News Starting April 18, 2011
Holiday Street Changes in Progreso
The first three streets that run parallel to the beach in Progreso are the Malecon, Calle 21 and Calle 23. All have been one-way for years, as are most of the streets in the center of the city. In years past, we were able to drive west on the Malecon, go around the block and come back east on Calle 21, and head west again on Calle 23. That has changed, at least for the two weeks of Spring Break. During this time, the Malecon is pedestrian traffic only. Calle 21, which had been designated as a parking lot, is back in service. Drivers can go west on Calle 21 and come back to the east on Calle 23. This is a relatively simple fix that should improve the holidays for everyone who goes to Progreso to enjoy a little sun and sand during Semana Santa.
Progreso’s New Tourist Police
As a tourist and Snowbird destination, the beach areas of Yucatan are growing rapidly. Although many Snowbirds and full time expats live in smaller towns along the beach, everyone from the entire coast of Yucatan and Merida ends up in Progreso sooner or later – and, at least in the beginning, they are all asking for directions or help or both. From now on, there will be a group of 24 bilingual Tourist Police available to meet the needs of tourists and residents alike. They will be easy to recognize because they will be wearing green shirts and black pants or black Bermuda shorts. Their mode of transportation will be mountain bikes. When not on their bikes, they will wear black caps or safari hats. We would like to thank the Department of Public Safety and the City Council of Progreso for providing this much needed and deeply appreciated new resource.
Enlazados Progreso: Progreso Linked
There isn’t a county in the world where the quality of life wouldn’t be vastly improved if only all of its community service organizations (or their volunteers) would get together and share ideas, information and resources. Sixty ladies in the Municipality of Progreso have done just that and we know they will accomplish great things. These ladies bring experience from San Joaquin Nursing Home, the Lions Club, the Red Cross, and others. Together they will be better able to identify problems before they become emergencies, and they will have access to all of the necessary resources to solve the problems. 60 Strong and Growing! Our congratulations and best wishes to all of the members of “Progreso Linked.”
Spring Break to End Early in Yucatan
Imagine living in a state where there are 556,970 students and 32,614 teachers on Spring vacation for two weeks, when 16,000 students and their parents and coaches from all across the country arrive to participate in the Youth Olympic Games. …and this is on the heels of the National Tae Kwon Do competition, in which 900 participants and their teachers and parents are being hosted in Merida! Basta! Everybody back to class! Bless their hearts! Even though we had to laugh, our hearts really do go out to any municipal administration that has to deal with that many kids-on-the-loose and young visitors all at the same time.
Youth Orchestra to Tour United States
The director of Yucatan’s state system of youth orchestras is Maestro Jose Luis Sabado. The orchestras under his direction include quite a number of levels of musicians. Pre-Beginners (kindergarten) learn what an orchestra is and how it works, along with what different instruments are. Primary students choose their instruments and begin to learn how to play them. As secondary students, they become members of the Luis G. Garavito Children’s Orchestra. In high school, they move on to the Hoil Pedro Calderon Children’s Symphony Orchestra. Finally, the best of the best move on, as university students, to become members of the Daniel Ayala Perez National Youth Orchestra of Yucatan. In September and October, 20 members of the Daniel Ayala Perez National Youth Orchestra of Yucatan will tour 5 cities in the U.S., ending with a gala performance in New York City. We congratulate both the young musicians who earned their place on this trip, and the cities in the United States who will host them. They are in for a rare treat and are about to learn all about one of the best reasons we can think of for moving to Yucatan – the heart, soul, and talent of the young people here.
Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Survey numbers are in and Tulum not only made it into the Top Ten best beaches in the world, but made it to the number four spot on that very exclusive list. Tulum is described as “an ideal beach for romance and relaxation, sheltered by its prehispanic past, where visitors can find traditional Mayan massage, spa treatments and sand baths. The white sand of the unspoiled beaches was a particular favorite of those who answered the survey. Of course, Tulum has long been a favorite spot of Working Gringos and most other expats we know who live in the Yucatan. Felicidades, Tulum… we hope all this attention doesn’t go to your head!
Americans Crossing Border to Buy Gasoline
For the first time since 2008, gasoline prices in the United States are causing Americans to cross the border to fill their tanks. They aren’t coming in the numbers that they came in 2008 because of the difficulties along the border and because of long waits due to increased security measures, but they are coming. Regular gasoline, in the U.S. is averaging $3.82 per gallon, with prices standing at about $4.20 per gallon in California. In Mexico, “regular” is currently $2.94 per gallon and premium is $3.31 per gallon. Although there is no law against this practice, some believe it is unfair to Mexican taxpayers because the gasoline is refined in Deer Park, Texas, then sent back to Mexico where the price is artificially held down by government subsidies. Border difficulties or not, as long as gasoline prices continue to rise faster in the United States than in Mexico, Americans will continue to cross the border to fill their tanks.
Senate Approves Nutritious Food for All
The Senate in D.F. has approved amendments to Articles 4 and 27 of the Mexican Constitution. The amendment to Article 4 reads that “everyone has the right to adequate nutritious food of good quality and the State will guarantee it.” The amendment to Article 27 broadens the scope of the concept of integrated rural development and adds that the State should ensure an adequate and timely supply of staple foods. No mention was made of when these amendments go into effect, but everyone will certainly be watching their effects, especially in rural areas throughout the country.
U.S. Military Cargo Planes Fight Coahuila Fires
Two U.S. military cargo planes, outfitted to fight fires, were sent from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to Laughlin Air Force Base, outside of Del Rio, Texas, to fight the Coahuila wildfires that have been raging for a solid month. These fires have burned 185,000 acres, 70% of the land in the state of Coahuila. The planes will not land in Mexico. Instead, they will refuel and reload with water and chemicals for fighting the fires at Laughlin Air Force Base. Mexico has also requested assistance from Canada. Evergreen Aviation (Oregon) has also sent a huge supertanker that is using Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, as a base from which to fight the Coahuila fire.
KC Domino and Fishing Tournaments in May
The Knights of Columbus Council 13963 in Merida has, just in this past year, given 500 blankets to families in Tekax and 2 braille machines to two little girls, ages 8 and 9, in Merida. In order to continue to carry out support projects for vulnerable groups in Yucatan, the Knights of Columbus are hosting a domino tournament and a fishing tournament in May. Both are open to the public. To register for the tournaments, e-mail evazquez [at] yucatanalamano [dot] com. That same address can be used to join the Knights of Columbus, whose only requirements are to be Catholic and willing to help.
Handicraft and Trade Fair in Oxkutzcab
Seven years ago, the Town of Oxkutzcab became the City of Oxkutzcab and has never looked back. We have even heard Oxkutzcab spoken of as the “economic engine” of Yucatan because it is the center for the citrus industry here. Oxkutzcab is the city that hosts the annual Orange Festival in late November or early December. And now, Oxkutzcab has a new festival to celebrate: an annual Handicraft and Trade Fair celebrated on the anniversary of the day that Oxkutzcab became a city. Please mark your calendars for April 17, 2012. You really do want to be in Oxkutzcab for any festival or fiesta they have there. In the meantime, don’t forget to watch for 2011 dates for the Feria de la Naranja this Fall. YouTube has a wonderful video of a past Orange Festival in Oxkutzcab. We hope that video will entice you to pay a visit to Oxkutzcab, the heart of the garden of Yucatan.
Manzanero – Father and Son
This week, we read that Merida’s Armando Manzanero gave a performance in Champoton, Campeche. Everyone in Mexico knows Armando Manzanero, the man with a voice so soft and romantic that it feels like velvet. He is one of the most famous Yucatecans in Mexico. As we read on, we saw that there was a surprise guest singer-songwriter at the concert… Don Armando’s son, Juan Pablo. The father and son sang a duet, accompanied on piano by folk singer Paola Manrique. As we were unfamiliar with Juan Pablo Manzanero’s voice, we headed over to YouTube to see if he was there and discovered that he has inherited his father’s voice and talent. We think a taste of the Manzaneros, father and son, is a great way to start the week. We hope you enjoy:
A Duet: Don Armando and Juan Pablo Manzanero
Juan Pablo Manzanero
Evolucion’s Food Bank in Need of Help
Evolution Sanctuary A.C. is an humane, no-kill shelter that takes care of abused and abandoned animals who are waiting for a forever home. Many of these dogs will never be adopted but at Evolucion they have a safe place to live out their lives. The proceeds of the November fundraiser were used to make shelter improvements, spay or neuter most dogs and ensure that each dog received basic medical care. However, dog food is the shelter’s greatest expense. Even with a discount from the supplier, the sanctuary needs to raise $20,000.00 pesos for food each month – $650.00 pesos per day. If you care about animals, please consider lending a helping hand by becoming a monthly donor. A donation of $300.00 pesos ($25 USD) will feed 2 dogs food for a month! There are three ways to help: You can set up an automatic monthly direct deposit into the account of developments at Banamex, No. Clabe: 002910700038253518, you can go to their website www.evolucionyucatan.com and donate online, or if you live in Merida and want to make a cash donation, you can write to kenandpatricia [at] hotmail [dot] com. The dogs and their caretakers thank you!