Tecate takes a holiday 2

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

Hello Everyone.!!! Saludos a todos.!!! I hope everyone’s Christmas was all that they hoped for.! And that Santa came through in the nick of time with all that they desired.! I know that I feel truly blessed from all the lovely messages I received, the pleasant company I kept, and the presents that were bestowed upon me 🙂 This holiday may very well be one of those that reside in my memory for years to come as the year that changed it all for the better.!

With that thought in mind, one more holiday awaits us this season.! The New Year is just around the corner. This year has been a tumultuous and eventful year for me.!! For starters, I returned from Mexico.!! And I started this blog.!! This blog which brought so many new people in to my life, dear fellow bloggers, and opened up a whole new world to me. I thank you for your readership and your support.!! Moreover, this blog also brought friends from my past back into my life.! And for that I am truly grateful as well 🙂 Life altering experiences abound everywhere if you know where to look and when to accept them.!!

One of my former life altering experiences, condensed into blog form, is my time living in Mexico. And of course, all the trials and tribulations of learning the language.!! Or at least trying to 🙂 jajajaja…. One of the reasons I love Spanish is everything does sound better in Spanish.!! And if you don’t believe me, please watch the Kahlúa commercial featuring Ana de la Reguera below.! Since it’s the holidays, Tecate is taking a day off and returning next week. Plus Kahlúa was made for the holidays.!! Enjoy dear reader.! Y Salud.!!

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Look. Look! is it a bird? is it a plane? omg – it’s just the sky!

Dear Readers – due to the Christmas holiday and all of its festivities, I have been super busy.!! Plus the fact that the snow and cold makes me crave warmth and beaches – I offer up another one of my early blog posts.! Please enjoy the photos – the sky is so magnificent in playa.!! Enjoy.! See you tomorrow for Tecate night 😉

howdoyousaytacoinspanish

I miss many things about Mexico.  The people, food, micheladas, the beach and the weather!  Oh the weather…  But one of the things that I miss the most is the sky!  I have never seen a more beautiful sky than the sky in Playa del Carmen!

It’s a crystal blue like I have never experienced before.  And the clouds!  Everywhere!  Huge, puffy, nebulous!  So close that sometimes I would try to reach out and touch them.  But of course I never could…

The tropical storm season in Playa lasts from May to December.  But the rainy season lasts through January.  It is this constant flux of rain that brings the clouds rolling in and then rolling out again toward Cozumel.  You can get lost for long periods of time watching the clouds roll through.  You can actually see them moving across the sky – the winds blow them that quickly.

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I’m dreaming of a beach Christmas….

courtesy of Facebook.com/PlayadelCarmen.RivieraMaya

paamul beach courtesy of Facebook.com/PlayadelCarmen.RivieraMaya

I have spent the last two Christmas’ in Mexico. It became my new tradition after leaving the states. The weather was usually a balmy 72 degrees, I had a nice tan, and somewhere on me there was always a wayward piece of sand.! I loved wearing a tank top, skirt, and flip flops everywhere I went. After growing up in the midwest my whole life, I didn’t miss that crazy weather one iota during the holidays.!!

Last night, I found myself sitting in my car in Chicago for 15 minutes while the defrost worked strenuously to melt the frozen ice on the inside of my windshield.! It was a balmy 0 degrees in Chicago – please note the sarcasm in my voice.! haha… I had on many layers of clothes, boots, scarves….etc…etc… Except for the radio playing, I was bored to death in the car waiting for the ice to melt, so I took some selfies.! One selfie is included below 🙂 And I thought about Mexico…

me for Christmas this year

me during Christmas this year

Christmas in Mexico is all about Christmas Eve which actually is very similar to Croatian traditions. I remember my supervisor being very surprised that I actually wanted Christmas day off and was willing to work Christmas Eve.! That took about a week of convincing, but I managed to get the day off.! I had friends in town visiting plus all my other friends were coming over for dinner. Moreover, I had a big turkey to cook and I needed to be home.!

In Mexico, however, families get together for dinner or lunch on Christmas Eve. All festivities lead up to midnight. The focus in Mexico is on el noche buena or the good night which ends with the families going to midnight mass together. After mass, there are more parties and relatives to visit. Presents can be exchanged before mass or after.! Sometimes, gift giving goes on before and after midnight.! And there are always tamales.!! Yummy..!!!

Christmas in playa

Christmas in playa

One of the reasons for the day early celebration is because Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and wrapped presents are not traditional parts of Mexican culture. Parents don’t ask their children what they want Santa to bring them, they ask what their children want el nino dios or the baby Jesus to bring them. So there is no reason to leave cookies and milk for Santa because he’s not coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve.! Christmas Day is usually spent sleeping in, eating leftovers including tamales, and visiting extended family.

However, in my family we celebrated both in keeping with our Croatian tradition and our new American tradition. So since most of my close friends in playa were American or British, plus my Mexican friends weren’t doing anything on Christmas Day, I decided to have a dinner party. It was phenomenal.! The turkey turned out just perfect, the mashed potatoes were delicious, and my British roommate made Yorkshire pudding (which by the way is not a dessert).! And of course there was lots of wine, and real dessert, and great conversation.!!

me in playa for Christmas last year

me in playa for Christmas last year

Afterwards, I went to La Azotea with my friend D. and his friend.! La Azotea is one of my favorite bars in playa.! It’s a rooftop bar on the fourth floor and you can see Cozumel day or night. We had many banderas that evening – tequila shots with lime juice and Sangrita.!! Yummy.!!! The photo above is from that night at La Azotea. We had a blast.! Can you believe I had been deathly ill just days before.!?!

I have been thinking about last year’s Christmas a lot the last few days. I have been missing playa, the beach, and the satisfaction of having made a new home for myself so far away from Chicago. But so many events have happened dear reader since last year that it is now impossible to return. And so as I sat in my car last night waiting for the ice to thaw and taking photos of myself, I realized I have to make new traditions now that I have returned. There is no more going backwards, it’s only about moving forward. So many good things are waiting to happen and I can’t wait to tell you about them.! And I can’t wait until next Christmas when I can tell you all about my new traditions.! Until then, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad y Sretan Božić.!! I hope Santa is good to each and every one of you 🙂

Tecate take 36

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

Hello weekend.!! Hola fin de semana.!! Or should I be saying – Hello Christmas week.!! Hola semana de Navidad.!! Really, I’m not sure right now.!! Last week was an intense week for yours truly. I’m still trying to find my bearings. And the weekend was no better. Work here, shop there, see this friend, see that friend. Oh yea, and don’t forget to eat, sleep, do laundry, workout and breathe.! Wow.! I’m tired just saying all of that.

And of course, now Christmas week is here.! I’m sure everyone has last minute errands to run or cookies to bake or gifts to wrap. It’s just the way it is – never enough time. And yet the holidays are about being with the ones you love, right? Taking your relationships with family and friends and cementing the bonds; while, at the same time creating or preserving traditions. But it’s never as easy as it looks like on television or in story books. Therefore, the Tecate commercial I have picked for this week is another ‘faux’ look at relationships. It has no title though we could call it Tecate Pick-up because it’s about a boy picking up a girl at a bar. And it all seems so easy.!!

So this week, my wish for all of you is a very easy week or no pasa nada.! I hope all your presents get wrapped by elves, your house magically cleans itself and delicious cakes and cookies suddenly appear on your counter ready made. But more importantly, I wish that all of your loved ones remember the spirit of this season and are easy too.! jajaja… Enjoy.! Y Salud..!!

what do you mean it’s the end of the world again?!

A year ago today, it was rumoured the world was going to end. I had some misgivings about the actual end of the world, but I was definitely nearing the end of my time in Mexico. Plus I was deathly ill last year around this time. I had a bronchitis infection that left me immobile in bed for 36 hours. I think I got up once to eat some toast, drink some water, and visit the facilities.! Which at any other time of the year would have been awful enough, but my friend D. was visiting from Chicago with a friend. And I didn’t see him for those full 36 hours. Luckily, Playa del Carmen has much to offer in the way of entertainment, so he probably only missed me a little 🙂

However, I do have to say that if someone had told me on December 21st, 2012, how much my life would be different one year later.!! I would never have believed them.! And I would have told them to stop smoking whatever it was they were smoking.! But dear reader, it’s true.! So many changes in the span of one small year including this blog and the fact that the world did not end.!! So during this hectic holiday season, to honor today’s winter solstice, and the Mayan apocalyse prediction – I offer you one of my very early posts. See you for Tecate mañana..!!

howdoyousaytacoinspanish

I feel I would be remiss if I did not address the earlier doomsday predictions of the Mayan apocalypse. Of course, it has come and gone and we are still here. But still, I thought now would be a good time to address why we are still here.

So for starters, who were the Mayans? The ancient Mayans were central American peoples that occupied parts of present day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Their earliest settlements date back to 1800 B.C. But their classical period was between 250-900 A.D. At their peak, there were over 2 million Mayas. Today, there are still descendents of the Maya scattered among those same countries preserving the culture and speaking many different Mayan languages. *warning – future blog post – learning Mayan words*

The Mayan Long Count calendar was one of three calendars the Mayans used. December 21st, 2012 marked the end…

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when in rome…I mean playa….have a drink or two…

courtesy of tumblr.com and tripadvisor.com

liquid libations courtesy of tumblr.com and tripadvisor.com

Endless beaches, amazing ruins, exciting excursions and fabulous food are the reasons many travelers visit the Riviera Maya. But admit it; another motive beckons you to the warm Caribbean breezes found in paradise. You want to have liquid fun! Not to worry, I promise I won’t divulge your secret. After all, what happens in Playa stays in Playa! In fact, I will share a little secret with you. I know the best places for you to partake in liquid fun while you relax, enjoy the scenery and people watch.

Of course, I was not always such an aficionado. I got lucky on my first visit to Playa del Carmen. I met a local who took me and my friend on a tour of the best places to have liquid libations. After I moved to Mexico, I became a local myself and was able to seek out incredible bars on my own! There are so many bars in Playa, and so many different types of bars, where you can enjoy a tasty beverage. Therefore, this list only encompasses my favorite watering holes in Playa del Carmen broken down by the time of day. Just in case you want to start early, end late or jump in somewhere in the middle!

courtesy of tripadvisor.com

beach clubs courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Beach clubs – The best beach clubs offer you soft sand, a comfortable beach chair, incredible service, good food and drinks!

Lido Beach Club is my personal favorite! It is located on the beachfront between Calles 10 and 12. Lido Beach Club is a more intimate experience than some other beach clubs because after a few visits you will feel like family. The owners are a lovely German couple (and their daughter) who moved to Mexico many years ago. The family is warm, charismatic and super friendly! In order to unwind on one of the signature lime green chaises, you need to spend at least $10, but it is worth the small fee. Otherwise, you can choose a table under one of the palapas or sit at the bar in one of the chair swings. The food is yummy especially the fish tacos and the potato wedges with chipotle sauce. Also, they always have drink specials in the afternoon.

Kool Beach Club is another favorite of mine. I became acquainted with it because one of my friends worked here for a spell. We would visit him on our days off. The beach at Kool, located at 28th Calle and the beachfront, is one of the most beautiful. There are no boats in the water to interfere with swimming as in some other beach locations. For a nominal fee, you can rent one of the lounge chairs or oversize beds which are extremely comfortable. There is also an infinity pool, gelato shop and massage services. Plus the ceviche and carpaccio are phenomenal and the service is stellar! And there is always a DJ playing super cool music!

Mamitas Beach Club is also located on 28th Calle and the beachfront. It’s basically a martini olive throw from Kool. It also has an amazing sandy (not rocky) beachfront. The chaise lounges and beds are delightful. The staff is attentive as well. The food and drink are delicious. So what is the difference? Well there is no infinity pool. However, Mamitas is the original beach club in Playa del Carmen. So if you are looking for the grand dame rather than the new kid on the block, Mamitas is for you!

courtesy of tripadvisor.com

sunset bars courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Sunset bars – The best sunset bars offer breathtaking views of the sunset or great people watching in amazing locations. Since, the beach clubs close at sunset, you need to find another outlet to keep your vacation in full tilt.

La Azotea has to be one of my most favorite bar eateries. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a stylish pre-dinner cocktail as you listen to the cool DJ sounds and watch the sun set over the Caribbean. La Azotea is located on the fourth floor of the Hotel Punto and therefore has spectacular views of the sea and Cozumel. If you do get peckish, it also has innovative Spanish dishes with a Mexican twist. Either way, this cosmopolitan scene is a marvelous experience!

Zenzi Beach Bar is the place to go if you want to watch your sunset from the beach. Unlike other beach clubs, it is also a full service restaurant and bar. Therefore, it stays open very late. Zenzi has a great atmosphere. It’s relaxed, fun and friendly! The owners are always present and part of the expat community, so it’s a huge expat hangout too. There is always live music and dancing. The menu consists of tasty Mexican and international influences. I recommend the nachos and fish tacos. They also have great barbeques on Sunday.

Clandestino by Lateral is the sunset bar to go to begin your evening in secret. Beautifully hidden on Calle Corazon under tropical trees and romantic lighting, this enchanting bar is divinely illicit. The bar serves exquisite cocktails while local musicians weave musical spells to start your evening festivities. Since the bar is an extension of Lateral, you can always order off of their delicious menu. The oysters Rockefeller and the French fries with truffle oil are delectable especially paired with a ginger martini!

courtesy of tripadvisor.com

after dinner bars courtesy of tripadvisor.com

After dinner bars – The best after dinner bars offer exquisite cocktails, great conversation and amazing people watching!

Ula Gula Bar with a Twist has prime real estate on the infamous Quinta Avenida and Calle 10. It is one of the best places to people watch! However, its corner location also provides the enviable position of being admired by passersby! Enjoy their sublime drink menu as you people watch from the comfort of your chic surroundings. Their mojitos are my personal favorites with just the right amount of rum, mint and sugar! However, their espresso, kiwi and cucumber martinis are also delightful. If get hungry, try their gazpacho or Volcano wood oven pizza. You can also enjoy the hip atmosphere from the second floor.

Dirty Martini is not your quintessential martini bar. For starters, it is located on 1st Avenida between Calle 10 and 12. Dirty Martini is one block from the beach and you will find sand on the floor and many people in flip flops and beachwear. However, the martinis are exceptional. My roommate and I attempted to try them all. But we never succeeded because we ended up having favorites. I suggest trying the pomegranate, watermelon, cucumber, espresso and chocolate! Tuesday nights, martinis are half off and on Thursday nights its ladies night with half drink specials. Not to worry if you are not a martini fan, they have specials on beers too! Also, it has great people watching from the outside chairs.

Reina Roja is a very recent addition to Playa del Carmen. The completely modern and eclectic hotel is located on Calle 20 just off of Quinta Avenida. The bar is also a marvel bathed in red hues and featuring life-size mannequins. The vibrant ambiance is further enhanced by DJs spinning tracks, people watching and an impressive cocktail menu. The service is impeccable and the food is worth trying. If that was not enough, check out their Roof Garden which offers amazing views, a beautiful pool and a unique experience atop a daring hotel. Some of the best pool parties happen at Reina Roja!

courtesy of tripadvisor.com

late night bars courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Late night bars – The best late night bars get your adrenaline pumping, offer outstanding libations and let you mix and mingle! Plus they should all be located in party central in Playa!

La Mezcalinna is the bar I return to again and again when I am out late. It was one of the first bars I ever went to in Playa, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s location on Calle 12 between 1st Avenida and the beach is ideal people watching. However, its seemingly endless and excellent selection of Mezcal could also be a draw! Mezcal typically has a strong smoky flavor and it is usually served neat with orange slices and red pepper! However, it can be sweet when it comes in flavors such as coconut. Then it is outstanding! Another win for La Mezca is the excellent DJs who play there including one of my friends. The energy and vibe of this bar make it a popular local bar too!

Mandala Club is the place to go dancing when you are in Playa! This trendy club, located on Calle 12 and 1st Avenida, has three floors decorated in an Asian theme complete with huge Hindu statues. DJs on the ground floor and the mezzanine spin the latest hits while locals and tourists alike dance to the pulsating rhythms. There is an impressive drink menu and bottle service is also offered. If you need to take a breather, there is an open air terrace where you can listen to music while reclining in the cozy lounge area. Mandala Club is the place to be in Playa after hours!

Kartabar is a sophisticated late night alternative. It’s perfect location on Calle 12 and 1st Avenida allows fantastic people watching without the crowds while enjoying an exotic cocktail. Comfy sofa chairs promote conversation in a relaxed atmosphere; while, ringside seats promise plenty of exciting live action. Kartabar offers Lebanese cuisine and has an extensive drink menu. Also, the bar has many varieties of shisha (hookah). It’s a perfect way to end an evening of drinking.

wana bar courtesy of my friend P.T.

drinking with my friends at wana bar courtesy of my friend P.T.

There are so many more bars in Playa de Carmen that are amazing. I will have to do a part two! But the aforementioned bars are truly my favorite places to enjoy the sun, have a luscious cocktail, catch up with friends and view my stunning environment. In fact, my perfect day involves micheladas and fish tacos at Lido Beach Club, then moving next door to Zenzi for mojitos, walking up the block to Dirty Martini for an espresso martini and finishing the night sampling Mezcal at La Mezcalinna. Or, no wait, maybe starting out the day at Kool drinking margaritas and ceviche, then walking over to La Azotea and watching the sun set while imbibing a cucumber martini. Afterwards, strolling down Quinta to Ula Gula and having a delicious mojito and finishing the night out at Kartabar watching the crowds! Or maybe… You get the point, the options and the liquid fun are endless in Playa! Salud.

Tecate take one

Dear Readers – It has been a topsy turvy week and weekend for me.! I think I may actually need a drink to start off the new week rather than celebrate the weekend that just passed.!! hahaha…. On that note, I have decided to visit my first Tecate blog post.!! Not only is it the first Tecate blog post, but it is the first Tecate commerical I ever saw.!! It also may be my favorite 🙂 It’s called Tecate Recámara or Tecate Bedroom. I hope your weekend was amazing and your week is productive.! Enjoy.!! Y Salud.!!

howdoyousaytacoinspanish

Tecate is a small city in Baja California, Mexico. However, it is best known for Tecate beer. Tecate beer is one of the most popular beers in Mexico. It is typically drunk pouring lime and salt on top of the can. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the beach, a game or a party 🙂

However, it is also known for it’s vastly entertaining commercials. I leave you with one today and more to follow in the future. This one is called Tecate Recámara or Tecate Bedroom. Enjoy….and salud..!!

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