24 December 2011

New blog

Hey everyone, I have a new blog! It is about cooking and baking, so go check it out at http://mackenzieyes.blogspot.com/.
Thanks everyone!

27 July 2009

Guess What?

This shouldn't even be called Mexico yes anymore...because I'm not in Mexico! But in the USA. I could explain. But that would take all the funa nd mystery out of my long-winded explanations when you see me in person. If you manage to nail this chickadee down.

But inspired by Sarah, here is a list of places, seen.

-Mexico City
-Isla Mujeres
-Playa del Carmen
-San Cristobal de las Casas
-Chiflon Falls

-Flores/Santa Elena
-Santiago de la Laguna
-San Pedro de la Laguna
-San Juan Comalapa

El Salvador
-Playa el Tunco
-La Libertad

-San Pedro Sula

I am slated to go back to Guatemala this semester...getting the elusive and exciting paid internship at an amazing NGO that will afford me the peace of mind to wander around smiling at everything; the feeling you get when EVERY DAY you know you are doing something worthwhile---wow. It is nice. Kind of like when something went really well collective decision-making-wise at CD&C, only times 1000. A constant meditative state, it is special. (so come visit!)

maybe some more photos later, call me b/c my 'rents are in the phonebook.
Love, Mackenzie

11 June 2009

a quickie

Hi ladies and gents,
currently in Guatemala, the pueblo of Comalapa to be exact, with my cousns and a friend of ours who is an intern at the community deveopment grassroots project Long Way Home (where we are volunteers for this week). It has been a wild ride. Asa quick recap.
After San Cristobal I headed to Palenque and sa the ruins, then across the frontera by way of shuttle-boat-bus to Flores, Gatemala. Saw the ruins at Tikal while there, then went to the Disney-esque place of Antigua. After Antigua two friends and I went to Playa el Tunco (aka La Libertad) in El Savador...coast of the Pacific! Then back to Guatemala, picked up my cousins in Guatemala City, and we chicken bussed it to Comalapa thgrough Chimaltenango and Zaragoza. On the weekend we went to Santiago on the endge of Lake Atitlan, and got akll the way back through the hills in the back of a camion (pick up truck).
Whew. They are leaving tomorrow, my pans are still un certain.
Thinking Honduras and Nicaragua next!
Love, more later,

18 May 2009

Change of plans

After getting back to the city I checked my budget/checked myself. And decided to stay!
So now I am in San Cristobal de Las Casas. It is fun, and a lovely jumping off point for both Zapatista villages and beautiful scenery.

San Cristobal calle

art from Zapatista puebla

a friend with some Zapatista artwork

yours truly in front of the weaving cooperative (yay female-dominated craft!)

05 May 2009

and all you create, and all you destroy

Well hello there.
Re-cap of events.

My apartment became a warzone of repression and oh yeah AN EARTHQUAKE. So after feeling like Adrien Brody´s character in The Pianist when he is in that apartment and can´t make any noise and starts to sweat and go insane, I (impulsively and 'like a woman', as a man from Hamburg so kindly informed me)bought a plane ticket to...where else? The Caribbean coast. But Kenz, you already went there! you may say. I already looked at your flickr photos dozens of times and imagined myself there enjoying all the escapades, you continue. I already plastered the walls of my bedroom-bathroom ensuite with your grinning face sucking on coconut milk and looking not-tan, you may go on as I hold my palm near your face in the international symbol for 'enough enough enough'.

Don't worry, it has been a markedly different trip.

Arrived in the Cancun airport, took my mask off, and got a bus to Playa del Caremen. It was a lot nicer this time, and probably 20 minutes into my stay there I had already made friend with two fellow Chilangos (Mexico City inhabs)and ate fish tacos. Was a bit tired and weary from all the goings on, so went to bed (Maria Sabina Inn) and the next day got to Tulum.

Bought a hammock after bargaining him down almost 500 pesos (woo! one for the home team!) and then rented a palapa in which I could hang said hammock. Swam in the sea and enjoyed the salty, warm air. At night I was actually quite bored, so walked to where I had stayed before and drank a beer while making small talk with the bartenders. There a fisherman chanted to me in Mayan and I almost asked him about the silver capping of his teeth (those that know me know that I have a fascination with fake or otherwise missing body parts, ie metal teeth and amputees...)Walking home on the beach there was someone taking pictures of the lovely crescent moon, and we got to chatting. His name was Manuel from El Salvador, studying in Cancun. The next day we chilled on the beach and then parted ways. I went back to Cancun and then onwards to Isla Mujeres. On the bus a lovely young man from Austrian named Sebastian and I became friends, and decided to travel to isla Mujeres together.

We stayed at Poc Na hostel and had a grand old time. The first night Sebastian and I went to a great restaurant for fish and then talked about all sorts of things. The next day we had breakfast, went to the beach, went to a supermarket, and then walked almost to the end of the island. It was certainly an adventure. We got back to the hostel to see a live band and ended up hanging out with one of the bartenders in his tent that had a double bed in it! Mattress and all. Ingenuity, really. This was especially interesting because the bartender didn't really speak English, and Sebastian doesn't speak Spanish. Played translator to mixed results.

Basically the stay at Poc Na made me feel like a Spanish superstar. Was my grammar any better? Probably not. But comprehension...wow. All of a sudden everything was clicking. I understood what people were saying and felt like I was actually a part of the Spanish-speaking world. This was a huge step and success in terms of gaining fluency. Although undoubtedly those that spoke to me at the hostel were speaking slowly and intentionally using words that weren't so complicated, it was still really great to pass by a conversation being held in Spanish and without context and understand what was going on. Talked to a lot of peopole on the beach and used this new-found ability (it felt magical) to be a whole lot more friendly and typically Mackenzie-like.

Being in Mexico has forced me to grapple with feelings of identity. Who am I, what do I want, how do I interact? A lot of 'I'-centric musings, completely self-centered...but if this isn't the time, when is? And this time around on Isla Mujeres made me feel the most 'myself' that I have felt in a very long time. When you have no fallback plan sometimes you are forced to not fall.

Needless to say leaving Isla was hard, so I really only said goodbye to one person and then slipped off into the muggy unknown. Took a bus to Mérida, and Lady Fate was definitely smiling on this. I knew it was right to come here yesterday though it couldn't be explained. During our spring vacation my friends and I were in Tulum, and met some students from the US studying in Mérida. We became quite friendly with two of them in particular, but then when it was time for them to go no one really got anyone else's contact info. So turning a corner last nigth after buying a calling card I literally almost ran into Eric, one oif the people we had met, from Michigan. How bizarre! So we went to a very cool bar called The Mayan and then to the Plaza Central. It is extremely warm here and I really like it without being able to explain exactly why. Kind of a warmer Guadalajara. Stayed in Santa Lucia Hostal, really nice though a bit empty, 95 pesos with included breakfast with eggs, fruit, coffee! Good find.

Now I am in an internet cafe, and plan on writing in my actual journal while vying for a shady spot in the Plaza. Going to take a bus back to Cancun around 2ish and stay in a hostel for tonight there. (By the way, happy Cinco de Mayo. Wish I was with friend for this one, oh well.) My flight back to the city leaves around 1:30 pm on the 6th, so I will be back in Df and rarin' to go. If school keeps getting postponed then I'm coming home. If not, then back to the grind. I will be more than glad.

All this being said, because of this impromptu vacation my budget has been severly rearranged. I am going to come home for the summer (or at least 2 months of it)and work for some cold hard cash. It will be nice to come home, even better to know that I will be returning. Never fear, Mexico. A money cushion really affords peace of mind, sad but true.

Love you all, thanks for reading!

25 April 2009

getting tense

When my friend said that's why school was closed, I laughed.
Influenza, like that movie we watched in sophomore Bio.

Here's the deal:
My school is shut down until May 6th.
This is...unbelievable.
I might leave the city if that is at all possible.

No one REALLY knows anything. It is my belief that numbers are being over-reported in the US and under-reported here in terms of the number of people taken ill. CNN says 1000, Mexican newspapers only discuss deaths. No one really knows those numbers either, but yesterday the count was 20 dead in the city, around 60 dead between a few states within the country.
Museums are closed, metro use has been discouraged.
Someone planted the 'quarantine' seed of thought and now it is roto-tilling in this brain.

Here we go.

14 April 2009


Semana Santa is also known as Holy Week, the week of Easter. it is also the Mexican version of Spring break! Days before this break my friend asked if I would be keen on going with her to the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo. Of course, I agreed. The stops planned were Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres.

Tickets: the cheapest flight there was on Mexicana, the cheapest flight back was a red-eye on Interjet. Fly, you say? Why yes, because by bus it isn't much cheaper and is around 12 hours. Boo! Fly into Cancun. There is a bus booth that sells tickets to Playa del Carmen. Going through playa by bus is the only way to get to Tulúm. You might as well stay a night in Playa, but if you skip it you are not missing a whole lot. Pretty touristy, but an OK beach and semi-fun nightlife. Good shopping (brands), good food, lots of pharmacies. But overpriced souvenirs! Don't even think about buying that 25 USD sombrero. We stayed at Hostel Rio, but there are others around for less the price and better amenities. Just do a bit of searching.

From Playa we took a colectivo (kind of mini-bus that stops wherever) to Tulúm, but I suggest you take an OCC charter bus. Less expensive and more comfortable. They will drop you off in the middle of nowhere-ish,so arrive in the daylight hours and be prepared to walk to find your cabaña on the beach...and you know you want one. We stayed at the cutest little place, Zazil-kin. We paid 175 pesos per person per night, but there were four of us to two double beds. But there are lots of places to choose from, and even a way to hang your hammock and stay for less than 8 USD per night. Such a cool idea. In my estimation, Tulum is where 'it's' at. Beautiful beach, clear blue water, laidback lifestyle, good breakfast places, and oh yeah---ruins. Mayan ruins! Mayan ruins visible from the beach! No more needs to be said, just go here. It is also good for diving (especially if you have your license already) because you can check out the cenotes.

After Tulum we visited Isla Mujeres. To get here, we took one of the hourly buses from Tulúm back through Playa and into Cancun. Here we caught a taxi, but you can also get a colectivo too, to the Benito Juarez Port and jump on a ferry leaving for the island. It is not that expensive and takes less than half an hour. We stayed at the Poc-na Hostel, which is highly recommended. Very fun nightlife and the people are so nice. Also, it has a beach bar with music, lights, and all the craziness that comes with partying under palm trees!

This is a cute island, full of color and life. The people are very very friendly, but not in a put-on sort of way. Main modes of transportation are golf cart and moped, and cars stop for you when you cross the street. It is a happy medium here because people will speak to you in Spanish if you try/want, but most of the vendors also speak english. However, after Tulúm the beach does not compare. This is the type of place people come and get stuck, and if you visit you will understand why. Kind of like a Mexico on steroids.

From Isla I took the ferry to Cancun and a taxi for 150 pesos back to the airport. They were successfully talked down from 200 pesos, and I believe that armed with a little Spanish and a smile you too can accomplish this! And if your flight is in the day transport will be even cheaper.

Some tidbits to consider:
-There is a hostel in Tulúm that apparently has bedbugs, so watch out and read reviews before staying at places.
-In Tulúm the fixed price for a ride into town in a taxi is 45 pesos. Don't try to talk them down, they won't budge. A friend thinks it is because of solidarity, and the taxistas don't want to go into competition with each other. How sweet, huh? Workers uniting is definitely worth 45 pesos.
-For many hostels you need your own lock for the lockers. Luckily, some hostels sell locks. If not you can get one from a random store. Combination ones are best, if only because you never lose/forget your key.
-You can get to isla without going through the "Cancun" parts of Cancun. Never fear.

It was such a fun vacation with lots of good times, and I highly recommend checking out Quintana Roo.
(photos on the flickr account!)