Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carnival in Cozumel...

Well to be honest I did not enter into the true spirit of carnival. Nevertheless the 4 days leading up to ash Wednesday were crazy here in Cozumel. All over the Island dancing in the streets, the official parade started at 6 every day. One curious thing about this island is the number of transvestites who live here. Not your hot New York type transvestite mind you - glamor is far from the grasp of the Cozumeleno transvestite! In any event this is the time for all manner of craziness to come out. I'd see Elvis getting into his car on the way to work (apart from dressing as women, the Elvis costume is the most popular carnival getup).
I walked into town to nights and the streets were crowded:Here is the King of Carnival:
And an idea of the feel in the streets:

The parade was cool. Allie would have liked the pirate float - I liked the Wizard of Oz float. We walked around the square and listened to a Cuban band. Some people were dancing well, others not so much:) I'd really like to be able to Salsa. I might look into learning some day soon. Vicki and Eddie could have shown these people a thing or two. I was back at home by 10.30. One of my students the next day reported drinking til 5 - this, I guess, is really what Carnival is all about but I am getting old and boring!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bloggin like Crazy...

Yes twice in one day!!! As promised I thought I would show you my new apartment. I think my mother pictures me in a hovel knee deep in roaches (BTW its has been weeks since the last roach attack). So here it is...
My Kitchen - see the clock, all the way from England - this clock chimed every 15 mins in the back of my car on the drive down to Mexico.The other end of my kitchen - the sink was the only thing in the apartment that I did not have to buy:You can see I have two electric hobs on a counter next to the door (I need to replace these with gas) and a little cooker on top of the counter. Note the Heinz Tomato Ketchup on the bench. Tomato sauce sandwiches are still a staple for this girl:) Mam's painting is by the door, with a picture of my parents in Rome underneath. Bigsy is on top of the fridge, together with a picture of Daniel and Lee (My best friend Lisa's kids).
My bedroom is a little messy:I usually make the bed religiously, every day, as soon as I get up. Today I was tired and so I planned to leave it until after my afternoon snooze. As it happened I did not have time to snooze today. You might just see Big Ted in the left (a very well traveled bear). I painted the room mint green which I love. I bought a heavy Mexican chest of drawers, which I also love and a nice bookcase where Buddha sits. Julio gave me a bed frame his brother had made.
My clothes closet is on the other side of the room as well as another bookcase: My Green Man is hung by the door. The closet has no doors but that's good here to avoid humidity.
Finally my bathroom - small, clean and white. It works well:
I am EXTREMELY happy here.

My Job

I thought I'd give you an idea of how my day runs here in Cozumel. I set my alarm for 7am and leave my apartment by 8, then I drive to the hotel I work in. I walk through the staff entrance of the hotel to my dive shop which is right on the beach. Usually I stop and take a look up the beach to see how the ocean is behaving that day (a bit like checking my e-mail first thing at the American Club!). Rosie works in the shop: Usually she starts every day with a prayer on the beach for good luck with $$$ that day. She also pays us and gives me advice on Mexican men and cooking. Go Rosie!
I am one of three instructors. Here are Fernando and I in our uniforms - one of our students took this picture:
And here is Luis:
As soon as we get to the shop we load up tanks and set them up by the pool, as bait. Now we sit in wait until customers attracted by the 'scuba lessons at 9' sign come over and ask us what its all about. Usually we get 4-5 people. We teach a short classroom session and then jump into the pool with the students. The pool is around 65 degrees and the worst part of the day is jumping in htere. This is me with Emily working on equalizing:After the pool we encourage people to sign up for a beach dive. So far we've made no money so this is the important part. We usually have a good sign up rate. We earn $26 per diver who agrees to come for a 'discover scuba' dive with us.
At around 12 we head off to Sunset Beach. Here I am breaking down gear after a dive:We work in rotation, so every 3 days its my turn to teach the discover class in the pool. The other two act as back up - bringing gear etc. The person teaching the pool takes the first 4 divers to the beach. If more than 4 sign up a second instructor comes along. In addition to the discover scuba lessons, we also teach certifications - mostly Open Water Diver. When its busy we usually have one or two certifications on the go. We also take turns in teaching the three day cert courses. Yesterday I started teaching a certification for two guys and taught the discover course in the pool because Fernando and Luis were already in the middle of certification courses. Its busy right now but we're making a nice amount of money. This is good because many on the Island now are having trouble finding work.
After work I generally come home, listen to 'The Archers' on the radio, have lunch, call parents or friends, take a 2 hour nap, go to yoga and then meet up with friends or boyfriend.
Might I add that when its not my pool day and there are no certifications, I can be finished work by 10.30. I like these days almost as much as my day off. They are true rest days because I have nothing planed and can laze around my apartment.
Stay tuned for apartment pics!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Back...

Well its been a while since I've blogged - apologies. After Christine and Cat left I had a lot of work to do in making my new apartment habitable. Mostly painting. I painted my apartment in NJ and I have to say that this was a much harder task. Firstly paint in Mexico smells much more strongly than its US equivalent. Add to this that I'd developed a nasty chest infection and you can imagine that painting became a mammoth task. When I was finished I had to leave the apartment for a week for the smell to completely clear so that I could stand being in there again. I'm not sure that there is a Health and Safety Authority here, to speak of but I'm pretty certain that the paint I was breathing was not entirely healthy for me. Next time I will definitely wear a face mask.
So now I am in my new apartment. I've cut my rent in two and I love my new place. I bought all of my own furniture, which is really nice. I have a mint green bedroom, sunshine yellow, eat in kitchen and a white bathroom. Everything is how I like it. I still need a bed base, bedside tables and a desk, but need to save a little for those.
I have been hampered a little by my illness. I basically got sick after the January full moon celebration - all that dancing around with the cold wind running through my hair! I had a pretty bad chest infection with very irritating chesty cough, followed in quick succession by a head cold.
I have a boyfriend too, which is taking up a little of my time. One of my, self set, blogging rules is not to talk about romantic relationships. There are a few reasons for this. Primarily - well they are private. Also I like to keep my blog focused on the constant things in my life. I want to be able to go back and read it without thinking - Uggrrrhhh!!! Sad reflection on my past relationships, but there you go.
So why do I mention my new relationship???? I guess its just because it has been occupying my thoughts a little recently and so blogging about other things has seemed less exciting.
Work is good. Loving the guys I work with Fernando and Luis. We all work pretty hard but Cozumel has been beset with an unending stream of North Fronts - which bring cold temperatures, wind and rain. This has not been good for business as it is difficult to convince people to jump into a frigid pool when its gray and cold.
Michele Carvale and her fiance Bill are currently in town. Great to see them. Both very happy and excited about getting married.

So there it is an a nutshell. I'm setting myself a new, once a week blog target. Perhaps next blog I'll add some pictures of my apartment.