Restoring Coastal Dunes
After an enjoyable evening of helping a friend (and soon to be Yucatan coastal resident) use PROFEPA’s beach plant list to look up photos of recommended plants, we had a great news short for today’s weekly column and then, on the last palm, the sky opened up and it rained down an entirely new consideration: migratory birds and dune repairing plant architecture! We found a published research project on this topic, complete with what to plant (green or flowering), where to plant it – and why. The best part of this story is that the entire research project was done right here in Yucatan, so it is absolutely relevant for our own beach community. Coming soon, we’re going to create a separate article on this subject and post the original PROFEPA list, along with links to pictures, and a link to the pdf copy of the Scale Dependent Habitat research at University of California. If we know our seaside expats and Yucateco coastal friends, Yucatan’s next big attraction will be the best ecologically restored and landscaped beaches in the world!
Fund Chichen Itza “Like Cancun”???
There is no concept quite so chilling to Yucatan’s expats as the prospect of any part of this state being swallowed up by superficial glitz and glamour in an effort to become the same type of tourist destination found in other places on the peninsula. Yet, that seems to be a growing river of intent that runs through all levels of the tourism industry and other powers that be. Admittedly, there are mind boggling numbers of tourist dollars that can be brought to Yucatan through tourism. However, we remain hopeful that past errors made by other states can be avoided, and that the society and environment that brought us all here will be preserved and strengthened. If those errors are not avoided, then Yucatan too runs the risk of soon being abandoned for some new, less spoiled destination. To keep up with the latest in developments in and around Chichen Itza, visit our friends at American Egypt.
Tourism Industry: Magic of Mexico Wins 2008 Travel Award
We know that some of our readers are entering the travel industry and thought you might like to take advantage of the Magic of Mexico free and comprehensive online course for travel professionals. The course was developed by Destination Ventures and is offered by the Mexican Tourism Board. It has just won Travel Weekly’s Silver Magellan Award in the Online Travel Services/Trip Planning category. For more information, visit the Magic of Mexico website.
Mexico’s Economy Affected By Wall Street to Main Street Woes
Remittances and tourism are two of the biggest revenue generators in all of Mexico, so it is not surprising when the problems north of the border begin to “trickle down” to this nation as well. In the month of August alone, remittances from migrants to the U.S., fell by 12%. This is the largest decline in the 12 years that remittances have been tracked. Wall Street woes are also now hitting tourism rates and Mexico is bracing for only a 2.5% growth rate for 2008. If ever there was a reason for not putting all of one’s eggs in vulnerable baskets, this is it. Both remittances and tourism are dependent on the condition of the U.S. economy. It is at least encouraging to know that Yucatan’s emphasis on exports to the European Union, as well as developing tourism relationships with Europe, Latin America, and Asia should keep our state relatively stable in these strained economic times north of the border.
Tekax: Seems So Strange in the “Jungles of Yucatan”
For those who have never been to Tekax, this is the municipality that is as far south as one can go and still be in the State of Yucatan. It is bordered on the west by Campeche, and on the east by Quintana Roo. The border between Campeche and Quintana Roo runs due south from the southern “point” of the State of Yucatan to Guatemala. These are what is left of the true Mayan forests and jungles of Yucatan, complete with undiscovered and newly discovered pyramids. The people of Tekax work mostly in agriculture and raising cattle. Some are artisans in leather, jewelry, and hammock making. In many cases, the jungle extends into their towns and villages. …and yet… the news this week heralds the opening of a new 24 hr. gas station / convenience store that, on opening day, gave away $100 MXP in gasoline to the first 200 people who bought $100 MXP in gasoline. Isn’t this the same area that was recently complaining about high cell phone bills? What this does is teach us never to assume that we know anything about any population unless we have been there to see for ourselves. Tekax, which has a very long history as an important player in Mayan politics, is an extremely active area in which education and health care are two of the hottest topics around. Since access to public services is over 90% now, Tekax just might be the retirement home that country-minded folks are looking for. After all, there’s something to be said for living in the country but still having a 24 hr. gas station and convenience store in the neighborhood.
Overweight Comes With Success for Mexico
New data from Mexico City shows that Mexico is now on track to catch up with the U.S. as one of the world’s fattest nations within the next 10 years. At the present time, nearly 50% of Mexico’s 110 million people are overweight and the number of obese children has been climbing at 8% per year for the past decade. The good news is that Yucatan is 5 whole years ahead of Mexico in the fight against coronary disease, diabetes, and obesity. The Nutrition Department at UADY is celebrating its 5th Anniversary of the program called Nutre y Mueve tu Vida! If you are thinking of spending time in Yucatan, we suggest paying particular attention to healthy food and cooking by regularly visiting Theresa’s Cooking Blog. …and don’t forget Yucatan Living’s Classes page, where you can find an exercise class for anyone of any level of fitness. These resources and more make Yucatan destination number one on the world’s fitness and retirement hit parades.
New Mexican Consulate to be in New Brunswick, New Jersey
After a visit by the President of Mexico, it has been determined that the growing immigrant population in New Jersey, has reached sufficient numbers to necessitate the opening of a Mexican Consulate in New Brunswick. Local leaders are thrilled because 16% of the population of New Jersey is now of Hispanic origin. Many are looking forward to cross-border business opportunities that will be easily facilitated by having a Consulate nearby. We were particularly interested in this story because, for the first time, we see an Hispanic migrant community spoken of as “Mexican expats.” We have always wondered why Americans who choose to live in Mexico are called expats, but Mexicans who choose to live in the U.S. are called immigrants (or worse). Congratulations to the Mexican expats of New Jersey on finally getting their Mexican Consulate on the road to completion, as well on finally being given a label that is worthy of their contribution to their adopted communities!
Gustav and Ike Virtually Destroy U.S. Gulf Seafood Industry
Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have left the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shrimp and oyster fishermen in what looks much like a bombed out wasteland. In Galveston Bay alone, the seafood industry is a $100 million dollar player in the economy. This will surely drive up the price of Yucatan’s shrimp, but will do nothing toward saving the homes and economy in which the U.S.’s harvesters, processors, and restaurant workers live and work. The electricity may be on again along the Gulf Coast, but it will be a long time before these thousands upon thousands of workers are able to see the light again. Our hearts go out to them all, and especially to the migrants who are now stranded so far from home.
Mexican Police to Receive Home Loans
So far, Michoacán is the only state that has begun to offer low-cost housing loans and raises to police in an effort to retain employees and reduce corruption. We are very proud of our police in Yucatan, but have recently been made aware that some do not even make enough to buy their uniforms and shoes, especially in outlying towns and villages. We cannot imagine the hardships this must place on their families. The prospect of the Michoacán home loan program going nationwide is exciting news and we can hardly wait until the program reaches Yucatan. Congratulations to all of Mexico’s hard working police for taking on a job that often carries so little reward.
Manufacturing Jobs: To Asia and Back
We well remember when the great hue and cry went up (north of the border) when manufacturing jobs went to Asia. The same thing happened in Mexico. Then, we remember laughing (just a little) when jobs almost immediately began to return to all parts of Mexico from Asia. The problem, it seemed, was that many areas in Asia are not yet quite stable enough or skilled enough to handle many of the manufacturing processes, while Mexico is already both stable and has a population with excellent vocational educations. Today, transportation costs are soaring and it is simply too expensive to bring products to the U.S. from Asia. These facts are not lost on American, Mexican or Asian manufacturers. Today, many American companies seem finally to have hit on a solution. They are forming joint ventures with both Mexican and Asian companies that are building plants in Mexico. This allows them to keep parts of their operations in the U.S. and is a win/win situation for everyone concerned. Read more here and watch for more (and more successful) “globalization” in the future.
Can 7 Million Votes Win A U.S. Presidential Election?
You bet they can… just think "Florida." Did you know that there are approximately 7 million American, voting expats now? …and there may be many more than that. Think of how many expats live in other countries on temporary visitor’s visas. No one knows how many there could be – but we know this… that their votes count and that, this time, they will be voting. For more on this issue, read Americans Abroad: The Challenge of the Globalized Electorate. Thanks to our friend Lic. Roberto Camp for sending us the story in Diario de Juarez.
National Geographic and Yucatan
Do you read National Geographic Magazine Online? If not, you’re missing some of the best pictures and articles concerning our own state and peninsula! This week, it was quite a thrill to find a photo-essay and article on the feeding habits of sailfish at Isla Mujeres. We also found a great article and photo on the skeletons found in cenotes from the divers’ point of view. If you google National Geographic, you’ll get a search box where you can enter the names of towns, ruins, or even concepts associated with Yucatan. For example, the end of this National Geographic story, combined with the story of the rain god versus the feathered serpent (below) tend to give one cause to ponder the realities of an ancient people whose religious practices are a mystery to us. Our thanks to National Geographic Magazine Online for recognizing the importance of Yucatan and for bringing information about our area to the world.
Rain God Wins Third Battle With Feathered Serpent
Tourists have always come to Chichén Itzá, during the Spring and Fall Equinox, to see the shadow of the great god Kukulcán, the feathered serpent, appear on the side of the Great Pyramid. Since Chichén Itzá was named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, there have been three Equinox events. The first was in the Fall of 2007, when the rain god Chaac blocked the sun with a huge rain storm so that no one could see Kukulcán’s shadow. The second was in the Spring of 2008, when Chaac blocked the sun with clouds. Again, Kukulcán’s shadow could not be seen. Now, in the Fall of 2008, Chacc began a week-long rain storm with a spectacular lightening strike at Chichén Itzá. Kukulcán’s shadow was blocked throughout the entire Equinox. The next great battle will be in late March of 2009. Only then will we see who is victorious in the 4th Equinox since Chichén Itzá earned world fame as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
Cool Weather Comes To Early Morning in Yucatan
If you are not currently receiving Jim Conrad’s Naturalist Newsletter, you really must sign up today. This week, as we read through Mr. Conrad’s discussion of Yucatan’s ants and birds, we happened upon the fact that early morning temperatures recently fell to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. This heralds the beginning of winter and the need for sweat suits. Not that many years ago, Yucatan’s Snowbirds were told to bring “a couple of sweat suits” to get them comfortably through the 3 or 4 nortes that occur in the winter. Last year, an entire wardrobe of cool weather clothing was necessary to get through the over 40 of these cool waves! Of course, this doesn’t mean that one will freeze to death in the winter in Yucatan because we do actually have 4 very real seasons. The thing that is often so inconvenient is that all four seasons occur in each and every day! By the way, those of us who are acclimated to this climate begin to wail about freezing to death at approximately 70 degrees. Don’t like that keep you away… the weather really is quite fine!