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Yucatan News – Semana Santa in Merida

News Starting March 29

A New Hotel (Pet) in Merida!Pet Hotel in Merida Yucatan
This is just the most marvelous news and has been long awaited by everyone in the area! Hospedaje Cannio JR has just opened in Santa Getrudis Copo, near Periferico Norte. They have 11 rooms, a staff to care for your dogs to your specifications, i.e. walking times, feeding, etc. – and they will board your dog from one day to as many days as you need. The fee is $150 pesos per day. We haven’t checked it out personally ourselves, but we’d be interested to hear from anyone who does.
Address: Calle 8 #276 x 7-B y 9-A (behind the restaurant El Truck)
Phone: 925-4610 after 2:00 PM, 9995-75-33-18 around the clock, or e-mail: von_der_jr [at] yahoo [dot] com

Easter Visitors to Progreso
On the Sunday before Holy Week even began, there were 10,000 visitors to the beach at Progreso. Multiply that by ten and add a few and you will have some idea of what the beach was like last weekend and will be like next weekend, the main two weekends of Semana Santa (Easter Week). That having been said, what you will find there will be a great group of people, with none of the need for constant, paranoid vigilance necessary in some other holiday destinations. Instead, there will be non-stop family fun and admonitions from the police only to please be careful and please do not drive while under the influence of alcohol. Speeding on the water has already caused a couple of accidents, so the same rules apply on the water. Since the police will be out in force (on and off of the water) throughout the holidays, we expect everyone to have a wonderful time with few emergencies anywhere in our state! Note: The police are not waiting for problems to arise on this holiday weekend. They have already closed down at least a dozen bars and arrested anyone who is even remotely connected with drugs or prostitution, so all really is well on the beaches of Yucatan. Working Gringos Note: For those of us “stuck” behind in Merida, this is a great week to walk around and enjoy the relative quiet and emptiness of the city!

Jellyfish InstructionsJellyfish on Yucatan Coast
It appears that jellyfish have been found along our coast recently. This is not good news, since hundreds of thousands of vacationers will be along the beaches of Yucatan throughout the Easter vacation. To lessen the impact of potential accidents, the Armada has issued instructions for what to do if you find a jellyfish or if you are stung by one.

  • Do not touch a jellyfish, even if you think it is dead. The “sting” can happen for up to 24 hours after the animal is dead.
  • Do not try to wash it off with ammonia or scrape it off with sand. Both serve only to irritate the skin.
  • You can wash the area with sea water, but not with fresh water, since the change in salinity has the potential to activate more jellyfish stinging cells.
  • Remove the pieces of the jellyfish with tweezers or forceps, being careful not to touch it with your hands.
  • Apply ice but, again, make sure you do not touch it with your hands.
  • If you begin to suffer from nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps or headaches, go to the hospital immediately.

Mexico CruiseMexican Cruise Route
We have become so used to cruise passengers going “to” Mexico that just reading the term “Mexico Cruise” causes us to assume that this is yet another cruise headed for our shores. Not so! This past week saw the maiden voyage of the Pacific Dream, whose 1,256 passengers were 20% Spanish and 80% Mexican. 450 of those passengers are Yucatecos. In fact, the very first person to purchase a ticket for this cruse was Erosa Adelina Perez, a Yucateca who is cruising with her niece. Since she will be celebrating her 96th birthday on the cruise, she got a birthday present from the cruise line Pullmantur Mexico. The chaplain of the cruise is a priest in Mexico City, but is none other than Jose Juan Chan, born and raised in Merida.
We also learned from this blog that Spanish will be the first language spoken on this Spanish-owned ship, and that passengers do NOT need United States visas, as it will not be visiting any US territories.

A New Airport for Riviera Maya – Finally!
No more tabled plans! It has been reported that the new airport, which will begin the bidding process soon, will cost approximately $255 million dollars to build and will be the first airport in Mexico built completely with private funds. It will be located about 130 km south of the Cancun airport and will handle approximately 3 million passengers per year. The project was slated for 2009, but the global economic crisis put it on hold. Since Mexico’s economy is recovering quite nicely, it is time to move ahead with this airport, which has been expected by property owners and businesses in the area for quite a long time.

Southern Yucatan: On the GrowOxkutzcab Yucatan
Several months ago, Oxkutzcab, the orange capital of Yucatan, got a new Bodega Aurrera (owned by Wal-Mart. Soon, it will also have a new Soriana. Since 1991, the local supermarket chain called Tiendas Heidi, has put in over 40 locations in that area and is now spreading to adjacent municipalities. They have also branched out into the wholesale business with Bodegas Heidi and then into the haberdashery and fabrics market with Heidi Station.
Over the course of the past few years, the southern part of the State of Yucatan has benefited greatly from the matching remittance programs, so it is thanks, in large part, to the immigrants to the U.S. that this area began to grow. The people themselves have used their resources wisely and are taking it from there.
There are approximately 27,000 people living in the City of Oxkutzcab proper, and there are more than 12,000 people from the City of Oxkutzcab living and working in San Francisco, CA. Their dream for the southern part of the State of Yucatan is coming true and, in spite of the global economic concerns of 2009, this area has continued a steady growth, with new businesses, new homes and new jobs.

Valladolid’s Easter Tourist Guides
We often write about new programs that are to begin sometime in the future. It is always such a pleasure for the future to arrive and to see the end of the story unfold. Beginning this week, 10 students from the Universidad de Oriente, dressed in their new beige jackets, will be working with police and the Ministries of Culture and Tourism in Valladolid, to ensure that visitors to their fair city have the best experience possible.
They will work in teams of 2, seven days a week, from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. They will be stationed at cenotes, in parks, at colonial churches and municipal buildings. After the holidays, they will continue to work on weekends, when there are the greatest number of tourists at hotels and visiting the city. There are several groups of young people, throughout the state, working hard on their language and tourism skills. Yucatan is proud of them all and we hope every visitor gets an opportunity to experience the real Yucatan along with one of these well-trained young guides.

New Events Calendar Launched in Belize
This past week, we were pleased to be informed about the opening of a brand new online events calendar for Belize. The calendar can be found on the tacogirl.com website. Lots of folks would love to go to Belize to visit, but just didn’t know when was the best time to plan a trip. We will be including a link to the calendar on our links page and will check it often ourselves so that we can let you know when something big is happening in Belize. Congratulations to AmbergrisVacations.com – our new events experts for San Pedro and beyond.

Chapingo University Recruiting in Yucatan
The University of Chapingo is located in the State of Mexico. Each year, they search the nation for the poorest of students in the most remote villages to give them an opportunity to test for scholarships. They were in the southern and eastern areas of Yucatan last week. This latest round of scholarship recruiting ended on March 22, but the university is asking that, if anyone knows of a student who would like to study at the University of Chapingo, please have them go to their website, http://www.chapingo.mx where they can find the necessary forms to apply for both regular admission and scholarships.

Judges Panel for the 2010 Expat Youth Scholarship Scholarship for Expat Youht
Clements International is providing $10,000 USD in scholarship money to be divided between six expat youths. The judges for this program have been announced and include: Kimberly Van Cleave Michaels, Executive Director – Families in Global Transition (FIGT), Jo Parfitt, Journalist, Teacher, Editor, Publisher & Mentor – Joparfitt.com, Alyson Rose-Wood, 2009-2011 Presidential Management Fellow with the National Institutes of Health, Foreign Service Youth Foundation Board of Directors, Former expat youth, and Rosemary Whitecraft, AFS Intercultural Programs Thailand, Writer & Teacher. The deadline for applying for these scholarships is May 13, 2010. Applicationa and more information can be found on the Expat Youth Scholarship website.

Reviving Ancient Ball GamesReviving Ancient Ball Games in Mexico
There is a new interest in traditional Mexican games. In Mexico City, a new sports center for pre-Hispanic games is being built. The Mexican Sports Administration is getting involved too, printing up rules for some of the games. There is a general concern among those who are interested in this subject that the knowledge of over 150 pre-Hispanic games may soon be lost completely if they are not revived.
This is not just about sports, either. Ballgames hold a particular significance for the Mexican culture because, as the story is told, the gods of the underworld challenged the first two humans to a ballgame. Spoiler alert! The humans lost and were killed, but were reincarnated as the Sun and the Moon.
Pre-Hispanic ball courts abound all over Mexico; certainly we are familiar with them here in the Yucatan. Now, some of the games are being played again, including one where the ball is set on fire. Many of the games involve quite a bit of risk, and usually result in injuries of some sort. Pelota purépecha, a game where the ball is set on fire, is the most popular of these nowadays, with over 800 players nationwide. Look for more games and more interest in them to be in the news in the coming years. Read more about this in this news article.

Chichen Itza Sold
It was announced this week that the Barbachano Family, represented by Hans Jurgen Thies Barbachano, finally has sold land that they have owned since it was given to their ancestor, Fernando Barbachano Peon, by the archaeologist Edward Thompson back in 1935. The Estate government of Yucatan purchased it from the family for $230 million pesos to be paid out over the next fifteen years. Chichen Itza now joins many similarly famous archaeological zones, such as Palenque, Tulum, Teotihuacan, as a government-owned property. According to the stories here and here in the Diario de Yucatan, the government will now start a project for sustainable development and conservation. We fervently hope that development will include improving the lives of the local populace, without any negative impact on the local flora and fauna. We’re hoping that the Chichen Itza pictured in this video is NOT what they have in mind.


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12 Responses to “Yucatan News – Semana Santa in Merida”

  1. Amazing…how can much smaller Oxkutzcab get a Bodega Aurrera and not much much bigger Valladolid which is at least 3+ larger – not counting all the people from the surrounding villages who come to Valladolid to shop!?!?!?!?

  2. INteresting….even going on to the Pullmantur Cruises website and keying in cruises woth the Pacific Dream ship they do NOT show any info at all on the new Mexico to Mexico cruises. Has anyone else been able to find out more info: dates, prices. etc?

  3. The article is very interesting and useful. One correction please, Semana Santa is not Easter Week, Holy Week is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday, and lasts from Palm Sunday until but not including Easter Sunday, as Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season. It commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

    Thank you

  4. Great blurb about the Chitzen Itza sale! I was amazed when I first heard years ago that it wasn’t a meixcan national monument. Kudos to the Barbachanos for working so many years to reach an agreement!

  5. Oh, my God, that video…! Is that Yucatan or Disnelyland?
    It is ridiculous!
    Please, save Chichen Itza!!

  6. Big congrats on the article in the Diario today! I swung by and I’ve got to say, very nicely done!

  7. Thanks, Scott! In case the rest of you don’t know what he’s talking about, the Working Gringos, their dog URL and the mural on the front of our house were all in an article in the local paper, the Diario, today:

    http://www.yucatan.com.mx/noticia.asp?cx=11$1310000000$4274712&f=20100401

  8. Wow, what a great story. We never have enough time to discuss history. Maybe a couple history stories on YL would help give some perspective on today’s life there? {wink wink}

  9. John,

    Oxkutzcab is not only the center of “the orchard of the state,” it is also a destination for produce buyers from both Mexico and foreign countries. Add all of the scientists and researchers who work on every topic from Mayan history to saving endangered species, and from remodeling Colonial churches throughout the region to training emergency personnel to work at the cenotes; plus reforestation, agriculture, and branches of several universities… and you have quite a few folks now living within easy reach of Oxkutzcab. I think people would be surprised at just how many people actually live out there.

    Re: Pacific Dream Tickets
    Tickets for the Pacific Dream cruise can be purchased from the Carmen Travel Service in Plaza Fiesta. While that is the only place we know about, we are sure that there are other travel agencies that handle bookings for this cruise.

  10. Finally had the chance to sit still and watch that video (last link above).

    Oh my word! What on earth are they thinking? All of that “proposal” is just obscene. Golfing among the ruins? There are countless areas still remaining to be explored, but golfing wouldn’t be what archeologists have in mind. And those hotels and artificial beaches?

    If they build anything like that, it will violate the sense of the site as an ancient temple ground and make it into an amusement park — one which will not be visited = another White Elephant.

    Surely the government has some historians, sociologists, ecologists and archeologists in their employ who do not believe this is a good idea.

  11. Workings gringos, loved the picture of you and your URL in front of the mural. Tha mural is rockin.

  12. John, we booked for Pacific dream at Travel Club Mexico near the Altabrisa mall. The cruise leaves from Progreso on a Friday.

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