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Yucatan News: Happy Birthday, MACAY

News Starting May 3, 2010

Just a Reminder…

In one week, it will be Mother’s Day in Mexico. May 10 is always Mother’s Day in Mexico, and this week it falls on a Monday. Next Monday to be exact. It is NOT a national holiday, so banks should be open. Of course, there are Mother’s Day specials in a lot of places… one we thought seemed like a nice gift. All this month, Nuada Beauty + Wellness has specials on a Spa Pedicure and Manicure Package ($430 pesos) and a Chocolate Therapy Session ($1400 pesos). They are located at Calle 16, 204 x 21 y 23 in Colonia Mexico. If your mother (or the mother of your children) doesn’t want pampering, at least take her out to dinner!
If you do plan to go out to dinner that night, make your reservations early, because everyone will be taking their mother out for a meal.

Happy Birthday, MACAY!MACAY celebrates its birthday in Merida Mexico

The MACAY is Yucatan’s Museum of Contemporary Art. We encourage everyone to visit the MACAY’s website. This fine old art museum opened its doors on April 29, 1916 in the old Armory building, and now provides services to over 70,000 visitors per year as one of the premier museums in all of Mexico. In fact, it is the only museum of contemporary art in all of Southern Mexico. There are 15 exhibition halls in the MACAY, as well as an outdoor space in the Pasaje by the Cathedral, and showings are changed every three months. This means that visitors have the opportunity to see the work of no less than 45 contemporary artists throughout each and every year, plus any number of outdoor sculpture exhibitions. The programs the MACAY provides for school children leave little doubt as to how the State of Yucatan manages to come up with so many wonderful new artists. They are encouraged from childhood into advanced age and we are all their beneficiaries. So – for all you do, MACAY, we thank you and wish you a very happy birthday!

Direct Transport To and From Cancun Airport

Worried about making the plane on time? Flying in to Cancun and trying to decide between a long bus ride and renting a car? Finally! ADO has a new service that will see to it that your Merida-Cancun trip, in either direction, is as painless as possible. There are 6 departures from Merida each day, 2 each from the airport, Fiesta Americana, and the ADO station at Altabrisa. There are two departures per day from Cancun to Merida. For more information, phone ADO: ADO Plaza Bonita (999) 920-5523, Aeropuerto de Merida (999) 946-4780, or ADO Altabrisa (999) 196-0259. The trip, according to their website, takes 5 hours and costs $438 pesos. That may seem like a lot, but it’s actually a savings compared to a similar trip to the Cancun bus station with a taxi ride to the airport. Not to mention that there is no hassle of that extra stop. We think this will be a much-used service!

National Holiday: Mexico Open or Closed?

This past long weekend and up to mid-week marks both National Worker’s Day (El Día del Trabajo) (May 1) and Cinco de Mayo (May 5). (Did you see the huge rally on Paseo de Montejo on Saturday morning in honor of May 1?) Traditionally, all public buildings, government offices, banks, and many other businesses are closed. This year, however, we have reports that some banks and many businesses are open for your convenience, though we can attest by experience at 7 am this morning that the schools are indeed closed. While we call this a 3-day Weekend, in Mexico it is called Un Puente (a bridge).

Yucatecans in the USAMigrants going to California from the Yucatan

According to the Institute for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Rafael, Portland OR and Denver CO are the cities in the USA with the most Yucatecan inhabitants. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 Yucatecans live in those cities. According to the CDI, despite an increase in immigration restrictions, the flow of migrants is still quite active and they tend to stay longer, not wanting to risk going home to Mexico and taking the chance that they might not be able to return. The CDI, a US-based commission, has therefore had to increase and strengthen their programs for migrant families.

According to this commission, the majority of Yucatecans who brave the border-crossing are from southern parts of the state, including the cities of Oxkutzcab, Tekax, Peto, Cenotillo, Tzucacab, Tahdziú and Muna. They tend to find jobs as waiters, working their way up to kitchen assistants and chefs, gardeners, car washers and other menial labor. Those who used to make the trek every year are now tending to return only every three years, citing the difficulty of the crossing and the longer time that it takes to achieve residency in the USA. This longer time period, of course, puts a greater strain in the families left behind, mostly women, children and elders. This in turn has created a greater need for social services here in Mexico. Just one example, according to the article we read in this great blog, is the area of health, where healthcare providers are now facing social problems like alcoholism and drug addiction, problems brought back when the migrants return.

Pemex Magna with Diesel Claims

If you bought any of the magna that was contaminated with diesel and accidentally delivered to Progreso, PROFECA is now taking complaints. For more information, please contact PROFECA Delegate Rafael Castilla Peniche, Calle 49 #479-A x Calle 54 y 56 Col. Centro, Merida. Phones: (01 – 999) 928-5966, 923-6320, or 924-2466. You may also call toll free: 01 800 468-8722. Office hours are between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM. For easy reference concerning this and other consumer protection issues you may have, please bookmark PROFECA’s Website

Two Revered Elderly Yucatecos Pass On

Community leaders are the same the world over. Back home, we all knew an elderly fellow who was part of the heart of the neighborhood or small town. He probably had a store and maybe had a job that allowed him the luxury of letting a few customers have credit now and then. Many of these rare gems cooked a specialty or two (complete with secret recipes) and the people never stopped to consider that life would be different when these older fellows passed away. This week, Motul lost just such a man, Don Balta… King of the Roast Pig, and Hunucma buried Don Enrique, who wrote the history of that city from 1925 until today. The book is called “Fragments of History.” We extend our sympathy to not only the families of these unsung heroes, but to the citizens of their communities as well.

Solar Powered Plant Nursery in TeyaSolar Powered Nursery in Teya

Every once in a while, there is a report that CFE will buy back any extra electricity anyone generates and apply the buy-back to future electric bills. Now, we have just such an enterprise up and running. The Teya Museum of Fine Flowers is a nursery that has 57 varieties of orchids for sale and is opening a roadside shop on the Merida to Cancun Highway. We can only imagine the electric bill for a nursery of this size. We didn’t hear anything about selling energy back to CFE, but its great to know that the vivero has not only cut their electric bill by 50%, but will also be keeping 4 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year. Our congratulations to Vivero Flores Finas de Teya for a job very well done!

Mexico’s Economy

New first quarter earnings just came out so there is lots to report. One of the more interesting announcements is that TELMEX International’s 1st quarter profits are up 18%! …and that’s with revenue growing at the same pace! Rather reminds one of the “now can you hear me?” advertising campaign, doesn’t it? While some will find every reason in the world to criticize anyone or any company that is successful, we know that Mexico is a rising star that cannot be stopped and we are very proud of all of her accomplishments.

Arizona: In Defense of the ChildrenArizona Immigration Law

When Arizona’s new immigration law was announced, television cameras panned to a group of “obviously Hispanic” teenagers who were crying. That immediately proved that racial profiling can and will take place! When asked why she was crying, one young girl said that her family has always lived in New Mexico. They have always been Americans, but – through her tears – she now talks about being afraid because of how she looks and how she talks. Ok. That’s enough for us! Don’t want to hear anything else. Don’t care about who did what to whom in the adult world. Arizona just knowingly struck fear into the hearts of its own children and deliberately made them cry. We know we’re straying into political waters here, but terrorizing children in their own home [state and country] is absolutely unacceptable! This is America! – and that law has got to go.

U.S. Wants to Avoid “New Katrina”BP Oil Spill in Louisiana
Editor’s Note: As many of you know, our News and Events editor, Khaki Scott, has lived somewhere around the Gulf of Mexico all her life. Born and raised in Louisiana, she spent 12 years here in the Yucatan, and at the moment (well, since Katrina…) she is back in Louisiana. We’re all concerned about the recent and growing BP oil spill, but Khaki is seeing the effects of it firsthand. The spill may currently be on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico from here, but "there but for the grace of God…" and all that. Here is her first report.

Louisiana’s fisheries supply nearly one-third of the fish harvested in the lower 48 states (by weight) and  the harvest is valued at more than $2.85 billion a year. This BP disaster is going to be bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. The Exxon Valdez spill is not yet over – even after more than 2 decades. Now, 6,000 members of the National Guard have arrived on scene with no prior planning or training, and no one knows what they are supposed to be doing. They don’t even know where they are supposed to sleep or eat. One headline screamed, “U.S. Wants to Avoid ‘New Katrina.’”

Upon hearing that, South Louisianians just laugh, shake their heads and say “Too late.” Call it Katrina PTSD. Call it whatever you want to call it. The cost of the fisheries is a drop in the bucket compared to what will eventually be the human cost. Maybe, this time, help will come… although, in spite of government claims to the contrary, help has never come before. Does this tragedy have any implications for people who live in other places in the world? You bet your bippy it does! Take a look at Oil-Slickonomics.

Feeling helpless? We can relate. We’re not sure there really is anything we can do at this point, but the Huffington Post has a few suggestions. For help on where to send your money, you might check out this website called Charity Navigator, though sadly they don’t seem to have updated their information with anything related to the BP Oil Spill.

Fires on the Yucatan Peninsula

And last, but not least, we leave you with this… NASA’s photo today is of fires on the Yucatan Peninsula. These are largely controlled fires, set by farmers doing their slash-and-burn thing, as well as a few wildfires. May is the hottest and driest part of the year, as those of us who are here now will attest to. The temperature has been in the 100s daily for at least a week, but no rain. When the rains finally come, it’s such a relief! We can’t wait!


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6 Responses to “Yucatan News: Happy Birthday, MACAY”

  1. I think comparisons to the Valdez spill are accurate but to call it Next Katrina is somewhat what political. A private company who through our lax regulations choose not to install the device that is required in the rest of the world vs our response, or lack there of, to a forecasted natural disaster is totally different. However, there is something very distasteful going on in America as your Arizona article described. The effort to rewrite history and stop the browning of America are all under the same agenda and lies within the same fear. I feel bad for those in the Gulf area whose livelihood and way of life has been seriously threatened. Those who can no longer make a living from, and enjoy the beauty of, the Gulf and now quite possibly only job is now work for BP (?) in cleaning up this mess. Tragic and a slap in the face. The BBC reported that this rig was leased to BP from a subsidiary of Haliburton. I hope not, but does it matter?

  2. I love reading your site!!!!Thank you for all this info…I love Merida and look forward to returning in January…..Reading about Yucatan keeps my heart warm!!!

  3. The BP oil spill sure puts the kibosh on their “sunny” green-washing campaign, doesn’t it? Not really a “New Katrina”, this spill has the potential to be 10 times worse than the Exxon Valdez. Tens of thousands of barrels of oil, petroleum-contaminated mud, gas and sand are erupting from a mile beneath the ocean floor every day. And there’s no firm estimate on when it can be shut off. Possibly within a week (if the 70 ton concrete dome works) or 2-3 months (if the cross-drilled relief well works).

    The oil can end up anywhere in the gulf. Estimates are that only 1/2 the oil is on the surface, with the rest suspended somewhere in between. And some oil is being sunk to the bottom, after filtering through columns of water circulation and mixed with the high-pressure toxic “dispersants” being sprayed near the leaks. Both the oil and the dispersants (industrial-strength detergent) are highly toxic to all life.

    The currents below the surface are not the same as on the surface. And, if a month or two from now, a hurricane passes through, the oil could end up anywhere – as far west as Texas and Mexico. Or the Gulf stream could pull it down the west coast of Florida and up the east coast, then along the entire eastern seaboard.

    The emergency shut-off valves that failed are now damaged beyond any use. The high pressure sand and oil has eroded the working parts to the point they will not function, even when activated by the deep sea diving subs.

    We really need a miracle to shut this thing off. Billions of dollars will be lost, all for the lack of a piece of equipment that costs a half million dollars and the requirement that engineering drawings be approved and certified before any rig goes into operation (a regulation repealed in 2007 by federal regulators).

  4. I meant to end up with this:

    http://matteroftrust.org/

    Clean human hair clippings, clean animal hair (from clippering or sheering your dog, for example), and clean pantyhose are being collected by this non-profit group for use in absorbing the petroleum. Hair salons across the nation are sending daily clippings.

    Because the oil spill continues at massive volumes per day and will spread over a wide area, the clean-up effort will be long-term. If you can possibly donate to the cause, check the website for instructions and information. Every TV station in our metro area has run stories on this effort.

    Thank you!

  5. BP has been arrogant and anything but responsible for a long time. They operate the Alaskan pipeline and it began to leak at several junctions. It was discovered that the pipeline, which was supposed to be closed down and cleaned by a pigtail cleaning device monthly, had not been cleaned and properly treated for three years in places, which permitted the pipeline to deteriorate and leak.

    Then, BP had an explosion at their refinery near Houston. They were highly negligent in it, operating a burnoff stack which was twenty years outdated and had vales which BP knew were not operating properly, but they tried to start the unit anyway and it exploded, killing over 30 people.

    Now, we see this explosion. The device which would have prevented the leak, if not the total blowout, cost $500,000 and they fought having to install it on a drill which would have been 560,000 barrels of oil. They successfully fought it during the Bush administration, when Cheney ran everything with political hacks, but at least it shall not be permitted again.

    Many of us in the United States are quickly tiring of the deregulation mania which started under Reagan, and sped up under the Bush administraiton. As we all know, within capitalism on such a global means, greed will always win out over decency to the public and the environment. Capitalism can work, but with huge things, government needs to protect from greed.

    I sincerely hope that the Mayan homesteads get the assistance they need.

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