News Starting September 12, 2011
Viva Mexico! Mexican Independence Day
The Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) also known as El Grito de la Independencia (Cry of Independence) was first uttered from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810. Today, Viva Mexico! rings out from every Municipal Palace in Mexico at the stroke of midnight on September 15. What we really love about this custom is that it has spread with migrants and now, Viva Mexico! is heard in every corner of the world. There is always a wonderful celebration in the Plaza Grande in Merida, beginning around 10:00 PM on Thursday night. If you haven’t been, we certainly do recommend that you go.
Tenth Anniversary of 9/11
Yucatan Living would like those who survived the tragedy on September 11, 2001, to know they are always in our thoughts and prayers. We also extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those who did not survive.
Shipping Agreement: Houston & Progreso
This is some of the best expat news we’ve seen in a very long time! There is now a brand new trade agreement between the ports of Progreso and Houston. While we are certain that businesses are focused on imports and exports, as well as in bulk products, chemicals, and fluids, expats just want to know if they can ship a container of household goods. From the wording we see, it looks as if that’s finally going to happen. This new agreement was just announced, so we will be learning more in the days to come. The ease of getting one’s personal possessions to Yucatan is something that has always been a stumbling block for potential expats. This new agreement removes one more barrier to finally being able to make the move they’ve been dreaming of for years. The name of the company that will be making weekly trips between Progreso and Houston is the Maersk Line. We found the company online and discovered that they already are making weekly runs between Houston and Progreso. Visit the Maersk Line to see if their services are right for you.
Yucatan: Rain Continues
Please remember that, in the State of Yucatan, both Sisal and Celestun ports are closed due to the effects of wind from Tropical Storm Nate and there has been a significant increase in tidal action along the entire western side of the state’s coastline. As many as 50 homes have flooded, due to rain, in the low-lying areas of the Port of Celestun. So far, the people there have chosen to remain in their homes, but shelters are available for when it becomes necessary to leave.
Tropical Storm Nate
A storm doesn’t have to be a hurricane to do a whole lot of damage. Last week, as we were going into publication, the leading winds of Tropical Storm Nate were making landfall in Veracruz. This week, the size of that storm has increased about 300%. We have reports that Nate is both growing stronger and weakening to a tropical depression. We don’t know which is correct but, in either case, rain throughout the State of Veracruz is expected to jump from 50 mm to 100 mm for the next 24 hours, with some places expected to get as much as 200 mm. Flooding of rivers near the coast and mudslides in the mountains are expected. Veracruz is working hard to keep roads clear, even going so far as to take down trees that look as if they can fall and become road hazards. You can follow the storm and its aftermath in Diario Xalapa. In Tabasco, twelve towns have been flooded due to overflows of lakes. Campeche reports street flooding and dangerous pot holes that cannot be seen in the flood water. They also say that the flooding is causing an increase in mosquitoes and in gastrointestinal diseases. Since many of our Snowbirds will be on their way within a couple of weeks, watching the weather is a must do activity for the next two weeks, at least.
Lookout Hanging Out in Nate
Its almost time for our annual bird festival in Yucatan, and the birds are on their way from all across North America. Its very seldom that we get to hear the personal stories of individual birds that make this trip. This week, we read about a peregrine falcon named Lookout, who was released from Rock City, above Chattanooga, TN, in mid-July. Lookout is wearing a solar powered tracker and, it seems, took a little tour of the South before coming on to the Bay of Campeche area. It looks like he has decided to stay in that area until the storm is over and then who knows? We hope he stops here in Yucatan, at least for a day or two, as he continues to make his way southward. This trip, by the way, is totally by instinct. Lookout was raised in captivity, where there was no one to tell him that his ancestors have spent their winters in Central and South America for thousands of years. You can read about the travels of Lookout, beginning in July, from Save Our American Raptors – South.
Languages At UADY
It is interesting to note the number of students taking both Mandarin Chinese and the Maya language at UADY this semester. There are over 200 students studying each of those languages. Students who are studying Mandarin Chinese will eventually represent Yucatan or Yucatan’s business interests in their relationships with China. These students will, for the most part, have degrees in law and economics. Students who study the Maya language will help in representing the best interests of the Mayan people. However, don’t think of this as a dead-end language. Remember that the homeland of the Maya stretches far down into South America and through some of the most up-and-coming areas in the entire world. No matter the language in which they specialize, the language students at UADY have a very bright future before them.
Products Made from Native Plants
We have a growing number of expats who are interested in traditional beauty and health care products, and more on the way. We want them to know that these products are available in Yucatan and that the makers are conscientious. State and local markets now carry native plant products made by a group of ten women from Nueva Vidal, in the Municipality of Calakmul. These ladies have a ten-year track record of success in making candy, canned goods, beauty products and traditional medicines, all from native plant species. The inspiration and driving force behind this group is Doña Carmen Salgado. For more information about these products, as well as how and where to purchase them, contact Doña Carmen Salgado by phone (983 135 0416) or by e-mail (calakmen [at] hotmail [dot] com).
500 Pairs of Glasses Distributed in Progreso
The Municipal Habitat Management sector, through the Visual Acuity Program, distributed 500 pairs of glasses to residents of Chelem, Chuburna, Chicxulub and Flamboyanes. This program is aimed at helping low income families. This is a matching program, with federal pesos paying for an equal number of pairs of glasses to be delivered this week. If you know of someone who needs such assistance, please tell them they can apply at the Municipal DIF or at the city halls in their local towns.
Riviera Maya Doing Well
Overall, tourism is down right now because Yucatan is at the end of the low season. However, the numbers are in and it looks as if the Mayan Riviera doesn’t have a low season. This year, they filled 38,500 hotel rooms at an average of 70% capacity and, by the end of the year, they will add another 1,500 rooms in 8 more hotels. For those who are unfamiliar with the geography of Quintana Roo, the Mayan Riviera is south of Cancun and extends from just north of Puerto Morelos past Tulum and into the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.
Mexico Now Largest Consumer of Soft Drinks in World
Mexico has now taken the lead in the world consumption of sugary soft drinks, with Mexico consuming 40% more soft drinks per capita per year than the U.S., i.e. 43 gallons per person in Mexico vs. 31 gallons per person in the U.S. Now, with Mexicans and U.S. Americans running almost even in what seems like a race for the most overweight nation in the world, health and consumer groups are demanding a 20% tax on cold drinks, to be used to fund health care and health promotion programs. Evidently, even the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have all called for Mexico to do something about this because cold drinks have become the major source of calories for children and more money is spent on these drinks than is spent on food. Mexico has answered the problem with new guidelines for meals and snacks in schools and Mexico City schools have begun a three phase move toward enforcing a healthy diet and exercise. Even junk food advertisements are being discouraged. Even though the children are complaining, they are aware that these moves are being made to ensure that they have a better life.
Tabasco Law: Social Peace vs. Social Networking
Last week, there was a massive traffic jam in Veracruz. It included 26 accidents in which two people were badly injured. The cause was the local circulation of a Tweet that said violence had erupted at a Boca del Rio school and children had been killed. Parents left home and work, and rushed to the school – only to find that nothing was wrong at all. The two Tweeteros, a grandmother and a math tutor were arrested on charges of terrorism and sabotage, even though they say they were only passing on a Tweet they found online. As a result, a new law is to go into effect in Tabasco this week. It mandates a jail term of up to two years for individuals who provoke chaos or social insecurity through telephone calls or online postings. In effect, the State of Tabasco has declared that passing on undocumented gossip about imminent danger is the modern equivalent of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. Everyone wants to keep the social networking sites, but perhaps it is time for adults to remember that irresponsible, undocumented gossip can easily get out of hand and cause unintended injury and even death to innocent people. If you know anyone who needs to modify their social networking behavior, you might want to let them know that this is the first, but probably won’t be the last, of these types of public safety laws.