Merida News: Celestún, Hoctún & Honey!
Preservation of Mayan Culture and Language
Yucatan Living has been reporting for months that there seems to be a plot by the State of Yucatan to turn us into the Land of the Healthy. We have even more “evidence” this week! Did you know that in six municipalities (counties), there are programs going on, this very minute, to take advantage of the gardening and nutritional wisdom of the elderly? Yes. It seems that, in the Mayan culture, no one developed diabetes and coronary disease and the State has decided that we need their knowledge before we lose the older generations. If these “back to basics” programs are successful, they are to go statewide at the beginning of the year.
As part of these programs, the State working to rescue the Mayan language. Mayan is being worked into the vocabulary of the people in those six municipalities, including in the schools. We suspect that now would be a really good time to go back and take a second look at the free online Mayan language class from UADY. The address has changed since we last reported it, so be sure to bookmark the new free Curso de Maya Yucateco.
Casa de la Cultura de Yucatán in D.F.
In about three months, the new Casa de la Cultura de Yucatán will open in D.F. to serve the needs of Yucatecos who live there. But there are other reasons for developing a Casa de la Cultura de Yucatán in places other than Yucatán. According to the new Governor, this project will give those Yucatecos who do not live at home the opportunity to have their voices heard and to bring a different perspective to the table as Yucatán charts her course into the future. This sounds like a great idea. We're not sure that a Casa de la Cultura de Yucatán could be built in another country by the Government of Yucatán or by the Government of Mexico – but a private one surely could. We know we have many Yucateco readers in the States, so let's hear from you on this issue in the comments section. We know that there are groups in the United States that support towns here in the Yucatan... we are currently working with one of them to bring you more information about this. Tell us what you do to keep the Yucateco community and spirit alive in the towns where you are.
How Much is $800 Million Dollars?
Speaking of “really big numbers”… that's how much tourism money came into Mexico between January and July of this year – up 8.2% ($600 million dollars over the same period last year). Most of the visitors are American and French, and cite cultural wealth and hospitality as major factors in their decision to visit Mexico.
Rumor of Large Tourist Area Coming to Ría de Celestún
There are some things about which we cannot help but feel ambivalent. This is one of them. Tourist money pays taxes that help to improve the environment and the standard of living for everyone – but, far too often – large tourist projects result in permanent damage to the very ecosystems they were designed to support. We hear rumors of a large tourist area planned near Ría de Celestún. This is exciting and frightening all at the same time. We'll bring you more info when we hear more.
Congratulations to Hoctún on its 118th Anniversary
Hoctún is located almost in the center of the State of Yucatan, just far enough away from the city (30 minutes) to call it “country,” but close enough to come to town any time you like. The economy is fairly diverse, but most of it is based on tourism because there are several haciendas in the municipality. With fewer than 5,500 people in the entire municipality (county), Hoctún sounds much like that country retreat everyone has always dreamed of.
A visit to Hoctun makes a great weekend outing. If you go, be sure to visit the famous cemetery. The old section is fairly traditional, but the new section has some spectacular grave designs. There are several replicas of the Chichen Itza castle, painted all different colors and adorned with everything from flowers to cherubs and angels. There is also a 2.5 meter (or 8.2 ft) tall replica of the Latinamerican Tower in Mexico City. No crumbling cemetery here. Everything is beautifully painted, every year, and worthy of being a tourist destination all its own. You'll want to see the church too. There you will find the Black Christ of the Transfiguration, San Miguel, and the Virgin Mary. We'd like to mention that Ginny (Peregrina), one of our regular visitors, is from Hoctun and no, the Working Gringos did NOT make it to the Vaquería that was held there last weekend. We hope she'll forgive us and we'll try to make it next year or just drop by soon to visit her beautiful little town.
Constant Rain Hurts Fishing and Agriculture
Constant rain and low catches of fish, shrimp, and squid have 1,500 of the 4,500 fishing boats finding it cheaper to stay in port than to gas up and head offshore. This has an impact throughout the coastal economy because it affects everyone with whom the fishermen do business. The same is true for the farmers in the southern part of the state. They are currently losing their crops to flooding. We are just a couple of weeks away from the end of rain for this year, so that will help the fishermen. How the farmers fare will be something we have to watch. At the present time, shrimp fishing is starting to improve and prices are holding at $46 per kilo (about $1.90 USD per pound). When next you feel like complaining about seafood prices, consider that it takes as much as $500 pesos per day for these fishermen to keep fishing, and that doesn't even count the rest of their costs for maintenance, equipment, supplies, and personnel.
Honey Recipes and Beauty Treatments
After reporting on the 17 tons of sugar delivered to help Yucateco bees after Hurricane Dean, we went to the Honey.com website to see what is going on with bees and honey worldwide. Sadly, many U.S. hives are collapsing, even as consumption reaches record heights. However, on a brighter note, we found recipes for honey used both in cooking and as beauty treatments. We are at the beginning of the busy Fall and Winter social schedules, in Yucatan, so we can soon expect a whole lot of entertaining and backyard barbecues going on. Now is the time to try out these honey based barbecue sauces, and this is the brochure of honey based beauty treatments in PDF format. We hope you enjoy them.
UADY Partners with La Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia
La Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, is one of the premier universities in all of South America. Doctors Martha Nubia Velázquez Rico and Luz Stella Correa Botero, Deans of Human Rights and Social Sciences of the University of Antioquia visited UADY this week for the purpose of forming a partnership with UADY that will allow for the interchange of programs, students, and even teachers. How wonderful it will be if our students can enjoy an international learning experience without losing time or credits from their regular degree track.
Who Is Francisco Abreu Rosado?
Let's see how many people can tell us who this man is and what he does for a living. If you have spent any time in Yucatan at all, we can guarantee that, on sight, you know him well. He is 45 years of age, born in Merida, married, and the father of two daughters. He has been in the public eye since 1981 in both Yucatan and Quintana Roo. What does he do that causes him to be such a celebrity in both states, but especially in Yucatan? …and make no mistake about it – this man is a true “celebrity.” The answer will be in next week's News.