There is so much going on around me, so many people and places and different customs, signs I can’t read, I go to places only to find out I shouldn’t be there.
Living in Mexico has its challenges but nowadays its funny to hear myself at the bank or grocery store and in perfect Spanish ask for something while the clerk answers in English or asks for assistance.I encourage their willingness.
Some people are afraid to speak Spanish or even try to understand when someone converses with them.
When I need to call a hotel or a Mexican friend I usually find that I am speaking much louder on the telephone.
maybe I think they will understand better. They don’t!
Either way communication is probably the single most problematic issue for those living in a foreign country.
I have friends that have actually lived in Mexico for years and still don’t speak the language, then when they call and get flustered or feel taken advantage of I wonder to myself why don’t they just learn to communicate , then they wouldn’t feel so out of sorts.
The problem I see with communication is that people are afraid to use the right or wrong word.
For many years when I introduced someone, I used the word introducir, which I thought in Spanish meant introduce. Not so. The proper word is present( presentar) the other word actually insinuates, well , lets just say ,don’t use it lol.
I admit I use the same word for many things, this, that, those, they are all one word for me, and I am wrong all the time. But I do a lot of pointing and laughing and everyone seems to understand me,because joy is universal.
Forget the traffic signs , no one reads them or follows them anyway and as far as bill boards, you only have to know the difference between banks and beers and condoms to understand what they are selling.
I think the best remedy for poor communication is laughter. When someone knows your trying, people are usually happy to help.
So throw your frustrations out the window, put-on a smile and try today to communicate with those around you in a new and loving hand waving way.
Express and connect with a joyful eye and people will exchange with a wink of approval everytime.
Guess Hu’s Coming To Dinner!
On the 19th of January 2011, in the wintery cold of Washington of D.C, the who’s HU of the world gathered around eating from precious china, sipping wines from exquisite crystal goblets and dining on world cuisine.
Okay lets try again.
President Hu Jintao of China was seated at a state dinner,eating from vintage and gold filled porcelain dinnerware at the White House drinking rare red wines and wondering what the heck black trumpet mushrooms are all about let alone how to eat them.
Looks like the White house choose a subtle, classic comfort food for tonight’s affair.
Poached Maine Lobster(1st red item),Dry aged Rib Eye(2nd red,good choice) with buttermilk crisp onions,double stuffed potatoes and creamed spinach, yes naturally a comfort food staple for dessert.
Good old fashioned apple (hopefully one more red item)pie with vanilla ice cream.
I googled back to last years visit of President Calderon for the state dinner and found,Sonoran beef smothered in Oaxacan mole or with a roasted pork covered in salsa verde,a jicama vinaigrette salad finally a chocolate cajeta tart.
I would think the Presidents from around the world would like to sample the foods of the visiting country and not eat what they can get at home. But hey, maybe there’s a feeling of making them feel at home.
Fortunately The Obamas have enough red food items on the menu.
no doubt a superb Cabernet in there somewhere.
I guess Hu’s going to like that! Everyone’s going to love it, I am sure.
Just getting the invitation,is going to out weigh the food but I would have liked the Obamas to serve more of a vegetable medley or something green, lets face it Hu’s country could use a lot of green thinking.
If President Hu Jintao came to Mexico I am almost sure we would serve him a fresh fish with every kind of salsa to inspire his taste buds. I agree with the White House chefs that making a visiting dignitary feel at home is meaningful but in this case, I am not sure Hu’s going to enjoy it more?
Sounds like “Lets Chow Down” may be more apropos than Bon Appetite!
Ah, the island life,palm trees swaying in the warm breezes. Gentle waves washing ashore over coral covered reefs. The quiet! Laying under palapa covered huts ,shaded from the sun while thinking of nothing other than the waiters return with our cool drinks.
Stop the press! Not so fast lazy one,open those weary travelers eyes, what about 700 taxis lined up in a procession along the waters edge waiting for one ride from 30 thousand anxious passengers crowded around the nearest Sr. Frogs. Riding down escalators to find hundreds of vendors prepared to make the deal of the day. So what amigo!
Welcome to Cozumel,Mexico my new favorite spot on earth or should I say in the sea?
Its easy to find the bliss here, only minutes in any direction and a few steps into a turquoise colored sea, the quiet under water is compelling. I took my snorkel and headed out around the rocks. I happen to know that all fish hang out around the rocks. Most divers will tell you its because of all the food, but my conversation with a baby squid was other wise.
They hide there,they know we are coming. And that we do! in droves and boats with tanks, fins and all kinds of funny looking equipment.
What a strange site we divers must be.
I remember once on the island of St.John,also in the Caribbean, we took a ride to a national park where the novice snorkelers could read signs planted underwater. We saw large brain coral and read about it while swimming to the next sign. At times it was hard to read with all the flapping fins of fellow snorkelers around us stirring up the sand. But once you venture out away from the crowds, the beauty of the underworld brings about a peacefulness unlike any other.
Cozumel offers that peace to those able to grasp the moment. The manta rays peeking out from under the sand, the stag horn coral and abundance of brightly colored,spotted and odd shaped fish, make for some of the best diving in the world. Yes ,now this is island bliss!
Now for the island Blast!
Whether your sitting with your feet dug in the sand or salsa dancing, your going to have a blast either way.
Its true there are hundreds of taxis and thousands of cruise ship passengers coming down 3 enormous piers. But one hardly notices them as the music and beauty on the island hide this intrusion.
Along with the hundreds of taxis there were also hundreds of poinsettias lining the streets. The main boulevard is so clean and painted a crisp white with built in benches that stretch for miles along the ocean front. The main square is loaded with ornaments and the holiday spirit in Cozumel is found in the islanders themselves rather than in the bottom of a margarita glass.
Wow what a place, what a wonderful adventure to see what paradise actually looks like. Both above and under the water.
Cozumel has everything for everybody.
The tour companies, impressive restaurants, the shops are modern and well appointed. You might think for a moment that you’re walking on Rodeo Blvd or 5th Ave. Every designer on the planet has a presence there and the stores are packed with eager shoppers, buying up the most modern Rolex watches to carved coconut heads.
The restaurants we tried like Kinta, offer distinct European flavors while a few steps away you can feast on yummy tacos in the street. Starbucks and Planet Hollywood,Mayan ruins and rare birds all welcome the island travelers.
What a pleasure to see a place that has everything and what a blast people have when they visit. We sure did.
Now I understand why our Salsa and Salsa Tour at the Hotel Cozumel Resort is going to be the highlight of a visit to Cozumel for anyone arriving in paradise. The food and dancing,the underwater experience,don’t forget about the largest pool on the island.
This is the bliss and blast all in one, the makings of lifelong memories..
Happy Holidays or should I saw Holidaze?
The Dancing Chef
Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me THIS long to write to you all about Cozumel!! Things have been a flurry of packing, unpacking, training, uniforms, new people, new friends, great new location, a new dancing chef partner and more!
I want to share all these moments with you all!
Since my departure from Mazatlan, I’ve gone through a whirlwind of changes in my life. From getting married in Vegas (more on that in a later post!), to packing up all my belongings in Mazatlan, to moving into a new place in Cozumel, to starting Salsa and Salsa in a brand new location…not bad for 4 weeks !
Cozumel is a magical place. I arrived late in the afternoon, after leaving Mazatlan at 5am (yep, that’s a 3am alarm clock!) with a stop-over in Mexico City and then Cancun. We caught a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport to our new home, a one bedroom apartment smack-bang in the centre of town, right on the ocean!
Dinner and a bottle of wine…ahhhhh…..Cozumel.
The following day was straight to it, meeting with Cruise people, hotel people and so much more! Our new dancing chef Judy was right there with me, and you’ll all get to meet her soon enough…she’ll also be writing here from time to time 😉
Training for the new Salsa Team was to begin the very next day, so I got right into OLE Mode, with Manuals, Questionaires and more. Training was a hoot! I want to share some pics with you from our training sessions. Our new Salsa Team are a fun, energetic and young team, that have proven to be quick learners and have all the enthusiasm we have looked for in our Dancing Chef culture.
I knew these guys were the “ones” when I rang that little bell for the first time and a roar of “OLE!” came from their smiling faces.
With training complete, we dared to invite hotel guests and friends to a “training show”, so our new team could practise and make perfect. A total success! I’m pleased to share with you the fact that we had nothing but good things said about the training show. Our guests left happy, yelling OLE and smiling and dancing down the stairs.
In the same week, Cozumel was filled with exciting events. Revolution Day (Nov 20th, 2010) surprised us with a glorious parade of young and old alike. We have a cute balcony overlooking the main street in Cozumel, so we happily sat there and watched the kids in their costumes. Here are a few pics of that day. So much color, so much music, and so much happiness – it’s all just so contagious, I love it!!
Iron Man Cozumel 2010 was also upon us here that week, so again, we spent time on the balcony cheering on men and woman who had already gone for the swim and bike portion of the race. The running was the last leg and their run was on the main street of town. I spent 1 hour on the computer and 1 hour on the balcony yelling words of encouragement “Keep on going!”, “Don’t give up!” and to the ladies “YOU GO GIRL!” (I got a few giggles from a few for that one!).
Thursday was our first official show, and we have seen a total of nearly 60 people in 3 days…not bad for a new tour 😉 We know that in a matter of a few weeks, word will spread and the popularity we are so blessed to have in Mazatlan, will quickly follow us here. We’re humbled by all the comments and words of encouragement we receive from guests and friends alike, thank you all.
This has been a challenge…a life changing, exciting and glorious challenge. But we’ve done it!
We’ll have Lela here too – for the first 3 months in Cozumel, Lela will be collecting donations to help build a Blood Bank here on the Island. There is no Blood Bank and locals are required to catch the ferry to Playa del Carmen, then bus it to Cancun…a trip and expense that most locals are unable to afford. With a Blood Bank here on the island, we can hopefully save some lives and make a difference to those who need a helping hand.
Keep an eye on those Lela pictures and reports…it’s going to be exciting to see what she will accomplish here!
Well, I think you are up to date now with Cozumel. We are waiting on Tripadvisor to list us in Cozumel to start our new challenge…we want to get to #1 in Cozumel too! Hehehe. 169 things to do in Cozumel…we may start at the bottom, but by-golly, we’ll get to the top, just you wait and see 😉
Head Chef Leonique made a cameo appearance this week at the Cozumel show…needless to say, we got a good injection of new energy there! Stay tuned for more fun Cozumel news!
Hope you all visit us in Cozumel soon!
Well tomorrow is officially Mexican Independence Day (Sept 16th). We have a lot of fun with this holiday in Mazatlan. From festivities to parades, our little city has it all. The parties and music begin tonight, with Mexico’s famous “Cry of Independence”, held every year in most mayor cities in Mexico where there is a Plaza or Municipality.
Extracted from Wikipedia,
“This event has since assumed an almost mythic status. Since the late 20th century, Hidalgo y Costilla’s “cry of independence” has become emblematic of Mexican independence. Each year on the night of September 15, the President of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City. He repeats a cry of patriotism (a Grito Mexicano) based upon the “Grito de Dolores” from the balcony of the palace to the assembled crowd in the Plaza de la Constitución, or Zócalo, one of the largest public plazas in the world. This event draws up to half a million spectators. On the dawn of September 16, or Independence Day, the national military parade starts in the Zócalo, passes the Hidalgo Memorial and ends on the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main boulevard.
A similar celebration occurs in cities and towns all over Mexico. The mayor (or governor, in the case of state capitals), rings a bell and gives the traditional words. In the 19th century, it became common practice for Mexican presidents in their final year in office to re-enact the Grito in Dolores Hidalgo, rather than in the National Palace. President Calderón is expected to officiate the Grito in Dolores Hidalgo as part of the bicentennial celebrations in 2010.
The following day, September 16 is Independence Day in Mexico and is considered a patriotic holiday, or fiesta patria (literally, holiday of the Fatherland).”
Today and tomorrow, we have Mexican Flags and fun Mexican colors decorating our tables at Salsa and Salsa. We will have fun pics to share later in the week. We’re really getting into the spirit of it all…and hope you will too! OLE! Enjoy the You Tube video which gave me chills when I saw it, HOW FUN!! Hope you enjoy it 🙂
VIVA MEXICO! VIVA!!
Being patriotic to Mexico means a lot to all the girls from Salsa and Salsa! Leonique and Maaike are from Holland, Pamela from Chile and Australia and Stephanie is born and raised in Mazatlan, so celebrating this holiday is a time of happiness!! We’re sharing the fun of this patriotic holiday with you and send you all happy vibes 🙂
Lela does it again. She found some relatives in West Virginia that needed some help! The month of August was dedicated to raising donations for an animal sanctuary named PIGS, A Sanctuary.
We had a lot of fun taking pictures and receiving donations from all our guests. You can find all the pictures for the month of August by <clicking here>.
Founded in 1992, PIGS is a place of refuge for abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted animals. They specialize in the care of potbellied pigs and farm pigs, but shelter other farm and domestic animals as well. The Sanctuary currently provides a safe haven for approx. 400 animals, including pigs, horses, cats, dogs, goats and many other animals. Considering August was a slow month (our low season) we were pleasantly surprised when we opened little Lela up and found $213USD!! It’s amazing to think we got that from 8 shows!! Thank you to everyone. The folks at PIGS are very grateful for your loving generosity.
September’s Lela cause will be supporting the group SURVIVAL. For more information on the group please visit :
We did it! On Thursday we opened up our donating pig, Lela. Our Monthly ritual of opening little Lela has become an exciting part of our routine. Leonique and I play a guessing game, as to how much Lela has collected for the month. As you know, Lela was collecting for your Danny Did Foundation. Your uncle and Executive Director of the Foundation, Tom Stanton, has been a great help, thanks to him, we were able to make this happen. He sent us an article regarding SUDEP and Epilepsy, which I’m sure you would find interesting.
The NY Times published an article regarding the death of a young teenage boy (he was 19…) due to SUDEP. Just like yourself, he was taken at a young age. The article raises several alarming issues regarding the stigma of SUDEP, how it is considered controversial for a doctor to mention it to his patient unless the patient is a high-risk candidate, as it may ‘burden‘ the patient. Maybe if it was mandatory for doctor’s to mention it and make families aware of the issue, we might find less occurrences. The article is a good read and very informative and we have posted it below. Also, the resources page on the Danny Did website is a great source of information for those who need answers to their questions regarding Epilepsy.
We are doing what we can in raising awareness through social media and through our donations page and we hope that past guests and future guests will continue spreading the word. We hope the little we donate this month will help someone, somewhere and give them a little more hope than they had yesterday 🙂 Your smile gave us courage to speak up and tell people that something needs to be done.
Here is the link to the article on SUDEP : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/health/27epil.html
We are so so happy to say we collected $305USD for the Danny Did Foundation. These donations were made by cruise passengers from the Mariner of the Seas and Carnival Splendor. We had a total of 8 ships this month, so considering the majority of the donations are $1’s or the occasional $5, that’s an amazing accomplishment.
We had so many passengers come up to us and shake our hands, telling us they had a brother, or sister, or friend with Epilepsy and that raising awareness was so so important. So thank you Danny…thank you for giving us the opportunity to touch so many people’s lives, thank you for being there and thank you for having found your way into our hearts.
Danny, we hope that wherever you are, you are smiling, laughing, playing and seeing what an effect your life has made on so many lives. You can see the happiness here, a collection of pictures of everyone who donated to Lela the donating Pig for the month of July.
TWO DANCING CHEFS
Pamela and Leonique
Last Thursday, we had the loveliest group of people from Carnival, but one fellow made Leonique and I laugh so much. He had obviously had a few Margaritas, and every time we walked by his table, he was making his whole table laugh, as well as yelling across to other tables and making them laugh. We always have said that laughter is important, but from laughter comes joy and from joy comes creation…
So from the table of laughter, we bring you their Salsa Creation. At first, when we were called over to try it, we were hesitant. I personally thought the worst (hahaha) and I tried to get out of trying it by saying “Oh, I had a huge breakfast…” but that was to no avail. I was given a Totopo (corn chip) and my hand was motioned to dip and eat. So I dipped…and I ate! MMMMMMMMMMM! Truly. It was delicious, so I looked at Leonique and said “You gotta try this”, which she did, and she had the same reaction “Mmmmmmmmm”.
So I won’t keep you waiting any longer. We wanted to share it with you. It was a combination of several of the salsas we made, but with a little tweak here and a little tweak there. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. When prompted to write it down and “name” the salsa, we got a cheeky giggle and a napkin which read :
” What happens in Vegas ends up in Seattle Salsa” (Don’t ask, we have no idea!!)
1 tbls pineapple
1 tbls cantelope ( melon)
1 tbls coconut
1/2 tbls red pepper
1/2 chopped avocado
pinch of cilantro
splash of lime juice
Unfortunately, at the time, we didn’t think to take a picture, but we promise to make and post this delicious creation within the next few days. Enjoy salsa chefs!
TWO DANCING CHEFS
Who said word of mouth no longer works??!! Not us! Thanks to all your rave reviews on TripAdvisor, your photos on Facebook, your comments to your shore excursion representatives and last month’s article on msn.com naming us one of the best shore excursions in the world, we have grown in popularity and have found a newer and bigger location to accommodate the growing numbers!
Royal Villas Resort is now the new home of Salsa and Salsa, with stunning views, an undercover seating area, a large pool with a water slide, direct access to the beach, a games room, a fully stocked bar with some of the best Pina Colada’s in town and only minutes from the main shopping district.
We had our first show there with a record number of guests and the whole thing was just spectacular!
Nearly 150 guests from Carnival Splendor joined us this Thursday, all with the energy and anticipation we needed for our first show in our new home. What a blast we had! Free-pouring Margaritas, lots of mushing, plenty of laughter and lots of smiles…couldn’t have asked for a better group of people! Families, teenagers, couples, birthday girls and boys, and even a group of 21 “singles” joined us today. We even had a couple who had been married for 34 years (awww).
Here is a panoramic of the seating area just before we got started… a beautiful new setting for our salsa class, with a
giant stone wall, agave and cactus plants, enormous ceilings with great big pillars and of course, the hustle and bustle of
our new staff, which truly made today possible.
A big thanks to all those involved in making today a great success and we look forward to making Salsa and Salsa’s new home a welcoming venue to all our guests (past, present and future!). Be sure to see more pictures on our website and Facebook page.
Side Note : We’re totally stoked that we have reached 1,000 views on
our blog!! Keep coming back and be sure to comment on the posts
you like 🙂
HOLLAND vs SPAIN
In or around 1544, Wikipedia says that a man by the name of Willem Van Orange lived in the Netherlands. A dutch hero. Hence the color Orange and the House of Orange was born. He became the main leader of the Dutch revolution against, you got it, the Spanish.
It set off the 80 yr War which resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces. The Spanish however continued to persecute the Dutch protestants and Good Old Williem led the revolution until Mr Balthasar Gerard declared him an outlaw and had him assassinated in 1580. Naughty, naughty thing to do!
Now some say that the World Cup soccer match this weekend between The Netherlands and Spain is going to be exciting because Holland hasn’t been in the playoffs since 1978. But guess what people, its really been 430 years. Pretty sure William didn’t have any idea that it would take this long for Holland to stand face to face again with their former masters.
Thats right, soccer matches ultimately have more to do than just dreaming about a date with Mr.Beckham. Although I could stop there and be happy never watching another game. But the truth is it brings out the spirits of the country. I probably wouldn’t be so excited if say,Slovakia was playing Serbia this weekend or Cameroon against Korea. But the fact is that I was born in a rural southern town in Holland. Probaby close by to where William is resting, since Holland is such a small country.
So in the spirit of the Dutch, today I will get my gardeners to start painting my house orange, go out and buy lots of carrots and persimmons and start dusting off all my old wooden shoes. I have one very large wooden shoe which I am going to attach to my car antenna for the next few days. On second thought maybe Ill just attach it to the hood of the car instead of that set of longhorns.
You’re not going to need your vuvuzela Mr.Willem of Orange, we hear you loud and clear!
Its pay back time Spain get ready to rock and watch us rollllllllllllllllllll those goalllllllllllllls!