News starting March 09, 2009.
They’re Gaining On Us!
Our regular readers may recall that we were nominated for the Best Expat Blog by the Lonely Planet recently… and we were in second place until about 24 hours ago. Now there are two other entrants ahead of Yucatan Living… and being the competitive spirits that we are, we don’t especially like that! Do you have friends on the Internet? Of course you do! Would you please email them this link and ask them to vote for us? We would be eternally grateful. We’ve already gotten our mother’s brother’s daughter’s boyfriend’s niece and everyone in between to vote… so now we’re counting on you, our loyal readers. Click here to vote!
Too Many Gringos?
As more and more Americans move to Mexico, the first signs of potential problems are beginning to appear. We’ve read that some Mexicans resent the private, gated communities that are turning up on and near their beaches. Others resent Americans who bring enough dollars into their communities to price the Mexicans out of their own neighborhoods. Some fear loss of culture and language. We’ve heard these rumblings even here in the Yucatan. We and almost every expat we know in Yucatan do our best to be contributing members of society in our adopted state. We do not want to Americanize Yucatan… in fact, most of us moved here because we felt that Merida was not and could never be Americanized. We only want to do our part, as good citizens, to help our adopted state in any way we can. We hope that Americans coming to Mexico will think twice before attempting to turn their new homes into "Little Americas." After all, if that is what they wanted, they probably should have stayed at home. At least here in Yucatan, we’re pretty sure there is no cause for worry… those who do not fully appreciate Mexico will not thrive here and will head home, usually within a year – leaving this wonderland to Mexicans and to the expats who love her.
Mexico: Supreme Quality Label
Mexico’s exportation of pork, beef and produce to the Japanese market has helped to bring about even stronger organic agricultural practices in Mexico than ever before. Japan imports a significant amount of its food and 80% of the Mexican products that go to Japan now carry the Mexico Suprema Quality label. Japanese imports have also helped Mexico to become internationally known as the producer of the best mangos in the world. This is wonderful news for our producers in Yucatan and we are proud to say that Yucateco producers were early supporters of organic farming, so it is wonderful to see their efforts rewarded. Read the press release here.
Mexico Assumes Presidency of Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism in the Organization of American States for 2009 – 2010.
During its tenure as President of this committee, Mexico will lead the member nations in their efforts to prevent and fight terrorism, particularly through programs that will increase security in customs, ports, and airports, as well as in tourist and recreational facilities. The committee will also design and coordinate cooperative strategies for fighting cyber-crime, and reinforce mechanisms to prevent the falsification of documents. Mexico will also lead the OAS in the development of anti-terrorism laws that are homogeneous throughout the member nations, in the establishment of a network of information exchange concerning the cross-border movements of assets and, in particular, in the development of new ways to fortify border controls necessary to combat arms traffic. Congratulations to Mexico on the occasion of their assuming this important international position. We are certain they will have a productive and successful tenure. Read the press release here.
New Tourism Projects Funded
As of this past week, the National Secretary of Tourism will have already given each state $2,200,000 pesos to develop tourist projects. In combination with the $3,200,000 peso contribution from state governments, the future looks brighter than ever for the tourism industry in Mexico. We are pleased to report that, in spite of outrageously negative Mexico bashing, tourism continues to grow in Mexico as visitors from other nations come in search of safe and affordable vacation options during this time of global economic stress. Read the press release here.
Chicza (gum) Goes On Sale in London
Not too long ago, we reported on the renewed interest in chewing gum made from the chicle (Sapodilla) trees found on the Yucatan Peninsula. Over 50 Mayan communities have come together to produce the organic gum branded as Chicza, which goes on sale this month in London and, later, throughout Europe. The three basic flavors are red fruit, orange, and cinnamon. This is also a product in high demand in Korea and Japan. Who would ever have guessed that chicle gum would make its comeback not only as an organic product, but also as a huge saver of taxpayer dollars because of its biodegradability on city streets? We are thrilled to see this and other organic products of Yucatan making their way to success on the world stage.
A South African Eats in Yucatan
Brent Meersman is a South African restaurant critic who visited Mexico and was, evidently, determined to fast the entire time he was in the country because he doesn’t particularly care for Tex-Mex food and assumed that is what he would get here. He soon learned that, the farther one goes from the border, the less Tex-Mex-ish the food becomes. He had a wonderful experience in Yucatan (read about it here) and went home to review Tex-Mex restaurants in South Africa with his new-found views. He says: "Don’t let Tex-Mex put you off visiting Mexico. The Yucatan has some of the finest cuisine of the Americas." Our sentiments exactly!!!
Purple Martins Ride the Wind
According to its geolocator, one purple martin made it 7,000 km, from Brazil to North America, in less than 2 weeks! They tend to ride the wind for an average of about 500 km per day! Since purple martins like to stop for extended periods in Yucatan, and since they are well known for their mosquito-eating habits, we suggest that lots of bird feeders in the Spring might be one tool we can use to stave off spikes in the incidence of dengue fever later in the summer.
Yucatan Insider is Up and Running
Merida Insider has been reborn as Yucatan Insider. For now, you can go to Merida Insider at Joomla and re-register and/or you can go straight to Yucatan Insider and register there. You can use the same login information at both sites. Remember that both sites are currently in development, but we should have most, if not all, of the old information back eventually. This is great news because all of us used Merida Insider as a trusted resource for information about specific issues related to living in Merida and Yucatan. Thanks Bob!
60 or Older? Get Your INAPAM Card Now!
With Yucatan Insider back up, the first article we get is from Calman, who gives us detailed information about how to get our Senior Citizen Discount Cards (INAPAM). If you read our Events column, you know how valuable this can be, but don’t forget that this card also entitles you to discounts of between 5% and 30% at over 450 participating merchants (including doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, Wal-Mart, and even attorneys and notaries)! Thanks Calman!
Name that Expat Category!
Sometimes, we see words made up by expats (and others) that are just plain fun to say. For example, what does one call an individual who holds dual citizenship in both Canada and Mexico? Carlos Rosado, a local photographer and photography teacher, invented his own word for his "nationality." He is a Canexican! We often hear the term Mexpat, but wonder if our readers can come up with something to describe themselves that is as creative as Carlos Rosado’s Canexican? If you can think of a descriptive term for your own expat category, leave it in the comments. We would love to hear it! In the meantime, Carlos Rosado is teaching a digital photography workshop for beginners and intermediates. Read about it and register on his blog.
Merida: A Late Night Driving Risk
No – not "bandidos"… but we do have a late night driving risk on the Merida end of the Merida-Progreso Highway. It seems that, after the bars close (2:00 AM), young people have taken up informal drag racing in the area around the beginning of the Merida to Progreso Highway. If you are out late at night, or if you come to the city for an event that lasts that late, please be careful going through this area until the police can get this situation under control. So far, we know of no one getting hurt, but better safe than sorry.
Spring Break Recommendation from "On The Border" Expats
This week, our reporter, Khaki, had the opportunity to visit with a number of Winter Texans and expats on the border in Brownsville and Matamoros. They too are plagued with e-mails asking if Spring Break is safe in Mexico. They too are livid at the current level of unfounded Mexico bashing. One nice, quiet, little gray-haired lady suggested that Americans keep their "little darlings" out of Mexico for Spring Break this year and send them, instead, to the fundamentalist heartland of their own country. She suggested Memphis and everyone in the room burst into laughter. Our reporter felt out of the loop on information about U.S. destinations, so she Googled Memphis and crime, then Memphis and gangs. Imagine her shock to learn that Memphis is the second most dangerous place in the U.S. and that Atlanta is now home to some serious drug cartels. Dare we suggest that perhaps it is actually safer to send your sons and daughters south of the border to the Yucatan.