Yucatan News: Fiestas, Bees & Monopoly
News starting July 13, 2009
Goodbye to Jazzin’ Merida
We are so sorry to report that Jazzin’ Merida has closed. We wish owner, David Abhari, all the best as he moves on to other projects. While we will all miss Jazzin’ Merida, we know that sometimes it is just impossible to keep all of our projects going and difficult choices must be made. As for the Yucatones - not to worry. We are certain it won't be long before we get an excited e-mail telling us all about their next adventure. Right boys? ... AH! ...and what to our wondering eyes did appear, but an e-mail from the Yucatones - right on cue. After 8 weeks off, they'll be back and looking for a new venue! So - enjoy your vacation fellas - and we'll be waiting for your return in September!
Wal-Mart de Mexico 2nd Quarter Profits Up 16%
It looks as if the H1N1 flue outbreak has been good for business for Wal-Mart in Mexico. When the all clear was given, the people headed straight to Wal-Mart to stock up on food and medical supplies. This trend is expected to continue in the face of warnings that there could be another outbreak sometime this winter. What this translates to, for just the second quarter alone, is a profit of $281 million USD. Overall, Wal-Mart de Mexico stock rose 0.6% to $38.15 pesos.
Wal-Mart Coming to Oxkutzcab
There was a time, not too long ago, when Oxkutzcab was a place only mentioned in conjunction with an Orange Festival that nobody went to because it was so far away from the city. No more! Oxkutzcab is a thriving area that will soon boast its own huge Bodega Aurrera. Construction has begun and it should be finished in September. This is an area that now boasts junior colleges, great cell phone coverage, and even wi-fi internet service! Their cultural opportunities are growing and their tourism opportunities are beginning to make an impact on how tourists view our state. With 120 new Wal-Mart jobs and 250 indirect jobs due to the presence of the store, this is one more feather in the cap of a now not-so-far-away town that everyone had heard about but no one had been to see. Both tourists and real estate investors are missing a real opportunity if they skip over the Oxkutzcab area.
Please Visit Municipal Fiestas
There are 106 municipalities (counties) in the State of Yucatan. Each has several fiestas per year. We always list at least the beginning date of these fiestas, along with how long they run and what you can expect to see there at the top of our Events page. Some of these fiestas are county fairs, some are celebrations of religious holidays, and some are fiestas to show off the work of local artisans. These are the places where artists and craftsmen come together not only with individual buyers, but often with importers from other areas of Mexico and the world.
This past Friday, July 10, a fiesta began in Motul. It will run through July 20. During that time, 19 local artisans will offer their work for sale. Many have lost their major sources of income because of the global economic recession. One of these artisans is a 93 year old lady who makes tin candlesticks. She says this is the first time she has had a chance to offer her candlesticks in a real artisan's market. Another is a lady who has a home factory making, of all things, bathing suits! ...and this lady is not without talent and experience because she was sent to Italy to train when she worked for Monty Industries. This means that you can get a fine Italian style bathing suit not 30 minutes to the east of Merida! Also in the lineup of artisans will be wood-carvers, piñata makers, ladies who do embroidery, as well as those who make guayaberas. They will even have a few good carpenters on hand.
The stars of the show will be the disabled young people who have taken a confectioner's course and will be selling deserts and sandwiches they have made themselves. They spent several days learning their customer service skills, so please do try to make it to Motul and buy something from them. This is a fiesta where you can get something special for your home (tin candlesticks made by a 93 year old lady), something special to wear (an Italian style bathing suit), and do something nice for someone (buy a sandwich and desert from the disabled young people) all in the same day. Sounds like Yucatan to me!
Organic Beekeeping in Yucatan
It looks as if our beekeepers have really gone global now that they are represented on YouTube. Click HERE to see their video! It seems that our isolated location and minimal infrastructure, which might normally be viewed as a big disadvantage, is working in our favor this time. The unspoiled countryside is one of our beekeepers' biggest selling points and the proof is in the profits. The price of Yucatan's organic honey is already almost 50% higher than that of conventional honey!
For those who do not remember, our beekeepers have always been here, so Yucatan has always enjoyed this wonderful "home-grown" product. However, our former governor noticed their large numbers and helped them form their own association. It went to over 10,000 members overnight and a star industry was born in Yucatan! Our congratulations to all involved and our thanks to the world for recognizing the value of Yucatan's Liquid Gold!
Yucatan's Bees: Did you know?
From Eco-Yucatan, we learn that "the ancient Maya considered the stingless melliponine bee (Apidae melliponinae), native to the tropical forests of the Yucatan peninsula, to be a link to the spirit world, given to them by the bee god, Ah Muzen Cab." We're not surprised to hear that Yucatan's bees are thought to have been given to the Maya by the bee god, and now we know they are stingless too!
Turtle Nest Found with 143 Eggs
Someone found a turtle's nest with 143 eggs in it at the intersection of Calle 88 with the beach in Progreso. The Cetmar people came and got the eggs, so they are safe and all will hatch. We need to take this opportunity to remind readers that there is a huge fine for damaging a turtle nest, including confiscating your vehicle if you are driving on the beach. When the babies try to make it into the sea, it also isn't a good idea to keep one for a pet. The babies are an endangered species and the prison sentence for keeping one is 20 years.
23 Go To 2009 National Olympic Games of Knowledge
A total of 23 Yucateco public school students will represent Yucatan in Mexico City from July 11 through July 20. Most of these students are poor and/or Mayans. What makes this all the more exciting is that each of these students has been given a full scholarship, by the Bancomer Foundation, to cover all of the expenses for their secondary educations. This program has been ongoing since 2002 and is designed to free children from many of the restrictions placed on former generations simply by virtue of where they were born and under what circumstances. These children are encouraged to become the best they can be, no matter their environment and, after 6,000 participants have gone through this program alone, the future of Mexico looks brighter than ever!
How Mexico Saves Health Care Dollars
Public health and taxpayer dollars go hand in hand, and never more so than in Mexico. Soon, we can expect new calorie and nutrition guidelines based on research from the University of Wisconsin. Their studies show that reducing calorie intake by 1/3 while, at the same time, improving nutrition, will decrease our vulnerability to disease and keep our minds sharp well into advanced age. Mexico has a strong track record of meeting all national goals with a united front, so look for this to be a national campaign soon. To our friends north of the border, think of us the next time you eat at a fast food joint. We're already down here in Mexico with little children giving us the evil eye and saying things like "You're not going to actually eat that, are you?" This will be an entire generation that has a single focus on living healthy lives ...because, in a system of socialized medicine, disease prevention saves taxpayer dollars!
Mexico Pays GM Workers' Salaries During Layoff
This is a very simple scenario and one we found quite interesting. GM hit the global economic slowdown wall and needed to lay off workers in Mexico - but, they had faith that they could make a comeback so they entered into an agreement with the Mexican Government. GM kept paying their laid-off workers. As business begins to pick back up, they still have their workforce and Mexico is reimbursing them for the wages they paid during the layoff. In effect, this is a type of unemployment insurance program except that nobody lost their job and the company kept all of its former workers. Attaching this money to rehires makes this a great deal for the country because the government did not have to open any unemployment offices, spend any time or money helping folks look for other jobs, or stand in the gap with food pantries and other social services. The real beneficiaries are the families of the workers themselves. Their lives have run smoothly and they can be better parents and better citizens because they have seen what can happen when good government programs actually work. Congratulations to GM and to Mexico for realizing that, sometimes, simple programs are best.
Monopoly Vive Mexico!
The Mexican Department of Tourism has partnered with Hasbro to produce a promotional Monopoly game under the title Monopoly Vive Mexico. The sites on the board will be the UNESCO sites throughout Mexico, that have been deemed, by UNESCO, to be of the greatest cultural and historical value to the world. For the collectors among our readers, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to grab a few "still in the seal" copies before they are gone. Look for them in local stores everywhere, especially in tourist gift shops.
Mexico Getting Ready for Winter H1N1 Outbreak
If the predictions are correct, Mexico - and especially Mexico City - can expect a winter outbreak of H1N1, but Mexico will be ready. Health officials are already building a stockpile of vaccines and equipment necessary to treat the people. We just visited the airport today, and they are still taking surveys of each passenger, tracking where they visited in the country, and measuring their temperature with a laser device. An interesting turn of events is IBM's donation of software to track the disease. This is important because this virus has mutated 8 times in just 3 months and there is no way to know when or if it will become more destructive than it is at the present time. We noticed Mexico's love affair with computers and tracking systems when they began predicting the damage hurricanes would do and stockpiling everything it would take to recover quickly when one did take place. Now, Mexico has top of the line software hot on the trail of H1N1 and we have faith that they will be able to not only contain it, but prevent the lion's share of cases. Congratulations to Mexico for taking the initiative to start at the top and fight H1N1 with the best tools available anywhere in the world!