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Yucatan News: Christmas and Canoeing

News Starting December 05, 2011

New News From the Plaza GrandeMayan Monuments in Merida

There are two topics of interest related to the Plaza Grande this week. First, Merida en Domingo and Vaqueria Monday are moving to Parque Santa Lucia until all of the revitalization efforts are complete. Renovations could continue past the New Year, but are expected to be complete by Three Kings’ Day (January 6). Second, what was supposed to be more of a simple refurbishing of the Plaza Grande has turned into quite an interesting find of relics, including a wall, from what looks like the very earliest days of the Colonial era in which the Spanish first arrived in Yucatan. This is in addition to skeletal remains, found in Hidalgo Park, that date back to the Middle and Late Preclassic periods (600 B.C. to 250 A.D.). It won’t be long before we can read all about these new finds because they will be left in place, covered with glass and information about them will be installed on plaques. In the meantime, disculpe la molestia (please excuse the inconvenience)! Everything will be back to normal soon.

Christmas Lights in MeridaChristmas Lights in Merida

The Christmas season has officially begun in Merida with the lighting of three Christmas trees, an advent wreath and more than 600 other Christmas decorations throughout the city. Merida, like most cities of a million or more people, urban sprawl limits the ability of many to come to the center and northern parts of the city for special events, especially if they are held late in the evening. The lighting of the trees, this year, was the first of its kind. Through the magic of closed circuit television, visitors to the lighting of the lights at the Glorieta de la Paz were linked to a parallel lighting of the tree in the Mercado de San Roque. A third tree was installed in the section of the city known as John Paul II, and parks throughout the city have decorations of their own. All of these trees and decorations will remain until Three King’s Day (January 6).

Purchase Fireworks in Parque Eulogio Rosado: Dates Limited to December 23, 24, 30 and 31.

This year, just like last year, the sale of fireworks is being restricted to only vendors who have permits. This is to ensure that safety inspectors can keep an eye on the quality of fireworks being sold and to make certain that vendors are educating customers about the need to use fireworks safely. Parque Eulogio Rosado is located across from the Museum of the City of Merida, which is on Calle 56, between 65 and 65-A. There is a Flea Market in the park that will feature Christmas and Supermodel in ValladolidNew Year’s merchandise from this past weekend until Three Kings’ Day (January 6). However, the sale of fireworks will be limited to the two days before Christmas Day and the two day before New Year’s Day.

Famous Visitors in Valladolid This Week

The first of two famous visitors in Valladolid this week was Brazilian model Emanuela de Paula who, according to Forbes, is one of the highest paid models in the world. Valladolid, it seems, has been chosen as the perfect background for the photos in part of an exclusive designer’s new clothing catalog. The second visitors included Internationally well known Chef Rubio Alfonso Cadena, who was filmed in the municipal mercado, gathering the ingredients necessary to prepare regional dishes and seafood. This will be part of a television program called “Cooking on the Beach,” which will air on Sky Channel 223 in March. Here lately, its beginning to look as if all of the roads in the world lead to Valladolid and the city is certainly up to the task of hosting all who come there.

Britney Spears Gave Free Show in Mexico City

Merida may be moving on up with closed circuit televised lighting of the Christmas Trees, but Mexico City’s Christmas celebration got a huge surprise itself this weekend. Britney Spears was celebrating her 30th birthday in Mexico when she decided to stay an extra day and perform her Femme Fatale show free for 50,000 fans at the Monument to the Revolution. This certainly gave Mexico City’s planned $2.6 million dollar Christmas season a spectacular start, considering that the Femme Fatale show was Number One on the Top 200 on the Billboard Chart in April. We can only imagine how fast news traveled when this free show was announced at the last minute. Is it just our perception, or does it seem to you that more and more Hollywood stars are spending significant amounts of time in Mexico these days? 

Increased Security for International Heads of States

If you noticed that there seem to be quite a few Federal troops in Merida these past few days, not to worry. They are here to provide several different types of safety for the heads of state who are in Merida to attend II Cumbre de la Alianza del Pacífico (Second Summit of the Pacific Alliance) and the XIII Cumbre de Jefes de Estado y Gobierno (13th Summit of Heads of State and Government). It is to Merida’s credit that it remains the location of choice for heads of state meetings for leaders around the world.

Consumer Protection is Out In Force

During one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year, it used to be that there were constant complaints about merchandise not having prices on it so that stores could decide, at the checkout counter how much the market could handle. Its been a long time since those practices were tolerated. Now, stores must either have merchandise individually priced or prices must be clearly posted, and PROFEPA is on the job to make certain that happens. For those stores caught not properly pricing merchandise or properly posting prices, the penalties are stiff enough to cure them from it the first time they are caught. Having laws is one thing. Enforcing them is another. We are constantly amazed at all of the little ways in which we are lucky to live in Yucatan.

Now Open: Centro Educativo de Gimnasia Olímpica de Yucatán (CEGOY)Olimpic Gymnastic Center Opens in Merida

Merida is determined to increase support for gymnastics and high performance sports and this sports center is just the place to accomplish that goal. The gym has all of the latest equipment and technology to support even the most outstanding students. This is necessary because it has recently become obvious that, in many sports, it has been necessary for young athletes to leave the city in order to follow their dreams. Merida’s music, theater and dance infrastructure is such that students make their way here from around the world. If we have these kinds of facilities, we can surely expect the same in high performance sports. Congratulations to the City and to the investors who helped to make this sports center a reality. 

Benefits for Disabled Yucatecos to Expand Again

December 3 was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and it was announced that benefits and opportunities for disabled Yucatecos are to expand again. Spend any time at all in the State of Yucatan and you will run across groups of disabled persons integrated into every phase of normal life. Disabled children not only go to school, but they are just as likely to be found in the theater, performing in a music recital, or in competition in any sport they love. In Yucatan, disabled children have everything from equine therapy to jobs. The goal is to give every Yucateco every opportunity to live a long, healthy and happy life. On the same day that these extended benefits for disabled persons appeared in the newspaper headlines in Yucatan, there was another headline, in another state, bemoaning the fact that the disabled still receive no support there. It isn’t just little things that make us lucky to live in Yucatan. Its big things too, and Yucatan’s treatment of disabled citizens is a huge plus that makes this state one of the best places in the world to live.

Merida in the New York Times

While most expats think of traveling to Merida for all of the months of winter, some people might just need a weekend get-away. This past week, an American travel writer and a Brazilian photographer, both now living in Mexico City, spent 36 hours in Merida and wrote about their experience, complete with slide show. We particularly like the flavor of this sentence: "Mérida, a languid city of pastel mansions and evening promenades." We also love the fact that Merida is still one of the safest cities in the world. We hope you enjoy "36 Hours in Merida."  If you had only a long weekend in Merida, what do you think would be on your "must see and do" list? We would love to know! Leave a quick comment below, because we are compiling a list of our OWN perfect 36 hours.

Canoeing Medal “Harvest Canoeing in Yucatan

Canoeing and Kayaking are relatively new official sports in Yucatan, but that doesn’t stop Yucatan’s young people from rising to the top of the national sporting scene with amazing speed. In 2010, they went to Jalisco to compete in the National Olympics and won several medals. They made a wonderful video of their trip and competition that ended with a prediction of great success in 2011. Since then, they put up a new Canotaje Yucatan on Facebook. Watch that video and look at that Facebook page. Notice the number of young ladies involved in canoeing in Yucatan. Last week, at the Mexico National Olympics, those young ladies took the sport by storm. Both individually and as teams, the young ladies gathered up five of the seven medals won by Yucatan’s canoeing team. Overall, Yucatan won one gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals and we can hardly wait to see the next YouTube video. Congratulations to the athletes, to their coaches and to their parents!

Book Recommendation: Jaguar Princess by Marjorie Bicknell JohnsonBook Recomendation

Marjorie Bicknell Johnson is a retired teacher from Santa Clara, California. Her book is the story of Pex, the Jaguar Princess, descended from Maya royalty. Her grandmother is a modern-day shaman, but Pex has chosen to become an archaeologist. Soon, it is discovered that she can read the ancient Mayan writings, and her life in archaeology is assured. Then, she finds a rare, ancient book and runs afoul of a looter. He attacks her and she kills him with a curse. Then she finds that she has other powers and the Indiana Jones-type adventures begin. This is a good winter read for all ages. As of now, this book can be purchased from Buy Books on the Web and is soon to be released on

With Sympathy to the Families

We are sorry to report that a Canadian couple was found dead on the beach in Progreso on Saturday night. Speculation was that the lady, Jean (55) went into the water and was overcome by turbulent seas. Reimi (72), her partner, is presumed to have followed her into the water, in an attempt to help her, where both subsequently drowned. You can read more about it in this article from a Canadian source. Several years ago, someone died of a heart attack in an outlying beach village, but we cannot remember another expat drowning. Our deepest sympathy to both of their families and to the members of their beach community.

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7 Responses to “Yucatan News: Christmas and Canoeing”

  1. “Mérida, a languid city of pastel mansions and evening promenades.” I picked up on that sentence, too. A year ago, I wrote a travel piece for some U.S. newspapers and struggled to find the poetry in my words to describe the city. The slideshow was beautiful, too. An article in the Times always, always, brings visitors. Hang on to your hats.

  2. Yep! So many people we know in Merida now came because of the first NY Times article about six years ago… so we can be expecting ANOTHER new wave!

  3. Where is this local canoeing done?

  4. The article in The New York Times really grasped the best places in Merida if not in text, at least in the slide show. My personal preferences: Piedra De Agua, and Helados Colon, the first for being the most spiritual and enchanted place in Merida, and the second the best place to get acquainted with Meridians.

  5. Such a tragedy for this couple’s families.. we send our sympathies

  6. Tom – Canoeing is in Progreso. They seldom announce their activities, but more information can be obtained from the canoeing sports association in Progreso. Contact information is:
    Mrs. Maria Gpe. Gonzalez Ortiz
    Calle 86 # 148 C x 29 and 31
    Col. Center, Progreso, Yucatan
    Phones 9999-70-35-90 01969-93-532-85 and conoingyuc [at] hotmail [dot] com

  7. Tom – the canoeing is done on the estuary near Progreso on the east side of the carretera (highway) just before you reach Progreso proper – there are lanes set out which are used for various rowing activities. Nice facilities, actually, even though the water is not the freshest. If you see Aurera bodega and Pemex you have gone too far – if you are travelling from Merida.


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