note: none of the photos are of the mall, which is glass and shiny and chrome and looks like every other mall in America, uninteresting)

We decided to go shopping on Saturday. Most of the stores in Merida were closed on Good Friday, but everything opened back up on Saturday. So, we took a long walk in the afternoon, and then a cab to the mall. I had been looking forward to the trip-to-the mall, since it has been nearly two years since I had been shopping for myself. 2 years? With the occasional cast off from Supergirl, I’ve been surviving on my last shopping trip the Thestates from May of 2005. Yes, its true, the elastic on almost everything I own is nearly crumpled up and sprung, and yes I did get that care package of unmentionables mixed in with Bigness’s clothing shipment from my mom. Thank goodness the wardrobes are simple here on Caye Caulker, they consist of bathing suits, a piece of fabric wrapped around your arse and fringe on the bottom of everything. What is considered island fabulous here on Caye Caulker is the subject of open-mouth stares everywhere else. The mall was o.k. It had gotten such rave reviews from friends and family that I expected circus performers hanging from the ceiling. It was basically the same stores that we have in Chetumal, the Liverpool Store with polyester fashions for old ladies, small old ladies. The Chedraui which is like the Target or Walmart of Mexico. We were looking for the fabled JC Penney and Sears that legend had it existed in Merida. We never did find the JC Penney, it appeared on the map at the mall, but round and round we went through the maze of corridors with a layout shaped like a curvy capital H. All we found was a store called “Dorians” where the JC Penney used to be. We (meaning HE) asked and asked mall workers, Where is the JC Penney? Donde esta JC Penney? They would point in this direction or that, as puzzled as we were. We (meaning I) surmised that it was an old map after wandering around aimlessly and frustrated to the point that I needed an ice cream cone to cool my brains. Well if they don’t have the JC Penney and Sears doesn’t even appear on the mall map, where’s the fat ladies’ store? Legend had it that there was a supersize mujer store in Merida, and what better place for it? Round and round we go again, this time looking for the Gordita Mujer Camisa Tienda. For a quick translation of those Spanish words check out
Couldn’t Bigness ask someone where it was? No, (that would make too much sense) and it would involve speaking SPANISH, to a stranger, and we didn’t have much luck finding the JC Penney did we?
So I decided to BRING IT ON, but first I had to practice the words and torture Bigness.

Me: there’s a fat lady (I point with my lips because pointing with my finger is rude)
Bigness: … (looks over there) Me: Ask her
Bigness: ask her what
Me: ask her where she buys her clothes
Bigness: What? You want me to ask her?
Me: well, I’ll do it then.
Me: Help me practice the words.. Discuple, por favor, donde esta tienda para gordita mujer? (notice how when I concentrate I can almost EXPLODE with spanish words)
Me: is that how I say it?
Bigness: gial
Me: whaaaaaaaaaaat
Bigness: you can’t ask a lady where she buys her fat clothes
Me: why not?
Bigness: you can’t say the word gordita, she’ll think you’re calling her fat
Me: she IS fat, and she has to buy her clothes somewhere
Bigness: Gial, noh mek I do dis ting (and he began to seriously crunch down on his ice cream cone)
I’ve noticed when Bigness doesn’t want to do something he all of the sudden loses his ability to speak Spanish, even though its his first language. Remember the incident when I was trying to buy the hormone cream?
Me: well how should I say it?
Bigness: gial, less go
And off we went, the trip to the mall over, no fat girl’s clothes store to be found, no JC Penney, no Sears.

So, the mall was a big letdown, and that night I was relegated to shopping at the marketplace in the city center. My clothes now are not so much clothes now as they are costumes from the movie “Frida” making me look like the proper Spanish wife. That and my new “Sexy Spanish Teacher” glasses with rhinestones on the sides complete the look. Some of the new clothing pieces I will wear in public, some resemble a Mexican lace tablecloth too much and are best worn only at home.

We found Sears the next day, but that’s another story (and a different mall)

Sad News

Popeye passed away Easter weekend. He had been sick for a while, and was taken to Belize City on a stretcher whwere he died at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Anyone who has been to Caye Caulker would remember his sometimes silly, sometimes inspired signs all around Caye Caulker.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Merida Was Lovely

We left Caye Caulker on the Wednesday before Easter and I had hoped to rest up that evening before setting out for Chetumal early the next day. Not so, Bigness, my hyper spastoid husband, wanted to get on the road and even promised that I could shut my eyes and sleep in the car on the way. (gee thanks) So we set off right away for Chet, not stopping anywhere and arrived just before sunset. A 3 hour drive for most, 2 hours when Bigness is at the wheel. We went straight to the Mall of America for our MacDonald’s Big Mac and fries. Belize is probably the only country with no fast food chains, with the exception of one Subway Sub Shop in Belize City.

After nourishing our Big Mac Attack we went straight to Chedraui to the ADO Bis ticket kiosk only to find that all busses to Merida, Mexico were already booked up until 11:30 the next day. So, that meant spending the night in Chetumal. We wasted as much time as we could at the mall before retiring to the little hole-in-the-wall motel we stay at near the Nuevo Mercado. Sometime that night something started biting me, and bit me all around the base of my spine, on my shoulder and on my hands. I woke up feeling yucky, thinking that my caffeine levels were just low. Luckily I had anticipated the coffee low and had brought a thermos of espresso dark brew from home the day before. It helped some, but what was happening was a histamine reaction to whatever was crawling all over me biting my rass all night. They left Bigness alone, the bugs are not crazy, they like sweet white meat. So, we got on the bus at the appointed time and headed off in first class air conditioned comfort on a 5 hour drive to Merida.

According to Yucatecan history, Merida, Mexico was founded by the Spaniard Francisco Montejo in 1542. When the Spaniards arrived, Merida was a large Mayan city known as T’ho. After conquering (read slaughtering) the Mayans, the Spaniards dismantled all the pyramids and used the huge stones as the foundation for the Cathedral of San Idelfonso (1561-1599) the oldest cathedral on the American Continent. You would never know of the bloody history of the Yucatan in its people today, as it is a peaceful and tranquil, safe state.

We arrived just before sunset to the bus terminal in Merida. The best thing about arriving was the Tourist Information booth with an English speaking guide. Yay! The guide gave us a book called Yucatan Today, which has an online edition, in case you want to check it out with maps and gave us information on several hotels in our price range. We set out on a hotel hunt and found a room available for 1 night at the second place. So we checked in, showered and set off to find dinner as it had been more than 5 hours since our last meal and you know how Bigness goes when his blood sugar gets low, he just might faint from hunger, and he’s too big to be scraping up off the pavement. We had a fantastic Yucateca style mixed grill meal at this place La Belle Epoca. Yucateca food is not too spicy flavored with achiote. Typical Yucatecan food is -

Lime Soup: a chicken broth made with shredded chicken, bits of fried tortilla and lime juice.

Motul Style Eggs: a tortilla covered with refried beans and a fried egg covered in a tomato sauce, peas, chopped ham and shredded cheese.

Chicken or Pork Pibil. This is a Mayan specialty they also serve in Belize. It is chicken or pork marinated in achiote (annatto spice) sour orange juice, peppercorns, garlic, cumin, salt and then wrapped in banana leaves and baked in a pit dug into the ground.

Panuchos and Salbutes: a thick fried corn tortilla topped with shredded chickengarnished with lettuce, tomato and onion. The difference between Panuchos and Salbute is that panuchos have refried beans inside the tortilla.

Poc Chuc: tender slices of pork marinated in sour orange juice then grilled and served with a tangy tomato sauce and pickled onions.

Frijol con Puerco: the Yucatecan version of pork and beans. Chunks of pork cooked with black beans served with rice and garnished with cilantro, radish and onion.

After dinner we walked around the central park area and then retired for the evening.

The next morning consisted of the hunt for coffee to feed my addiction. Honestly, I feel like a heroin addict sometimes. We were instantly rewarded with double cappuccinos at Café Havanna just 2 blocks away from our hotel and towards the central park. After breakfast we set out to find another hotel as it was Easter weekend and many places were completely full. We found another hotel a block away from our last place for $30 U.S. a night with private bath, hot and cold water, air conditioning, cable TV, and clean clean clean and secure with only 1 entrance/exit and set up like a compound.

I am content to be watching, and not doing, an observer, and not a participant. Bigness on the other hand still suffers from overly mobile joints... more on this travelog later.

Supergirl and UNBaby’s vacation was to San Ignacio and then to Roaring Creek in Belize. When I arrived back on Caye Caulker UNBaby informed me that Jesus is alive again and lives in the belly of the Easter Bunny Basket that she and mommy made out of a one gallon bleach bottle, cotton balls and glue and felt. Also that God can see everything all the time except when you’re in the bathroom he can’t see you go pee.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Elvis Has Left The Building

High season is almost over (sigh) Yes, we love the money, but all of us are e x h a u s t e d. We've been going nonstop, 7 days a week since November of 2006. And for our handsome reward we're closing down for 10 days (starting on Friday) and going somewhere else. Bigness and I are going to Merida for Holy week to see the Easter processionals. Supergirl and UNBaby are going inland to San Ignacio to swim in a pool, eat tacos and reeelllllaaaaaxxxxxxx. Caye Caulker is the equivalent of the Daytona Beach of Belize, with lone drunken stupidness all Easter weekend.

Its been a tough couple of weeks. Temperature rising all around, my energy level has been especially low, and since Ernesto put Bravo TV back on cable, I've had very little inspiration to get up from my afternoon siesta and go back to work. I've tried to pull a "Mommy's tired, why don't we just close for the day" routine. But nonplussed, Supergirl has learned "The Voice" well remembered from her own teenage years (you know, the one I used on her to get her out of bed and off to school)... and she's using my own tricks ... on me.

Ring ring the phone rings... and I know its time to go back to work, its the 15 minute warning call.
Me: I'm tired
Supergirl: whatever MOTHER
Me: ... (uh oh... there's that word MOTHER, so I know I'm in trouble)
Supergirl: 15 minute warning
Me: ... yawn
Supergirl: did you hear me?
Me: yup, but Top Design's on
Supergirl: and?
Me: maybe we should close this afternoon and just open at 4 p.m. (after Top Design's finished)
Supergirl: whatever... (click)
Me: did she jsut hang up on me?

Ring ring the phone rings... 2 seconds later
Supergirl: Get your ass out of bed mother and come to work. We have a few days left until high season is over and you're not going to punk me out... don't make me come up there and rip you out of bed by your ponytail.
Me: uh... o.k.