Today I am having internet and computer problems. My Dell computer will not keep an internet signal for some reason. I am looking into what the problem is now. So today another installment from Mexico Trippa.
Here is a quick guide to your travel Spanish. Learning a few words and sayings will help you on your travels in Mexico.
It’s fun to try and speak a little Spanish with the people, and you will have a few laughs with it along the way. The locals will also appreciate it too. If you wander away from the main tourist areas, you will need to bring out all the Spanish you know.
I got a call last night from a new expat who just moved here. He told me he was laid up with the Chechen rash, and had to go to the doctor to get a shot. Well I did not think much of it, and I did not think much more of it. We were supposed to go to Xcalak this week, so I said no problem, let me know when you are better. I did not quite understand what he meant by his rash, and where it came from, and I had never heard of the name of the rash. I thought maybe he just misunderstood, or was some Spanish he was trying to say.
Well this morning I go into town for the cruise ship today, and when I get there, Kane, one of the waiters at the Tropicante, comes up and asks if I heard about “so and so” having the Chechen rash. I said yes, he called me last night and mentioned something to me, but I did not quite understand what he was talking about. He then showed me his legs, and said this is what happens when you get the “chen chen” rash. He had scars on his legs where he had gotten it a couple of years ago.
Now I have been down here almost seven years now. I have trampled through jungles in Belize and Mexico, and brushed up against a lot of plants and stuff, but I have never heard of the “chen chen” rash. I was told it was ten times worst than poison ivy in the USA, and the itching drives you crazy. Kane told me he got it one time going hunting in the jungle, and it took forever for it to go away. He then told me the only cure is the tree that grows right next to it. I thought to myself, this must be some kind of Maya myth, or old wives tale. But he swore up and down, what he was saying was true.
So me with my new Samsung Galaxy device, did a quick Google search on the beach, and damn, he was right. I can’t believe I had never heard of this before, or that nobody had ever warned me about this tree and rash. So me, being me, I have done a bunch of research on this rash and tree, and here is some of it. You might find this interesting and informative if you ever plan on living or retiring down this way.
The Chechen Tree and the Chaca Tree are often found growing near each other and are most commonly found in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.The Chechen tree is poisonous and the Chaca tree has a nectar to neutralise the poison if you happen to have touched the Chechen tree.There is a famous Mayan legend that explains the appearance of these trees and why they are found together.
The Mayan legend tells of two great warrior princes who were brothers of enormous strength and skill but of completely different nature. The younger brother, named Kinich, was kind and merciful and loved by all, while the elder brother, named Tizic, was sullen, and drew strength from the hate and anger nursed in his heart. As legend has it, they both tragically fell in love with the beautiful Nicte-Ha.The brothers declared a battle to the death to see who she would choose.
The battle was longer and more hideous than the world had ever seen.The Earth was torn and the Heavens went into hiding.Eventually both brothers died in each other’s arms. In the afterlife, they begged the gods for forgiveness, and a chance to return to the world of the living and see their beloved Nicte-Ha once more.
The gods granted their wish and Tizic was reborn as the Chechen tree, which seeps black poison from its branches and burns anyone who touches it, and Kinich was reborn as the Chacah tree, whose soothing nectar neutralises Chechen’s venom. They solemnly watch over Nicte-Ha, who having died of grief, was mercifully restored to life as a beautiful white flower.
There is a garden in Xel Ha called The Chacah Garden which was designed to commemorate movie, radio, television, literature, and sports celebrity visits to Xel-Ha.They are invited to plant a Chacah seedling and leave a brief manifest for posterity, engraved in stone.
The Black Poisonwood tree (Metopium Brownie or Metopium Toxiferum of the familyAnacardiaceae) is also known as Chechen, Chechem (Mayan name), Coral Sumac, Caribbean Rosewood, and Cedro Prieto. It is found throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the West Indies. This tree produces beautiful decorative wood used for carving, wood turning, furniture etc. But it has a very powerful defense mechanism against people!
This form of defense is a highly irritating sap, and when human skin comes in contact with it, the result can be quite an ordeal. It starts with a redness, (like a bad rash similar to poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak and the rest of them…) but often will develop into itchy and burning blisters, and is extremely painful. Depending on the amount of sap and how quickly you treat it, it can remain a rash and be gone in just a few days, or it can develop into a 1st to 2nd degree burn(s).
The cure for a Chechen rash is the most fascinating part about the tree: Chechen can only be cured by the Chacah tree, which always grows nearby. The tall Chacah is easy to spot with bright red bark, and its nectar has the only antidote for a Chechen rash. Chacah and Chechen always grow within a few yards of each other.
So you learn something everyday, and he was right about the Chechen tree and rash.
We may not realize it, but many of our favorite foods—from guacamole to tamales to chocolate—were discovered, developed, and refined centuries ago in the Maya world. Here are a few of our favorites.—By Michael Shapiro
Cacao is endemic to the lands of the Maya, who were the first to take the seeds of the fruit and roast them to make hot chocolate. The ancient Maya didn’t make candy bars, nor did they add sugar and milk to the cacao. Instead they took their chocolate as a ceremonial elixir and a savory mood enhancer.
For the Maya, cacao was a sacred gift of the gods, and cacao beans were used as currency. Ek Chuah, the Maya god of merchants and trade, was also the patron of the cacao crop. When the Spanish invaded Maya lands in the 1500s, they adopted the beverage, adding sugar and milk to make it…
If Trump Wins, Don’t Move To Canada — Move To Mexico
When elections get tense, Americans often joke that they’ll flee to Canada. Nothing against our northerly neighbor, but I am looking to move instead to Mexico. Beyond the incredible beaches, mezcal and tacos, the country has a lot going for it. These are 7 reasons why I’d rather move to Mexico than Canada.
Mexico’s economy is more dynamic and is growing faster than most people think. The country’s unemployment rate is 4% — lower than that of Canada (6.8%) and the United States (4.8%). The middle class has grown dramatically in the past 15 years and is expected to add another 3.8 million households by 2030.
In Mexico’s emerging tech hub, Guadalajara, you’ll find there is a pool of young, highly educated and motivated individuals who are producing high caliber products that have global reach. If you’re early- or mid-career, you should absolutely look into opportunities in America’s southerly neighbor.
Mexico, with a much smaller population, graduates nearly as many engineers as the U.S. Historically, most of these students have studied mechanical, electrical and civil engineering — these numbers are changing as information technology has taken pole position as the engine of growth in the global economy.
As tech startups and other fast-growing software firms join the ranks of IBM, Oracle, Intel and others that started opening Mexico operations in the 1970s, more and more students opt for degrees in Computer Science. As a result, the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey are experiencing a bonafide tech boom.
3. Quality of Life
Measured on a power purchasing parity (PPP) basis — that is, based on take home earnings adjusted for local prices for things like food and housing — Mexico is the world’s 11th largest economy. Measured on the same basis, Canada ranks 16th.
While this stat doesn’t tell the whole story, it does highlight the fact that the rising middle class in Mexico is able to achieve a comfortable quality of life and be able to save money for a rainy day. Many cities in the U.S. have an exorbitant cost of living — Mexico looks like an attractive option regardless of who’s in The White House.
4. The People
In my personal experience, Mexicans compete head-to-head with Canadians for the “friendliest people on earth” award. My Mexican friends and business partners are warm, open and focused on family. Plus, they love to laugh. I can’t think of a better community in which to work and raise a family.
5. The Food and Culture
There aren’t any taco bowls, but you will find tacos like you’ve never had — plus regional dishes like carne en su jugo, tortas ahogadas and quesitacos. Restaurants like Pujol and Quintonil, the 25th and 12th best restaurants in the world, exemplify incredibly rich Mexican culinary traditions and attract foodies from across the globe.
6. The Weather I grew up in a part of the U.S. that’s essentially Canada, so you think I’d find something to like about Canadian winters. You would be wrong, sir. If you prefer warm weather and sunshine, the choice to move to Mexico should be selfevident.
7. Lucha Libre Dudes in colorful masks with names like “Blue Demon” and “The Saint,” fighting each other over ageold themes like honor, love and revenge? Plus, you get to eat nachos while you watch? Count. Me. In. In conclusion, Mexico is where the action is. In fact, as Guadalajara becomes a more significant global tech hub and the Mexican middle class grows at a faster rate of both the U.S. and Canada, it’d be tempting to move there regardless of the outcome in November.
Adam Sewall, bi-lingual technology & marketing leader, Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Wizeline, a provider of intelligent product planning software and agile software development services, and collaborator for The Huffington Post, recently published a piece titled: “If Trump Wins, Don’t Move To Canada — Move To Mexico“.
So if Trump wins, don’t worry, we got plenty of room for you here in Mahahual. If Trump wins, myself I am going to declare for political asylum here in Mexico. I have already looked into it. All I have to do is go to immigration and declare that I am seeking political asylum in Mexico from the political system in the USA. Mexico has one of the best systems in the world for political refugees, and I am sure Trump being President of the USA will qualify me as a political refugee here in Mexico. Trust me, Donald Trump is the most hated man in Mexico and Latin America, so I will be welcomed with open arms.
Today I got nothing. Nobody in town yesterday except me. So I really have nothing to write about this morning. So today some Mexico Travel Tips from Mexico Trippa website. I wish I had read these tips before I took off for Belize and Mahahual. If you have anything you want me to write about in the future, or look into, let me know. This time of year I am struggling for good quality content for this blog.
Mexico travel tips.
These tips for Mexico will help you on your travels with safety, organisation, convenience and gear.
Learn some Spanish greetings – The number 1 thing that will help you the most in Mexico is a little of Spanish. First of all it’s polite to at least say hello and good morning in Spanish (Hola, buenos dias.), but also showing you know a little Spanish will get you a long way. And people will be more inclined to help you out if you need it. Have a read of the page Quick travel Spanish to get you started and How to learn Spanish.
Travel insurance – Please have travel insurance. Without it, it could financially destroy you should the worst happen. I always use and recommend World Nomads ($74 – 2 weeks from USA to Mexico) but whoever you choose to go with, make sure you’re covered before you travel.
Don’t drink the tap water – Buy your bottled water. You can buy 5 litre bottles and fill up your smaller bottles to save a couple dollars if you like. Usually hotels and hostels will also have free water to refill your bottles. The tap water is ok to brush your teeth, but thats all.
Ask to take photos – Don’t just take photos of anything you like or of people in the markets and small villages. In some cases, people can find it offensive. Just a quick ‘Puedo tomar una foto?’ Can I take a photo? And most of the time they will happily allow you to.
Always have small change – Paying with a 500 peso bill for anything under 50 pesos will be difficult and will make the shop/market attendant have to run to go get change. Try and break your big bills at every opportunity when you go to restaurants and when you buy anything over 100 pesos.
Pay in pesos – A lot of places will accept US dollars, but their exchange rate will not be in your favour and you’ll be paying more.
Use ATM’s – Exchange enough money to get you started for a taxi and some food, then use ATM’s. They have better rates than anywhere you will exchange your money. Especially airports. And always use ATM’s in daylight hours to be safe.
Avoid being pick pocketed – These guys can be good, especially in crowded areas, buses and trains. You can take a few steps to reduce the chances of it happening. DON’T put your money or wallet in your back pocket. In crowded areas, keep your handbag/manbag closed and in front of you or wear your backpack at the front. If on the metro, keep your hand in your pocket that has the money in it. You can also buy a money belt to keep your money under your clothes. Always be wary of your surroundings.
Ask the price of the taxi before you get in – Must do!!! The taxi drivers are pretty cunning when it comes to overcharging tourists. ALWAYS agree on the price before you get in.
Take taxis at night – For your own safety, it’s always best to avoid walking too far at night, especially if you’re on your own or drunk. If you are in doubt, always take a taxi. And where possible, get your hotel or the restaurant/bar to call you one.
Take an extra jumper/sweater on the buses – When traveling on the big coach buses or even the mini vans, they always have the aircon on and it’s freezing. Especially overnight.
Check you have everything before you leave somewhere – It’s obvious, but it happens a lot. In a restaurant or cafe, sitting in a park or on a bus, check you have everything. There can be many distractions and if you leave something behind for even a few minutes, it’ll most likely be gone.
Luggage Combination Padlock – A Combination Padlock comes in handy to lock up your luggage or for any lockers you will use and saves the hassle of not losing any keys.
Pack ear plugs – Pack some ear plugs for a good nights sleep. Mexico can get pretty noisy at night and in the mornings. Fireworks/crackers, parties, early morning trucks playing music or selling anything from water, gas or advertising. There’s always something that will wake you up.
Eye mask – Also pack an eye mask. Cheaper hotels and hostel won’t have curtains strong enough to block out the morning sun. They’re also good for an afternoon siesta.
Travel with a multi-outlet charger – Having a multi-outlet charger with added USB outlets for all your electrics to charge overnight is a blessing for those hotel rooms with only one power point.
Travel with 2 bank/credit cards – And ALWAYS keep them in seperate places. Should you lose one, you can cancel it and use your backup card.
Hide some spare money – For emergencies and in a different bag. Then you at least have some spare cash until you can go get some more using your spare card.
Sit on the same side of the bus that you put your bag on – Ever feel a bit nervous that your bag won’t be in the storage when you get off? Sit on the same side as your bag so you can watch at each stop to make sure it doesn’t get pinched.
Scan or take pic of your important documents and email them to yourself and someone at home – Passport, drivers license, travel insurance details. Incase anything gets lost, stolen or your luggage doesn’t arrive
Screen shots – Use your phone and screen shot important information incase you don’t have any wifi so can access it easily. Like, bus/plane tickets, Hotel/Hostel confirmation, address and phone number. Map of the area around your hotel. It will be very useful.
Important phone numbers – Have a list of important phone numbers written down somewhere. Incase of an emergency or your phone gets stolen, you have your contacts for back home.
Please go to the markets to eat – At least once. The food is delicious, and the people need the money more than the bigger restaurants you may eat at.
Street food – Eat somewhere that is busy and where other people are eating. The food must be good and you are less likely to get a belly ache.
Shop with small businesses – It’s just a tip so you can help out the small guys. Instead of buying drinks and snacks at the biggest convenience store in Mexico, OXXO, buy things in smaller shops. I’d rather give my money to the smaller guys.
Shake hands – It is polite to shake hands with everybody you are introduced to. Both male and female.
Have any more tips for Mexico? Leave them in the comments and I can add them in.
I get questions about this all the time. I got this today off of Blogging in Mexico Facebook page.
Over the past few months, I have received a steady stream of emails from readers asking me about the gun laws in Mexico. Since it’s been raining here lately, I decided to go ahead and knock this one out.
If you are a regular follower of the blog, you may have noticed my propensity to write about legal topics. That goes back to my years working as a law enforcement officer in Florida. In addition to my regular duties, I routinely created legal reference materials for officers to help them better understand the more complex aspects of the law.
Now that we live in Mexico, I have been committed to learning as much about Mexican law as possible. While my wife is reading the latest novel on her Kindle, I am usually perusing the online law library of a Mexican university. That may not sound exciting, but I believe that knowing the law of the land is an important part of assimilating into a new culture.
Let’s Get Started
I have always preferred to answer legal questions using a Q&A format. That makes it a little easier for people to go back and find specific information later.
You will notice that I have put a lot of hyperlinks in today’s post. For the non-technical people, that means if you see a word in blue, you can click on it to go to the source in order to learn more. Just keep in mind that the sites are all in Spanish, so you may have to use Google translator.
Note- The post only addresses private ownership and use of firearms.
Is it legal for civilians to possess firearms in Mexico?
It is a common belief among Americans that Mexico does not allow any private ownership of firearms. Although Mexico’s gun laws are very strict in comparison with those of the United States, the right to bear arms — at least in one’s home — is rooted in Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution.
The federal law that enumerates the rights, conditions, and restrictions related to firearms is called Ley Federal de Armas de Fuego y Explosivos. All of the legal citations from this point forward will be referring to specific sections of this law.
Are foreigners allowed to purchase and/or possess firearms?
This is the million dollar question that current and prospective expats constantly ask me. The answer is yes — provided that you are a lawful permanent resident of the country (Artículo 27). That means that you will need to have a permanent resident visa, formerly known as the FM2.
Of course, you will still have to comply with all of the other requirements — and there are a lot of them. I will touch on those in the next sections.
The government does issue permits that allow tourists to temporarily import and transport a firearm for sport purposes. One of the requirements is that the individual provide the government with a copy of an invitation from a registered shooting or hunting club in Mexico.
Which government agency handles licensing and gun registration?
The law permits a collector or museum to possess firearms otherwise prohibited by law.
Do I need an additional permit to transport the gun?
Yes, the only place you are permitted to have your gun — unless you get an additional permit — is at your primary residence.
You even have to have a special permit to transport it for the purpose of hunting or target practice. The requirements are quite stringent and one of them is that you are an active member of a shooting or hunting club.
What are the requirements to get a permit to carry the firearm?
If you want to be able to transport your firearm with you on a regular basis for self defense purposes, you will need a permit. There are numerous requirements, including:
These permits are quite rare in Mexico. There are over 123 million people in Mexico, but la Sedena has only issued around 3,000 permits for private individuals to carry firearms. This number does include those who carry firearms as part of their employment, such as police and private security officers.
Let’s Wrap This Up
The purpose of today’s post was only to educate people about the gun laws in Mexico. The post was not intended to spark a debate about gun control, hunting, or whether or not you agree or disagree with the law. I want to keep the site as free from politics as possible.
I am currently staying at the K’ay Kook hotel a nice little place in the 55 neighborhood, or Barrio 55, as some of us call it. I stayed here also when I first got to Mahahual. I stayed here for about two years, when I was working tours at the port. It is a local hotel where a lot of people who work in tourism here in Mahahual live.
I like it because it has good reliable internet, which is hard to find at some of the hotels and places on the malecon sometimes. It is also very safe and secure, and the rooms are clean. The rooms are also kind of big and roomy, which I like also. The hotel reminds me of some of the hacienda hotels like I stayed at in Merida, and other places in Mexico. I have been through two hurricanes here at K’ay Kook, and I can tell you for a fact, this place is built solid.
The rooms have big bathrooms with hot water, comfortable beds, and furnished. I have a table and chairs, so I can write my blog, which is about all I need. Some of the rooms have air conditioning, and the rest that don’t have air conditioning, they have fans. I have been living in a room without air conditioning during the hottest time of the year here lately, and just using a fan, and I have gotten by fine. I have learned if you do good fan placement, you can stay comfortable with a nice breeze. My room has cable TV, in Spanish of course, which a lot of the rooms have.
I think the hotel has about 20 to 25 rooms. There are daily, weekly, and monthly rentals available. The hotel also has a kitchen on the roof, and in fact, there is now a new bigger kitchen being installed at the moment.
Another thing I like about my room it is in the back, and it has great acoustics. I like to play my music kind of loud when I am writing my blog here. For some reason which I cannot explain or understand, I write better if I am listening to old country music. Stuff like Willie and Waylon, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Buffet, gets my creative juices flowing. Also I listen to old soul music, beach and shag music, and hits from the “70s” and “80s”, and for some reason it sounds real good with my little Dell speakers here. My loud music does not seem to bother anybody here, so I am cool. I also have good internet, and I have been watching the Olympics and a bunch of other TV shows on my new Dell computer. I also for some reason, have done some of my best writing here in this little hotel. I don’t know why. I think it is because of the atmosphere and the ambiance in the hotel. It is also usually quiet during the day when I do my writing. I read somewhere that Ernest Hemingway once said that he did his best work in little hotels in Mexico, Cuba, and other out-of-the-way places. (There might be something to this.)
The hotel’s location is also good for me. It is about five minutes away by bike from the lighthouse, straight shot down the road. It is also very close to New Mahahual, (Casitas), and I can stop by there to get things on my way home. I just hop on my bike, and I am close to everything. There are also a couple of little stores around where I can get what I need. It is also not that far from the Costa Maya Port, and I used to go to the port every day in the past, when I lived here.
There are different rates for different times of the year and seasons, like Christmas and Semana Santa. Right now I think the nightly rates start at 400 pesos ( $22.00 usd), weekly 800 pesos ($44.00 usd), and monthly around 2,000 pesos ($112.00 usd). Of course, air conditioning costs a little extra because of the cost of electricity here. It also has a parking lot, if you have a rental car.
K’ay Kook is owned and operated by José María Flores Sánchez and his family. Jose is originally from Chetumal, and I think has other business interests here in Mahahual, and is preparing for the future growth here in Mahahual. There are always constant improvements going on at the hotel.
So if you are looking for an economical, safe, secure, clean, and friendly hotel for your stay in Mahahual, check out K’ay Kook. It is not on the beach or the malecon, but it is a good deal, and worth the money.