News starting September 07, 2009
Merida and New Orleans Renew Sister City Relationship
Toasting with Yucatan’s own tequila, the mayors of New Orleans and Merida, along with the Mexican Consulate, a tourism official from Yucatan, and a member of Merida’s Chamber of Commerce renewed the 19 year old sister city relationship between New Orleans and Merida. This is a natural relationship because the two cities were originally settled by members of some of the same families. For 200 years, those relationships have remained strong. Today, joint business opportunities, as well as medical tourism are seen as the strongest potential opportunities by the two cities. The only difficulty now is building enough business traffic to warrant introducing new plane routes between New Orleans and Merida. As New Orleans continues to struggle with post-Katrina difficulties, the business community in that great city is deeply appreciative of the help this formal Sister-City relationship with Merida can provide for their beloved home. Some who are involved in the ongoing recovery efforts are also valued readers of Yucatan Living. Their reaction to this news is a heartfelt “Thank you,” to the business and industrial community in Merida and hopes for a long and productive relationship between Merida and New Orleans. …as it should be.
Telchac Education Photos
As many of our readers know, we strongly support several education programs throughout the beach communities and in Cholul. All of them are listed here. The first of these programs was Kitty Morgan’s Apoyo Program in Progreso. Then came Patti Trapp’s Adopt a Kid in Cholul. This program is patterned after Kitty’s program but adds breakfast for many children who would otherwise do without. At the same time that Patti started her program, Judy Abbot Mier y Teran and Susan Stewart started Sponsor a Child’s Education in Telchac Puerto. The first year’s photos of the Telchac Program are now online. Susan writes that these are photos of “shopping, kids with backpacks and kids with shoes. Our goal was to have 15 kids. Well, we have 31 kids who received their school supply stuffed backpacks, uniforms and shoes. Still have to get the sweaters.THE OOHS AND AHHS OF THE KIDS AS THEY OPENED THEIR BACKPACKS WAS PRICELESS.” Check out the Picasa album for Telchac Education to see it all.
A “Sale” at StarMedica
There is currently a 50% off "sale" going on at StarMedica on Maternity Packages. During these steep discounts, normal childbirth is $2,572 pesos (about $191 USD), while Cesarean sections are $4,743.50 pesos ($352.26 USD). We don’t quite know how that affects the deposit and "pay as you go" rules since, ordinarily, StarMedica’s maternity patients must pay an $8,000 peso ($594.10 USD) deposit upon admission and make certain that 70% of charges are covered on a "pay as you go" basis. If mom has authorization from her insurance company, then the deposit and "pay as you go" rules do not apply. For more information, call (999) 930-2880 Ext. 1031. Note: A Google search turned up that maternity hospital costs in the U.S. are between $9,000 and $17,000 for normal deliveries, with C-sections running between $14,000 and $25,000. We were surprised to find that some sites have actually begun to cost-compare with other countries and are suggesting that having babies outside of the U.S. has now become a viable option.
Espita’s Botanical Gardens and Mayan Ceremonial Center
You are cordially invited to visit Espita’s Botanical Gardens and Mayan Ceremonial Center. Admission is free. This is a wonderful communitarian project that has no outside investment. It is totally operated by a group of local señores campesinos (gentlemen farmers). This is a worthy project that we hope everyone will visit. For more information, feel free to contact Victor Manuel Gordillo Lievano by e-mail at levique15[at]hotmail.com or by phone: (991) 401-6897.
El Saber del Sabor – Oaxacan Gastronomic Festival
Merida’s own Roberto Solis (of Nectar), along with 10 other chefs from throughout Mexico, has been invited to participate in Savor the Flavor: Beyond the Myth of the 7 Moles. This festival is taking place between September 4 and September 11. Roberto will be given a dinner, along with Mikel Alonso, from Restaurant Biko in Mexico City and Alejandro Ruiz, of Casa Oaxaca in Oaxaca. The purpose of this festival is to underscore that Oaxaca is the crossroads of the food flavors throughout the nation and that the fusion of those cultural differences is what has made the food of Oaxaca, literally, world famous. Our congratulations to Roberto Solis for being one of the world famous chefs invited to participate in this event. To read more about this excellent chef and this spectacular restaurant, see Yucatan Living’s article on Roberto Solis and Nectar.
Feed Lots and Beef Processors Needed in Yucatan!
Did you know? When you buy beef in Yucatan, there is a very good chance that it came from the U.S. We have just discovered that there are no feed lots or major beef processors in the State of Yucatan. As a result, Yucatan sends approximately 2,000 young cattle north to Tamaulipas each month and imports the beef we eat! Our cattlemen say that, if we had feed lots, we could feed all of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, including the tourist zone in Q.R. Instead, we produce raw materials (young cattle) for consumption in other places, and import basic commodities for our own people. This is not helped by NAFTA and the current dumping of American beef in Mexico. Before the recession, the U.S. was exporting 400,000 metric tons of beef to Mexico per year and the recession barely slowed them down by only 21%. Yucateco cattlemen, without subsidies and without fair credit, cannot compete and are losing ground every day. SAGARPA is trying to organize all of Mexico’s beef producers but we are especially concerned about Yucatan. If any of our readers are cattlemen and can see an opportunity here, please let us know and we will do what we can to help. Read more on this story HERE.
BIG Tope in Progreso!
For our readers who live at the beach, and for the Snowbirds who will soon be on their way back to Yucatan, this is to give you a “heads up” that there is a very large tope going in at the corner of Calle 60 x 29. Where these two streets meet, Calle 29 has the right-of-way, but people come sailing off of the Malecón on Calle 60 and run right through the stop sign. Several people have been killed in accidents there. Progreso’s answer is a 10 meter wide by 15 cm high concrete tope. Hopefully, everyone will be careful and no one’s car will be damaged. There may be other topes going in near schools as all of the beach towns clean-up, fix-up, and paint-up at both schools and parks.
Business Incubator Coming to Progreso
Several months ago, there was a Feria de Emprendedores (Entrepreneur’s Fair) at the Technological Institute in Progreso. The events were not reported in time for many to go and see the offerings of these young entrepreneurs, but we understand that they did an excellent job. Now, the State has given $50,000 pesos to fund the small business of the three winners. This program has done so well that Yucatan’s 7th business incubator will be located in Progreso. One of Yucatan’s major goals is to support its young people as they enter the future, so that they can be independent and can, in turn, help to move the next generation forward. So far, it looks as if the young people of Yucatan, and especially the young people in our beach communities, are stepping up to the plate and hitting the business ball out of the park! Well done!
Baby Sea Turtles: Lost and Found
As you walk on the beaches, please keep an eye out for baby sea turtles who may have lost their way. This past week, several ladies were walking on the beach on the west end of Progreso when they found a total of 10 lost baby sea turtles. The babies were nearly dead but the ladies called the police, who helped them put the babies in the water. They all watched as the sea water revived the babies and they swam away. We never thought about the fact that some of the baby sea turtles might get lost, so do keep an eye out for them – and be sure to call the police if you find any. We also caution you not to keep any of the baby turtles as pets. They are an endangered species and keeping one carries a lengthy prison term.
Progreso’s Calle 27 x 78 y 80 To Stay As Is
Sometimes, cities recognize their treasures before they destroy them; rather than after, when it is too late to do anything about it. Such is the case with Progreso’s Calle 27 x 78 y 80. For those who live in Progreso, that block is the heart of the city. For those who lived there, even years ago, that block is the first thing that comes to mind when remembering life at the beach. Realizing that Progreso would never be the same without it, Calle 27 x 78 y 80 is now “officially” here to stay!
Yucatan’s Conservation of Natural Resources
Yucatan, it seems, has gotten more Federal money for replenishing natural resources and has taken full advantage of it. Under the Proárbol Program, Yucatan received $2 billion pesos in 2009 alone and, by the end of the year, will have added 11,000 hectares of good, conserved forest land, reforested 5,600 hectares, and extablished 3,000 hectares of commercial forest plantations. With respect to wastewater, 5 new treatment plants have been completed in Merida and Uman. Merida is to get 4 more. When Planta Merida IV is completed, it will benefit over 350,000 people. …and they aren’t stopping there. Soon, 25,000 hectares in the citrus zone will be irrigated and tens of thousands of people now have secure jobs. There is to be a Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December. There, President Calderon can testify that, in the State of Yucatan, the Green Economy is alive and well.
Progreso’s Playón Poniente Has Green Light – Sort of…
Its on again, off again, on again for the western extension of the Malecón in Progreso. Within the last week, we have heard that the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) had effectively stopped the western expansion of the Malecón in Progreso simply by sitting on the application until the deadline for using the money passed. Then, we heard that the project had been approved, but a representative of Semarnat was coming to town. Well – she came… and gave with one hand while taking away with the other. Semarnat has several issues with Yucatan’s planned expansion of the Malecón, not in the least of which are the project’s proximity to the Federal Zone and the Armada – and how Yucatan plans to repair any damage done to the environment as a result of this project. She warned that approval from Semarnat is no longer a "window of passage" to any project one wants to undertake. From now on, Semarnat is to be considered as an organization whose purpose it is to "restrain" rapid and poorly thought out development. Once everything on Semarnat’s list of issues is addressed, then and only then will the State be allowed to continue with the project to extend the Malecón and build Playón Poniente.
The Worldwide March for Peace and Non-violence
On October 2, 2009, this worldwide march will begin in Wellington, New Zealand. It will move from city to city, around the world, finally ending on January 2, in Punta de Vacas, Argentina. In all, there will be marches in 300 cities. Although there will be no march in Merida, people are still asked to use these three months, Oct. 2 through Jan. 2, to put pressure on their governments and their people to stop such things as war, as well as all forms of physical and psychological violence. For more information, visit The Worldwide March for Peace and Non-violence website and their site in Mexico.
A Great Quick Look at Yucatan and Merida
The Toronto Star published an article by Allan Ryan called Magical Mayan Merida. For the uninitiated, who want a quick overview of what to see and do here, this is a great article. It has a few small errors, one of which caused us to chuckle a bit. First, there is no drug “war” going on in Yucatan. Second, this article was written in Sept. 2009. In it, Mr. Ryan states that the first Wal-Mart in Merida has just opened. Ok – so it wasn’t a chuckle – we laughed out loud. He only missed that event by a couple of decades. There is one business format or another of Wal-Mart (WalMart, Bodega Aurrera, Superama, El Portón, etc.) on every corner in Mexico and they are even building them in the far rural south of the state. However, minus the drug war and Wal-Mart errors, his article is a tourist’s quick view of Merida and Yucatan that is well worth reading.
What Is The Mayan Date for Dec. 22, 2012?
The best explanation of what is going to happen on Dec. 21, 2012, came from the well known, 72 year old, Yucateco guide, Humberto Gómez Rodriguez, in the Allan Ryan article listed above. According to this expert, nothing is going to happen on Dec. 21, 2012. It will simply be the end of the Mayan’s grand cycle of cycles. The celebrations in Yucatan will be much like a big New Year’s Eve party. The next day, just like with a rosary, the Mayan calendar will simply start over. Dec. 22, 2012, will be day 1 of year 1. However, look for tons of tourists to come to Yucatan so they can be here “when the end comes” and many of them will be prepared for the end of the world and other outlandish events. As Humberto Gómez Rodriguez says, if the Mayan priests know about it and they aren’t making heroic preparations, chances are, not much is going to happen.
Larry Baker: “I tell ya, these third world countries…!”
We had to laugh. Larry Baker’s comment is one that has become a familiar refrain among expats who find themselves constantly trying to explain living in Yucatan to the folks back home. See Larry Baker’s Bank Token for more on life in what hasn’t been a “third world” country in quite some time.
Hello! My Name is Mark and I am Lost!
While my Mama was preoccupied, I slipped away and got lost. I am a black Labrador retriever and I live in la zona Chuburna in Merida. If you find me, please help me to get back home by calling 999 121 0142. There is a reward for my safe return.