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Lots of Good Yucatan News


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 in Yucatan
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 Oil News from Mexicoyet 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 ButterfliesMonarch 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 International Congress ofIndigenous Education in Americathrough 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 CampecheGolf 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 TiculHospital at Ticul, Yucatan
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.

Expat Insurance

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.


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15 Responses to “Lots of Good Yucatan News”

  1. Any word if Walmart or any of their related sub-set branded stores are planned for Valladolid? Thier competition already clearly sees VAlladolid as a growing market and they are staking their claim to gain market share in Valladolid.

    Now that Valladolid has a Super Che and a Soriana’s – it is clear that other Mexican national stores recognize that Valladolid is a “regional trading center” and is a far bigger market than just those living insidethe Valladolid city limits.

    Tens of thousands of addtional people come to Vallodolid each month from all the surounding smalll towns and villages to do their shopping for both staple items and other household goods that never venture as far as Cancun of Merida.

  2. I’m sure the tourism numbers from the US will be down in 2009 due to travel warnings. I was shocked to see the national news warning spring breakers about traveling to Cancun. I know there has been a lot of recent violence in the northern part of the country but I would not hesitate to travel to Cancun or anywhere on the Yucatan.

  3. Last week the lead story in the Wall Street Journal was on the dangers of Mexico and only last week 60 minutes did the same story and it’s now everywhere that Mexico is dangerous and they say that while the US was watching Afganistan and Iran Korea & Iraq Mexico has become one of our biggest dangers, obviously due to drugs. With the Yucatan geographically removed from the rest of Mexico do you feel it’s a safe place to be. I know someone who lives in San Miguel Allende who says they don’t feel as safe anymore as they once did. I hope nothing spoils Merida, I was looking forward to becoming a part of the expat community.

  4. We are AMAZED at the stories coming out of the US Press these days. Yes, we acknowledge that there seems to be a lot of violence along the border. But in the rest of the country, and certainly here in Merida, things are not a whole lot different than they have been over the past seven years. As long as you don’t get involved in dealing drugs, you should be as safe here as anywhere else. We still feel perfectly safe here in Merida.

    On the other hand, we think maybe no one should be traveling to Cleveland or Philadelphia

    you get the idea…

  5. Oh I so agree with you, a couple of days ago someone from home (Canada) asked if it was safe here. Well I told them that I walk the streets at night I feel perfectly safe and in the time I have been here (since Christmas) there hasn’t been a single murder here, I then asked how many there was in Calgary during the same time. It seems to me that the US is being an abusive bully, if they can’t find anything good about themselves then they will go after someone else just to make them feel better. It would be best if the US and the western world would do better if they minded their own business and look after themselves rather than stiring the pot that will lead them to places they may not want to go. Love your site and I voted for you.

  6. The culture of fear has gripped the US. The media (by no means can you call any network or channel’s coverage of anything “news” anymore) issues all sorts of bizarre and over-inflated headlines, because they know that fear holds your attention for the advertisers who pay for the whole enterprise.

    FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is Fear itself.” Well, look at the USA today. No one taking a moment to form a rational thought about anything. Everyone afraid of their own shadow and a thousand imagined “threats.” What a shame. We’ve become a nation of people afraid of the monster under the bed.

    “Bravery” today seems to have something to do with spending lots of time on the firing range. Instead, real Courage has to do with continuing to live our lives as we always have — refusing to let fear enter our lives, to change our lives, and most importantly, refusing to let fear change our values.

    So, whatever. Scaredy cats: RUN!

    Here are some real facts: over 5,000 people were killed in the “drug wars” in Mexico last year. 90% of those were members of drug cartels. Nearly 10% of those were police and soldiers engaged in pitched battles against the cartels. Not even 1% were “innocent” or “accidental” victims.

    The current president of Mexico believes “Mano Duro” (strong hand) is the way to take care of the drug cartels, thus escalated violence. But the cartels wouldn’t be in it if not for the money. And the money is so lucrative due to the foolish policies of the US government. Drugs are being treated as a law enforcement issue… and now a militarized law enforcement issue, with major police forces having armored personel carriers, heavy weaponry, etc.

    What if instead, drugs were treated as a medical issue and a market issue?

    Law enforcement — state police, city police, county sheriffs, forerunner of the FBI, etc — did not end alcohol consumption during Prohibition. And alcohol is a lot more bulky than drugs. You can even buy drugs in prisons, so the “War on Drugs” has been a monstrous waste of money that has also enriched the cartels. Prohibition never puts an end to anything for which there is a market value. Never has and never will.

    New policies are needed. It’s time to stop using a hammer on everything and start using the full tool box.

    In the meantime, RUN from the violence in Mexico! RUN RUN RUN! It is so much safer in home bunkers. Are you sure you can trust your neighbors on Maple Lane…?? Just askin….

  7. Hi WG!! We are counting down the days (7, to be exact!) til we arrive in Merida. We actually had not heard of the “increased violence” in Mexico as we try to avoid the Doom & Gloom media. Even the spanish speaking channels which used to be relatively objective, before being bought out by the large newtorks, are now adopting the Fear policy. Drama sells. It’s nice to have a source to rely on for reliable information. See you soon! :)

  8. Nice and clear post as usual “CasiYucateco”… just to add an impression, in drug wars like in other wars you need “soldiers”.. when our beloved friends Yucatecos refuse to participate and don’t see this as a possible/needed way of life, Yucatan will be a safer place to live… and fortunately I think that we can be optimistic.. Saludos from BCN

  9. We have been here in the Yucatan for 3 months and feel very safe. We go out in the evening and mix with the locals almost daily. Keep up the good news. We love your magazine with all the useful information

  10. Well, I didn’t mean to be so strident, and I apologize for the sarcasm used above. It is a great frustration how far from reality all of our media have become.

    If you check the violent crime statistics for the USA, you will find that violent crime today is a small fraction of what it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet, if you compare the minutes spent on violent crime on your local news, you will find that two to three times more minutes of horrible video and grieving families are shown now than 30 years ago.

    And so what does that do to our brains? Well, it sets them in “Fear” mode full time. Yet it is not reality. Reality is that we are much safer and that violent crime is much lower today than previously.

    At one time, our television and radio networks were “run in the public interest” and were required to adhere to “the Fairness Doctrine.” So, the news and political reporting were generally accurate, if sometimes unbalanced in a view here and there. The networks were once ‘stand-alone’ businesses with real “news” divisions. Today, the networks are all owned by entertainment companies or other companies with other interests. And “the news” is nothing close to portraying reality. Check the news against statistical information and you find they are hyperventilating over literally nothing.

    Worse than that, though, “the news” is actively encouraging misperceptions in many areas. For example, they know that “threats” sell, so they hype threats: “Is your water poisonous? Are the “illegals” swarming your hometown? Will the terrorists finally take over the nation with a bus bomb when we least expect it?”

    So, my main point is that no one should take any single or set of “news reports” to heart. Look into the statistics. Look behind the reporting. Determine what is “reality” and what is hype trying to sell you a new chemical-laced salad dressing manufactured by another branch of the huge company that owns the network.

    Finally, the Yucatan has some mean tough police and there are tons of them. It doesn’t appear Yucatan (or the rest of Mexico) is going into “failed nation” status any time soon. The “drug wars” will continue as long as enormous demand from the US provides the money. And people are killed in wars.

  11. WG, I think you should put CasiYucateco on payroll! :) jk, but honestly, thanks CasiYucateco for your additional and very valuable information!

  12. Don’t think we haven’t considered it!! Thanks, CY!

  13. I’m an American living in the U.S. and I’ve read through this comment thread because my two 7 year old sons plus 40 of their classmates are considering taking a class trip to Merida and perhaps other areas like Celestun, Chichen Itza, and Valladolid (Tolum) in the Fall of this year. They would likely be in Merida for the majority of the time and do day trip excursions to some of the other places I named. I appreciate the comments about the overblown nature of the media coverage of crime in Mexico. I saw the piece on 60 minutes and have read several articles about the challenges of dealing with the drug cartel and kidnappings in Mexico and quite frankly, it does have me concerned eventhough I know the media tends to blow things like this out of proportion.

    Having said that, is there any reason that I should be concerned with letting my sons go on this trip to Merida and the other surrounding areas with their classmates? Would the fact that there would be a bunch of young American kids touring the town make them a more likely target for kidnapping or other crimes? Would you feel comfortable allowing your child to travel to these areas in a large group of American kids?

  14. We have four children (mostly grown now). I would not worry about sending them on a trip to any of the places you mentioned… except for one thing. Seven years old seems REALLY young to send on a trip with a bunch of other kids without their parents.

  15. To those of you who might be thinking about buying Jazzin Merida, it’s a great deal…a business with a lot of potential and probably well worth whatever David is asking for the place. I didn’t know the Legendary Yucatones were bundled with the deal. Now that’s Priceless.

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