News / Yucatan News: Turtles and Cucumbers

Yucatan News: Turtles and Cucumbers

Yucatan News: Turtles and Cucumbers

26 July 2010 News 5

News Starting July 26, 2010

Mayan San Francisco Gets Organized!

What a great new website! We have long known there is a growing Yucateco Mayan community in the San Francisco area and, every once in a while, we would get news that they were forming an association. Well – that day is here and they now have a hard working site where you can find out all about their cultural preservation, cultural promotion, and recreational activities; about their social and emergency support services; and about their community advocacy. This is a soup to nuts site. They have a Mayab baseball league, and Mayan language classes. You can hire a Mayan interpreter, or you can listen to the radio in Yucatan. You can even watch television from Yucatan! The Asociacion Mayab can also be viewed in English for those of us who have just begun our Mayan studies. We are so happy to have this positive face of the Maya and of Yucatan so well respected in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Yucatan! Where The Jobs Are!

Our friend, Mitch Keenan, is in the real estate business in Yucatan, so it is his job to know how many tens of millions of dollars have been invested in tourism in Yucatan in the past few years, along with how many billions of exports there have been and how many tens of millions of dollars have also been invested in real estate here. The list in his latest article is amazing and one really should read it to understand just what a great investment Yucatan really is. We found the article on a site called New Construction Jobs,which is one of the topics that really interests us because we want to know that all of this investment is doing something good for our adopted state. We were thrilled to read the following: Yucatan recorded an increase of 19,698 new jobs in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2008, and ranked as the fourth largest in the country with highest rate of movement in the labor market.  It is worth noting the progress of Yucatan’s economy, despite the national economic downturn. From the third quarter of 2007 to June of this year, the National Survey of Occupation and Employment INEGI registered a growth of 52,589 people employed. This is great news and we are very happy for the construction workers all over our state, and wish them more and better in the future!

Metaphysically Speaking… Merida Really Does Choose Her Own…

Well – you never know. That might actually be true! We used to routinely watch as Merida sought her own throughout the world and brought them here. Our Interviews will prove that more than a few expats have no idea how they made the decision to move to Yucatan. Of course that may make a statement about our expats, rather than a statement about our city and state. Nevertheless - Although its been a while since we ran across one of these situations, (in our defense, we really have been busy), we found a blog this week whose owner is Merida bound and may not be fully aware of it yet. The blog is Hole in the Donut Travels. The writer / backpacking traveler / photographer is Barbara Weibel and she is considering becoming a Snowbird in Yucatan. All you have to do is read about her life to know she will be wildly successful at anything she chooses to do in Yucatan! Her post and pictures on the goings on in the Plaza Grande had us laughing. Of course the article was great and the pictures even better, but we were thinking “Lady – you might as well start packing. You’re moving to Merida.” Do click on the links above and see what Barbara saw and experienced when she backpacked her way into our fair city.

Mixing It Up With Church and State

Whether some like it or not, religious groups and the various governments in Mexico work hand-in-hand to fund and administer many of the programs that not only save lives, but improve the quality of life throughout the nation. Along with that comes the realization of something we have all known forever – and that is: only a few people stand above the crowd and shoulder most of the burden for these programs year after year after year. In the case of Progreso, that person is a teacher at CETMAR. This means she will do three times the work and only get twice the pay, but she’s been doing it for years, so she will continue to serve the municipality she loves in whatever way she is asked to serve. Her day will now be split. She will teach, she will serve as a liaison between church agencies and local government, and she will help to develop new educational programs designed to support the kinds of jobs that are growing in the State of Yucatan. Religious groups and the government both have programs and they both have resources. A collaborative relationship is the only way to ensure that those precious resources are not wasted. Congratulations to Prof. Guadalupe Perez Palma. We hope she knows how much she is appreciated.

A Lovely Lady Emerges from the Past

Where do we come from? Who are we? Why do we do the things we do and think the way we think? Why do we have bits and pieces of other people’s cultures in our own? What happened in the mists of ancient time? A lady died in Quintana Roo, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and was buried in a cave that later became flooded as a network of underground rivers filled all of the cenotes and caves in the area. She was found and her body recovered by divers in 2002. Since then, work has proceeded on reconstructing her so that we can not only see the Woman of the Palms, but we can also at least make educated guesses about her ancestry. She is a short lady, just 5 feet tall, and weighed 128 pounds when she died. She had pretty features that resemble the features of the people of Indonesia. This in itself was a surprise, since it was believed that the first Asians to come here came from much farther north than Indonesia. At any rate, she was a lovely lady and we are lucky to have found her and to have a National Institute of Anthropology that recognizes her value to the history of the people of Mexico.

The Problem With Sea Cucumbers

The issues surrounding sea cucumbers are not all that complex. They are an endangered species, worldwide, but are popular as food in Asia. The problem here is that pulpo eat sea cucumbers and pulpo is Yucatan’s biggest seafood industry. Scientists say it will take less than a year and a half to completely wipe them out with no regulation. Then, no pulpo. Then, the economy of the coast simply tanks. We had a law against fishing for sea cucumbers. The Asian market didn’t care and paid top dollar to anyone willing to risk breaking the law. So, SAGARPA gave out 13 licenses to legally capture sea cucumbers until Sept. 1. That might be ok, but there’s been no time to do an impact study, so we have no clue if its ok or not. What we do know is that, as it turns out, the sea cucumbers we’ve got around here have a toxin they can release from their skin and, with no training, we now have one dead diver and Heaven only knows how many others at risk on a daily basis. Unfortunately, illegal fishing by unlicensed fishermen is still going on and the Asians are still buying for top dollar. We wish we had better news on this issue, but it seems like a disaster in the making.

Baby Turtles To Be Released Today

It took a team of 14 biologists to work up the nerve to release thousands of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle hatchlings from the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico today. They said the risk of keeping the babies in captivity could disrupt their life cycle and do more harm than the risk of their running into oil 640 km away. They are banking on BP having the oil cleaned up before the babies can get that far. We know they made the only decision they could, but it is still stressful to even think about. We are just so sorry this has happened… and only wish that BP was sorry too.

Where Is This Yucatan Back Country?

Ok, all you fishermen. We just found a great video that is supposed to be of fishing for giant snook, tarpon and permit in the “Yucatan Back Country.” The problem is that the fishing may be great but they never tell us where they are. That’s just like a fisherman. They’ll keep a good fishing hole a secret for their entire life! We would also like to remind the folks in this video that the Navy and those responsible for coming to their aid in times of trouble has asked – yet again and just this week – that fishermen and boaters please wear life jackets. So many lives have been needlessly lost for want of just this one piece of equipment. In the meantime, watch this great video and try to tell us where they are.

And the Winners Are…

Yucatan’s young entrepreneurs are some of the most talented in the world and this year’s crop includes some of the most creative we have seen. We had no idea that the common bougainvillea has a number of uses in the world of alternative medicine, but these five young people decided they wanted to do something different with it. In effect, they wanted to take a common plant in Yucatan and make an uncommonly good drink from it. The result was Bugante, a drink that may or may not have healthy side effects, but is great as a non-alcoholic drink or as a mixer for cocktails. The team has a complex formula for processing Bugante and has now begun their formal classes in Business Management so that they will be able to not only produce Bugante but ensure its success on the world state. For this, Ricardo Uc Tun, Edwin Ku Dzul, Alejandro Muñoz Silva, Eddie Maas Escalante, Weyler Huchim Estrella won First Place in the 2010 International Entrepreneurship Forum held last week. Congratulations to them, to their teachers, and to the program for supporting their efforts. We look forward to our first glass of Bugante!



  • Working Gringos 7 years ago

    Thank you, Guadalupe! We really appreciate your "on the ground" information, and we hope you'll report back later in the season.

  • guadalupe quintal tzuc 7 years ago

    Check your facts. To the best of my knowledge and as an experienced fisherman here in the Gulf of Mexico, there is no proof that Octopus Maya eat sea cucumbers. As for the octopus season being "bad", time will tell. August has always had a lower incidence of octopus capture, due to a combination of wind and temperature conditions. We here on the coast are not having much luck because the octopus are in deeper water. When the big boats get back, from furthur out, we will see if they had any luck.

  • Working Gringos 7 years ago

    Bugante is not, apparently, on the market yet. We'll let you know when we find out!

  • John Venator 7 years ago

    I really like the increased use of photos in your newsletter. The photos make the articles come more "alive"....Keep up the good work!!!

  • ML 7 years ago

    How or where do we get to try Bugante?

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