Yucatan News: Sandals and Sports
No New Parks to Get Free Internet Services
Merida has a total of 569 parks and 66 of those parks provide free WIFI internet service to 80,000 user,s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. In anybody’s book, that’s a whole lot of taxpayer dollars. The expense of maintaining the connections has reached the point where it is not economically feasible to continue adding parks to the free internet service. The parks that now have free service will continue to be supported, but no new parks will be added. Even so, this still means that 80,000 people – daily – now have access to the world in ways they never dreamed of... all thanks to the City of Merida. And with a new government about to take over, who knows what will happen? If something does, we'll let you know!
Here Come the Tourists!
Tourism is such an odd duck in Yucatan. It’s more like a leopard that changes its spots throughout the year. Yucatan has Spring and Fall cultural festivals, a huge state fair, and all the Carnival festivities one can imagine. Yucatan also has the Symphony and any professional sport you can imagine, with huge numbers of international competitions right here in Merida and, increasingly, in Progreso and other cities in the state. Jazz? We’ve got it! Classical ballet? We’ve got that too. But don’t forget the end of the Maya long-count calendar. Right now, domestic tourism is all focused on summer vacation at the beach. When that’s over, all eyes will turn to Yucatan as we move closer to December 21. Where will you be when the 52 million expected tourists will be in Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, and Quintana Roo? We hope everyone has the opportunity to say they were right here in Yucatan on one of the most important days in history! And we're hoping that we're still all here days later to talk about it...
More Emphasis on Sports in Yucatan
This week, we were so glad to hear that the newly elected Governor of Yucatan will not only be supporting the development of sports throughout the state, but will be focusing on sports that are popular with children and young people, and sports that are appropriate for older women as well. The epicenter for all of this planning will be the big sports complex Kukulcan, which has, among other things, an Olympic swimming pool, 6 tennis courts, 10 basketball courts, 10 volleyball courts, 2 football fields, 1 soccer field, 1 baseball field and much more. This, along with new laws against bullying and in-school programs to teach children more appropriate methods for solving disputes, gives us confidence that Yucatan will continue to survive and thrive in a world that sometimes seems to have lost its way. Now, what inquiring minds really want to know is… just what sports does the new administration think are appropriate for older women? To keep up with the latest in Sports in Yucatan, you can always visit the website of the government agency responsible for this sort of thing: IDEY.
How to Know When to Go
We often get questions related to when is the best time to come to Yucatan. The answer totally depends on your own interests and why you want to come. Some people come for the excitement of city life, some for the tranquility of the beach, and many come to shop! As we scanned local newspapers this week, we noticed that Ticul, in its latest incarnation, is going to be 145 years old next week! Then, we saw the magic words: fair, vendors, and cultural events. We hurried to mark our calendar for the third weekend in July with a note about the Anniversary of the City of Ticul, and we marked it as a recurring event, year after year, and made a little note to ourselves that says “Pottery and handicrafts.” You can easily build your own calendar by simply keeping an eye on the news and on our events listings that are published weekly (on Mondays) and on the Events Calendar. Because, if you don’t read Spanish or simply don’t want to fool with keeping a calendar, Yucatan Living has been keeping one for you for years. In the meantime, if you are looking for pottery, the good news is that they will be having the best of the best, in sidewalk sales, right in the heart of Ticul next weekend.
Sandals: $50 to $70 pesos This Year!
The shoemakers of the Municipality of Hunucma have survived and are doing well. This month, they are busy making slippers and sandals for women and school shoes that need to be ready for back to school sales. They market their products in Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Valladolid, and even in small shops at home in Hunucma. If you are in the market for a new pair of sandals, sale prices will be great during summer vacation. All you need to do is make certain that the products you purchase were made right here at home in Yucatan. If you are a tourist and take a tour out to Celestun or Sisal, please do stop and shop along the way. You’ll be glad you did.
Good News at the Dog Pound in Merida
We had heard rumors of changes at the perrera, the dog pound in Merida. So we sat down with Lidia, the tirelessly dedicated woman who runs AFAD. She told us that a few months ago, some bad news had come out about abuses and horrible conditions at the city-run dog pound. She and others who run Evolución and other dog rescue centers here and at the beach sat down with the Secretary of Health for the city of Merida. He professed ignorance of the bad situations but allowed them to visit the perrera that day with him. When they went to the pound, the accused abusers had all already been fired. There were only four dogs there, but they were quite sick. The Secretary of Health was convinced that a well-run and humane dog pound is best for the health and welfare of the entire city, and he proceeded to hire a young veterinarian to manage the perrera. Her name is Juliana Cahero, and she is a graduate of the local veterinary school here in Merida. She is now working with AFAD and Evolución and others to keep the perrera clean, keep the dogs healthy and begin adoption services. Also, the city and the independent organizations have started an advertising campaign throughout the city with the tag line "I would do it for you". The campaign is promoting sterilization and adoption. We are thrilled to see this turn of events in Merida and hope against hope that the new municipal administration will see fit to continue to keep a vet at the perrera, as well as continue all the other great campaigns they are doing. When the companion animals are treated well and are healthy, the human population is healthier and happier too! You can always see the websites of AFAD and Evolución easily, as they are linked from the right side of every page in Yucatan Living.
While we are on the subject, Lidia said they are also working hard and campaigning to get Yucatecans to adopt dogs instead of buying them, and to value mestizos (mutts or mixed breeds), instead of only wanting purebred dogs. We encourage anyone to check out the dogs for adoption at AFAD or Evolución before buying a dog. So many good and beautiful dogs need homes! As an example of just how beautiful a street dog can be, we are attaching the photo of URL, adopted dog of Working Gringos, who is a great example of just how beautiful a callejero (street dog) can be with enough food, care and love!
Two Walks a Month Scheduled for Merida
It looks as if health and wellness are high up on the list of priorities for the new national administration in Mexico. Local participation in these programs recently included a 3 kilometer walk from Plaza Grande to the Monumento a la Patria in Merida. Walkers were taught to spend at least five minutes doing warm-up exercises and encouraged to keep practicing until they can participate in run-walks and outright runs. These events are expected to take place at least twice a month, beginning August 5, 2012, so do keep an eye out for announcements. We cannot resist asking the obvious question: If 10 expats start walking from the Plaza Grande to the Monumento de la Patria, (First) How many will arrive at their destination? And (Second) Where will the missing be found? We think we know!
Is it Breathalyzer Season Yet?
That sure is a long, straight, ribbon of highway between Merida and Progreso, and summer vacation has begun. People at the beach long for shows, romantic restaurants, and shopping for things they need. People in the city are ready for the tranquility of the sea. Unfortunately, some are ready for behaving badly both in the city and at the beach. For several years now, the police have set up breathalyzer stations because of the huge increase in traffic all over the state, but especially on the highway from Merida to Progreso. In the first place, no one should be so irresponsible as to drink and drive, and all expats should double check that they have all of their documentation for themselves and their vehicles before even getting behind the wheel. Finally, do wait your turn patiently. Being stopped takes a few minutes of your time. The alternative is not something anyone would want to consider. In case anyone is wondering what the DUI fines are like, they can be as high as $6,400 pesos. We would also remind readers that alcohol and the sea do not mix. There has already been at least one incident, in Quintana Roo, when a 38 year old man who had been drinking that morning walked into the sea and drowned.
Illegal Logging Continues in Campeche
Every day now, Yucatecans are learning to be better stewards of the land they control. It is heartbreaking to hear that in Campeche, illegal logging of precious woods has reached not only across the state, but into the Calakmul Biosphere. Today, thousands of hectares in that biosphere can no longer be defined as a virgin forest. It is particularly difficult to police the mountains where the logging takes place, but the result is all too obvious when, year after year, storms bring mudslides and floods, and the people who live there lose their lives due to a damaged environment. Before you purchase anything made of wood, please be certain where that wood was harvested. This is one place where everyone can fight back against environmental destruction by not purchasing questionable products.
Avian Flu: Checking Birds Once; Checking Birds Twice
As chickens, turkeys and eggs continue arriving in the Central Supply Center in Merida, the State Secretary of Agriculture is ensuring that no birds or eggs come from an infected country or state. They are kept away from all other products and handled with the utmost care.
Still, although he assures the people that these birds and eggs are quite safe to eat, he still suggests that we buy local when we can. He also warns local producers that just because Yucatan’s chickens, turkeys and eggs are known to be safe to eat, that is not an excuse to raise prices. Food safety has come a long way in Yucatan and, for this, we are deeply appreciative.
Port Police Receive Huge Raise – Finally!
Imagine being a port policeman or policewoman, with hundreds of thousands of people depending on you for their safety each week and very few realizing that what you do is actually work. Now, imagine being paid a salary of approximately $2,400 pesos per month. Before you gasp for air, imagine getting a raise that brings you – immediately – up to $6,000 pesos per month, with the opportunity to continue your education and do much better in the future! This has just happened to 118 port police employees in Progreso. Our congratulations to them for finally receiving the pay they have worked so hard to earn.