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>>TPT FOODIES

Dry Noodles with Three Chiles

>P. 15

>> ENTERTAINMENT Mike’s Movies

>P. 17

BEACH LIFE NANCY ABRAHAM

CANCUN ISIS BREITER Meet the professional tattoo artist who transforms mastectomy scars with tattoos that inspire emotional healing and rebuild confidence

Photo: Nancy Abraham

>P. 5

For the past six years, Isis Breiter has been running ultra-marathons - and they have brought her all over the world

Photo: Isis Breiter

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March 7 - 20

2018

Looking for something to do? Check out our What’s On section online at www.theplayatimes.com for a list of things to do including live music and dancing, yoga, markets and special events.


MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

3

Editorial

DIRECTORY Rebecca Page

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

General Manager edition@meridianmedia.mx

By Siobhán Gallagher

Siobhán Gallagher

D

Editor

iversity, talent, strength, dedication, creativity and love - that’s what our pages are full of in this edition as we celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8. We could have filled many more pages with stories of inspiration, bravery and success. Women really are making a difference on the Riviera Maya, demonstrating that there are no longer any boundaries to what they can achieve. Physical strength is no longer an excuse, as our long-distance runner on page 14 and our veterinarian on page 19 prove; and the glass ceiling is being shattered as women support each other in becoming leaders in the corporate world, or leading their own enterprises like our local restaurateurs on page 16. Playa del Carmen is growing so rapidly because its population is open to change and outsiders are attracted to the possibilities it

theplayatimeseditor@gmail.com

Ian MacKenzie Copy Editor copyeditor@meridianmedia.mx

Efrén Velázquez Art & Design efrenmmedia@gmail.com

Ana Martínez Brand Manager Cell: 984 169 1637 marketing@meridianmedia.mx

Erika Serra Public Relations

presents. Opportunities abound and women are ready to take them. The Playa Times is a good example of this with a strong majority of females on its staff and team of contributors. While my own experiences as a woman on the Riviera Maya have been positive, I am acutely aware that Mexico is still a place where outdated beliefs permeate society and attitudes. Many families remain uneducated, in partic-

ular about family planning and equal rights, meaning women don’t have a choice about their own future and get trapped in a cycle of subordination, unplanned pregnancies, and poverty. As we celebrate International Women’s Day and our progress this year, let’s also remember not to leave anyone behind as we move forward. Discrimination exists on many levels and we have a responsibility to lead, educate and support all those women, men and children in our local community who don’t enjoy the same opportunities. Thank you to the women in this edition for sharing their stories and being shining examples of what can happen when equality is a reality for all.

Cell: 984 119 1586 publicrelations@meridianmedia.mx

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CONTACT US AT: 984 -147 5597 & 147 5571 info@meridianmedia.mx /theplayatimes @ThePlayaTimes Photo: Pixabay.com/go_see

playatimes theplayatimes The Playa Times

THE PLAYA TIMES RIVIERA MAYA'S COMMUNITY PAPER Periódico Quincenal.

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BEACH LIFE

MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

Volunteering in the Riviera Maya Get involved in the community with local volunteering opportunities By Thomas Lloyd, Founder of Top Mexico Real Estate

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here are so many things to do in The Riviera Maya, so maybe volunteering never really crossed your mind. However, nothing compares to the feeling of giving back to the community, and luckily there are plenty of opportunities in the area. So, if you are looking for volunteering opportunities in the Riviera Maya, here is a handy list to help local children.

Centro Comunitario Maya Otoch Paal “Montessori Akumal” This is a community project that allows children from Akumal to receive a Montessori education, in the levels of Comunidad and Casa de Ninos. This project relies on volunteering, as parents support the community with their work and the donations received go for materials and salaries. The school accepts donations in cash and school materials, but there is also another way to help. Volunteering in Montessori Akumal can be as easy as giving a couple of hours to teach the children some English, tending to the garden, repairing some of the materials and so on. If you are in the Akumal area, this is a great way to give back! La Escuelita de Macario Gomez La Escuelita is an after-school program serving about 35 children in the Mayan community of Macario Gomez, just outside Tulum. The children meet every Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. Their mission is to provide a space for children when their classes are over, with activities like English, handson activities, science, art, literature, geography, and Maya culture as well as leisure time to play with games, puzzles and didactic materials. Most of these children do not have their own toys, so spending a half hour with Legos or puzzles is a joy for them. Los Arboles Tulum non-profit provides a full-time teacher and four volunteers who rotate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you are interested in joining La Escuelita, please visit their facebook page. If you want to know more about the benefits of living in Mexico, download our free guide about this subject here: https://topmre.com/kitlivinginmexico.

Help children / Photo: Pixabay.com/1045373

Photo: Pixabay.com/geralt

Ask Allan

- Playa del Carmen Internet Providers By Allan Lockhart Hi Allan Can you recommend any internet providers in Playa? Thanks, Kristen Hi Kristen Thanks for your question. Telmex and Izzi are the primary providers in town. Telmex provides DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) which comes installed with a landline and Mexican phone number. Speeds vary based on location and your subscription package, but expect promised speeds between 5-100 megabytes. Service quality varies like the speed. Allan and Moli / Photo: Allan Lockhart

Hopefully you are in an area where you can sign up for either Izzi or Telmex, or both. It’s nice to have a back up if you rely on the internet like we do. Izzi provides a cable-based service, so your installation comes with TV, internet and phone. Speeds also are between 5-100 megabytes. Expect service to be slow at times, fast at others and to go out at some point. Over the years, service quality with both services has improved

as has speed. In our property management office we use both Izzi and Telmex, but Telmex is only 5 MB (we are told they can’t do faster) while Izzi reaches almost 100 MBs. There are also satellite-based options, but from experience they are expensive, unreliable and slow. I can’t recommend any of them. Hopefully you are in an area where you can sign up for either Izzi or Telmex, or both. It’s nice to have a back up if you rely on the internet like we do. Best, Allan Allan Lockhart Co-owner, North American Standards


MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

Celebrating Women in Art: Nancy

BEACH LIFE

5

Abraham

Meet Nancy Abraham - Professional tattoo artist By Melissa Méndez Orantes

they can recover a part of their femininity and confidence in their bodies that was taken from them, after all that they have gone through. Some tattoo lace, flowers or any other symbol can remind them of their beauty and victory. For me, all these women are heroes.

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he Playa Times: Where are you from? Nancy: Merida, Yucatán.

What do you do in Playa? I am a professional tattoo artist.

When did you know you were good at tattooing and was it that moment when you decided that it would be your profession? The first time I tattooed on skin it was clear to me that this was my passion. Knowing that something I drew was going to be part of a person for all of his or her life and they will take it to the grave is very intimate and way more significant than a plain canvas that you hang on a wall. What are your positive and negative experiences as a woman in Playa? What I love about Playa is that it’s so eclectic, and this makes it a very open and tolerant community. It also gives you the freedom to be the person you want to be, because we are from everywhere. On the other side, I think the Mex-

ican “machista” culture in general is what I dislike.

I hope that more women help nurture this town that is growing so fast. We can make a difference, each one of us in our own way. I have met so many empowered and lovely women here.

Rights and Obligations of Property Owners Part 1 By Vela-Esperon Attorneys at Law, S.C. If you wonder what a condominium manager’s obligations are, this information is for you. Playa del Carmen has several housing options, among them, condominiums. It is important to be informed of the administrator’s obligations, and know if such obligations are set out in the Condominium Act or its Bylaw. According to Condo Experts, Vela Esperon Abogados, it is necessary to know if the condominium regime was established before November 31, 2010. All condominium regimes that were constituted before November 31, 2010 are ruled by its constituent Public Deed and Bylaw, considering that the aspects which were not duly provided, shall be ruled according to

Photo: Pixabay.com / Aymanjed

Nancy Abraham

What are your hopes for the future for women in Playa? I hope that more women help nurture this town that is growing so fast. We can make a difference, each one of us in our own way. It really inspires me to give my best and I feel blessed to be a part of this. How will you support International Women’s Day? I support women the way I can, doing tattoos to cover mastectomy scars. It is a very delicate process, with so much emotional transformation involved. I think it is important that women who have had a mastectomy know that

the provisions of the law. Consequently, the administrator’s obligations for such condos shall be those indicated in the condominium Bylaw, constituent Public Deed and supplementary provisions of the law. Condominium regimes constituted after 31 November 2010, shall be conformed according to the provisions of the law (the condominium regime, its Bylaw, etc., shall be created under the provisions of the law) and therefore they are ruled by the law, the civil code of the State of Quintana Roo, applicable law, its legal constituent Public and legal Bylaw. According to the Law, the condo administrator obligations shall be those pointed out in the 36th article of it. In our next edition we will be sharing more information to protect your interest and property. Contact Vela-Esperon Attorneys at Law, S.C. experts in the field. Lic Mario Durango Vela Q., Vela-Esperon Abogados, S.C. Director www.velaesperon.com mdvq@velaesperon.com admnistracion@velaesperon.com (984)8030396 (984)8030397

What has been your g re a t e s t achievement in this profession and what would you say was the ingredient to achieve it? People trust me with their skin. I always give each person the time they deserve, so we have the best result possible. Also, it makes me really happy that my tattoos are recognized internationally and on the streets of Playa. They all have part of my heart in them.

Nancy´s work / Photos: Nancy Abraham


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ART & CULTURE

MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

AQR MLS:

Quintana Roo’s Multiple Listing System By AQR MLS

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he Real Estate Industry in North America is finally united in technology as “AQR MLS” is launching the first Multiple Listings Service for the state of Quintana Roo, along with an exciting suite of productivity tools for the real estate community branded as “Terminus Sistema Global”, “InteliDocs”, “InteliFirmas”, and “InteliBox” – a bundle of services that are widely accepted as the standard for real es-

tate professionals in the United States and Canada, where the same services are branded as “CoreLogic Matrix™” (NYSE: CLGX), “zipLogix”, and “sentriSmart”, respectively. A multiple listing service or MLS is a set of digital tools that real estate professionals use to store and publish their listing data to other brokers and offer sales commissions, allowing the creation of a centralized database of properties for sale in the state.

Alejandra Cámara Vivanco: Expression and Beauty in Motion By Alejandra Campo Alejandra Cámara Vivanco is a Playense who was born in Cancun. She is a young, creative person who dedicates her life completely to what she loves and enjoys doing most - dance. She began dancing at the age of six, and today at the age of 20, Ale has already been part of two contemporary dance companies here in Playa. She considers these among her great achievements thus far. In addition to this she has also held various roles in the musical theatre scene. For Ale, having the support of her parents has been fundamental to her success. “Everything I’ve accomplished, I owe to my parents,” she said. “They have always encouraged me to try out several things in order to find what I would most like to do. From the beginning, they believed and trusted me when I told them that dance was what I wanted to dedicate myself to.” Ale’s interests are not limited to dance. She is also a cultural promoter and active defender of the life and dignity of animals. She, along with her mother Rosy Vivanco whom she admires enormously, is the founder of Libros Libres (Free Books). Thanks to the many women who have inspired her, she has taken their example to

Beyond the MLS Members of the real estate community in Quintana Roo will be able to manage the entire property promotion and sales cycle by using this newly available combination of state-of-the-art tools. Once a listing is uploaded to the MLS, it syndicates to chosen websites and marketing platforms, connects with the online contract system, the signature system, and lockboxes, providing a streamlined experience to all parties involved. An Ambitious Project Backed by Years of International Experience With 18 years of experience, Heidi Wosak - who is widely known in the real estate industry as one who acts with the highest standards of ethical conduct - is the ambitious entrepre-

do this conscientious work. Ale has had to travel to the center of the country to become a professional dancer, but she is convinced that “Playa is a city brimming with opportunities for artistic growth. Today, young people in Playa del Carmen can develop their potential in the direction that they want.” Ale has a message for all the girls who like dance and art in general. Contrary to what adults might say, she believes that art is a profession that can be lived. “For young Playenses who are thinking about dedicating themselves to art or culture, my message to them is to to go for it. Really, there are many learning opportunities in Playa. If you put in the effort you will be well prepared for the world. I would tell them that it’s not impossible to make a living doing what they love, and that they should never conform. Nothing bad happens if you discover along the way that it really wasn’t what you wanted. I have always thought it is better to regret doing something than to regret not having done it at all. “

Alejandra Cámara Vivanco / Photo: Alejandra Cámara Vivanco

Heidi Wosak / Photo: Richard Marin

neur behind “AQR MLS”. Heidi moved to Mexico with a California Real Estate license in 2004. She has been involved with the Mexico AMPI real estate association both locally and internationally. As an Associate Member AMPI since 2005, Heidi has served several years on the board of directors for AMPI Chapters, serving as VP of MLS & Memberships. She was instrumental in bringing in the first real MLS in English into AMPI “Seccion #51” in 2008 where she

Rosy Vivanco / Photo: Rosy Vivanco

Celebrating Women in the Community:

Rosy Vivanco By Alejandra Campo

Have you ever heard of Libros Libres (Free Books)? I’ll bet that you have, at least on our pages. Well, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you an enthusiastic and intelligent woman who is a local Playense. She not only cares about education and the protection of the environment but also takes action to contribute significantly to Playa’s society. Her name is Rosy Vivanco. Originally from San Luis Potosí, Rosy arrived in Quintana Roo to work in the hotel industry.

merged the boards and re-wrote bylaws and regulations. After closing her C21 office in 2013 she embarked on a mission to bring the very best bilingual MLS system to the country of Mexico, focusing to launch Quintana Roo first. Heidi is widely known in the professional community as one who acts with the highest standards of ethical conduct and is dedicated to professionalism within the real estate industry internationally and throughout Mexico.

At first, she was in Cozumel before deciding to cross the water and come to Playa del Carmen, which is where she met her husband. For several years, she has been using Libros Libres as a means to promote reading, working alongside her daughter Alejandra Cámara, and the other enthusiastic people who have joined them. Many of you may already know about this initiative or have already participated in some of their activities. Its main purpose is to encourage children, youth and adults to read, and then read some more. “We believe that education is what will bring us forward as a country and reading is the main tool,” says Rosy. “Reading broadens the mind and with a broader mind, we can also have a better lifestyle.” But Libros Libres is not only dedicated to cultural promotion, it also participates in activities that raise awareness of care of the environment and respect for animals. It supports free dog sterilization campaigns, and the project Delfines en Libertad (Free Dolphins), as well as every movement in favor of respect for animal life. Their motto is: “May your entertainment not be due to the suffering of others.” Simple, strong and clear. Another of their projects is Corazon Verde (Green Heart). It promotes care of the ecosystem and discourages the use of plastic bags. It costs us nothing to reuse bags for the supermarket, store or laundromat. Rosy and her daughter firmly believe in community work to achieve benefits for everyone. They want to instill in children and adults the idea of “thinking and doing in the community” and not only looking at things for the benefit of oneself. This is what drives this great woman to carry out these actions and initiatives, generating awareness and contributing to the benefit of us all. Congratulations to Rosy for her hard work and commitment!


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ART & CULTURE

MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

Celebrating Women in Art: Denisse Pohls Denisse Pohls has captured the beauty of the underwater world through her photography here on the Riviera Maya By Crystal Mitchell

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he Playa Times: Where are you originally from and how did you find yourself in Cozumel? Denisse: I’m from León, Guanajuato in the middle of Mexico. I came to Cozumel fours years ago seeking to work for a while and save money to do documentary photography, but once I saw Cozumel’s sea I decided to stay. What has been your biggest accomplishment in this area? I won third place in the fauna category in a national nature contest called Mosaico Natura in September 2017, organized by the Mexican government CONABIO and National Geographic. Because of this, my work was printed in National Geographic which was a dream come true. I have also organized nine poetry festivals on the island. Last year seven poets and I published a collection of poetry named Cursilínea (corny-line) about corny love. This year I published my own book, Hora Pico (rush hour) and I am very proud of that as well. What are your positive and negative experiences here as a woman in Cozumel? Diving requires a physical strength that I don’t have. It is still a man’s

Photos by Denisse Pohls

I have happily found that women here are more prone to collaborate together than in the city and that fills me with hope. More women here are willing to help each other than criticize or judge. Denisse Pohls Underwater Photography Artist & Poet world and you have to adapt and be very smart and draw a respectful line with your colleagues. You work twice

as hard sometimes to prove you deserve the spot. It is very competitive, but you have to find your strengths and use them. I have happily found that women here are more prone to collaborate together than in the city and that fills me with hope. More women here are willing to help each other than criticize or judge. Men and women from the press have helped me a lot. It was women (men, as well) from the local radio Espacio Lector 107.7 fm and Playa Times that promoted me. Other female friends have helped me promote my poetry and my last boss in underwater photography is a great woman who has helped me in every way. I am proud and grateful. What are your hopes for the future for women here on the Riviera Maya? My hope is that women keep helping each other and making stronger bonds How will you support International Women’s Day? I will participate in Playa del Carmen’s Eighth International Art and Poetry Festival “Grito de Mujer” on March 17-18 reciting poems against gender violence. Follow Denisse on Facebook/ DenissePohlsPhotography and Facebook/PoesiaItinerante and on Instagram @denissepohls


MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

DISCOVER MEXICO

9

A Door to the Unknown

Photo: kantun-Chi Vanessa Francisco / Photo: Vanessa Francisco

By Kantun-Chi

Celebrating Women in Science:

Vanessa Francisco Florencia interviews one of her female colleagues working in science and the conservation of the Riviera Maya - Vanessa Francisco, a marine scientist based in Puerto Morelos By Florencia Cerutti

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omen are gaining strength in all areas. Although there is a lot of work still to do to find equality of rights, treatment and societal expectations, women are also growing in number in professional areas that used to be (and still are in many places) male-dominant, like the biological sciences. Here is the story of a fellow scientist who comes from another country and is now using her amazing skill set and capacity to help protect our beautiful Riviera Maya. Vanessa Francisco visited the Riviera years ago as a kid with her family. Back then, this area had less ‘development’, fewer tourists, healthier reef. The wide beaches of Cancun and the many tones of blue of the Caribbean ocean made her fall in love with the Riviera. Vanessa is from Venezuela and studied biology there. She worked in laboratories of the Venezuelan oil industry; she worked in the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, and Yucatan; she did a Masters and a PhD in marine sciences. After all this, she landed in Puerto Morelos in 2014 to work in the UN Program for Development with the Marine Park. I’m always thrilled to share experiences with scientist colleagues. I speak often with fellow women scientists of many nationalities and some of the stories repeat regardless of backgrounds. I’ve asked this question to colleagues from Germany, USA, Ireland and I asked Vanessa too about what changes – if any - has she seen in her 20 years of experience in marine sciences. She too has seen many. When Vanessa started, she worked in

It is indeed a tough career, but packed with satisfying experiences, so follow your dreams. The work in marine sciences often takes you to remote locations and you live experiences many people do not. Vanessa Francisco Marine Scientist groups with a ratio of women to men of 2:20; she remembers being weary at the thought of working in fishermen’s boats (it is part of the job of marine scientists at some point) with too many men or living in small and isolated islands with army soldiers. Nowadays there are a lot more women in science and conservation and these field trips are not as uncomfortable – or was it dangerous? - for women scientists. We could likely talk for hours about our experiences in this topic, but to finish I asked her what message she would give to those girls and women who are passionate about science, but feel anxious about following this path. She told me, “It is indeed a tough career, but packed with satisfying experiences, so follow your dreams. The work in marine sciences often takes you to remote locations and you live experiences many people do not. You work, breathe, think and dance for a blue planet, and that’s the most satisfactory experience you would take with you at the end.”

For many years it was believed that the ancient Mayas made sacrifices only of women and that they only chose virgins for this type of ritual; some recent findings reveal that sacrifices were not exclusive to women. The Mayas brought men, women and even children with the aim of communicating with the gods to ask them if the year that was about to begin would be good or bad. The evidence gathered during several investigations shows that men and boys of various ages were part of more rituals than

women, and different artifacts were found that complemented the rituals. Remains of animals related to the underworld have been found, as well as the instruments used to perform the sacrifice. The ways the Mayans made offerings to their gods depended on what they wanted to ask their deities - this implied different types of sacrifice, most of which ended in drowning in the cenotes representative of their culture. The cenotes were of great importance to the Mayas; they symbolized life, death, rebirth and fertility and they believed that these water deposits possessed mythical beings.


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Blonde Producciones / Photos: Blonde Producciones

Celebrating Women in Entertainment: Blonde Producciones Meet Nicola and Heather, founders of an allfemale entertainment company celebrating strong, talented women By Erika Serra

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n this edition we are celebrating International Women’s Day, so I’m taking the opportunity to share a story about two girls who came to Playa several years ago and are now making their dreams come true. Meet Nicola Gallagher from Ireland, living in Mexico for nine years, and Heather Christie from New Zealand, in Mexico for eight years. We both arrived in Mexico through Get Up & Go Global, an agency that helps find work in the hotels for dancers and entertainers. We are now the proud founders of Blonde Producciones, a new and exciting group of entertainers here in the Riviera Maya. After working in the industry for 10 years, we always had the dream of owning our own company, and in 2016 we finally had the courage to do so. The idea initially was to start an all-girl group to portray strong, talented women. We wanted people to appreciate the skill and talent of the girls rather than only their image. We wanted to bring class and quality to the stage. We spotted a gap in the market and worked hard to bring something fresh and new to the local entertainment scene. Our first show was called

“Here Come The Girls,” which had singing, dancing and acrobatics. It was a new and exciting concept which thankfully brought many opportunities our way. Fast forward 18 months and we now have four different shows taking the Riviera by storm. We take pride in providing entertainment for all ages and continuing with our original concept of quality and class, performing in hotels in Cozumel, Cancun and the Riviera. As two foreign females starting a business in Mexico, we definitely imagined we would face some hurdles. But thankfully this has not been the case and we are extremely proud to be one of the only female-run entertainment companies in the Riviera Maya. Another factor we take pride in is that almost 50% of our dancers are working mums, so it is a very normal occurrence to have babies running around the rehearsal place. Nicola herself is a mother and understands how hard the transition to return to the workplace can be. This is why we support our girls and why they feel very comfortable within the company. This is just the start for us. In July we will celebrate two years in business and here’s hoping we celebrate many, many more. Facebook: BlondeProducciones Instagram: @Blondeproducciones


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CANCUN

MARCH 7 - 20, 2018 Running Mom / Photo: Isis Breiter

Celebrating Women in Art: Anastasiya Fomchyna

Photo: Anastasiya Fomchyna

By Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III

Celebrating Women in Sport:

Running Mom Isis Breiter For the past six years, Isis Breiter has been running ultra-marathons - and they have brought her all over the world By: Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III

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e are stoked to present to you this superwoman living among us. Isis alternates her mom job with her passion: running in ultra marathons, which are longer than 42 km. Constant training and discipline have taken her to five continents and make her the first Mexican woman to run the four longest deserts of the world. Where are you from and how did you get to Cancun? I was born in Tapachula, Chiapas. I came her in ‘98 to have better opportunities for myself and my family. The Riviera Maya was blooming at the time and Chiapas couldn’t offer that to us. You went from mom and housewife to international high-performance athlete. How did it all get started? It all began as a personal challenge about six years ago. My husband was a regular runner but I wasn’t good at it, so he was always teasing me. One day I had enough and decided I wanted to be even better than him (laughs). I began training seriously and I really liked it. I was getting better and started to do some research on marathons and

running competitions. I found the Des Sables Marathon and decided that was what I wanted to do. What are your good and bad experiences living in Cancun and Riviera Maya? Well, I try to focus mostly on the good things about living here, rather than the bad things. Even when Hurricane Wilma destroyed everything, for example, we found a way to help each other to get back on our feet. In the framework of International Women’s Day, what can you recommend to women in Cancun, and how will you support such a date? I would like to tell women that there are many opportunities for us here. We have to take advantage of that and put all our efforts to make our dreams possible. Fight for what you really want! With my experience and testimonies in social media and spaces like The Playa Times, I want women to realize how strong we can be, that is not impossible to overcome adversities. We have to let go of fear, even in a situation of violence. Women must know that they are not alone, and that they can talk about it and search for help. Facebook Contact: Isis Breiter

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t The Playa Times, we love art and creative women. We’ve talked about ‘artivism’ in Cancun in previous editions and in this edition, we introduce to you Anastasiya Fomchyna, the mind behind some of those projects (Platforma and Cancun Street Art Walking Tours). She was born in Minsk, Belarus, and after volunteering around the world, she decided to become a Cancun neighbor in 2015. The Playa Times: It’s a long way from Belarus, how did you get to Cancun? Anastasiya: It was a spontaneous

encounter; I was studying (I have a Bachelor’s degree in Interpreting in the sphere of International Relations and a Master’s degree in International Law) and had the opportunity to travel. My journey brought me to Mexico. I discovered Cancun and that inspired me a lot. I saw many young people gathering together, holding interesting events, bazaars, festivals - creating their own city. That was five years ago. Almost three years ago, after graduating from university and getting my degree, I moved to Cancun. Tell us about your projects in Cancun. I work with street art and have

Celebrating Women in Education:

Lizbeth Peña

By Andrés Mendoza Del Valle III I first met Lizbeth about 10 years ago at the International Writer’s House in Bacalar. We were starting our own Reading Rooms at the time, mine in Cozumel, hers in Cancun. I lost track of her until social media re-connected us a few years ago. I was happy to see she never stopped her Reading Room project. You moved from one coastal city (Acapulco) to another (Cancun), what brought you here? I came here as a child in 1995. My mom was delighted by the (still small) city and wanted us to grow up in a much safer and cleaner environment, with no earthquakes, no hawkers bothering people on the beach, no crowded, noisy buses. Besides the Reading Room “Tlacuila”, what other projects are you working on? So many. I’m teaching narrative and literature in Cancun’s Technological Institute (ITC) and also in the British College High School. I’m studying again, this time foreign languages and some other diplomats and certifications concerning teaching and literature. Is it easy to do all these

Liz Peña / Photo: Liz Peña

I think we have to be careful with mottos like: “Women can do everything”. Most of these bumper sticker phrases end up like frustrating empty slogans. To really make a difference it takes more than that: discipline and effort.

my project, Platforma. Platforma is the education project that uses art as a tool to create a cultural platform for the community in Cancun, bringing local artists and urban projects together, helping young people to express themselves through street art. We do courses and workshops in graffiti, mural art, design, illustration, painting. What is your experience as a woman in Cancun? Cancun is a very tolerant and open city, and as any citizen, I have the same issues but try to focus just on good ones. What message do you have for the women of Cancun? Don’t forget about our inner potential - constantly developing, growing knowledge and cultivating respect, to create more great tools and resources for positive changes inside and outside of us. How will you support International Women’s Day? Working! What female Cancun artists would you recommend for our readers? So many good artists working in Cancun: Liz Rashell, Marisol D’estrabeau, Marycarmen Perez Rodriguez, Ana Sofía Castañón, Michelle Cortazar, Ane Alvarez, Daniela Palacios Contact:hola.platforma@gmail.com

activities as a woman in a male-dominated society? I had a colleague who once told me that I was very good at what I do, but they preferred men to do the job because she has a prejudice that men do it better. On the other hand, many women have gathered together to support each other. I think that’s the best we can do in a situation like this - promote programs to protect women from violence and discrimination and enforce those already existing. On a personal level, I think we have to be careful with mottos like: “Women can do everything”. Most of these bumper sticker phrases end up like frustrating, empty slogans. To really make a difference it takes more than that: discipline and effort. Also, we must learn how to prioritize what we really want and create mutual respect networks that will be the base of a new fairer society. How will you support International Women’s Day? In past years I was part of collective readings and music festivals celebrating this date, but this time I want to take it a step further: a reading room for women. Reading can provoke constant self-taught inner changes much more effectively than oral advice or self-help publications. In the end it all comes down to changing ourselves first before trying to change our environment.


MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

In the Wild of Tulum The combination of modern and natural, Mediterranean and Caribbean, relaxed surroundings and exciting ingredients makes this Tulum restaurant a surprise for the senses By Siobhán Gallagher

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few weeks ago I met a woman making a difference in Tulum, contributing to the town’s rising reputation as a multi-cultural gastronomic hub. Karen Young is the British-Lebanese owner of WILD restaurant and cocktail bar, set deep in the boho-chic hotel zone. The open-air restaurant offers an interesting menu influenced by the owner’s Mediterranean roots, using local ingredients that give a unique twist to flavor and presentation. Inspired by the coastal view on our drive there, I opted for seafood on my visit; I started with grilled shrimp and coconut and mango ceviche - a fresh, colourful appetizer with subtle flavors. I followed it with grilled octopus, squid-ink risotto and sautéed asparagus. Octopus is a choice I don’t make lightly as it’s difficult to get right. This was excellent; my generous portion was meaty yet tender, and retained the savoury smokiness of the grill.

The surprise of the evening was our dessert of Mayan Pearls: chia ice cream, with tapioca, liqueur, spices and fruit - it was deliciously creamy, sweet, spicy, and perfect for jungle dining. They are launching a new menu this month and I’m excited about what they propose, but I hope this dessert remains. In keeping with the simple, natural setting, tables are candlelit and sheltered by impressive, tall, wooden, leaf-shaped structures. Even the eco-friendly bathrooms got my design bells ringing. It all lends itself to a relaxed, seductive atmosphere inviting you to take time over your food, sample another cocktail and absorb the energy of this special location. Between attending to other guests, Karen shared her time and her story with us, revealing that her wild-child

youth in part inspired this venture. Read on to learn more about this wild woman. Where are you from? I was born in Beirut during the war and grew up in different places around the world - USA, Japan, Sau-

TPT FOODIES

di Arabia and the United Kingdom. When and why did you come to Tulum? I first came to Tulum on holiday in 2012 and then visited again in 2015 after taking a sabbatical from work. I decided that I was going to move to Tulum then, so I went back home, packed up everything and flew back three months later to begin a new chapter. What is your background? I started my career in music record labels in the UK, then a music magazine and then I was producing large-scale music festivals all over the world. What are your positive and negative experiences as a woman in Tulum? On a business level, I came to a country without speaking the language, and being a foreign woman in a very macho country, I built and opened a restaurant in the jungle, having had no experience in either field, so it’s been extremely challenging. I spent years working in a similar environment during my festival production years in Eastern European and Middle

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East countries, so I was prepared for a similar mentality and I just pushed through all the barriers. I have had too many positive and negative experiences to list, however, I believe that whatever negative experiences I have had always made me stronger and smarter and eventually lead to a positive outcome. What are your hopes for the future for women in Tulum? My hopes for women in Tulum and worldwide - equal rights, equal pay, equal say, equal education, equal trade, equal everything. End FGM, child marriage, sexual exploitation and sexual violence. I have always been an advocate of human rights, particularly women’s rights, so it’s tragic that we are still having to fight for or justify these basic rights in 2018, yet it’s amazing to see how strong women and girls are collectively challenging and making changes so dynamically. It’s also great that men are so supportive now, and seeing how things are rather different for us, and I hope that they continue to push for the changes as strongly as us. How will you celebrate International Women’s Day? Celebrating awesome women of course! WILD will be offering one free cocktail to women diners and 10% of proceeds from the night will go to UN Women Mexico http://mexico.unwomen.org/.

WILD / Photo: Jon Attenborough/WILD

Mexican cuisine / Photo: Lily Espinosa

Dry Noodles with Three Chiles By Lily Espinosa, Rivera Kitchen Tulum, Mexican Cooking Classes and Culinary Tours Sometimes we just don´t have the time or energy to cook every day from scratch. My granny loved to prepare food that could be eaten hot or cold, so you always had some delicious, homemade food. The following recipe, Fideos secos a los tres chiles, is a classic in any Mexican house, because it can be eaten at any moment - as a midnight snack or while watching a movie. Let´s do this! Ingredients • Enough pork lard or vegetable oil to fry • 200 grams fideos (dry soup, you find it at the pasta section) • 5 medium tomatoes • ¼ small onion • 1 medium garlic clove • 2 mulato chiles

• • • •

2 guajillo chiles 2 ancho chiles 2 cups of chicken broth (or 2 chicken bouillon spoons or cubes) To serve, we need fresh cream or sour cream, cotija cheese and avocado.

Preparation Remove seeds from all the chiles and soak them in hot water for 15 minutes, until they soften). Once the chiles are soft, blend them with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth or bouillon and reserve. Fry the fideos in a good amount of lard or oil until they look slightly brown, then add the sauce you just blended and mix well. Once it boils, reduce the flame to low, partially cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid is evaporated. Serve it topped with cream, cotija cheese and avocado. Enjoy! Any questions, please let me know at riverakitchentulum@ gmail.com


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TPT FOODIES

MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

Women in Gastronomy: Playa’s Female Restaurateurs F^^mma^phg]^kphf^gh_IeZrZ]^e<Zkf^glk^lmZnkZgml\^g^ By Catherine Pawelek

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emale restaurateurs work the dozens of jobs necessary to make their restaurants successful. They jump in when a waitperson doesn’t show, the chef calls in sick, and do the busser or bartender’s job, coming in early to receive merchandise, and staying late to close up. They put in long hours daily, face adversity, and at the end of day it is not always about making a name for themselves, but their personal accomplishment. I found quite a few of these heroines in Playa and there are many more. ELEMENTO Chefs Isabel Lopez and Pavel Ojeda met in culinary school and later left behind the traffic and congestion of Mexico City and found their slice of heaven in Playa. Five and a half years ago, they created Elemento restaurant in Casona home-furnishings store with a menu that offers inspiration from childhood and cooking with all the elements of the earth. Although Isabel confided that they have had their share of tribulations in the industry, now with a six-month old baby and two dogs, they remain grounded. They are adding a second floor to

Chef Isabel / Photo: Elemento

their current location, getting an alcohol license and opening another venue in Tulum, which demonstrates the growth they are experiencing. For Women’s Day, book to receive a free dessert. (984) 803-2387 www. elementcocina.com. COPATE CHEF opened 18 months ago and its Spanish, Italian and German offerings are based on René Pardo’s Bolivian, Argentinian and Mexican experiences, and Kar-

Their achievement is the culmination of years of hard work in an industry where women are beginning to reign

la’s Mexican heritage. After coming to Playa on their honeymoon in 2015, they upped stakes in Mexico City and planted themselves here. René had 18 years of restaurant experience, but for Karla it was new territory after working for 10 years at a newspaper. As a woman from a strong Mexican culture, she found her focus in a combination of tango, food and the playa, as well as a good read like “Lean In” from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. Trailblazing into 2018 by expanding into catering, she will offer 20% discount to any woman who needs catering on Woman’s Day. (984) 1482718 www.facebook.com/copateche 500 GRAMOS GRILL Giuseppina Polese, an Italian transplant, is instantly recognizable by her fashionable black glasses. She runs 500 Gramos Grill with her husband. The restaurant’s progress and standing in the community has skyrocketed with a “Meat and Potatoes” menu. Keeping it simple, the proteins are paired with sautéed fresh vegetables and roasted potatoes, and the menu expands to burgers, pastas and salad. For Giuseppina, “International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.” Giuseppina, you definitely embody that. (984)157-0216 www.facebook. com/500gramosgrill.

OH LA LA Mikaela and George play a cool numbers game with seven years since Oh La La opened, six pets and one successful formula. Their backgrounds provide for an eclectic and worldly menu, where the combination of flavor, color, presentation and service blend to make for one fine dining experience. With the additions of Yum Yum by George (Asian-influenced) and Guilty by Oh La La (covering the continents), their passion for food and Playa is evident. As a woman in kitchens full of men, Mikaela has had to step up and show her character, receiving some well-deserved respect in return. On March 8, Mikaela invites all women who visit their restaurants for a welcome drink. “We will raise our glasses and make a toast in honor of the great achievements that women have made and still make in all areas: from mothers and wives raising families, to mathematicians, to scientists, to artists…to…” Oh La La! By George (984)1274844 www.ohlalabygeorge.com / Yum Yum by George (984)188-5036 / Guilty by Oh La La (984)157-3351. More and more women are finding a place in the restaurant industry throughout Quintana Roo, and the one thing that I observed hearing from these hardworking owners is that they persevered through adversity and growth, received encouragement from the community, patrons, competitors and partners, and that their achievement is the culmination of years of hard work in an industry where women are beginning to reign.


MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

ENTERTAINMENT

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Dating or a Serious Relationship in Playa del Carmen? Part III By Ginger M.

Susan Leahy / Photo: Susan Leahy

Susan Leahy: A Confident Woman

Have you ever been in a serious relationship? How long? Weeks, months, years, decades? Well, I am the type of girl that is happy in a serious relationship. There are a million reasons why I love being committed and not too many why I like being single! Bottom line: I realized that what I love about both can be possible with someone. A serious relationship is full of passion, surprises, happiness, experiences, compromises and devotion. Love is something to be cultivated, taken care of, enjoyed and lived to the fullest. The key to a serious relationship or any sort of relationship for that matter, is respect, trust and communication. I’m not teaching you anything new here, but sometimes we fail to remember this. The thing I enjoyed the most as a single lady was my freedom and the possibility to do what I wanted, when I wanted. This is possible even while in a relationship. I have been in multiple, serious lesbian relationships since I was fifteen years old. I love that I can share everything with my partner and we can confide in one another. I love sleeping and waking up next to the person I love. I love that we grow together and build a future. I adore that I can be myself and she can be herself. We trust and respect each other and we communicate well. I met a gay couple from the U.K. last weekend at Maxa Camp in Tulum. They have been together for twenty years now and married for two. They are in a monogamous

Happy couple / Phot o: Ginger M. / Life is a Beach Product ions

relationship and it has worked perfectly all these years. They have never considered otherwise. One was celebrating his fiftieth birthday that day and both of them looked very happy and still very much in love. I find it amazing! A lesbian couple who got together after meeting in one of my events have been enjoying their beautiful love for eight months now. One of them didn’t even want to be with anyone, but then she met her soulmate. I truly believe everyone can find love and that it can be forever. Stop looking, let life bring you to that person, and one day too you will find love.

Meet a successful local expat who juggles multiple businesses, family and travel and shares with us her experiences of being a woman in Playa del Carmen By Sara Jones

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he Playa Times: Where are you from and why did you move to Playa? I am a southern California native, I lived in Los Angeles with my husband for 13 years before we decided to move to Playa del Carmen. My husband and I knew that we wanted a different experience for our two children growing up. Once we asked the question if we could live in a Spanish-speaking country, it seemed as if heaven and earth moved to guide us to Playa del Carmen. Susan Leahy: What is your background and what do you do now? I was raised by a mother who was a professional clown and a career marine father. I’m a motivational speaker, business owner, wife and mother. I have an online business that requires travel to the US. I have a corporate training company called Group to Team Leadership Solutions, which helps organizations build a powerful culture of team. I have an online product called Robert’s Rules Made Simple, which enables boards to run more effective meetings.

What are your positive and negative experiences as a woman in playa? I think not being able to speak the language fluently creates a separation. Juggling the realities of being a mom and maintaining my business leaves lit-

tle time to study language. One of the most positive experiences is that I feel a greater sense of personal safety than I did in LA. I enjoy the energy of expats and also local Mexicans in this region. In my experience, people here are less angry than in the US. As a woman I generally feel safer. What are your hopes for the future for women in Playa? What I want for the future of women not just in Playa but in Mexico, the US and ultimately, the world, is to have a greater partnership with men. I want women to give themselves greater permission to embed themselves into the fabric of their culture or community. Women are not passive observers, we are powerful creators. How will you support International Women’s Day? I offer a program called The Confident Woman Program and my commitment is that any woman who connects with me can enroll free. I believe stronger women will create a better world. If you’re interested in receiving a free copy of The Confident Woman Program, contact me on International Women’s Day at info@susanleahy.com Sara Jones Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert, Spa Consultant, Speaker and Founder of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine www.spawellnessmexicaribe.com

All the Money in the World

Photo: Agency

By Michael Renouf Ridley Scott delivers up another gem with All the Money in the World, or as it was released here in Mexico - Todo el Dinero del Mundo. Over the years I have come to expect quality and thoughtful storytelling when I see my fellow Brit’s name attached. What else would you expect from a director that in the past has given us such treasures as Alien, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator? All the Money in the World is the true story of the kidnapping in the early seventies of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) from the breathtaking Italian city of Rome. John Paul is kidnapped because he has one of the richest, but unfortunately, meanest grandfathers in the world - J Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer).

The kidnappers demand a ransom of 17 million US dollars. We follow the Getty family’s trials and tribulations as Gail (Michelle Williams), John Paul’s mom, tries to persuade her ex father-in-law that his grandson’s life is worth this amount, which he can easily afford but refuses to pay. He does however agree to send his security consultant Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to Rome to delve into the situation. Scott delivers a gripping tale with more twists and turns than any Italian country road. Each time you relax into the film, there is another development in this expertly paced story that fills every one of its 132 minutes well. This movie had to undergo extensive reshoots as Kevin Spacey was originally cast as J. Paul Getty. Due to serious sexual allegations against the Hollywood heavyweight the director chose to recast Christopher Plummer in the role. Having now seen the film I wonder why the Canadian was not the original choice. A basic to intermediate level of Spanish would be useful as there are several scenes in Italian which only have the subtitles in Spanish. This week’s star of the show is Christopher Plummer as the miserly grandfather whose captivating performance has been rightly nominated for a best supporting actor award at this year’s Oscars - an honor he previously walked away with in 2012. In summary - definitely worth YOUR money. 8 out of 10.


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HEALTH

MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

Celebrating Women in Leadership: Global Wellness Initiative Join other women in a community of support, motivation and progress through local Lean In circles By Sara Jones

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re you a female in a wellness related industry? Would you like to have a framework of support, motivation and encouragement around you while you learn new business and leadership skills? Read on. The Global Wellness Institute Women in Leadership Initiative was created to encourage women to form circles of support and encouragement using the Lean In framework, and for companies to empower and support women in their workplace ensuring they provide equal rights and opportunities.

In wellness and spa, the workforce is often largely female, however, the industry is still disproportionately represented by men at the top. LeanIn.Org was founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to empower all women to achieve their ambitions. Lean In Circles are

small peer groups of 8-15 women who meet regularly to share, learn and grow together. Lean In provides meeting plans, discussion points, and valuable content for motivation, innovation, leadership and goal setting. Having started my own Lean In circle in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, I had the idea to take it further throughout the wellness industry and I approached Susie Ellis, Chairperson & CEO of the Global Wellness Institute. My vision was to have Lean In circles across the spa and wellness industry globally so women at all stages of their career have guidance and support, something I didn’t always have during challenging times as a young female entrepreneur. In wellness and spa, the workforce is often largely female, however, the industry is still disproportionately represented by men at the top. We have so many amazing female leaders in the spa and wellness sector, I feel that this is the ideal place to encourage more female leadership and equal opportunities. Learn more about this initiative and starting your own Lean In Circle here: https://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/ women-in-leadership-initiative Sara Jones Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert, Spa Consultant, Speaker and Founder of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine www.spawellnessmexicaribe.com GWI Initiative Committee Members / Photo: Sara Jones

Smile design / Photo: Provided by Coral Dental

Smile Makeover By Coral Dental The Smile Design, also called ‘Smile Makeover’, involves all procedures aimed at improving the appearance of the smile. Discussion about Smile Design has become more frequent than any other treatment in oral health. In recent years, dentistry has evolved rapidly, thanks to the exponential advance of technology. Materials, equipment, etc. have been developed that have improved the precision and effectiveness of our treatments. General and specialized dentistry In this context, the search for a smile is not only focused on recovering health and function, but also on obtaining the optimum aesthetics or the perfect smile due to the era of the image that is experienced worldwide. Making a good impression is essential to open up new opportunities and the smile is a fundamental part of this, a symbol of health and well-being.

Smile Design is a set of procedures necessary to change the color, size, shape and position of the teeth taking into account important aspects such as the shape of the face, the color of the skin and the general appearance of the patient, in order to provide aesthetic harmony. For this reason the design of each patient’s smile is different and may require the intervention of one or several specific areas for example: • Professional dental cleaning • Teeth whitening • Porcelain veneers and zirconia crowns • Orthodontics • Gingivoplasty (aesthetic gum contouring) To achieve this goal, diagnostic aids such as photographs of different angles and radiographs must be available to make a projection according to the needs and expectations of each person and present a sample of the possible result. Once the Smile Design project is done, its execution is very simple and each time with less invasive and painless techniques. Contact your dentist and request an assessment and enjoy a Hollywood smile.


MARCH 7 - 20, 2018

ANIMAL WELFARE

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Celebrating Women in the Community:

Laura Raikes

By Gail Collins

Lisbeth with patient Dadia / Photo: Gail Collins

A Veterinarian in Playa -

Lisbeth Vasquez Garcia :`ZbglmZeeh]]l%Ebl[^maaZl_neÛee^]a^k]k^Zfh_ [^\hfbg`Zo^m^kbgZkbZgbgmablfZe^&]hfbgZm^]Û^e] By Gail Collins

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he first veterinary school was founded in 1962 in Lyon, France, but it was not until 1910 that the first female veterinarians graduated from the Cornell & Chicago Veterinary College in the USA. Only one of them, Florence Kimball, actually continued into this field of work and even by the 1960s only 5% of veterinarians were women. In the late 1980s, 12-year-old Lisbeth Vasquez Garcia from Mexico City told her family she wanted to become a vet. They all laughed and told her it was impossible; that was a man’s job and she should set her sights on something different. Ignoring this advice, she followed her dream and enrolled in the veterinary program at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Her male professors were still coming to terms with women studying in this field and held beliefs that they were not strong enough to achieve parts of the course, particularly when dealing with larger farm animals. Lisbeth worked hard to prove them wrong and gained their respect. Two years before completing her studies she fell pregnant. Juggling between being a mother, finishing the last two years of study and fulfilling the obligatory year of free social services work, was difficult - but she did it. Lisbeth came to Playa three years ago, arriving with only her husband and her car on a quest to find a better quality of life for their family. The daily four-hour commute in heavy traffic for work, and increasing anxieties about the safety of their young children in Mexico City had been taking their toll.

Playa has embraced me - it is a place where women can grow, although women native to the region are not always given equality or respect. But I think things are changing and women are beginning to open their eyes more and more to the possibilities of what they can achieve.

Laura Raikes from Wales, first stepped foot on Mexican soil in 2001 when she was 16-years-old. It was a hard-earned family holiday in Playa and her first time on a plane. She fell in love with Mexico – it’s people, sunshine, music, culture. So she decided to come back a year later with her mother. On the last night of their vacation, she felt as if she belonged in Mexico. Although she was in the middle of her college studies back home, she asked if the hotel had any suitable vacancies. They did. She returned to Wales for a brief goodbye to her family and friends and came back to Mexico armed with her worldly savings of £250, and the gift of new trainers and a transistor radio from her dad. He said she’d be doing a lot of walking and needed to stay in touch with what was happening elsewhere via the BBC World News. Triggered by the tragic accidental death of her pet cat Coco, and the rescue of a kitten (named Rambo) in the jungle only a week later, Laura’s plan to help the cats of Playa was soon born. She started volunteering at a local animal shelter and gradually her home became a refuge for rescued cats. Laura managed to persuade seven Playa vets to give two free surgeries a week towards her mission of preventing the birth of unwanted cats and dogs, as well as to raise awareness of adequate guardianship of cats and dogs. From these humble begin-

Laura, with tireless passion, vision and a lot of hard work, managed to grow Coco’s Animal Welfare into the excellent three-story, permanent clinic facility that exists today nings, and with tireless passion, vision and a lot of hard work, Laura managed to grow Coco’s Animal Welfare into the excellent three-story, permanent clinic facility that exists today. Now it is celebrating its ninth anniversary on Saturday March 24 with a cocktail party, live music and DJ at the Fiesta Inn, located on Tenth Avenue at 8pm. Tickets cost 250 pesos at the door and include two free cocktails! Coco’s have so far neutered and spayed over 28,000 animals. Laura has benefitted from a gift of land from an anonymous donor, the support of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), and The Dogs Trust in the UK. She has an amazing team of people who work for or give their time voluntarily to the clinic. Laura told me “As a woman - of this day and age - it is great to run such an organization. It is empowering and shows that women can succeed”.

Lisbeth Vasquez Garcia Veterinarian Within a week Lisbeth was offered work and she is now a full-time veterinarian at Cuatro Patas, a dog hotel, daycare and veterinary hospital located in Avenida Paseo Tikal. “Playa has embraced me,” she told me. “It is a place where women can grow, although native women to the region are not always given equality or respect. But I think that things are changing and women are beginning to open their eyes more and more to the possibilities of what they can achieve.” I asked her what she found difficult in life and she explained the heartache she felt when an animal had to be put to sleep. “The day I put an animal to sleep and feel nothing is the day I must stop being a vet”.

Laura with a rescued kitten/ Photo: Gail Collins

Riviera Rescue Riviera Rescue is a non-profit animal welfare organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming dogs and cats. We promote spay and neuter clinics, education and low-cost veterinary services.

Based in Puerto Morelos in the Riviera Maya of Mexico. Riviera Rescue saves lives almost every day, coming across the most desperate cases, rehabilitating them back to good health, and ensuring they are adopted into a loving home.

Riviera Rescue sponsors free spay and neuter clinics in Puerto Morelos to ensure families without resources and street cats and dogs are sterilized. Follow them on Facebook Riviera Rescue, and learn more about the amazing

work they do. If you are able to donate, it only costs $250 pesos per sterilization; Donations can be made at Oxxo to the Bancomer card number: 4152 3132 1738 4663 or via PayPal to rivierarescue@gmail.com


Edition 128  

The Playa Times is an English language, community newspaper in Playa del Carmen, Mexico aimed at providing useful and interesting informatio...

Edition 128  

The Playa Times is an English language, community newspaper in Playa del Carmen, Mexico aimed at providing useful and interesting informatio...

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