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Yucatan News: Spring Break Tourism


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 Gringos in Merida,Yucatanproblems 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.Mexico Against Terrorism
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 LondonChicza, Organic Gum from Yucatan
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 in YucatanPurple 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!INAPAM ID
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 Carlos Rosado, Photographerwho 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" ExpatsSpring Break, Yucatan
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.

 


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8 Responses to “Yucatan News: Spring Break Tourism”

  1. To Many Gringos:

    I agree in principal to what you are hearing from some Mexicans and that is exactly why we chose the Yucatan and not one of the 40,000 plus American ex-pat colonies near Guadalajara!

    We love it in Valladolid as you can count the Americans living here on two hands and that is how we like it. Why do so many Americans when they move to another country feel required to recreate a “little America” where they live? If they want everything just like back home- maybe they should return to the USA!

    Also as expats in Mexico I believe we have an obligation to blend in with the society and the community we live in – and also take an active role in helping with community activities and doing some reasonable amount of charity outreach activities. This also allows people from the community to get to know us as individuals and to understand we chose to live in Mexico because we appreciate what makes Mexico Mexican!

  2. Guys, I was in Merida Jan. and Nov. of ‘ 08. I felt in love with the city and its people. My wife and I walk through the city without anybody bothering us. I sadly see the press putting the crime and terrorism in the front pages of American newspapers. I ask myself have they not looked at our own neighborhood in the states? I felt safer in Merida than I feel in Orlando. Today there have been two bank robberies, one abduction in a hotel, and two robberies in an eatery in this city.

  3. First my compliments on your site. I love your photography. I like the care and sensitivity in which you prepare your thoughts. I have spent most of my career in Latin America working for fortune 50 companies. I am a Mexican and a American Citizen. I have lived in Mexico City, Ojai California, Bogota Colombia, Santiago Chile, Porto Alegre Brazil. I speak 5 languages. I am of Uto-Aztecan decent and it makes me proud as a Native American when other cultures take such interest and respect in our culture. However at times good meaning people do not want change to come to our culture.
    Do not get me wrong the gated communities, with their patronizing tone, I need a Wallmart on every corner to be happy upsets me as much as you and many of your readers. As a Mexica we are a continously changing and evolving society. We are not some sort of Cultural Smithsonian Museum piece as the ancestrial skeletons of my fellow Native Americans are to the north. Our culture has been in continuous transition since the Olmecs. We have fought and married between tribes, we struggled against European invaders, and now the southern migration of European Americans and Canadians and through all this somehow we have survived. You see our three most enduring qualities love, patience, and and a deep sense of spirit have been and continue to be the most important reason why as a people we continue to endure . In closing I want to thank you for doing such a great job of spreading the love. You truly understand what makes our culture special. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Abrazo fuerte mi amigo

  4. Juan-Manuel,

    We are humbled by your compliments. And pleased to make the acquaintance of such a well-traveled, thoughtful reader, not to mention green with envy at your ability to speak five languages!

    And we are, as you can tell, grateful for the spirit of the Mexican people and their ability and willingness to endure, thrive and be a cultural beacon to the rest of the world.

    Muchas gracias.

  5. Mi estimado amigo,
    Thank you for all the kind words. You did make me realize though by seeing it in print None of the five languages is my native language of Nauhtl. I know in certain circles in Mexico there is a concern about losing our language. However, first we lost our language when the Spanish arrived. Though as you well know Mexico continues to be a country of a diversity of native languages. Also English has become the international business and technology language and as Mexico continues to evolve and be part of the global economy, English will continue to become more part of our daily lives. Rather than being overly concern about language I would rather us focus on the kindness and respect we show one another.

  6. I guess the U.S. citizens want the inexpensive life of Mexico, yet, also want the familiararity of fellow U.S. companions. It’s sad that the U.S. folks want to gate themselves away. I tried very much to blend in the community when I lived in Merida. Even in the U.S. there are groups who seperate themselves. In California and New York, there is Chinatown. In Miami Florida, there is little Havana. In the eastern U.S., there is the Amish Community. In Hollywood California, there is the gated rich stars. In Minnisota, there is an Islamic Community. Even in the U.S. there are people who gate themselves away from the rest. I left Merida after 2 years, for health and economic reasons. I would love to stay there until death. As a Native Texan or TexMex, I take great pride in my Mexican Culture. I often joked with the local Yucatecos that I was from the forgotten state of Mexico, Tejas. Thank you Working Gringos for your love of the land and it’s people. :-)

  7. CDG said: “I guess the U.S. citizens want the inexpensive life of Mexico, yet, also want the familiararity of fellow U.S. companions.”

    I don’t know that that is necessarily true. There are US citizens of all types living in Mexico. A number live in enclaves of other gringos. And many blend in as much as possible, living among their Mexican neighbors, learning the language and enjoying life without seeing their adopted country as something to be separated from by artificial barriers.

    Those who develop real relationships with their neighbors have fuller life. Those who learn Spanish understand more of what is going on around them. Most likely, people who want to live separately — for whatever reason in whatever location — want to do that regardless of the nation or city in which they live. Those who wish to intermingle, wish to do so wherever they are…. most likely.

  8. I’ll give YL readers a personal example of a person who separated from the locals. In 2005, while me and my wife (100% Yucateca) were in the WalMart on Paseo de Montejo, we overheard a man behind us, complaining about the meat prices in English. Come to find out, this was a Canadian man who also had a Yucatecan wife. He asked me if I knew where any English speaking community was in Merida. He did not know español; he relied upon his wife as a translator. I told him that I was trying to blend in with the people, and I did not know any areas in Merida where English speaking people were in their own community.

    Hopefully this Canadian man was in the minority in wanting to seek out only English speakers and not learn español. I gained the respect of bus drivers, shopkeepers, and others for my attempt to blend in. I praise others who do the same.

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