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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100 Happy Days

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For those of you that haven’t cottoned on yet.. I do love a good challenge. Whether or not I manage to finish each challenge remains to be seen but I give it a go.. It’s the effort that counts right! So when I came across the challenge ‘100 days of happiness’ I just new that I had to sign up!

We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, isthe base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.

71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason.These people simpy did not have time to be happy. Do you?

The introduction to the challenge really hit home with me and made me think.. What does make me happy each day.. Well now I (and everyone that follows me on instagram) will find out what made me happy each and every day for the next 100 days!

If you want to sign up for the challenge and share what makes you happy check out the 100 Happy Days Website!

So don’t forget to follow me on instagram here and the hashtag #100DaysOfHappiness

One more resolution for 2014..

So it’s official.. After having waited a whole 2 months since my last post I think it’s safe to say that my blog was pretty much abandoned. To all of who still reading this.. thanks for hanging in there.

As I write this I’m looking at the date and thinking Where did January go? But then again saying that.. Where did 2013 go?

So 31 days into 2014 I have decided to add one more resolution to the list, NOT abandon my blog! Hopefully this is one resolution that I’ll be able to stick to.. unlike my diet, exercise, stop smoking resolutions that have already been long since abandoned..

Happy belated New Year to you all!!

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!

Where does time go..

They say that time flies when you’re having fun but I have to contend that time flies even faster when you are super busy and there is just not enough time to do everything that needs to be done. That seems to be the story of my life lately and the extremely lame excuse as to why I haven’t written a blog post in 3 months. The absolute worst thing is that I have absolutely nothing to show for the last, lost 3 months of my life!

Well actually there was one rather big chance, the addition of another (YES ANOTHER) four legged furball to the family! Welcome to the madhouse Turquesa!

Turquesa

Turquesa

The most successful ViDAS Clinic to Date

So after a hectic few days of dogs and cats being treated left, right and centre the clinic was over and packed up just as fast as it had arrived. After so much anticipation I still can’t believe it’s been and gone already.

Thanks to the work of the ViDas vets and all of the volunteers that offered their time to help out the clinic was the most successful one to date with a grand total of 1254 animals sterilized in 5 days!

Bring on ViDas Playa del Carmen 2014!!