Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We should do this more often

Last weekend we packed up the car and headed to Raleigh, N.C. to meet up with my Grandpa C and all of his kids, their spouses and their kids and go to the State Fair. It was A LOT of sun spending time together as one bid family. I got to play with all the kids and with my Aunties and Uncles, too!

We arrived around 3pm Friday afternoon and got to see Auntie M and her kids, Sammi & J at the pool. I wanted to join them, but there wasn’t time before we had to go get ready to go to The Angus Barn for dinner.

Me, Grandpa C, J, LA and Sammi

I had a lot of fun playing with Auntie M.

I understand the food was AMAZING from all of the “mmm-ing” I heard that night. Mommy had Rack of Lamb and Daddy had bacon wrapped steak and crab claws. The big kids got to go back to the kitchen to pick out their own ice cream and toppings! Auntie M said it was really neat to see the working kitchen – she said she felt like one of the guys from “Goodfellas.” We topped the night off by sharing three desserts: Chocolate Chess Pie, Blackberry Cobbler and a Grand Marnier Parfait that made for more mmm-ing.

Everybody at the mall

The next day we had breakfast with a scattering of family members, Grandpa C and Aunt S, who is pregnant with twins! I’m so excited that there’ll be more cousins for me to play with! Then we packed up and headed off to Crabtree Valley Mall where we ate some good kabobs, took a family photo and bummed around a few stores until it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick nap before the main event: The Fair!

Me & my wacky travel companions

The fair was so much fun, despite the chilly weather and the crazy crowds. There was one point where it literally took us 20 minutes to move through a gridlock of people who were apparently all either trying to get some of the fried specialty foods (oreos, ho-hos, bacon, to name a few) and the line to get into the tractor pull event.

Hanging out with false Mickey and Minnie

The whole thing was pretty thrilling; from the loud tractor pull engines to the smells from the food vendors to the whirling lights atop of the ‘Scrambler.” There were some stressful moments when we lost track of each other (not me personally!) but I think we all went home with smiles from having this rare chance to hang out and fun with each other! The next morning I had more playtime with Auntie Lexi, Uncle Bob and cousin Ian - once in our hotel room and then again later we met up at Concord Mills in Charlotte. So cool.

It definitely makes me wish we all lived closer to each other, but I guess the point is that we love each other enough to make the time to come together and enjoy each other when we can.

Me showing off ~ I'm wearing shoes for the first time! Until next time my friends!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome... the blog of the most interesting baby in the world! Coen is a 7 month old jet-setter who has asked me to document his travels for your enjoyment.

Hello my friends and fellow wanderers - I was born with a need to move so I could see, touch and drool on everything. My curiosity is being happily satisfied via my current count of 14 flights which included a few trips to see Grandma Marilyn on Cape Cod and 2 passport stamps to Germany & Mexico and look forward to more!

My most recent travels took me to Cancun, Mexico for the wedding of my two close Amigos, Reena and Chirag. Our departure was initally fraught with complications due to an unfortunate lack of a suitcase in the car belonging certain person, whom we will call "Mommy." However, thanks to some quick thinking and searching on the internet while in the car, the problem was fixed and my travel companions and I were on our way.

Speaking of travel companions, let me introduce you to them, the aforementioned Mommy and there is also "Daddy." They have other names, but I like to give the people I love pet names and I thought these would be appropriate for their characters and would also be original, no? Mommy is a lovely woman with hair that is not long enough for me to easily try to rip from her head and Daddy is funny with a constant smell of coffee coming out of the strange hole in his face that I like to stick my slobbery hand inside of. We all enjoy each other's company and love to make time to see the world, as well as have snuggle sessions.

Where was I? Ah yes, Cancun. We arrived at the Fiesta Americana Condesa after dark Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 and enjoyed a great meal with Reena, Chirag, their families and some friends before going to bed. We were wowed when we looked outside of our window to see a bright moon dancing over the very near ocean with palm trees swaying to the sound of the waves crashing. But it had been a long day so we promptly went to bed in anticipation of our first trip to a tropical region!

Hi Lata!Playing with Reena's Mom, Lata

Thursday we became acquainted with the area by taking a stroll along the Zona Hotelera to the Banamex to pick up the Dinero we had wired to ourselves - a little tip we'd gotten from Daddy's Amigos at work. We popped into a convenience store where we were likely ripped off for tylenol, a cuban and because Mommy and Daddy were feeling silly, a bottle of Boone's Strawberry Dairquiri. We took a local's advice and took the city bus back to our hotel for the bargain price of 150 pesos. It was fun but we were glad it was a short ride.

the original fun with meshPlaying with the mesh while Mommy & Daddy cool off with a drink of Boone's

After returning to the room to cool off and have a sip of Boone's, we took a taxi driven by a man who calls himself "El Penguino" to a restaurant called La Parilla. It was really fun for me because I was not strapped into a car seat. Mommy and Daddy felt like they must've lost their minds to do this but what's the point of a car seat when there are no seatbelts to connect it to? The trip to the restaurant was interesting - there were so many different parts of Cancun, from super rich to very run down. Also the traffic itself was a trip with some roads being three lanes across but with no lines to tell where the lanes were. I suppose where you are on the road is up for interpretation, and there were many different interpretations, to be sure.

I am told the food at the restaurant was good and the margaritas were yummy. I am currently on a mostly liquid diet - for health reasons, you understand. I always love to make a good time even more special and that day I felt it would be a fun idea to have such a blow out that I had to have my clothes removed! It was a real party, let me tell you. We had planned to stroll around the area after lunch but considering the lack of navigable sidewalks and my being nearly naked, we opted to return to the hotel for a dip in the pool. Here's a photo of our taxi ride back to the hotel.

yup. naked baby in taxi

We topped off the afternoon by dipping our feet in the amazing clear ocean and taking a dip in the pool and having fun with the underwater camera case. Here are some pictures:

my boys

underwater camera awesomeness

underwater camera awesomeness

After such a busy day, I decided to turn in at 6:00 p.m. so Mommy and Daddy ordered room service. But of course, after such a wonderful sleep, I awoke promptly at 5:00 a.m. Mommy and Daddy were so happy to be awake so early that Friday morning! After another tasty breakfast at Kalmia, one of the hotel's 3 restaurants, we jumped in a taxi to Puerto Juarez to hop on the UltraMar ferry to Isla Mujeres.

The ferry trip was nice because it was air conditioned and quick. Mommy was amused by the man who informed us that the ferry runs "34/7" but then she quickly checked herself knowing how much she's been butchering the Spanish language. Ah, but I don't think it's wrong to have a harmless chuckle as long as you're willing to also laugh at yourself!

Ashtrays that were made by "my mother"

Once we landed, we got into another taxi that wound up taking us only about 10 blocks because we didn't realize that our first stop to the shops on Av. Hidalgo was so close. We bummed around the stores, looking at mostly the same things in almost every shop and having the shopkeeps try to coax us into their store with promises of "everything cheaper" and "we just open - you will be our first sale!" Mommy wondered if people really believe the lady who told her, "my mother make all of this" while pointing to hundreds of ashtrays. In the end we did buy a few things, a Dias de los Muertos style ceramic skull, a traditional peasant blouse for Mommy, some gifts and some colorful overalls for me. Mommy bargained so well that the guy muttered "Tu Madre" as we walked away. I don't know what that means, but I am pretty sure it was a compliment!

We saw a wonderful cemetery that had amazing decorations. I hope it was okay for us to take pictures - we certainly meant no disrespect!

Cemetry on Isla Mujeres

We had lunch at Rene & Renee's where, according to a note taped to the door that was written by a couple from New Jersey, is the "Best Food on the Island." There was a Grandpa-type who ran the place and played with me while Mommy and Daddy ate mixed seafood tacos and drank home-made limeade that really took the egde off the sweltering heat outside.

At Rene & Renee's

At Rene & Renee's

Afterwards we got into another taxi and went to Tortugranja, which was a turtle museum but was a bit disappointing. It was worth it for the little baby turtles though - they were so cute and were my favorite! The same taxi guy came back for us and took us to a temple for the Goddess Ixchel where there were sculptures, amazing views and Daddy got a conch shell horn and a Cocos Frios.

Car seat, car schmeat

Coen LOVED the little baby turtles

Hi crustacean!




Ruins are a snooze

Coco Frio!

Jon enjoying his Coco Frio and Conch horn

After all that I was exhausted, so we made our way back to the hotel to cool off and get dressed for Reena & Chirag's welcome dinner. I got to wear my brand new overalls and looked quite dapper, if I do say so myself!

isla mujeres overalls

The dinner was a lot of fun for the 10 minutes I was there before Daddy had to take me back to the room because I needed to go to sleep, for health reasons, you understand. Daddy was awsome to stay with me so Mommy could party and Mommy was awesome to bring Daddy a plate of food and some drinkies. The party ended with Reena & Chirag's families doing a celebratory Gujarati dance called Garba. Mommy tried to do it but was fairly unsuccessful!

The next day was the special day: Reena & Chirag's wedding! Daddy and I had a little time in the morning while Mommy was helping with last-minute preparations, so we went to the Flea Market and bought some more gifty things. We went back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding and check in with Mommy one more time before she ran off to be in the wedding. Daddy wore a tie with elephants because we'd heard they were good luck and I wore a Kurta Pyjama that Mommy bought for me at Mirage Sarees (I don't know why it's spelled with a double "E" but it is).


The wedding was wonderful. There were a few moments that could be easily taken as metaphors for marriage and family. The most obvious one being the dark cloud that came right over the wedding and nearly blew the Mandap right off the stage if several family members didn't jump into action and hold it down. It made me think of how important the love and support of our families is.

And then there was the fire, which was respesented by a candle in a hurricane. Someone put a small plate on top of the hurricane to keep the candle from blowing out I suppose, but slowly the candle started to die out from a lack of oxygen. Happily, someone tilted the plate and the candle flame recovered! This made me think of how love can sometimes fade, but if we pay attention and nurture it, love will always come back full force!

The reception that followed was so much fun: there was fun dancing and music, great speeches and even a professional drumming band with a fire-dancer! I'm told people even jumped into the pool at the end of the night, including one of the Aunties (senior women of the family). It was a great trip and Mommy and Daddy actually made it to the airport just in time the next day. We were all happy to be in our own beds, but sad that we couldn't hear the crashing waves outside our window any longer.

Till next time my friends!