News: Tracking Turtles and Volunteers
U.S. Passport Book or U.S. Passport Card
Apply for one or both. The U.S. Passport Card cannot be used for air travel. To see the differences between passport books and passport cards (including costs), visit their website here. If you are in the U.S., find the address of the nearest application office here. Travelers can still use their photo ID or driver's license and their birth certificate to travel by land. The projected date of change for this rule is now June 1, 2009. And while we’re on the subject, if you are a US Citizen already living in the Yucatan and need your passport renewed, do it here! The turnaround time for renewing a passport at the local consulate is less than two weeks.
Volunteer Opportunity: Red de Varamientos de Yucatan (REVAY)
We are always asking "But what can we do to help?" Here is a fun and rewarding way to contribute to this wonderful state we love so much. We can volunteer to help in a stranding of marine mammals or adopt a species as an individual, a family, or a class. REVAY is a nonprofit organization that contributes to the conservation of the marine fauna (mostly mammals) of Yucatan through rescue efforts when animals are stranded, caught in nets, sick, injured or orphaned; and through the study of the causes of such phenomena. The REVAY website will tell you more about this wonderful organization and about ways you can help whether you live in Yucatan or haven't quite made it here yet. There is an English translation of the site here. REVAY is available to give workshops and seminars to organizations in the area, so this might be something of interest for some of our local expat clubs and groups. If you are in Merida, you can visit the offices of REVAY at Calle 53-E # 232 x 44 y 46, Fracc. Francisco de Montejo, or call them at +52 (999) 946-5558.
Sea Turtles: Satellite Tracking
To watch the path that some of our sea turtles follow, go to seaturtle.org and just click on the tagged turtle's name. The first page has all of the tagged turtles on it, but clicking on individual names will let you see how they have wandered (and are continuing to wander) around the coast of our state. Our turtle population is in trouble and now is the time to redouble our efforts to save them.
Ria Lagartos and Celestun: Parks Watch
Both Ria Lagartos and Celestun are in danger of environmental damage. For a better understanding of both parks, Parks Watch provides a comprehensive discussion of the threats to each, along with recommended solutions. For Ria Lagartos, click here and for Ria Celestun, click here. Now is the time to step in and do all we can to ensure that our coastal areas are kept safe from the tragedies now endured by so many others.
Merida to Build 120 More Fraccionamientos (Subdivisions)
While all is not necessarily going smoothly, construction is continuing to move along toward building what will ultimately be 120 new subdivisions in Merida. There are currently 500 subdivisions in the municipality. Some of these new areas will include single family homes, while others will consist of condos. All will be complete and occupied by 2010. From what we can see, the city is expanding toward the west which is why such places as Ucu used to be "way out in the country" but are now "just around the corner." We hope that Merida is able to get a handle on the problems of urban expansion soon and that all of the residents of the new fraccionamientos are able to enjoy their new homes as quickly as possible.
Speeding in Yucatan
A word to the wise: Just in case some might still believe those poverty-stricken-Third-World tales that folks who aren't from here often tell each other, we think it is only fair play to let you know that quite a number of our little outlying towns now have brand spanking new police cars and the policemen who drive them can hardly wait to get out on the road. It is summer in Yucatan and we know the urge to speed on the open road. We also know that our policemen are very nice, but will give you a ticket in a heartbeat. So - be careful out there. We want all of our readers to make it back alive with no new speeding ticket stories to tell.
Exchange Rate Semi-Stable Below 10.0 MXP to 1 USD
Expats aren't having much fun these days and way too many of us are still looking wistfully back over our shoulders at 12:1. However, this doesn't mean that Mexico is no longer a good "deal." It certainly is, and will continue to be. One need only look at Yucatan Living's Events page to see that expats and tourists are weeping and wailing in the face of free, spectacular entertainment 7 nights a week. One need only look at the real estate section of the newspaper to see that we are complaining about high costs when the same size homes would cost us 4 times as much (if not more) north of the border. Whatever the current exchange rate, we're sure glad we're here! Since this news also includes a prediction that the situation will not change much over the next two years, we would love to hear any cost cutting measures being undertaken by our readers here in Yucatan. Don't forget to read Working Gringa's recent article about how to cut your electric bill.
Saving Money on a Mexican Vacation
With the exchange rate not quite as we might like it to be, it is time to consider ways of saving money for those of you who think you can't afford to vacation in Mexico. Not so! You can still come to Yucatan! Check our Events pages for free entertainment every night in the week - and read Working Gringa's article on eating lunch at local cocinas economicas here and here. In addition, if you are flying in, make sure that your departure goes out through either Cancun or Mexico City so you can be reimbursed for your VAT tax. This is a new program that is soon to reach all areas of Mexico through which visitors depart by air or by sea. You can read about the program and its expansion plans here. For shopping, be sure and watch our fiesta and trade show schedules on the Events page. What you save on Christmas shopping alone is enough to pay for a vacation to Yucatan! So - not to worry about the money crunch in other places. Come on down to the State of Yucatan and enjoy one of the finest vacation destinations in the world.
Register Soon: Fall Seminar: Green Homes & Renewable Energy in Riviera Maya
This seminar will present a series of topics, all of which are related to green homes and renewable energy in our area. The co-sponsors of the project are Yucatan Environmental Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization and RENEW Wisconsin, which is also a non-profit organization dedicated to renewable energy. For more about specific programs on specific days, check the Eco-Yucatan website.
Dates: 6, 7, & 8th of November 2008
Fee: $325 USD for all 3 days; $250 USD for any 2 days; $125 USD for one day; fee includes breakfast and lunch; register online here.