Carnaval is in full swing!
By the time you read this, we will be in the middle of Carnaval. On Friday night, there will be a "Gringo Bus" in the parade. For the third year in a row, a group of expats rent out the Turibus, the double-decker bus that usually carried tourists around town. The bus is outfitted with drinks and gringos and we spend the entire parade throwing goodies to the crowd. If you’re at the parade on Friday night, look for us! If you don’t get to the Parade on Friday night, don’t despair. The parade on Saturday night is essentially the same. And the parades on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon are also pretty much the same, though the one on Tuesday is bigger (its the finale, after all!). Monday night’s parade has a different twist… Meridanos in traditional costume. Be sure to catch some of the festivities!
L’Alliance Française in Merida
The Alliance Française is a non-profit organization, founded in 1883, which now has over 1100 chapters in 132 countries. Its goal is the dissemination of French language and culture, which it does through classes, lectures, exhibitions, other cultural events, scholarships, etc. Merida has two chapters of L’Alliance Française: Local Norte: Calle 23 # 117 x 24 and Local Centro: Calle 56 # 476 x 55 y 57. This is an active civic organization that we hope to see much more of in the future. For more information, call: 927-2403.
Merida Insider To Be Reborn as Yucatan Insider!
Thank goodness (and Bob) for bringing the site back…. And thanks to Debi in Merida for the scoop! For our new readers, Merida Insider was a great forum for folks who live here and those who think they might want to live here – and it had thousands of members. We could always find somebody on MI who could quickly answer almost any question that came up and it is sorely missed. Lots of great friendships began on MI and we are looking forward to the new site!
Project: New Section of Malecon in Progreso
The original plans for expansion of the Malecon in Progreso did not meet all of the necessary environmental requirements, so they went back to the drawing board. Soon, the new plans will be evaluated and it is believed that they will easily pass review. If this plan is approved, look for a wider beach to accommodate the turtles, as well as bicycle paths and other tourist-friendly perks.
Update on Streets: Valladolid and Izamal
Valladolid has finished a complete repaving of the streets in the town center. The streets have been redone with stamped concrete so that they look like old stone roads. The sidewalks have all been redone as well. The next project will be to bury the telephone and power lines. The Sunday evening concerts in the park have also resumed. They are from approximately 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Izamal is opening its own new stamped concrete streets and it too is getting ready to bury telephone and power lines. These projects are especially important in Valladolid, which has become a rapidly growing commercial and industrial center, as well as the center of tourism for those who are traveling between Cancun and Merida. Modern infrastructure, and completing the new hospital, will go a long way toward making the entire area successful far into the future.
Motor Home Caravans in Izamal
For the second year in a row, motor home caravans have been arriving in Izamal. The first group of 22 came on Feb. 6. Then, 11 more showed up on Feb. 11. Ten more are expected on Friday. From what we understand, the tourists in these caravans come from all over the United States. We can only imagine the stories they will have to tell when they get home. We know that they do a lot of shopping while they are in Yucatan and we would like them to know that their contribution to the local economy, and especially to the artisans, is deeply appreciated.
Second Millionaire Cruise Comes to Progreso
Four years ago, a privately owned cruise ship brought 60 millionaires to Yucatan to take a look at our state and investment opportunities here, but they didn’t have much time to spend in Progreso itself. This time, the ship is returning with 100 millionaires and they will be adding an extra day to their visit.
Which Way Did Those Birds Go?
There is something to be said for GPS locators. In the summer, people north of the border put up purple martin houses and wait for these mosquito eaters to arrive in great numbers. But where do they go in the winter? Now, with GPS locaters, we know that they spend a couple of weeks in Yucatan and then head for their winter home in Manaus, Brazil. Unfortunately, their numbers are declining and it may be due to habitat loss in Brazil. With information from the GPS locators, it may be possible to turn this situation around. In the meantime, the purple martin will continue to migrate at the amazing speed of over 300 miles per day. Read all about tracking these birds here.
Candy: “Made in Mexico”
Over the past decade, the following candy companies have moved to Mexico, mostly because the U.S. government propped up sugar prices to the point where they were out of range for the candy companies: Brach’s Confections from Chicago to Linares, Nuevo Leon; Bob’s Candies (candy canes) from Albany, NY, to Reynosa; Sunrise Confections (grocery store brand candies) to Juarez, now with 1,000 employees. Hershey has opened new plants in Guadalajara and Monterrey, with new Hershey’s Chocolate Museum in Monterrey, and Mars is now in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon. Still, Mexico is barely holding its own in competition with cheaper prices from Brazil, the Ivory Coast and Indonesia, but it is willing to live, during these difficult economic times, with lower profits in order to save jobs and grow the candy industry in the country. What a novel concept!
Expat Blog Winner
Far be it from us to interpret Mexico Trucker Online. Instead, we will let this award winning site speak for itself: “Mexico Trucker was established to put forth the truth about the Mexican transportation industry, transportation law in Mexico and any other subject that concerns the American trucker. It is my [the author’s] desire to make Mexico Trucker the definitive source of information concerning the Mexican trucking industry, the country and any other issue that arises that needs concise, reasoned and truthful answers.” Toward this goal, the author of Mexico Trucker Online has created a blog that was recently named one of the 10 best expat-Mexico blogs on the web. Our congratulations for a job well done!
Earth Snapshot: Yucatan
The nice folks at Earth Snapshot created a set of satellite photos that shows the evolution of our weather throughout the year. We particularly like the big picture because we can magnify it to the point of almost being able to see the fish in the water off of our beach. For our readers who love maps – or for those who want to see what our peninsula is like, Click Here and Enjoy!
Driving Through Mexico
Whether you are driving to Yucatan from the border, or visiting from one Mexican location to another, it is always helpful to know your route, how much tolls will be, and how long it will take to make the trip. To get the latest information, we thought we would revisit the official site that allows you to design your own route and gives all of the information you need about it. Visit Rutas Punto a Punto (Routes from Point to Point) and plot your own course through Mexico. Change from kilometers to miles, here.
Important Driving Links
We have found two additional resources that you might be interested if you are ever planning to drive from the Yucatan back to the States. The first one, Brownsville to Merida/Progreso Driving Info, is the best site on this topic we have ever seen. It has city maps and plenty of “how to” information. David Grundy did an outstanding job and all of us who cross Tampico especially are deeply appreciative of his work.
The second one outlines Gulf Coast Driving Distances and is an excellent site, especially for those who are trying to calculate how much gasoline money needs to be in included in their budget.
Speaking of RVs…
Ray, Marcia, and their cat have decided to spend a few months following the coast of Mexico in theirs. They crossed the border at Matamoros, came down along Costa Esmeralda, and are (at this writing) at Laguna Catemaco. Read Marcia’s blog and begin at the beginning. Just click “Next Entry” at the end of each page to get a great, up-to-date view of what can be seen and experienced by simply wandering one’s way down the east coast of Mexico. We hope they have a great time and that others will blog their way down as well.
2nd Annual Latin American Bloggers Meet and Greet
This just in from Theresa in Merida: The second annual Latin American Bloggers Meet and Greet will be held in Merida, Yucatan on Friday, April 17th and Saturday, April 18th. Thursday evening, those who come early can catch the Yucatones at Jazzin Merida and socialize in advance. If you are interested in atten theresainmerida [at] gmail [dot] com so she can know who is coming. All of us who write about Latin America appreciate Theresa’s hard work and dedication to this event. We are a growing community and appreciate this annual opportunity to get to know each other and share ideas.