Yucatan News: Let's Go to Havana
News starting April 13, 2009
As our Snowbirds get ready to leave us again, we know there is a great flurry of cleaning up and cleaning out going on. Many useful things will be thrown away because garage sales are too inconvenient or because you don't know who to give them to. Now, we have an answer to that dilemma. Progreso Freecycle is a yahoo group whose mission it is to provide us with a place to give away those things that are just too good to throw away. Why not join the group and list the items you have to give away? It will keep your items out of the landfill and give them a new home where they will be greatly appreciated. And who knows? While you're there, you just might find something "free" for yourself. The front page of the group is in Spanish, but the posts are in English. We signed up for a Daily Digest so we won't miss a thing. Join Progreso Freecycle today.
New Tourism Route Between Havana and Valladolid
This week, it was announced that a new "day trip" is now available for visitors from Havana to Chichen Itza. This may be a one day tour, but they are packing every sight, sound, cenote and bite of great food into it that is humanly possible and we are certain that our Cuban visitors will enjoy their trip. Global Air is bringing the visitors in to the new International Airport at Kaua, which is only 10 minutes from Chichen Itza itself. The company that is leading these tours, Iberomex-Havana, is installing an office in Valladolid for the purpose of selling plane tickets going from Valladolid to Havana. This is great news, especially since Havana has so many wonderful cultural events that we would all like to attend. Once they are up and running, we'll do our part by listing Events in Havana that we think our readers might want to attend.
Egg Painting Pizza Party at LA68
Did you know that we have Los Huevos de Pascua (The Eggs of Passover) in Yucatan? While American children are dying boiled eggs to get ready for Easter Egg Hunts, Yucatecos are turning empty egg shells into works of art, which they will give as gifts on Easter Sunday. This tradition is rooted in history when the Persians and Celtics gave painted eggs as gifts of friendship during the time of the Spring Equinox. Christians took the practice over when the Church said they could not eat eggs during Lent. During the last week of Lent, they decorated boiled eggs so they could have them for a great party when Lent ended. It was the Germans who began the Easter Egg hunt (with baskets), as we know it, with a legend that says the rabbits have hidden the pretty eggs in the gardens specifically for the children to find. At this pizza party, last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, LA68, located in the Casa de Cultura Elena Poniatowska provided the the egg shells, the brushes, and the paint. All the families had to do was show up and the fun was on. If you love arts and crafts, why not Google egg shell art and start yourself a collection of painted shells to give as gifts next Christmas and Easter?
How To: INAPAM
Every once in a while, somebody writes about how to get an INAPAM card. The problem is that all of us who do that (yes - Yucatan included) innocently follow the directions given by the office that issues the cards. Well - there is a little more to it, it seems, than we have been led to believe and, this week, Larry Baker (of Yucatan Rebirth) not only posted pictures, but added complete directions for obtaining your FREE CURP and INAPAM cards. How many times have you heard that tired old phrase "move to Mexico and live like a king?" The secret that makes that even more possible is being at least 60 years old and having a FREE INAPAM card! Then you can move to Yucatan and do a dizzying array of things at steep discounts (usually half-price). Thanks to Larry Baker for the best set of directions we have seen in quite some time! And HERE they are!
College Program for the Elderly
There is a new university in D.F. and its called the University of the Third Age. Mexico realizes that, by next year (2010), one in ten citizens of Mexico will be 60 years old or older and, by 2050, that number will have risen to one in three. Only 50% of Mexico's elderly graduated from primary school and only 3% from secondary schools. Yet, this age group is healthier and living longer than ever before. What to do? Send them to college, of course! Here they will take everything from math and chemistry to pilates and yoga. They will take classes in self-esteem and in leadership. While they study their areas of interest, they will learn about issues important to their generation. Never let it be said that Mexico has ever turned away from any of its natural resources and they have hit a home run with this one! When the new university opened, it had 400 more requests for admission than it had space to put students! .."elderly"... what is that word? does anybody even know what it means anymore? What we like best about this is that whatever comes to D.F. will surely follow to Yucatan and we can't wait to see all of our "elderly" folks in college at last!
Canadian School Band and Spanish Class Tour Campeche
We are always so pleased to see young people from around the world visiting in Mexico and, last week, it was the King's Edghill School Band and Spanish class, from Windsor, Nova Scotia, that came to Campeche. Part of their purpose was to distribute food to the less fortunate, but they also came as part of a cultural exchange between Canada's oldest independent school (founded in 1788) and the people of the State of Campeche. We can only imagine what a concert featuring their high school band, the Mexican Army Band, and the Symphony of Campeche must have been like. We're also so glad that they got to perform at a local high school and even got to go on several tours around the area. All it takes is one trip to forge bonds that will last a lifetime. We're glad they came and sure they will all be back someday!
Guide to the Municipal Archives Available to the Public
For those of our readers who read Spanish and have an interest in the history of Merida, there is now a new written guide that has been compiled to help you find what you are looking for in the Municipal Archives of Merida. This is especially important for those of us who are interested in the groups of foreigners who came here because many of us are either descended from them or related to them in some way. The guide itself covers the past 100 years, but visitors to the Municipal Archives also have access to 40,000 photographs that span the last 30 years. So, whether you are interested in genealogy, a census, a particular street or piece of property, or if you're "just looking," now is the time to make a visit to the Municipal Archives. It is located at Paseo Montejo x Calle 39, and is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Restored Hacienda Turned into Public Park
The Ayuntamiento de Merida has just completed remodeling the ex-Hacienda Anicabil, which is located in the residential zone of Ciudad Caucel. There is at least one area of construction showing that the property was occupied from somewhere in the preclassic era (400/300 BC - 250 AD) until the beginning of the post-classic era (1100 - 1532 AD). The rubble of the ruins were used, by the Spanish, to build a new structure, complete with an irrigation system (gravity driven) used to grow fruit trees and vegetables. Walls and arches were added as time went on and the uses of the land changed. Today, the former hacienda is now restored, including the irrigation system, and its grounds have become a public park, complete with free wi-fi, walking trails, and places for children to play. Be sure to stop by and enjoy this wonderful offering from the Ayuntamiento de Merida.
A Call for Care Using Fireworks
As we all know, Mexico's love affair with holiday fireworks often ends in tragedy. Two years ago, in an outlying village in the interior, police were running in circles trying to catch groups of little boys who were sneaking out after bedtime and throwing firecrackers down each other's shirts! The unsupervised use of fireworks has also been the cause of several grass and forest fires. Even after Easter, there will still be plenty of fireworks left over that Yucateco children will feel duty bound to light. Please be aware of what is going on in your neighborhood and stay prepared to put out sparks before they become fires, render minor first aid if someone is hurt, and call for help immediately if the situation is beyond your ability to handle it.
UPS Freight Expanding in Mexico
What's a little increase in rates if you can get the job done quicker and better than ever before? When this round of expansion is over, UPS Freight will have more than 40 service centers in Mexico and will be crossing the border in 5 different places. This comes at a time when business south of the border is booming and export markets are bigger than ever before. The real coup for customers in Mexico is... fast, reliable door-to-door service! UPS Freight is also expanding its operations in Canada. While we are happy for businesses, we are even more thrilled for expats and Snowbirds.
A Puzzle from the President
How well do you know your Mexican geography? Could you put together a puzzle whose pieces are the states in Mexico? This week, we found a new puzzle on the website of the Presidency and gave it a try ourselves. It was touch and go for a while (where did all those little bitty states come from?), but we made it to the end by turning on the little control that outlines the states on the map. How embarassing that they keep a running tally on how many tries it took you! As you fill in the map of Mexico, a side panel gives you the name and highlights about each state. Give it a try.It might seem like a childish game, but there is a lot we ought to know about Mexico and this is a good place to start.
Mexico Assumes Presidency of the U.N. Security Council
Latin America and the Caribbean region has two seats on the United Nations Security Council. Mexico has been elected to serve in one of the two seats for the years 2009 and 2010. The members of the U.N. Security Council serve as President on a monthly rotating basis and, this month, this honor has fallen to Mexico. During the month of April, Mexico will preside over an open debate for the purpose of focusing international attention on conditions in Haiti. Mexico will also preside over a session to promote mediation as a means of international conflict resolution. Finally, toward the end of the month, Mexico's Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa will preside over a debate that seeks to ensure more protection for children in areas where there is armed conflict. The Presidency of the U.N. Security Council is a huge honor and a responsibility for which Mexico is well prepared.
Mexico Leaves G-20 Summit a Clear Winner
Mexico attended the G-20 Summit in London with the 11th largest economy in the world, an international debt that is only 10% of GDP, and more oil reserves than British Petroleum. The banking industry is capitalized at 14%, which keeps the lines of credit flowing in Mexico when other nations have all but shut their doors. When President Calderon paid a state visit to Aberdeen, Scotland, we learned that many of our Mexican engineers get part of their education there and that Mexico and Great Britain have increased their international trade by 80% just since the year 2000. The 800 British firms that invest in Mexico already have made Great Britain the 5th largest investor in this country and the President has invited even more to come on over and take a look at all that Mexico has to offer. The G-20 Summit was a rousing success for Mexico and we thrilled for both the Mexican people and for the foreign investors who choose to come and be a part of the future of this nation.
Mexican Gold, Silver, and Stocks
According to Mining Weekly, the Dolores mine produced 14,169 ounces of gold and 282,429 ounces of silver in the first 3 months the mine was open... and that was just in pre-commercial production! Commercial production has begun and the levels of both gold and silver recovered are increasing beyond anyone's expectations. Dolores is an open pit mine in the state of Chihuahua. This news, along with the news that the Mexican stock market is poised for a strong second quarter turn-around makes 2009 look as if this is the year to live and invest in Mexico!
AA: Happy 12th Anniversary
Yucatan Living would like to congratulate El Grupo Nueva Yukalpetén de Alcohólicos Anónimos on the occasion of its 12th anniversary. We would particularly like to congratulate those who have chosen to give up a degree of their anonymity in order to make the presence of AA known throughout the community. Their courage is to be greatly admired, as is the hard work and struggle of all of the AA membes in the State of Yucatan.
The Circus Came to Progreso
The Atayde Brothers' Circus came to Progreso this past week, with hundreds of acts, plenty of wild animals, and fun to be had for all. This circus is 121 years old, the oldest in all of Mexico and its performers are from nations around the world. It seems as if the white tiger and the man riding horseback while standing up, along with the clowns, of course, were the most popular sights to see at this circus. While we lament the keeping of wild animals for any reason, we also realize that this is currently a fact of life and we hope everyone had a marvelous time at the circus.
Noise Control: And So It Begins
SEMARNAT has a new regulation (# 081) that says noise must not exceed 65 db between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM; or 68 db between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM. They are so serious about this that they are also requiring horns to be directed toward the front or back of a vehicle only, which will affect many of the vendors and advertisers who ride through our towns harking their wares and/or announcements. They are also asking that noise be kept to an absolute minimum near schools, churches, and hospitals. The penalty for breaking this rule is not only losing their license to drive one of these noise-making vehicles through our streets, but also a fine of (ouch) 10 to 20 thousand minimum wages! Who knows? It just might work - and we will be the last ones who remember Mexico as she was "in the good old days."
Starwood's 3rd St. Regis Coming to Quintana Roo
The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort is located along the Bahia de Banderas in the State of Nayarit. The St. Regis Mexico City will open in June. However, the news that interests us most is about the St. Regis Kenai Resort & Residences that will be opening about 6 miles from Playa del Carmen in 2011. These resorts are part of Starwood Hotels' goal to expand throughout Latin America, and especially in Mexico. The St. Regis Kenai will boast 124 rooms and 32 villas, along with a luxury lifestyle that is the stuff of dreams. Visit their websites to learn more about the St. Regis Resorts,as well as the parent company, Starwood Hotels.