Elianna Sabbag

Joined December 2018Living in: Geneva, Switzerland
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  • Day4

    Windy day in Isla Mujuresl

    December 18, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ 🌫 21 °C

    We woke to the sounds of birds we had never heard before. Mimi came in to ask whether it was the cockerol or the pagona coming to eat fruits. Bruno had told us an iguana might come looking for fruit in the morning, and mimi was excited to feed him a banana... (the only fruit I had pickup up at the grocery store... apart from limes which I planned to use for margueritas. We had a nice family cuddle before I sent Zoe and mim down to eat cereal. The returned before long to say the cereal I got sucked as it disintegrated in their mouths... I soon joined them and made scrambled eggs, toast, peanut butter and jam, and sausages ... the works! They laid the table and called papa when all was ready. We enjoyed an extended breakfast and hit the road around 11am. Our plan, that Alex had devised the night before, was to walk the length of the island stopping into sites and beaches along the way.

    First stop was Playa Tiburon. As we walked in we wondered if we were in the right place. It seemed abandoned. When we got to the beach there were very few people. We became soon aware of the very uninviting weather conditions - windy and cloudy. The sea was very mixed up and again, not the tropical turquoise one would expect. They invited us to swim with a tiger shark for 20 USD and hold a baby in our arms and take a picture kissing it... I thought that sounded disgusting and uninviting... We left the beach and moved onto the turtles.

    We visited the world renown turtle sanctuary. We paid the entrance and got a bag of turtle food. Went into the aquarium to find different sized turtles swimming in tanks. It felt a bit more like a turtle prison, but ati was quite impressed and the girls love feeding the turtles. We had a few near misses with the birds who had realised that this was a great place to get an easy meal..they swooped down to collect the pellets of food on the water. Before we knew it there were at least 50 birds hovering and on attack. We made the rounds of the turtle tanks, caught the tortoises on the way out and continued on our way.
    The girls were armed with bubalicious chewing gum which always make walking easier and more fun. Next stop (beach)...the wind was still crazy, but the beach was still beautiful. We thought it was maybe time for a Marguerita and of course some lemonade. We could imagine how gorgeous this beach would be in the sun and without wind... I put ati in a corner and she passed out fo a while...We hung out and considered braiding the girls hair.. Alex pulled a veto not wanting to be pegged a stupid tourist.. Instead we went for the next more touristy thing on that beach - sit with your feet in an aquarium and let the tiny fish eat the dead skin off your feet. We all had a go... Then moved to our lunch spot.

    This beautiful resort was pretty empty do we had our pick of tables... We moved three time to avoid wind and rain... The girls played in the playground until the downpour began. We enjoyed another Margarita accompanied by nachos and fajitas. The girls had dedos de pollo y pesca. The rain subsided for a moment after lunch and the girls got to swim in the pool. It was surrounded by double beds where I considered napping... But ati wanted to get involved too. The sun appeared for a moment and Alex and the girls went to the beach... By the time I joined them the sun was gone... We thought about staying there day to avoid getting caught in the rain... My FOMO kicked in and I pushed for a move to up Punto Sur. We walked the last stretch of the island with
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  • Day3

    From Holbox to Mujeres in the Rain!

    December 17, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    We woke to a cloudy day. Got up and started to get the bags organised for our departure at 10am. Ati had a handful of new mosquito bites on her face... The girls played Uno while I prepared breakfast. They had developed a new version which required rigging the game so they would have the maximum "black cards" (pick up 4 and change colour) and "strong cards" to do the most damage to one another. They tend to spend more time organising the game then playing, but that worked for me... I prepared more toads in holes and mediocre filter coffee... we ate in heats and then crammed everything with great difficulty into our exploding bags. OUr taxi driver was on Swiss time, much to our surprise, but so were we. We piled into the golf cart for one more journey around puddles, over bumps, and through the sandy roads. Got to the boat in good time.. the girls new the drill. We climbed to top deck where the girls took the front row for optimal view. We sat with ati just behind. They were of course freezing and asked me to pull out their sweaters in the first three seconds... then mimi came to cuddle after two minutes... On arrival we found our car in good shape in the parking where we had left it. I got out all the activities to keep them occupied during our journey from Chiqila to Cancun (porto juarez) to get the ferry to Isla Mujeres. We were making good time until we took a turn for Cancun we probably should not have, but stuck with it because... we were not in a rush and why not take the country road. The journey was not long only a couple of hours and the girls passed out soon after we left. We enjoyed reminiscing about our family trips in our childhood listnening to reggae playlist on spotify. The rain started to come down pretty hard... the girls kept sleeping. We arrived at the parking of the port and were ushered in... climbed to the top floor and took what looked like the very last spot on the top floor. LUCKY!

    We woke the girls and get them stoked about our journey and over their grumpy wake up by telling them that we were about to take a boat to an amazing island to see turtles and dolphins... We walked the 200 m to the boat embarkation. The girls asked to buy every second thing in the shop while alex got our tickets. They were hungry; it was late... we took turns peeing and getting cash. Got on the express ferry to Isla Mujeres, grabbed the last two seat for the girls and were offered two for us just behind. The trip was just 18min... I fed the girls almonds, crackers and cashews to keep them sane. On arrival we found a cabby who took us to a massive grocery store where I spent 20 min or 45 (depending on who you ask) getting supplies, on the recommendation of the lady from whom we were renting. I made my way around the shop with Ati in the cart. My priorities were beers, reposada, diappers, breakfast and lunch. This landed me with peanut butter, tequila and limes...

    Got back to the car with smushed bread and found everyone surprisingly cool. We made our way to our home where Bruno and his wife were waiting. Villa Miriam was a simple and spacious place which had not be renovated for some time. There were three bathrooms, a large kitchen and big windows. It was in a locked estate with 5 other houses. We didn't notice at first, but clearly a feud amongst the houses that resulted in our access to the beach and pool being curtailed. This issues was overshadowed by an offer of two 5$ vouchers for the beach bar two doors down.
    Bruno and his wife left us to settle in after a decent introduction of the place. I discovered that much of what I had bougth they had provided... but after arrive in Holbox in the end of the worls withouth network and without even so much as a bottle of water in the fridge, I was not going to make the same mistake twice. I had got pasta and pesto and prepared carotts and frozen brocoli. I made it all... shook powdered parmesan onto the fussili with pesto and offered it to mimi and Ati... they were thrilled. Zoe was less excited and somehow realised that she had probably eaten enough almonds to provide the calorific intake she need until next week. She ate barely anything except carrots and broccoli. Once the kitchen was cleared the girls discovered that they could run around the house out one door and in another... past the hammock and through the cobble stones.. this provided hours of entertainment.

    Alex finally put them in front of a cartoons in spanish, which he called *educational* because it was in another language.... while we figured out if we could do something with the rest of the day. As we got online we saw that the turtle sanctuary was closing and so were most of the restaurants around us. In the end we ordered in and I made my famous lentils. It was not the cheaper option, but it was the option that meant we could put ati to bed and enjoy a meal with the other tired girls. Much of take-out sucks and this was not exception: the fired stuff was soggy although rest was fine and tasty. The shrimp cevice was delicious, the guacamole too, and after a quick dry fry on the pan, the jalepeno poppers and onion rings were also pretty good. We put the girls to bed and then I promptly passed out on the couch while alex watched about 10 games of hockey. He was so happy to be in the right time zone to see so many of his favourite teams and players. We crawled to bet just after 1am... and slept like babies with the breeze flowing through the room from one window to the other.
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  • Day3

    Being a tourist in Holbox

    December 17, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Mmi was first to rise... with ati soon after at about 5am. Felt like a win after the previous day. Alex and I were sleeping in the up stairs on a beautiful mezzanine, mimi made her appearance with her distinctly heavy footsteps. The bed was small and not terribly well adapted to a family of 5. It wasn't long before i gave in and came down to make breakfast. Toad in the hole was on the menu. The girls ate and then we played uno and dobble until Alex got up. He was aching after having carried 5L and Zoe and the bag. I did something I don't often to.. offered him a massage. While Ati had her nap. Shortly thereafter, at about 11am, we got organised for a day of touristy adventures. We walked to town in search of an experience. The girls were motivated, although the sun was beating and no one wanted to wear their sun hats, it was hot and the girls were jealous of papa who had taken off his shirt. At the first opportunity we pulled into a beach front.. to check it out. Beach CaroLinda, it had the characteristic swings and hammocks... in the water!! The girls thought this was awesome. We gave into their request for a quick dip. Without any real plans for the day, it was had to say no. They stripped down and sprinted to the swings... it was a bit surreal as apart from us was a couple with a drone taking picture of themselves, and another couple where the man was following his hot girlsfriend as she posed and walked throgh the water. I guess this is how we hold onto the good times! Each of us does it in our own way... I took pictures on my phone and on our new hand digital camera... so who am I to judge.
    We didn't linger long at this beach, enough for baby ati to get her feet wet and sandy and for us to discuvoer that she really doesn't like having sand on her feet or hands. We got back on the road with the girls in the bathing suits, wrapped in their towels. Made it to town and approached the second tour operator we found. She offered us a tour on boat of 3 islands... We lied about Mimi's age, Zoe called us on it... (she is a bit of smart alec right now.. talking back is not uncommon, and calling us out on small imprecisions either...) We managed to pay only for one child and two adults and went for lunch. We ate at the Zapata by the recommendation of the tour operator lady. This cool and well decorated restaurant only 100m away was also delicious. We enjoyed some octopus and shrimp cevice, nachos with cheese and steak, chicken fijitas and a couple of Mexican Mules... like a moscow mule but with Mescal... sooooo good! We licked out plates and then made our way to the boat. We were accompanied by about 10 other people. We faught over life jackets for children... we managed to get one for Mimi but not ati... I said I would hold her tight... We headed out of what was to be a most amazing wildlife adventure!

    One our way to our first stop we spotted some dolphins. I think there must have a been 50 as they just kept on surfacing.... Ati was so excited, and so were the others. Alex got so close at one point he said he could have touched it.. but he wouldn't of course, cause that would be wrong... right?! After about 30 minutes following the dolphins, we peeled off and went to the Isla Pajaros where we swam it was looked like a "cenote", but actually was connected to the ocean but still fresh water. We walked down a beautiful path through the mangroves and then past a bar till we came to an opening. The girls stripped down to their bathing suits and with a slight hesitation jumped in. Ati was very keen, so I stripped her down and put her in with alex... she freaked out for about 10 seconds (which felt long with all the tourist happily enjoying the tranquility of nature), then she was so happy and excited. I almost drowned her a couple times as the fresh water provided no buoyancy and zoe thought I was a flotation device. it all ended well as passed her off to alex and enjoyed 30 seconds of free swim. We got out and made our way to the bar.. the girls we scouring for ice cream...or which there was none... Mimi made a friend with her new game, "Move over boys, the girls are taking over..." Inviting an italian woman on holiday with her boyfriend to join her on the hammock... but not her partner. I spotted a raccoon and another tourist told us that the kids could feed it. So I called the girls over and they seemed into the idea. The chef gave them some dried tortilla and they threw it at the raccoon. I encouraged them to hold it up to it so it eats out of their hand. They mustered up a bit more courage and threw it from a bit closer.

    We made our way back to the boat. Next stop was the flamingos, where we discovered Ati's love of birds. She got sooooo excited when she saw the birds over head. The flamingos were quick far away, standing among other pelican like large birds. It was very exciting. We docked the boat and walks in shallow water to get a bit closer... New was a bid island where many variety of large bird had their breeding ground among the mangroves. We walk up to a look out point and then up a tower for more views.

    We made a final unecessary stop to the end of the island, Punto Mosquito. By this point we had seen a lot and we quite cold not being fully dressed we used towels to keep warm in the ocean winds. When we made it back to shore it was close to 6pm. So we decided to take a touristy photo with the holbox sign and then play in the park while we waited for our restaurant (the one we had chosen the day before) to open.
    WHile mimi and zoe made cookies and collected shells in the jungle gym, Ati climbed the ladder above their heads and went down the slide about a hundred times. She was so happy to be out of her pram and not confined to a boat!

    Our dinner was delicious. While the girls shared a pizza, alex and I enjuoyed lobster pasta. We started with some carpacio of fish (which Zoe loved) and jamon croquetas which Ati ate before she passed out. We then dragged our very tired children home by taxi. Alex and I stayed up playing a new game... He figured out how to play, while I slept on the couch... then I woke to kicked his ass!
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  • Day2

    the wooden house on Isla Holbox

    December 16, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    After spending the morning running around the magical garden at Mi Casa es Su Casa and reorganising the UNO cards so that Zoe and Mimi would have all the best cards in the pack, while i blogged and Ati napped, we finally set off. The girls we so excited - giggling, tickling, teasing each other in the back of the car. There was a lot of poo talk... and while their playing was mostly harmless, the lack of humour in their "humour" was offending Mr Sabbag. Trying to direct their attention to the magnificent scenery, i launched a game of "I spy". The obvious first choice was, "I spy with my little eye something that is green"... "trees". The road was lined with lush forest of millions of varieties of trees, the odd garbage burning sites. We passed through a few random villages, with a handful of colourful houses, shops (many abandoned).. the kind of villages you wonder what goes on there or how it got there. We asked the girls if they would want to live here... mimi gave a definitive "yes", based on her desire to be in a hot place year round... i guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Her dad would drop everything for a chance to be by the sea and swim every morning for the rest of his life...

    We arrived in Chiquila where we would leave the car. We greeted by parking attendants waving flags to attract passing tourists. We drove past them and straight to the port found the parking unattended so returned to the lady with the orange flag. Squeezed ourselves gracefully into a spot so tiny, one more piece of papaya and I would not have fit out of the car. The dutch boys before us struggled until Alex offered them my services. They didn't take them up, but invited the parking warden to do it for them. We collected our things and trecked to the ferry terminal. Alex got us tickets and then we raced to the boat. Got on with one minute to spare. As the boat left the port we were asked to sit down. Zoe asked, "why is it going so slowly?"
    It was nearing 15h and we had been up since 3:30am and had breakie at 8:30... the girls were clearly famished. I pulled out the crackers and we had a feast. rThe wind pick up and Zoe's pulled a marelyn, so i said, "I see england I see france i see zoe's underpants" We made up several versions to pass the time - I see england i see a vipper, i see baby ati's diapper" I see england I see hong kong, I see mama's thong and for the finale, I see england I see a rocker, i see papa's boxers!!"

    On arrival we noted the lush mangroves, abandoned boats washed up inside, one larger boat the must have beach 10 years ago and now was the home to a large family of birds. The water was still a mirky green, i.e. not the tropical Caribean clear waters we were expecting. We disembarked and decided to find a place to eat before going to our secluded house by the beach. We lugged our two suit cases, bags, baby bed, and hand luggage, with ati in the pram and the other girls marching along side. This island without cars was now overrun with heavy duty golf carts and all terrain vehicles. We walked straight by the taxi stand, and they muttered under their breath something in spanish which i took to mean, "all these taxis and the tourists choose to walk with their luggage..." I felt kinda bad but didn't expect to be going far. We walked about 800m in total I expect. Almost gave up at one point as we had to jump on and off the tiny sidewalk to avoid massive puddles from the rain that had come down almost a week before leaving massive puddles (read lakes) everywhere. After a bit of encouragement from the tourist information desk we made it the last 200m to Rosa (something). This wooden restaurant was part of a complex of restaurants, shops and rooms. We sat at a table by the road and watched the people go by. We were quick to order some breaded shrimp on a bed of coconut rice, some of the most amazing guacamole and home made nachos, spicy octopus, and margaritas for the kids and lemonade for the adults. We gobbled up our lunch and then the girls spotted some swings in the restaurant around a counter. This seems to be a trend in Holbox where rather than seats they put swings or hammocks. The kids swung which alex sorted out the bill and I tried to score a taxi. After asking a lady in a yellow golf cart if she was a taxi, we walked the extra 100m to find a taxi. Our home was not known to all, but someone seemed to know the way. We piled our luggage in and the kids and me faced backwards as we meandered through the roads, avoiding puddles where possible, and gliding through puddles where avoiding them was not an option. We drove for what felt longer than the 20min walk the host had mentioned... arrived at a house and the taxi said convincingly we were in the right place. We hesitated, but unloaded and made our way to the door. As we walked to the door we noticed a pair of running shoes and no code on the door. We were clearly not in the right place... in the head of the day, no GPS, no phone network, no taxi, no water and no idea where we were... we didn't panic but rather had a good laugh. Alex set off to explore the surroundings, while I stayed with our stuff. A kind lady peared her head out to ask what we were doing... when I explained she said she had not phone battery and could not help, but we were welcome to hang on the terrasse till we found out way. It wasn't long until alex found our place... just on the other side of this massive puddle. We removed our shoes and shuttled ourselves across one by one, bag by bag... made it to the house with about 100 mosquito bite between us. Pulled out the spray and began to settle in.
    Our wooden house was made with love and totally suitable for us... it was just a 20 min walk from the center, and just 10 min from the beach. We opened the fridge hoping to find water after this excursion and... nada! (just ground coffee and sweet and low!!). We still had a micro bottle of water from the plane that we shared between us. We got our swim stuff on and went for a dip.

    On the way to the beach we saw two huge lizards, and many houses under construction. Our beach was lined with mangroves and still didn't have the caribean blue colour we were expecting, but it had a feel of something that was about to happen. The kids were over the moon... ran in splashing and frolicking with glee! I carried baby ati and we got our feet wet. We made our way pack to the point where people were collecting for the sun set. Our beach was known for its sunsets. We thought about staying, the girls set up their towels for a lay down. Before the sun was down we realised that if we were gonna walk to town for dinner with the kids for dinner. So we packed up our stuff walled home, got our pyjamas on, sprayed up and headed to town.
    We didn't really know where we were going but Alex was quite confident it was straight. We started the walk barefoot so we could get through the massive puddle and the girls skipped gleefully down the dandy roads, following and enjoying the adventure. We laughed a lot as we searched for the best path not to step in the squishy and wet parts.
    We arrived in town and tried two restaurants recommeded on trip adviser, but they were closed. The kids were starting to express clear signs of fatigue. We went into the next restaurant that looked inviting. We up stairs..and the girls flopped over o to the table. They were asleep almost before we had chance to order. When the lemonade arrived we invited them to drink, held the strap their lips...but the were no vital signs!

    I ran off to get the breakfast supplies while our food was being prepared. I got back to find kids more asleep then ever. Alex and I enyed chocolate chicken, shrimp taco, and the breaded shrimp we got for the girls and a couple of beers.
    We got our share of sympathetic looks, and offers to help. When we finished our delicious meal, I ran down to get a taxi
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