Yucatan: Gateway to the Mayan World
Tucked away in all of the huge list of things the State of Yucatan intends to do to boost tourism, we find a special tourist visa. We had already heard what we thought was just a marketing slogan (Gateway to the Mayan World) – but this is for real. It seems as if there is to be a special tourist visa under the heading of Route of the Mayan World. Mexico’s INM (the Federal migration agency) is already working with Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to establish the approved route and get this program underway as an international tourist attraction. One of the major cities on that route is going to be Izamal! We hope that the powers that be do their best to preserve the lovely quiet atmosphere of that lovely colonial town.
Huge Festivals in Our Future
All of this “getting ready for tourism” by putting a new face on just about everything turns out to have its roots planted in more than just getting ready for the tourists who are coming now… or the Chicxulub 2012 tourist crowds. We’ve got two years… until 2010 … to get ready for Bicentenario de Independencia de México and el Centenario de la Revolución Social . All of Mexico is getting ready to enter a clean-up, fix-up, paint-up frenzy and those are going to be festivals to remember. Yucatan also has a pretty good chance of picking up an extra $42 million pesos to add to the kitty to be used to complete our facelift and tourism infrastructure projects, most of which we hear will be spent in Izamal. Enjoy the holidays and then make your own strategic plan.
Chinese Cars Coming to Mexico
We hear that, by 2010, we will be able to buy a new Chinese car, built in Michoacan, for the tidy little sum of $7,000 USD. The Mexican partner in this enterprise is Grupo Elektra SAB, Mexico’s largest electronic-goods retailer. Automobiles follow the money and Mexico has a rapidly growing middle class that is ready to buy. We hope they are careful and remember the growing number of environmental and fiscal problems the U.S. now faces because of so many vehicles on the roads. Other than that cautionary reminder, we wish them well and hope that every person in all of Mexico has enough disposable income to make a decision about whether to purchase a new car or not. For more information click here.
Trains and Planes
Mexico will soon be a strong player on the world scene, with plans now for non-stop flights to and from China, as well as a new $7 billion USD port and railroad in Baja California Norte. The purpose of the new port is offer an alternative to the crowded California ports. It will connect to transportation systems in the U.S. via 217 miles of new railroad. Reports now are saying that the current government in Mexico plans on building a total of 5 new ports and expanding 22 existing ports during its tenure in office.
The Price of Lemons: Feast or Famine
The price of lemons is all, evidently, a function of demand. They’re up… They’re down… What a ride! During Day of the Dead celebrations, lemons were going for $70 MXN for one box (17 kilos/35 lb). Now, they’re $50 MXN for one box. American importers will be here in December and the price will go back up during the holidays. It is expected to skyrocket to $200 MXN a box during Lent. The price of sweet oranges is evidently just as volatile. Citrus farmers must have nerves of steel to be able to live under that kind of stress, but they seem to take it in stride and think of their profits in terms of the total season, rather than in terms of any single segment. Yucatan Living wishes them all the best and hopes they see that $200 a box soon.
Santa Claus Hats (Green & Blue), $14 pesos
For several years now, there have been signs of Christmas becoming more and more commercialized in Yucatan. And now Izamal has taken on the Christmas market as its own. Take a little ride out to Izamal, where you can now buy any kind of Christmas tree decorations you want – including Christmas lights that look like clusters of grapes… and where you can buy Christmas trees that are from 20 centimeters to 1.3 meters tall… plus toys and jewelry… It looks as if “commercial Christmas” has arrived in Yucatan to stay. Who would have ever thought that Izamal would become a Christmas shopping destination? We just hope that they are selling as many Yucateco-made products as possible and that the Christmas season is a prosperous one for the vendors of Izamal and their new markets.
Progreso’s Ecology Kids
Where do you want to live with you are very old and at the mercy of whatever young generation is in power at the time? Take a look at Progreso, Yucatan. Encouraged by their parents and teachers, young elementary school students organized their own ecology march. They want clean beaches, clean air, clean water, and a clean town – and have taken to the streets with chants to insist upon it. And that isn’t all they’ve done. The children of Progreso get involved in all sorts of cleanup and recovery programs. They even pick up plastic on the beaches and turn it in to earn points for their school. The points are then spent on educational materials. These children are the Yucateco voters and elected officials of the future. These are the very people who will decide the fate of Yucatan for the rest of our lives. If you live here, consider volunteering just a little of your time and/or money to local children’s programs. If you are in another country, you can still help by donating to any one of several charities… or to our favorite educational support program: The Progreso Apoyo Program. Its the least we can do for children who are willing to march on behalf of environmental issues, and who are willing to work to resolve those issues so that we can keep this Yucateco Paradise in which to live, work, and play.
Yucatan’s History: Can Children Really Make a Difference?
Once upon a time in Motul, there was a politically active group of primary school children led by a little boy who was quite bright and had the opportunity to read French philosophy at an early age. When that group of children grew up, they continued to work together on their childhood dreams for their state and changed the future for Yucatan forever. Today, it is a picture of the man that boy-leader grew to be (Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto) that hangs prominently behind the chair of the Governor of the State of Yucatan. It is said that much of what “those children from Motul” did can be laid directly at the feet of their “progressive” fathers and a few politically active teachers. Today, we are watching the activities of “those children from Progreso”… and “those children” from quite a number of other towns and villages in Yucatan as well. When we look behind them, we see the beaming smiles of some pretty proud, “progressive” and politically active parents and teachers. These are exciting times. One gets the distinct feeling that the State of Yucatan is on the cusp of yet another great leap forward and it is a joy to live here and watch it all unfold.
Young Artists Protest Violence Toward Women
An exhibition and auction of paintings and photographs on the topic of violence toward women opened in the lobby of the Auditorium at the Olimpo this past weekend. The name of the exhibit is Púrpura Plástika, but this observation is more about the artists than about the event. These five artists are members of the Colectivo de Expresión Artística (Group of Artistic Expression). They are all young artists who share a strong social conscience and commitment to developing the best in their culture and state. Their paintings and photographs were created especially with this event in mind so that they could give the money from the auction to pay the medical bills and expenses of battered women. We often complain about day-to-day inconveniences and irritations we find in this culture that is not our own… but this culture produced these superior human beings. Please make a note of their names. Purchase their work and attend their showings. We need them, as part of the foundation of Yucatan’s next great generation, to continue to chronicle the social world in which we live, and to challenge us always to do better. They are: Janet Cabrera, Iván Baltazar, Chequia, Alberto Varela, and Gabriel Moguel. Read more on our Art in Merida page.
Let the Academic Olympics Begin!
Competition for spots on the 2008 Academic Olympic team has begun and five students from Tahmek have already qualified for the next round. We are constantly amazed at how well Yucateco students compete in international academic events such as these Olympic trials. For all the bemoaning the state of education everywhere today, Yucateco students seem to consistently bring home medals of excellence and letters of commendation earned in global competition. If memory serves correctly, last year the international judges made several very nice comments about the academic environment that produced our Yucateco contenders. Somebody is doing something right in Yucatan. Yes, its hard. Yes, its expensive. But these children have earned their accolades and bring honor and attention to their state. Yucateco children need all the support and attention we can give them!
Squid Season Fails Due to Bad Weather
We are sorry to report that squid season, at least in Sisal, has (thus far) failed due to bad weather. As a result, fishermen are to receive two weeks of “unemployment” wages, in the sum of $330 pesos ($30 USD) per week. In return for that support, they are expected to work on a number of community service projects, some of which include cleaning streets, painting schools, and providing general maintenance in classrooms. With bad weather headed back in our direction, all fishing continues to be intermittently suspended. We would certainly rather see that than to lose the lives of any more of our hard working fishermen. This will be the 8th norte of the season so far.
Parisian Fabric Store to Open in Progreso
The area in and around Progreso has long needed a really good fabric store and a branch of the popular Parisian Fabrics is going to occupy two whole floors in the building on the corner of Calle 27 and Calle 80. There are loads of excellent seamstresses in the area, and tons of great events just crying out for a new sundress, evening gown, or costume. Now, people from Progreso won’t have to drive to Merida to find a good selection of fabric for their projects or home. The store is set to open sometime in December, just in time for holiday dresses.