Merida News: Moving to Yucatan
15,000 NEW Extranjero Homeowners a Year!
Its official… According to Hyrván Martínez Zapata, president of the local National Chamber of Housing (Cámara Nacional de Vivienda (Canadevi)), extranjeros (that's us) are consistently buying approximately 15,000 houses per year (!) in the State of Yucatan. Remember – Immigration has already reported approximately 500 applications for temporary residence in Yucatan, by extranjeros, per month – and 90% of them are Americans!
This week we read that some of us retire here permanently, while some buy homes and continue to visit as "snowbirds". Some are wealthy and some are just enjoying life on ordinary retirement checks. As Yucatan Living has reported in earlier articles, and as you can tell from our latest interviews, all extranjeros are not wealthy and not all of us have one foot on a banana peel. We have many young extranjeros moving to Yucatan now, and hundreds of foreign students at UADY every year. All of us are very proud of this place we have chosen to call home. We are also grateful to Yucatan for having us, and will try to make ourselves useful as our new state continues to grow into the 21 st century.
Best Place to Retire
In its 5th Annual Global Retirement Index, International Living revealed that Mexico jumped four places to become the world's top retirement haven, combining old-world charm with top-notch healthcare. Despues de (after) Mexico comes Ecuador, Italy, Panama, Australia, Malta, Spain, South Africa and Malaysia.
"Mexico offers the perfect mix of centuries-old traditions and contemporary lifestyles. Moving to Mexico means you can still have all of the amenities you grew accustomed to north of the border: cable TV, high-speed Internet, and modern home appliances..."
Laura Sheridan, International Living's managing editor, said in a statement. Clinics and hospitals are staffed by expert physicians, and medical care and prescription drugs cost a fraction of what is charged in the United States, the magazine said. We just want to say that we've known this for a few years now... and so have a lot of others. Now the news is out officially... which probably means real estate prices are going to go up and more people will be coming here. Luckily, Mexico is a very big country and can absorb all those retiring baby boomers a lot more easily than Panama. As an aside, the United States ranks 19th in the report and gets particularly bad marks in the area of special benefits for retirees: tax breaks, discounts and freebies that various governments offer to residents, sometimes specifically to foreign residents in an effort to attract retirement dollars. However, the United States still scores well in safety and infrastructure.
Give us a few more years and all the Mexicans will be in the United States and all the gringos will be in Mexico!
$1,940,000 USD PER WEEK
After reading an article that said we will, for sure, have 400 additional cruises (about 16 per week) stopping in Progreso over the next six months – and probably that same weekly number for the next year… I noticed that the writer had also added enough information to calculate just what that means to Yucatan – per week. I got out my handy dandy pocket calculator and started punching buttons. Assuming 16 extra cruise ships per week… with an average of 2,425 tourists getting off of each ship… and spending approximately $50 USD each… What to my wondering eyes did appear (on my calculator screen) but $1,940,000 USD per week! That's a whole lot of money, but a great deal of it will be only a temporary windfall. Let's hope that everyone spends (or saves) this windfall wisely.
A Mega-Complex Coming to Caucel
It is often amazing to read the papers and open the announcements and invitations we receive. Sometimes there are surprises there that make us wonder what in the world is happening to our state. There was a time when, once outside of Centro and the north side of Merida, one entered a world that was routinely spoken of as “quaint”. Well, no more! In 2009, the Hines Corporation is investing $100,000,000 USD in a mega-complex to be built in Caucel. There will be an anchor store, cinemas, a sports center, a cultural center, and doctor's offices, as well as retirement homes for Americans and Canadians. We had to double-check that dollar amount. There's a lot of money coming into this area!
Valladolid to Get New Shopping Center
On the east side of the peninsula, Chedraui is investing $8,000,000 USD in a new shopping center in Valladolid, and it is to be built in the first quarter of 2008. This shopping center will also be home to Italian Coffee, Burger King, Big Home, Coppel, Hollywood Cinemas, Taco Inn, Famsa and Cajun Grill, among others. With the naming of Chichen Itza as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, the eastern part of our state needs as many new businesses and services as they can get. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are coming and many new residents are deciding to call the area home. It is a long way from Valladolid to Merida (or to Cancun) so this shopping center is good news for everybody who lives there or stops by to visit.
Valladolid is also reworking the areas around its central plaza, as well as the former Convent de San Bernardino de Siena and several other locations so that they will be “pedestrian only” areas during the times when cultural events are taking place. With many of the cultural events, including the Symphony, now traveling to outlying cities, it looks as if Valladolid is poised to become a bigger destination than ever. They are even going to have a light and sound show at Cenote Zací. Valladolid is definitely catching some buzz!
17 Tons of Sugar for Yucatan's Bees
OK, enough about money. Let's talk about something important!
In the southern part of our state, Hurricane Dean did a real number on the food sources of our Yucatecan bees and on the livelihood of the beekeepers. Nothing to worry about, the bees' version of Meals on Wheels has arrived with 17 tons of sugar to help the bees (and their keepers) get over this little bump in the road. We know that we have more bees than almost any other place in the world, but we have to wonder just how many bees it takes to eat 17 tons of sugar! To tell you the truth, all we really care is that the Yucateco bees have what they need and we hope everybody is back on their feet – or in the air – soon. Plant a flower – Feed a bee!
Potholes and Hills
For some of you who want to go exploring, especially toward the southeastern part of the state, please drive with caution. All of Yucatan is not flat and not all of the roads are good. In some parts of the southeastern part of the state, you begin to enter hills and low mountains (The Puuc Hills), and rain has a tendency to wash away parts of the roads. It is quite possible that you could top a hill and come face to face with a hidden pothole on the other side that you will not be able to avoid. This has the potential for serious accidents and damage to your vehicle.
Success in Reforestation
Everyone wants to live in a place that, when it discovers a problem, simply fixes it. About three months ago, Yucatan discovered the relatively recent, and quite significant, differences in temperature between just the north and south sides of Merida – because of the trees on the south side of town. Shortly thereafter, it was learned that we now get less rain in the eastern part of our state because of deforestation. “Swinging into action” is a mild term for what happens in Yucatan in the face of adversity. Last month alone, 50,000 cedro trees were planted in Tzucacab. These are not the cedar trees that we think of in the US, but a tree specific to this area that is deciduous and has wood that has been here used for furniture and doors for centuries.
The Villahermosa-Escárcega Highway
For you snowbirds who drive from Villahermosa to Campeche via Escárcega, the new road “makeover” is still only 65% complete and not expected to be completed until December 2008. Oh well, 65% is better than nothing, and the new parts of the road really are nice. Once you turn left at Escárcega and head for Campeche, the road is straight as an arrow and in excellent condition – so the instinct to speed will overtake you within just a few miles. Try to resist it, because the police on that road drive dark blue pickup trucks and you can't tell they've caught you on radar until its too late. But they're really awfully nice (from personal experience), so not to worry! Just trying to help you avoid the inconvenience!
Students and Sailors Cleaned the Beach
300 students from Cetmar de Yucalpetén, along with 30 sailors of the 9th Naval Zone, cleaned over 2 km of the beach at Playón Poniente. This is a project designed to get children involved in caring for the environment at an early age, in hopes that they will grow up to be responsible caretakers in the future. We remind our readers that many of our small towns and villages, along the beaches, simply cannot afford full time beach cleaning crews. If residents have the time, they have to take over these duties. Yucatecos work a six-day work week, so it is not realistic to hope that they can spend their few free hours picking up other people's garbage. Please, when you go to the beach, bring your own garbage home… and it would help if you would pick up and dispose of any other garbage you find as well. You'll be glad you did and will be setting an example that we can all admire.
Much Going On at UADY
If I was a betting person, my money would be on the State of Yucatan going to solar energy in the not too distant future. We have one of the stars of the field at UADY, physicist Lifter Omar Ricalde Cab, head of the Laboratory of Energy in the School of Engineering. He has a great program already underway and even European companies are showing interest in his work and the work of his students.
We hear so much about college students not getting their vaccinations and then getting sick at school. UADY is going to start vaccinating 1,200 students this coming Monday. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure, especially when the lives of our college students depend on it.
The Chess Club of the Independent University of Yucatan published the first issue of its new magazine Ajeuady this past Thursday. This publication will come out once a month and will, without a doubt, have a large readership because UADY, it seems, has a “remarkable number of chess players.” Miss Sara Cabrera Agüero is the current Presidenta of the Club de Ajedrez de la UADY (UADY's Chess Club). You can read all about them at the UADY website here. I suspect they are one of the reasons we have chess at the Bici-Ruta, as well as that the championship chess competition that is going on in Yucatan right now.