News Starting September 26, 2011
SIPSE Reports: Yucatan is a residential paradise
We begin the news this week with a link to one of the best articles about Yucatan that we have read in a long time. The highlights of that article certainly give one pause for thought. For example, because of the financial difficulties in other countries, foreign tourism by air is down 2% this year over last year. Yes, but… could it be that many of those tourists and Snowbirds have decided to stay in Yucatan instead of going home? That could very well be the case because local and foreign demand for homes and land is up 60% and the trend for foreigners buying real estate in Yucatan is also going up. In addition, the number of conventions – including international conventions – now being held in Merida, Mexico has increased 20% this year. The reasons that foreigners, especially older and retired foreigners, are settling into life in Yucatan include Yucatan’s cultural offerings, security, quality health care and the hospitality of the people. From all this, we conclude what we have known for a long time: Yucatan is not a tourist trap. It is a place to live in peace. Overall, Yucatan has always been extremely kind to its foreigners and continues to prove itself to be a true residential paradise.
What’s Happening to the Exchange Rate?
The current drop in the value of the peso is due to several global concerns. The European Union and the United States are Mexico’s leading trade partners. Unfortunately, the European Union’s banking sector is in serious trouble and the American economy is not bouncing back as rapidly as hoped. Since the USA and the European Union are everybody’s best customers, even China’s economy is slowing due to increasingly slower sales. In addition, there are wars and rumors of wars, including a threatened conflict between the two Koreas. Mexico is ready, willing and able to manufacture a whole host of products, but that won’t happen unless there is a market for them. If the manufacturing doesn’t happen, then there will be jobs lost and a strain on resources. None of that has happened yet. In fact, Mexico is still adding new jobs. However, fears of what might be over the horizon are driving down the value of the peso. Hopefully, the bad news will remain only a worry, not a reality, and Mexico will continue to do well in the months to come.
Playing the Exchange Rate
“Can I get rich playing the exchange rate?” We get that question from time to time. The answer is “That depends on what you intend to do with the money, how much money you are talking about exchanging and how sure are you that the peso will get stronger by the time you need to change money back into dollars.” Let’s look at what can happen to $1,000 USD. If you exchange $1,000 USD at an exchange rate of 12:1, you will get 12,000 pesos. If you exchange that 12,000 pesos back into dollars at an exchange rate of 10:1, you will get $1,200 USD, which is a $200 USD profit. However, if the peso continues to weaken and you have to change pesos into dollars at an exchange rate of 14:1, you are only going to get a little over $857 USD, which means you will take about a $143 USD loss. And none of this takes into account the fee that is charged for making the exchange, which varies. As you can see, it isn’t taking dollars into Mexico that poses a problem – its bringing money back that tells the ultimate tale. In reality, this is not a bad hobby, if you can afford to wait for favorable market conditions and if not too much money is tied up in it. We strongly suggest, however, that most people should not quit their day job to dabble in making money from the exchange rate.
Merida: Figure Skating National Olympics 2011
Over the weekend, the 2011 National Olympic games for figure skating were held at the ice rink at Galerías Merida. Over one hundred skaters from seven states competed in this event. The ability to host this kind of event is one of the reasons that Merida and Yucatan itself can manage to keep and increase domestic tourism the way it has in recent years. Each of these more than one hundred athletes brought with them family members, coaches and even representatives of their local media. Yucatan is now home to many Olympic, international, national, regional and professional sporting events that are continuing to come back year after year. If you are a sports-minded traveler or potential expat, let us know which sports interest you and we will do what we can to add them to our Events. If you love ice skating shows, keep an eye on Yucatan Living’s Events page because there are two wonderful ice shows coming up in October.
Yucatan Makes a Great Splash in China!
Shenzhen, China, is a large city just south of Hong Kong. It was the first of China’s special economic zones and is its most successful special economic zone. This year, Shenzhen was host to the World University Games, in which young Yucateco Rommel Pacheco Marrufo won two medals (a bronze and a silver) in synchronized diving with Jonathan Ruvalcaba of Jalisco, and one additional bronze medal in individual competition. Shanghai, China, is the largest city proper in the world and, this year, was host to The Shanghai World Games of Diving. Yucatan’s own Karen Achach Ramírez qualified in the semi-finals with what is reported as one of the best performances in the history of the event. Our congratulations to each of these athletes and to their coaches and parents. To learn more about the Mexican Swimming Federation, visit the Federacion Mexicana de Natacion A.C. website.
The Second la Ruta Solidaria del Chocolate 2012
Everyone needs to brush up on their French because the 2012 Ruta Solidaria del Chocolate is scheduled to leave St. Nazaire, France, in March and arrive in Progreso, Yucatan, in April. France has already begun to publicize the event, which will include the promotion of Mayan culture and the predictions for 2012 in other nations. As of now, there are already 14 entries in the race, from Belgium, China, Germany, Italy and France. While the sailors take care of what’s going to happen on the water, on land, Yucatan’s Cultural Department and its counterpart in the region Pays de la Loire have already begun working together on cultural exchanges, especially through youth and environmental programs. In addition, Yucatan’s Yahal-Kab trova group and the Folkloric Ballet of the State of Yucatan will go to France to perform, and there will be a student exchange between schools in the two locations. All in all, it looks as if April 2012 will be one of the best times of the year to be in Yucatan.
Dengue Fever, Typhoid Fever & Hepatitis
Unfortunately, there have now been a total of 704 cases of dengue fever reported so far this year, with 273 of those cases being classified as hemorrhagic. So far this year, no one has died from dengue fever in Yucatan. Although the trucks that spray for mosquitoes are making their way through Merida and an aerial spraying program is underway, all residents of both the city and state are again being asked to please remove anything on their property that could provide a place for mosquitoes to breed. In some of the outlying municipalities, there are a number of cases of typhoid fever. This is a disease that is spread by flies in places where water and hygiene are compromised. The particular bacteria that causes typhoid fever is salmonella typhi. The initial symptoms are much like common intestinal infections so, especially during the rainy months of September and October, wash hands and food especially well and see your physician if you feel the least bit unwell. Finally, there has been a significant outbreak of hepatitis in schools at every level in Kantunil, on Hwy. 180 at the Cancun/Valladolid split. Several of the schools were shut down while all of the schools were cleaned with bleach. School resumed on Monday, but parents are asked to watch children closely for symptoms and everyone is asked, once again, to see their physician any time they feel unwell.
The Habitat Program
This week, we heard about several projects in outlying municipalities that are being funded by the federal Habitat program. The program is supported by the Secretariat of Social Development (SEDESOL). It funds programs under a large umbrella of social development and land use, for the purpose of helping to reduce urban poverty and improve the quality of life in for marginalized urban dwellers. This translates to projects that can cover anything from repairing infrastructure to providing funding for cultural activities. In the past week, one town had a flood, over two feet deep, due to a devastating downpour. The water drained away in just two hours because of their new drainage system. On the other end of the spectrum, the ladies (and one man) are taking art (painting) classes in Uman. All of this is being funded by the Habitat program.
Planting Trees in Valladolid
Trees are finally coming to several areas of Valladolid, including 15 subdivisions and the broad avenue leading to the new hospital from the federal highway to Tizimin. Alejandro Cabrera Quijano, son of the contractor who is building the hospital, donated 50 trees to line the avenue and promised as many more as it takes to get the job done. His father, Pedro Cabrera Carrillo, donated land to build a shelter for relatives of hospital patients. In addition, Rodolfo Pérez Arzápalo, an ecologist with the Department of Ecology, has taken it upon himself to plant trees along the new bike path in Valladolid, while citizens get together on their off days and plant much needed trees in their neighborhoods. With its new status as an international marketplace for exports, Valladolid is on its way to a brighter future than ever before.
Please Buy Local When You Can
It looks as if the slowdown in the global economy has begun to affect those who sell their wares in local markets. This is especially true when it comes to small producers of handicrafts and clothing. Since many of these vendors are elderly and very poor, even the slightest drop in sales is devastating for them. The effects of this very sensitive economy is quite evident in other industries as well. For example, construction work went down 70% when fishermen were not doing well, but construction jobs rebounded quickly when pulpo reached a 30 year high in per kilo pricing. Unfortunately, this see-saw economy keeps the wolf away from the door, but he’s always looking in the window. Please try to make every peso count in Yucatan for the next few months. We encourage you to buy local whenever you can and encourage your friends to do so as well.
End of the Story: Clenbuterol
Sometimes, it can be a long time, if ever, before the media reports the end of a story, especially if the outcome is positive. For example, do you remember the recent Clenbuterol crisis in some areas of Yucatan? Whatever happened to the cattle farms in Yucatan that produced beef tainted with Clenbuterol? It is with great pride that the Organizing Committee of Livestock Tianguis, in Tizimin, reports that those farms were either shut down completely or shut out of the livestock sale. This is wonderful news for those who love beef and would rather purchase beef raised here at home in Yucatan.
Strategic Alliance Between UADY and MIT
In a meeting at the Center for Latin American Innovation in Logistics (CLI), in Mexico City, and with support from the Council for Science, Innovation and Technology in Yucatan, it has been announced that UADY is establishing strategic alliances with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as with the CLI and with the Zaragoza Logistics Center and LOGyCA in Colombia. The purpose of these alliances is to increase the training of logistics researchers and improve supply chains in the Southeast. Big winners here are graduate students who choose to conduct research on every point along the supply chain and become future players in the world of logistics for Mexico. Scholarships are already in the works. Relationships between the engineering departments of UADY and MIT have been in effect for a year now and it looks as if the future will only bring more success to these young people and their industries. This is excellent news for the entire region.