Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Mexico

It is New Year’s Eve here in Mahahual, and the town is full.  There were three cruise ships today, and a bunch of Mexican Nationals in town.  Every hotel is full, and there is going to be a lot of celebrating tonight in Mahahual, after the cruise ships leave.

Me, I just got back to the K’ay Kook Hotel with my dinner, snacks, and ice.  I am going to stay in and watch the mighty Clemson Tigers lose to Ohio State.  No partying for me, just college football.  We have two more ships tomorrow, and two more on Monday, so I am staying in, watching football and resting up.  I am tired, it has been a very busy holiday season here, and all the expats are starting to arrive from the USA also.

So here is an article about how they celebrate New Year’s Eve here in Mahahual, and Mexico.

by Angelica Galicia

Holiday Season in Mahahual 2016

It has been a very busy holiday season here in Mahahual.  There have been ships every day, and most days multiple ships.  I have been very busy doing my “Good ole boy from South Carolina” routine every day here on the beach.  I must have answered hundreds of questions about living here from people off of cruise ships.

Because it is holiday season, and Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we have had ships every day, and at different times.  We have had ships stay until 8pm a lot of days these last couple of weeks.  I have been getting home at 8 or 9pm at night, watching a bowl game, then going to bed, and getting up the next day and doing it all over again.  I leave at 9 in the morning, and get back at 8 or 9 at night.  So I am way behind on my writing, but after talking to Americans and answering questions all day on the beach, I have a hard time at night sitting down and writing posts for this blog.  But starting next week, we will being going back to normal, and having ships only Monday through Friday, with an occasional weekend ship.

Me with 2 sisters from Bahrain who are airline attendants here of a cruise ship, Noha and Ola Mohamed

Me with 2 sisters from Bahrain who are airline attendants here off a cruise ship, Noha and Ola Mohamed

Mahahual is really turning into South Carolina on the Caribbean.  These past couple of weeks I have met and talked to a lot of people from South Carolina.  I mean every day on the beach at the Tropicante people are coming to look me up.  I have become a kind of “legend” among South Carolina Gamecock fans, and they are always finding me and asking me about living here.

Clemson fans from Greenville, South Carolina here last week. The Combs and Mahaffeys. Pretty cool people to be Clemson fans.

Clemson fans from Greenville, South Carolina here last week. The Combs and Mahaffeys. Pretty cool people to be Clemson fans.  Cain a waiter from Tropicante had to get in the photo with his Clemson hat, he is such a suck-up.

Another big group from South Carolina.  A couple of these people had a restaurant in Greenville, SC, I used to go to.  Kelon and Paige hobbs, Rose Mary Naufel, Carolyn and James Castellau, all from Greenville.  Mike Bryant and Dana Penick from Murrels Inlet, and Gloria Gibbs from Thomasville, Ga.  They had a great time on the beach here.

Another big group from South Carolina. A couple of these people had a restaurant in Greenville, SC, I used to go to. Kelon and Paige hobbs, Rose Mary Naufel, Carolyn and James Castellau, all from Greenville. Mike Bryant and Dana Penick from Murrels Inlet, and Gloria Gibbs from Thomasville, Ga. They had a great time on the beach here.

Oregon Mike brought me down 2 cans of Chunky Hormel Chili down, he and his family come here every year.

Oregon Mike brought me down 2 cans of Chunky Hormel Chili down, he and his family come here every year.


Tropicante massage girls in their Christmas outfits.

Tropicante massage girls in their Christmas outfits.

Here is a story that happened the other day.  We had about 15 people on the beach from South Carolina off of the cruise ships. Most of them were wearing Gamecock hats and shirts. There were people from Greer, Aiken, Irmo, Charleston, and several other places. One woman graduated from Geenville High in 1959. There were several South Carolina graduates, (again no Clemson people, they don’t cruise much, stick to their farms), one of the guys is a doctor and graduated from USC in 1981, and also got his MD in Dermatology there. I was talking to the Dr. and I jokingly asked him since he was a doctor why don’t he look at this thing on my arm and tell me what it is. He and his wife are both dermatologists from USC med school, and he called her over, and they both looked at it and said, “you have to get that taken care of”, and shook their heads. They told me it was an early form of skin cancer, and pulled out their phone and asked me if I wanted to see photos of people that have what I have, and don’t have it treated and see what happens. I just shook my head and said, “I believe you”. I am not surprised I am in the sun every day, and have been for the last 7 years, and my father has had it also. Well the doctor had a few drinks and then he whipped out a note pad, and wrote out in Spanish what I had, and what the doctor has to do to treat it, and what kind of medicine and stuff I need to get it to go away. His mother is from Cuba he said, so he knew Spanish. He wrote out exactly for the doctor here in Mahahual the procedure to cut the cancer out, and then burn it, and stuff like that. He then told me that at his practice in Charlotte what he just did would have cost me $5,000 there, and I got it for free. So now in the next couple of days, I am just going to walk into the clinic here, and slap down my piece of paper with all the dermatology instructions in front of the doctor, and see what happens then. The doctor is probably going to think, where in the hell did this Gringo get a dermatologist here in Mahahual who can write out dermatology procedures in Spanish. This should be interesting, stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Things to Love and Hate in Mexico

I read this the other day, and I thought to myself, I can relate.  This is an article from another blogger in Mexico.  It is from a Facebook group I am in.  If you have lived for any amount of time in Mexico, and not the tourist spots, you can relate to this.

I am way behind of this blog with updates on what is going on here.  It has been a very busy holiday season here.  Ships every day, and most days, two or three ships.  I am all talked out.  I have been answering questions about living here for the solid last two weeks.  Mahahual is about to have a big migration of people from the USA and Canada soon.  Don’t say I did not warn you.  Real estate interest is real high now here.  More later.

OK – hate is probably too strong a word. Or not. Depends on your personality and gringo-osity (new word, ©2016, me). Unirregardless (old word, coined by my late friend Arty in the 70’s to make fun of people who say irregardless), if you are here from somewhere else, there are some things you will love, and some things that will drive you nuts. The key is to turn the latter into the former. Here are some that stand out, at least to me. Enjoy. Just keep in mind that thoughts, in my head anyway, rattle around like bingo balls in the round spinny cage thing and you never really know what’s going to pop out.

Time. When I was growing up, one of the biggest sins my parents trained me against was being late. I can still hear it. “If you’re not fifteen minutes early, you’re late!” This was the source of endless anxiety for me for most of my life. While it could be argued that it also contributed to many successes, I question now if it was worth the price. There is no reason to worry about being late for something here, since whatever that something is, it will probably start late, so relax. After you’re here for a while, time becomes just a curious yet nebulous concept that invades your life now and again, but with little real impact. Witness this recent early morning, still in bed conversation at our house:

‘mornin – Merry Christmas

‘mornin – it’s Christmas?

Yeah…today’s….i think…..wait, here’s my phone….yeah, it’s Christmas

Hm. Well Merry Christmas

Somehow, five o’clock cocktails on the margarita deck seem to get more attention than major holidays. To me, this is a good thing, since holidays, as a rule, are a much bigger pain inee ass than they are worth.  The long line at the store checkout is an opportunity to socialize rather than an annoyance. The guy pumping your gas wants to chat about your day. What hurry? The gas is only going to come out as fast as it comes out. Some adapt well, others, not so much.

Fireworks. For everything. For weddings. For national holidays. For the religious feasts that seem to occur three times a week and last for eight or nine days. Personally, I love it. Others hate the noise. One snowbird here wrote on her blog about how she printed out the noise ordinance and took it to the local authorities. (Author’s note: Nothing endears foreigners to our hosts like quoting their laws to them and informing them how they should be enforced.) She says she knows someone who was deafened by fireworks. (Author’s other note: You’re not supposed to put them in your ears.) Mexicans like to celebrate. In that sense, they are much like our sailing friends, to whom any reason (excuse) for a party is good enough. Fireworks just make it better.

Families. OK, other than that DeFao kid from Amityville, everyone has to love this one. Family life here is a half century or so behind (or ahead if you think about it) the old country. Ask a Mexican mother where her children are, and the answer you will get most of the time is “over there”. Families here are close. Family celebrations are huge. Everybody has a brother or cousin or a godfather who can do or fix whatever you have that needs doing or fixing. They’ll fight like hell amongst themselves, but defend each other vigorously against any outsiders.

Food. It’s fresh. It’s delicious. It’s spicy. It’s an experience, not just sustenance. It’s not like the Mexican restaurants in the old country. Lots of street food. We went to a local street vendor for breakfast. I had images of huevos rancheros and egg and cheese taquitos in my head. Nope. Tacos. Like sausage and egg tacos? Nope. Carne ó puerco, cuánto quieres. You sex them up yourself from a huge tray of limes, cilantro, onion, tomatoes, lettuce, and a half dozen different salsas from spicy to holy crap hot. Some of the best food here is in restaurants that are pretty much street vendors with a roof of sorts. It’s not unusual to see dogs in restaurants, or even sitting on bar stools.

Tequila. OK maybe no one hates this one but some don’t like it. Tequila comes only from Mexico, and there are very strict laws here about what can be labeled as tequila. In the old country, tequila is consumed quickly in shots and usually followed by a beer chaser. It’s consumed, much like another product for which Mexico is rightly or wrongly famous, marijuana, not for the experience but for the buzz. (Nobody smokes pot for the aroma or the flavor.) Here, tequila is sipped and savored.  Did you know there is such a thing as a tequila glass? It’s stemmed and similar to a champagne flute or a wine glass but wider than the former and narrower than the latter. Did you know that you can smell four distinct aromas from a glass of tequila? Try it – you may develop a whole new appreciation for this marvelous beverage.

Animals. All kinds. As mentioned above, it’s not unusual to find dogs in bars in restaurants here. This alarms and even angers some gringos. Some to the point of shouting at the wait staff, and demanding to see the manager or owner. (This has as much positive effect as the aforementioned presentation and explanation of laws to local authorities.) To date, no one, to my knowledge, has died of dog poisoning. (Did you know that in medieval times dogs were used as napkins on which you could wipe your greasy hands at meals? Bingo balls – don’t say I didn’t warn ya.) Other critters. Ya know how you always read how dangerous it is to drive at night here? They make it sound like the roads are crawling with highwaymen waiting to rob, rape, and behead (not necessarily in that order) those foolish enough to brave the darkness. Haven’t seen it. Mostly around here it’s horses and cows and whatnot who roam onto the roads at night. I’m told it’s because the roads give off heat at night, although I’ve not been so informed by a cow or horse so I really can’t vouch for the statement’s validity. I can tell you that when driving home at night from one of the local watering holes, we almost always remind each other to keep an eye out for horses and bulls and stuff. Irene has never told be to keep an eye out for highwaymen. But then she’s pretty fearless.

Disfruta tu día,


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


Costa Maya Mahahual






camera xmas to may 2014 114

The convenience of not having to feed your body between breakfast and dinner, because you started the day nurturing yourself with a concha, a liter of freshly squeezed orange juice, some fruitita, a coffee, and something more filling, like a warm and spicy serving ofhuevos divorciados, and three or four tortillas. If you are Mexican, then never mind… it doesn’t matter how you start the day, your body will ask for food all day, every day.

The frequent indications of surrealism that you witness in Mexico. Not one visitor leaves Mexico without having witnessed some sort of event that made them say: “C’est incroyable!”, “No way, really?”, or “Ich glaube es nicht!“.

The informality of formal events. Who cares if halfway through…

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A trip to the past along the coast Mexican Caribbean

Costa Maya Mahahual

I had someone send me this the other day.  It is an article done by the University of Guadalajara about the history of the Mexican Caribbean.  It was done in 2006 off of a boat trip of the Mexican Caribbean  taken in or around 1920.  The whole study and article is in Spanish, and it would take me all day to translate.

Instead of me translating the whole article, I am going to just share the link and let you readers translate.  The reason I like this article is it shows a lot of old photos and maps of the old coast of Quintana Roo before tourism and the current growth.

In the early 1900s the coast around Mahahual and Costa Maya consisted of coconut plantations and ranchos.  This article has maps of all the plantations and ranchos that were along the coast at that time.  It also has some photos…

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New Housing Development in Mahahual

Costa Maya Mahahual

There is a new housing development going up in New Mahahual at the moment. Construction has started, and the first house will be available this December. The land has been cleared on the first ten lots, and the community club and pool for the housing development is already finished.  There will be other lots and houses  in New Mahahual.

This new construction project is being built by a well established residential and commercial construction company out of Monterrey, Mexico.  I met with the chief architect and planner Juan Eduardo de Armero Vazquez on Friday and took a tour of the property. Juan is an architect from Sonora, and is here in Mahahual overseeing the project.  Juan has designed and built residential and commercial construction projects throughout Mexico.

The new houses being built are all going to be three bedroom with two and a half baths, and around 160 square meters…

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Happy Boxing Day from Mahahual and Costa Maya

I have a lot of readers on this blog from Belize, Canada, Australia, England and other Commonwealth nations, so to them I want to wish a very Happy Boxing Day.

Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt

The first thing to say about Boxing Day is that its origins have nothing to do with boxing, or with putting used wrapping paper into boxes, or with boxing up all your unwanted presents, or indeed with football, horse racing, hunting, shopping, going for icy mass swims in the sea, or any of the other activities that now characterise the day after Christmas and act as an antidote to the languor that descends on households at around teatime on Christmas Day. The origins of Boxing Day lie not in sport, but in small acts of kindness.

It is generally accepted that the name derives from the giving of Christmas “boxes”, but the precise nature of those boxes and when they were first dispensed is disputed. One school of thought argues that the tradition began in churches in the Middle Ages. Parishioners collected money for the poor in alms boxes, and these were opened on the day after Christmas in honour of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr, whose feast day falls on 26 December.

It was no accident that Good King Wenceslas, who was actually a Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century, risked life and limb on a freezing winter night to feed some wretched peasant who had chosen a most inclement evening to gather winter fuel. His fabled act of generosity took place on the Feast of Stephen, on which day it was a Christian’s duty to help those less fortunate than oneself. Or, as the somewhat laboured words of the hymn have it: “Therefore Christian men be sure, / Wealth or Rank possessing, / Ye who now will bless the poor / Shall yourselves find blessing.”

The problem in terms of dating when the Feast of Stephen became the day for alms-giving and box-opening is that the Good King Wenceslas hymn, which was written by John Mason Neale, dates from 1853. As with most things to do with Christmas, it was the Victorians who fleshed out the meaning of Boxing Day. The Oxford English Dictionary dates the term to the 1830s. Neale clearly recognised the association of the day in the public mind with charity, and in 1871 St Stephen’s Day was designated a bank holiday. What had previously been an amorphous tradition now, thanks to the structured minds and myth-making tendencies of the Victorians, became a seasonal necessity.

As part of this seasonal beneficence, some employers in the Victorian period gave Christmas boxes to their staff. In large households, after serving their employers on Christmas Day, domestic staff were allowed time off on Boxing Day to visit their own families, and went off clutching Christmas boxes full of leftover food. That at least is the suggestion, though there may be an element of Downton Abbeyish wishful thinking here. Scrooge’s attitude (pre-reformation) to Bob Cratchit’s paid holiday on Christmas Day – “A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December” – may have been more representative.

What is undeniably true is that the practice developed of people giving Christmas boxes – commonly a small gift or some money – to tradespeople who had provided them with good service in the course of the year. The Victorians may have given the name to Boxing Day, but this tradition predates the 19th century. It was certainly prevalent in 17th-century England, as the entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary for 19 December 1663 attests. “By coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there,” he reports, “and gave something to the boys’ box against Christmas.”

The tradition of giving Christmas boxes to tradespeople was still extant a generation ago but is now disappearing – a reflection of our increasingly atomised and anonymised society, and of the move away from a social structure based on deference and patronage. For better or worse, Christmas really isn’t what it used to be.

Boxing Day is primarily a British tradition, and the UK has exported it to Australia, Canada and New Zealand (in each of which it has become primarily a shopping and sporting day). The term is little used in the US, and 26 December is not usually a federal holiday, though it is this year because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. The 26th is a holiday in western Europe, but most countries designate it the “second day of Christmas” rather than Boxing Day.

Just to complicate matters, eastern orthodox Christian countries celebrate St Stephen’s Day on 27 December. They do not associate it with Christmas boxes nor, coming from the chillier parts of Europe, do they plunge headlong into frozen seas and lakes. They go to church, eat and drink copiously, and watch the telly instead. How very sensible.


Happy Boxing Day,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina