News starting January 19, 2009.
The Inauguration of Barack Obama
Merida English Language Library, in conjunction with Fiesta Americana Hotel, is hosting a very special event: The Inauguration of Barack Obama: 44th President of The United States of America. You are cordially invited to attend and view this historic event LIVE on CNN. The swearing in ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 AM, Merida time. This is a public event with seating limited to what is usually available at La Hach. Posters will be sold to raise money for the local Change is Coming group, which is doing community service in Merida (see below), so bring a donation!
Location: La Hach Bar, Fiesta Americana Hotel
Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Time: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Admission: Free. Coffee will be available for purchase at 10:00 AM. The bar will open at 11:00 AM. Food service will be available.
Change is Coming Group
Responding to the US President-Elect’s call to service, a group of expat Americans have met over the last month to prepare a service project for January 19, Martin Luther King Day in the US, and a day designated for service across the United States. As Americans abroad, we decided that we would participate by doing a local service project. On Monday, January 19, the group will present 3 library tables and 26 stools, all painted in primary colors by the group, to the Carlos Castro Morales grammar school, located at the corner of Calles 61 and 82 in the Centro. In addition, we will be bringing over 80 books donated by the group to add to the library, each with a bookplate that says that the books are a gift of Friends of Obama in recognition of his inauguration as 44th President of the US and includes a quote from him about the importance of education (in Spanish, of course).
The group intends to continue with more service projects, so if you are interested in knowing more, come to the Inauguration event listed above, or email Martha Lindley at martha [dot] lindley [at] gmail [dot] com. And by the way, ANY expat is welcome, not just Americans.
Update on Paying Your Yearly Dues
The Working Gringos got their new placas (license plates) this week, with a lot of help from the amazing Beatriz. They updated the article about paying yearly dues and fees (here) with the exact documents that you need to prepare to get your new plates, and a rundown on the process, so do read it again (here)if that interests you.
Update: Paying for Garbage Collection
Also, the Working Gringos wanted to pass on that the basura (garbage) company came by this month to get their $17 pesos for monthly garbage pickup service. Their service provider, Servilimpia, offered them a discount for one year and probably the other companies are offering the same. The annual fee for garbage pickup is $204 pesos ($17 pesos a month), but you can get 2 months free and only pay $170 pesos if you pay for the whole year. At today’s exchange rate, that’s a little over $12 USD for a year’s worth of garbage pickup… three days a week! The WG’s also wanted to mention that it’s customary to tip your garbagemen if you leave out a particularly large or heavy load of garbage, and at Christmastime. They tipped $100 pesos this year, and the guys were all smiles. Don’t forget to tip your garbagemen… they provide a much-needed and appreciated service!
La Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Yucatan
Now that we have a new Director, Juan Carlos Lomónaco, for the Symphony Orchestra of Yucatan, everyone wants to know where Maestro José Luis Chan Sabido has gone and what he is doing these days. After a summer trip to Venezuela to see their successful, nationwide juvenile orchestra system, the maestro came home and took over as director of what is now the "Daniel Ayala Pérez" Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Yucatán and our own, brand new State System of Juvenile Symphonic Orchestras. Young, aspiring musicians from throughout the state will now be provided with opportunity to grow and learn in the 21st century symphonic movement in Yucatan.
Maestro Chan Sabido replaces Roberto Tello Martínez, who had already assumed the position of Director of Centro de Música "José Jacinto Cuevas." Roberto Tello Martínez has accepted the responsibility for the project “The 20th Century Symphonic Movement in Yucatan.” His duties include the restoration and preservation of as many 20th century symphonic recordings as can be located, as well as the symphonic scores of Yucatan’s 20th century composers. Quality of life is one of the hallmarks of living in Yucatan and, with such men as these in charge of these grand programs, we can expect to enjoy far richer lives here than anyone could have dreamed. Yucatan Living would like to congratulate each of these men on their new positions and thank them sincerely for their love for and service to the people and the music of Yucatan.
Bodas Colectivas (Collective Weddings) in Chemax
In six collective weddings, in 2007 and 2008, almost 1,200 Yucateco couples have been able to finally get married. Many of these couples have been together long enough to have grandchildren, but never could quite afford the red tape that accompanies such legal proceedings. As a gift to these couples, the State of Yucatan is picking up the tab for all of the necessary documentation. The first of the 2009 Bodas Colectivas will take place on Feb. 13 and will be combined with a Tribute to Chemaxeño poet and songwriter Luis Rosado Vega on the 51st anniversary of his death. Most know this legendary poet and songwriter as the man who wrote Peregrina, the song commissioned by Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto for Alma Reed. The music will be performed by the Orquesta Típica Yucalpetén and it is almost a certainty that Jesus Armando will be singing Peregrina. Watch our Events for updates as to time and location as more information on this wonderful Bodas Colectivas and concert becomes available.
The Paralympic Center of Yucatan
Construction is finally underway on a world class Paralympic Center in Merida. This is a joint venture between the State, Centro Teleton (CRIT) and the future Center of Equinotherapy. The Paralympic Center will also boast an administrative building that includes a boardroom, a press room, and other offices. The center will also include a gymnasium, a semi-olympic swimming pool, a medical services area, a parking lot, a small plaza, and walking trails. The Paralympic Center of Yucatan will be the first of its kind in all of Mexico to boast facilities adapted for each sport specialty. As of now, our disabled athletes compete in other states, but soon, they will have the best of the best in Yucatan and world class events will be held here.
Recommendation for Sterilization of Dogs and Feral Cats!
As we all know, Yucatan is home to three species of marine turtles, and three centers that are dedicated to their protection and conservation. These centers are located in Sisal, Telchac Puerto and Dzilam de Bravo. The reproductive season for these animals is April through October, but that isn’t what caught our eye. During those months, environmental education is brought to the people, as well as monitoring the march of the babies to the sea. …and there’s one more thing we thought we would never see… the Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Medio Ambiente (Secretary of Urban Development and the Environment) has a program for the sterilization of dogs and feral cats that threaten eggs and turtles. We cannot tell you how much such a program was needed, or how thankful all those who work for the protection of these dogs and cats are for any assistance in this area. Our thanks to the Secretary of Urban Development and the Environment, as well as to SEMARNAT and PROFEPA, who also work to educate the people and protect the turtles.
Mexico: Minimum Wage: 2009
Last year, we were given the impression that there would be no more zoning of minimum wages in Mexico. This has not turned out to be the case. This year, the minimum wage per day in Zone A will be $54.80 pesos ($4.18 USD). In Zone B, it will be $53.26 pesos, and in Zone C (we are here), the minimum wage will be $51.95 pesos. Even though these are increases from last year, that does not tell the whole story. The minimum wage just rose 4.6 percent, but inflation is at well over 6 percent. For those who are not familiar with pay scales in Mexico, different labor groups’ customary wages are often spoken of in terms of how many “times” the minimum rate they are. See the next story for an example.
Federally Funded Low-Income Day-Care Program
The Programa de Estancias Infantiles is a federally funded program that pays daycare so that low income parents, especially single mothers, can work. In 2009, the government will pay daycare expenses for children between the ages of 1 and 3 years 11 months, but not to exceed 3 children per family. If the child has a disability, daycare payments will be extended to 5 years and 11 months. Households will receive $700 pesos per month, in daycare payments, if their incomes are up to 4 minimum wages. Parents with incomes between 4.1 and 6 minimum wages will receive $450 pesos per month. Households with incomes in excess of 6 minimum wages will receive no daycare assistance, which is a problem because even low paying jobs often pay just enough more than 6 minimum wages to push these parents out of the program. Unfortunately, households with very low incomes (part-time work, etc.) run the risk of having their children removed from the home and sent to live with grandparents or other relatives.
Shipments of Grain to Progreso Are Down
In 2007, 600 million tons of grain came into the Port of Progreso, dropping $2 million pesos into the local economy and providing 1,500 jobs. In 2008, only 450 million tons of grain came into the port and there were corresponding drops in tariffs and jobs. This drop is due, in large part, to the consistently increasing prices of fodder corn, corn for human consumption, sorghum, soya, wheat, barley and kidney beans. The same is expected in 2009, but Yucateco industrialists have decided to buy from other Mexican states, rather than continue trying to pay the high prices associated with imported American grain products. This will be a good thing for other states, especially for Campeche, which is struggling with the recession in their own state as well.
Campeche: Rules of the Road
There are a whole lot of Snowbirds and expats who drive through Campeche, either on their way to Yucatan or back. In the near future, there are expected to be quite a few expats who choose to make their homes in Campeche. Since this is the case, it is best that everyone is aware of the new rules of the road for Campeche.
The newest traffic law in Campeche has to do with outlawing tinted windows on vehicles, and even on motorcycle visors. The fine is $100 pesos “the first time.” In addition, when driving in Campeche, you need to wear your seat belt, do not talk on your cell phone while driving, do not throw litter along the highways, properly restrain children when they are riding in vehicles, and always keep the proper documentation with you (insurance, visa, passport, driver’s license, and registration). Appropriate fines are in place for those traffic infractions as well. Most are common sense rules that we are all quite used to so they should pose no problem for us at all.
Tinted windows on vehicles have been outlawed throughout the Yucatan Peninsula since the summer of 2008. For the most part, Merida follows the traffic rules of the State of Yucatan. A list of traffic infractions currently used in the State of Yucatan, along with their fines, can be found HERE.
For example, it is a traffic infraction, with a fine of 2 days minimum wage, to not wear one’s seat belt in the State of Yucatan. Be careful about reading those fines. Some are "times the minimum wage" – but some are "times (your) salary," which could add up to quite a bit of money. When there are updates to all types of laws, Yucatan Living will try to let our readers know as soon as possible.
Do You Speak Mayan Yet?
Throughout history, there are examples of indigenous cultures and languages that have been totally wiped out by invading forces. In modern times, we now know the value of retaining the best of all cultures, and especially the value of retaining indigenous languages. Over the course of the past few years, the Mayan language has come into its own in the State of Yucatan. It is even being taught in schools now.
Many of us who don’t think we speak Mayan, pepper our Yucateco Spanish with any number of Mayan words without even noticing. UADY has a wonderful Mayan website that includes a free coursein the Mayan language, complete with sound. However, the dictionary translates only between Spanish and Mayan. If you don’t speak Spanish, then Bablefish will have to be your crutch.
Now, the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies has a dictionary online that includes Mayan, some English and Spanish for each word. You will find it HERE. But, if you really want a treat, be sure and read everything in the David Bolles Mayan Grammar Section. And, of course, a little music never hurts, does it? Click HERE and follow along!
Please Recycle Your Christmas Trees
Throughout the month of January, the following recycling centers will be accepting Christmas trees. These trees may be chipped and used in compost, or they may be used offshore to help stop erosion. If you still have your Christmas tree, please bring them to:
Servicios Publicos Municipales Poniente
Calle 116 # 227 x Ave. Jacinto Canek, Col. Bojorquez
Phone: 945-0731, 945-0733, and 945-0740
Servicios Publicos Municipales Oriente
Calle 63 x 6 y 8, Col. Emilio Portes Gil
Phone: 982-2513, 982-2686
Planta de Composta
Periferico Poniente Km. 1.5, Carr. Susula – Chalmuch
Hours: Monday through Friday: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM,
Saturday and Sunday: 7:00 AM to Noon.