News Starting October 25, 2010
Hurricane Richard Hits Belize
On Sunday, October 23, 2010, Hurricane Richard moved onshore in Belize as a Category 1 hurricane. All projections indicate that the center of this storm will track across the neck of the peninsula and come out into the Gulf of Mexico at the San Francisco de Campeche, Campeche. At this writing, the storm was expected to dissipate as a tropical depression as soon as it hits the waters of the Gulf, a situation that will be aided by wind-sheer over the Gulf of Mexico at that particular point. The storm dumped a nice amount of water in Merida and the southern part of the state, and this does not negate the fact that rain from this storm is expected to be a significant weather event for the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche, all of which have had serious problems with flooding from other hurricanes throughout the summer. If you are traveling through Mexico during this time, please make certain that you have a means of communication (cell phone), and – if necessary – follow all suggested detour routes. Thus far, all Snowbirds have reported uneventful trips and we are happy to have them home in Yucatan safe and sound.
Welcome to Citibank/Banamex’s Cesar Rodriguez
For the next three months, Cesar Rodriguez, from California, will be in Merida to help launch Banamex’s bilingual branches. While he is here, he will be promoting new banking products to expats that include most services free (with minimum account deposits), an all-English website, Concierge Banamex 1 a no-wait service, and preferred rates on exchange, credit, and savings rates. Each of the three bilingual branches of Banamex will have one bilingual banker and one bilingual teller. The three bilingual branches are located on Paseo de Montejo, right next to the Monumento a la Bandera, inside Casa de Montejo, in the Plaza Grande, and in Progreso on Calle 80 near the malecon and in front of Elektra. The best news is that Banamex no longer requires an FM2/FM3 to open accounts and the Concierge Banamex 1 service, listed above, is going to be given to all new and existing clients for six months. After the trial period, this service will remain on the accounts when account minimums are met. Cesar Rodriguez will be servicing all new and existing expat accounts while he is launching these products. He can be reached at crod559 [at] gmail [dot] com or cesar [dot] o [dot] rodriguez [at] citi [dot] com, and at his home branch on Paseo de Montejo. Cesar Rodriguez will be with us for the remainder of the Fall and into the Spring season. He is already making comments about how much he loves our fair city, and we suspect that we have the makings of a future expat in Mr. Rodriguez, so do go by and get to know him.
Latin America Bloggers’ Conference
On November 12, 2010, the Latin America Bloggers’ Conference will meet in Merida, Yucatan. Approximately 20 bloggers have signed up for the event thus far, but there is still time to add your name to the list. For those of our readers who are looking for information about what daily life in Yucatan is like, there’s no better place better than an expat’s blog to find out. Visit the Latin America Bloggers’ Conference website to find out more about the conference and to find links to the bloggers who will be there.
Progreso: INM Office Services
Due to the growing number of expats living along the coast of Yucatan, the INM Office in Progreso, Calle 80 #176 x 39 (next to SMAPAP) is now processing FM2 and FM3 renewals. From what we understand, this office will provide all of the services provided at the Merida office. Expats from Progreso and neighboring beach communities are reportedly being sent away from the Merida INM office and directed to Progreso. Language will not be an issue. We know of at least one employee who is completely bilingual. Hours of operation for INM Progreso are 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM.
Woops! “End of World” Date Wrong
We are constantly amazed at some of what we read online about what is supposed to take place on December 21, 2012 – but now, the new news is just too much to handle without a laugh or two. Supposedly, depending on one’s source, the Maya got the date all wrong – or whoever translated the date got it all wrong. The world, you will be happy to know, is not going to end in 2012. It is, however, going to end in 2015. We are reading all of this and thinking about the fact that the Maya never once even implied that the world is going to end, but we won’t bother anyone with facts. Instead, we will just “follow the money.” How many groups can you think of that have the potential to make a whole lot of cash off of this event? …and now that opportunity is doubled. They’ll make a nice little payday in 2012 and, when nothing bad happens, they can collect again in 2015. Movie producers are already gearing up for movies to be made between 2012 and 2015. We can only imagine some of the things they’ll come up with between now and then.
Yucatan’s Pepe Isaac and Habaneros
In the small town of Espita, in Yucatan, there is a gentleman by the name of Pepe Isaac. He isn’t a rich man, but he is a mover and shaker of international renoun. Pepe Isaac is the organizer of a habanero cooperative that helps to provide jobs for hundreds of people. Their processing plant is not first world and its manager doesn’t even have e-mail, but he sees to it that as many people as possible have a job and that they are not cheated by layer upon layer of middle-men in the marketing of their habaneros. Their main buyer is in Sonora, where Yucatan habaneros end up in salsas that are now exported to Brazil. Through it all, Pepe Isaac has managed to meet his goal of that the people retain access to the habanero seeds and that they do not become hostages to the big capitalistas in the industry. Yucatan Living congratulates Pepe Isaac, Yucatan’s Chili King, on a job well done!
Girl Gymnasts Restart Practice
It seems that the State of Yucatan, and the area around Uman in particular, is producing young ladies who are capable of national competition in gymnastics. For some reason, they had stopped formal practice, but that is all changed and they will be practicing again at Siglo XXI on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM; and on weekends at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 12:00 PM at no cost. Their teacher is Juliet Mengelle Abreu. If you know of any young lady who would like to become a part of the gymnastics team, please let them know about this great way to stay healthy and maybe to even represent the state in national competitions someday. Our special congratulations go out to Brenda Solis Piste, a 10 year old young lady from Uman, who will soon represent Yucatan in national competition.
When In Rome… Dia de los Muertos vs Halloween
As more and more foreigners come to Yucatan to work or retire, we see evidence of their holidays beginning to show up in the fabric of Yucatan’s culture. Such is certainly the case with concepts such as Santa Claus and is beginning to be the case with Halloween. The concept of costumed ghosts, goblins, and little devils going door to door asking for candy is horrifying to much of strictly Catholic Mexico, as well as to some fundamentalist Protestant religions. On the other hand, some foreigners do not take Dia de los Muertos seriously at all, viewing it as a quaint practice that is simply something of a hold-over from the past. As we move through the last week leading to Dia de los Muertos, we suggest that anyone planning a Halloween party try to test the waters with each guest you intend to invite, to make certain that no one will be getting sandbagged in an uncomfortable situation. We also suggest that “when in Rome…” is a very good idea whenever one lives in a foreign country.
Looking For a Special Gift?
Whenever there’s a craft fair, or a place where craft vendors are set up, keep an eye out for the slogan “Colors and Tradition.” This is the label of the products of 35 women from Merida. They also have a shop by that name at the DIF of Merida. These ladies range in age from 27 to 66 and, for many, this work is part of either a rehabilitation program or the attempt of a single mother to feed her children. In either case, their work is excellent because they are attending classes to perfect it. They create everything from embroidered baby clothes to dish towels, to a fine organdy tablecloth. These are the skills of yesterday, taught to ladies who have special needs, and they have more than outdone themselves in producing some of the finest embroidery anywhere.
Our Naturalist Newsletter has arrived and we were in stitches before we got through the first story. Jim Conrad (and friends) set about to brew a cup of coffee from roasted tortillas that were then ground to powder. If you read that story and get the feeling that Mr. Conrad (and several of his friends) remind you of 12 year old boys who are unsupervised and simply go where their whims take them, we can report that Jim Conrad, Yucatan’s favorite naturalist, is past the age of 12 – physically at least. The rest of our suspicions turned out to be true. To read all about how to make Tortilla Coffee, visit Jim Conrad’s Naturalist Newsletter and sign up for updates today.