Swim review: bad vibes in pretty Tulum

Tulum was my first taste of the famous dream beaches of the “Riviera Maya” in Quintana Roo. The beach certainly was pretty and the water lovely. I stayed in an unambitious concrete hotel in town for MX$500 and rented a bike for $100 to hit the beach. Thinking back, that bike ride was probably the…

Pre-roadkill

I just got my first look at a Chiapas state driver’s license. On the front it has your organ donor status in big letters, standing out more than the personal information above it. On the back it has your blood type and emergency contact. I can’t decide whether the authorities are morbid, in the pay…

NO! NO CHANGE!

There´s a saying about the ruling political party: “They’ll change everything to make sure that nothing changes”. This philosophy has clearly permeated all Mexican life, at least retail, because it’s near-impossible to get any CHANGE. How can an entire economy be so strapped for coin? s? I needed money this evening to reimburse people’s travel expenses…

Green & yellow fuzz

I keep being late for work because every morning I discover something else that’s covered in mold and needs a vinegar bath (or soak or scrub). To wit: My only sexy high heel shoes 20-dollar bills Kuksa (by the way, that price is extortionate. Come to Finland and buy one instead, get a nice trip…

Marimba season

Marimba music is all well and good. But why begin at 5 AM? Accompanied by a heavy artillery of firecrackers? Who got the idea that the Virgin of Guadelupe likes startling booms in the pre-dawn chill? Is it some sort of reference to the use of the Virgin as a symbol of Mexicanity in the…

Quiet today

Is everyone recovering from the governor’s wedding to a TV-product Jordan lookalike?

Dislikes

State and mafia violence, farcical politics and bad street signage.

El Dia de los Muertos

It’s the Day of the Dead here (well three days of the dead) and in the spirit of local custom we set up an altar featuring marigolds, candles, things to remind us of our loved ones, and food for them (including booze and coffee!). The done thing seems to be to put the flowers in…

Fish merchants reading

There was something very reassuring about visiting the Kivukoni fish market last week: everyone was going about their fish business; nobody paid more than glancing attention to the tourists with cameras. Here are some photos of fish sellers catching up on the news while they waited for …deliveries? Clients?

Arusha adventure: Merus, an ex-president and new slang

I had a crazyass day yesterday, going to Arusha AND BACK. We calculated that it was cheaper for us two colleagues to fly to Arusha than to go by bus (taking one day each way) and pay for two hotel nights, three per diems and the random ‘Saturday travel fee’. My office pays crap wages…

Upanga road attractions

Things that, if you stop to consider, would look weird elsewhere: The rat poison man’s rat poison-on-wheels microenterprise, a cycling shelving system of rat poison complete with a loudspeaker playing the rat poison rap-chant. Vespa passenger: Ishmaili Asian wife riding side-saddle behind her whitebeard husband while wearing that weird hood garment in orange, a bright…

Magic words: ‘Can I see your identification please?’

Now I’ve had a proper round of that classic Tanzanian institution, traffic cop harrassment. The first time the harrasser was probably not a cop at all, Abdul’s guess is he was a security guard at the New Africa Hotel looking for extra income, and after he resorted to patting his shotgun and saying ‘This is…

Ogling and ogled

Mateo’s parents and brother were here for two weeks, and they were dragged to various sights as is customary with visitors. The best one was the Maasai market at Melela. We got a guide through Chilunga Cultural Tourism in Morogoro, which was lucky because the Samuel had relatives whom we met immediately on getting out…