News Starting November 12, 2012
Yucatan’s Trade With Cuba Soaring
In the first half of 2012, Yucatan’s exports to Cuba reached $5,258,250 pesos and the last half of the year is expected to be even more productive. Major exports include food and beverages, as well as plastic and marine products. Cuba has been participating in Yucatan’s annual Trade Expo since 2009 and the relationship has had plenty of time now to become stable and begin to grow across a number of industries. The Ministries of Economic Development, as well as the Chambers of Commerce of both Cuba and Mexico are to be congratulated for all of their hard work and success.
Consul’s Corp Meets With Yucatan’s Governor
A total of ten Consuls have met with Yucatan’s new Governor to express their intent to increase trade, investment and tourism in Yucatan, with a major emphasis placed on academic exchanges, medicine and sports. The consuls involved are from: the United States, Germany, Honduras, Cuba, the Netherlands, Belize, Lebanon, Korea, France and Spain. The State Government is working with the consuls to address the main concerns of foreigners who are visiting and residing within the State of Yucatan. This is wonderful news and can only add to the cosmopolitan air of Merida and to the general health of the economy of the state.
Cheapest Shopping Weekend of the Year: El Buen Fin
For those who are addicted to Black Friday shopping and wonder if you have to leave it all behind if you move to Yucatan, take heart. El Buen Fin lasts four full days (November 16 – 19 this year), all across Mexico, and you can shop online or in your favorite stores. The El Buen Fin website is all set up and ready to go, so now is the time to check out which local stores will be participating versus what kind of merchandise is available for purchase online. This is no small event. Everything from a new pair of glasses to kids’ toys and a Weber grill to clothing will be available at up to 40% discounts. So, while friends back home fight for that one little day of cheap shopping they call Black Friday, you could be shopping til you drop in Paradise. We hope everyone finds something they’ve always wanted at El Buen Fin .
Fishing Industry News: Pulpo and Lobster
The good news is that Yucatan’s fishermen have brought in almost 13,000 tons of pulpo (octopus) since the season began on August 1. The not-so-good news is that a growing amount of the catch is being held in storage because European markets, affected by the downturn in global economics, has limited purchasers and suppressed prices. This is expected to change but for now storage continues and prices remain low. Lobster, on the other hand, is in demand but availability has been severely affected by continuous weather events. Most of the slow season is being blamed on the almost constant nortes. Lobster (langosta) and octopus (pulpo) bring in the majority of the money earned by fishermen, which they use to keep their children in school and to ensure that their families are cared for during the winter. Please remember the fishermen of Yucatan as they continue to face and overcome these obstacles, and buy local fish whenever possible!
A New Book on Medicinal Plants
Pronatura, along with other public and academic institutions, has published a new book on the medicinal plants that have been used by the Maya since ancient times. The book summarizes and illustrates the botany and ethnobotany of more than 100 plants. The book also documents the plants’ photochemical and pharmacological properties. As part of this project, it was discovered that, of the 2,500 vascular plants estimated to grow on the Yucatan Peninsula, approximately 30% have registered medicinal uses. There are approximately 1,000 registered healers in the State of Yucatan today, but their numbers are declining. The name of the book is Flora Medicinal de los Mayas Peninsulares. It is currently being promoted by CICY, Pronatura and the National Council for Science and Technology. The book can be purchased at Pronatura Península de Yucatán, located at Calle 32 # 269 x 47 y 47-A Col. Pinzón II in Merida. Their telephone is 999-988-4436 and they are open from 9 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. The book costs $350 pesos.
Unexplained Tremors Felt in Merida
This past Wednesday morning, there was an earthquake in Chiapas that measured 7.3 on the Richter scale. At approximately the same time, slight tremors were felt on the ninth and tenth floors of a building in the Montecristo area of Merida. Although tremors associated with the Chiapas earthquake were felt as far away as Guatemala, as of now, no direct connection can be made between the earthquake in Chiapas and the tremors felt in Merida. In fact, the tremors in Merida were not even strong enough to measure on a seismograph located in Merida’s General Cemetery and administered by the Engineering Departments of UADY and UNAM. The building in Montecristo was evacuated and checked for damage, but there was none. The incident has not been repeated and, with an investigation unable to connect the two events, is rapidly fading into the category of an unexplained occurrence.
He is a Man of Great Value Because….
Don Celestino Matos lives in Tunkas. He is 89 years old and has the strength of a 30 year old – but that isn’t why he is a man of great value. In Tunkas, Don Celestino is not a rich man, so that can’t be the way his value is determined either. What does Don Celestino do for a living? He walks 2 kilometers into the wooded mountains, every single day, and cuts horquetas. These are the forked poles used to hold up clotheslines. Don Celestino is a man of great value because he is an honest man who goes to work every day and spends the approximately $30 pesos per day that he makes on food for his family. As we pass through our city and villages, it might be of great value to us to take a second look at some of the vendors we pass and consider what it may have taken for them to bring their products to market. There are people of great value all across Yucatan and everyone is the better for their being there. There are people in Merida selling horquetas, brooms, pots, plants and all manner of other objects. If you can use one, buy from them and help support a family!
When You Wake Up One Day and Discover It’s Your Birthday….
One of the best stories we heard this week was about the birthday exclamation of Maria Isabel Chuc Chay, an elderly lady from Sisal. This particular lady is a widow who worked, until recently, since her husband died 45 years ago. After raising her five children on her own, she now lives with one of her daughters. Maria Isabel Chuc Chay walks without a cane and has never been sick. Her memory is fading a bit, but nothing out of the ordinary. She sleeps well, eats healthy food and is still active after a long life of hard work. This year, upon being reminded it was her birthday, she asked her relatives how old she is and, in her own recounting of the incident, she exclaims “I almost died!” Her shock came when she was told that it was her 100th birthday. For our generation, and especially for health conscious expats, it looks as if we are all going to survive and thrive well into advanced age. We wonder what our reaction will be when we wake up one day, ask our grandchildren how old we are, and they inform us that we are 100? Most of us have already come to the conclusion that age is nothing but a number, especially if we are living in Yucatan, but still – we wonder what we will exclaim when our turn comes.
There are people in the world that bring something unmistakable wonderful with their being. The path they walk is illuminated by their kindness and their passion. When you meet such a person, you immediately feel that you will know them forever. Sam Woodruff was such a person. Benne Rockett had this to say about Sam: “I spent one glorious afternoon with Sam hiking a trail off of the main highway between Chuburna and the lighthouse. We took pictures of the garbage, discussed how we each felt… that we dissolved when we were surrounded by natural beauty, and the curse and blessing of growing up in the South of the United States. To say more would be false as it would imply that our friendship was deeper than that one afternoon. Yet my heart wants to say more, because that is where Sam lives. He reached out to me several times when I first moved to the Yucatan. He intuitively knew that I was having difficulty adjusting.” We know that there are many people here that feel deeply connected to Sam and that we will miss him terribly. Thank you, Sam, for everything… and goodbye.