Did You Eat 12 Grapes?
We are all in favor of any holiday that affords us the opportunity to make 12 wishes just by eating 12 grapes at each bell of the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s even better odds than most genies offer, although we don’t get the same guarantee. We admit to not being very well prepared with our list of wishes this year, but one of our New Year’s resolutions is to give next year’s 12 wishes a little more thought. A huge turkey dinner is also a New Year’s tradition in Yucatan, and this year was no exception. Prices ranged from $250 pesos for a seven kilo bird to $400 pesos for a fancy stuffed turkey. Those grapes, by the way, are $55 pesos per kilo in outlying towns and $80 pesos per kilo in Merida – and you only need 12, so you are bound to have a few left over to eat the rest of the week. Happy New Year and Feliz Año Nuevo too!
2011 Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
While much of the world suffers from high rates of unemployment, such is not the case in Yucatan. This state ended 2011 with a reported unemployment rate of approximately 2.5%. There are many reasons for this great success, not in the least of which is an educated workforce that is able to adapt quickly to the needs of business. Yucatan is also gearing up for the events of 2012, which are expected to bring in record numbers of tourists. Security and the availability of natural resources round out the unique characteristics that make the State of Yucatan one of the best places in the world to invest and to work.
Crime: Homicide Rate Lowest in Three Years
Not only is unemployment pretty low, but while other parts of Mexico and the rest of the world suffer with increasing rates of crime, Yucatan’s homicide rate continues to fall. We have always been very proud of the peace and tranquility found in our adopted state and never more so than now. In the first ten months of 2011, only 133 homicides were reported, down from 145 the year before and 177 the year before that. All except three were solved and convictions were obtained in every one of those cases. The State of Yucatan continues to be the safest state in the nation and much safer than almost any area in the region. With 2012 events on everyone’s mind, we want potential tourists who read Yucatan Living and YucatanYES and YoListo to know that they are safe and welcome in Yucatan.
Tropicana’s Adriana To Cruise Progreso, Cuba, and the Caribbean
This is news for all of those who live in Yucatan year-round or who plan on visiting in the summer. Tropicana Cruises has a 106-meter cruise ship that is set to begin a new route from Progreso to Cuba and through the Caribbean beginning July 2. It will be an eight-day tour, with stops in Havana, Trinidad, Georgetown (Cayman Islands) and Progreso. We think this little eight-day cruise would be a great way to beat the heat in the dead of summer. From all accounts, there is no lack of folks getting in line for the early voyages of the Adriana.
Weather Center Suspense
Time for the building of the new space station is drawing closer with each passing day. As we have discussed before, the different industries associated with the proposed space station will be scattered all across Mexico, but the launching area will be near the southern coast of Quintana Roo, with official offices and training programs likely located in Merida. An up-to-date regional weather center is an absolute must for any space launch area, of course, and it has just been announced that the Yucatan Peninsula is to get a new weather station, equipped with all the latest technology. This new weather station will receive data from meteorological observatories, conventional weather stations, planes, ships, boats, and any other devices that generate meteorological data (such as satellites and space stations). This whole venture will be a great boon for the entire Caribbean region and we can hardly wait to hear where its actual location will be.
UADY Veterinary Parasitologists Study Roundworms
It seems that there is a particular species of roundworm that has the potential to infect humans as well, and that has the potential to become a global public health problem. Infections of this kind would not be fatal and are easily treated, but they can cause a number of respiratory issues. With this in mind, several UADY Veterinary Parasitologists launched a study of infections by these roundworms last summer. Their work has now been published and is part of the permanent collection at UADY.
GMO Corn Comes to Yucatan
The world is often a strange and frightening place. Many who object to genetically modified crops fear their as-yet-unidentified effect on humans. As we see it, that isn’t the worst problem. The problem is that the plants grown from these seeds are aggressive and disease resistant. Eventually, after they have pushed out local varieties, a disease they cannot resist is bound to wipe them out and it is feared that worldwide starvation could then occur. That having been said, we still must deal with today’s problems. The number of human beings who must be fed daily is growing. At the same time, the cost to produce crops is skyrocketing past the ability of many producers to pay. The only apparent option is to turn to GMO to produce feed for pigs, turkeys and chickens. In Yucatan, there are a number of trial projects going on, with a variety of seeds, only one of which is genetically-modified corn. Our hearts go out to those agricultural producers who face the dilemma of moving into uncharted territory or leaving the industry completely. We are sure they will make the best decision for all concerned.
Cross-Training for Fishermen During Mero Ban
This week, we learned that there is a combination of situations, including changes in weather patterns, that has the potential to wipe out mero (grouper) fishing in Yucatan within a decade. We do not expect this to happen, of course, because the government of Yucatan and the fishermen themselves seem to have nerves of steel and are apparently willing to do whatever it takes to make the most of our environment. They have developed a series of temporary bans on fishing pulpo (octopus), shrimp, lobster and sea cucumber. They know they will be sitting out a ban on mero fishing from February 15 to March 15. What to do with the time, during this and other temporary bans, has always been a problem. Now the state is providing workshops to teach the fishermen skills in carpentry, the repair of diesel engines and outboard motors, electrical repair, fisheries management, working with fiberglass, stonework and meteorology. It looks as if life is about to take one giant leap forward for many fishermen who have been limited in their access to alternate means of caring for their families. We congratulate them all and look forward to using their services as well as to enjoying the bounty of their catches.
Merida – Progreso Toll Road?
There is currently some talk of turning the new road between Merida and Progreso into a toll road. The road is heavily traveled and the sheer volume of traffic means that it is almost in a constant state of needing repair somewhere along the way. There is one particular curve that is not well lit and tends to see more accidents than other places. The problem of exacting a toll for that road will be all of the people who live outside the city and drive in to work every day, as well as all of the students who travel to and from Merida for classes. However, the fact remains that this highway is in need of additional funds for repairs and at least a minimum toll is being discussed. All of the expats who regularly travel that highway will be interested to learn the outcome of these discussions, and we will report them as soon as we hear more.
30,000 Tons of Salt Leaving Yucatan for U.S.
After reading that Yucatan is about to export six 5,000 ton shipments of salt to the U.S., we were surprised to learn that all of it, the whole 30,000 tons, is destined to be used on roads in the northern parts of the United States. That certainly does explain a lot about why so many expats are from the far north in the United States and from Canada. If you are an expat and you see the 1,000 or so trucks of salt rolling by, just think of the folks back home and be glad you’re in Yucatan – even when it rains. At least it isn’t snowing!