Yucatan News: The Vagaries of Weather
First of all...
Our apologies for publishing last week's news twice. If you read THAT news and thought we must be crazy, you were probably right. If you don't know what we're talking about, well, nevermind. We're fine now, and here's the REAL news for this week...
In Merida! First Arrest of Its Kind in the Country!
Last summer, two fellows decided it was the thing to do to break into someone’s yard and poison 4 cats and 2 dogs. But that wasn’t enough for them. They tortured one of the cats and one of the dogs. The first thing that happened to these two “people” (and we use the word advisedly) was that they were fined by the Ecology Department of the Ayuntamiento for violating Wildlife Protection Regulations. Now, we have thrown our hats into the air in jubilation because, thanks to the efforts of Marcia Lara Ruiz de Moreno, representing the Asociacion Mexicana por los Derechos de los Animales (the Mexican Association for the Rights of Animals), along with Fatima Escalante and Lidia Saleh Angulo, Director of Albergue Franciscano (AFAD), those two “people” have been arrested and will be criminally prosecuted. This is the first arrest of its kind and will be the first prosecution of its kind in the State of Yucatan and in all of Mexico! The next time someone considers abusing an animal in Yucatan, they need to remember that Yucatecos no longer tolerate such behavior! …and, the next time someone asks us “Why Merida?” this wonderful event is going to be on the top of our list!
How About that Weather!
Highs in the upper 60s, lows in the 40s. Does that sound like the tropics to you? However, even as we all complain about this most recent norte, we need to stop and remember not only the people in Canada, the U.S., and Northern Mexico, but also the people in the interior of our own State of Yucatan. In Merida and along the beach, we have been inconvenienced. They have suffered. In fact, at this point, nine people in the northern states of Mexico have died from the most intense cold this country has seen in 124 years, and they tell us that this is a grave cause for alarm in the southern part of Yucatan where residents are not prepared with warm clothes or safe means of heating their homes. From what we hear, today is the last day of this weather event. We certainly hope so. …and, by the way... Sorry, kids! School will remain open in spite of the cold... it's not a Snow Day yet!
15,000 Fishermen Sidelined by Cold, Wind and Rain
We hope that none of our fishermen ignore the warnings and go out anyway… but some always do. We hope that they all make it back… but some of them don’t. This is what it means to be a fisherman in a marginal financial situation. To feed their families, they must fish. To fish, they often risk their lives. This time, no lives have been lost because of the port closure. With luck, all of the fishermen will wait to go out again until it is safe. How wonderful it would be to go an entire year with everybody fishing and no loss of life.
Weather Hits Beach Sales
In the same way that Yucatan’s fishermen live from one catch to the next, Yucatan’s small businesses at the beach often live cruise ship to cruise ship. They have a few short months to make almost all of the money they will make in a year and then the season is over. When weather takes out chunks of that time in week-long blocks, then it is possible that some of the smaller or newer businesses might not recover. One or two good weeks and they can catch back up, so we have our fingers crossed that the weather clears and there is smooth sailing in our waters and on our beaches for the rest of 2010.
Cold Good for Persian Lemon Prices
The Persian lemon crops of both Veracruz and Tabasco have been damaged by the cold. This has led to a situation in which Yucatan’s Persian lemon crop has doubled in the past week. At the end of 2009, a 17 kilo box of Persian lemons sold for $80 pesos. As usual, when everybody has a crop in early January, the price dropped back to $40 pesos and was expected to gradually rise again by the end of 2010. Imagine everyone’s surprise this week when the price of a $17 kilo box of Persian lemons rose to $100 pesos! This is a blessing for farmers who lost so much in last year’s prolonged drought. It is believed that not only this situation, but also the new diversity of fruits grown in the State of Yucatan, will work together to ensure a more stable economic system for the fruit farmers of our state.
Too Many Cars in Merida
The number of cars in Merida today is 135% of what it was just 9 years ago, necessitating the building of new streets to carry the extra load. We recently reported that the rate of traffic accidents in Merida is falling – and that is true. The “rate” is falling, but not necessarily the actual numbers. This is because a few extra accidents are getting rated with an ever increasing number of cars. Last year, 55,000 additional vehicles appeared in Merida, 19,000 of which were right off of the showroom floor. This much larger base number means that traffic accidents have fallen to only the 6th greatest cause of death for people in Yucatan, which is not much consolation for the families of those who do lose their lives that way. In order to ameliorate the situation, many more DUI checkpoints have been established (if you live here, you have probably noticed them...) and the State is building streets and roads as fast as it can. Please be careful out there until all of these new projects are completed.
Shopping in Mexico: Consumer Protection
In 2008, PROFECO fined 60 business establishments in Merida, with an average fine of $450,000 pesos. This year, PROFECO fined 130 business establishments in Merida, with fines from a mere $799 pesos all the way up to a whopping $586,000 pesos. A total of 60 of the fines for 2009 took place during the holiday shopping season. Most infractions were associated with bakers or millers, but a good many were associated with stores that played funny games with pricing. In some cases, no prices were marked where the consumer could see them at all, which allowed cashiers to charge anything they wanted to charge – or as much as they thought they could get away with. In other cases, a sale would be advertised but, when the customer got to the checkout cashier, the sale would be over and regular pricing would be back in force. Mexico takes a dim view of abusing the people and PROFECO is more than happy to investigate any claim that is brought to them. If you think you have been cheated in Mexico, please Visit PROFECO’s Website to fill out a form and get the ball rolling into your court.
Handicapped Accessible Agreement
For many years, people with varying degrees of physical disabilities have asked us if Merida and/or the beach towns are set up for wheelchair access. We have seen many elderly folks using motorized scooters in the beach towns but trying that in Merida is inviting a traffic accident. Curbs are high and this city of stone and concrete simply was not built for people with disabilities. However, Yucatan is a state that values the rights of all of her citizens, and none more so than the rights of the disabled. This past week, there has been an agreement between the Human Rights Commission of the State of Yucatan and the Yucatan College of Architects, A.C. to begin working together to design and build homes, shops, offices and workplaces so that, from now on, they will all be accessible to individuals who are disabled. This is yet another positive step for Yucatan in the direction of becoming one of the finest places to live in all the world.
How To Grow Good People
At the age of 8, the children who belong to the Red Cross youth organization visit the nursing home in Progreso, present the play “A Christmas Carol,” and promise the elderly they will be back in January. Their leaders see to it that they keep that promise. This is a deliberate activity whose goal is the creation of a humanitarian conscience in Yucatan’s citizens of tomorrow. Psychologists have determined that the age of 8 is precisely the right age to do this and Yucatan’s Red Cross is more than happy to provide both the children and the elderly adults necessary to carry out the program. What a wonderful idea! …and they said that children don’t come with instructions… of course they do! Just come to Yucatan and see!
Corazon sin Fronteras (Hearts Without Borders)
It seems that we can always find someone to help in an outlying town or village, but seldom do we ever hear of anyone ever offering to help on the south side of Merida. Now, there is someone who cares and who is making the south side of Merida their major area of focus for 2010 and beyond. With new directors, this now 10-year-old organization is moving forward with providing food pantries to the poorest citizens of Merida, to organizing soccer tournaments, to helping with job searches, health promotion and legal advice. For more information about how you can help Corazon sin Fronteras, join them on Facebook or call (999) 173-8323 or (999) 292-1495. The future of the young people of Merida depends on those of us who wish to enjoy this city for the remainder of our lives. It is the thing to do for them – and it is a gift to ourselves and our futures as well.
Yucatan Living’s Merida Restaurant Listings
Have you noticed our new restaurant listings lately? With so many places to choose from, our Merida Restaurant Listing page make it easy to decide where to eat, get directions or a phone number for a particular restaurant, or read what others think about a particular restaurant. We encourage you to peruse the list and leave us a comment that will tell other people what you think of the restaurants here in Merida. Also, if you have a favorite that isn't listed, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment and we'll add it to the list! We created Yucatan Living’s Merida Restaurant Listings because we were always trying to figure out where to eat, what time restaurants were open, etc. Now there's a place to find out all you need to know about eating out in the city and major points throughout the state!
NY Times: Places to Go
The New York Times wants you to tell them where you want to go in 2010 and where the best vacation spots are. This takes place on an interactive map and you get to see the places they picked as well. Visit the New York Times to participate and tell the world about Merida and the State of Yucatan!
Home Prices Still Rising in Yucatan
While the bottom was dropping out of home prices north of the border, several places in Mexico have enjoyed a slow but steady growth in real estate prices. These include the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatan and Durango, with home prices rising by 8.1%, 8.0%, 7.4% and 6.7% respectively during the 3rd trimester of 2009. This is great news for those who have been hesitating to take the plunge. Not to worry. Yucatan is moving forward at a slow and easily maintained rate. Now is still the time to buy a home in Yucatan! (CNNexpansion.com)
Carnival Seats (Where to Buy)
Here’s all you ever wanted to know about buying a seat at a Carnival parade in Merida. First, you need to know that a palco is a set of 8 chairs and the office that sells them is at Calle 62 x 53.
Office Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Mon. – Fri., and 10:00 AM to 2:00 AM Sat. & Sun. .
Jan. 2 – 8: You could have purchased a palco good for all of the parades.
Jan. 9 – 29: You can buy a palco good for one parade (of your choice).
Jan. 30 – Feb. 7: Purchases are limited to 2 chairs and are drawn from what’s left of the palcos.
Day of the parade: Gradas and other chairs are sold prior to the parade, but you have to show up at least 5 hours early to get one. Once a street is closed to traffic, the vendors will then start putting out chairs and selling them.
We have no prices, as yet, but we think they were about $28 pesos per chair last year. Of course, if you don't get a chair, you can always just stand next to the route!
Ricardo Ucán Ceca Freed from Prison
An indigenous man from the State of Yucatan has been freed from prison after spending 10 years of a 22 year sentence behind bars. Ucán Ceca admitted killing his neighbor, but could not get across his point that he had acted in self-defense. He did not speak Spanish and the court, at the time, refused to provide him with adequate council. Mexico’s chapter of Amnesty International, along with other indigenous peoples’ rights groups, has been working to gain his freedom all these years. Mexico has come a long way in 10 years and Ricardo Ucán Ceca, as well as all indigenous peoples in Mexico, is the beneficiary of that change of heart.