Yucatan News: Love, Health & Tomatoes
Congratulations to All of the Brides and Grooms!
One of the last things we do, before posting the news, is take a quick look at the local newspaper to see if something there might be of interest to our readers - and this time we found something wonderful. A collective wedding for 250 couples from the Valladolid-Temozon area, almost all of whom are in advanced age. Porfirio Un Cen (now 83) and Eleuteria Uc Cen (now 81) fell in love in 1944, but could not marry because of a temporary ban on the marriage of cousins. Love won the day and they have lived together now for 64 years. Together, they have raised 7 children and 26 grandchildren. Their story is not unique. Hundreds of couples were caught in the tug of war between church and state trying to decide how close was too close for marriage between cousins. A new Archbishop couldn't have been a good thing to drop in the mix at that particular time either. But all is well now, and a good time was had by all as the Banda de Musica del Gobierno del Estado played for the wedding celebration of over 250 couples.
Progreso to Get New Health Care Center
Work is about to begin on a new health care center for Progreso. It will be located in Fraccionamiento Costa Azul, in the western part of the city, across the street from the Municipal Police building. Word is that it should take only about 9 months to build the new facility, which will house specialists, X-Ray and sonogram services, and an ambulance. This center is of special importance to the people of Progreso because of the prenatal care that will be provided at this facility. We are so happy for Progreso and hope that the 9 month estimation is as close to reality as possible.
Uman: Number of Disaster Shelters Reduced
If you live in the area of Uman, please check with your local police station to find out where is the nearest shelter to your location. It has come to our attention that several of the outlying municipalities have reduced their number of shelters in order to more effectively utilize resources during an emergency. This makes sense because, in some cases, we had (still have?) an astonishing number of shelters, each of which must be outfitted to meet the needs of their capacity. Last year, populations shifted and supplies had to be moved to other locations after people in need were there. In order to avoid this situation again, municipalities, such as Uman, have closed underutilized shelters and consolidated supplies in their remaining shelters.
Tabasco Hit By More Flooding
Sadly, the same geographic features that are a happy accident of hurricane deflection for our state is responsible, once again, for tragedy in Tabasco. Last year, Tabasco was hit by one of the worst floods in modern memory, with much of it caused by human error. Now, as the remnants of Alma and Arthur sweep across that state, 7 of its 17 municipalities are flooding again. The municipalities in which a state of emergency has been declared include: Balancan, Nacajuca, Centro, Centla, Jalapa, Jalpa, and Teapa. Weather was severe enough to temporarily close two of the oil exporting ports along the coast. So far, this is the only information that has come out of Tabasco, but we will monitor this situation and keep you informed, since many of our readers are regular travelers through that area.
New Flights Link Alberta and Mexico City
Hey - Canadian Snowbirds!!! Check this out! Looks like these are cheap tickets until the end of the year! The schedule is:
- Calgary > Mexico City: Mon., Wed., Fri., Sun.;
- Mexico City > Calgary: Tue., Thur., Sat., Sun.;
- Edmonton > Mexico City: Tue., Thur., Sat.;
- Mexico City > Edmonton: Mon., Wed., Fri.
It is only another hour and 45 minute flight from Mexico City to Merida. Why not slip down for a long weekend this summer? With ticket prices going up so rapidly, it might also be a good idea to check routes, prices and availability for the Fall early and often. For some of us, if time is not a factor, even $4.00 USD per gallon gasoline might be cheaper than some plane tickets. This is one of those situations where every expat needs to immediately become an expert on what is the best means of travel for them.
Cuarteto Genesis in D.F Last Weekend
When cellist Jonathan Hennessey-Brown and violinist Suzanne Evans decided to leave the Orquestra Sinfonica de Yucatan and move to his home in England, we were devastated. They were taking half of Cuarteto Genesis with them and one of Merida's treasures, we thought, had been lost forever. No so! This last weekend, Cuarteto Genesis played again for two performances in D.F. (Mexico City). The two other members of this group are violinists Tym Miall and Gocha Skhirtladze. The quartet appeared Friday at 7:00 PM and Saturday at 6:00 PM in the Sala Ponce del Palacio de Bellas Artes, as part of the International Festival of Chamber Music of INBA. Groups from all over the world were there to perform. We must admit that the best music to our ears is that Cuarteto Genesis will live on, with Jonathan and Suzanne visiting for Cuarteto Genesis to play throughout Mexico and with Tym and Gocha visiting England for tours there.
GM Partially Leaving Toluca for San Luis Potosi
Toluca is located just to the southwest of Mexico City. In addition to closing or halting production at four plants in the U.S., General Motors is closing their Chevy Kodiac (truck) plant in Toluca, but will keep their foundry operations, building of engines, and manufacturing of the Chevy Silverado at that location. Even so, 2,500 people are expected to lose their jobs. But GM isn't leaving Mexico. It is the # 2 automaker in the country, right behind Nissan Motor Co. Instead, GM is opening a new plant in San Luis Potosi, which is in the north-central part of the country - about halfway (as the crow flies) between Guadalajara, Jalisco and Ciudad de Victoria, Tamaulipas. This plant will have varied production capabilities, including Chevrolet's version of the new subcompact. Look for more companies, including Asian and European companies, moving toward Mexico's northern states as work begins on the new highway that will connect the huge new ports on the west coast with the southern border of Texas. This new northern highway will make it possible to transport products on a straight route across northern Mexico to the south Texas border of the U.S., burning inexpensive Mexican gasoline and paying Mexican wages all the way. That fact has not been lost on corporations around the globe and they are flocking to the Mexican side of the Texas-Mexico border.
Mexico? Depends on Your Source of Information
Read the front page of most Mexican and American newspapers and you will soon begin to believe that Mexico is a land of drug wars, kidnappings, and murders. After a reader posted a comment about the narcoterrorism news that is common fodder in papers in the north of the country, we would like to make a suggestion. For a few days, don't read the front page of your local newspaper. Instead, turn to the Business and Economic sections. What you will find there is that the northern Mexican states, especially Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, are experiencing boom times with no end in sight. Read here about what's happening in Tamaulipas alone and decide for yourself if this is the same bloody border state they use to sell papers - or if it is the lovely state that is quite safely visited by hundreds of thousands of Canadians and Americans every year.
Kudos to our Tomato Farmers
As we read about the salmonella outbreak in the U.S., now linked to tomatoes from Texas and New Mexico, we couldn't help but thank our lucky stars for living in a state where produce growers are mindful of the quality of water they use for irrigation of the food we eat. For approximately 2 months, during the winter, Yucatan imports tomatoes from other states in Mexico. We admit to laughing (just a little) when, last year, a spokesman from our tomato growers association harumphed comments implying that growers in "other places" probably didn't even know the quality of water they were using on their fields. Then, we thought better of it. What some call "attitude" is what we know to be Yucateco pride at its best. If you're going to do something, what's wrong with being an elitist about it? - and that certainly includes the quality of irrigation water used on the food we eat. We are deeply appreciative for the fact that we don't have to expose ourselves to some of the chemicals expats in other areas have to use to ensure the safety of their produce.
Sugar and Beehives Given to Beekeepers
There's nothing like a little state supported business expansion - and we've got it going "on" in Yucatan! It has only been a few years since our beekeepers were organized and became such a powerful economic engine in our state but, in those few years, they have developed an export market that is the envy of all of the Americas. Now, in keeping with the habit of giving the small farmer a chance to play on a level playing field, the State has, once again, handed out sugar and boxes suitable to be developed as beehives. The 70 beneficiaries are all small scale beekeepers who have participated in a beekeeping management program.
UADY Department of Psychology Makes History
There are 535 institutions offering a degree in Psychology in all of Mexico, but only 55 have earned accreditation by the Committee of Accreditation of the National Council for Education and Investigation in Psychology (CACNEIP). UADY's Department of Psychology is the first in the nation to have earned accreditation for five consecutive years. Congratulations to all of the faculty and students who made this honor possible and who continue to work to maintain UADY's place as one of the finest institutions of learning in the nation.
Mandarin Chinese Continues at UADY
Currently, there are 79 students finishing up two levels of Mandarin Chinese at UADY. This summer, there will be another introductory course and a new course named "Phrases for Travelers." We sometimes forget that Yucatan is a major player on the world stage now, but it is refreshing to know that our students will be able to function anywhere they choose to roam. Isn't that kind of freedom, after all, what we want for all of our children? We are very proud of our Yucateco students and of our university. For those who may be interested, here's a page where you can learn to count in Mandarin Chinese.
UADY: Chemistry and Mathematics Olympics
The field is narrowing down in our chemistry and mathematics Olympics. We're down to the best 17 chemistry students and on our way to choosing the best 6 to go to nationals. Competition is especially strong among mathematics students who can win some pretty hefty prize purses as they compete in regional contests. We follow these two Olympics every year (maybe because that's my degree?) and are thrilled that Yucateco students always come out on top.
On the Lighter Side
As we surf the net, we often run across sites that we would love to share with our readers. The Gangs of San Miguel de Allende is one of the funniest blogs we have ever read. We started with the Hat Gangs and read them all. It helps to remember that those of us who can laugh at ourselves shall never cease to be amused.
The Gold Book
We've heard there is a group getting ready to publish a business directory in English covering Mérida, the beach and surrounding areas. They are going to call it The Gold Book, and plan to make it available in November. They hope to make copies available through the advertisers, the Merida English library, and other venues. The publishers, a group of American, Canadian and Mexican business people are gathering information now from businesses that want to be included. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.