News Starting January 10, 2011
Colonial Churches of Centro to be Restored
For almost a decade, the colonial churches in the interior of Yucatan have been being restored, one by one, under a private program known as “Adopt a Work of Art,” in partnership with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). The main cathedral in Merida was restored, completed in time for the 469th Anniversary of the City. Now, the remaining colonial churches in Centro will also be restored, including Mejorada, Santa Ana, San Cristóbal, Santiago, San Sebastián, La Ermita, El Jesús (Tercera Orden), La Candelaria, Monjas, Santa Lucía and San Juan. If you haven’t been to the Cathedral lately, do yourself a favor and go see a few. The light, the art and the ceremonies that go on inside make them well worth a visit.
Baseball: Preparing for the Olympics
Yucatan’s young baseball players are more than a little busy these days. They are preparing for the first round of participation in the National Olympic Games, which will be held in Yucatan in April and May. The 11 – 12 year old boys are playing teams from around the state. Boys in the 13 – 14 year group have been training five days a week while on school vacation, and 15 – 17 year olds are training hard plus playing a game a week. Yucatan is one of the most competitive states in all categories of the Olympics, but baseball is especially big here. Keep an eye out for an Olympic pre-game contest near you and be sure to come out and support our young people in all of their competitions.
Roscas de Reyes: King Cakes Are Everywhere!
Do you want a small, medium or large King Cake? How much do you want to pay? How many people will be sharing it? Are you purchasing it for your own family or are you a business, purchasing a King Cake to give to your employees? Do you want your King Cake filled with cream cheese,cherries, quince, guava paste or dried fruit? Prices run from $60 pesos to $200 pesos and sizes can be as large as a meter or more. All that’s missing is a King Cake Contest. After all, wouldn’t you like to know who makes the best Roscas de Reyes in Merida? The celebrations that require King Cakes (Dia de Los Reyes on January 6) are over, but there are still cakes for sale in places like Chedraui. Go pick one up (probably on sale now!) and see what the fuss is all about.
Merida’s Population and Housing Projections
As of now, Merida’s population stands at 828,190. By 2030, that number is expected to rise 27.4%, to 1,055,328. This means that the city must scramble to build enough houses to accommodate all of these new people. The most obvious thing to do is to build multi-story housing complexes but, for many Meridanos, those are culturally unacceptable (have you noticed there are hardly ANY apartment buildings in Merida?). The result is that builders are going ahead with single-family, single-story homes and are filling up fraccionamientos (subdivisions) as fast as they can. With 19 years to go, until 2030, and at the rate of almost 1,100 new homes per year currently being built, it looks as if there will be enough new housing just in the nick of time. That’s quite a relief to know but it brings up yet another question. How in the world are Merida’s streets going to handle all of those new vehicles? There are currently 526,000 registered vehicles in Yucatan, with 80% of those in Merida. The number of vehicles is increasing at the rate of approximately 4% per year. This is definitely a trend to watch
Coming Soon: New Rules of the Road
Thus far, we have seat belt laws, child safety seat laws, speed limits, zero tolerance breathalyzers, and motorcycle helmet laws. Auto accidents, and especially fatal auto accidents are falling, but the SSP is waiting for just one more law to hit the books. Over the course of the past year, several children have been badly injured and/or killed when struck by drivers who were talking on cell phones. We recommend that everyone get in the habit now of driving without talking on your cell phone because that is not only common sense but will soon be the law in Yucatan.
The Expat 20s / 30s Girls: Watch Them Grow!
We’ve written about this group before but their numbers seem to be growing fast, so we wanted to be sure that our younger readers and concerned family members back home are aware that not every expat in Yucatan is of retirement age. The Expat Girls of Merida is a Meetup group for expats here in Merida who are in their 20s and 30s. Some are married to Yucatecos, some are moms, some are working in Merida. We have seen several wonderful young expat couples leave Yucatan because they were lonesome for the company of their own age group. We have also seen those same people wish they had stayed in Yucatan after they get home. The Expat Girls, all 50 of them, may just be the answer to alleviating the problems associated with that kind of homesickness. If you are in your 20s or 30s, why not visit their website. Join their group and find some new friends to meet up with in Merida.
U.S. Born Children Granted Mexican Citizenship
Many migrants to the U.S. are young and plan on going north only for a short time, just long enough to save themselves a good start in life back home. They either go north as young married couples, or marry while they are there. Their children born north of the border have U.S. citizenship, but not Mexican citizenship. This leaves the children in a terrible situation when they come home to Mexico because, since they are not Mexican citizens, they do not qualify for the rights and benefits granted to every Mexican child. This past week, another 303 children, who were born in the U.S., were granted Mexican citizenship in Merida, under the “My Nationality” program. Now, they can receive the education and health care to which they are entitled, and they can feel secure in investing themselves in their state and country. Yucatan Living would like to congratulate all of the 303 newest young holders of both U.S. and Mexican citizenship.
Furniture Brands International Coming to Yucatan
There will soon be 150 to 200 new cut and sew upholstery kit jobs in Merida. Polls show that half of all Americans want new furniture and have been putting off purchasing it because of the economy. However, that is expected to change soon and Furniture Brands International is positioning itself to be ready when the change comes. Merida has a trained workforce and the right mix of logistics, which translates into reopening a formerly closed cut and sew plant and bringing those jobs back to Yucatecos. We were very pleased to read senior vice-president’s remarks concerning the quality of assistance given to Furniture Brands by the state government and local business community.
Sixth Christmas Tree Collection Point Opens
It may seem odd to see a tropical city with enough Christmas trees to make it necessary to open six collection points and to extend their daily hours of operation, but here we are and there is no good reason for all of those Christmas trees to go to waste. From the collection points, the trees will be sent through a chipper and turned into mulch to be used as fertilizer and ground cover in Merida’s parks. This will help save money as the city continues to reclaim old parks and build new ones. It will also help the environment by not allowing those trees to be wasted in the landfill. If you had a Christmas tree this year, the new collection point is at the SAM’s Club at Prolongación Paseo de Montejo with Avenida Gonzalo Guerrero.
Farming Coral in Quintana Roo
Over the past decade, as one hurricane after another hit Quintana Roo, the folks at the National Park there have been developing larger and larger projects to regrow the coral reefs that protect the beaches and provide homes for so many marine species. Thus far, they have managed to grow and relocate some 4,000 coral colonies. Now, their efforts are far enough along to announce that they are opening a real coral farm, complete with a nursery on land and a field of coral colonies growing in the sea. This is important to the health of the environment all along the coasts of the peninsula, especially for the protective barrier that coral puts between the beach and the sea. It is also important with respect to tourism, which counts heavily on sport fishing and the beauty to be found around the reefs. Almost 2,600,000 tourists visit Quintana Roo each year, with 650,000 heading for the National Park. Any damage to the reefs has the potential for massive losses in tourism and, by extrapolation, in jobs as well. We are happy to report that this coral farm is one of the best things that could happen to the Yucatan Peninsula in 2011 and beyond.