News Starting March 15
March 15: The Birthday of Benito Juarez
Today is the birthday of the only President of Mexico who was a full-blooded indigenous national and the first President who did not have a military background. Juarez is still one of Mexico’s most revered and beloved leaders who not only resisted the French invasion and oversaw the reinstatement of the Republic of Mexico but who also made many improvements in an attempt to modernize the country. He was a lawyer, a judge and the governor of Oaxaca before he was forced to flee the country because of his opposition to Santa Anna. He spent his exile in New Orleans, working in a cigar factory. When he came back, he became President, and was re-elected twice. He died at his desk of a heart attack. Of course, there is much more to his fascinating history than this, and since today is a holiday and everything is closed, you’ll have time to read more about Benito Juarez here.
Domestic Cruises to Begin March 20
Pullmantur Cruises will begin traveling from their home port, Cozumel, and bring passengers on a 7-day cruise to Montego Bay, the Grand Cayman Islands, Costa Maya and Progreso, Yucatan. 75% of all passengers are expected to be Mexicans, while 25% are expected to be from Spain.
Good Luck to the Mero Fishermen
At the stroke of midnight on March 16, the mero (grouper) fishermen will leave port to head out on the first mero fishing expeditions of the season. The fish caught during this time of year are the backbone of the fishing economy of Yucatan, so we know how important this is. Yucatan has approximately 15,000 fishing families that directly depend on the money made during this season, and all of the other merchants, with whom they do business, find their year either made or broken by the success of the fishermen. We hope they are successful beyond their dreams and that they all come home safely.
Mayan Xic Scores Big Around the World!
After Merida hit the Guiness Book of World Records with the world’s biggest cochinita pibil, Mayan Xic produced a tee-shirt emblazoned with: I “Heart” Cochinita. The shirt has been an immediate local and international success, for which we heartily congratulate the owner. You can read our interview with him here.
Valladolid Emergency Personnel: Mom – I’m Ok… but…
Have you ever gotten one of those phone calls? “You got only how many stitches? You fell down the stairs to the what? What’s a cenote?” If your children are traveling to the Yucatan, try not to be too worried. The hostel staff and firemen at Dzitnup in Valladolid and at Kaua Airport all just completed their emergency medical courses and are ready to assist intrepid travelers and residents if they are injured or become ill, as well as get them to the proper paramedics and hospitals if necessary. Congratulations to the new graduates and our sympathies to anyone who needs their services.
Foot Traffic Only on the Malecon? We Think Not!
We understand that there has been a suggestion that it might be a good idea to turn the Malecon, in Progreso, into a pedestrian only boardwalk on the Saturday and Sunday of Easter. Here is the situation. There are too many people and too many vehicles on the Malecon on those days and, indeed, on every major holiday. If Progreso was anywhere else in the world, the Malecon would have been turned into a pedestrian only boardwalk years ago. But it isn’t anywhere else. If vehicles were banned from the Malecon, how would young people “see and be seen?” What would old people have to complain about? Where would people park? It only takes 3 or 4 trips around the center of Progreso to find a parking place on the Malecon. At least you get to see the sights and determine for yourself that very little ever changes in Progreso. So – no. We are all used to being inconvenienced by trying to drive on the Malecon on holidays and it wouldn’t feel right if all we had left were the stories of old people who “remember when” cars were so thick on the Malecon that you could stir them with a stick. As far as we know, the pedestrian-only plan has been tabled for now.
New 3 x 1 Projects in Hunucma
Many of our North of the Border residents do not understand how the money sent back home by Mexican emigrants to the U.S. is spent and believe that all of this money goes to support individual families back home. Such is not the case. Both emigrants and the Mexican government long ago realized that towns can do a whole lot more with a larger lump sum than they can with a few pesos being spent here and there by individual families. Back in February, between 15 and 20 Yucateco mayors traveled to the U.S. to meet with emigrants from their municipalities. They brought pictures of the projects they have already completed with the 3 x 1 money and gave them a report on the new projects they would like to complete. 3 x 1 means that the federeal, state, and local governments match the money put into the program by emigrants three to one, making it possible for the municipalities to complete very large projects, such as municipal markets, restoring parks, repairing roads, and bringing basic services to people who have never before had them. Congratulations to Hunucma for getting the go-ahead for this year’s completion of their municipal market and thanks to all of the emigrants who are making this good work possible.
Read the Real Thing: The Books of Chilan Balam
As 2012 draws nearer, we may want to have a little more background of the history of the Maya under our belts. We often hear of a mysterious sounding set of books called The Books of Chilan Balam, the Prophetic and Historic Records of the Mayas of Yucatan. The Books of Chilan Balam recently went online as a courtesy of Project Gutenberg. We hope you enjoy reading the history and true prophesies of the people who have lived in our adopted state for more centuries than we will ever know.
Mano Amiga Celebrates 22 Years
We all know how important it is to have a concrete roof when hurricanes, or even the long winter rains, come to Yucatan. For the past 22 years, Mano Amiga has come to Yucatan to put a concrete roof on the homes of the poor in Progreso, Chelem, Chuburna, and Ixil. This year, there are 90 high school students staying in a Presbyterian camp in Churburna Puerto. They pay their own way here and cover their own expenses during the trip. Visit the Mano Amiga website to learn more about this great volunteer opportunity! And if you are interested in participating next year, contact Denis Larsen, owner of Casa Hamaca in Valladolid.
17 Year Old Hospitalized with Sudden, Intense Lupus
Daphne Montserrat is an active, engaged high school student from Escarcega, Campeche. She belongs to her school’s jazz band and was just here in Merida for jazz band competition in November. Now she has returned in a wheelchair, descended to critical condition, and begun to improve – all because of the onset of sudden and intense Lupus. This is devastating news to both Daphne and to her family, especially to her mom, who is a high school teacher. Daphne’s hospital bills are now over $200,000 pesos and her mom is urgently seeking help to cover these bills. Many of us have friends or family members who suffer from Lupus and know how desperately sick these patients can become and how quickly that can happen. If you can, won’t you please help Daphne and her mom? The family has left a cell number where they can be reached: (045) 982 -107-5379 and two locations in Campeche: Calle 59 x 22 y 24 s/n, Colonia Unidad, Fuerza and Trabajo No. 2, in Escárcega.
Please be careful not to purchase any seafood that is not in season. There are road blocks set up to stop the illegal sale of pulpo and fish that are out of season (and you thought they were there to catch narcotraffickers!). This is a crime and you will be arrested. In addition, no one is saying not to drink alcohol, but please do not do it on the streets and do not drink and drive. Arrests for both are already being made. Public drunkenness and drunk driving are simply not going to be tolerated in Yucatan during the holidays.
We just got news that a group of Tibetan Monks will be in town from Friday, March 19 until Sunday, March 21. Tulku Dawa Rinpoche and Lama Sonam Gyaltsen will be visiting Merida. The Lama lives and teaches at the Maitreya Institut in the Netherlands, and Tulku Dawa Rinpoche appears to be affiliated with a group in Northern California. They will be doing pujas and purification ceremonies. When we know more about any public events, we will publish them in the Events calendar. In the meantime, if you are interested, you can email abidarma5 [at] hotmail [dot] com for more information.