Yucatan News: Flights & Firefighting
Nonstop Merida-Miami Flights Begin November 8!
The announcement was made, just this week, that a new non-stop Miami-Merida Aeromexico route will begin on November 8. The service will be available on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Planes will depart Merida at 11:15 AM and arrive in Miami at 2:10 PM. Planes will depart Miami at 3:25 PM and arrive in Merida at 4:38 PM. One cannot help but stop, just for a moment, and dream of what it will be like to arrive in Merida when the sun is still shining and there is actually time to go out to dinner! It must be noted that, during the current administration, there has been a 25% growth in airplane seats, from 490,000 to 530,000. The push to bolster imports/exports, tourism, higher education, world class health care, and the industrial and research communities is making its mark and Merida is expected to continue to enjoy increasing connectivity for many years to come.
There is enough lag time between the time Yucatan Living is written and the time our readers receive it, so weather information coming from us cannot be on-the-minute in terms of accuracy. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association does have up-to-date weather information for this area, as well as predictions and more. During this volatile weather season, please do keep up with the weather on NOAA’s website. In addition, as you look at the maps, be sure not to just look at the storms that are in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Some of the storms in the Pacific can either completely cross Mexico to get to us, or whip around with a tail that is wide enough to cross Mexico and at least hit Yucatan’s southern cone. So do be aware of what’s in front of us, as well as what’s behind us. Remember, its the outer bands of a tropical storm or hurricane that bring heavy wind and rain, so watch maps to see if they are headed your way, even if the eye of the storm is going to miss you completely.
Scientific and Technological Park is Growing Again!
With the addition of classrooms, laboratories, a pilot food processing plant and towers for dormitories for students, Yucatan’s Scientific and Technological Park has grown by a whopping 22 hectares. The new mantra, throughout Yucatan, is “economic growth through knowledge generation.” As the Scientific and Technological Park grows, and as international researchers and business people come to meet it, the hard currency value of providing a platform for knowledge generation becomes all the more clear. Yucatan’s Scientific and Technological Park is an amazing place that is, and will continue to be, constantly expanding. Information Technology will be the next area to be added, along with more services for counseling, a medical clinic, and a department for research groups. Businesses involved in this latest expansion include Plenum Soft, Znova Agroindustriales, Cecype, Frutech International Corporation de Mexico, and PP Mar y Enersureste.
Turtles Turtles Everywhere!
As more and more turtle nests are protected in place until the hatchlings enter the sea, the numbers that return to lay eggs increases. Add an increased awareness by the public, and a determination to save as many hatchlings as possible, and what you get is several weeks of beaches filled with baby turtles, all making their way to the sea. There are a few more weekends during which folks will wring the last of vacation out of what is left of summer, so do watch your step and send us a picture if you find a nest that is hatching.
New Orchid Garden at Parque Animaya
Everyone knows Animaya as a new type of zoo, one in which animals can live out their lives in protected environments, rather than being locked in cages. However, now Animaya is growing and will soon be adding another group of residents that also need specialized care and environments. Orchids abound in the tropics, but many orchid species are found in places where it is unlikely that they will be seen, and many others are on the verge of extinction. To meet this need and to bring the beauty of Yucatan’s orchids to the public, an 800-square-meter garden is soon to be finished and will display 800 different species of orchids. Be sure to watch for announcements of opening dates for this new park and visit the Animaya website often.
Cuba to Be Honored Guest at FICMAYA in 2015
The 2014 International Festival of Mayan Culture will be held October 17 – November 3, with almost non-stop activities. We will list those events in Yucatan’s weekly events. However, an announcement was made, just this week, that has everyone excited about the 2015 International Festival of Mayan Culture. Just prior to the closing of the 2014 festival, it will be announced that Cuba will be the honored guest at FICMAYA in 2015. This includes great entertainers such as: Buena Vista Social Club, Havana Compas Dance Company, and the Young Musicians of Frasis. There is always “An Evening in Havana” at this festival because of the long standing friendship between Yucatecos and Cubans, but it is especially nice to see Cuba honored in this way.
First Mass on Beach in Chelem
Each year, from August 15 through 18, la virgen de la medalla milagrosa, the Virgin of the Miraculous Medal, is honored in the Chelem church that bears her name. Following a mass, the statue is taken on a tour, at sea, from Chelem to Yucalpeten and back. This year, there was a procession from the church to the beach where the very first beach mass was held. Approximately 100 boats then accompanied the statue on her voyage and, upon their return, a bazaar was held to raise money for parochial works. This is the same small church that will be holding its second 14 kilometer run in November. These folks are working hard to do great things in Chelem. We hope everyone comes out to support and appreciate their efforts.
Christmas Shopping Coming Later This Year
In the past few years, store shelves began filling up with Christmas decorations almost as soon as summer vacation ended. This brought about laments over the loss of the spirit of Christmas and caused a serious competition to develop between money spent on Christmas decorations vs. money spent on September’s national holidays and October’s Dia de Muertos. Merchants now say that Christmas shopping fever is over. Consumers are exhausted and marketing efforts are not moving shoppers to buy. Reports are coming in that the global economic slowdown has reached the expendable pockets of Yucatecos and businesses have decided to wait until a little later to fill up their shelves with Christmas decorations. With a slow start in September and October, merchants are saying they really are not depending too much on Christmas merchandise this year. Those who remember when Christmas shopping really was a December activity might think this is good news. Either way, we hope everyone has a profitable and happy Fall season.
Semilla de Dioses (Seed of the Gods) Send Diplomatic Bags
The Seed Gods is really an entrepreneurial collective that has been busy building a business based on the seasonings normally used in Yucatecan foods. This year, they received requests for their products from the embassies of Mexico in New Zealand, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The ladies of Semilla de Dioses have put together diplomatic bags containing enough spices so that chefs at the Mexican embassies can feel secure in planning to present dishes from Yucatan as part of their holiday menus. The Collective Semilla de Dioses has been growing for quite some time, but we have the publicity from the 18th International Non-Traditional Products Expo, held in Merida this year, and the WEAmericas (Women Leaders of America and the Caribbean) to thank for highlighting just how far this group has come.
Yucatan: Holiday Accidents Down for 2014
When we compare the holiday accident and death toll between 2013 and 2014, there are some surprising and gratifying numbers available. In 2013, there were 256 accidents during summer vacation. This year, there were 180. In 2013, there were 73 automobile accidents. This year, there were 50. In 2013, 211 individuals were injured. This year, injuries dropped to 111. In 2013, there were 4 deaths. This year, unfortunately, there were six deaths: 1 cyclist, 1 motorcyclist, and 4 in one car. With the dedication of the SSP and local law enforcement, this vacation season gets safer every year. Perhaps a day will come when there are few accidents and zero deaths.
In Case of Fire: Merida and Yucatan: Trained and Equipped
Merida’s fire department says that it now has the city covered so that, in case of fire, gas leak, or chemical spills, they can be on the scene within five minutes or less. The SSP has its own fire department, which adds their 300 fire fighters, plus trucks and equipment to the fifteen city fire trucks. Businesses are encouraged to train their employees, with respect to potential hazards in their workplace, so that they can already be working to contain the emergency before the fire department or SSP arrives. Everyone is very proud of Merida’s new fire-fighting equipment and of the superior training received by today’s fine fire fighters.
To Report a Fire or Other Emergency: Dial 066 (24 hours per day, 365 days per year). From a Telcel phone: Dial 116 (free call). When the dispatcher answers, be prepared to give him or her your name and telephone number, and the location of the emergency. Then, please follow up until the emergency personnel arrive.