Yucatan News: San Felipe, Biofuel & Hurricanes
San Felipe Ready for Tourism!
San Felipe has thrown its hat into the ring of major tourist destinations. While other beaches are saturated with tourists, little San Felipe still remains a place where people can relax and enjoy what has come to be known as eco-tourism. Only 189 km from Merida, San Felipe offers 11 different tourist attractions, including birdwatching, the archaeological remains on Cerritos Island, and night observations of lagartos (crocodiles) in Hochan End. San Felipe is a major destination for feeding flamingos and a huge biosphere that consists of on- and offshore wonders. Ria Lagartos also has fishing tours, turtle watching, and snorkeling - with transportation to Isla Holbox for whaleshark-watching as well. The merchants of San Felipe have decided to keep prices the same year-round, so tourists can be certain that they are being well treated. There are four hotels in town, as well as 30 homes for rent and spaces to camp on the beach. Hotel rooms run from $350 MXP to $500 MXP per day and the rental homes run from $400 MXP to $500 MXP per day, and each has room for two to three families.
There are five restaurants in San Felipe: El Payaso, Kiko, Vaselina, Danilú and La Cueva del Buzo. The management of Kikos recommends ordering the platillo confeti (confetti plate) which is a seafood platter of 11 different fish and seafood dishes that will feed four adults. San Felipe has long been considered off the beaten track, but it looks as if this little pastel village has gotten its tourism feet wet and loves it.
Indiana Jones and Mayan Skull Worship
According to legend, the ancient Maya possessed 13 crystal skulls. If these skulls could be brought together, they would have the power to save the Earth. Not that we are skeptics, but... were these skulls ever together in history? If so, how did they become separated? ...and why did the Earth not fall into chaos when they were separated? (or did it?) ...and save the Earth from what exactly? Despite a few holes in the logic, this story does make great legend fodder and certainly is a great theme for the new Indiana Jones movie, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Apparently there are quite a few crystal skulls around today, most of which were apparently made by an enterprising antiquities dealer in the 1860s. No crystal skull has ever been excavated at any Mayan archaeological site, but it sure does make a good legend and we can't wait to see the movie!
The Lady Street Sweepers of Celestun
This week, a party was held, in Celestun, in honor of the 46 ladies who keep the port clean while others are sleeping. These ladies work from 4:00 AM until 7:00 AM to ensure that Celestun is a beautiful port town for residents and visitors alike. All too often, we do not stop to think just how many people are working overnight and in the wee hours of the morning to create this beautiful place we now call home. Yucatan Living would like to add our best wishes and heartfelt thank you to the lady street sweepers of Celestun.
There is something to be said for refrigeration! Many of us are in the habit of eating food purchased from our favorite street vendors, but this might not be a good idea until we get some relief from this extreme heat. There have been warnings that food left out in vendors' carts for long periods of time, in this kind of heat, carries a risk of causing intestinal problems. Please be certain that proper care has been taken to ensure the quality of any food that you purchase on the street. And did you know that heat exhaustion also causes diarrhea? Take up the fine art of siesta and try to keep cool during the heat of the day. In addition, influenza is going around in Yucatan, so please take precautions. If you do contract the flu virus, see your physician and follow his or her instructions. Influenza can be a deadly disease if not taken seriously.
Air Conditioning Yucatan
It seems that the demand for air conditioning has tripled in recent weeks, with 7 out of 10 air conditioners purchased being mini-splits. According to the utility company, lowering the temperature to 75 degrees in one room will add $300 pesos to the average "every other month" utility bill. This is approximately $15 USD per month. Lowering the temperature just 2 degrees more will be almost double that amount. Most people who use air conditioning do so only at night and cool only their bedrooms. Of course it is up to the individual how much of their hard earned money they want to spend on air conditioning. For some of us, when it gets really hot outside, the money for air conditioning vale la pena! (it's worth it!)
Biofuel Planting Coming to Yucatan
Global Clean Energy Holdings, through GCE Mexico, has obtained 5,000 acres in the State of Yucatan on which it plans to plant Jatropha curcas trees. The 4 million trees they plant will produce high quality seed oil (for biodiesel fuel) and biomass for more than 30 years. The Jatropha tree requires less water than food crops and can be grown on land that is unsuitable for agricultural planting. The appropriation of agricultural land for fuel production has long been at the center of the controversy surrounding such products as ethonol. If land that is unsuitable for agricultural production can be used to produce biofuel, this may not only help the fuel situation but the reforestation efforts in areas in which the plantings take place. We will be interested to watch and learn as this development takes place.)
Merida and Ucu: Developing Together
Who in the world would ever have guessed that Merida would be developing out far enough to form a developmental relationship with Ucu? Isn't Ucu a little town way out in the country? Not anymore it isn't! Ucu is an up and coming town that is planning ahead for the benefits and services that will be needed as Merida grows in its direction. This is all part of an urban development plan that is ongoing and well under control. This plan of development includes advice and direction from the School of Architecture at UADY, as well as from communication professionals and those who are planning on building tens of thousands of new homes in the Ucu area.
Environmental Money Flowing into Yucatan
It has just been learned that, last month, the government of the State of Yucatan signed an agreement with the Federal Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources to jointly put $483 million pesos into a number of environmental projects in our state. As part of this investment, the National Forest Commission has pledged $106 million pesos to forest conservation through a program called ProÁrbol. The National Commission of Protected Natural Areas will contribute $6 million pesos to help protect the 80,000 hectares of mangrove swamps in our state. $237 million pesos will come from the National Commission of Water. All of this ecological activity only serves to underscore the fact that the State of Yucatan is now, and will continue to be, one of the best places on Earth to live, work, and play.
Forest Fires Still Burning
Throughout Yucatan and Mexico, there are intentional agricultural fires and accidental forest fires. The photo above shows NASA's view of current fires burning in Mexico and Guatemala. If you need to do agricultural burning, please check with your local police station for authorized days and times. If you see a forest fire, please report it immediately.
What are "Supports"?
There are going to be over a 1,000 "supports" given out by the Secretary of Rural Development and Fisheries this year... but what are "supports"? To the North of the Border ear, this sounds much like some sort of charity program - or worse... a public dole. Not so. Think of the old adage: Give a man a fish and you have fed him for today; teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime. In Mexico, the Federal and State budgets allow for citizens to apply for the things they need to make a living for themselves and for their families. One person might need a sewing machine, another irrigation equipment, someone else might need a barn or a tractor - or even equipment to open a net cafe. These are "supports." The people apply for what they need and are then able to take care of themselves, returning far more in taxes and productivity than it ever cost the government to give them that little bit of help to get started or to keep going. We have especially enjoyed watching the women producers of Yucatan take to business as if they have been there always. Their success is testament to the value of "teaching a person to fish" rather than simply giving him or her a handout for today.
Yucatan Will Have Cleaner Schools
Not long ago, one of our readers commented that it sure would help if we had a "Litterbug" campaign in Yucatan. No sooner said than done! Over the course of the past two years, rural Yucateco teachers have been taking a 15 course training program that qualifies them to both teach their students about the handling of solid waste and to direct the "Clean School" program mandated by the Federal Government. The Department of Environmental Education and the Department of Human Development, under the Secretary of Public Education, are deeply involved in this program. The goal is to have a community that will actively work to eliminate litter, beginning with homes and schools. This program has been successful wherever it has been implemented and is soon to become a part of the curriculum for all education students.
Many continue to believe that as the economy of the U.S. goes, so goes the economy of Mexico. Thankfully, that is not proving to be the case. While some were convinced that the failing economy of the U.S. would drag the economy of Mexico down with it, Mexico was busy cementing trading relationships with Europe, India, China, other parts of Asia, and other Hispanic-American nations. It is true that the economy of Mexico slowed slightly when the economy of the U.S. began to dip, but this week's news is that it is regaining its momentum and the future looks brighter than ever South of the Border.
Hurricane Names Retired
As we enter the 2008 hurricane season, it has been announced that the names Dean, Felix, and Noel have been retired from the list of potential hurricane names. In 2007, Dean killed 32 - mostly in Mexico, Felix killed 130 in Nicaragua and Honduras, and Noel killed 160 across the Bahamas and the Caribbean. There were no retired hurricane names in 2006. The retired hurricane names from 2005 include Katrina and Rita. The Federal disaster declaration death tolls for Katrina and Rita are 1,836 and 120 respectively, with less than 1,000 still missing... numbers that are vehemetly disputed by survivors of Katrina and Rita. According to the hurricane forecasting team at Colorado State University, 15 named hurricanes are expected in the Atlantic this year, with 8 expected to become hurricanes, and with 4 of the 8 expected to become major hurricanes. Please remember that it only takes one hurricane to strike where you are and your life can be changed forever. Plan now for hurricane season so that you and your family can enjoy the rest of the summer knowing that you will be safe even if the worst should happen.
Just a Reminder...
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