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News: Construction, Hammocks & Oranges

Yucatan Developments

According to a recent issue of La Revista Peninsular, the Yucatan Peninsula’s business and economic magazine, the amount of construction (as measured in pesos) increased this past July by 13% over the previous year. This included all three kinds of construction: commercial, vivienda (housing) and obras publicas (public works). There was also an increase of 15% in construction purchases during the same period.

The magazine went on to report that 59.1% of all construction during that period was private and 40.9% was public development. There were 23,583 workers officially working, as reported by IMSS (Mexico’s Social Security equivalent), which represents a 13.8% increase over the same period in 2006.

Have You Voted?

You might not know (or remember) that Yucatan Living is conducted various Reader’s Choice Polls this year. So far, the polls that are open for voting are the Best Small Hotel in Merida, Best Little Taco Stand in Merida, Best Hacienda Experience and others. If you haven’t weighed in already, we invite you to do so. It means a lot to the businesses involved to know how people feel about them. And the polls are a great service to our readers, especially the newest members of our community that maybe aren’t sure yet where to go for a good taco. If you haven’t voted already, go to our Reader’s Choice Polls and give us your opinion. Polls are open until the last day of 2007, and winners will be announced in January 2008.

A Kindness Remembered…

Currently, there is a Mayan lady conducting an expo of hammocks at a large trade fair in Switzerland, and there is a contract to sell 1,300 hammocks a year to the company owned by a wealthy Swiss industrialist, who is a retailer of Latin American crafts. All of this is because, many years ago, 2 young men, on foot and with no money, stopped at a Yucateco Mayan home and asked for food and water. The Mayans were gracious and fed them, asking nothing in return. One of the young men would grow up to become this very same industrialist. He and his friends had been on holiday, evidently did not budget their allowance well, and ended up walking out of Guatemala and across Yucatan. They bought hammocks and slept wherever they could because they could not afford a hotel. He has never forgotten the kindness of the Mayan family who fed them and this contract, which will help so many of the rural hammock makers, is a direct result of that kindness.

Air Europe Comes Overland to Merida

For the past four years, Air Europe has been flying between Cancun and Madrid, Spain, six days a week. They have been bringing in 75,000 passengers per year on planes that hold 263 passengers each. If you want to visit Europe, now is your chance. These planes use Madrid as a hub for reaching every major city in all of Europe. Air Europe has just opened an office in Merida, at Calle 30 # 109 x 23 in Colonia Buenavista. They are not going to land in Merida, but are working on a project to bring their European passengers from Cancun overland to Merida and back. Looks as if we can expect many more new faces to be visiting and falling in love with Yucatan!

 

More Natural Wonders Found in Yucatan

At the present time, there are at least a dozen archaeological sites, in Yucatan, that have been found, but not extensively explored or restored. These we all knew about. Now, word comes from UADY that a site has been found that is probably from the Pleistocene Age. Much of the site has been under water, but cave paintings have been found there, as well as ceramics and species of animals that lived between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago. As you can well imagine, the location of this site is not being divulged at this time, but UADY suggests that there are probably many more of these sites in Yucatan and they are now “on the hunt” for them. Thanks to archaeologist Guillermo de Anda Alanís, head of the Program of Subaqueous Bioarchaeology of the Faculty of Anthropological Sciences at UADY, this is an exciting time to be an archaeologist in the State of Yucatan! Archaeologist Guillermo de Anda Alanís is working with the National Institute of Anthropology and History to ensure that all antiquities, and the sites at which they have been found, are cared for properly.

Centro: Living History To Get Facelift

Have you seen the City Council’s new plans for Centro? Negotiating one’s way through Centro is going to be made significantly easier for tourists and residents alike. There will be bike lanes, and urban lighting, and just wait til you see the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral! The project will be completed in three phases and the drawings are all online inside of the City of Merida website. To take a look, first Click Here to go to the website, once there, click on Sala de Prensa (on the left Index). Look in the list of links on the right side of the next page and click on “acceso” for the bulletin entitled CENTRO HISTÓRICO ORGULLO QUE VIVE: Nuevo programa del Ayuntamiento. You’ll find the plan for development in three phases, with diagrams for each and a description of the areas they cover. Looks as if all of Centro is going to lose some of its clutter. It’s certainly going to be “pretty” – but I wonder if some of its charm might be lost as well. If you don’t read Spanish, try Bablefish for help in translation. The Working Gringos want to add that they highly prefer plans that would include turning the streets around the zocalo into walk streets, and getting rid of those cars altogether. We’re investigating the issue and hope to get back to you soon with more information on that subject.

Valladolid: Just In Time

It looks as if the renewed interest in industry moving to the area around Valladolid, along the path of the new bullet train, could not have come at a better time. Jordache has decided to move from Valladolid to Morocco, Africa. They leave 1,200 Yucatecos jobless. This is a company with a long history of abandoning workers overnight when tax-exempt status runs out and the threat to relocate no longer works in their favor. However, do not feel sorry for the workers of Valladolid. They may need short term help, but certainly have hope on their horizon with new jobs created by the bullet train and tourism. Pity Morocco and hope the workers there save money against the day this happens to them as well.

The Pride of Yucatan

This past week, children in Motul and Ticul held parades to commemorate the founding of the United Nations in 1945. One of the primary schools in Motul is actually named UNESCO and was celebrating its own 48th anniversary. As part of the parades, the students carried a flag of each of the countries that holds membership in the United Nations. The children of Yucatan – these little boys and girls who sometimes make us crazy with their neverending soccer games in the street and their voladores (firecrackers) – know more about how the world works than most children in so-called “First World” nations. Yucatan’s children travel the world, winning accolades and medals for academics, music, sports, art, and dance.

Where’s The Beef?

Soon, Yucatan’s beef is going to be plentiful and cheap, as retailers take advantage of the cattle ranchers who are going to have to begin slaughtering their cattle because of extreme and ongoing flooding in the southern part of our state. If you want beef, you’d better stock your freezer while the prices are down because beef prices will skyrocket once supplies are low. Its going to take a while to get over this flood. Our hearts go out to the cattle ranchers who are still having difficulty in reaching their herds due to high water.

The “Dead of Winter” in Yucatan

Well – probably not… but it sure feels like it at night. The first norte of the year arrived this week. High winds (40 km/hr) and night temps of 68 °F pretty much negate the fact that temperatures are in the mid-80s in the daytime. Children are bundled up for school in sweaters. Adults are on the malecon in coats. …and babies! You can’t even find the babies in all the blankets and sweaters and hats! Thank goodness these little storms from the north only last a few days, and there are only a few of them each year! To you who are still up in Canada – or other places that really are cold, you must think we are wimps. But you just wait. You’ll be the same way after you’ve lived here for awhile… seriously considering setting a roaring fire when the temperature even thinks about going down to 70 °F. Unfortunately, this norte took the lives of two fishermen. We extend our deepest sympathy to their families.

Harvest Time on the East Coast of Mexico

Many people are unaware that there are more kinds of oranges in the world than one will find in the ordinary American grocery store. This is the time of year for Yucatan’s sweet orange harvest and an especially nice time to begin the drive here from the States. All through the next month, trucks will roll out of the orange, tangerine, and banana groves almost non-stop, sometimes 24 hours a day. All throughout eastern Mexico, you can buy fresh fruit and juice, including pineapple and coconut, under almost every Interstate overpass. The closer you get, the more sugar cane you see. For those of you who fly, you’ve really missed a great part of the value of your trip by not experiencing harvest time along the eastern coast of Mexico. The experience is well worth the extra time it takes. Well, there is also the everpresent over-loaded and precariously-leaning egg truck doing 20 miles an hour in front of you… and the Coke truck pulling a triple trailer who puts on his left blinker for you to pass him going up a hill into a curve in the rain. You decide not to pass him, so the triple trailer behind you passes both of you (and survives!). And then, there’s the man with the goats, moving them from one side of the road to the other… but we digress! It is still a worthy trip and we heartily recommend it!

Halloween Games for All Ages

Contributed by Karen Hardee


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14 Responses to “News: Construction, Hammocks & Oranges”

  1. Don’t worry about the weather thing as even within Canada the temperatures are quite different with one part of the country calling the other part of the country wimps!

  2. The longer I look at the new plans for Centro, the stranger they look to me. How to know you’re not a “newbie” gringo in Yucatan: 1. You still call the party NAFTA. 2. You remember highways being half as wide as they are now. 3. Plaza Fiesta was a big mall. 4. Your garbage man used real “horse-power” – And 5. You remember when they first started digging up the streets in Centro to bury utility lines.

  3. How much of this improvement to Centro has been influenced by the gringos moving to Merida? Has U.S. citizens spoke to Mexican officials in trying to get many Mexico cities to move away from older European designs and convert to how modern U.S. cities are designed, with larger sidewalks and wider streets? Why have not Mexicans thought of this for their homeland? Did it have to take gringos from the U.S. to influence Mexico to remodel the way their cities are designed? Would like more to comment on this. I’ll be reading this section for answers.

  4. Thanks for the link to the Merida City government plan for renewal. Very interesting. The renditions definitely look creepy, but …. one assumes that reality will be better.

    An aside — note that the main square in Merida is referred to as the Plaza Grande, not the zocalo (as central plazas are commonly called in other parts of Mexico). In smaller towns (in Yucatan), “plaza” seems to be the preferred term, as well. I’ve heard foreigners refer to the Plaza Grande as the “zocalo”, but never anyone from Yucatan — is that also your experience? One of those interesting differences between mainland Mexico and Yucatan, I guess.

  5. That’s true, MCM. Meridanos call their central plaza the Plaza Grande, because it is NOT the central plaza in Mexico City, which everyone calls El Zocalo. In our defense, zocalo is simply a Spanish architectural term that means “to put around”, in this case indicating the plaza you build the colonial town around, or the center of a colonial town. We wonder if maybe the people in Mexico City prefer to think that all of Mexico is built around their zocalo…

    If you say zocalo here, many might think you are referring to the tiles you put around the floor at the bottom of the walls, which serve the same purpose as “baseboard” or “kickboard” in the States.

    Every Spanish colonial-era town has a zocalo, including Merida. The zocalo in Mexico City has a name, by the way. It’s Plaza de la Constitución. Merida’s zocalo has a name, too. It’s Plaza de Armas, a common Spanish name for a city’s zocalo, being a place of refuge in the event of attack.

    Seldom do we hear anyone but historians and tourist guides call Merida’s zocalo the Plaza de Armas. Are we confused yet? Por cierto…

  6. Carlos, gringo immigrants to Merida have no influence over the development or restoration of the centro historico. At the one meeting we attended of the Patronato for the centro, we were told not to expect to have any influence, because “Mexicans don’t like foreigners to get involved.” Ironically, the president of the Patronato who said this to us was Cuban. We have since been told he has quit his post because even the Patronato has been unable to influence local government decisions. It seems to us that while individual gringos may pour their time and money into the interior restoration of their renovated colonial homes, the government, various corporations and INAH will decide the ultimate fate of the centro according to their own agendas.

  7. Thanks. What you said Working Gringos is one of the things that anger me about Mexico. How Mexico don’t want ‘outsiders’ to influence how they do things in Mexico. Just as the Doctor at IMSS told me to respect the culture and language of Mexico, when I asked for help in english (which the Doc understood). Yet, Ilegals have no problem trying to tell local, county, state, and federal governments in the USA how to run things. For example what is going on in Irving Texas as to the police stoping motorists for trafic violations, and if a person has no I.D., I.C.E. is called. Ilegals protest in this country and wave Mexican flags. Don’t think a group of gringos could go to the Palacio in Merida and Protest, waving the Stars and Stripes. Do the Mexican officials or business owners at least listen to suggestions by the gringos living there in Merida?

  8. Hi,
    I would like to ask you,if you know what the mayan people think about Tabasco´s recent disaster and if they relate it to what their elders predicted for this 13 year period before 2012? The rise of the sea level (due to global warming) is going to affect Yucatan too in the next years 2008-2012 or later?

    I have been thinking to move with the family to Yucatan,but we are a little bit afraid of hurricaines and the possibility that there could be a similar disaster there like the recent one in Tabasco.

  9. I know what Carlos means. WE have an ongoing problem in that the Mexican authorities go nuts if American legal authorities or others ask the immigration status of their many undocumented workers in the U.S., contending that they have a right to be in the U.S. just because they want to be there. Then, they want everything in Spanish, as in forms, regulations, announcements, etc. and when arrested for crimes, they want the Mexican consulate notified so they can help.

    The dicotomy of NOT WANTING THEM ASKED ABOUT THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, but then wanting to be notified so they can help their crime-committing citizens is brazen.

  10. It seems like a lot has been made of the Maya Calendar and “predictions.” From my reading of reliable texts, it seems the Maya believe(d) in the Cycle of Time. Rather than seeing time as linear – a line of events that never repeat – the Maya supposedly see time as an endless circle of repeating events.

    The year 2012 represents the completion of the thirteenth B’ak’tun cycle in the Long Count of the Maya calendar (which occurs on December 21 by the most widely held correlation). (from Wikipedia). Without getting into all the details, the Maya calendar contains more than one cycle: The Long Count (~5125 years), The Short Count (~52 years) and several others.

    So it is simply the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new cycle. 2012 (if the modern interpretations are correct) is simply the end of the Long Count. And then a new Long Count begins.

    As for life in general, why worry about what disasters may befall whatever portions of the earth in 2012? What could we possibly know of them today? Whether it is a meteor in Minnesota or a flood in Florida or a Hurricane in Hoctun, we just don’t know. So, I chose to enjoy life and lead it the way that seems best for today.

    “For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle,” says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Fla. To render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”

  11. Personally, I think it is more of a shameful problem that we “Americans” exploit the use of immigrant labor to the maximum — feasting on the cheap fruits and vegetables; the meat raised in feedlots then cut in packing plants — all the result of immigrant labor, while out of the other side of our porcine mouths, we condemn “them” from coming to the USA and accepting all the jobs we offer them.

    Contrary to the report on Irving Texas above, the USA is not yet a police state. Or shouldn’t be. The issue is not that people without IDs are being locked up and ICE being called, but rather that Hispanic people are being jailed for minor offenses for which none of us would be jailed (and being stopped for “driving while brown”), and then jailers and ICE interrogating them in violation of their rights. Hundreds of Hispanic people jailed each month for traffic violations. Thousands a year deported from one little suburb? Something is wrong there.

    I find it rather odd that people who are interested in another culture in another country do not wish to learn more about it when that culture is merely across the street.

  12. Regarding the design of the cities in Mexico, I do not see how it is possible – at all, in any way whatsoever – to “move away from older European designs and convert to how modern U.S. cities are designed, with larger sidewalks and wider streets” in the central areas.

    What would you have them do? Bulldoze 500 year old buildings so the street can be wider? Destroy the city in order to save it? There just isn’t space in the Centros of most Colonial cities for wide streets and wide sidewalks. That’s just the way it is.

    The new plans may make some areas more attractive and provide for more efficient use of the space that exists, but destroying downtown does not seem to be an option. I’d rather have the history and the crowded streets than live in a shopping mall design from Cleveland.

  13. Me too – what she said! Especially the part about the Mayan calendar. All of this end of time foolishness is making a whole lot of folks stupid rich and its pure fabrication! Hard to believe people will believe those guys and not look it up for themselves.

    Casi… (theoretically) the last place on Earth anyone should worry about is Centro in Merida – as evidenced by the Olimpo itself. Since Centro is built from the destroyed ruins of Mayan temples, you would think that people would finally “get it” that every time they tear something down – or otherwise mess with something important in Centro, it just builds itself back – bigger and better than ever. It is going to be interesting to watch this new development – and then see what the spirit of the old city of Ichcaanzihó thinks about it. (theoretically :) )

  14. Thanks for the replies. I found out that Dec. 21, 2012 is the end of a precession cycle.

    I was in Guatemala and met one of the most important shamans and he said: During this 13 years before 2012, people have to change their way of living. People have to think of themselves as part of the nature and respect it, love it and use their resources with intelligence. People have to respect animals and all nature. Drinking water is going to be the “gold” of the next decades. Remember that ancient Mayans didn’t guess these things…they know what is going to come. Their mathemathical and astronomic calculations and the wisdom they got about how nature works is not a “guess”. He said that these 13 years 1999-2012 were called the time of no time (or something like this) and that the whole of humanity would see the signs of “this time” and would have the chance to either make a change in their way of living or assume the consequences of their decision to continue abusing nature and other living species.

    I was in Yucatan and all over the peninsula 5 years ago. People are just beautiful. Mayan people have an incredible level of ethics and the whole Yucatan is a wonderful place, full of archaeological sites, history, culture, good air.I just love Yucatan and its people. I have a 5 year-old kid who I am sure will enjoy exploring all those places.

    I’ve heard a saying in Mexico:”If the world ends, I’m going to Merida”.

    I am concerned about how hurricanes could affect the Yucatán, because their intensity is increasing year after year. That´s why Cancun and Chiapas had such disasters last year that affected a lot of people.This year it has been Tabasco´s turn. It is also true,that the magnitude of the disaster in Tabasco could have been less, if the government had finished some work there. They didn´t even alert the population about the incoming hurricane!

    It is also true that “Global Warming” and Gore´s theory is been debated by some scientists in USA. They say that it is all a hoax (a $ hoax) and that in reality what we are facing is an Ice era. These scientists still don´t know, if it is a little ice age, like in the Medieval Age or if it is a large one. The last one was 17,000 years ago and it lasted for aprox. 100 years.

    Then the other concern is about the sea level. The “Global Warming” defenders say that it is increasing year after year and that some scientists have been making investigations in Yucatan Peninsula (where the crater is ) and they found subterranean caves and rivers with skeletons and human made stuff. They proved that people lived there and that the sea level increased where it is more or less now.So,they say that this could happen again. I think that it would be a good idea to investigate these matters with scientists, archaeologists, etc… so we can have the tranquility not only of choosing an excellent place, but also a place with a good future.

    “Baby boomers” want to retire to a great place, like Yucatan…but there are also people with family (like us), who are looking for a better place to live: a place with a better quality of life.

    All the Best!

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