April 25, 2008

Nature Revisited

I'm taking a break from all the Cancun blogging since I think some of you are feeling sick, jealous, or naughty because of it all. I had to insert one of the most beautiful, relaxing, and peaceful days I've had in a long time. It was shortly after our Cancun trip, when I still had another week of Spring Break to bask in. I was getting upset that it was too cool to go to the beach since that's my go-to happy place, and that's when Ted suggested Eaton Canyon. Mind you, in the six years he's lived here, he's never been, so at least I have THAT leg up.

I'm a huge people person. By that I mean I'm huge and I love people, being a person myself. I've lately begun to appreciate the alone time as an under-appreciated second, however. So, at Ted's suggestion, I took a bit of a walk through some trails and trees and I'm here to show off some of Spring.

This was one of the first sights upon driving in. This orange thready stuff was lying on top of plants everywhere. Mixed with the lavendar and the yellow, I thought it made for a mighty fine intro.

The great wall-o-cacti. Loved it.

There's a river that runs through Eaton Canyon - in fact, that's why it's now a canyon. Over millenia, that little desert trickle has carved its way down, just like the Colorado over the Arizona strata did, forming the famous Grand Canyon (boy, was THAT incredible). Of course Eaton Canyon is much smaller, but parts of it look pretty vast and boring (I'll admit). I loved this view of all the vastness and just this little blooming plant with gorgeous bright orange flowers right in the middle.

If I had Dana's or Christy's DNA, I would have turned those little flowers into some sort of head wreath or stationery set in about 4 minutes flat, but I had to settle for a picture and just the gratification I felt for even noticing it.

And here's a fun one. Who thought of making the trail this way? Um, I hope you're really good on that bike!

This was nearby. Thought it was picture-worthy.

Everything was so lush and green. The trees and bushes haven't had a chance to bake yet in the hot, dry fire season months. It's probably boring for you, but I just loved it.

I found a little fungus growing on a soft mound. And no, Dallin, I didn't "taste-test" them.

If you're wondering, I don't know either. A certain "free range" SNL skit is coming to mind...

I thought this was a cool picture with the reflection and all. It's also any kid's dream if they have a microscope at home. That pond was a festerpot of critters.

I loved this shot of the swath of pink bougainvillea in someone's backyard amongst all the palm trees. Southern California at its best!

And what's an Eaton Canyon trip without a lizard sunning on a rock? They do this, see, because they're endothermic animals. The common man calls them "cold-blooded", but this is a misnomer. Their blood isn't actually cold. They are just unable to produce their own heat from within, like mammals, so they depend on their environment to stay at an ideal temperature. Yup, just covered that topic this week.

I'll be back soon, EC, but buh-bye for now!

April 18, 2008

Rated PG-13, so parents: be warned.

God created a curious thing when he put nipples on the scene. As a science teacher who used to work in a mortuary who has a hefty background in human anatomy and who's just plain naughty (I'll admit), I've seen a fair amount of nipples in my day. And I'm not talking about the kind you can toss in the dishwasher. What I can never get over is how different they all look... but I won't get in to that.

So imagine my surprise when, with all my knowledge-o-nips, I see a grown woman with a pretty nice body lay it all bare on a beach in Cancun when HELLO! the sun has already set. She was with another girl, and the four of us clad folks were mere feet away - no one else on the beach. At the time, I was facing away from her, discussing our plans for the coming week when I saw John get VERY uncomfortable and redder than a boiling lobster. Christy just smiled and let out a giggle or two, and I kept asking what about my plan-making was so funny, but then I turned around to catch a glimpse of the pappetrator and HOLY NIP-FEST, BATMAN! Cover those things up!! What I couldn't get over was that the sun was down already, and there wasn't any bumpin' music going, so there was no reason to take Nelly's advice about what to do when it's
getting "hot in herre" (in fact, it was getting a bit - shall we say - nippy). John's embarrassment didn't disappear for days, which is nothing new, but come on!

Our planning pointed us toward Sisal - a restaurant that came highly recommended by several people around the resort establishment. We made reservations, and then later saw a commercial on TV for it. The commercial showed some really cool salsa dancing going on, and everything was touted as "dinner and Caribbean show", so you can imagine our excitement.

We get there, and they give us great seats. I see a buffet set out behind our table, so I go to check it out. You can always judge a restaurant by its buffet, and this one looked like THE BOMB. At the very least, the dessert bar looked way more incredible than those Froot Loop-covered muffins in the grocery stores. We found out that included with the buffet were any fancy drinks we wanted, so pina coladas and mango daiquiris abounded. Virgin, of course. We were filling up our tanks when the EmCee from hell began the mariachi show. The band was great, but then the Reno Reject came back on and tried to do Elvis and Louis Armstrong impersonations until the dance show began, and we were ready to throw up all the chile relleno we'd just eaten.
At that point I decided to get a taco at their made-to-order taco bar (a far cry from the Fair Oaks Roach Coach fare, but certainly passable). As the dude's filling up my taco shell, the male dancers come out doing some sort of Cuban dance, and they've got the obnoxious sleeves to match. THEN, the chicks came out. The taco dude and I just stopped and stared, and he's SEEN this show who knows how many times. I'll just show you what we saw:
Yeah, I realize it's in the corner of the picture (they were moving REALLY fast!), but it's right where your eye goes, isn't it? You don't even see the obnoxious sleeves in the back - just areola covers with attached tassels. We were absolutely fixated. Here's some more.

They did a ton of numbers, making tons of costume changes - one from each of the main Caribbean countries. We couldn't believe their stamina, nor their lack of clothing. I noticed that with all the crazy fast beats going on, nothing jiggled or shook that they didn't want jiggling or shaking. These girls have just about zero body fat, and they were barely breathing hard. As an added treat, whenever they shook their bon bon, the little faux tail would move aside and we'd see buns - LOTS of buns - that would put a steel factory to shame. We couldn't really get a good shot of it - again, too much fast movement. But you can see some serious gluteal muscles in this next one:

And what can that guy in the lower right hand corner be doing that's more interesting than what's right in front of his face?!? Even the old women (of which there were many) were riveted! I gave Ted all the permission in the world to look. Sometimes a man's wife's rack isn't enough, and I'm completely sensitive to that fact.

On a side note, what's up with "soy milk"? Is there some sort of mammary-laden plant I don't know about? Who does the extraction?

April 7, 2008

Beach Blanket Bingo

Growing up we had these Travel Bingo games that we could play on road trips.  Instead of the numbers found on your standard Bingo card these had pictures of tractors, horses and other objects you were likely to see on your typical road trip.  See a dump truck or a deer crossing sign and you got to cross off the corresponding box, cross off 5 boxes in a row and "BINGO!" you've won, and only 8 hours more to Albuquerque.  

I know we're beating our Mexico trip to death blog-wise, but it was a lot of blog fodder packed into one week!  Back to Travel Bingo, in Cancun we decided to play our own rendition of this game.  The goal was to be the first to see things like an awful sunburn, a garish Hawai'ian shirt, or the ever popular "Property of Alcatraz Federal Prison: Psycho Ward" and "FBI: Federal Bikini Inspector" t-shirts.  Tourists can be tacky, let's be honest, and the t-shirt category ended up being one of our favorites.  Here are some of the standouts:

A new twist on an old favorite.

Flatulence pride, don't hide it.

And one of Allison's favorites.  She had a complete stranger pose for this one.

April 4, 2008


What's that famous line (among many) from that famous movie (Pulp Fiction) that I will always claim I never saw multiple times? When John Travolta's character tries to tell Samuel L. Jackson's character what was cool about living abroad for a few years: "It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same [poo poo] over there they got over here, but theirs is just a little different." I'm here to tell you about a few of the little differences we found in Mexico.

First and foremost, though they might understand you if you say "Diet Coke", it's "Coca Light". Same silver label with red writing, slightly different taste. Boy, did John and I go belly-up on that stuff. Along the same soda line, this Sprite can made Ted drop a load in his panties. We have more pictures of it than of me in a swimsuit (thank the Lord), and I was in a swimsuit a LOT. I know where the man's priorities are.

As some of you know, this most recent trip to Cancun was a second visit for the Tedster and myself. Ted had his own blog before we got married, so he left a couple of quips about the trip on that blog (link is to the left). If you haven't read his post about our favorite balanced breakfast while there, you're really missing out. So the sequel to that little number is the photo below. Apparently, the market for cereal-topped muffins has grown. We saw the display at the same time in the store and just laughed and laughed. Christy poked her head around from the LARGE fresh queso display to see what was so funny...

I was reading Shannon Hyer's blog when she recounted the nice weekend she and Andy had for their five-year wedding anniversary. I totally laughed and nodded my head when she talked about sleeping in and watching tv. I can't believe how good that feels when you're on vacation, 5:30am alarms be damned. We were bumming around one morning, flipping up and down the mexi-american channels (much like flipping up and down the radio dial in L.A.) when we came across this, FULLY dubbed in Espanol. Howling ensued.

Later on we found out that J&C had in fact NOT slept in but had gone for a jog early while Ted and I packed on the fat dimples just lazing around. Sometimes I hate overachievers.

And just where, I ask, can you find birds like this in SoCal?? Well, I guess there's always peafowl, but still. GORGEOUS.

When we walked back to the bus stop from the Sprite restaurant, we came across a little Mexican preschool. I recall a few strange things at my preschool - mostly involving animals - and my teacher's name - Mrs Slaughter (still love that one), but our play equipment was your standard jungle gym/merry-go-round variety. Not here.. no no. Mexican kids have it GOOD! I would have killed for one of these!

It was completely sunken into the concrete and as you can see, totally battered. I've seen a few of these on the side of the road, and I'm starting to get me some ideas.

I've saved my personal favorite for last. When I was a cute little thing, my mommy bought all three of us girls little Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bags. I didn't have an obsession or anything, but they even smelled like strawberries! Well, until I peed in mine. And I loved how all those dolls smelled so fruity sweet.... oh, where are my scenty dolls?? Whilst shopping at the large Paseo-like outdoor plaza catered toward tourists, I saw her: little Rosita Fresita.

My other favorite thing wasn't photographically recorded, but wherever we went, Ted referred to lingerie (which came up surprisingly often with the four of us) as ropa intima - because he saw the translated sign in our neighborhood Target. Made me giggle every time.. especially when I pretended to be his hot Spanish number. hehehehehehe Oh. I mean "rrrrrrrahahahaha!!!"

How about you? What "little differences" have you loved in your travels? Please tell!

April 1, 2008

Intro to our Cancun trip, with "malaquinta" explained

This was the first day of our reunion with the Westovers (dubbed the "Bestovers" by Ted) and I want you to notice the nice red tint already exhibited on John's face despite the only sun exposure being at about 5pm for a half hour or so. For any who might be curious, the previous post, entitled "Malaquinta" is a little joke that happened as a result of our fiesta down in Cancun with John and Christy [B]estover. To get the play by play, you can read their blog entry here. Our week mirrored theirs, but I'm here to offer a little more detail into the goings-on and the reasons for the ridiculous amount of laughing that accompanied us wherever we went. Expect a post or twelve on it.

First, the Malaquinta. Upon arriving at our villa which had a kitchen bigger than the one in our first apartment, we shopped for a few breakfast items at the adjoining store (with mostly marked-up prices, of course). One of the items we purchased was a stick of butter. They thankfully sell them individually wrapped and priced so that people like me who don't want to waste the extra 3 sticks don't end up buying a cooler and either dry ice or a Blue Ice pack to transport it home on a 3-leg plane ride home. Thank goodness I didn't do that. The airline lost our luggage, so that butter would have been DOOMED for sure!

"Butter" in Spanish is "Mantaquilla". We were having breakfast one morning (John deserves accolades once more for his perfect egg-making skillz) and Ted wanted to butter my muffin - er, toast - so tried to ask for the butter en Espanol, without knowing the Espanol. It came out "malaquinta." John (who went to Spain on his mission and kept his Spanish sharp by ordering tacos at the local roach coach for a few years) paused and said, "You know you just said 'bad fifth?'" We chuckled and stuck with "malaquinta" for the rest of the trip.

Ted and I arrived a day before J&C, so I took the liberty of setting up Settlers so it would greet them upon their walking through the villa door. We played several games together, revisiting our passion for playing when they actually lived here. I love people who share the same addiction! Since they left our town in November, we haven't found anyone who shared their contentiousness and their cupboard goodies with equaled aplomb. Here's a photo of the most awake Christy I've ever seen, and this was after a red-eye flight. Impressive, Christy B.

Let me insert a word or two about our villa. Included in the kitchen were the customary plates and pans with which to make meals and such. Upon the opening of all the doors, however, I found that they also had stemmed goblets for our subsequent wine-bibbing. Since none of us bib, those "stems" came in so handy for everything else: yogurt, peanut M&Ms, juices, etc. They were hardy, too, so I could put ice in them for all the Diet Coke ("Coca Light") we could guzzle. We felt so fancy!

The one downside to those stems was that the base was too big to fit on the coasters they also provided. To quote Gob from Arrested Development, "Come on!" I snapped this picture of John putting his to good use, however, despite the bowl sitting right next to him. Popcorn during Settlers with the Bestovers became a drug.

More Mexican adventures to come. I've got to get all this down for posterity's sake. Y'know, those posterity we don't have yet...

The Cooling Rack

Baked goods are only half the story...