March 21 - April 19 Aries
¿Que hora es? In other words, what time is it? It's Aries time! It's Spring! It's time to take advantage of all the cheap airfares and go somewhere warm and fun - like Mexico! Courtesy of the State Department, here's the latest on Mexico travel right now. Meanwhile, Que Hora Es? is an experience I urge you to view courtesy of our friends over at YouTubeLand. It's a fake Mexican telenovela that features characters who never got past third-year Spanish. The series was featured on Cedric the Entertainer Presents, a weekly half hour TV variety series from 2002 - 2003. Scene 1; a smoldering hot guy enters the room and asks a beautiful long haired woman - '¿Que hora es? ' 'Ocho (Eight),' she replies after a pregnant pause. '¿dónde está la biblioteca? (Where is the library?)' he continues. 'Yo no sé, yo no sé (I don't know),' she replies. He throws her down on the couch prior to ravishing her. I won't ruin the rest for you. Suffice it to say that que se reirán (you will laugh).
April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Us Tauruses, we love us the Mother Goddess. We just do, is all. May I present to you the Mayan Goddess Ixchel (pronounced ee-shell). She was worshipped by the Mayan people on the sacred island of Cozumel. She's known as the Moon Goddess, the Goddess of Medicine, and the Snake Goddess. She is sought after by those who need a boost in fertility, whether it be having a baby or writing a song. Her bailiwick also includes magic, weaving, healing, sexuality, and childbirth. Legend has it that after she became the lover of the Sun, her grandfather tried to kill her. Her sacred animal, the dragonfly, sang over her until she recovered from the attack. The Aztec people called her Xochiquetzal and worshipped her. She was so popular that her followers were true to her even through the Spanish Conquest and beyond. Ixchel continues to be honored today in Mexico by penitents leaving marigolds for her in cemeteries on Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) every year on November 2.
May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Geminis love to be challenged and engaged. Therefore, I suggest you take advantage of the aforementioned unbelievable airfares that currently bless us (one of the recession's blessings in disguise) and climb aboard that big silver bird for Cancun. And don't do one of those resort package vacations that dot that lovely landscape. No, mi amigo. Get real. Book your stay at Casa Cacahuate, a small B&B located in the jungle, 20 minutes south of Cancun, close to the charming fishing village of Puerto Morelos, near Playa del Carmen. Wake up every morning to the sound of hundreds of jungle birds chattering, and the pure sweet air wafting through your room. Enjoy a lovely home-cooked breakfast on the terrace with proprietors Sandra and Dan Dayton. Take a day trip to the Mayan ruins at Tulum or Chichen Itza, go snorkeling in the pristine waters of Puerto Morelos, swim in a nearby cenote (local sinkholes filled with crystal-clear groundwater), or just roll out of bed and go get pampered at the Jungle Spa (see Cancer, next) a mere few steps away. To arrange your visit email Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (998) 208 9148. Luxurious condo on the beach with the Gulf of Mexico gently lapping the shore right outside your window more your style? She can arrange that too for you if that's your pleasure.
June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Cancer moonchild, relax for a moment and consider the joys of self-indulgence and self-care. Whether you stay at the Casa Cacahuate B&B or not, The Jungle Spa is easy to get to from Puerto Morelos or Playa del Carmen or Cancun and well worth the journey. The Spa features massages incorporating ancient Mayan healing techniques under a thatched roof palapa surrounded by palm trees and native plants. The jungle breeze gently blows through the screen windows as you lie there in an otherworldly state, birds singing, copal incense burning. Full body massage, aloe vera body wraps (from the trees right outside the palapa), cocoa body massage, hot rocks massage, facials, reflexology, manicure, pedicure, all available here at a fraction of what you pay for these services at home. The Mayan women giving the treatments come from a culture where massage was taught to them at a very young age. They were born in small villages where, at birth, they were massaged out of their mother's belly by a midwife. At the age of seven or eight, they were taught how to massage their parents and grandparents after they came home from working in the cornfields. Suffice it to say they know what they're doing, and you'll never forget this experience. The Spa can easily handle group massages, 6 to 8 massages all at the same time, perfect for bridal parties or groups of friends traveling together. For hours and appointments call Sandra Dayton at (998) 208 9148 or email her at email@example.com.
July 23 - August 22 Leo
Every Sunday from mid-December to this weekend - Easter Sunday April 12, Leos and all other zodiac signs can take a journey into a world not normally seen by anyone outside Mayan society. The aforementioned Jungle Spa turns itself into a feast-day marketplace at 10:30AM on Sunday morning - and your last chance to see it for many months is this Sunday. Wander around and buy native-made tchotchkes and delicious Mexican food from nearby residents who are delighted when you attempt to communicate using your high school Spanish. At 11:30am gather round to watch Mayab, Es Mi Tierra, a beautiful dance program telling the story of Mayan life starting with pre-Hispanic times going all the way up to present day. Cultural dances and singing by the native women of the area, dressed in their beautiful hand-painted costumes, will awaken your soul and spirit. The Mayan word for it is TEEXOB - you are me and I am you. The show is presented by Lu'um K'aa nab A.C., a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the local Mayan/Mexican women of Puerto Morelos.
August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Our Virgo of the Week is Richard Gere, who starred in the 1983 remake of Breathless, a role originally made famous by Jean-Paul Belmondo in the 1959 Francois Truffaut classic. Gere's remake is a beautiful star-crossed love story. Gere is a livewire in this film, at the apex of his sexy magical powers. I include it here because of a scene I've never gotten out of my head where he croons to his lover Monica (Valerie Kaprisky): Monica Monica Monica Mexico Mexico Mexico. It's a typical love on the lam plotline, Gere's character Jesse shoots a cop and escapes Vegas for L.A. where he hides out with Monica, whom he's just met. They plan to run away to Mexico to escape the long arm of the law. I urge you to Netflix it, and the soundtrack is fabulous (Jack Nitzsche, don't ya know). Take a look at the brilliant final scene here courtesy of YouTube.
September 23 - October 22 Libra
Almost nothing delights our Libra friends more than a good book. And there's nothing better than being able to dip in and out of a great book while you're on vacation - and having the chance to support a great independent bookstore. The Alma Libre Bookstore is conveniently located on the town square in Puerto Morelos and sports the largest selection of new and used English books in the entire Yucatan. Robert and Joanne Birce established this wonderful store years ago and it's a book-lover's oasis for both English and Spanish titles. While you're wandering around the beautiful, laid-back, friendly town of Puerto Morelos (recently outed as fabulous by no less than The New York Times), definitely stop in here for a wander around the shelves and I dare you not to find at least one book you have to buy.
October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Being a Scorpio, you eschew the mundane, the everyday. So if you want a Mexican experience that is out of the ordinary and supremely fascinating, take a tour with Ann Trépanier. Ann, a resident of the Puerto Morelos area for many years, takes small groups on shopping trips in La Colonia. La Colonia is the western side of the fishing village of Puerto, a couple of kilometers inland, where the local people live. Ann will arrange a colorful, interesting walking tour for you of the shops and markets in the area. Sure, take the ferry to Cozumel if you want and get the hard sell and high prices from merchants there. Or you can take one of Ann's tours and support the local economy in this lovely, warm and friendly town. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a one of a kind experience and tell her Snoop* Du Jour sent you.
November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
If there is one thing that Sagittarians love, it is beautiful, smart women. ¿es verdad? And since we're on a Mexican theme, I'd like to wax poetic about the lovely, talented, accomplished actress/producer/human rights spokesperson Salma Hayek. Born in 1966 in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Hayek decided to become an actress after seeing the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. She had a brief stint in convent school where she was expelled after she set the clocks belonging to the nuns back by three hours. She's mostly known in the U.S. as the executive producer of ABC's hit series Ugly Betty, which she and Ben Silverman adapted for American TV from the Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty La Fea. More recently she's been seen playing the feisty, muy caliente love interest of Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock. Hayek's most iconic role is probably that of Santanico Pandemonium in Quentin Tarantino's 1996 horror film, From Dusk till Dawn. Santanico is the vampire queen and main attraction at the Titty Twister strip club. Her performance in this film is not something you'll ever forget. She also kicked serious ass as co-producer and star of Frida in 2002, about legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. The film was nominated for six Oscars, including that of best actress for Hayek, making her the first Latina to get such a nomination. She's both beautiful and fierce, and that's a killer combination. And how can you not love her when you find out she once said: If a man lets all of my dogs sleep in the bed with us, then that is the most romantic thing. You must love my dogs in order to love me. A man who is nice to my animals and doesn't shoo them away - well, that's the height of romance.
December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Not for you, Capricorn, the unplanned vacation, the crazy scheme. You like to know exactly what's in store for you, the farther in advance the better. So if you like swimming, sunning, eating great food, being pampered with massages and bodywork, shopping, relaxing, doing your bit to boost the local economy, visiting ancient Mayan ruins, hiking, wonderful weather, I have two words for you: Quintana Roo. Quintana Roo is one of Mexico's 31 states and is located on the eastern part of the Yucatán Peninsula. Many of the items in this week's column are based in this area of Mexico. Quintana Roo also contains the resort city of Cancún, the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, the towns of Bacalar, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Juárez, Akumal, Xcalak, and Puerto Morelos, as well as the ancient Mayan ruins of Chacchoben, Chakanbakán, Chamax, Coba, Dzibanché, El Meco, Ichpaatán, Kohunlich, Muyil, Oxtankah, Tancah, Tulum, Tupak, Xel-Há, and Xcaret. All I can say to you is; go there, and if you've lost your way in the world, you'll find your soul there.
January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Aquarians are all about supporting a great cause and also having fun. You admire those who have the courage of their convictions and are not afraid to stick their neck out and take a chance. Such a person is Paquita la del Barrio. Her songs, extremely popular in her native country, are mostly concerned with the sexist male culture of Mexico. Paquita's signature line, which she liberally uses at her concerts to those brave male audience members who attend amongst the women who adore her, is "¿Me estás oyendo, inútil?" ("Are you listening to me, you good-for-nothing?"). Her songs are fresh and vital and full of social commentary about women's lives. Enjoy some of her best known tunes here on YouTube: Las Mujeres Mandan; Viejo Rabo Verde.
February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Now if there's one thing Pisceans have in common, they love good food and drink. One thing you need to know about Mexico; they make the best coffee on the planet, especially when it is made with Mayan chocolate. A steaming cup of coffee, laced with milk, and a disc of Mayan chocolate melted in the cup.....well, there are no words, mi amigos, in either English or Spanish. If you can't get south of the border, then order a café con leche and hot chocolate in a Mexican restaurant and mix 'em together. It's like hot, sweet rocket fuel. ¡Qué bueno!
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