Monday, April 19, 2010

Website MOVE!

I've made the move! 
Please see my new website 
or go to 

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Salsa Dancing Video

Salsa dancing is a huge part of Latin culture. I love this video from So You Think You Can Dance.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dominican Republic: Juan Pablo Duarte

Recently, I spent some time studying the life of Juan Pablo Duarte of the Dominican Republic. He was born in Santo Domingo in January 1813, where he was raised and educated until he went to Europe in 1828 (at the age of 15), to finish his education. In 1833, he returned to the Dominican Republic a changed man. Having seen the light of the Ilustracion and the liberal freedoms enjoyed by Europeans, he felt a deep sense of duty to free his own countrymen from Haitian (and Spanish) dominance.

Juan Pablo Duarte
La Trinitaria
On July 16, 1838, during the festival of La Senora del Carmen, he met with eight other men and formed La Trinitaria–a secret society whose sole purpose was to bring about the independence of the Dominicans and form a free republic. In reading historical accounts of this night, it is amazing to me how one person can inspire and ignite such belief and dedication-to-purpose in others. Duarte “spoke as if from heaven” and each man took the oath to give all he had, even his life, to the cause–sealing the oath with “blood from [his] vein”.

La Bandera
Another thing that I find fascinating about this night is the clear and precise vision that Duarte had of the future flag of the Republica Dominicana. He described the flag as blue and red (opposing colors AND the colors of the Haitian flag) with a white cross in the middle which represented peace and redemption.
Dominican Republic Flag

Revolutionary Minds
The idea of people who come up with “new” ideas that go against the grain, is a fascinating one for me. The American Revolution is inspiring on many levels, but Latin America and it’s revolutionaries like Juan Pablo Duarte, Simon Bolivar, and Jose San Martin offer views into other revolutionary minds. And it’s not only the men that are “revered” that I find fascinating, but others, especially Che Guevara, whose psyche interests me.

In the end, something that I recognize in all the great revolutionary minds is intelligence (or enlightenment), an intense inner-drive, and an almost-grand-scale self-bravado. Interesting.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Great Mahahual Trip Report

I was recently led to this Mahahual trip report on written by "Libby" in August 2008.  What I really love about this trip report are the details!  From the pictures of the drive down to Mahahual to the public bathrooms in-town, Libby's trip report is very informative and especially helpful for those of us planning a trip to Mahahual.  Thank you, Libby, for sharing your Mahahual experience.
(Photo from Libby's trip report on

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Discover Mahahual - Trip Friend

I want to introduce everyone to Ariana!  She is coming to Mahahual with me in May.  (YAY!)  Ariana is a kindred spirit -- even though we are a couple of generations apart, we are spirit-twins. :)  I am so excited to be traveling with her, again.  She makes me laugh and keeps me young. 

Ariana in the middle...

Ariana - left-back...

Ariana - on the right...

Ariana - front-left...

Ariana - on the right...

Ariana - in the middle...

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New World Architecture

From the 16th to the 18th centuries, two types of architectural design dominated the New World (Latinoamerica):  Renaissance and Baroque.

This type of architecture was sensual and exhibited elements of harmony and equilibrium.  It was also very symmetric and proportional which translated into a type of peaceful serenity.
Renaissance Architecture - Merida Cathedral, Mexico

The Baroque architecture in the New World was extravagant, ornamental, and full of contrasts and oppositions.  This was a period in time when there was a definite tension exhibited between worldly things and religious things.
Baroque Architecture - the St Francis Xavier Church in Tepotzotlán, Mexico

Personally, I prefer the more serene Renaissance style.  However, there is definitely something to be appreciated in the gaudy Baroque, as well.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Discover Mahahual - Mahahual Trip Report by Susie Q Roo

Susie Q Roo shared her Mahahual trip report with me on forum.  This is a great read!  Her insight into Mahahual is enlightening and I promise by the end you'll be wishing you had some cut-up fruit in a cup, too!  I can't wait!
(Photo from Susie Q Roo's Mahahual Trip Report)

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Discover Mahahual - Secret Garden Hotel, Tulum

We will be making a stop at Secret Garden Hotel, Tulum, on our way down to Mahahual.  I have read many reviews about this boutique hotel, and am excited to try it out.  I've already emailed back and forth with one of the owners, Sean, who happens to be a native Dallas, Texan!  Es muy amable!

(Photo from

(Photos from

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Discover Mahahual - Maya Chan Webcam

I love beach-cams!  The Maya Chan webcam in Mahahual is my new favorite!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Latin Culture: Backyard Dancing

I recently came across this blog post on "Beach Bum in the Yucatan".  The story and especially the pictures spoke to my heart.  I love backyard dancing! 
(Photo from Beach Bum in the Yucatan)
It reminds me of my time spent living in Argentina and the fun, impromptu dancing we shared with locals whom we met along the way. 

(Tandil, Argentina - I'm being covered up by someone...back in the left...)
I'm telling you, we Americans are cold and snooty when it comes to backyard dancing.  I've NEVER witnessed a backyard dance in the U.S.  Why is that?  Oh, and I definitely love to dance (American Bandstand in the 80's! There has to be video of me out there somewhere!). 

And I guarantee you that somewhere, in some Latin backyard, there is some dancing going on right this very minute!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What It's All About

I received this comment yesterday....  It was exactly right-on about Mayan Riviera Gringa being a view into my heart.  Thank you, Cherie.

"Just a note to say that your blog is delightful.
I am not a “Blogger”, however,
I will keep this one in my favorites,
keeping an eye on your Mexican insights,
with a view into your heart."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Discover Mahahual: Maya Chan Beach Resort

Maya Chan Beach Resort, Mahahual, Mexico - Discover Mahahual.

This is an all-inclusive day-resort, that requires reservations.  Maya Chan just opened in 2010, and is a boutique concept in beach clubs on the Costa Maya. 

All-inclusive concept at Maya Chan offers (quoted from website):
Maya Chan Representative at Pier
Fresh water showers
Free cab service from town
Free internet service
English speaking staff
Cleanest bathrooms in town
All Day Snorkel Gear
All Day use of Kayaks
All you can eat Food. Food is served between noon and 3:00 pm.
Open Bar all day including liquor, beer, water, soft drinks.
Tipping for standard services, including food and beverage service is included.

We will be at Maya Chan on May 20th!  Look for Twitter updates (@cowgirljab) and Blog updates of our experience!

From the reviews and first-hand accounts, this is a fabulous place that will make your entire trip vale la pena. :)
If you have been here, or are planning on going to Maya Chan, please leave comments on this post! We would love to hear your thoughts!
(Photos from
*A special thanks to Mark at Maya Chan!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Discover Mahahual - La Posada de Los 40 Canones

A second lodging choice for Discover Mahahual is La Posada de Los 40 Canones.
(Photos from

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vacation Photos: Strike a Pose!

I used to take the typical vacation photos: stand in front of something, smile for the camera, snap and go. Luckily, I've matured into an all-out "Work-it, Baby!" type of vacation photo-taker.

Here's an example:
A. This photo was taken several years ago...typical, right? Right.

B. Now THIS photo...see the difference?

Sure, sometimes you might feel like a fool...but who cares? You'll most likely never see any of those people again, and you'll definitely have a photo or two that you will absolutely love!

My suggestions:
1. Use props (scarf, raft, sunglasses, whatever)

2. Take a LOT of pictures (gives you room to throw out ones that you absolutely don't want to ever see the light of day!)
3. Work-it, Baby!

Go ahead and do it! Take advantage of that gorgeous beach or awesome pool to pretend you are The Next Top Model and capture some fabulous vacation memories!