The Latest on Decreto 801
Contractors and developers have mounted enough pressure to force Decreto 801 into a series of public consultations. Over the course of the next 120 days, representatives of civil associations, citizens, professional schools, ejidos, civil service enterprises, and groups from all three levels of government will work together to revise the Programa de Ordenamiento Ecologico del Territorio Costero del Estado (aka Decreto 801 or "the Beach Law"). As of now, a number of construction projects on gated villages and tourist destinations (such as condo developments) are at a standstill because their proximity to the beach is against the law. The contractors and developers are looking for a way to move their projects forward, while still protecting the ecological value of the property that brought them here in the first place.
Throughout the next 120 days, the Secretary of Environment and Urban Development will hold a series of forums and workshops in Merida and in the 12 coastal municipalities to discuss the technical, scientific, and legal ramifications of Decreto 801. The meetings, should any of our readers like to attend, will be held as follows: Friday, August 15, Kabah Hall in the Convention Center at 4:00 PM and Thursday, August 28, Auditorium of the Faculty of Architecture at UADY at 9:00 AM. In September, meetings will be held on the 2nd in Yobain, on the 5th in Dzidzantun, on the 9th in Telchac Puerto, on the 11th in Ixil, on the 17th in Hunucma, on the 19th in Progreso, and on the 25th in San Felipe. We have no dates for meetings in Celestun, Sinache, Dzilam de Bravo, Ria Lagartos or Tizimin as yet but, as we understand it, notice will either be given in advance of those meetings or formal invitations will be sent to attend the already scheduled meetings in nearby municipalities. In addition, invitations will be sent to those municipalities that are near to or behind the municipalities in which meetings are held because they are also affected by anything that happens on the coast.
In October, final meetings will be held to consolidate findings, revise the law, and report results to the public. Decreto 801, as it now stands, is the result of the work of 60 researchers and was three years in its writing.
Olympics: Yucatan’s David Mier y Teran
As of this writing, the 4th sailing regata is complete and Yucatan’s own David Mier y Teran is firmly in 11th place in the world. This is exciting news, since Mier y Teran has steadily been gaining ground from the first day of the sailing trials. Click here to follow David’s progress through the Olympics. From that link, just click on the latest report to find his standing and to watch as he moves up through the world’s best sailing athletes. To see photos of the diving team that won Mexico’s Bronze Medal, click here. You can keep an eye on Mexico’s medals here and on all of Mexico’s teams at the bottom of this page.
Made in Yucatan: Guaranteed
Last week, there was a huge trade show of Yucateco-made products at the Convention Center. One of the reasons for this event was to roll out the new label that guarantees that your purchase was made by the rural artisans of Yucatan. The label should read: Artesanias yucatecas una cultura sin fronteras (Yucatecan artistry… a culture without borders). When we, or our tourists, make a purchase, we want our pesos to stay in Yucatan so that our artisans and our culture are the beneficiaries. This means passing by imitation products in favor of products that are guaranteed to be of the best quality. Only products bearing the label Artesanias yucatecas una cultura sin fronteras can make that guarantee, so keep an eye out for it and make certain that what you thought you bought is actually what you are taking home.
Merida’s Guayaberas Online
For our readers who live elsewhere and love the Guayabera, the fourth generation of Penner’s, Inc., has gone to the web to market the shirt that has been identified with Yucatan throughout its history. Once the working shirt of guava pickers, the guayabera became the uniform for politicians, militaries, and retirees. Now, 18 to 30 year olds have discovered the comfort and wearability of the guayabera at the same time that Matt Penner came into the family business in San Antonio. With young eyes, Matt headed for the Internet and the rest is history. Penner’s now sells between 80 and 100 Guayaberas online per night, all made right here in three factories in Merida. As Penner’s prospers, so do the employees at those three factories. If you are not in Yucatan and need a Guayabera, please make sure it is (a) cotton or linen and (b) made in Yucatan. If you cannot determine the origin of a particular Guayabera, please pass it by and shop with Penner’s instead – for the love of the shirt and in support of jobs in Merida.
Lemon Juice Leaves for Germany and the U.S.
For some time now, grapefruit and sweet orange juice has been exported by Yucatan to Germany for distribution throughout the European Union – and to the United States. Now, Persian lemon juice has been added to that list and the first shipments left Oxkutzcab this past week. As in the past, Yucatan first has a commitment for the sale of juice to Mexico. After that, Yucatan is free to export the rest of the crop. This year, a total of 3,900 tons of juice concentrate was exported. The new season will run from October to February and it is expected that Yucatan will be able to produce 30,000 tons of oranges, 2,000 tons of mandarin oranges, and 500 tons of grapefruit. The juice concentrates are sent out in containers which hold 95 drums each. This phenomenon, along with the new southern highway through Yucatan, is going to bring the world to the door of small towns like Oxkutzcab, as well it should. Such towns are long overdue for global recognition and all of the perks that come with taking their rightful place in the global marketplace.
Smallest Chevrolet: Built in San Luis Potosi
Chevrolet’s smallest car, the Aveo, is now rolling off the assembly line, in San Luis Potosi, to the tune of about 30 cars per hour. Not only are the cars designed to use less gasoline, but the factory itself is about as environmentally responsible as factories can be. All lighting is motion activated (no motion means lights go off to save electricity) and the factory recycles its water, rather than discharging it into the environment. The lowest prices for these cars are between $11,000 and $13,000. The Aveo gets approximately 34 mpg on gasoline. None are equipped for alternative fuels. These vehicles will be sold throughout North America.
Grand Prix Calendar To Add 2 More Races by 2010
Exciting news! Grand Prix officials are considering adding two more races to the seasonal calendar of Formula 1 Grand Prix racing and Mexico has a shot at becoming one of the nations selected to host at least one of those races. Grand Prix officials warn that a modern Formula 1 track can cost as much as $50 million dollars but say that Mexico City, Puebla, Cancun and Tijuana all claim their administrations will find the money. We have malls in Yucatan that cost more than that! Needless to say, investing in a Formula 1 Grand Prix racetrack is the kind of investment that is guaranteed to be successful. We hope Mexico is chosen as one of the 2 locations for the new additions to the Formula 1 Grand Prix season.
One World Airlines
Three major airline carriers have formed an alliance and are requesting immunity from anti-trus laws for their new "One World" business identity. The three airlines are British Airways, Iberia, and American Airlines. It is their claim that, doing business together as One World, they will be able to offer travelers more destinations between the European Union, the United States, Canada, and Mexico – as well as lower prices. This is a development that will be interesting to watch since more international business groups than ever before are beginning to come together in the global marketplace.
Chicken Wars in Uman
Whenever a potential expat asks us about what we eat in Yucatan, we laugh and ask: "How do you feel about rotisserie chicken?" It is everywhere! …and the longer we are here, the easier it is to let someone else do the cooking and avoid the heat in the kitchen, as well as the cleanup. However, we have noticed that some merchants’ rotisserie chickens have been getting quite a bit larger and, as a result, more costly. While this might not adversely affect gringos, it can be devastating for the Yucateco housewife in outlying towns and villages, as well as for her grocery budget. As a result, in some towns and villages, citizens are setting up shop in their homes to roast smaller chickens at cheaper prices. Commercial enterprises complain but the fact remains, this is the free market at work. If they have priced themselves out of reach of the ordinary consumer, then it is they who have created a legitimate market for their competitors. We wish the very best of luck to all of the entrepreneurs of Yucatan!
We were pleased to see an article, in el Diario this week, concerning the cardiac health of older pets. This is a huge signal of so many developmental phases in Yucatan. As societies move forward, people are able to spend less time trying just to survive and more time improving their quality of life. Gradually, pets become family members and gain the right to food, humane treatment, and health care. Today, in Yucatan, pets live longer and develop many of the same health problems of elderly humans. Such is the case with coronary disease, especially after the age of 7. UADY has one of the premier veterinary schools in the world. As a result, Yucatan has some of the best veterinarians in all of Mexico. We encourage anyone with an older pet to talk over age related issues with your vet and, if you have a little extra space at your house, consider adopting an older dog or cat from AFAD in Merida. While we’re on the subject, if you are on Facebook, AFAD has a Facebook page too… make them a Friend on Facebook and spread the word!
Having a Little Fun With Growing Old
Have you heard? We are no longer growing old. We are "actively aging." Yep! That’s right – no more rocking chairs allowed (evidently on a global scale). We should have seen this coming. The elderly of Yucatan are dancing and sculpting and exercising and painting and taking computer classes and touring cities, ruins, and even foreign countries. They (the global conspiracy) probably have us as a target next, but we really didn’t think it would come this close this quickly. Now they’re sending old Canadians to boot camp. Its already started in British Columbia! It’s a program called Boomers Plus Boot Camps. The program is designed for individuals between the ages of 55 and 70 and the term "active aging" is thrown around quite a lot in the description of this experimental endeavor. …and they are training the people sent to these boot camps for sports competitions. See? We knew something sneaky and global was going on when the elderly in Yucatan started playing that scaled down version of volleyball. We’ve been sounding the alarm for over a year! After living all this time, no rocking chair! For more on the statistics on aging, nation to nation, you can go to the AARP International website.
Whale Sharks Gather in Northern Gulf (Too)
Whale sharks have begin to gather, regularly, between 40 and 100 miles off the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. Some scientists speculate this is a spawning ground. Others admit they have no idea why the whale sharks are there or how long this phenomenon has been going on. To further muddy the waters, scientists have tagged over 700 of Yucatan’s whale sharks and not a single one has turned up in the Northern Gulf. Still, scientists believe the two groups of whale sharks are related and continue their investigation. To read more about the whale sharks of the Northern Gulf, click here.