News Starting October 10, 2011
Merida’s Underpass is Open
By the time our readers get this news, the events surrounding the opening of the underpass on Paseo de Montejo will be concluded and traffic will be allowed through the new structure. On Friday night, there was a small ceremony to celebrate the turning on of the new fountain in the park that now sits on top of the new underpass. As the water dances through the fountain, it displays a light controlled from a small building nearby. A bigger celebration took place on Sunday, with an opening ceremony that included the opening of the underpass. Regular traffic began passing through the underpass on Monday morning.
Dengue Fever: Do Not Self-Medicate
Even with the fumigation efforts by the government, there seems to be a plague of mosquitoes throughout the state this year. Residents are urged to clean their patios of anything that could provide a breeding ground for these insects, as well as to clean any empty lots they may have. Doctors are asking that people not self-medicate at the first sign of feeling unwell. Instead, go to the doctor. Have a doctor check you to determine why you are ill. If you do have dengue fever, the sooner you know, the easier it will be to treat. Dengue fever has the potential to kill and should not be taken lightly. It won’t be long before temperatures drop and the mosquitoes will stop breeding, so just be vigilant for a little while longer and all will be well again.
UTM Computer Experts in the Parks
Between now and the beginning of the year, UTM (Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana) computer science students will be giving professional advice to wireless users in the parks in Merida. The program is called “Evolve With Technology” and the students will give advice on how to use the wireless service in the parks, as well as on how to use the Internet. The goal of the program is to have the entire population computer-literate and able to navigate the websites that connect them to city, state and federal services. Keep an eye out for these students, as they will only be in each park for one week. We think it might take longer than one week to get everyone in the city computer-literate, but this is certainly a good start.
Update: Second La Ruta Solidaria del Chocolate 2012
This sailing competition will take place in April, 2012, and we will hear more about it. This week’s news is that each of the 26 registered boats will arrive with $25,000 Euros to invest in social development projects. In addition, France has promised to build a museum for Progreso, if the municipality will donate the land. This news comes in addition to the fact that France has already begun to promote Mayan culture and what some believe are predictions for 2012.
UADY Studies Food Sovereignty and Biodiversity in Tzucacab
This past week, Tzucacab hosted a showing of the results of a four-month study in which 60 participating families identified cultural customs they feel their children have lost or are losing. A photographic exhibition of the findings of the study was presented in Tzucacab so that everyone can appreciate the hard work that had been done. In the end, the two most commonly mentioned cultural characteristics believed to be lost, especially in the area of food sovereignty and biodiversity, is the ability to raise one’s own food, both vegetables and animals. The older members of the families who participated in the study suggest that everyone teach children to raise their own food, even if its just in a pot in their own courtyard. Older generations have been making this recommendation for a long time. Perhaps now that studies show the vulnerabilities of the next generation, this advice will be taken more seriously. We certainly hope so.
Learning About Yucatan: Interesting Jobs and Resumes
As expats and snowbirds, we often get excited about where we are shopping, which restaurants we have come to love, and what is going on with our new houses. But there is more to Yucatan than what we are up to. The local job market has the potential to impact our quality of life, even if many of us are retired. This week, we found a website that seems to be a Monster-like job board for all of Mexico. When we set the filters for Yucatan, we got quite a few surprises, not in the least of which is the variety of jobs available in our state. We do admit that the wages are low, compared to where most of us came from, but we remind readers that the difference is all in the benefits. Mexican workers are covered by health insurance, a retirement program, a program to help them become homeowners and they have their own credit bureau. Most cultural events are free and additional home businesses are encouraged. Take a look at Bolsa de Trabajo Computrabajo not only to see the wide variety of jobs and resumes in Yucatan, but to compare Yucatan with other states in Mexico. The site is in Spanish, of course… good practice!
Price of Gasoline Rises Again
At the beginning of the year, the President of Mexico announced that the subsidies on gasoline would be gradually removed in equal increments over a period of one year. So far, he has stuck to that plan. October’s increase has come and the new price is $9.56 pesos per liter for Magna, $10.50 pesos per liter for Premium and $9.92 pesos per liter for diesel. To convert pesos per liter to dollars per gallon, multiply price per liter in pesos by 3.785 and divide this number by the current exchange rate. Today, the exchange rate is 13.4427, so Magna gasoline is $2.69 USD per gallon, Premium is $2.96 per gallon and diesel is $2.79 per gallon. We hope this will help some of the Snowbirds as they calculate their budgets for the trip from the border to Yucatan. And for those of us who are expats, it is again nice to see that gasoline in Mexico is still cheaper than in the USA in most places.
Monique’s Bakery is Moving
Everyone’s favorite bakery and more will be moving in November. In the meantime, the bakery needs as much support as possible, including the donation of books for their reading exchange library. For more information, visit Monique’s Bakery on Facebook. Slow Food Yucatan also has a great new Facebook page, while you are on the subject.
Where do Turkeys Come From?
This past Sunday was Thanksgiving in Canada and its almost time for Thanksgiving in the U.S. This signals the beginning of lots of Thanksgiving dinners, so its time to start thinking about our menu. Many expats in Yucatan opt for one of the wonderful Thanksgiving buffets offered by most of the larger hotels, but there are still a few who cook Thanksgiving dinner at home for family and friends. This year, among the many turkey recipe e-mails we get, we found one about the origin of turkeys. Did you know that turkeys have been here for at least 11 million years? Evidently, there are two kinds of turkeys, one from Yucatan and Guatemala (Agriocharis ocellata) and the other from the rest of Mexico and the U.S. (Meleagris gallopavo). Whether you cook a turkey at home or go out for your turkey dinner, please make certain that, this year, your turkey is from Yucatan. Its been a hard year for the turkey farmers in flooded areas and they need your support.
Courses in Maya Language Online
There is a new language course that will be taught online. It is aimed at young people and adults who would like to learn both conversational Maya and learn Maya literary expression. Teachers are well respected researchers and writers in the Mayan community. The course is two semesters in length and costs $350 pesos per semester. A multimedia approach will ensure that the student can see, hear and communicate with teachers and with other students. For more information, contact REDALICY, in Av. Itzaes # 501 C x 59 y 65, Col. Centro; Phone: 930-4700 ext 54007, 54017 and 54018; or e-mail: redalicy [at] gmail [dot] com If you would rather learn on your own, Yucatan Maya: Identity and Culture has a Course in Maya already online. It is separated into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels and includes audio, as well as a Spanis-to-Maya dictionary and a Maya-to-Spanish dictionary. Don’t overlook the songs listed under multimedia. They are all sing-alongs, with lyrics, and are great for learning the tempo of the language itself.
Yucatan for Real Estate Developers
In the first week of October, real estate professionals from throughout Mexico, the United States and the nations of Central and South America met in Merida for several days of conferences associated with the XL National Congress of the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI). They learned of Yucatan’s healthcare and educational opportunities, infrastructure, logistics, communications and security. But the real coup for this meeting was the forging of strong relationships between real estate professionals that crosses borders and languages. These are the types of relationships that bring new business to a state, and new jobs. We are so glad to know that they chose Merida for their meeting and know we will see them all again soon.
Merida’s Alejandro Pinzon: Doctoral Conducting Recital in West Virginia, October 20, 2011
If any of our readers knows anyone who lives within traveling distance of Morgantown, West Virginia, please pass this grand news on to them and ask them to attend this doctoral conducting recital. Maestro Alejandro Pinzon will be conducting the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, with professor of flute Nina Assimakopoulos as the featured musical artist. Music will be by Haydn, Moya and Mozart. To learn more about this remarkable young man, spend some time on the Alejandro Pinzon website. What we can tell you, from personal experience, is that having Alejandro Pinzon as a friend is just like having a pocket full of sunshine. Again, please pass this information on to anyone you think might be able to attend this concert. It will surely be a superior performance, and he is a Yucatecan to watch!
Location: Falbo Theater, Creative Arts Center, University of West Virginia, Morgantown, WV
Time: 8:30 PM
Admission: Free to the public