Asheville, N.C. & Valladolid: Sister Cities
Asheville, N.C. and Valladolid have been sister cities since 2005 but this past week, Mayoress Terry Bellamy led a delegation to Valladolid for the formal signing of an agreement for the specific exchange between the two cities of art, culture, and business. Mayor Mario Peniche Cárdenas took the American delegation on a tour of the Police Station and the new pledge between the two cities was signed in the Salón de Retratos de la Comuna in the Cabildo (Town Hall).
Tourism: Europe Watches Yucatan from Milan
Several months ago, we reported on the fact that there would be a plane load of 55 tourists coming to Yucatan from Milan, Italy, every week between December and the end of March. We had no idea that would result in Yucatan’s participation in an international tourism fair in Milan, in which Yucatan is able to present the wonders of our state to over 108,000 people from 122 countries, many of whom are in the tourism business. No wonder we’re getting all those new 5-star hotels! Some say this is a good thing, some say not. No matter which side you are on, the fact remains that Yucatan has been discovered and, properly managed, this can lead to a better life for many Yucatecos.
Expats Restore Historic Centro
There was an article in El Diario this week that spoke about the tragedy of losing so many of the historic homes and buildings in Centro to decay and even demolition. The article said that Yucatecos are indifferent toward conserving the historical center of the city, in contrast to the efforts being put forth by foreigners. In defense of our Yucateco neighbors, this type of situation is common all over the world. It always breaks the hearts of local residents to see their historic inner cities go, but most are horrified to think of the cost of restoration and opt to move to the suburbs, where they can live comfortably and use their resources to educate their children and provide their families with a better life. In Merida, foreigners come with an exceptionally good exchange rate and often the entire expense of restoring a large home in Centro is equal to, or less than, purchasing only a modest home in their home countries. Some foreigners love the beach, some villages, some the suburbs – and some love history and majesty, and the graceful lifestyle that comes with living in a restored colonial in Centro. For this last group, the opportunity to own and restore the fine old buildings in Centro is a labor of love and everyone who has shared this experience is thankful that Merida is willing to allow foreigners to participate in saving and restoring as much of her past as possible.
Telmex Payphone Rates Drop 60%
It is amazing what a little competition can do in any industry, and especially in the telephone industry. Many Americans, certainly if they are going to be in Yucatan for only a short time, have always depended on pay phones and calling cards for communication. When Telmex was the only game in town, you could make a local call for $1 peso per minute using a calling card. Then, the competition began offering $3 peso calls, without concern for the duration of the call. Now, Telmex offers the same rate: $3 pesos per call, with no time limit. Calls to cell phones have dropped to $3 pesos (local) and $6 pesos (national). Calls to Central America (except Panama) went down from $10 to $5 pesos per minute. Calls to Europe, South America, Panama, Africa, Alaska and Greenland dropped from $20 to $10 pesos per minute. Calls to Hawaii, Australia, and Asia dropped from $25 to $10 pesos per minute. Calls to the U.S. and Canada remain at $4 pesos and $5 pesos per minute respectively. If the call is made through Logitel, the fees are $5 pesos for the first minute and $4 pesos for each additional minute for long distance within Mexico, and $10 pesos for the first minute and $8 pesos for each additional minute for international calls. If the call is to a cell phone, Ligitel charges $5 pesos for the first minute and $4 pesos for each additional minute. If the call is made through BBG Communication, long distance in Mexico is $4 pesos for the first minute and $4 for each additional minute. If the call is to the U.S., it is $7 pesos for the first minute and $5 pesos for each additional minute. If the call is to anywhere in the rest of the world, it is $15 pesos for the first minute and $14 pesos for each additional minute. If the call is to a cell phone, all minutes are $4 pesos. That’s the power of competition and it has been a long time coming.
Cable Comes to Izamal
For the past 15 years, residents of Izamal have had to depend on satellite television, and that left out many lower income families. But that is all in the past. Last week, Telecable de Izamal came to the area and will be affordable for everyone. Due to high demand, it may take as long as a year to install the wiring in all of the homes of subscribers, but everyone agrees that this is a wonderful thing for the residents of Izamal. The same cable system is also being offered in Motul, Muna, Oxkutzcab, Ticul and Tekax. Just some of the channels that will be offered include: CNN, Discovery and Disney Chanel, Fox, ESPN, Golden, National Geographic, Telehit, MTV and the Cartoon Network.
Eco Tourism Coming to Southern Yucatan
There are many cenotes in Yucatan that have never been fully explored. That is soon to change. In the southern part of our state, the ejidal commissioner is gathering support for the development of ecotourism so that, by sharing these natural beauties with tourists, the lives of the people of the area will improve significantly. In Dzonotchel, they have not only an undeveloped cenote, but they also have a grotto. These are wonders of the past that exist nowhere else and, with proper management, can be shared with the rest of the world.
These cenotes are magical places and, if you haven’t seen one, take a look at Working Gringa’s visit to The Secret Cenote at Yokdzonot.
Business is Too Good: Owner Calls It Chaos
For the past 20 years, there has been an open-air-market, on Sundays near the old prison in Merida, dedicated to the sale of vehicles. With the economy booming, the fame of this market has grown to the point that buyers are coming from as far away as Quintana Roo and Campeche. Potential customers have begun to park their cars around the market on Saturday night so they’ll be sure to be first in line to sell vehicles on Sunday morning. The owner says there are now more than 1,000 cars parked around his market every weekend. The cars block traffic and there are no bathroom facilities in the area for that number of people. Since his vehicle market has suddenly become the largest open-air-vehicle-market in the Southeastern part of the entire nation, he is asking the state to please help him move out on the highway to Progreso to relieve some of the congestion his business is creating in the city. He says that Sundays, for him, have turned into "chaos." This is the first time we have ever seen a business owner cry for help because business is too good. We hope he gets the help he needs and that his business continues to survive and thrive.
Are You Ready for Baseball?
Its only a month until the new season starts and, already, Los Leones de Yucatan are in training. Los Leones are already participating in preolympic games in preparation for competition to see who will represent Mexico at the next Olympics in Beijing. For breaking news and more, visit the website of Los Leones de Yucatan.
Andrea Cucina Lectures at Ole Miss
Many are unaware of the close ties between UADY and Ole Miss. These two universities have shared students and research information for many years. This past week, Andrea Cucina of the Department of Anthropological Sciences, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, lectured on "Bioarchaeological Research on the Ancient Maya of Mexico: Case Studies from the Yucatan Peninsula." He also explained how archaeologists combine clues from iconography, skeletal indicators of trauma, and how the individual was treated after they died to determine if a particular skeleton is that of a sacrificed person or not. Today, even skeletal data associated with health and diet helps reconstruct the lives of sacrificed individuals and can give us some idea of the circumstances surrounding these types of rituals. We still have many questions about these practices, but modern research methods and technology are bringing us answers to many mysteries that are thousands of years old.
Successful Women Farmers Attend Workshop
52 successful women farmers from Acanceh, Mani’ and Chocholá attended a workshop this past week for the purpose of sharing their experiences so that others might be able to follow in their footsteps. The workshop was held at the Municipal Palace and was under the direction of the Secretaría de Fomento Agropecuario and the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (Secretary of Agricultural Promotion and the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Towns). The women of Yucatan have been the driving force behind the cultural and economic environment in Yucatan throughout history and this generation is better than ever. Congratulations to these 52 successful women farmers. They are an inspiration to all women everywhere.
Have You Had Measles?
If you haven’t had measles – and haven’t been vaccinated – do think about having a talk with your physician. It seems that an American has crossed the border into Baja and brought measles to Mexico. Air travel being what it is, Baja and the U.S. are closer than we think. Please be aware that we are just as "at risk" from diseases brought to Yucatan by visitors as we are to the common diseases that are indigenous to Yucatan.