Monday, November 03, 2008

The arrival...

I was feeling the urge for something sweet so I headed to the local OXXO (the Mexican convenience store chain) to get me that chocolate fix, and lo and behold I spied a Cadbury's Crunchie bar. By gum and by golly I've not seen one of those little gems outside the Southern hemisphere!
Have yet to try it and maybe the Moro, Pinky Bar, Picnic or the Flake will turn up soon. Here's hoping!
Yay for Cadbury making a foray into Tequila Land!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A slap and a kick...

"I slept like a baby". How many times have you used that or heard someone else make that claim? A statement that implies a deep, still sleep. Has anyone making this claim actually slept with a baby?

Still they are not. The little blighters wriggle and move and kick and punch and slap and scratch. Quiet they are not. Grunting, snorting or making some loud exclamations at whim. Babies sleeping do not imply a restful night for me. Not any more.
You would think that a balled fist the size of a cherry tomato could not do any harm to a full grown and resilient adult. You would think that a weeny foot half the size of a cell phone could not cause an "oof" or some other type of grunt to escape from the same full grown adult. You'd be wrong.
Sleeping beside the offspring (in as deep a sleep as is possible for a new parent) thinking that junior is in fact sleeping deeply and immobile, one is suddenly woken by a kick in the solar plexus, a punch in the face, a kick in the boob, a scratch on the cheek or some other form of physical-ness that indicates the youngster has gotten a fright or that you really need to be awake now to attend to their needs.
Of course there is the odd occasion when the little 'un will wake quietly and allow you a few minutes grace. There has been more than one instance when the Big Maori has woken face to face with the Little Maori. Opening my eyes to find a smaller yet very open and wide gaze staring intently at the bigger version, or big ugly nose to small cute button one, tip to tip.

So the cute factor will always apply with the term "sleeping like a baby", but for me now, if I want to imply I slept soundly without actually saying that, I'd be more inclined to use "I slept like a log" or "I slept like the dead". These two things really don't move.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Instuctions please

The internet is a marvellous thing. It seems newborn babies don't come with an instruction manual bugger it all. Everything else in the world does, but parenthood and babies are left out of the loop. How the hell did that happen?
This is why the internet is a wonderous invention. It is the modern day guide or "how to" for whatever your dilemma may be. And believe me when you are miles away from any family with any hands on experience with wet bums, crying (screaming), leaky boobs, strange rashes (baby's), an instruction manual is more of a necessity than a desire. Throw into the mix being in a different country with their own weird and wonderful "advice" and you too would be glued to the screen trying to make sense of it all.
And people always want to give you advice, or just want to tell you how much they LOVE babies, how cute/precious/beautiful your little bundle is, what they did/are doing when their baby was born and blah, blah, blah. Of course you end up smiling and nodding and tuning out or as is quite handy being a foreigner simply saying "I don't speak Spanish" in English and they bugger off. Superb!

Here in Mexico they bind women after they've had a cesarean, not sure if it's the same with a natural birth or if this occurs anywhere else in the world. I for one am very happy with this little tradition, my puku has not been this flat for many a decade, I feel quite decadent displaying my midriff. Oh-er!
Some other traditions I have discovered and am a little puzzled by are:

* to encourage a dimple, a bean is placed in the cheek of the baby
* to encourage a plentiful supply of breast milk, drink a bottle of beer a day
* to stop illness wrap the baby up in layers of blankets even if it's 28C and sunny
* to stop your breast milk, bind your boobs

Think I'll give three out of these four a miss, and maybe not be quite such a consumer on the remaining.

Pregnancy and babies. They don't come with an instruction booklet. They come with their own set of "traditions" and advice, solicited or not. They come with a whole lot of love and bias. Even if you swore that you would say your baby was ugly if it was, you just can't. It's love at first sight, no matter how cynical, how realistic you are. It's love baby. There ain't no stopping it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stalled at the finish line

Yes it has been a while between drinks here on the Maori in Mexico site. But all has not been dull in the life of this Maori.

To fill in the gaps...

Most people arrive in Mexico to take advantage of the cheap and ever plentiful golden, bubble filled beverage beer, sample the local delicacies (cran -bull penis- tacos being a speciality here in Toluca), dare each other to eat the hottest chilly, and inevitably catch some little bug that keeps them glued to the porcelain god for some of their holiday.

Never to quite do things per the "norm", this Maori did some of the above (forgoing the exotic taco) and instead of catching a bug, I caught a baby. Yep. Got "up the duff", "bun in the oven", "hapu", "with child" and any other slightly more colourful analogies you can come up. Imagine. Preggers. In a country very foreign from my own. With their own weird and wonderful way of doing things. So after the initial freaking out period, I embarked on an interesting learning experience.
Here in Mexico you can do your whole sprog thing private or public health system (like anywhere). Private here being expensive (cheap when compared to other countries), and public being well, scary.
The public hospitals, people assured me, are fine and provide good quality care and attention. I am sure that's true, but after visiting one (recommended by a doctor) where during the pelvic examination (without a curtain), legs splayed in the most unladylike fashion, doctor's hand up my wo-hoo, ordelies, doctors, nurses, relatives of other women (it was a veritable "stages of pregnancy" live action show line up) passing by, the "receptionist" watching tele and a general lack of visible hygiene, I decided to give the public sector a miss.
Call me anal but first impressions do count. So we went private. A very small, very clean, very friendly clinic opposite the aforementioned public edifice. And they treated us goood.

Baby's arrival date was predicted between June 3-16 by my private sector doctor and June 19 by the public sector doctor. Junior showed up on June 10. Money well spent furnishing luxury offices I reckon, private dude knows his stuff.

The whole labour thing was a bit of an anti-climax really (probably because I was well drugged up). From whoa to go, or in this case from go to whoa, it was about 5 or 6 hours. Junior started the descent just before midnight on June 9, and was in one hell of a hurry to get out. Making my hips and back feel like they belonged to someone much older, frailer and quite frankly in need of some serious reconstructive surgery. I tried to endure the back pain, the hips were fine, but the dancing on my lower back was quite energetic and well, crippling. After a couple of hours we were off to the hospital, being driven by the expectant granddad who had never driven on the "wrong" side of the road and being given directions by the non-English speaking father via the pregnant woman in pain and on all fours in the back seat. Two red lights run, some speeding, no wrong turns and fifteen minutes later I was in a hospital bed, with a HUGE disposable nappy under me, awaiting the arrival of the doctor and expelling the odd expletive. That was around 2am. Around 5am I got the instruction to push (see what I mean by in a hurry), but lo and behold junior suddenly got all shy and refused to come out. Little bugger. There I was feeling almost nothing due to the epidural they gave me, but pushing my little heart out and junior just would not co-operate. At all. Even going so far as to bloody well roll over and be face up, thus preventing even the doctor's best efforts to bring the wee one into the world. So they decided to slice me open and drag the little Maori out.

They made a few calls, got the "team" in (another gyno, a pediatrician and someone else I think), drugged me up some more, played some music, left me alone for a bit, came back, shaved me, and as I was not wanting a cesarean I was quite ready to get up and leave at this point. Legs were having none of it and neither were the doctors, unfortunately. So arms splayed in the crucifix position, full of drugs and hormones, I took the only option available to me- I cried. Yes pregnancy hormones can turn even the strong willed stubborn types into blubbering lunatics.
Ignoring the crying mess on their table, the surgeons got on with it. In my drug addled state I did have time to register and disapprove of the person who in the middle of all this had decided to cook toast. Yes toast. I was not impressed. Then it dawned on me that it was my flesh being cooked (cauterized) and there was no toast. I would have laughed out loud if I hadn't been nauseous from the drugs.
An hour and some later, the next travelling Maori made an entrance. With very little fanfare, not a whole lot of wailing, and a kiss from an emotional, teary eyed female lunatic that the poor sod will have for a mum. Sigh.

Now the adventure truely begins.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I ventured to this little playa (beach) on the advice of others, who assured me that it was really good, "semi-virgen" (Mexican for not busy), and a nice place to be. Well they were mistook. The water was a horrible mud brown colour, there was rubbish aplenty, and vendors galore. But I was hanging out to have a swim so I braved the mud-coloured waves however I could not stay in for long. It was just gross, but I'm not sick so whatever was making the water brown was obviously not lethal.
The vendors were selling bikinis, inflatable toys, beer, food, clothes... well basically everything EXCEPT sarongs! I couldn't believe it! The only beach in the world that I have been to of late that has nary a sarong in sight! By jove, this perhaps was the most impressive part of my journey to this sandy shore.

The arrival of dusk and the sunset saw me head for more populated spaces. I found in the centre of town a little bar to chill out in and watch some folk dancers do their stuff. In Veracruz I'm told it's quite the thing to do, not at all considered fuddy-duddy or antiquated. And these chaps were surely getting a work out! After each dance they were all huffing and puffing, with sweat pouring off them (it wasn't exactly cool), but the ladies' makeup stayed intact. Now that is quite something. Much as I hate to admit it, the dancing bested the beach by a verrry long way. What has the world come to?

El Tajin

It's a small cluster of pyramids near the coast of Veracruz, Mexico. Small by number and small by size but pretty cool nevertheless.
I arrived in the morning to find the entrance packed with artesanos (lads and lassies that sell handmade stuff) and many a visitor. Turns out the day I arrived was the Equinox so that's why there were so many people. Here for the equinox people dress up in white and head to the pyramids to raise their arms skyward, maybe do a chant or two (I don't know) and receive positive energy. Apparantly it works, but there weren't too many arms raised skyward when I visited that day. So I went back on the 21st (the official day of the Equinox, although it fell two days earlier) and still there were not a whole bunch of people with skyward pointing, energy receiving, triangular shaped stances. So I missed my opportunity to become more positively energised. Sigh.
It's a very chilled out place. Lots of trees to rest under (and believe me you do need to escape from the heat every now and then), the pyramids are different because they have terraces as opposed to being flat sided, and it is pretty much vendor free.
There are a few wandering around selling oranges and vanilla pods, but most are barricaded outside the facility and resort to yelling at passers-by to attract attention and sell their goodies. An orange in itself does not sound overly appealing I'm guessing, but when you are suffering from the heat, those oranges are like little balls of goodness. And you are willing to pay what they ask, more than once usually.
Outside the complex I encountered some Voladores de Papantla perfoming for the crowds. This guys are pretty cool to watch, and plenty graceful. Ol' Maori here would fall off and plummet to the ground, as opposed to the graceful descent that is usually associated with this event.

Semana Santa

The passing of this festive period marked the one year anniversary of my being in the land of Golden Cerveza and Abundant Cacti.
I celebrated the event by getting out of cold Toluca and heading off to Tajin in Veracruz (a state that actually has sunshine and surf- yay!) for a few days. There was a festival at the pyramids and it was friggin hot, but I managed to see and do quite a bit in a few days. So to avoid an extended novel-esque literary equivalent to watching paint dry, I'll divide the week into parts, with illustrations and videos to maintain your interest.
Mexico for one year! Who woulda thunk it?

Tajin Pyramids, Veracruz Voladores de Papantla Tecolutla II folk dancing, veracruz

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Makeup Etiquette

I've lived in a few big cities (and a few smaller ones) round the globe, and been witness to how the women of the world (and in some cases men) do themselves up on public transport or in public areas.

Not being much of a face paint fan myself, I am always amazed at the way in which it is applied on bumpy roads and in lurching underground transportation.
The eyes, always the most important, require the most time and care. However, when I see a woman (or women) valiently attempting to get that perfect line around the eye with liquid eyeliner, on a bus that is stopping every 50 metres or so whilst going over cobblestones, or in an underground train with people falling all over them in a vain attempt at balance, I fail to see the importance of the exercise. Can't it just wait 'til work?
Here in the land of Golden Cerveza the most striking thing thus far, in terms of face paintage and maintenance, has been the use of a spoon. The common household spoon has been bought in to replace the eyelash curler. I didn't quite believe it at first, thought it was just the one young lass who was a bit cuckoo or a bit strapped for cash. Turns out however, I was a bit too quick in my way of thinking. Rather than being the oddity I thought she was, she is in fact part of the majority of the public-transportation-face-paint-applying multitude. Well now fancy that!

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I know, for some chaps it's some far flung exotic location, rarely spoken of and almost never visited. For some ladies, a romantic ideal that is secretly sought yet vehemently denied exisistence.

Here in the land of Golden Tequila and Abundant Cacti, Chivalry is not some far flung exotic getaway nor a romantic ideal. It is part of daily life.
Yes ladies Chivalry exists! I know as a Strong Independent Working Woman we are not supposed to want to have our chairs pulled out for us. We are not supposed to want to have our bags carried for us. We are not supposed to enjoy having the man pay. We are not supposed to enjoy feeling feminine as we are helped out of a car or down from the bus. We are not supposed to giggle like teenagers when we recieve messages about how special we are, how beautiful we are, how much we are missed, how much we are loved. We are Strong Independent Working Women goddamit and it's just not kosher.

But as I carry my work bag to and fro (and am completely lopsided due to the weight on my shoulder), how I wish there was someone there to take it from me. Someone to carry the load and not feel at all emasculated. And believe me some of the boyfriends here carry bright pink, sparkly monstrosities that any sane man would run screaming from. But as it belongs to his "beloved" it is his duty to carry it.
And with said work bag feeling much like a lead brick bodily attachment, how I wish there was someone to help me alight from the bus. And when I'm feeling blue and in need of a bit of flirtation, how I wish there was a message telling how beautiful I am.

But I am a Strong Independent Working Woman and... well bollocks to that.
Chivalry exists goddamit and as women of the Working World we are allowed to accept a man's desire to spoil us.
Give in ladies. Let your man spoil you. Spoil him back. And let the flirting commence!