- How do you like the new look of This Gringo Honeymoon? I am so excited to have a fresh new blog design, thanks to the wonderful and talented Alyssa! I love what she came up with and can’t wait to get back to posting about our adventures in Mexico. I am still cleaning up categories and a few other things, so give us some time, but for now at least we are looking fresh and clean!
- I read about this Austin jog a dog program in Runner’s World last week and thought it was such a great idea. If you’ve ever run with a dog you know just how happy they are to stretch their legs, and shelter dogs could certainly use those endorphins. I love this idea so much - I would really like to be part of something like it in Mexico City or DC.
- With Independence Day behind us, I am already looking forward to Dia de los Muertos and had my first pan de muerto of the season this morning for breakfast. A bit early, I know, but I couldn’t help it when I saw them at the bakery last night.
- I know I am probably late to the game with this one because I don’t watch much TV, but this Volkswagen bulldog commercial is the best! I have watched it at least 15 times.
- Finally, I have a question for other expats in Mexico. I am looking to take some intensive Spanish lessons in October and November to get ready for the holiday party season. I am willing to dedicate a good amount of time to this, but need to be flexible around work and travel schedules. What have people with decent Spanish looking to improve fluency had success with? Private tutors? Berlitz? If you have any good suggestions let me know in the comments or email me email@example.com - Thanks!
- It’s been a sad week full of distressing news for diplomats around the world. No matter what your politics, religion or nationality, it is a scary thing to turn on the news to see embassies and international schools under attack. This is what has been at the forefront of my mind for the past several days, and now that I am in DC the flags at half-staff are a constant reminder of the diplomats who gave their lives in service of their country this week.
- The New Diplomat’s wife has a fitting post today given all that is happening - as diplomats sometimes we like to think that we transplant all the trappings of “home” everywhere we go and can pick up and leave just as easily. In reality, our lives are totally intertwined with the people around us and the countries we live in. Picking up and leaving is not so easy.
- I am looking forward to seeing this new documentary on the Monarch migration, either in Chapultepec Park or at the Smithsonian in DC. It reminds me of one of our first adventures in Mexico, when we went to see the butterflies.
- To follow up on one of my things from last week, I got my chiles en nogada fix at Izote before we left Mexico, and it was both pretty and delicious.
- We are in DC this weekend and missing all the Independence Day celebrations in Mexico, but here is my post from last year. Hope everyone in Mexico City has a great time. Viva!
iphone photo from my run on the mall this morning
I’ve been thinking for a while that I don’t post anymore about the random things that I like on the blog. And wouldn’t everyone like to see a few more instagrams of my idiot dogs? Sure! Why not?
Am disciplined enough to post five things every Friday? Let’s find out! Here is my first Friday iteration of five things:
- I missed getting a Starbucks pumpkin scone when I was in the US last weekend by just ONE day. I have been thinking about them ever since so I’m going to try to make my own this weekend. I will tweet the results.
- Speaking of which, do you follow me on twitter? If you don’t, you should. I am a much better tweeter than I am blogger.
- This gif of Sasha Obama last night during her dad’s speech has had me laughing all day.
- I know people are going with darker plummy lips for fall, but I am still loving bright coral lips and this FACE Stockholm chili flake color for J.Crew is just as good as MAC Lady Danger.
- Since we won’t be in Mexico for Independence Day next weekend, I am really looking forward to eating chiles en nogada this weekend to celebrate early - but I will be eating them in a restaurant, not making my own like this chica.
Obviously if you read this blog it is not news to you that Mexico City is the place to be. Now it feels like the rest of the world is starting to catch on as well. Mexico City is the featured travel destination in this month’s GQ Magazine - the one with Tebow on the cover. Check out the online feature here OR pick up the print issue to see additional photos, including a couple from moi!
Fortunately, we have more than blurry underwater photos to remember our time in Holbox. I finally got around to downloading our real photos and at least half are just of the turquoise water. The photos really don’t do it justice, but it was so beautiful that we spent hours by the pool just staring into the blue horizon. From our hotel you could walk almost a kilometer into the water before it even reached your waist.
The above-water photos with the whale sharks are not of us; since we were always in the water together we weren’t able to get any photos of each other. But, they are of people who were on our boat and hopefully give you an idea of how close we were able to get!
I’ve been so spoiled by Mexico. The more time we spend in Quintana Roo the more I am convinced that you would have to look long and hard to find another place with such clear water and beautiful beaches.
On the way back from our whale shark excursion we found these pink flamingoes. I was so happy because I really wanted to see flamingoes while we were on the island but I wasn’t sure my stomach could have handled a second boat excursion to find them.
We were pleasantly surprised by the hotels and the vibe on the island – I was expecting larger resorts full of gringos, but we found eco-friendly hotels that mostly catered to Mexican families. That is not to say it was cheap - there are certainly more affordable destinations in Quintana Roo.
Holbox isn’t the easiest Mexican beach destination to get to. We had a 2 hour ride on a bumpy road from Cancun, then a ferry ride to the island itself. To top it off, the whale sharks were still a 3 hour boat ride out from the island. It’s definitely not the easiest weekend getaway from the US, or even from Mexico City. But if you have 5 days or more and are looking to really unplug, I highly recommend it. Even better if you visit from June to September and are able to fit in a swim with the sharks.
See the rest of my photos from Holbox here
A couple of weeks ago I went on a birthday adventure.
This was a big birthday for me, and I wasn’t sure exactly how to celebrate it [or if I wanted to celebrate it at all]. My husband suggested that we celebrate on vacation with an adventure, and I am so glad we did.
We spent my birthday on a tiny fishing boat 3 hours off Isla Holbox swimming with whale sharks. It was the most thrilling thing I have ever done - I was terrified the entire time I was in the water with them, but in a good way! I have been searching for this kind of thrill since we we went on safari last year. While nothing can beat the total safari experience, for those moments that you are swimming alongside a three-story long animal the excitement is just incomparable.
We bought a disposable underwater camera [did you know they still made those? you wouldn’t believe the trouble I had trying to get the film developed!] and had low expectations for photo quality. Predictably, the photos turned out pretty bad. It was hard to swim fast enough to keep up with the sharks and worry about working the camera through your goggles at the same time. We only have a few photos that actually have a shark in them, and none with either of us AND a shark - even though we were swimming just an arm’s length away from them.
Still, I am so happy to have these blurry reminders of such a happy birthday. I will never forget it.
You might have heard that the Mexican soccer team won Olympic gold this morning in London. It was a great game and afterward we joined thousands of Mexicans celebrating victory at the Angel de la Independencia. There were so many people jumping in the circle that the earth was actually shaking. At first I thought it was an earthquake, but it just kept going and going. Congratulations to the team and all the Mexico fans celebrating all over the world! Viva Mexico!
We are back from our vacation and still in recovery mode. We split our trip between Oaxaca and Isla Holbox, and the best part? We snuck in a day and night at home in between the two legs. Getting from Oaxaca to Isla Holbox required a layover in Mexico City, so we took a day of staycation with the pups and a night in our own bed to break up the travel. It was such a nice treat - I might build a day at home into all of my vacations from now on! More from Oaxaca and Holbox in the days to come, I am still unpacking all of my purchases and haven’t even begun to sort through pictures, but we had a fantastic time and have lots to share!
Instagrams from my iPhone and my husband’s iPhone
For the first half of our vacation we have returned to Oaxaca to see the Guelaguetza festival [we have tickets for the show this afternoon!] and to do some shopping for things we wish we had bought last time. Other than that, the only thing on the agenda is sleeping in, relaxing and enjoying lots of Oaxacan chocolate. The weather is gorgeous and the city is full of life - just look at this picture from last night. Fingers crossed that the weather holds out for the show this afternoon. Here is what is in my suitcase, in addition to an umbrella and sunscreen, of course.
- I can’t explain why, but I’ve been eyeing this sweatshirt for a while and finally broke down and bought it. Now that it is the rainy season in Mexico I will have plenty of opportunity to wear it, starting now!
- Aren’t these great earrings for travel? They are simple so they go with everything and so inexpensive that if you lose one it’s not the end of the world. I don’t usually travel with a lot of jewelry, but I don’t like to have bare ears so these are perfect.
- A crossbody bag is the only way to go if you are going to be walking around town all day. No more tired crampy back from lugging everything you own in a shoulder bag!
- I always pack a stack of cotton dresses for travel around Mexico, they are cool and comfortable but you don’t look like a total bum. I figured if I love my chambray shirts so much, why not a chambray dress?
- I am obsessed with everything about Mara Hoffman’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection, including these amazing serape shorts. que bonitos!