Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life's A Beach - In Zipolite, Oaxaca Mexico

Learning Spanish


I would love to take this course. I was really disappointed when I discovered the two Spanish DS programs that Nintendo offers had "terrible " reviews. I can get by on my Spanish but I miss so much. Especially the jokes, subtle things when family and friends speaks with one another.

 I would love to improve my Spanish. My daughter actually got mad at me when we first arrived in Mexico and I was speaking Spanish to her. "Stop speaking Spanish to me she shouted!" she was frustrated, but in no time at all, she was playing with the kids and picking up tons of Spanish, and her pronouciation on many words is much better than mine.

They do forget quickly though, 6 months is a long time for a 6 or 7 year old so I think the best way to educate your child and self is total immersion and for 5 or so months helps...some place where you really have to speak it to get by. 

That's easier said than done because we always seem to hangout with English  speakers. A good verb book really helps, and dictionary, but we travelled with neither and did fine most of the time...my Spanish is rusty but I can get by and most Mexican people are so kind and patient, so that really helps.

I have found that taking long bus rides often improved my Spanish as I was forced to communicate and that helped push thru that shyness of speaking a new language, and the fear of  making mistakes and a fool of oneself. It's much easier for kids, so if you have the opportunity to immerse your child in a situation like that, I  believe it will benefit them immensely later in life.

Responsible Travel

Many of these Tips came from Lonely Planet Suggestions and I added to them.

 Go Overland - Ride Buses or local transportation whenever possible, opposed to planes. Buses in Mexico are Excellent. Their service is much better than Canadian Greyhound. Their ticketing service is excellent and Greyhound would do well to adapt it. Also their security. I love taking the buses in Mexico.

Give Right -  I always made an attempt to buy from small stores and spread the wealth around. Lonely Planet recommends you donate to schools, and  clinics and avoid giving hand-outs to children in order not to encourage begging. We used to give the children pretty photos.

Buy Local-Eat in Local Restaurants, buy from local small stores.

Use cold showers - avoid hot showers that use wood heat.

Pick up your litter, and if you pack it in, pack it out!

Be Respectful! Especially of local traditions and customs.
Use appropriate attire when visiting churches and local villages

Ask Questions! Learn the customs and ask how not to make mistakes
the other tourists do.

Other Recommended Website Links are:






The Educational Value of Long Term Travel with Kids


If you've ever considered pulling your kids out of school and travelling for a few months then you should definitely read this article on Matador Abroad by author Karen Banes

You may also find these links helpful as well.





Yay! We Are Here! Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Zipolite is located in Oaxaca Mexico. Known for it's crashing surf and laid-back atmosphere,  it's a great place to mellow out and chill for a bit. It's a very international scene with people from all over the world dropping in for a few days, few week or few months. The locals are lovely people and many people find they always have something to do but don't do very much. Be sure to visit Shambhala for something to eat and check out the view and don't miss the Meditation Loma for sunset.

Accomodations, Shopping, Entertainment in San Cristobal

San Cristobal has gotten a lot pricier since 1990 or even 2000, but it's still very reasonable. We stayed at Le Gite de Sol http://www.legitedelsol.com/  which is a Posada/B&B/Hostel

Since there were 2 of us (and one was child) we stayed in the Hostel dorm  rooms. I believe they keep the main location for quiet couples and you get a room with a bathroom.

At first I wasn't to impressed and it felt a bit like a jail cell, but it had really nice warm blankets, was very clean and we could use the internet. The people working there just accepted us like family and so it made all the difference.  The owners are Quebecois-Mexican and speak French, English & Spanish so that is handy as my Spanish was pretty rusty. We didn't see much of the owners, but the staff in the dorm were excellent!!

The markets are fantastic in San Cristobal. This is wear to buy all those beautiful hand embroidered blouses, dresses and bags. This is the place to buy all the wonderful keepsakes and souvenirs for friends and family. That said, your pack may be a lot fuller and so you may want to make this, one your last destinations.

I budgeted a $100 Cdn for clothes and souvenirs and it went a long way. It was wonderful. Wonderful because you get such great stuff but your actually helping the people that made it. I always made a point of buying from a mother and child.

The Zocalo is a wonderful place to treat yourself to a cappochino and treat. It's great place to people watch and soak up the beautiful atmosphere just listening to the music and relaxing after a great day exploring the markets and shops.

San Cristobal Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

San Cristobal las Casas is a colonial town set in beautiful highland valley surrounded by pine forests. It has cobbled streets, incredible markets and a lovely gazebo in the zocalo, which is where I had my first cappuchino back in 1990. I LOVE San Cristobal! You will experience a rich indigenous culture as there are many Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages nearby.
Check out the Lonely Planet Mexico guide for lots of great info.
Some cool places to check out are Na Bolom http://www.nabolom.org/  I didn't get a chance to take Angel there, but I did visit back in 1990 and was fortunate to meet Gertrude Duby-Blom (Trudy Blom 1901-1993) and was able to explore the home. Trudy was married to Danish Archaeologist Frans Blom (1893-1963).  Trudy Blom studied & documented the lives of the Lacandon people in Eastern Chiapas thru photographs and fought to protect them, while her husband explored and surveyed the Mayan Ruins in Chiapas such as Palenque, Tonina & Chinkuitic. When her husband passed away Trudy started a museum and research center. Nabolom means "Jaguar House" in Tzotzil language.