News: Last of the Year
Successful Animal Rescue at Tizimin Zoo
Patricio Patron Laviada, former Governor of Yucatan and current Attorney General for the Environment in Mexico, ordered the evacuation of all animals at risk for dying at the Tizimin Zoo late last week. 25 were sent to Centenario de Merida and 25 were sent to Centro para la Conservación e Investigación de la Vida Silvestre (Civs) in Tekax. Inspectors, supported by members of the Navy, upon entering the zoo, found 10 dead animals in a freezer and a tiger that had been shot in the leg. After giving the Mayor of Tizimin many opportunities to better care for these animals and after at least one failed attempt to create a board to oversee the zoo, a Federal judge signed the final order to go and get the animals. While 30 animals that are not in immediate danger remain in the Tizimin Zoo, we sincerely hope that no other animals will be allowed to become the property of the Tizimin Zoo until there is an administration in place to ensure their safety. We also want our readers to know that this situation is not, in any way, the fault of the citizens of Tizimin. If they are able to form a Zoo Board and comply with Federal regulations, Attorney General Patron Laviada has said that they are more than welcome to have their zoo returned to them.
Yucateco Photographer Wins Recognition in Italy
Federico Espinosa, aka Chacpol, won an honorable mention in photography at the International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy. His winning photograph is entitled “Altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Yucatan.” Then, on Dec. 2, accompanied by the Mayor of Merida, Cesar Bojorquez Zapata and his wife, Susana Bustillos Lope, Chacpol had the honor of giving a copy of the photograph to Pope Benedict XVI in the Plaza of St. Peter in the Vatican. Chacpol has commented on the fertile ground of Merida in which a visual artist’s talents are encouraged to grow and the Mayor of Merida vows to continue supporting the arts throughout the rest of his administration. Visit his website here.
Successful Harvest in Tekax
25,000 tons of cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant were harvested this season by U.S. owned “Valle del Sur” in Ayim Blanca Flor, Tekax. This is wonderful news because they have not yet reached capacity and will be increasing their farms by 40% and hiring more Yucatecos next year! We have been singing the praises of the southern part of this state for a long time and it looks as if they are finally not only coming into their own, but being internationally recognized for their efforts as well. We couldn’t be more pleased for them!
Disabled Individuals Hired by Police
As many are aware, the SSP (Security Police) have approximately 100 surveillance cameras throughout the municipality of Merida. Many are in places that need security only in the case of large scale events, such as the state fairgrounds. The State of Yucatan has just announced that 30 individuals who have physical disabilities have been hired to operate these cameras. This is a wonderful step for the State to take while we are still in an era in which those with disabilities often continue to face discrimination. We wish these new state employees a prosperous New Year and thank them for their contribution to the high levels of safety we enjoy in Yucatan.
A New Image for Valladolid
It isn’t going to be long before Valladolid is going to be able to give Merida a run for her money on downright good looks! They’ve been working hard in Valladolid and now have new streets and new sidewalks. All of the facades of the colonial homes and buildings in the city’s center will have a new coat of paint by the end of January. There is just something magical about a fresh, clean plaza in the center of a colonial city in Yucatan that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Congratulations, Valladolid! You’re looking Great!
The Little Mexican Cooking School
This cooking class adventure destination officially hung out its shingle on Dec. 8th in Puerto Morelos, just south of Cancun and the last little colonial town on the Caribbean Riviera. Classes are 6 hours per day and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of April. Owners are Australian, Catriona “Cat” Brown and Canadian, Patti Murphy. Cat is a well known business owner and charity leader in Puerto Morelos. Patti first owned a restaurant and now produces FOOD TV. School and guest chefs will offer expert advice on the techniques of creating Mexican cuisine and participants will have the opportunity to prepare a full menu, ending in a Mexican feast. Tourists from resorts in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, as well as expats, are welcome to come and enjoy a day long food adventure. The school chef is Mexican, Claudia Ramos Cellis, who was trained in several Mexican Universities with graduate training at NYC’s Culinary Institute of America and who speaks four languages. Brown and Murphy are offering a special “Chef Week” once a month when one of a several International Celebrity Chefs will take over the spatula. There will also be a rotating menu each week during the month to whet everyone’s appetite. Billed as an Authentic Food Adventure for Curious Travelers, The Little Mexican Cooking School looks like a sure bet for fun, excitement and taste. Visit their website: The Little Mexican Cooking School for booking information.
Looking into the Future
New census figures came out this week with the news that, by 2050, there will be an Hispanic and Asian majority in the U.S. and the over 85 population will triple! Some of us will still be around when that happens. With luck, instead of 40 more years of complaining about everything under the sun, our generation will retire and have the time and energy necessary to devote ourselves to making all of the world a nicer, healthier and safer place for everyone.
Exercise: If They Can, We Can Too!
We would like to congratulate the more than 855 elderly Yucatecos who are now practicing yoga, basketball and soccer at the IMSS Social Security Center. They have absolutely embraced the principles of healthy living and preventive health care. We expect to have them with us for a very long time! Well done! New Year’s Resolution for us? Exercise, maybe?
330 New Yucatecos
This past week, 330 children and adults who were born in the U.S. obtained their Mexican birth certificates in Merida. The program is called “My Nationality,” and it grants the children of Mexican parents full rights as Mexican citizens under the Constitution. This is an important step because so many of these children are brought home by their parents and were, until now, unable to obtain important services. Now, they are secure in their own home state and their future is brighter than ever before. Yucatan Living would like to welcome each and every one of these brand new citizens home to Mexico and to Yucatan.
A Star is Born: José Antonio Ek Mayá
If ever you get the chance to go and hear José Antonio Ek Mayá, who sings with El Mariachi Juvenil de Muxupip, please drop whatever you are doing and go. José is only 9 years old and is a self-taught ranchero singer, even though his father is the director of El Mariachi Juvenil de Mixupip. He also plays a bihuela, which is a small, 5 string guitar. Of 3 brothers, little José is the only one who is interested in music. He says he wants to grow up to sing better than Pedro Fernandez (a well known singer and actor). If he’s this good at 9, we’d be willing to bet that is exactly what he will do.
Fireworks Sale Dates
Just a note to let everyone know fireworks can only legally be sold on December 23, 24, 30, and 31. If this is your first Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Yucatan, cover your ears. This too shall pass. If you are a participant in the fun, please be careful.
The New Minimum Wage
The new minimum wage in Yucatan is $54.47 pesos per day. Most low wage workers in Yucatan are paid at least two, or slightly more, minimum wages (i.e. $108.94 pesos or slightly more). At today’s exchange rates, that is $8.47 USD per day! Before anyone who has never been here begins to think it is okay to come to Mexico and live like a king on a pittance, we want to remind you of the little boy in Cholul who passed out in school and was found to be suffering from malnutrition because 2 minimum wages about what his mother was earning. The new increase in the minimum wage has already been eaten away by inflation. All of our friends here in Yucatan are aware of the difficulties of making a living and are more than fair with their employees. We hope that newcomers will ask around and develop that habit so that we can continue to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.