News of Yucatan: Oil, Movies, Marches
Summer Vacation Begins at the Beach
The games and amusement park rides are going in all along the beach and traffic is a sight to behold, but that’s the way it is la temporada in Yucatan in late July and for most of August. Hoards of barely legal adults are headed for clubs designed just for them. Police are out in full force, manning checkpoints to catch DUI drivers. There’s no drinking allowed on the Malecon in Progreso after 7:00 PM, in hopes of holding down the level of trash caused by late night street parties. Young people volunteer for community service by the tens of thousands, and little children practice squealing as loud as they can for as many hours per day as their little voices will hold out.
Rain? What rain? Did it rain? We are not at all certain that children on vacation can tell if it is raining or not! Can you imagine the strain that suddenly tripling the population of a beach town can put on such services as garbage collection and the distribution of electricity and water? Even though it all gets better every year, we have a choice to make. We can either complain to the four winds, or realize that this is the music of life in Yucatan and be glad we are here to witness it another year.
We know many families that are staying out at the beach while the working members of the family commute from Merida. It is a time for families to spend quality time together, and Yucatan Living hopes that everyone has a wonderful vacation this year!
We’ve Found a JOB For You!
Many expats come to Yucatan from all over the world already retired and vowing never to “work” again. Shortly thereafter, they are working (volunteering) more than they ever worked back home and finding that their budgets for giving are beginning to feel like a pair of tight shoes. At this point, they refocus and learn to manage their time and resources so they can survive to “give” another day.
But what if there was a source of new money to augment that retirement check just a bit? We’ve found the perfect expat job – tutoring your own language online (!) and it pays $15 Euros an hour! That’s $19.50 USD or $20.38 CAD, and all you need is a good internet connection and a computer with a webcam. Learn more and register to begin working at Learn2Lingo. Let us know if you do and pass your experience along. We’d love to hear all about it!
Consulate Jobs for American Citizens
Do you speak and write Spanish? If so, the American Consulate in Merida has two current job openings. The first is the position of Consular Agent in Cancun. The second is a Telephone operator / Travel clerk. Both jobs are listed on the Consulate of the United States – Merida website, where you will find all the requirements for the positions, as well as a complete job description for each.
Mexico Sues British Petroleum (BP)
Initially, Mexico was suing BP on a state-by-state basis, with monies to be delivered as oil damage worked its way down the eastern coast of the country. At that time, no one realized the scope and magnitude of this environmental disaster or how much it would cost even if not one drop of oil ever hits the coast of Mexico.
Why is it costing Mexico money already? There is a definite necessity to gear up and be prepared for the worst, from research studies and monitoring of the mangroves that have had to be hurriedly put in place, along with astonishing projections of the cost of future harm. Therefore, Mexico is now suing BP for “recovery of every dollar spent.” Mexico has already spent upward of $20 million dollars in research and developing prevention plans and is using a figure of $70 million to create a workable temporary budget. While this is good news for Mexico, we also worry about the smaller island nations bordering the Gulf that may not have the legal resources to protect themselves from harm.
BP Stops Flow of Oil from DeepWater Horizon
BP claims to have stopped the flow of oil from DeepWater Horizon. We ask that you please remember that oil continues to hit the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and, even since the well has been stopped, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of oil that has hit the second largest rookery in the U.S. This tragedy is still in its infancy. It will be decades before it ends.
This is a sound-byte world in which we live, but the forces of disaster and tragedy do not happen that way. Long after the attention of the world has moved on, the people of the shores of the Gulf of Mexico will continue to suffer on a daily basis. Please keep the pressure on lawmakers to see to it that help comes this time and that no resident of the shores of the entire Gulf of Mexico is punished or forgotten for having been assaulted by this horrific event. You can start by signing petitions at SeizeBP.org and here at ThePetitionSite.com, and you can join the Boycott BP group on Facebook and do whatever you can to support the communities along the Gulf that have been hardest hit.
Did Yucatan Really Recover From Ixtoc?
Even we have reported glowing news aggregations about how Yucatan’s pulpo fishing industry is a gift from the Ixtoc oil spill and that the peninsula is completely recovered from that 1979 disaster.
This week, we learned the other side of the story. Fish did not return to the waters off of Yucatan for approximately three years after the Ixtoc spill. Oysters and clams never returned. According to Wes Tunnell, a biologist who studies the Ixtoc spill for the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M, some of the mangroves on the Yucatan Peninsula remain only about 80% recovered, after 31 years, and tar can still be found in some places.
The take-away for this is: Always take a second look when, in the face of overwhelming odds, the media declares everything to be wonderful. Check here to see some photos of the effects of that oil spill.
Hurricane Alex Damage: Attention Snowbirds
If you are a Snowbird and plan on making your traditional migration to Yucatan by driving through Mexico in the early Fall, please be aware that there has been widespread and extensive damage done to both Nuevo Leon and to Tamaulipas. We strongly suggest that you begin keeping up with news from the municipalities through which you normally drive. A good place to begin is with the Press Releases from the Offices of the Governors of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. This is especially important for those who travel from Reynosa to Matamoros because that road is not expected to open, they say, “for months.”
We hope all will be well by the time you begin your trip, but the more information you can get, the easier your trip will be.
Food & Supplies Leave for Hurricane Alex Victims
The people of Yucatan have always been able to be counted on in case of emergency. This time, it is Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas whose people are in need. Just yesterday, 16 tons of food, water and supplies collected at Siglo XXI, arrived in Nuevo Leon. While we are very proud of Yucatan’s relief effort, we know that the hunger and thirst go on when the eye of the news camera goes away.
If you would like to make a donation to help the Mexican people who have been so nice to all of us as we travel through their countryside on our way to Yucatan, please visit the website of the Mexican Consulate in Brownsville. There you will find the best and safest way to make a donation to this great and ongoing need. For those who are unaware of what happened in Monterrey, this photo gallery should give you some idea.
The Latest On Human Migration Statistics
Net Migration Numbers From: National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI)
- 2nd Trimester 2006 and Second Quarter 2006
- Emigration 14.6 per thousand inhabitants, Immigration 3.4 per thousand inhabitants
- Net Migration: negative 11.2 per thousand inhabitants
- 4th Quarter 2009
- Emigration 5 per thousand inhabitants, immigration 3.3 per thousand inhabitants
- Net Migration: negative 1.7 per thousand inhabitants
- 1st Trimester 2010
- Emigration: 3.8 per thousand inhabitants, immigration 3.4 per thousand inhabitants
- Net Migration: negative 0.4 per thousand inhabitants
Mexicans choosing to head north of the border continue to be, in large part, from the states of Michoacan, Zacatecas and Guanajuato and net migration has remained fairly constant from the 4th quarter of 2008 until the present day. This represents a reversal of the previous trend, and a large drop from the numbers in the years before 2008, as evidenced by the chart to the right.
ATM & Growing Pains in Southern Yucatan
ATM machines and direct deposit are wonderful things – unless you live in a rapidly growing village in the middle of Southern Yucatan. Most still have no branch bank, no tellers, and only one or two ATM machines for an entire town or village. They all get paid on direct deposit now and none of the local mercado vendors takes debit cards. Can you imagine being at the end of one of those lines and watching as the ATM machine runs out of money?
Surely, it won’t be long before there’s a branch bank in every town and village in Yucatan but, in the meantime, people are still having to travel to withdraw cash from their accounts. So don’t forget: If you’re headed for shopping or just sightseeing in any of the outlying municipalities in Yucatan, stop and get a little cash before you go – just in case.
Merida: A March for the Animals
This march, held on Paseo de Montejo, is in its second year. Its focus is obtaining legislation guaranteeing the humane treatment of dogs and cats in Yucatan. What we like is that the marchers included many of the workers in all of the local animal shelters. These workers know exactly what is needed: education, spay / neuter programs, and a new shelter because every shelter in and around Merida is full. This march is part of a nationwide nonviolent movement to effect legislative change throughout Mexico, specifically as it is related to animals.
Bird Festival Planning
One of the reasons Yucatan’s Annual TOH Bird Festival is now an international event is because it is so well planned and so well executed. This past week, we received an invitation to their first planning session of the year and then we missed the event because we didn’t quickly open the e-mail, assuming the event would be for some time in November. We had no idea that planning began this early.
Happily, the organizers of the 9th Bird Festival in Yucatan can get along just fine without us but we wanted our birding friends to know that great plans are being made for you and for the birds that winter in Yucatan, so keep us on your calendars and we’ll see you in November!
The Movies Come to Campeche
Heavy hitters in the entertainment industry, such as Wesley Snipes and Raul Julia-Levy, are backing a new film that will be adapted from the book “Chronicles of the Maya Tunnel.” The story follows four children back in time to find the key to saving the world from ending. They are transported to the Mayan kingdom at its height of glory and we all will be watching to see what they discover the real key to be... or rather, what Hollywood thinks the key is.
This film has a budget of $100 million dollars and is set to be released in December 2012. In return for Campeche’s cooperation, the filmmakers will be providing food and scholarships for an entire town in Campeche. This sounds like a Harry Potterish story that we are sure children will love. All our best to the entire endeavor.
We just read that Apple is rolling out the iPad to ten more countries and one of those is Mexico. The iPad should be available here on July 23, according to the news sources. According to Apple, the iPad has so far sold more than 3 million units. And the place to buy them here? There's a new store in the Alta Brisa shopping mall... an authorized Apple dealer, apparently owned by Carlos Slim. We're pretty sure they'll be carrying the iPad there.
First Year Anniversary of Pro-Life Legislation
Various groups in the Yucatan celebrated the first anniversary of Yucatan State's constitutional reform that provides rights for the unborn. As in other states in Mexico, the reforms passed with an overwhelming majority. The spokeswoman for the legislation was quoted in the article as saying, "The constitutional changes are intended to protect women, especially those who are pregnant. They do not criminalize women but rather grant her (sic)the full guarantee of the defense of life from the moment of conception". The Pro-Yucatan Network, which was instrumental in passing the legislation, represents 47 different groups in the state. You can read the entire press release here at the Catholic News Agency website.