Yucatan News: Martha Stewart and Mayas
Sueños de Ángel Needs Blood Donors
There is a desperate need for donors of both whole blood and plasma in Merida right now. Our area is densely populated and our excellent health care services tend to draw in people from far away as well. Sueños de Ángel is a foundation that is geared mostly toward helping sick children and children with cancer at O' Horán General Hospital, and they have only 25 regular donors at the present time. Helping these children is something almost all of us can do to give back to the state that has been so good to us. For more information, contact Sueños de Ángel by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Progreso To Get New “Land Bridge”
It seems as if Progreso is always under construction these days, with new projects beginning before merchants and citizens have an opportunity to recover from the last project. Now, we hear that there is to be a new “land bridge” that will significantly reduce the number of big trucks carrying cargo from the pier to Merida. The new bridge will begin at the foot of the pier, travel over Calle 82, and exit on the Merida-Progreso Highway. This is great news if it will only be used by truckers. However, if it means that tourists will not have an opportunity to shop their way through Progreso, on the way to Merida, then maybe its not such a good idea for those merchants. The bridge is not set in stone (pardon the pun) quite yet, so there is still plenty of time for residents and merchants of Progreso to voice their concerns. If all goes as planned, however, that bridge will be the Progreso project for 2009.
Martha Does Merida – With Pictures!
Martha Stewart was recently in Yucatan to film an upcoming show, and she wrote about her experiences in her blog. Loads of pictures are included, so be sure and visit The Martha Blog and read all about her trip to the Merida Mercado, as well as to several haciendas. From her blog, you can get to three photo albums created during her visit. We are afraid it might have been a bit on the warm side for Ms. Stewart on this late summer trip, but we invite her to come back when the dead of winter hits her home state. She would be certain to love our sunshine then!
Saginaw, Michigan: 12th Annual Fiesta Folklorica Mexicana
The Independence of Mexico, it seems, is celebrated wherever the people of Mexico might find themselves. As it happens, there is a fairly large Mexican population in Saginaw, Michigan, with quite a few of them from Yucatan. Last year, Merida’s own Trio Ensueño entertained at this event and Saginaw fell in love with trova. Trio Ensueño is back in Saginaw this year for a repeat performance on the 19th. They will perform at a huge, semi-formal dinner dance at the Horizons Conference Center. We love Trio Ensueño and are so proud that the music and musicians of Yucatan are so deeply appreciated wherever they go. For more on this event, visit the Saginaw News. For more on Trio Ensueno, visit their website.
September Is Latino Heritage Month in Los Angeles
This past week, the Mundo Maya Foundation presented a Mystery of the Mayas – 2012 – Seminar, with Yucatan’s Alberto Cesar Hagar-Gonzalez leading the conference. Hagar-Gonzalez is an archaeologist and astronomer who wrote “The Sacred Codes of Hunaab-Ku”. Wood carvings and Mayan paintings by Mario Sibaja were available for sale.
We strongly recommend that any of our readers who are in the States, and especially those who are in California, get involved with the Mundo Maya Foundation, as well as with any of the Federacion de Clubes de Yucatecos in your area. In the meantime, visit their website to find out what is going on with Yucatecos in the States.
California Schizophrenic Over Illegal Migrants
Get out! Get out! Wait! PLEASE don’t leave us! Fact 1: Over the course of the past few weeks, many illegal migrants began preparing to leave California for their home nations because of the downturn in the American economy and job losses in that state. Fact 2: Over the weekend, the California Legislature approved giving free college financial assistance to illegal migrants. Yes – that’s right. Financial aid for college for illegal migrants if they can only manage (by what miracle?) to stay in California. Perhaps it is time for all of this foolishness to stop; and for the implementation of amnesty and a real guest-worker program. If not, then Americans had better get ready to teach the concept of hard labor to their children as a career goal – and we’re willing to bet that isn’t going to happen.
The Mexican Nationality Act
We know that many of our readers are Yucatecos who live in the United States. Many long to come home to Yucatan to retire and would like to have their children either come with them or, in the case of adult children, migrate to Yucatan with them. Many of the parents are both Mexican and U.S. citizens. Some are still only Mexican citizens. Their children, however, were born in the United States and are U.S. citizens. We are happy to report that these children, no matter their age, can come home to Mexico and claim their Mexican citizenship through the Mexican Nationality Act. This will entitle them to all of the benefits of being a Mexican, including the right to attend the wonderful universities here and the right to work here. We suspect that there will soon be a rising tide of young people heading to Yucatan from the U.S. Since most are bilingual, they will have options that are the stuff of dreams. We wish them all well, and welcome them home to Mexico and to Yucatan.
Mexico Still High on Tourism List
Travel Leaders has announced the results of their annual survey. Mexico, Las Vegas, and Caribbean cruises top the list of favorites. In fact, Mexico is #1 in the “best value outside the U.S.” category. We were also pleased to see that Mexico also holds 5 of the top 10 favorite international destinations: Cancun #2, Riviera Maya #3, Mexican cruising #6, Cabo San Lucas/Las Cabos #8, and Puerto Vallarta #9. As tourism grows in the State of Yucatan, we would like to thank all of those who have visited here and invite all who have not to come on down! Yucatan is still the state with the most to offer to the widest areas of interest.
House Votes To End Cross-Border Trucking Program
The U.S. House voted to terminate cross-border trucking, citing fears for safety because of Mexican drivers on drugs and Mexican trucks in a state of disrepair. This is a move pushed totally by the Teamsters lobby and wholly unfounded. This is the website http://www.bordercenter.org/spanish/sdot.htm to show that none of the Teamsters’ claims have even a kernel of truth and that Mexican truckers are well qualified to drive in the U.S. And this is the Mexican Motor Carrier home page (in English), where you can see that Mexican trucks are hardly in disrepair. We do hope that the Senate doesn’t follow in the footsteps of the House.
Eco-Rock Band May Visit Merida
In our spare time, we get to know a lot of great folks on the internet and, this week, we found the Ginger Ninjas – a rock band that puts their concern for the environment first. When was the last time you ever heard of a rock band touring without using gasoline? Pedal power is the key and the Ginger Ninjas have actually ridden their bikes on tour throughout the western U.S. and Mexico. There is some talk of a possible visit to Yucatan and we are encouraging them to come and enjoy the bicycling adventures that await them here. View loads of their pictures in their MySpace album and read their philosophy on their blog. Here’s hoping we see them in Yucatan soon!
Yucatan Schools Teach 2nd Year of Ecological Conservation
Last year, the teachers in Yucatan’s public schools began teaching ecological conservation, presiding over the planting of trees by preschoolers and teaching children about the environment. This year, the program is getting down to the nitty gritty, with practical instruction in a number of ecologically based activities that can seriously affect public health if not addressed. These include how and why to clean tinacos and septic tanks, eliminate water leaks, and separate organic and inorganic trash, as well as the ongoing reforestation of green areas begun last year. Many of us are in the age group that remembers the slogans (and icons) “Don’t Be a Litter Bug,” and “Give a Hoot – Don’t Pollute” taught to us as children. With over 40 years gone by since then, we still go out of our way not to litter. Today’s children in Yucatan are already a mighty army in the service of ecology and conservation and, for that, this state should be more than thankful. To learn more about this and other programs, visit the site of the Secretaria de Desarrollo Urbano y Medio Ambiente (Secretary of Urban Development and the Environment).
UADY’s New Television Program
For almost 40 years, UADY has managed to stay on the cutting edge of communication. We all love their radio station and publications. Now, the university will bring its weekly news roundup to the small screen with a new television show. The initial show will take place on Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. Subsequent shows will be transmitted on Channel 6 inside Yucatan and on Channel 5 in Cozumel, at 6:00 PM. Throughout the Caribbean Islands, the shows will be transmitted on Mondays and Fridays at 3:00 PM. These television shows are important not only to inform students and their parents of what is going on at UADY, but also to add one more link between UADY and the wider world of global research, as well as academic and artistic achievement. You can follow the development of UADY TV from their brand new website! We look forward to great things from these students, both now and far into the future! If you need a link to the radio station, its here.
Speaking of Radio
We were pleased to discover this last weekend that 103.5, Radio Universidad, broadcasts the Symphony! Sometimes on a sunny Sunday afternoon, some of us are just too happy at home to want to get dressed and go to downtown to hear the Symphony. It looks like we don’t have to! Every Sunday at noon, tune into 103.5 for a live broadcast of Yucatan’s Symphony playing at the Peon Contreras Theatre.
The Power of Pink: Correos de Mexico
If a new logo and selling discount rice, beans, and powdered milk from a hot pink and lime green building will make the mail go faster and more reliably in Mexico, then we are all for it. Unfortunately, it is going to take a long time to convince most folks that there is anything fast or safe about the Mexican mail system. That having been said, they are assuring us that times have changed and maybe they actually can convince us to use their services. We suspect there will be a lot of neighbors mailing letters to each other just to see if it works. For more information, visit their website here. Best of luck to the new Mexican Mail. Here’s hoping that the power of pink works its magic for you!
A New Master’s in Odontology at UADY
Research into the underlying causes of dental problems that are specific to locations or populations is one of the bonuses of new technology. Today, there are any number of specialties within and associated with dentistry itself. In order to keep Yucatan aware and involved in the latest issues and resolutions in this area, a new Master’s degree in Odontology has begun at UADY. The program is closely allied with its counterpart at the Independent University of Nayarit and we expect great things to come from their association in the very near future!
Agreement Between Secretary of Economic Promotion & UADY
The ongoing agreement between the Secretary of Economic Promotion and the School of Accounting and Administration has been renewed. This agreement has successfully allowed both participants to better realize their potential in the exporting sector and to take advantage of some of the best business opportunities in the history of our state. With this new agreement comes an increased number of scholarships, as well as the opportunity to participate in a number of international trade events. This sort of activity gives our young Yucatecos a head start into what will surely be one of the most lucrative eras in all of the history of Yucatan. In return for their assistance, the Office of the Secretary of Economic Promotion has access to the very detailed international marketing research being conducted by UADY researchers. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved and certainly will contribute to the stability and forward motion of the state as a whole.
Argentina’s Ternium to Build $4.2 Billion Dollar Steel Plant in Mexico
It looks as if the forward motion of the Mexican economy is going to carry it through the rough spots after all. With a bright future in front of us, Ternium is to complete both phases of a $4.2 billion dollar steel plant expansion in Mexico by 2013. The first phase will take place in a new plant near Monterrey. So far, reports are not saying exactly where the second plant will be located, but new jobs are appreciated wherever they are in Mexico.
The Environment: Burning Garbage in Mexico City
In these days and times, it is almost beyond belief to learn that a city as large as Mexico City has been – and still is – incinerating much of its garbage, including electronics, paint, and batteries. New research is “suggesting” that uncontrolled incineration “might be” the underlying reason for the heavy metal laden smog in one of the largest cities in the world. Researchers are stopping short of declaring this practice to be the actual cause of air you can’t see through and don’t dare breathe. We hope this does not become one of those issues that everybody knows about, but nobody does anything about. It is time and past time for all of Mexico to get a handle on the problems associated with garbage disposal. We must admit, however, that what we consider to be huge garbage problems in Yucatan pale in comparison to the problems in places like Mexico City.
Progreso Canal and Lagoon Cleaned
Over the course of the past few years, Yucatecos have come to understand the value of the mangroves to not only tourism, but to the very life of the shore itself. Now, with a strong push on to restore the mangroves to their pristine state, attention turned to the artificial lagoon and its channel. What workers found there was more than 40 tons of trash. Now, the trash is gone to the landfill and water to the mangroves flows freely again. This is the second “bog” to be cleaned in as many months. A little more of this and Progreso will be miles ahead of other areas in the reconstruction of their mangroves. This will bring back wildlife that is now choosing to live elsewhere, and will improve the quality of life for the people who live here as well.
Alternative Energy Building
This past week, we heard from our good friend Saray who has gone to work for Agua-Luna, which looks as if it is the best “green” company in the business today. We love their DIY guides, but we are most interested in their certification program. Their green living workshops and courses include everything from greener/eco-living information to living totally off the grid.
Million Peso Barbie Debuts in D.F.
Have you heard? There is a new Barbie movie out now called Barbie and the Diamond Castle. The one-of-a-kind Barbie, made just for promotion of this movie is valued at a cool $1 million pesos. For those of us who have spent any part of our lives knee-deep in Barbie suitcases, clothes and disjointed body-parts, this is hard to believe until we remember how much we have spent on these little gifts in our lifetime. While we appreciate the timing (right before Christmas shopping begins) of this movie, we suggest supporting our local artisans by purchasing one of Yucatan’s KABAX PECH (Cabbage Patch) dolls instead.
The Problem of Subsidized Imports
The World Trade Organization has announced that Mexico’s tariff on olive oil from the European Union is unacceptable and must be dropped. This is sad news for Mexico’s growers and producers in this industry. Once more, Mexican farmers and producers must face Mother Nature and the ups and downs of the world market alone – but will be forced to compete with products that are backed by governments that guarantee their farmers and producers a profit no matter the weather or world market conditions. This situation is about as far from a level playing field as you can get and many Mexican farmers and producers will be driven out of business. Our sympathies lie with all of the Mexican farmers and producers who are still brave enough to stay on their land and keep trying.
Mexico’s Carlos Slim Buys 6.4% of New York Times
But that isn’t all. Carlos Slim and his family also have (or have had) an interest in Saks, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue stores; Altria, a tobacco company; Global Crossing, a telecommunications company; MCI; The Independent, a British media company; part of Telefonos de Mexico; and America Movil, the largest cellphone company in Latin America. Some of these were bought at depressed values and sold for a profit. Others have formed the basis for the fortune that keeps Carlos Slim in the #2 richest man in the world spot. It is believed that he will not have a hand in the day-to-day operation of the New York Times itself, but this certainly is an interesting development.
Just for Fun: Optical Illusions
Click here to see some of the best optical illusions we’ve seen in a long time.