Yucatan Still Attracting Tourists
Yucatan made it into the top ten ethical destinations for 2008 because we care about the environment and because we work hard to preserve the past. Yucatan is number 6. That’s in the whole world, folks! …ahead of Monte Carlo, Monaco, safaris in Zimbabwe and The Cook Islands in the South Pacific. The article predicts that tourists will be caring more about how tour operators interact with the culture and environment they are traveling to.
We also did a little investigation and discovered that, after Las Vegas, Mexico is the #2 travel search on the entire Internet. Looks like 2008 is going to be a boom year for Mexico, as well as for Yucatan.
Thirty two travel agents, from some of the largest travel agencies in Germany, recently visited Yucatan specifically to learn more about the Merida and the surrounding attractions. They were welcomed with trova music, a performance of the Ballet Infantil del Ayuntamiento de Mérida, and treated to the light and sound show at Chichen Itza. We would imagine we’ll be seeing more German visitors in the area pretty soon.
And, we learned that City Council has received applications for the construction of no less than seven new 5-star hotels in Merida! Three are to be on Paseo Montejo and two near the Convention Center, and we heard of yet another one on Calle 60 and one on Calle 62 near the Hyatt Hotel. The city has also received a number of requests for some of the larger homes in Centro to be turned into hotels.
Free Wireless Internet Has Come To Merida!
Wireless has been available in VIPS for awhile, and recently also at Starbucks. And of course, in most of our homes and hotels. From what we understand, free wireless Internet is now available also in the 9 parks listed below. Ultimately, there will be 31 parks with free wireless internet service. The parks have been chosen by their proximity to schools, the number of young people in the area and their proximity to neighborhoods where the most inhabitants own computers. All that is well and good, but we can’t help but wonder why the Plaza Grande didn’t get a wireless setup as well.
Of our 781,146 inhabitants (at last census) in Merida (we think it’s more by now), 142,800 have computers. 56% of those computers (63,500) are portable computers. That number is rising dramatically every year, as are the number of tourists who bring laptops with them. It is the goal of the City Council of Merida to make the Internet reachable to every citizen of our city and the wireless access provided in these 31 parks will go a long way toward doing that. The first 9 parks to go wireless are:
- Miguel Alemán -
Calle 21 No. 292-C x 24 y 26, Colonia Alemán
- Parque de las Américas -
Calle 19 No.200 y 200A Calle 21 No. 200E y 200F, García Ginerés
- Parque Centenario -
Calle 59 por 84 y 86 B, Zoológico Del Parque
- Calle 10 por 55 y 57, Fracc. del Parque Brisas
- Calle 22 No. 321 x 31, Brisas La Visita
- Calle 18 por 51 A y 53, Juan Pablo II Pensiones IV Etapa
- Calle 7 No. 515 x 52 y 54, Pensiones IV Etapa Francisco de Montejo III
- Calle 45 No.301 y 165 x 52 y 54, Francisco de Montejo Cantaritos
- Calle 42 No.393 x 59 y 57, Francisco de Montejo
The newest mall in Merida, in front of the Glorieta de la Xtabay, is open for business and has been open for business since the end of October. This new mall, with over 100 stores, is billing itself as a one-stop Christmas shopping experience. If you’re looking for a public display of Christmas lights and decorations, this is the place to see it. We must admit we haven’t been there yet… if you go, let us know how it looks!
Fresh Bread For Sale
A new business has started out of Cholul. Monique Duval is baking fresh bread and delivering it to your door. The bread is made with whole grains and other all-natural ingredients and tastes too good to be so healthy! Our favorite so far features plantains and goat cheese. Muy rico! If you are interested in a bread delivery, contact Monique through her email at moniqueduval [at] aol [dot] com. Tell her you heard about her on Yucatan Living!
Merida’s Variety and Value for Investors
Merida continues to make the news as a prime location for investors. This time, its on NuWireInvestor. We had no idea that our Centro Historico area is the second largest in the nation, after Mexico City! It is also interesting that buying land and holding in anticipation of future development is really beginning to take hold in Yucatan.
Mental Health Clinic in Valladolid
The Mental Health Clinic in Valladolid has already conducted a number of programs related to community health, including topics of interest to adults, and AIDS prevention programs. This month, the focus is on Human Sexuality. Congratulations not only to the mental health clinic, but to a public that insists on being informed of all of the best techniques to ensure the best possible quality of life for them and for their children.
State Plan of Development 2007-2012
400 citizens of Tizimin showed up for the first of nine conferences to be held in the interior of the state. At these conferences, citizens will be allowed to make their own proposals for the development of their areas. The new state government seems to be making a concerted effort to find out about the wishes of their constituents. Analysis of the proposals will begin as soon as Dec. 10.
Oh No! The price of soft drinks is going up!
Oh well. We probably ought to switch to fruit juice anyway. Tenderos seem to think that the price of 20 liter bottles of water will be the next to go up. This may not be a budget buster, but it is a trend that does bear watching.
You might have noticed that the price of tomatoes has jumped drastically in the last week, up from 7 pesos per kilo (29 cents per pound) to 13 pesos per kilo (54 cents per pound). (That’s at the mercado, not the big grocery stores) This is not a sign of failing economic conditions, however. It’s just not tomato season in Yucatan and tomatoes have to be imported from other states. Prices will gradually begin coming down toward the end of the year. Our biggest tomato harvest is from January through March, when prices will go way down to about 3-4 pesos per kilo.
Senior Citizen Center in Panaba
Where in the world is Panaba? And why would we be interested in a Senior Citizen program there? Panaba is in the middle of nowhere (some might say), on the road to San Felipe. The turnoff to Panaba is toward the coast on the road between Buctzotz and Tizimin. The next time someone accuses you of having moved to a Third World Country, you can reply “Oh! Don’t be silly! Even Panaba has a Senior Citizen Center, where the elderly are dancing, singing, and taking classes 3 days a week!” This is not to demean the importance of (and need for) nutrition, health, and housing programs for the poor and elderly in Yucatan, but it is to point out that being old and being poor is not the be-all and end-all of life – certainly not in Yucatan. The concept of Senior Citizen programs is rapidly spreading throughout the state and the elderly are aggressively taking full advantage of it. They are now touring museums and art galleries, and their tour groups can be seen casually enjoying lunch at sidewalk cafes in the Plaza Grande.
Fishing seasons have been extended
Pulpo (octopus/squid) fishermen get 15 extra days and shrimp fishermen can fish until January 1, instead of having to stop on Dec. 16.
Progreso’s Calle 80
Meanwhile, on land out at the beach… The Christmas season does seem to be an odd time to replace the busiest street in Progreso, but we understand that $22 million Federal pesos are at stake and the city has no choice but to get the work done before the end of the year (or lose the Federal money). We extend our sympathy to both merchants and shoppers, and we guess it’s better to do it now, than during La Temporada.
Learning Languages at UADY
As of now, more than 10% of the students at UADY have taken English as part of their curriculum. These 1,168 students are in the Schools of Chemical Engineering, Engineering, Mathematics, Veterinary Medicine and Zootecnia, Accounting, and Administration. The English program is expanding to other Health and Science departments in 2008, and will be offered to the entire university in 2009. There are currently 13 faculty members teaching at UADY.
Meanwhile, the first successful semester of Mandarin Chinese at UADY has just completed and a second semester will begin in February. The students who study Mandarin Chinese will be in the best position in the country for working with the new business initiatives between Mexico and China . UADY is one of only four universities in all of Mexico to teach Mandarin Chinese. The others are the National Independent Universities in Mexico City (UNAM), Nuevo Leon (UANL), and Chihuahua (UACH).
UADY’s Library Has One Million Users!
The UADY Library System is a treasure that has proven itself to be one of the best in the nation. In all, there are 17 libraries in the system, 6 at the various university campuses, 5 in Merida, 1 in Tizimin, one each at the military preparatory schools, and the Central Building at UADY.
Diplomas in International Hospital Management
This past week, more than 30 professionals in public and private health institutions, as well as participants from UADY, became graduates of a joint program in International Hospital Management. This program is the product of an agreement between the School of Accounting and Administration at UADY and the Graduate School of Advanced Industrial Technology in Bidart, France. This positions these graduates as qualified managers of health care institutions around the world, but we’re hoping they will choose to use those skills at one of the many hospitals here in the Yucatan.
This week, it was announced that Carlos Slim has ordered 50,000 laptops for children in Mexico. One Laptop Per Child is a charity that makes it possible to purchase a laptop designed for children for $188 USD. The government of Peru has ordered 290,000! If you would like to know more about this charity, visit their website here. We congratulate Mr. Slim on his entrance into the world of philanthropy.
Mexico , like many other countries, is struggling with several issues related to human rights. This week, in direct defiance of the Church, lawmakers for Mexico City have approved allowing terminally ill people to refuse treatment if the treatment will only prolong suffering and still end in death. In the recent past, Mexico City has also approved gay civil unions and abortion rights.
A good friend of ours, Greg Berger, has just finished a documentary entitled Aborto Sin Pena (Abortion Without Shame / Abortion without Penalty). The film is about three women and their personal struggle for abortion rights in Mexico. If you would like more information about this film, please go to Greg’s website to learn more.
Locally, the state of Yucatan currently allows abortion only for those women who are of poor economic status who already have 3 children, and abortion with some limitations has been legal here for almost a century. However we understand there are currently no legal abortion practitioners in the public health system in Yucatan.
For Your Listening Pleasure: Radio XEPET
There’s a national system of indigenous radio stations online. When you arrive at the site, our La Voz de los Mayas comes to you from Peto by clicking on the button labeled "XEPET". This is the 25th Anniversary of the radio broadcast XEPET, but they are relatively new to the net. The music is just breathtaking. We are convinced that we have the best guitars, trios and trova in the world!