I just want to make a clarification. When I listen to the news here in Mexico on the American news channel it says that 150 deaths have been caused by swine flu. This is not an accurate statement. There have been over 150 deaths that are being investigated. There are only 8 confirmed deaths in Mexico due to swine flu.
I just want to clarify that. There is a lot of information out there and some of it is not entirely accurate. So that is what I know. As of right now, we are all just staying on our homes.
Okay, we are totally paranoid about the kids getting sick. We flew through Mexico City and were there for several hours on the day the epidemic was announced. The kids both started complaining of a tummy ache the other night and Lena had a small fever. We are taking them to the doctor this morning. I am sure that it is nothing but with all of the things going on right now -- better safe the sorry. I am very sure that it is nothing and just a little bug from the climate change from the states. There are still NO cases of swine flu in the whole state of Quintana Roo.
Another HUGE problem is that occupancy at Ruben's work has dropped off from about 90% to almost 20%. Ruben makes his tips off his tables and off of an every 2 weeks tip out from the hotel based on occupancy. We are already living on as tight of a budget as you could possibly imagine and now this. I am not sure what we are going to do.
Ruben has said that the hotel is going to start laying people off because of the down occupancy and being that Ruben is one of the newer employees he is really nervous.
Currently there are confirmed 8 deaths due to swine flu in Mexico. I am a little confused because there were reports of 149 deaths just 2 days ago. But I am being told that those were deaths and were being investigated for being caused by swine flu. It is also my understanding that there is a vaccine for a similar strain but not this specific strain.
We are all being told to stay in our homes whenever possible. The schools are still closed until the 6th of May. Many of the tourist attractions are open and this is what that Secretary of Tourism had to say in a press release on the 27th.
SEDETUR PUBLIC RELEASE - QUINTANA ROO KEEPS FREE FROM SWINE FLU
Cancún, Quintana Roo.
Cancún, Quintana Roo, April 27, 2009
QUINTANA ROO STATE SECRETARY OF TOURISM
“QUINTANA ROO KEEPS FREE FROM SWINE FLU”
Quintana Roo State Secretary of Tourism informs that the state is free from Swine Flu disease up to now, and that not a single case of the disease, or related cases have been reported at the main tourism destinations.
The detection and prevention plan implemented by Mexico´s Ministry of Health continues, by means of check points placed at airports, cruise and bus terminals, as well as permanent monitoring in the more than 77,000 hotel rooms operating in Quintana Roo.
The government agency also informs that tourism related activities develop normally in Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Grand Costa Maya. All destinations remain attentive to the Health Authority´s directions.
Quintana Roo State Government is supportive of other Mexican states where the Swine Flu outbreak has taken place, and will be respectful of precaution measures and recommendations implemented in foreign countries in regard to international travel.
For the State Government the highest priority now is the preservation of health among all the population, including citizens and visitors.
Okay, this is the last update from my trip to the United States. While we were in SF my mom came up from San Diego and my brother Ryan came down from Portland. It was a very short trip but it was so wonderful to see them. We all had a very good time.
We got a hotel room down at the wharf and once we had everything in the room we set off to walk around Pier 39. This is usually a tourist trap that we avoided like the plague when we lived in SF. But we had a really good time.
We had a nice lunch with one of the worst and most interesting waiters I have ever had. (and that is saying something) And then we walked all over Pier 39. We saw the sea lions, almost got blown away at the end of the pier looking at Alcatraz and listened to some music at the entrance by the Hard Rock Cafe. We then stopped off for a drink at Juana's work. She was so nice and bought brinks for us and brought some juice for the kids. It was a really fun afternoon.
By now, the wind had really kicked up and, like most people who find themselves at the wharf in the afternoon, we were freezing. Momma bought the kids and her the famous SF fleece. you will see these all over San Francisco. They are cheap and warm and frequently bought by people who got caught in the wind. I mean 2 for $20 is a great deal. Momma offered to get me one but there is one thing I have learned living in Mexico... I will NEVER wear it.
We headed back to the hotel and got cleaned up to go to dinner. I took them to my all time favorite spot... The Mona Lisa. Shocking, I know. We had a great dinner and headed home to watch a movie. We watched the Brad Pitt flick Benjamin Button. It was an okay film but not amazing in my opinion. Very interesting idea though.
The next day we walked around some more and got some great pics. The kids saw the beach and headed straight for it. They could not for the life of them figure out why the water was so damn cold. Here in Tulum the water is like stepping into a bath. We also got some great pics with Alcatraz in the back ground as well as some with Ghirardelli Square.
At this point we headed back to the hotel to wait for Neal to get in from the airport. We watched Marley and me which was very cute. It was at this exact moment that I started to feel really sick. Neal is getting ready for a trial and he is always wary of getting sick before a trail so I felt really bad.
We all headed off to dinner at another one of my favorite spots, McCormick and Kuleto's. I was bummed first of all because they were all out of crab and I LOVE crab. But I ordered a shrimp dish and unfortunately could not eat a bite. By now I was feeling really sick.
The next day when everyone left Neal and Mom got the hotel room for one more night so I could rest. Juana, the life saver, took the kids for me and I slept ALL day. I woke up for about an hour to eat and have some tea and then went right to bed again.
Luckily I ended up getting better.
The swine flu epidemic is taking over news stations all over the world. Here is Tulum and the Rivera Maya there are currently no cases. Everyone is taking precautions to make sure that everyone remains healthy.
Currently all of the schools in the entire country are closed until the 6th of May. They are closing the ruins at Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza on the 29th of April. Xcaret and Xel-Ha will also most likely close.
If you feel sick and think that you might have caught swine flu... go to the hospital or clinic right away. There is a vaccine that can be given but it is most effective in the first 48 hours. It is very important that if you feel ill that you go to the clinic and not to work!!!
For the most accurate and up to date information visit the WHO website. This is the World Health Organization.
Here is their latest update as of 4:00 this agfternoon (4/28/09)
"Swine influenza - update 4
28 April 2009--The situation continues to evolve rapidly. As of 19:15 GMT, 28 April 2009, seven countries have officially reported cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. The United States Government has reported 64 laboratory confirmed human cases, with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths.
The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2) and Spain (2).
Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.
WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.
There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness."
Juana and Freddie took all of the kids to a Giants game on day and they all had so much fun. I would have loved to go with them but I had some business to tend to and then DMV in SF while run very efficiently is still a nightmare. Here are some pics from the game. I especially love that Lena is so multi colored!
I was also very lucky because one of the friends that I really wanted to see while I was in SF was my friend Jasmine. I tried to google her to see if I could find her but I could not. As I was standing waiting for the bus near the dmv I heard this "Mindy?!?" There she was. Both of in a totally random area that we are not usually at. We got off the bus and went and got a bottle of wine and 2 tiny little Dixie cups and sat in the park and talked. It was so great to see her.
It was a really hot day (93) in SF (perfect for me as I had been freezing since landing) We both looked really cute in our little sun dresses and had no where to go. It was great. We went back to her apartment and much to my happiness- she is still with the same great guy she was with when I lived there. Things seem to be going amazingly well for them and that made me very happy. It sounds like they might come and visit us this summer. YEAH!!!
Anyone who knows me and my family is familiar with a few things. One is that I am very short. Another is that Ruben is very good looking and still, probably the most recognizable is my children and their very long hair.
I have vowed that I would not cut Lena's hair until she was 5. and Akilean has such cute hair and his ponytail, more recently, his braid was so much a part of their look. They, like I have been growing their hair out for Locks for Love. This is an organization that creates hair pieces for children with terminal illnesses who have lost their hair.
I have donated 2 times to this group and will do so again and again. This time it was Kennedy and Akilean's turn. They drew very cute cards for the children who will receive their hair.
The look so different. They are so cute but so different. Now that we are all short haired... we look forward to growing it out again to donate.
To learn about Locks for Love... click here.
The other cool thing is that now that I am home, I am unpacking all of the cool things that i bought and even more so that Ruben's family bought for us. They got the kids so many cloths. They are totally set. And now that we have lived here a while we were able to tell them exactly the sort of cloths that we wear and they showered so much on us.
I cannot say thank you enough for my Mom and Neal and Ryan, for their gifts and moreover their company and to Ruben's family who could not and would not stop buying stuff for the kids and for Ruben and I. And for my brother Ryan who brought me 2 pieces of art (ironically originally from Mexico, brought to the USA, bought by me in Portland Or and now returned to Mexico) But they have totally made our house feel like our home.
When I first came to SF, I did this roommates.com thing. You answer all sorts of questions and then they match you with people. Well, Cheesy yes, but it works. I got matched with a guy named Seth. I called him up and we had a great conversation. All accept the very beginning where his family, who he was staying with before his move, thought that I was nuts. It was about 1:00-1:30 in the morning when I called. (It was only 10:00 on the west coast)
It turned out that Seth and I got along amazingly well and he had already touched base with a guy in SF who had a flat and was looking for roommates. The flat was a 4 bedroom space on Divis and McCallister. (perfect location for me as my then boyfriend's law school was right on McCallister about 20 blocks down!!!
Scott was looking at some other people but said he would call us. It was not more then 6 hours later that we got the call that he would love us to move in. Wayne was our 4th room mate.
We all got along so well. The 4 of us and my cat Calvin had such a great time. We were sooned joined by a 5th room mate, Greg. Greg was a great addition to our 4some. We all had a great time together. Each room mate filled different roles in the house and it was wonderful. I cannot imagine a better living situation other then the one I have now.
I just got in touch with my old room mates via facebook.com and they all live in the area still. Wayne is the old one that is a ways out but not too far.
We all met up for some drinks in the old neighborhood and went for a great pizza. Since so much of my trip was about food the fact that we were eating killer spicy wings and an awesome pizza was a great night. Cassy was one of the roommates that filled my room (now dubbed the girls room) She joined us and we all had a great time. I am so lucky to have had such wonderful roommates and that we are all still friends.
Scott at one point brought up Calvin and paused thinking that it might be sad as Calvin might not be with me anymore (not shocking considering it has been about 8 years) I smiled and gladly told him that Calvin is in Mexico with me and is as fat as ever!!! They were all happy to hear it. Especially since I made all of them wake up at 2:00 in the morning and go all over the house and find Calvin. Although they all hated me at the moment they were all happy when we found her safe.
I really wish Wayne would have been able to join us. I heard he is getting married this year and I am so excited for him. I am so lucky to have had such great room mates. And the fact that all of us had just moved into the city from all over was also sort of cool.
I have made it back safely to my home in Mexico. I am so happy to be home. Especially with all of the fun stuff that I brought back with me. But, let me first continue with my great trip!
I drove over to Fresno to visit my grandma. I did not take the kids because my grandma has been very ill and is just now getting home from the hospital. It was so nice to have so much time to spend with her. We would sit and gossip by the front window over coffee. One thing that I really wanted to do while I was in the USA was have a cheese plate. I love cheese and Tulum does not have any of it. So I shared a pretty amazing cheese plate with my grandma. And I discovered a new cheese that I love. It is Petite Basque. It is a semi hard sheep cheese- YUMMY!
We went out and she helped me pick out some new cloths. Since moving to Mexico my usually very cute, stylish and a a little bit sexy outfits have been subbed out for old navy cami tank tops and shorts. So Ruben made 1 request... he asked for me to please bring back some tropical clothing that have more style to them. My grandma new of this great consignment shop that sells only INC by Macy's, Liz Clayborn, Ann Taylor and such. It was great. Between those cloths and the Ross and Marshals finds I had it was great!
I had a nice Easter breakfast with my Uncle Brad and my grandma. My grandma had seen this little spot that was near her hair dresser and said it was always full and that it might have eggs benedict- which I really craved. It was a very cute little spot. Later that night my great Uncle Buck and Aunt Diane came over to say hi. It was really great to see them.
Another night I went to my Uncle Brad's house for dinner. My second cousin one removed or something something, Nancy Lee, was there that night with her kids as well. As were my cousins Bobby and Kyle. We all used to hang out every summer at Bass Lake and Nancy Lee and I were really close so it was great to see her. My cousins are the exact same awesome kids, well... men now- Crazy. My cousin is very sweet and funny and Kyle is just as wise cracking as he was at 7. It was a really fun night. For dinner we ate an amazing Tri Tip- I am going to put the rub recipe on my other blog soon.
My grandma has lived in the same house for such a long time and her house and her yard are some amazing. He gardener came over to say Hi when he heard she was out of the hospital. He has worked with my grandma on her garden for over 10 years. He is a very nice guy. He is from Mexico and we were talking about cooking. I told him how much I love it and he said that he has this cook book that he would like for me to have. It is called Mexico, The Beautiful Cookbook. It is stunning. I cannot wait to get to some of the recipes. I also learned that he was a professional Mexican folk dancer. I thought that was so cool. We would love to get Lena in to learn.
After a number of days I headed back to SF to have dinner with some friends. It was a great visit and I cannot wait to get back again to visit. Or better- my grandma wants to come down here to visit!!! That would be so fun.
I love San Francisco. I spent a great day last week walking around the city and taking pictures of some of my favorite things. This city is so amazing, especially when you look at the right things in the right way. Especially on a beautiful sunny day this city is stunning.
San Francisco is such a small area and yet has so many distinct areas from China town, North Beach, The Financial district, Mission, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Castro, City Hall & Fisherman's Wharf. And that is just to name a few. Each of these areas has its each style and character. And that they are so different from each other and yet are literally just a few blocks from each other. In the above examples I did not even leave the downtown area and yet there are so many other areas.
I spent my morning walking around 6th and Folsom up towards City Hall. This area is a favorite of mine for a few reasons. One big one is that it is where the outdoor scenes were filmed for the film version of Rent. Every time I watch that movie it makes me miss home. Not to mention that this area is where I lived and walked for many years in SF. There are so many random colorful things done in a way that only SF would do them. It has one of my all time favorite buildings in SF. This weird building on 6th and Howard that has all of these strange things hanging out of the side of it. There are so many people that drive by that never even see it. It has a piano, bathtub, fridge, lamps and stuff like that.
I also got to finally see the latest Federal building that I watched them build outside of my apartment for YEARS!!! And it is one of the ugliest things that I have ever seen. Oh well, I am sure it important architecturally speaking and such. But I hated it.
After that I went to the city hall farmers market for a few snacks. I always loved this market. For one it was right next to my old apartment that I lived in on McAllister Street and it always was so lively and fun. On a beautiful day city hall is so nice. And the park here is nice as well. I never really brought the kids here because they were a little to young when we lived here to play in this park but it is a very nice park.
I then took myself to North Beach and had a quite lunch all by myself at my favorite little restaurant in SF. This is the only thing that I ever sent Ruben out for when I was pregnant through both kids. It is called Mona Lisa. It has my all time favorite dish in the world... tortellini with Gorgonzola sauce. It was a really nice lunch in a very nice little restaurant.
Afterwards I walked around and saw some of the places that really made me think of Ruben. Like the Tadich Grill. This is in the Financial district and is the longest running restaurant in San Francisco. I love the artichokes here. Neal and Momma brought me here once for dinner and I loved it. Ruben and I would always come here to enjoy killer lemon drops between shifts at Chevy's.
I really love this town. I miss living here. I am glad I do not because we are in a different time in our lives living a different existence but I miss it here.