Vacation wildlife encounters

Where I live, the local wildlife tend to keep their distance. Squirrels and chipmunks abound outside, you can hear them chattering and see them leaping about, but they don’t tend to come up to you and steal the food out of your hand.

In Mexico, we met a cousin of the raccoon, the coati. Also fondly known as the hog-nosed coon to it’s close friends.

Initially awed by the different wildlife all around us, we snapped pictures of these creatures as we encountered them….which was pretty much everywhere. There are signs posted to NOT feed them, out of respect for their natural habitat and diet.

Turns out, humans posted that sign….. and the coatis are not at all in agreement.

This was made clear to us pretty early on. I was taking a break from swimming with the 6 year old. We were sitting poolside as he munched on some oatmeal raisin cookies. Up comes a coati…. and it just keeps coming….. literally nose to nose with my son, and is obviously interested in the cookie he doesn’t seem to be eating fast enough.

We went from amused to kind of freaked out as I eyed his sharp teeth and retractible claws…. imagining him taking a soft chunk of my sons face along with the cookie he wanted to steal.

So I did the only thing I could think of. Grabbed the cookie and threw it away from us. As predicted, the coati followed calmly, picked it up and started munching away. Along the same time, as I’m nervously laughing, I hear a snide “You’re not supposed to feed the animals” from a passing group of girls. Duh.

Coati gets done, and comes nosing around again, this time dipping his pointy snout into my sons pineapple juice. My god, is nothing sacred!?

A fellow vacationer took pity on us, and chased off the scavenger…. and we learned to snack more cautiously.

Less inclined to give us rabies perhaps, were the peacocks. They were also all over the property.


Here is one of them now!!  A peacock, or “Mr. Weird” according to the 3 year old.

Also out in great numbers, were the various lizards.

We liked to watch them crawl sideways up the walls, and eat the flowers all around.

of course, there were plenty of other animals to study and enjoy.

And then, there were these guys…


They followed us everwhere, took the food from our hands and even off our plates! Slept in our beds and forced us to carry them around when they got tired of walking. They made all sorts of weird noises and somehow managed to follow us all the way home.

We’ve decided to keep them for now….




5th Avenue, Mexico style

What do you think of when someone talks about shopping on 5th avenue?

Exactly.  Skyscrapers, concrete, and hustle of a big city.
But guess what?
Before I left for Mexico, I ran into a lady who knew where I was staying, and urged me to check out 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen.
It’s a teensy bit different.

So, palm trees instead of skyscrapers….. handmade clothing and rugs instead of high couture….. but BOTH have Sephora, as well as Starbucks. I don’t know how big Senor Frogs is in New York, but here it’s kind of a big deal…..

I’ll be honest… I didn’t drink the water here. Well, not from the water fountain. I bought a bottled water from Starbucks and the guy offered me Mexican brand or Fiji brand. I asked him if it was ok to drink the Mexican brand, labeling myself as an uncouth American tourist no doubt…. but I did buy it and drank it and as previously posted, we are still alive 🙂

What else is it like on 5th avenue in Mexico?

Think Mardi Gras, the watered down version. Think street festival. Music is playing, there are like 30-40 blocks-so I was told-of shops and restaurants, little motels, and services like hair braiding, henna tattoos, and street vendors.  We were there for about 3 hours, and didn’t get all the way down one side of the street. They did have a mall with plenty of boutique shops for those who want to make sure they are spending enough money.

Not only is this “the place” to go for shopping and souvenirs, but as we walked down the street, every side street off to the left ran right into the ocean. Plenty of people come and stay in this area and never have to leave, all their needs are met.

See the water? It’s RIGHT THERE!!

Now, since we have the little ones, we didn’t stay late. But we did stay long enough to see some fun things, spend a little money, and take pictures like this:

I would wager that after dark, that place is probably a very fun spot for the single crowd. The food looked and smelled amazing, Tequila seems to flow like water, and no doubt the place stays lit up well into the night.

In any event, definitely a place worth checking out next time you find yourself in Mexico with some time on your hands.

We drank the water

my empty chair……….

Ahhhhhh, I’m back from Mexico.

Kind of dazed today…. not sure what to wear in 40-something degree weather, not sure how to feed myself anymore….. I think we were a little spoiled.

It was amazing. Such a good idea to try it instead of the usual trip to Vegas. I still love Vegas, but this is something totally different.

The three year old taught herself how to swim, like a fish, underwater. Even the 6 year old finally broke down and put his face in the water. That was major progress.

There are so many things I want to talk about, things we saw and did, things I learned about vacationing there that I will use for future trips. (Because yes, I am definitely going back).

But right now, I would like to tell you that we drank the water, and lived. EVERYONE told me not to drink the water. Not to brush my teeth with the tap water, to use bottled water instead. Also I was told not to leave the resort because I might be killed, or sold into slavery. I am probably too old for the slavery bit, but I did feel safe the whole time, and we left the resort, TWICE, and still made it back alive.

We ate all the things I was warned about, fresh fruit and salad, meats, ice cubes, water poured from pitcher that may or may not have come from a tap instead of a bottle…. and guess what? No one got sick.

We stayed at a large resort, Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and ate there as well as their surrounding properties.

This week, I am going to focus on my trip, and post about all the awesomeness we saw and did in Mexico. Right now however, I’m exhausted from taking care of myself and the kids today. I had to make lunch just now, and go grocery shopping before that!! I’ve got 3 suitcases of laundry to finish washing, and I’ve got to find the time to daydream about our trip and wish we were still there while all these things are going on. I need a nap.




A new destination awaits

We have toyed with the idea of vacationing somewhere besides Vegas….. then booked our trip to Vegas. This has happened several times as the husband and I both seem to be the “comfortable in our rut” kind of people. Nothing wrong with that!

But, for the sake of the children understanding there are more than 2 points on the map, we are embarking on a new journey.

After our last Vegas trip, in the ARCTIC cold….. we had one requirement, it had to be warm. A for sure kind of warm that won’t ever let you down.

New destination: Mexico.

A patient of my husbands actually brought him a travel guide full of destinations, and recommended a particular resort he’s been to over 20 times. Wow, it must be great.

It’s family friendly…… got tons of swimming things to do, including a big lazy river that goes for like, miles or something. Entertainment at all hours of the day and night, lots of activities inside and outside.

Now the good part. It’s all inclusive. ALL YOU CAN EAT. Even ROOM SERVICE. Yes, I’m yelling this. It’s an amazing and wonderful concept. Makes up for the stupid strawberries and grapes I ate today instead of the bucket of grease I wanted.

So the countdown begins…. and the frantic attempts to work out and get in fabulous shape are conflicting with the desire to find the best sweatsuit/bathing suit and just start training now for my food marathon.