December 17, 2012
Sales Increasing Rapidly During December
Yucatan’s economy seems to be getting a much needed shot in the arm with just days to go before the beginning of a new Maya era and Christmas coming in the same week. Thousands of tourists, foreign and domestic, are flocking to Chichen Itza and to Merida. With 5,000 new shoppers per day in Chichen Itza and a 200% increase in sales in Merida’s downtown district, the beginning of Baktun 14 looks as if it is going to be a great era to be in business in Yucatan. We might add that it isn’t so bad for shoppers either, since discounts are running between 20% and 50%.
The International Day of the Migrant: December 18
It is the end of the year and Yucatan is taking a hard look at the real cost and benefit, if any, that migration to the USA has on the people and economy of Yucatan. The first fact that must be faced is that 60 migrants came home to be buried thus far in 2012. This means that 60 families must now, at least in part, depend on public assistance and the goodness of others to survive. Beyond that, 30% of all migrants never return, again leaving families and extended families to both wonder what became of them and to depend on others for survival. With the entire GDP of the state running at approximately 7,500 million pesos and construction at 34 billion pesos, migration generated only 1.5 million pesos last year and only 1.2 million pesos thus far this year. To an individual, the risk may be worth it because they see no other option. To the state, the value of migration may not live up to many of its claims. In the end, migration is here to stay unless better jobs can be found here at home. Yucatan is working day and night to see to it that those opportunities are coming to the state.
Cruise Ship Numbers Down 12%
There is cause for concern in Progreso, because cruise ship numbers are down by 12%. Those who analyze such things continue to look fondly back at the huge windfall numbers of cruise ship numbers from 2008, when Progreso was the beneficiary of hurricane damage to another port. Since then, the world has gone through a global recession, as well as many natural and political disasters. Over the years, cruise ship numbers have waxed and waned with all of those variables, almost as if it is a belated barometer to events in the rest of the world. Through the years, we have seen bad news turn to good overnight in this industry and, as long as we live in one of the world’s premier destinations, we have complete faith in the cruise industry to right itself and bring millions more passengers to visit the land of the Maya.
Progreso: Carrera y Caminata del Pavo 2012 (Turkey Trot)
This event is the annual race/walk and food drive in Progreso. This year, 400 athletes participated in the event and collected more than 125 kilos of food to benefit San Joaquin Nursing Home in Progreso. The race included a 10 km run and a 3 km walk, each with six categories: youth, leisure, master, submaster, veterans and citizens of Progreso. The Governor was there, as was the mayor. In addition to prizes, the winners also received a free Turkey Christmas Dinner. For those who are considering a move to Yucatan and wondering if there are races in the area, we invite you to join Yolisto where members who are runners will be happy to introduce you to the world of running on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Oxkutzcab: The 2012 Orange Festival
This is an interesting exercise in scheduling. Suppose you live in the city in which the State Orange Festival is held each year… and suppose that city also has a Christmas Fair… and then, by whatever turn of fate, the city is also in the heart of the Maya World when one long count calendar ends and another begins… which, obviously necessitates yet another festival. Just out of curiosity, exactly how would one schedule those three events, all to be held within approximately three weeks, and still hope to maintain some degree of success in the area of sales? This is the dilemma for Oxkutzcab for the month of December. One fair’s numbers are down, while another’s are abnormally high. We suspect it will be after the New Year begins before anyone is able to properly gauge the economic effect of any of these festivals. All we know is that we deeply appreciate the fact that all of these wonderful municipalities are being so nice to the visitors who come to see one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Hunucma: Two Hour Adoption of Disabled Child
If ever there was an idea whose time has come, this is it! In a brand new program, young families agree to adopt a disabled child or teen for approximately two hours and to be responsible for all of their needs while the adoptee is in their care. This event comes complete with individuals to take care of personal care needs and even ends with a dinner and a festival. The A10 group that is sponsoring this event had 50 children participating the first time, but said they could easily have had three times that many for those who want to help. Everyone hopes this program spreads throughout the state. It will help to change hearts, minds and perceptions wherever it goes. If you know of someone who might like to participate, they can get in touch with Amigos 10 through the DIF in Hunucma.
Santa’s Magical Helpers
Between expat groups, church groups, athletic organizations and corporations, it looks as if Santa himself is reaching a more significant number of children every year. This week, the Coca-Cola Caravan made its way to Hunucma and Santa was with them! The parade, lights, candy and gifts made every child there feel as if their happiness matters just as much as the happiness of children in other parts of the world. We hope every Santa-volunteer and all of their helpers know what special people they are and how much we all admire them for what they do for the children of the world at Christmas.
Baktun 14 Date May Not Be Correct
As we near December 21, several experts are making their opinions known and suggesting that we either have another 260 years to go until the end of the Maya long count calendar – or – we passed the date by, without noticing, in 2004. …or was it 1752? Maybe December 23, instead of December 21? Taken together, we are not at all certain that anyone knows the exact date and time of the beginning of this new era, but we do know that everyone is ready to turn over a new chapter in the history of our species and our environment.
Pawn Shop Activity Up 15%
We have watched more than a few uncomfortable situations as the economy, throughout Mexico, evolves away from cash and toward credit. We thought it was wonderful when home loans became a common phenomenon across most economic groups. Our hearts went out to Yucatecos as they learned the pitfalls of credit card use. Now, casino gambling and pawn shops are making their way into the news. It seems that quite a few people are pawning necessities for cash to purchase iPhones and computer games, while planning on getting their pawned necessities out of hock with their annual bonus. All too often, they find that the price they will pay to get their things back is beyond their means and it will be months before life will return to normal for them. With pawn shop activity up 15%, we really hope that schools and community outreach programs make an extra effort to explain these pitfalls so that Christmas will be bright for everyone.
If you see or hear of anyone who is purchasing fireworks from an unlicensed shop, please get in touch with the police immediately. Many of these fireworks are made in hidden local places and may or may not have the right amount of gunpowder in them. This is particularly dangerous when they fall into the hands of children. We cannot forget the little boys of one village who, several years ago, delighted in slipping out to throw cherry bombs at each other after their parents went to sleep. One little boy threw one down the shirt of another little boy and it exploded. The child did not die, but will carry severe scars for life. Again, we encourage you not to support anyone making, selling or using fireworks purchased from an unlicensed dealer.