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News as Merida Waits for Dean

Hurricane Dean PreparationsIts All About Dean

The news of the week is, of course, Hurricane Dean. Those of us who have been through a category 4 hurricane in Yucatan know how to prepare and what to expect. But if you are new in the area, we want to make sure that you will be okay. We are not so worried about the people who live in the city. But we are more worried about those on the beach. Secure everything you can and then either come to friends in Merida or to one of the many shelters provided by the Department of Civil Defense. The shelters for the entire state are all listed here. In addition, you can see in the photo to the left that the local Army is ready and waiting to do what needs to be done. There are army transport vehicles, ambulances, police cars and the governor’s SUVs are waiting in the Plaza Grande as the hurricane approaches. The government storehouses are almost empty now, having had all their stores already sent out to outlying villages across the state. Signs are being taken down all over town by crews working overtime and large plate glass windows are boarded up all over town.

Check back with Yucatan Living often, as we will post anything new that we find out.

No Shortage of Gasoline

PEMEX assures us that there is not going to be a shortage of gasoline or diesel fuel during this coming week. There is plenty of gasoline and diesel on hand now and more is on the way. There is a ship, unloading in Progreso today and tomorrow: 85,000 barrels of Magna, 21,500 barrels of Premium, and 41,500 barrels of diesel. Sounds wonderful – as long as there is electricity to operate the pumps. It is probably best to keep your vehicles full for the next few days. Please do not store gasoline in your home or vehicle. That is a bomb – and we don’t care who you know who has been doing it for a million years and nothing bad ever happened…it is STILL a bomb! [Note to local expat: Fred… tell them! Don’t do it!] However, make sure you have plenty of propane for your house and grill – and make sure your tinacos are full. If you can think of anything we have forgotten, do leave a comment and let us know!


Tourists from Quintana Roo

As in the last hurricane, there are going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 tourists in Cancun all trying to get a flight home at the same time. (The number of tourists in Merida has already increased… you can tell just by driving or walking around downtown). Yucatan, as always, will assist in seeing to it that the tourists are safely brought to our state and put on flights to their homes. Our governor urges tourists not to panic. Just keep up with what is going on and let Quintana Roo and Yucatan see about their own people in the countryside first. If you need to, come on over to Merida now, so you can be certain of having a hotel room. Everything will be fine. As expats in Yucatan, this sort of rescue and assistance is something we have watched with a deep sense of pride. Yucatan sees a job that needs doing and its done immediately. Read about the Working Gringo’s experience during Hurricane Isidore here.

Mama Turtle and the Dog

Strange things happen on our beaches at 3:00 in the morning. This past week, it was a dog barking on the beach at Chicxulub at 3:00 in the morning. When a resident went to check and see what the problem was, she discovered Mama Turtle headed up onto the beach, with a dog barking at every step she took. Unperturbed, Mama Turtle completely ignored the dog and went right on about her business. After Mama Turtle headed back out to sea, the lady watched over the nest until morning and called the authorities. They found 134 eggs in that nest, and only 7 were broken. The eggs were taken, for safety, to Cetmar de Yucalpetén, a refuge for found turtle eggs. From what we understand, it was a grand morning and all the neighbors and officials had a wonderful time rescuing the soon-to-be baby turtles.

Uxmal Nun's quadrangle gets a grantLike kids with a new toy and a whole pile of money…

We hear that Lourdes Toscano Hernández and José Guadalupe Huchim Herrera, Directors of the Archaeological Zones of Kabah and Uxmal, respectively, can’t seem to stop grinning these days because the government has given them what they deem to be “a whole pile of money” for restoration projects at Kabah and Uxmal. Bless their hearts, they really were not given all that much money, but they love their work dearly and are so genuinely thankful for anything that helps to preserve these sites. The two seem unable to stop talking about how wonderful their respective sites really are and how glorious they will be when finally restored. The reporter was as entertained, by their enthusiasm, as he was educated by their knowledge. We would like to thank Reporter Martiniano Alcocer Álvarez, who captured the essence of these two men and brought their innocence and sense of wonder to us. It is so good to read about new heroes of Yucatan, written by a Yucateco who has the heart to recognize them.

Monkey Captured and Safe in Campeche

It seems that a spider monkey got into Centro in the City of Campeche and was running around on the roofs of the downtown buildings. No one could catch him and he wasn’t eating or drinking – and then it started to rain. Fearing for his safety, residents called the Fire Department and the monkey was soon led safely away.

More Foreigners Choose Merida As Their Home

A tranquil afternoon siesta spot in MeridaIf you read our Interviews section, you’ll see that there are plenty of extranjeros in Merida, but this is the first time we have seen an article in el Diario about why we move here, where we live, and how many of us there are. They have it quite right when they say we move here for the peace and tranquilidad (tranquility). They are also correct in assessing just how much we appreciate history and the fact that we want our historic homes returned to their own glory. We know these Centro buildings can be remodeled into modern showplaces but, if that’s what we wanted, we probably would have stayed in the States. There is no way to describe the feeling you get when you walk through your own 100+ year old “little piece of history.” As for how many of us there are? When one architect, in a city that can probably boast many hundreds of architects, has restored 40 historical homes in only 4 years… my dear – that’s a whole lot of Americans. But no one seems to know the exact number.

From the newspaper, we also learn that we like to have neighbors and that we prefer having Yucateco neighbors, rather than living in American compounds, as is common in other parts of Mexico. We also learn that we prefer to live in Santa Ana, Santa Lucía, and Mejorada. Our other favorite places to live include García Ginerés and Itzimná, both of which are quieter than the first three areas, which are in Centro proper. We love Merida because – there’s that word again – tranquilidad… plus excellent hospitals, climate, and location. Most of us are older, retired folks – but the new crowd is getting younger. This comes after several publications, including the New York Times, named Merida as one of the five best places in the world to live and invest. We have been declared to be pretty nice folks and everybody seems to like us – but isn’t being nice one of the few requirements that Yucatan has ever had for any of her residents?

We hope that all of Yucatan knows how much we appreciate the opportunity to live here and that we will do all we can to help Yucatan continue to be one of the best places on Earth to live.

Population, In Many Places, To Double in 10 Years

We understand that the population of many cities on our peninsula will double in the next 10 years. Some towns will not be affected, like Progreso, because there is simply no place to grow. But other places are out in the countryside and located on some of these wide new highways. This invites everything from new business to folks who are trying to escape the urban sprawl of cities. They say that Cancun is going to pass Merida and will have almost a million people living there by 2017, while Playa del Carmen is going to grow to over 365,000 people. Having known and loved a smaller, quieter Yucatan, we can only hope that tranquilidad continues to be the mantra of all who decide to make their home here.


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15 Responses to “News as Merida Waits for Dean”

  1. Be safe, be careful, Yucatan. You’re in my thoughts.

  2. No matter what the models and satellites and all that says, it’s still NO FUN waiting out a hurricane. I am back in the US now (I think you may know that) but the anticipation up here for me has been pretty nerve-wracking. I know my friends down south in Cancun, though not right in the path of the hurricane anymore, are ready to be through this thing already. The waiting is almost the hardest part, so hang in there and know I am stressing right along with you!

  3. Having been fortunate enough to discover the very special qualities of Merida and its people (last February), I pray for all of you to be safe during this weather event. CNN only mentions Cancun and Chetmal, with an occasional map of Mexico indicating the dot for Merida. Can it be that the network is only concerned with news of places owned by American hotel giants???

    Georgette

  4. We’re watching the Spanish channels here in the states. And, checking all over the Internet. It appears the worst hit areas on the Caribbean coast are going to be near Mahajual and Xcalak, then inland towards Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Chetumal. The hurricane’s remnants should exit the peninsula somewhere around Campeche.

    Merida is, apparently and at this moment, on the north edge of the worst of it. But there are a whole lot of poor folks in the interior and Caribbean who will be hit hard.

    We’ve already given contributions to Mercy Corps, which has prepositioned supplies. We hope, somehow, that this Category 5 storm – the most powerful possible – harms few people and leaves all with a means for a living.

    We will know the whole story tomorrow afternoon, when the worst is forecast to be past.

  5. Thanks for that update! We’re still waiting here. We just took the dogs for a walk around the block. The air is heavy, but rather still. Every once in awhile, there will be a nice light breeze, and some clouds scudding across the sky. But the weather is quite wonderfully lovely right now. I’m sure it will change sometime during the night or first thing in the morning.

    In the meantime, there’s nothing much to report here except a lovely summer night!

  6. Good luck to all of you in Merida and the surrounding areas.

    All of us are holding you in our thoughts, and we hope that the wind and water will just be a brief and cleansing respite, instead of a frightening and damaging occasion.

  7. Hi i am from North Carolina and i just recently went on a mission trip to Kanasin Mexico. After watching the news tonight i am worried and concerned about everyone in Kanasin and anyone in the route of Hurricane Dean. I would like for everyone to know that you are in my prayers. Just as i said the day i left ” I will be back”. God Bless. I love each and everyone of you!

  8. 3:04 AM Awake finishing writing a documentary – and watching Dean make landfall. Eye hit at Sian Ka’an… north of Chetumal – no people there, but it won’t take long to cross the marsh. It’s gonna be a rough day in South Yucatan.

  9. Thank you so much for keeping us informed about what is happening. We are quite worried about everyone! The news here in the U.S. barely talks about anything but Texas getting it. But now that they are out of the threat, they are having nothing else to talk about but Yucatan. I wish they could pronounce it properly. Every time I hear them say it I cringe. Even with the hurricane, I still we were back there with you guys! Maybe by the next hurricane we’ll make it.

  10. yes, the waiting is the worst! To get my mind off the impending storm, I was reading with interest the reference to the Diario article about extranjeros here. Do you remember which day it was so I can find it? Thanks so much for all your fine work…I really count on you for so much. And if you were referring to expat “Fred” as the former fire chiefn and not stocking gasoline……..thanks!! Jan

  11. Thank you for keeping us posted! God bless!

  12. Jan,

    There were 2 articles in el Diario about extranjeros, both on August 13, in the Merida section of the paper. They were both nice articles and, as a gringa, I very much appreciate that the extranjeros are actually being recognized in a positive manner. There are tons of us here and it often feels a bit like social schizophrenia to include us completely in daily life but then “officially” completely ignore us… so its nice to see acknowledgement that we exist and are an asset to the community.

    http://www.yucatan.com.mx/noticia.asp?cx=11$3501000000$3616945&f=20070813

    http://www.yucatan.com.mx/noticia.asp?cx=11$3501000000$3616594&f=20070813

    …and yes – I was referring to “Fire Chief Fred” – his “authority” was all I could think of to back me up when warning people about stockpiling gasoline. This happens more at the beach than in the city – especially among Americans who are used to hoarding things that are going to go up in price. That sort of thing is not necessary here. Gasoline is a dangerous thing to stockpile in any kind of weather – but in the heat and humidity of Yucatan? Its insane to do that. Not that I want to put your husband back to work – but have you ever considered developing a mini-course on fire safety in Yucatan? And maybe electrical safety “issues” too?

  13. I’d like to know if there are responsible and trusted persons who can be hired to drive our rental car from Playa De Carmen to Merida on Saturday, November 29th around 10 or 11:00 am. or If some other travelers would like to accompany us on this trip. We would like someone who speaks English and Spanish and is familiar with the area.

  14. Karen,
    You might try advertising your needs on one or more of the Playa del Carmen forum websites.

  15. Here I am in Victoria,B.C;Canada reading all these Expat’s messages and enjoying them.We’ve had about a week now, of sub-zero weather, still blowing and snowing about a foot or more – wind chill temperatures about -40 or -50 Celsius. Damn cold.

    Wishing I was in Mexico now!! Hahahaa. I have been all over Mexico and love it very much. Been in Merida about 4-5 years ago, our travel group rented a beach-house further out the beach from Progreso, really quite nice. I like a city to be anchored in as I feel there is more to do. I like my ballroom dancing, fairly new at it but did have a dance in the big city square, dancing around the park-fantastic !! Thinkingof renting an apartment in Merida, for 2 or 3 months, during the worst of our cold winters. I was a member of International Living a few years ago but just receive their weekly emails now.I speak very little Spanish,but always managed to get along most times.Any information on this topic would be appreciated. I’m a single retiree, a little slow on the computer – but can always answer any email. – Thank you very much – Merry Christmas – Bob Brown

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