Monday, November 4, 2013

Day of the Dead: Pomuch Cemetery

Last year for Day of the Dead I found it curious that in Ciudad del Carmen there wasn’t the giant celebration I had learned about in Spanish class. While there were the typical bread and sugar skulls at the local bakery, I didn’t see faces painted in skull makeup or extravagantly decorated altars dedicated to those that have passed. Living in Mexico, we are trying to soak up all of the local culture that we can, and I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the lack of celebration. 

A few weeks ago, one of my friends mentioned she and her husband were going to a small town called Pomuch, outside of Campeche, for Day of the Dead. They were going to see the local Mayan descendants clean the bones of their deceased loved ones. I had heard of this ritual the year before, and I honestly thought it was bizarre and a little disturbing. Fast forward one year, and I couldn’t wait to join our friends to learn of an old, local tradition first hand. 

We arrived to the small town of Pomuch Saturday morning, the official Day of the Dead. We weren’t quite sure where the cemetery was. It is a tiny town with some dirt roads and local bread bakeries dotting the streets. After swerving past a few bike taxis and stray dogs, we stopped and asked where the cemetery was located, drove around in circles, and eventually found the cemetery with locals dressed in their best pouring in and out of the gate. 

I read about the ritual before going, to prepare myself for what I was going to witness. The blogs mainly said that the bones are cleaned on November 2nd, which wasn’t the case, at least for this year. Loved ones had been cleaning bones for the past week and finished early Saturday morning.  Instead, what we found were the cleaned bones on display with flowers, candles, and new embroidered blankets. I have to say I was a little relieved. Cleaning the bones of a loved one is an intimate moment, and I was sure I would feel out of place, not to mention disrespectful with a big camera in my hand. Thankfully, we were able to walk around and appreciate the tradition, culture, and oddly enough, the beauty of the different displays each family had put together as a testament of their love without interfering.

Call it morbid, but I was intrigued by the bones. Unless you’re in the medical field, it’s not every day you see what a skull or bones look like up close and personal. We could hear the sound of families praying together and even had the chance to talk to a few of the locals about the tradition. Some things that we learned are that this ritual only takes place in Pomuch, Campeche. More importantly, it is believed that if the family members don’t clean and care for the bones, that the soul of the deceased will become angry and wander the streets lost and lonely. I guess that’s why the cemetery was filled with fresh flowers, statues of angels, and burning candles. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Delphinus Riviera Maya

Billy and I just got home from a wonderful adventure in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  I say adventure because I finally visited some of Riviera Maya's main attractions. Wow! I am so impressed. 

Billy's mom and sister were anxious to visit us in Mexico. As fate would have it, the rugby team had a game in Playa del Carmen, and we decided it would be the perfect place to meet. Billy's sister, Renee, had dreamed about swimming with the dolphins, and I am not one to keep someone from fulfilling their dreams. :p Ok, she didn't really have to twist my arm. Before I knew it, all four of us were booked for the Delphinus Primax experience. 

Upon arrival to Delphinus, we were given lockers in which to keep our belongings and a towel. We watched an educational video on how to handle the dolphins delicately and put on our lifejackets, ready to hit the water. We were greeted by Stephanie, our dolphin instructor. Xtabay, a seven-month pregnant dolphin, quickly swam around us. We took turns playing games with Xtabay and posing for some of the cutest pictures I've ever seen. The dolphins were so smart and a joy to be around. We even got to do the "dolphin push" where two dolphins push your feet from behind to lift you out of the water. It was exhilarating. 

The one hour swim went by quickly, but was well worth it. We all had the biggest grins on our faces throughout the swim. Dolphins are incredible creatures, which was only solidified by our time spent in the water with them. I highly recommend the Delphinus experience to anyone headed to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the surrounding areas. 

Tips for those interested in swimming with the dolphins:
-Book online, 10 days in advance, and save money!
-Leave sunglasses, jewelry, and other valuables in the locker.
-The pictures are more affordable if you purchase one for your group and share the pictures. 
-Do the dolphin push! We were apprehensive, but it's AMAZING.

Check out Delphinus at

Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Year Wiser

27. Late 20's. I'm old. 

These were my initial thoughts on my upcoming birthday. For once, even if you couldn't tell :p, I didn't insist on making a big fuss about my birthday. I didn't know on what day of the week it fell. I wasn't sure what my plans were for the actual day. I guess I wasn't sure how to feel about turning another year older, inching closer to 30. 

After some thought and celebrating with good friends, I realized how silly all of those thoughts were. Birthdays are a blessing! Another year of adventure, opportunity, and enjoying life with those that you love. My 27th birthday was one of the greatest birthdays I've had. My friends in Mexico took the time and effort to throw an amazing surprise party that was SO me, a cooking party! My husband surprised me with flowers and made sure I was at the party on time. He took me to dinner where he ordered both banana's foster and Nutella stuffed crepes. Heaven? It has to be. For once in my adult life, I didn't spend my birthday in a cubicle. I learned how to make tortellini with new friends on one side and a glass of wine (or a few) on the other. Everything was perfect. I felt so loved. 

Photo by Cherie Calvert
Photo by Cherie Calvert
Photo by Cherie Calvert
I think all of this goes to show how perspective can affect you. Is 27 late 20s/old or is it the start of another wonderful year with a little more experience under my belt? If you have a positive outlook and a good support system, everything in life can be a little brighter and a little more special. Who doesn't want that?! 

Photo by Cherie Calvert
Photo by Cherie Calvert

Photo by Cherie Calvert
Photo by Cherie Calvert

Thank you ALL for making me feel so special. From the friends who came out to celebrate with Aimo and me at Sully's, to my chicas here in Me-hee-co throwing such an awesome celebration; from the countless facebook posts  to the family members that made sure I know how much love I have in my life.. Gracias, Merci, THANK YOU. :) I love you all very much. 

XO, The Much Wiser Katy