mañana

courtesy of caterwauls.ca

courtesy of caterwauls.ca

Since I am a day late posting my blog – I thought it would be a great time to discuss the Mexican idea of mañana. Now, I have to admit that prior to living in Mexico, I would have run myself aground making my deadline yesterday. But the two years I spent in Mexico have altered me in many ways. For one, my type A personality is a little toned down. I had a choice yesterday between finishing my blog or hanging out with my friend. And in the spirit of mañana, I chose my friend 🙂

So you are probably wondering what exactly is the spirit of mañana. Well for starters, Mexicans do not embrace the time-is-money mentality of many other cultures. In fact, there is an old Mexican saying that “North Americans live to work, but Mexicans work to live!” So sometimes, or most times, it’s ok to leave a job unfinished to hang out with your family or friends rather than working overtime.

courtesy of cheerfulmonk.com

courtesy of cheerfulmonk.com

Also, Mexicans view time as circular. Whereas, Americans, being a goal-oriented society, see time as linear. Therefore, Mexicans do not do activities according to a precise schedule because it is not viewed as important. It can always be done later or mañana. In Mexican society, working like a robot or adhering to a rigid schedule can be seen as taking the spice out of life. Of course, there are exceptions to
mañana, flight schedules and bus schedules for example.

It took me almost a year living in Mexico before I eventually figured out that life was not just about being productive and goal oriented. It was ok to read a good book and lounge around in the afternoon. It was not just ok but necessary to hang out with friends after work and enjoy a tasty beverage. So yesterday, when my friend called and asked me to dinner, I hesitated only for a moment before I said yes. There would always be mañana to finish my blog. And here it is…

Enjoy..!! ¡Hasta mañana!

courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

to celebrate or not to celebrate – that is the question

courtesy of evfxonline.com

courtesy of evfxonline.com

I went to Dublin, Ireland in the summer of 2008. I had such a wonderful time there and met many great friends that I returned to Dublin in the summer of 2009. At this point, I know what you’re thinking – “um, hello Rose, wrong blog! This is the one about Mexico!” But bear with me for a second, my trip to Ireland does tie in with Mexico, this blog and Cinco de Mayo.

courtesy of wallupload.com

courtesy of wallupload.com

While I was in Dublin, I discovered something interesting about St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish in the Republic of Ireland do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the same manner or with the same intensity we do in the United States. Now granted, St. Patrick’s Day is celebtrated in Ireland on March 17th. It has been an official holiday since 1903. Since it is an official holiday or a bank holiday, most businesses and schools are closed and transportation runs on a reduced schedule.

But in the United States, specifically in cities such as Chicago, Boston and New York where there is a large diaspora – it is THE Irish Celebration..!! Rivers are dyed green – please note Chicago River photo below. Parades are held – two in Chicago in fact – one on the north side and one on the south side. And let us not forget all the green beer and drunken revelry that abounds during this most Irish of holidays. Except not so much in Ireland… Just in the states…

Green Chicago River

Green Chicago River

This Irish/U.S. conundrum brings me to Mexico and Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration held on May 5th, hence the name here in the states. However, in Mexico, it is only celebrated regionally, primarily in the state of Puebla. In Puebla, the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla or The Day of the Battle of Puebla. The date commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in 1862. Also, in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday. It is only an observance.

Mexico’s actual Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th and is considered a national holiday. El Grito or The Cry is the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. It is celebrated in every city center in Mexico with the ringing of the church bells. However, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as THE Mexican holiday showcasing Mexican pride and heritage. While no rivers are dyed or parades held, there is definitely much Mexican food and beer consumed in it’s honor.

courtesy of latinbayarea.com

courtesy of latinbayarea.com

I find this a little strange. Maybe I’m the only one. It is not that I am against celebrations, parades or beer. I love all of that..!! But why would Irish immigrants come to the United States and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day of all the holidays they could celebrate? Why would Mexican immigrants come to the United States and celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a sign of Mexican pride rather than El Grito? Is it one of those melting pot submersions that occur? You throw in a little Irish and a pinch of Mexican and serve it up in America and you get St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo..!!

Maybe… But it does make me wonder what would happen if Americans moved in huge numbers to other countries. Instead of celebrating the 4th of July as a source of American pride – would we find ourselves celebrating Groundhog Day or President’s Day as our patriotic identity..?? Hmmm… just a little something to think about. But in the meantime, cheers..!! And salud..!!

courtesy of theberry.com

courtesy of theberry.com

Tecate take 5

courtesy of tecate.com

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

Well another weekend is upon us. Another chance to hang out with good friends, tell stories and partake in some tasty beverages. So in that spirit, I offer up another Tecate commercial.

But just in case you are watching your girlish (or manly) figure – I offer up the following Tecate Light commercial. There are English subtitles so no need for me to ruin the story for you. Enjoy your weekend. See you Monday. Salud..!!

Sian Ka’an..?? Sean who..?? Ummm..can you spell that?

courtesy of cesiak.org

courtesy of cesiak.org

I love water..!! It’s so beautiful and refreshing. Even taking a shower can be a cathartic and exhilirating experience for me. TMI probably but true. So when you combine water with sand and beautiful skies – I am completely lost and found. It refreshes me and relaxes me. And nowhere is this more true than Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Sian Ka'an - the Caribbean side

Sian Ka’an – the Caribbean side

Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve near Tulum. It contains tropical forests, mangroves and marshes. Sian Ka’an also has a marine section intersected by a barrier reef. It is approximately 1.3 million acres – the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. This is about 120 km from north to south. Part of it’s beauty is the combination of the land, the mangroves and the ocean. My favorite part is the bridge where the mangroves and ocean come together. Just gorgeous..!!

Sian Ka'an - ocean side

Sian Ka’an – ocean side

Sian Ka’an was established in 1986 as part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. In 1987, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As part of the Man and Biosphere Program, Sian Ka’an faces the ultimate challenge of conservation – how to integrate human activities within the reserve without compromising the other forms of life found in the reserve. Sian Ka’an has three zoned areas covering 700,000 acres where scientific research can be conducted. Low impact human activities and sustainable development occur in an area called the buffer zone. In other words, fishing is allowed but not jet skis or other typical touristy activities.

Sian Ka'an - wetlands

Sian Ka’an – wetlands

In Mayan, Sian Ka’an means “Origin of the Sky” or “Gift from the Sky”. In fact, there are 23 known Mayan archeological sites in the reserve. Some of the relics, such as human remains and ceramic pieces, found in Sian Ka’an are as old as 2,300 years. Recently, a 24 km Mayan artificial canal was also discovered. The northernmost section of the biosphere possibly was an ancient Mayan trade route through lagoons and marshes between the cities of Tulum and Muyil. The current population in the area is still largely Mayan.

Sian Ka'an - mangroves

Sian Ka’an – mangroves

Sian Ka’an is home to many diverse animal, birds and fauna. There are 103 known mammal species, including jaguar, puma, white-tailed deer and spider monkey (to name just a few). 336 known bird species, such as frigate bird and greater flamingo, can be found in the biosphere. Amphibians, lizards and alligators are also present at the reserve; as well as, 52 different species of fish. Sian Ka’an is also an important nesting site for two types of endangered sea turtles. And let us not forget the roughly 1,200 different plant species, including coconut. Did I mention the trees? 100 types of trees and shrubs can be found. Interestingly enough, it is also home to 2,000 inhabitants of the people kind. About one percent of the reserve is privately owned.

Sian Ka'an - marshes

Sian Ka’an – marshes

There are five entrances to the reserve. You will definitely need a vehicle of some type. When you enter the biosphere, you will be greeted by a guard. There is a fee to enter the biosphere but it is nominal. Also, everyone is encouraged to sign the guest book upon entering. I really enjoyed this aspect of preserving my name as a guest of this amazing paradise. I know – I am a romantic, an idealist and most certainly a sentimentalist at times. But really, Sian Ka’an is gorgeous even if you can’t pronounce it..!!

Sian Ka'an - marshes and sky

Sian Ka’an – marshes and sky

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/410
http://www.cesiak.org/aboutsiankaan.htm