News Starting October 31, 2011
As Hurricane Rina slowly chewed her way up the coast of northern Belize and Quintana Roo, we were still able to get updates from friends and family along the way. It soon became obvious that Rina was going to fizzle as a hurricane, but not before dumping a tremendous amount of rain along her path. Almost from the beginning, we had reports of rising water in southern Belize, far below the hurricane itself. By the time it was over, water was rising in the coastal areas of the Municipality of Tizimin, on the northeast coast of the State of Yucatan. They tell us now that we still have the potential for rain, from Rina, throughout the State of Yucatan. Now is the time to check with expats in Quintana Roo to see if there is anything we can do to help them. Cozumel 4 You is a good place to start. Please be aware that there are two more tropical systems in the Caribbean, so do keep an eye on them.
Norte Number Nine
Yucatan is in the tropics, but weather from other places does affect our weather here. Between Hurricane Rina and a cold front coming down from the USA, bringing the temperature down to a chilly 80 degrees Fahrenheit, Yucatan is experiencing both rain and cooler temperatures. This is a significant problem for the poor in Yucatan, especially for those who still live in homes that do not have solid walls and secure roofs. We haven’t seen a coat, hat or sweater drive in some time now, but will be sure to let you know if one is announced. In the meantime, these nortes don’t last long, so bundle up and savor the cooler weather. Its certainly a welcome change from the weather here in August! Just a note for those who do not believe in climate change: 15 years ago, Yucatan had approximately four nortes per winter. Today, there are ten times that many on an annual basis.
Taking the Bus from Cancun to Merida and Back
Whether you have found a cheap international flight to Cancun or just want a change of shows, shopping and restaurants that are different from those we have in Yucatan, taking just the right bus trip between Merida and Cancun has been developed into a fine art by expats. One of YoListo’s perks is that members can write articles on topics of interest to the expat community. This week, Joanne – owner of Oasis del Mar in Progreso – wrote “Taking the Bus from Cancun to Merida” and “Taking the Bus from Merida to Cancun.” Both are currently featured on the front page of YoListo. We invite everyone to read both articles and pass them on to anyone who might need the information. If you are not currently a member of Yolisto, we also invite you to register and join the conversation!
The Spirit of Remembering the Dead
It was reported this week, in all the local and regional papers, that Mayan priests are disappointed in the fact that Día de Los Muertos and Hanal Pixán seems to have turned into one big party, rather than individual ceremonies to honor the dead in the homes, churches and cemeteries of the people. In reality, the same can be said of Christmas, Carnival and Semana Santa, as well as Three King’s Day. It is no secret that Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin have all arrived in Mexico. Hopefully, they will continue to be “in addition to,” rather than “a replacement of” traditional celebrations. Even with all of the new festivities during these holidays, we find that there is still a great reverence for tradition, culture and ancestors in Yucatan. And maybe the fact that the extranjeros show such interest in Day of the Dead and Hanal Pixán will also spur them to value that cultural tradition. While the young people are in Dia de Los Muertos and Hanal Pixán altar competitions in the plazas and parks, the adults are still cleaning the cemeteries, filling them with flowers and tending to their own family altars. As the young people age, they respectfully take their parents’ place and we hope they continue the traditions. No matter how modern the public celebrations become, we suspect that the spirit of each of these days of reverence will continue in Yucatan for many many generations to come.
Chelem’s Oktoberfest Funky Market
Last Tuesday, another Funky Market was held at TacoMaya in Chelem and a grand time was had by all. Check out the video for more! The Funky Market is a great place to find art and handicrafts from all over Yucatan. There is food and drink, and vendors selling home made items. If you haven’t been to one of the previous editions of this event, you are cordially invited to attend the next Funky Market at TacoMaya in Chelem on December 7, 2011, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Another good place to buy some Christmas presents.
La 68 Casa de Cultura Elena Poniatowska hosted the first of an ongoing series of Saturday Eco Bazaars this past weekend. From what we understand, there is space for 22 vendors selling local natural food, cosmetics and artistic products, in addition to the center’s gift shop, which sells a full range of clothing, artisan pieces and collector items by the newly formed La 68 Collective of Female Artisans. Books by Elena Poniatowska are available for purchase. This next Saturday event will include a variety of additional activities, such as children’s literature classes, puppet shows, gardening with local plants and recycling techniques. The 68’s kitchen will be on hand to prepare Mexico-City-style quesadillas. Anyone interested in participating and promoting their goods or services should send an e-mail to tiendala68 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information from the members of the collective.
This might be the newest place to shop on Saturdays, but don’t forget there is also the Saturday Slow Food Market in Chuburná. If you have been there once, you probably have become a regular visitor. Everything from the fresh-baked bread to the organic veggies to the wonderful people keeps us coming back regularly. In fact, it has become a regular Saturday shopping spot of many locals and expats. If you haven’t been there before, you should check it out! Download a handy map here. And everyone should know, that despite recent emails about moving and looking for a new spot, the Saturday Slow Food Market and Monique’s Bakery will be staying in the SAME place, and expanding into all sorts of exciting new offerings. Just more wonderful shopping on Saturdays in Merida!
Are You Registered to Vote Absentee?
Is it time to vote already? Believe it or not, some of the first primaries in the U.S. will be held in January! Steve Fry has passed on information from the Merida Men’s Club, complete with all the links necessary to help get your vote counted in the upcoming U.S. elections. You can find that information in Absentee Voting Information for US Citizens in Mexico – The Article. We hope that, instead of wasting a whole year on fighting about our many different viewpoints, let’s all make history and vote about it instead.
Yucatan Makes Frommer’s 2012 Top Destination List
How many times have we all tried to explain to visitors and potential expats that Yucatan is different from the rest of Mexico because the Yucatan Peninsula was literally cut off from Mexico by a range of mountains until the 1960s? They come, looking for Mexican food, and find Yucatecan cuisine instead. Even our indigenous cultural experiences are different from those in the rest of Mexico because we have the Maya and the rest of Mexico has other Native American groups. Now, we learn that the characteristics of the Yucatan Peninsula that put it on Frommer’s 2012 Top Destination List are beaches, cuisine, festivals, wildlife and a sense of separation from the rest of the country. Whatever the reason, 2012 is almost upon us and we have no doubt that a significant number of new tourists have already put Yucatan in 2012 on their “must be there” list.
Proyecto Itzaes Annual Update
Proyecto Itzaes, with the generous help of Palo Alto Rotary, Club Rotario Nuevas Generaciones, Merida, Rotary International, any number of agricultural and environmental specialists, and individual supporters, has completed its 16th successful year. For those who are looking for new sources of organic produce, the gardens at Ixil have been planted and it won’t be long until the harvest is in. Proyecto Itzaes is all about education, self-help and sustainability as the only way to guarantee a path out of poverty. Our congratulations to Founder and Director Cynthia Wilber and to each and every one of the Yucatecos who participate in the many programs offered by Proyecto Itzaes. To learn more about this group, to sign up for their newsletter, or for information about making a donation, please visit the Proyecto Itzaes website.
Congratulations to the 2012 Queen of Club Campestre
One of the things we love about Yucatan is that there is an element of style and grace present here in all levels of society. Most of us can remember the debutante balls of years ago, when young ladies were presented for the season. It was a rite of passage that so many young girls looked forward to. In Mexico, some young ladies have two opportunities to dress up and have a fairy tale night. The first is their Quinceañera, on their 15th birthday. This is a big fiesta that includes a mass, beautiful dresses and a huge party for family and friends. For those whose parents belong to a country club, there are still debutante balls. In Merida, Club Campestre’s debutante ball is held on New Year’s Eve. Every year begins with a new queen, who will reign in society until someone else, just as special as she is, takes her place on the eve of the next new year. The 2012 Queen of Club Campestre has been announced. She is 17 year old Romina Millet Lopez. Our congratulations to her, as well as to her proud parents.
Tony Bennett Sings Armando Manzanero
The world is, indeed, a very small place. Who ever would have thought that Tony Bennett would still be singing at the age of 85, much less that he would be releasing his latest duet album (CD) with young Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz? One of the songs on that new CD was composed by Yucatan’s own Armando Manzanero, and Mr. Bennett had nothing but glowing words for the composer. We found that duet on YouTube and it is the perfect way to end the news this week. Watch now as Alejandro Sanz and Tony Bennett sing Armando Manzanero’s “This Afternoon, I Saw Rain.”