News starting March 02, 2009.
Best Expat Blog: Don’t Forget To Vote!
Click the Blue Travel Blog Awards box at the top right of this page. Please vote for Yucatan Living as Best Expat Blog. We thank you for your support and will think of something wonderful to do for everyone when we win!
Mexico’s 2008 Tourism Numbers
Tourism statistics for 2008 are in and Mexico is the clear winner. Foreign tourists spent $13.3 billion in Mexico in 2008, up 3.4% over the year before. This came from 22.6 million tourists, which was an increase of 5.9% over the year before. In spite of the U.S. media’s current proclivity for Mexico bashing, even tourism in border areas was up 11%! Tourism investment in Mexico over the past 2 years has been $8.45 billion combined, but is expected to be $9.35 billion in 2009 alone. We invite everyone to “come on down” and explore the wonderland that the approximately 1.2 million Americans officially living in Mexico, plus probably several times that many living here on tourist visas, plus millions of other foreigners from around the globe who are living here – plus 22.6 million actual tourists have already found. Mexico is safe and the hospitality is unequaled!
Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB
Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB will invest $807.7 million dollars in 252 new stores and restaurants in 2009, up from 182 new stores in 2008. The Mexican WalMart is now in 224 cities and have their eye on 147 cities they have not yet reached. As of the end of 2008, Wal-Mart de Mexico had a total of 1,204 stores and restaurants throughout the nation. With sales up by 11% (to $245 billion pesos) and net profits up by 5% (to $14.67 billion pesos), stockholders enjoyed a dividend of 35% of the net profit. Visit the Wal-Mart de Mexico website and be sure to click on each of the business formats across the top to see all of the different types of stores and restaurants they have in Mexico. You’ll find Bodega Aurrera, El Portón, and Superama, in addition to WalMart, all of which are represented in Merida.
Mexico Discovers New Oil Field
Inland, on the border of Veracruz and Puebla, Mexico has discovered an oil field that is equal to 78% of the reserves of Canada, 50% of the reserves of Saudi Arabia, and equal to the reserves of Iran, and 3.8 times the size of Cantarell. Unfortunately, the technology to reach most of the oil in this field has not yet been developed, but that will not stop Mexico from extracting 18 million barrels of oil from these fields over the next 30 years with existing technology. The name of the field is Chicontepec,so be sure and watch for it in the news.
12 Jackup Rigs Coming to Campeche
For years, Cantarell has been touted as one of the largest oil fields in the world, but soon to run out and leave Mexico in deep trouble. That is “sort of” true. What has really happened is that most of Cantarell is in shallow water in the bay and Mexico has gotten used to picking up the oil as if it is money just lying on the ground. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t oil in deeper water and that’s what the jackup rigs are going to be used for. Read the story here.There may be a bit of flailing about and lamenting over the added expense of getting to new oil but between Chicontepec and deeper water off of Campeche, it is far from time to count Mexico out of the oil game.
Nissan Moving Production to Mexico
Nissan says it will save money by producing the small cars it sells to the Middle East in Mexico. They find that shipping to the Middle East will be cheaper as well. Nissan already produces the Tiida compact and the Sentra sedan in Mexico. Honda is talking about moving research and development overseas, as well as increasing overseas production. Toyota is talking about doing the same thing. We well remember when jobs were leaving Mexico in droves, headed for cheap labor in China and India. We also remember when, in no more than a couple of years, those same jobs came back to Mexico because of the stable, well trained workforce found here. We are pleased to see jobs in many areas of manufacturing either continuing to return to Mexico or developing new industries here.
Illegal Logging Still Threatens Monarch Butterflies
They hang from the trees in clusters to sleep and then, when the morning sun touches their wings, they rise in a cloud of orange and black. As I read this story, we wondered why no one is introducing solar cooking to the poor who are using wood for cooking? Solar ovens are virtually free to make and free to use. Not only would they eliminate one of the reasons for the decreasing monarch habitat, but they would improve the quality of life for the people as well. Depending on tourism pressure to save this miracle is all well and good, but practical solutions are needed – and quickly. Otherwise, there is a clear and present danger to the future of Monarch butterflies in Mexico.
How to Make a Solar Oven
Since we wondered why the solar oven hasn’t been introduced as a means of stopping the need to use forests for fuel, we thought we should give our readers a link to this handy little invention. Read about making solar ovens HERE. For an entire list of links, recipes and “how to” articles, including one from our own Naturalist Jim Conrad, go HERE where you will even find instructions for making a solar food dehydrator.
For Sale: Jazzin’ Merida
David Abahari, owner of Jazzin’ Merida, is leaving Merida to go to the States and develop his own creation, Legball, into an Olympic sport. David is leaving in early April and, between now and then, he either needs to find a buyer for Jazzin’ Merida or liquidate all the furnishings and stock. From what we understand, the legendary Yucatones come with the sale so, if you are at all interested in owning this fine establishment, do stop by and visit with David.
Congress of Indigenous Education in the Americas
250 representatives from 17 nations will meet in Valladolid from Feb. 25 through the 28th to discuss projects and proposals for preserving the culture of their indigenous populations. Participating nations include: the U.S. Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador, and Columbia, plus Portugal, France and Iran. Topics to be discussed include the learning patterns of indigenous cultures, plus educational patterns that support local cultures and economies. Representatives of both local and national indigenous organizations will participate in this congress. The State of Yucatan already provides intensive educational opportunities for Mayan children to learn about their history and identity, including the teaching of the Maya language in schools. Traditional Mayan medicine is now supported and both television and radio provide indigenous programming. We are already seeing a change in attitudes and in the quality of daily life in our state because of these programs. One can only imagine what a difference it will make when all nations finally decide that their indigenous cultures are treasures worth saving.
Ecological Golf Course in Campeche
Like all good tree-huggers, we were properly horrified to learn about the huge Campeche Playa Golf, Marina Spa Resort that is well underway in Campeche. We were pleased to learn that they are building the only ecologically sound golf course in all of Latin America. On this Jack Nicklaus Signature course, they have built a number of water features and have a system of recycling and filtering that ensures there will be no damage to local flora or fauna. Read all about it here. The Spanish developers of this resort are well aware that a quick profit is not the goal. Instead, they have opted for responsible sustainability and we wish them well.
Young Expat in Campeche
This week, we found a blog by a young man who fell in love with a young lady from Campeche. He got a job teaching English and moved to be near her. They are now married and building their future. Read all about their life in Campeche (including pictures of their wedding) in their blog: Mexican Massey.
Volunteer Opportunity In Yucatan
This is the second time we have run across a wonderful organization called Original Volunteers – this time, on Facebook with the member name Original Volunteers Yucatan. They have an open group on Facebook, so anyone can join and ask them about our area before taking the plunge. We decided to revisit the home page of Original Volunteers and found that they have wonderful projects for teaching English to children right here in Merida! Their fees are very reasonable, $390 USD per year for access to all available placements and $68.41 USD per week for a recommended stay of 2 or more week placements in Merida. These trips include accommodations and this page tells all about the trip and what the volunteers do while they are here. If you know of a young person, at least 18 years of age or older, please pass this opportunity on to them….and, if you are the parent or grandparent of such a young person, just how “cool” would you be to give a few volunteer weeks to your child or grandchild as a graduation or Christmas gift?
The Hospital at Ticul
We do not often get updates on community hospitals, but the hospital in Ticul is just doing too well not to sing its praises. At the present time, the hospital in Ticul is on its way to delivering at least 5 babies a day. They are an acute care hospital and have a complete surgical staff. The hospital serves a total of 10 communities, both in Yucatan and in Campeche, where it serves the health care needs of Campechano civil servants and the Mennonite community that lives just across the state line in Campeche. We would like to congratulate all of the health care providers at the community hospital in Ticul for a job well done. We hope they get a little well earned relief when the new hospital at Tekax opens. They certainly deserve it.
Motul Health Fair
One can hardly find a health fair in Yucatan in which the Rotarians are not involved and such was certainly the case in this week’s health fair in Motul. This fair stressed HIV/AIDS education and testing, but also included education about mental health, dentistry, blood pressure checks and even spa treatments, such as manicures, pedicures, and massages. Preventive medicine is sweeping our state as people understand that prevention is far cheaper, in terms of both money and suffering, than is succumbing to preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, coronary disease, and diabetes. Thanks to all of Yucatan’s Rotarians for all they do for the people of our state. And for anyone interested in HIV/AIDS education, testing and prevention in the Yucatan, let us point you to the non-profit group, Brazos Abiertos.
Editorial: Mexico Bashing
This week, we have heard every kind of irresponsible rumor about Mexico that anyone can imagine. The last one was that Mexico is on the verge of civil war. We were going to write a response, but decided against it. We try very hard to be diplomatic at Yucatan Living and fear that diplomacy and civility would be the first casualties of our rebuttal. We would, however, like to express our profound disappointment with the members of the American media. Failing nation? Civil war? Outrageous! We would like our friends and families to know that we are all safe and happy in Yucatan, no matter what your media fabricates to the contrary. We have expressed our frustration with the current escalation of Mexico bashing to the office of our new President. If others would like to do so as well, Click Here.