Yucatan News: Festivals and Trains
President Enrique Peña Nieto visited Merida for the second time in a month and instructed The Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT) to conclude the technical studies on the Transpeninsular Train early so that construction can begin in 2014. There are going to be several additional good things coming. We also are to get a new Logistics Center, the first section of an additional Anillo Vial Metropolitano (Metropolitan Ring Road), the first section of the expansion project on the highway between Merida and Chetumal, new financing arrangements between public and private investments, and the consolidation of Puerto de Altura de Progreso , the port of Progreso. This is all to be done in the first half of 2014, with an investment of $16 billion pesos. The second half of 2014 should see Yucatan benefit from an additional investment of $187 billion pesos on major highways, local roads, trains and ports, as well as water, electricity and gas projects. It looks as if 2014 will see more construction jobs than ever in Yucatan.
Look for Pink Shrimp Fishing Ban Soon
First, the catch of pink shrimp sank so low that the boats in Tamaulipas simply quit fishing for them. Now, the president of the National Chamber of Industrial Fishing and Aquaculture has explained to the fishermen of Campeche that, unless they accept a total ban on pink shrimp fishing for five to ten years, they will lose this resource completely. As of right now, they are only talking about the 84 boats in Campeche, but hint that it will be a necessary ban for all 330 boats in the Gulf of Mexico. That is a LOT of lost jobs but, as fishermen from Yucatan can testify, these bans work. The real question is what will the pink shrimp fishermen do during that season if they can't fish? The workshops offered in a variety of crafts, but some find it difficult to make the leap from the life of a fisherman to the life of an electrician. Only time will tell, but saving the shrimp will save the industry and everyone wants that.
Progreso: Lagartos de Gran Tamaño in Storm Drains
There is some discussion about whether a lagarto is an alligator or a crocodile, but we know for a fact that lagarto de gran tamaño (a very large lizard) is not a good thing to have roaming the local storm drains. This current visitation has been caused by lots of rain, by people throwing food trash in the streets and storm drains, and by the ready supply of food in the way of chickens, dogs and cats. If you live anywhere along the coast of Yucatan and happen to see one of these creatures, or hear it splash in the water, please call the authorities to come and remove it. And don't go near it!
Dragon Mart Project Still Alive
Since the refusal of the Municipality of Benito Juárez to continue with construction on Dragon Mart, due to Dragon Mart not having the proper building permits, the case has gone all the way through the court system in Quintana Roo and it is said that Real Estate Dragon Mar S.A de C.V will produce the proper documentation this week. Supposedly, the project is slated to continue after that. How this story ends is something everyone will be watching for some time to come.
Campeche: Mayan City Newly Discovered
A team of archaeologists has found a huge Mayan city, complete with pyramids and palaces, in the jungle north of Reserva de la Biosfera de Calakmul . They have called it Chactún because of a reference made to it in 751 AD. The city itself, 1,400 years ago, was alive, vibrant and at the heart of a vast area in the Central Lowlands. The city seems to have lasted from approximately 600 AD to 900 AD. It hasn't been found until now because it requires an overnight stay to get there that includes a 4-wheel drive and 2 hours of slogging through the jungle with a machete . This place is wonderful, with at least three monumental pyramids, plus smaller pyramids, palaces, ball courts, plazas, patios, sculptured monuments, suburbs and 19 trails. The expedition is being funded by National Geographic and two private companies in Austria and Slovenia. The archaeologist is Ivan Spraic, of the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Fortunately up to this point, the environment there has been protected by the fact that the town is so hard to get to. Now that is expected to change as people begin to follow the explorers in and rediscover the rich natural resources there.
Progreso: Welcome Home Foreign Exchange Students
Ten exchange students from Progreso have just returned home from their academic and cultural exchange trip to Saint Nazaire, France. In between their geography, history and French classes, they still had time to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde, the Latin Quarter, and Paris Saint Germain. They also went on a retreat with teams of artistic and rhythmic gymnasts from the Jean Moulin College and German students from The Orchestre du, Schonbuch Gymnasium of the City of Stuttgart, Germany. But their trip wasn't finished with that. They still had time to show their new friends and classmates examples of the music, dance and legends of Yucatan. One of their new prized talents is associated with new teaching strategies they were able to bring home with them. This will contribute to improvements in education in Yucatan for many years to come because it has broadened by the world view of the teachers of tomorrow. Finally, these students would like to thank the students of Jean Moulin College and their host families for being so gracious to them while they were in France. We know this will not be the last of these academic and cultural exchanges, and we are so glad that Progreso's young people enjoyed it so much.
Hunucma: Prescription Collection Bins
Hunucma is the first municipality in Yucatan to join the nationwide program to collect out-dated medications so that they will not be used past their expiration date and so that they will not be used inappropriately. This program is being brought to all of Mexico by Sistema Nacional de Gestión de Residuos de Envases de Medicamentos (Singrem), a civil association that is working with the government. From now on, collections will be made to these bins, and then the contents brought to Merida where they will be disposed of properly. This will keep them out of our ecosystem and will help to keep old and/or ineffective medications from harming people. If you want to know more about how you can bring this program to your town or village, contact the SINGREM website . http://www.singrem.org.mx
Festival Internacional de la Cultura Maya 2013 October 17 - November 3, 2013
What can 30 countries do with an opportunity to participate in the Festival Internacional de la Cultura Maya 2013? To begin, we would like to congratulate Honduras as guest nation, and Chiapas as guest state. Then we go on to such artists as Placido Domingo, Joan Manuel Serrat, Filipa Giordano, Gustavo Dudamel, and Yanni, as well as Jose Carreras, II Volo, a duet by Armando Manzanero and Tania Libertad, the Pygmalion Ensemble, Ah Ruem Ahn, the Ensemble Villancico, plus Bond and Dukes of Dixieland. Speakers will include Al Gore and Deepak Chopra. Not enough yet? Well, how about magic and a circus from France, and a performance by the Russian Ballet Moiseyev that will have 60 ballerinas on the stage and do 15 shows? More? Oh, let's just add the Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, the Murmur theater group, and the list grows longer as acceptance notifications pour in. What we hope to see is a surprise duet between Placido Domingo and Armando Manzanero. You cannot imagine the quality of such a duet. We also think that absolutely everyone should already be in line to purchase a ticket to see Gustavo Dudamel when the tickets go on sale. They won't last an hour. This busy young orchestra conductor has more energy than anyone we have ever seen on stage and he is spectacular on four continents! These events will be held around the state, so we hope that everyone gets a chance to see them all.
Merida: National Competition for the Blind and Visually Impaired
This week, 350 blind and visually impaired paralympic athletes came to Merida to compete for the 50 available spots on the team that will go to France later this summer. There are 23 Yucatecos in this first group and there will be 15 Yucatecos going to France. In order to level the playing field, these athletes are divided into categories that are determined by their level of sight. Their sports include almost every sport anyone could find at any track and field event. According to Sarita Blancarte de Zapata, who is not only the President of the State DIF, but also the director of the Asociation Yucateca del Deporte para Ciegos y Débiles Visuales A.C. , "What we want with this event is that society knows what visually impaired people are able to do and how far they can go when they want to, as well as being an encouragement to those who have physical limitations." ...and we think that pretty much says it all.
Playa del Carmen: One of FBI's 10 Most Wanted Arrested
Walter Lee Williams, age 64, was wanted in the U.S. for the sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines and California. The former university teacher was arrested in Playa del Carmen and is being returned to the USA to face trial. We are very glad that the police in Mexico have no qualms about helping the FBI or any other law enforcement agency in the U.S, Canada or any other nation when it comes to cooperating in returning wanted individuals to their native countries. We suggest to criminals that, if they are running from the law, Mexico is not the place to go.