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Yucatan News: France and Locusts

News Starting January 16, 2012

Learning About Mayan History, Spirituality and Gods

Is it 2012 already? Its time to learn about the Maya. Just who are the Maya and what do we really know about them? There are several places online where we can read about the rise and fall of their power, as well and learn about the Mayan gods. One of those places is in the Virtual Library on the UADY website. In the Virtual Library, look for Los Dioses Mayas. This book was written by Ricardo Mimenza Castillo, in 1936, and it is a great place to begin learning as much as we can about the history of our Maya friends and neighbors. Our friends at Casa K’in also have just published a book about Maya Spirituality, called The Sacred Knowledge of the Maya and written by Miguel Angel Vergara. You can order this book online at

Progreso – Saint Nazaire Exchange TeachersChocolate Route Yucatan-France 2012

Over the past few years, Progreso, Yucatan and Nantes, France have worked together to build strong friendships and cultural exchanges. In November, we expect to see the sailing ships of the Ruta del Chocolate winging their way from Nantes to Progreso yet again. However, there have been many other opportunities for cultural exchanges between Progreso and France, including an exchange of urban graffiti artists, from a generation that will now count each other among their lifelong friends. This week, it was announced that Mexico and France are entering into an exchange program among teachers. Progreso and Saint Nazaire were chosen as cities that would qualify for this program. Five Progreso teachers have been chosen and the exchange will take place in March. We know that Yucatan’s teachers will be well received in France and we also know that everyone in Yucatan will do whatever is in their power to make the French teachers feel welcome and at home.

Yucateco Fishermen to File Claims Against BP

Over 1,000 fishermen and two law firms are getting ready to combine their efforts to sue British Petroleum for damages caused by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. If they win, each fisherman is expected to receive approximately $50,000 pesos. That oil spill is a tragedy that seems to continue affecting the entire Gulf region long after the oil was stopped. Yucatan’s fishermen are at the mercy of the weather and other natural disasters. They should not be at the mercy of polluters as well. We wish them well and hope that their case is swift and successful.

“Big Fish! Big Fish!” in ProgresoBig Fish in Progreso

This past week, a group of local diving fishermen turned up in the Progreso Market with a huge fish for sale. By the time they got it weighed, it came in at approximately 130 kg (multiply by 2.2 for lbs.). As you can well imagine, everyone came to see the fish, both market customers and other fishermen. The part of this story that was so funny was that a Carnival Cruise ship was in port. Quite a few passengers had their pictures taken with the fish and, instead of smiling and saying “cheese,” they all laughed and said “big fish! Big fish!” Evidently, a grand time was had by all and the fishermen who brought the big fish in were able to sell it for $6,000 pesos. Congratulations!

Bad Weather Hurting Commercial Fishing

When the nortes blow, we put on long pants and socks. It isn’t that easy for Yucatan’s 15,000 commercial fishermen. While living a paycheck to paycheck life, these men can find themselves sidelined for a week or more by high wind and waves that come along with colder temperatures. Some are so financially stressed that they take a chance and go fishing anyway. This is when we read that fishermen are missing. Thankfully, in most cases, they are found and they have learned a valuable lesson. In other cases, their wives become widows and their children fatherless. Please keep the fishermen of Yucatan in your thoughts this week as they wait out yet another week of weather that has been too volatile to risk their lives in challenging it.

Treating Locusts EarlyLocusts in Yucatan

Unless someone has lived through, quite literally, a plague of locusts, its hard for them to understand why just the mention of the name sends everybody in an entire society outside to look for any signs of infestation. Several years ago, we had a terrible plague of locusts throughout the entire Yucatan Peninsula. Crops were destroyed and severe damage was done to local economies. Now, just a few locusts have been spotted in southern and eastern Yucatan. While the locusts are being killed with chemicals, it is a process that is quite specific and streamlined. It is not necessary to soak an area, including crops and the environment, in chemicals. Instead, just enough chemicals are used to kill the bugs after they hatch and before they take flight. If everyone will immediately report any locusts they see, SAGARPA will deal with them as quickly as possible and we should rarely, if ever, find ourselves living through a plague of locusts.

Can You Vote Absentee?

2012 is the year of elections in both the U.S. and in Mexico. It is a year in which, if you are an American expatratiate, your expat absentee vote has the potential to meld with tens of thousands of other overseas votes that could have had a profound effect on the future. If you think there couldn’t possibly be that many American expats who need to register to vote absentee, think again. Look at the situation right here in Yucatan. Here thousands of Yucatecos realized, too late, that they had not yet updated their voter information data and will not be able to vote in their presidential election. Their numbers are sufficiently large to be a game changer, and so are expat numbers on a worldwide scale. If you are an expat who is not registered to vote absentee, please check with your consulate and/or with your party back home to find out exactly what you need to do to make your vote count, and do it sooner than later. Time flies and missed deadlines can be heartbreaking.

Valladolid to Open Municipal Kennel

The growing city of Valladolid is now home to approximately 13,000 dogs, 50% of which wander the streets. Their sheer numbers are developing into a health hazard. The City is planning on opening a municipal dog kennel. Loose dogs will be rounded up and, if not claimed within 72 hours, they will have to be exterminated. Another important activity is for owners to bring them in for voluntary spay/neuter services so that the numbers of stray dogs will begin to decline. Those who work with animal shelters in the Merida area are aware of the heartbreaking necessity to choose public health over the lives of innocent animals. They also know that spay/neuter clinics work, having just completed the third annual citywide spay and neuter program. With a growing number of expats looking to Valladolid for their own forever home, we hope they are able to lend a hand in Valladolid’s attempt to make their city a better place for people and pets.

Speaking of Spay and Neuter

Did we mention the Third Annual Merida Spay and Neuter Clinic? This just ended and the results are in. At the end of 6 days of clinics this year, a total of 1975 animals were spayed or neutered. There were 4 days of activity at 2 separate locations in Merida, and two days in Progreso. The last day in Progreso garnered a new Beach record of a whooping 415 animals, with a 2 day beach total of 750. We applaud all the vets and volunteers, as well as the pet owners, who participated in the clinic, making Merida a safer and kinder place for animals.

Yucatan Peninsula Makes CNN iReport

We never get tired of beautiful pictures of places and things found on the Yucatan Peninsula. CNN iReport has published a short piece (18 photos by Ashley Strickland, who collected the photos from friends. Enjoy!

Merida’s First Murder Mystery Dinner Theater: Love KillsMerida Mystery Dinner Theater

It is a dark and sinister evening in Mérida, and a group of travelers have found themselves drawn together in a strange and mysterious hotel. Suddenly, there is a scream! Murder! Without warning, our travelers find themselves in the middle of a Murder Mystery. The mayhem escalates when our brilliant Inspector Gustavo (Gary DeRose) is called to task to solve the murder. All murder suspects must be detained and questioned. And it is up to YOU the audience, to help Inspector Gustavo find our killer and bring him (or her) to justice! This light-hearted comedy is a Whodunit, Mérida-style! Murder mystery dinners are interactive performances that introduce the characters, kill one of them, then invite the audience to figure out who did it. During each break between acts, a different course of the meal is served and characters mingle with the audience helping to make sense of the clues provided. Inspector Gustavo and the rest of the cast will have you in stitches as you figure out “Whodunit”! For an evening of fun, mischief and laughs, you won’t want to miss “Murder in Mérida: Love Kills”. Tickets cost $375 pesos each (includes dinner, but alcohol priced separately) and can be obtained at Hennessy’s Irish pub, where the murder (and the dinner) takes place. Dates are March 4-8.

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2 Responses to “Yucatan News: France and Locusts”

  1. Hello. Our family are members of the Lummi Nation, indigenous first nation people of the Pacific Northwest. See youtube Visit to English Camp, Lummi and you will see pictures of our people connecting to our Ancestral Lands of the San Juan Islands this past summer. We have had much changes through the governments desire to assimilate as well. We are traveling to Cancun next summer on June 19 for 7 days. My partner is a fisherman and as you will see from the video we are working with our youth to become the Keepers of the Tradition and Protectors of the Circle of Life through the restoration and revitalization of our ancient fishing technique, the Sxwo’le. The Spirit of the Sxwo’le has guided us to many good people and I am hoping to connect with you. We are similar people, may we all come together in peace someday to join hands in protecting mother earth. Perhaps we can meet.

  2. Shirley and Troy,

    You may have more friends here than you can imagine. Although we are several hours from Cancun, I will be happy to put you in contact with other descendants of indigenous first nation people here among the expats. I will e-mail you in a day or two.


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