News Starting November 28, 2011
Disculpe La Molestia (While We Renovate Plaza Grande)
Through the month of December, the Bici Ruta has been moved from Plaza Grande in order to facilitate the renovations that are already underway. The temporary bike route will from the top of Paseo de Montejo to the Glorieta de La Paz (the Burger King Underpass). The time for this event will remain from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Food and snack vendors will be located on Calle 60 x 63 y 65. Artisans will be located from Calle 60 to 61, 59 and 57 to the Plaza Grande. Vehicular traffic will be closed on Calle 60 from 65 to 63 and from 61 to 57. If you need to drive from west to east, Calles 63 and 55 will be available. If you need to drive from east to west, use Calles 67, 65 and 61. If you still have questions, please contact the Municipal Police at: 942-0060.
Texan Wins The Great 4th Annual Chelem Chili-Cook Off
Evidently, Barbara Bell has the chili-cooking secret that the entire world longs for because she has won the Annual Chelem Chili-Cook Off for the second time! Runner up was Katie Gildersleeve, of Yucatan Coast Real Estate and the Sand Castle Inn. This annual event is a fundraiser for the Chelem Christmas Dreams Toy Drive and each of these ladies donated their cash prizes back to the Christmas fund. With an admission of only $150 pesos, the event raised $10,800 pesos, which exceeds their goal. Congratulations to Barbara and to Katie – and to everyone who participated in and attended the Great 4th Annual Chelem Chili-Cook Off. Special thanks to la Playa de Chelem for hosting this event. If you would like to make a donation to this worthy project, visit Chelem Christmas Dreams.
Domestic Tourism Growing in Yucatan
Beginning December 15 and continuing through early January, hotel occupancy in Merida is expected to be at approximately 85%, with many of those visitors coming by car from other parts of Mexico. When the overall tourism numbers for the year are calculated, it is expected that the annual hotel occupancy rate will end up being approximately 55%. With 2012 soon to be upon us, we expect that all areas of the tourism industry in Yucatan will do well over the next year. After that, it will just be a matter of keeping the momentum going. We certainly welcome all of our visitors and are certain they will have a wonderful time in Yucatan.
Green Solutions Fair in D.F.: Ideas Whose Time Has Come
There’s a Green Solutions Fair going on right now in Mexico City and some of the new products being shown there sound as if they can, and will, have a huge positive impact on our environment. The product that impresses us more than any other is a disposable cloth diaper that can be washed up to 600 times before it needs to be thrown away. The company started in Guanajuato with start-up capital of just $30,000 pesos. Now, it has operations in Canada, the U.S., Italy and Spain, and is still expanding. The company’s name is Ecopipo and it is looking for investors. The amount of money these diapers will save for consumers, as well as a significant reduction in stress on landfills, makes Ecopipo’s eco-friendly cloth diaper one of the best investments we’ve heard of in a long time. The same is true of Concreto Ecologico de Mexico’s permeable concrete that facilitates rainwater recovery, and Carbon Diversion America Latina’s new system that turns the agave biomass leftover from tequila-making into a firewood substitute and other fuels. There are more than 115 companies showing their new eco-friendly products in Mexico City. If all receive funding, and we hope they do, the world could soon be a much more environmentally safe place in which to live.
Mexico’s Economy Continues to Grow
One of the best pieces of news we received this week was that Mexico’s economy is currently growing at 5.5% annually, at the end of the third quarter, and will likely end the year at growth of a solid 4%. However, it is what’s behind that growth that is the good news. In spite of the worst drought in 70 years, and in spite of the violence in some areas of some states, it is domestic demand and an increase in agricultural production that are driving growth in the Mexican economy. This means there are jobs, and good jobs, in Mexico – and that the middle class is continuing to grow. This also means that small businesses are thriving and that the resources Mexico put toward technical school educations has been some of the best money the country has ever spent. This isn’t to say that Mexico is without its problems, but it is surely better to have the solvable problems related to growth than the heart-breaking problems of failure. We look forward to this pattern of growth continuing well into the future.
France Comes to O’Horan
A brand new, five-year program has just begun between O’Horan Hospital, UADY and the Hospital Center at the University of Toulouse, France. The purpose of the program is to improve management processes and services at O’Horan. The first six months will be spent training O’Horan employees. After that, monitoring and evaluation will continue for five years. This is great news for the hospital and its patients, but its also great news for many students at UADY because this program will also work hand-in-hand with UADY’s specialized academic schools of Accounting and Administration, as well as Medical and Industrial Engineering Logistics. France has always been such a good friend to Yucatan and never more so than in the past two years. We look forward to these new programs and hope that many new natives of France come to visit and live here.
Traditional Medicine Seminars Concluded
Over the course of the past five months, there have been four traditional medicine seminars held for the purpose of rescuing this valuable resource. The really nice thing about this program is that it promotes the rescue of traditional medicine among indigenous practitioners. To see what kinds of medicinal products they have, as well as health and beauty products, visit Herbolaria Maya online. These are all natural products that are made in Yucatan and sold right here in Merida, as well as online. We think traditional medicine has an important place in maintaining health and would like to hear from any of our members who use a traditional medicine service or product.
International Post-Graduate Research Conference
Last Friday, UADY opened the First International Conference on Post-Graduate Research and Development. The first sessions were concerned with research incentives, as well as with dissertation development. The keynote address was by Medardo Serna Gonzalez, president of the Consejo Mexicano de Posgrado, who discussed skills, as well as scientific and technological challenges in Mexico. Later sessions are to cover such topics as the problems of small- and medium-sized businesses, gender issues, and social responsibility. We have been watching the research choices of Yucatan’s graduate and post-graduate students for some years now and have come to the conclusion that these young people leave no stone unturned when it comes down to making certain that their research is of benefit to not only Yucatecos, but to the planet and every living thing that struggles to survive here. It is conferences like this that make all the difference in these students’ success. They are organized. They know what they are doing and they are headed for the future in a straight line.
Butterflies in Yucatan: New DNA Analysis
Gone are the days when butterflies and moths could be identified by their appearance. Now, a new form of DNA analysis, called barcoding, is being used to double check butterfly DNA identity. There are 570 species of Nymphalidae in Mexico, with 121 of them from right here on the Yucatan Peninsula. Findings now show that there are actually four new and different butterflies in the Nymphalidae family that had been incorrectly identified just here in the State of Yucatan alone. One already has a new name. Finding that some of these butterflies that look alike are not of the same species is a huge event that could lead to all sorts of interesting revisions in theories of evolution. Personally, we hope the renewed interest leads to a Yucatan Butterfly Festival. To learn more about butterflies in Yucatan, we recommend taking a trip out to La Casa de Las Mariposas, between Tulum and Coba, or the Butterfly Pavilion at Xcaret, or the Butterfly Garden at Chichen Itza. You can also visit Backyard Nature to see pictures of many of the most common butterflies in our area. But the best idea, for those who live in Yucatan, is to plant your own butterfly garden. Don’t forget to add a water source. Then you can just sit back and enjoy the show.
The 2011 Bird-a-thon "xoc ch’ich”
The TOH Bird Festival has a number of parts to it and activities that stretch out over several months. In order to see them all, we recommend that birders study the official TOH Bird Festival website. But this past weekend saw the 2011 Bird-a-thon "xoc ch’ich” . With up to a billion birds traveling through or wintering on the Yucatan Peninsula, this bird-a-thon is a chance of a lifetime to identify as many birds as possible and help ensure their future. For everyone who wants to see what this bird-a-thon is all about, we are including the official 2011 Bird-a-thon "xoc ch’ich” video. There is also a great new article online, by travel writer Kevin Rushby, who took his family to Celestun and saw more birds than he could keep up with. We hope you enjoy each of these links and make plans to be with us in Yucatan for this important event in 2012.
Recipe: Easy Egg Custard from Yucatan
As we grow older, we find that we are more and more interested in recipes that make us look brilliant to guests, but require as little actual work as possible. Then we found "Sabores Yucatecos: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán," a new cookbook, in English, written by Gilberto Cetina, Yucateco chef and owner of Chichen Itza Restaurant in Los Angeles, in collaboration with food writer Katharine A. Diaz. There is a Spanish custard recipe in that cookbook that fits perfectly into the no-work category. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Crema Española (Spanish Custard)
"Sabores Yucatecos: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán," (WPR Books: Comida, 2012)
Serves about 6
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
Beat the milk, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla extract and pinch of salt until well blended, but not do not over mix.
Pour into a pot and heat over medium heat for 8–10 minutes, mixing constantly until it thickens but can still be poured. Pour into individual serving dishes (or one large bowl to serve family style) and chill.
When ready to serve, sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.