News starting April 20, 2009
Notice: Register Your Cell Phone Number
Last year, there was a bill passed in Congress that calls for the creation of a National Cell Phone Registry. This is a national registry, not a "telephone directory" and your information will not be shared with anyone. For any cell phone purchased after April 10, 2009, registration will be part of the activation process. In other words, you will not be able to use your new phone unless you have registered the number with the National Registry. For cell phones purchased prior to April 10, 2009, you must register your numbers with the National Registry as soon as possible. If you do not, then your service will be blocked. No date for when unregistered numbers will be blocked was given on the Telcel website. The process for registration is free and easy, done with a simple text message or, if you prefer, you can call the operator and give your CURP. You can find complete instructions HERE.
There is a longstanding legend in Latin American communities about a strange creature called a chupacabra (literally, a goat sucker). Biologists and wildlife management professionals view the chupacabra as an urban legend, but quien sabe? There is something strange going on in Motul, resulting in the deaths of several chickens and turkeys. One of the deaths looked a lot like something Ozzy Osbourne might do. Whether it is real or just a case of vandalism, the situation is upsetting enough to cause one lady to sell all of her turkeys in an effort to keep the mysterious stranger from making a return visit to her property. The police have not investigated these incidents because their hands are tied until someone makes a complaint of loss – and no one will make such a complaint. This is particularly frustrating for the police because it is not the first time this has happened in this area. Who knows? Maybe here really is a chupacabra – or maybe it is a prank. We hope someone makes a complaint so the police can begin their investigation. If you want to investigate the chupacabra yourself, you can get started at the Wikipedia page and the Skeptic’s Dictionary.
WILD9 (9th World Wilderness Congress) Coming to Merida
Mark your calendars for November 6 – 13. The World Wilderness Congress was created by The Wild Foundation in 1977 and is currently the oldest public environmental forum in the world. They fund everything from a global association of photographers to an effort to catalog all of the rivers and lakes on the planet. We like their motto: Feel. Think. Act. And we support their efforts. For that reason, we’re excited that the WILD9 conference will be the first to be held in Latin America, it will be attended by President Calderon, and it will be held right here in Merida. Visit the WILD9 Website to learn more!
Shop Easter Sales
Even though only 70,000 of the expected 100,000 easter vacationers arrived in Progreso, and sales only reached 80% of what was expected, that was still better than last year. The item most purchased at the beach was, not surprisingly, ladies’ sandals. Vendors who sell their wares actually on the beach itself reported that some of their sales were less than normal. For shoppers in Yucatan, Easter is over and they can look forward to a week or two of 50% off sales before prices return to normal. The dedicated bargain hunters among us should not fall into depression at the return of regular prices quite yet. Mother’s day is May 10th, so another great shopping event is just around the corner.
Sisal Reports Crowds Down This Year
From Sisal, we learn that not only were Semana Santa crowds smaller this year, but the visitors who did go to the port began returning to Merida on Saturday, when it is customary for them to stay until Sunday. We know that these phenomena are cyclical. As soon as tourists get a whiff of smaller numbers and lower prices, they will appear in numbers twice as great as before the global economic problems. In the meantime, however, we wish the Port of Sisal all the best. They have worked hard to make their town a tourist destination and have done a wonderful job. On Monday, April 20, the Nuestra Senora de Tetiz will be returned to her home in Tetiz from her annual journey to Sisal.
Cleaning and Leveling of Beach Areas
Now that the Easter vacationers have headed home, the State of Yucatan, under a program headed by the Secretaría de Vías Terrestres, is cleaning beaches and leveling beach roads, as well as clearing and cleaning some areas for ball parks and other games. This is in preparation for the arrival of vacationers in July and August. Sisal, Progreso, Chuburna and Chelem are the beneficiaries of the majority of the work being done. We’re hoping that maybe this program will also address some of the road issues between Chuburna and Chelem.
Uxmal Light and Sound Show Set To Reopen
At the end of this month, the renovations to the Uxmal Light and Sound Show will be complete and the new show will open. The renovation project has been underway since January. Low impact "cold" (LED) lights will be used now for the protection of the structure itself. Since the original show began, in 1972, there have been many advances in this kind of lighting and now Uxmal will shine as an ancient marvel in modern lights. Tourists from Mexico and around the world are expected to attend the inauguration of this new Uxmal Light and Sound Show.
Municipal League of Women’s Basketball
This past weekend, the teams that make up the Municipal League of Women’s Basketball played a tournament in Ucu. We had no idea that there even is such a league! Congratulations to La Seleccion Ucu on their first tournament day win over Las Dinamitas. We will be watching to see where these and other members of this league are playing in the future.
The 2009 National Olympics Begins
This past week, more than 1,200 children and young people registered to represent the State of Yucatan in 38 different disciplines, from chess to fencing and from boating to table tennis, in Mexico’s National Olympics. Name a sport and Yucatan has the best! These children are from Merida, Progress, Tekax, Valladolid, Tizimín, Umán, Motul, Kanasín, Ticul, Panabá, Sinanché, Temax, Hunucmá, Ticul and Río Lagartos. The National Olympic Trials will be held from April 20 through June 7, in Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosí and Quintana Roo. Last year, Yucatan had more gold medals than any other state, but finished in 5th place on overall points. The best wishes of all of Yucatan go with these young people as they set off to represent our state in this event that never fails to show the triumphant heart of Yucatan.
Dangerous Heat Wave and Fire
It is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit most days in Yucatan now and the number of forest fires is on the rise. This month, 38 fires have been reported in Valladolid alone, with at least 8 classified as big fires, meaning 40 hectares or greater in area. The fires have been so plentiful that haze and smoke from the fires is affecting air quality in Texas and Louisiana. Check out this NASA photo to see what the Yucatan looks like from space these days.
Firemen are asking citizens to not throw cigarette butts from vehicles or start fires on your property until the threat of new fires is over. If you are driving and see smoke ahead, please do not drive into it. If you do find yourself driving in smoke, please turn on your headlights and flashers so that others can see you. If you see a fire, please report it. The number to call is: 985-856-0990 or 116. The calls are free.
Yucatan On a Dime
For those who want to know just how "cheap" it can be to vacation in Yucatan, we invite you to read the experience of Joshua Kucera,of the Miami Herald. Joshua and "a couple of buddies" spent a week traveling on the peninsula and he spent only $320 USD – and that was after spending only $250 USD on a round trip plane ticket from Miami to Cancun. Not a bad deal at all, considering that their journey took them from Cancun all the way to the City of Campeche and back in a rental car! We followed the link from Sac-Be,but you can read the full article here.
Obama’s Visit to Mexico
President Obama recently visited Mexico’s President Calderon in Mexico City, bringing the world’s attention to our adopted country. A lot of words were exchanged, but as far as we can tell, nothing was said that is going to change life here in any way in the foreseeable future. We applaud the application of a little warmth to the deep freeze in relations between the US and Cuba, and we look forward to better news about the drug war and immigration laws in the future.
Yucatan’s Steam Locomotives Alive and Well
When Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom opened, it boasted a wonderful group of 4 running steam-powered trains… and every one of them was purchased from United Railways of Yucatan. These steam engines were built in the 1920s and, although they have had to have some major repairs, are still thrilling crowds today. Visit Atlanta Leisure Travel to read more on these wonderful trains that just keep right on chugging along.