Midsummer's News in the Yucatan
Each week, we bring you our readers synopses of the most interesting articles we've read in the local papers. The middle of summer is a quiet time in Merida and the Yucatan. But we read a few interesting things this week...
The Start of the Next Six Years
On August 1, 2007, at 11:45 AM, Ivonne Ortega Pacheco was sworn in as the Governor of Yucatan. On hand for the swearing in ceremony were the members of the Congress of the State of Yucatan, as well as 10 governors of other states in Mexico and a representative of the President of Mexico. The visiting governors included: Enrique Peña Nieto of the State of México, Félix González Canto of Quintana Roo, and Amalia García Medina of Zacatecas. Representing President Felipe Calderón was Secretary of the Interior Francisco Ramírez Acuña. Governor Ortega Pacheco assured the people of Yucatan that she will be hard but just in her policy toward governing, and will not tolerate crime in any form. Her first act, as Governor of the State of Yucatan, was to cut the salary of the governor of the state in half. Yucatan Living would like to congratulate Governor Ortega Pacheco and wish her and her administration all the best between now and 2012.
Campeche: Tastes Like Chicken
Vegetarians, cover your ears. The State of Campeche is on its way to thriving markets in organic honey... and in crocodile skins and meat. Yes, you heard that right. Campeche is going into the commercial crocodile business. Apparently, the cienegas (swamps) near the Gulf are a good place to raise crocodiles. If crocodile tastes anything like alligator, then folks from the Gulf Coast of the U.S. will testify “Tastes like chicken!” We know some people that can’t wait to try some. And we are already trying to find out where you can buy some crocodile meat from Campeche!
Be Careful of Pets, People, and Horses on the Roads
When you visit in the beach areas and small towns of Yucatan, please be careful on the roads. These are very small towns, but it doesn't have to be a small town. Day and night, pets and children play in the streets everywhere from small towns to the centro of Merida. Elderly people walk to and from the market, and young people on horseback are used to being able to ride wherever they want to go without being in danger. When roads become congested, or when you are inconvenienced, try to remain calm. Six people were injured this week when a motorist hit a horse. Even hitting someone accidentally is a heartbreak for everyone involved, including the driver. Especially in the summer months, watch extra carefully for people and animals on the roads.
Motorcycle Helmet Law in Hunucmá
Everyone who lives here has seen whole families traveling on one motorcycle. Last week we advised our readers to have a sober designated driver when driving anywhere near a beach in Hunucmá Municipality (county). This week, Hunucmá has a new law. They have lost too many young people on motorcycles. Two more died on the very night this law was being passed. If you ride a motorcycle in Hunucmá, you must wear a helmet. This is actually a law now in all of Yucatan, but in Hunucma, they intend to throw added weight behind it and fine offenders heavily. And don’t even think about drinking and driving on a motorcycle in any part of Hunucmá Municipality. If you do, it is their express intention to hurt your wallet, badly. The new law also covers taking small children riding on motorcycles, but they did not give an age limit - so check with the police before you take a child riding with you. Everyone wants to enjoy living and playing in Yucatan, so obey the law and be extra safe on motorcycles.
Some Unsafe Beaches in Mexico
Unfortunately, there are still some unsafe beaches in Mexico due to pollution and bacterial contamination. In our area, Cozumel is having problems, as are the states of Campeche, Veracruz, and Tabasco. There is a report of a problem on one beach in Yucatan, but we could not find out which one. These are Federal reports for the first half of the year, but Yucatan has been cleared for “clean beaches” certification within the last two months, so we are not at all certain that we still have a beach on this list. We will investigate and keep you informed. In the meantime, do be careful on beaches in other states.
Its Pulpo Season in Yucatan!
Pulpo season begins the first of August, with lobster season following close on its tail (do octopus have tails?). In the beginning, the catch is relatively light, but continues to climb until it hits its peak in September and October. Of course, its always camarones (shrimp) season in Yucatan. Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, we have brown shrimp in the summer, white shrimp in the fall, and pink shrimp in the winter and spring. If you love shrimp, octopus and lobster, the overlapping peak seasons begin now – but it is really September and October in Yucatan that were created just for you.
Here are a few pulpo prices for you local bargain hunters. In Celestún and Sisal, pulpo is between $35 and $37 per kilo. Average that to $36 and you’ve got fresh squid for $1.67 USD per pound. Promarmex and Pescamex charge $40 per kilo and Yucalpetén (a.k.a. “King of the Pulpo”), which has more fishermen and more pulpo, charges $42 per kilo. That may sound like a good bit of money but, you must also consider that Yucalpetén is relatively easy to get to (saves time and gas) and that $42 per kilo is still only $1.77 USD per pound.
(The Working Gringos want to mention here that they don't support eating pulpo, having spent way too many hours diving and playing with pulpos, who are obviously both intelligent and beautiful sea creatures. But they support Khaki's right to both eat them and tell you about it.)
Heat Waves and Tornadoes
Between March 22 and July 26, nine people in Mexico, have died of the heat – 4 in Sonora, 2 in Baja California, 1 in Veracruz, 1 in Quintana Roo, and 1 in Tabasco. Please be careful and follow all the precautions we all know so well. Now is not the time to take foolish chances by ignoring the heat. Heat stroke happens without warning and you have no guarantee of surviving it. Even if you do survive, you could end up with brain damage. This is a great time to resurrect the tradition of the siesta. At least in Yucatan we only have to worry about the heat and a hurricane now and then. They have recently had several tornadoes in the Jalisco area, with property damage and 5 deaths. Give us a hurricane any day. You know it is coming and you can be prepared or get out of the way.
Beach Parking and Riding: BIG $$$ Fine
Evidently, asking people to protect turtle nests by not parking or riding on the beach was not sufficient. Now, ten inspectors (in effect, policemen) from the Federal Office of the Judge Advocate General of Atmospheric Protection (Profepa) will remove your motorized beach toy (4-wheeler, etc.) and/or your car or truck from the beach for you. Whether – and how – you get it back may be another story. I believe the word “seized” was used. The fine is 500 minimum wages ($22,500 MXP – about $2,083 USD). Ignorance of the law will not be accepted as an excuse, nor will crying. Crying, we hear, has already been tried and failed miserably. Human beings are often shocking in their level of self-centeredness. They want the baby turtles – right up until they want to park or ride on the beach. Then they could care less. Not to worry. The Judge Advocate General of Atmospheric Protection cares.
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