News Starting February 06, 2012
Two New Books Set in Yucatan
We would like to introduce our readers to two wonderful new books, both written by expats in Yucatan. The first is Tales From the Yucatan Jungle: Life in a Mayan Village, by Kristine Ellingson, co-owner and manager of the Flycatcher Inn, in Santa Elena, near Uxmal. This is a wonderfully inspiring book by a remarkable lady who has lived in Yucatan for decades. The other book is a thriller, The Polo Affair, by Sean Hennessy, owner of Hennessy’s Irish Pub in Merida. Eclectec is very proud of having been chosen to edit, lay out and build the website for The Polo Affair. There is a full synopsis of both books on the front page of our sister site, Yolisto. Both of these books are perfect reading material for these wet and chilly days at the end of winter. Order your copy of Tales from the Yucatan Jungle: Life in a Mayan Village here, and order your copy of The Polo Affair here.
Edge Magazine Features Yucatan Expat Kitesurfer
Young Canadian expat Jessica Winkler is on the cover of this month’s Edge Magazine, and there is a four page article about her beginning on page eight. Edge Magazine is a watersports magazine for girls that focuses on wakeboarding, kitesurfing and surfing. Jessica owns and operates Kite Surfing Yucatan, in Progreso, but has kite surfed from Peru to Brazil and Nicaragua over the past ten years. To learn more about Jessica Winkler, visit Kite Beach Yucatan, and Jessica Winkler.com.
Devil’s Backbone Conquered in 2012
One of Mexico’s greatest limiting factors has always been the almost impossible crossing, by land, of the western Sierra Madre mountains. That could end in late 2012, when a 140-mile toll road opens between Durango and the Pacific port of Mazatlan. In order to cut the drive from seven hours to 2 1/2 hours, travelers will pass through 62 tunnels and cross 135 bridges, one of which will be across the Devil’s Backbone, 1,321 feet above the Baluarte River. The bridge was completed in January. It is the highest bridge in the Western Hemisphere, the second highest bridge in the world, and the highest cable-stayed bridge on Earth. This stretch of road is the final step in the creation of a modern transportation connection between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The implications for the economy are staggering. Some are already calling the Baluarte International Bridge the most breathtaking structure built in Mexico since the pyramids of 100 A.D. We suspect it will become a tourist attraction in and of itself. Congratulations to Mexico and to every worker who made this bridge possible.
Flu Vaccinations Still Available
There are two confirmed cases of flu in Yucatan. One patient is a Yucateco and the other is from the State of Morelos. Over 125,000 doses of vaccine are available, which will help to avoid a massive outbreak of flu in Yucatan. However, should there be more cases, to avoid inconvenience and to get a bit ahead of the game, now is a good time to ask your physician about getting your own vaccination. As always, the best flu prevention is to eat well, sleep well and get as much exercise as is comfortable. Let’s try to make this an expat flu-free year!
Statistics Support the New Rules of the Road
Not very long ago, a collective groan rose from almost every driver in Yucatan. New Rules of the Road had been put in effect and there were dire warnings of what would happen if vehicles and motorcycles did not follow them. Every driver now must have a driver’s license and insurance. Every vehicle and motorcycle has to carry documentation of ownership, registration and insurance. Those on motorcycles must wear helmets. Those riding in vehicles must have seat belts. The SSP breathalyzer stops have worked their magic as well. Accidents have dropped a whopping 57% in the southern part of Yucatan and, for the accidents that do happen, injuries are far milder than ever before. This is especially true of injuries to children. With these lower accident and injury rates, look for more SSP enforcement of all traffic regulations as part of a public health and safety campaign to reduce death and disability, especially when alcohol is involved.
Seventh China Expo Held at UADY
From the 23rd of January to the 6th of February, the Seventh China expo was celebrated at UADY. This event takes place every year and covers the period of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Its a wonderful festival that has all sorts of interesting opportunities. One can practice Chinese calligraphy, take a jiffy Mandarin class or attend a tea tasting and ceremony. There are also exhibitions of martial arts and dancing. The China Expo reminds us that there are almost constant, formal Mandarin classes going on at the university. The January 6th class has 180 students and will soon be over. The next class begins in April. Registration for those classes begins on March 19. It is never too early to mark your calendars for next year so you won’t miss the Eighth Annual China Expo at UADY.
GPS Reveals Loggerhead Turtles Feeding Grounds
The mystery of where turtles go when they leave their nesting grounds may well be the key to saving the endangered loggerheads. GPS tracking shows that they feed off of the coast of southwest Florida and off of the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Not only that, but they have a favorite, rather shallow depth and they prefer to stake out an area where they can stay, undisturbed, for a while. If we know where they nest, where they eat and what they eat, it may not be long before scientists are able to create environments that will guarantee the survival of the loggerhead turtle once and for all. This is great news for the environment and we are pulling for all of the dedicated scientists who study this issue.
Reasons for Not Bringing Fruit From Yucatan to the U.S.
The Asian Citrus Psyllid is a little bug that carries a citrus-killing disease with a big name – Huanglongbing. As of now, Huanglongbing has begun to affect citrus trees all along the Gulf coast of the U.S. but, so far, it has not appeared in California. But that doesn’t mean it won’t. At the present time, Asian Citrus Psyllid have been found in eight spots in the San Gordo Pass. If it gets through, the entire citrus industry in California could be ruined. It is interesting to note that the nearest infected areas to California are in Yucatan. Our fingers are crossed, in hopes that the citrus crops of both Mexico and the U.S. weather this storm, that all of the insects and the disease are wiped out and that all of the farmers have a bumper crop of oranges this year.
Old Tradition Revived in Hunucma
Those who live in the smaller towns of Yucatan have many opportunities that are not available to residents of Merida and other larger cities in Yucatan. They have the ability to easily reach out to others and preserve old traditions that are the strengthof the culture in the region. In Hunucma, this manifested itself when a large group of the guardians of the participants in the Children’s Vaqueria went door to door, asking permission for the children to dance and inviting their parents and bystanders to attend the festivities. Even the Mayor walked in the procession. Once they had collected the town, the vaqueria was performed and everyone celebrated with a drink and a banquet. This may not seem like much to many people – just small town goings on – but it means the world to the residents of towns like Hunucma because, even after hundreds of years, they can still celebrate together, as well as face their problems and their future together. Congratulations to all who participated in this revival of tradition.
Some Traditions Are At Risk for Loss
Candlemas, February 2nd, is an interesting day all over the world. For some, this is the day that Jesus was presented, as a baby, at the Temple. For others, this day begins or ends a variety of celebrations. We can even add Groundhog Day to the list of worldwide events that take place on February 2nd. In Yucatan, Candlemas is celebrated with a traditional meal of tamales enjoyed by families and friends. Unfortunately, the global economy is having an impact on the finances of almost everyone. Many Yucatecos, especially in outlying towns and villages, find that they cannot afford to both make tamales for Candelmas and purchase school clothes and supplies for their children. The lament is that the global economic crisis is killing their traditions. We hope not. We hope that, next year, every household in Yucatan will have money to spare so that every Yucateco can preserve this important tradition.
Super Bowl Sunday in Yucatan
It looks as if Yucatan is the place to be when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around. News reports are in and say that Paseo de Montejo‘s restaurants and sports bars were filled to capacity, with some even having to add additional tables. The same was true in other parts of the state and at the beach. You might be surprised at the varied crowd that watches American football in Yucatan. Spectators include large crowds of Yucatecos, as well as expats and tourists from around the world. Watching the Super Bowl is a great occasion for a party and, coming at the beginning of Carnival festivities, it just adds one more layer of enjoyment to a truly international state. We hope everyone has the opportunity to spend at least one Super Bowl Sunday in Yucatan!