News Starting May 16, 2011
Cool Recipes for Hot Days
As temperatures continue to hover at the 100 degree Fahrenheit mark, its too hot to cook and everyone struggles to find something to drink that will actually quench their thirst. We were on the hunt for something cool and different ourselves when we saw an article in the paper assuring us that, even though Yucatan’s watermelon harvest ends in May, neighboring states will continue to keep us supplied. That prompted a very productive search for watermelon recipes, which led to a search for mango recipes, and then banana recipes. Cool salads, cold drinks, and luscious deserts do tend to ameliorate the effects of any summer heat. We hope everyone enjoys the links and is able to find something to help them cool off on a hot day.
XII Reunión Interparlamentaria México-Cuba
This week, 32 lawmakers from Mexico and Cuba, plus the Cuban Ambassador to Mexico, are meeting in Merida to discuss joint issues such as tourism, health, cultural education, migration and civil protection. Of particular interest are the common issues related to climate change and natural disasters in the Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected that the two nations will stand together in a call for a lifting of all restrictions on travel and trade between the U.S. and Cuba. Since Yucatan and Cuba are virtually next-door-neighbors, it is wonderful to have the Cuban lawmakers in Merida for the week. We know they will have productive discussions, as well as a wonderful visit in our city.
Tourists love going to the Mayan Riviera because it isn’t as crowded as Cancun. To airport investors, that translates into “not enough passengers to make an acceptable profit.” Added to that is the financial trouble that so many airlines are experiencing today, increases in construction costs, increases in user fees (up to 30%), increases in fuel costs and the international perception that there is insecurity in Mexico. Taken together, those factors have resulted in analysts saying that an international airport on the Mayan Riviera is not a sound investment at this time. This is good news for Mayan Riviera purists who would be happy of no tourists ever came there, but bad news for the many tourism investors and community service projects that depend on increasing numbers of tourists. The best that any of us can hope is that the worldwide economy will soon improve and the new Mayan Riviera International Airport will, once again, be considered to be a great investment.
“Xaan”, aceite puro de coco (Pure Coconut Oil)
We were recently asked whether coconut oil is produced in Yucatan and we didn’t have the answer – until now. There is a group of ladies, led by Sra. Flor Carrillo May, in San Crisanto, who have developed a small, local company called Arte Marina. With credit from Yucatan’s Microcredit Fund, they developed a successful coconut oil business that was featured in Progreso’s Feria de Coco, Concha y Caracol in mid-July 2010. We were as impressed with their story as we are by their product. The full account of the development of this completely woman-owned business can be found in the September/October 2010 issue of INFOCAMPO.The magazine is in Spanish, but the article can be translated with Google Translate.
Corporal Punishment Ends in Schools
Children’s rights, along with information gained from new studies, has led to an end of corporal punishment in Yucatan. Students and teachers tell of a day when physical punishment, verbal abuse, and even being made to kneel in the sun were common practices – but no more. The end of corporal punishment is good news with somewhat of a twist. As in other places throughout the world, the end of corporal punishment has come before a new method of discipline has been developed. This leaves teachers, parents, and children in a difficult place as they attempt to forge new relationships with each other in a world in which both parents have to work and children are often unsupervised at home. We are sure that all of them, teachers, parents and children, will meet this new challenge and life will be significantly easier for all of them.
Fires Still Burn Out of Control in Yucatan
Fires are burning all over the state but, over the weekend, the largest fire yet managed to burn 2,000 hectares in 72 hours. Part of the problem is the very wind that tends to keep us from feeling the full force of the hot summer temperatures. Firefighters say that the fire will seem as if it is under control by late afternoon but, then, the wind changes and it flares up again. Flames have, at times, been as high as 4 meters. This fire currently includes areas from from Dzidzantún to Dzilam González and is threatening to reach Santa Clara and Dzilam Bravo. Everyone knows they should not throw lit cigarettes out of their cars, but please don’t throw any trash out of cars, especially if there is any type of reflective material in it. Firefighters say that they have had several fires started just by the sun reflecting off of cold drink cans. If you see smoke or fire, and no firefighters have reached it yet, please call your local police department.
Public transportation, in Yucatan, is subsidized by the government, so fares can be regulated for the benefit of the people who use the service. However, independent taxi and combi owners are increasingly at the mercy of gasoline prices that are currently set to rise at the rate of approximately 10% per year. Their fares are regulated by the State Department of Transportation, which has just granted a small fare increase in Valladolid. It is only logical that such increases will spread throughout the state, as it would be unrealistic to expect these small businessmen to absorb the rising price of gasoline. The future lies in uncharted waters for these hard working Yucatecos and we hope they all know how much we appreciate their being here when we need them.
Free WiFi Upgrade in Motul Park
The City of Motul has announced that free WiFi service will be suspended for a week in a local park so that equipment can be upgraded and so that parks in outlying neighborhoods can be included in the free service. The new WiFi upgrade in Motul sounds really interesting. All of the bulky equipment in the park is being replaced with new, non-intrusive and more powerful equipment that will be housed at the Municipal Palace. The university in Motul is heavily invested in computer science, engineering, information and technology, so free WiFi is a blessing to students as well as to other residents and visitors to the city. Motul has always been as forward thinking as Merida and we congratulate all of her citizens on their interest in moving their city forward with 21st century technology.
Boxer Loves to Dance Says Champion’s Mom
Gilberto Keb Baas is the former WBC Light Flyweight Champion. He is also from Hunucma and his mother credits his early love for dancing as the perfect beginning for developing his talent as a boxer. Although Gilberto lost his title in a controversial decision last month, we found a YouTube of the highlights of the fight that gave him the championship. Take a look and see if you can tell that this young man (in the white trunks) loves to dance. We watched several of the interviews before and after that match and were very impressed with this young man. If you are a boxing fan, keep an eye on Merida for regular championship bouts.
Merida’s New Landfill: Just in Time
With Merida’s current landfill at 98% capacity, the new landfill only has one more step to be completed before it can be opened. The actual physical planning of this landfill is ecologically sound. The total area is 45 hectares, but that is divided into 29 hectares, in the center, for eight cells of solid waste; and a buffer rim of 16 hectares that will contain green spaces and leaching ponds. Located on the west side of the city, this new landfill only needs its new liner, which will protect surrounding groundwater, and then it will be ready to take care of Merida’s solid waste for the next 17 years.