Yucatan Living: 2009 Annual Subscription Drive
It has come to our attention that, while we have many thousands of regular readers, far too few have taken advantage of the option to have our posts delivered to them by e-mail each week. Right now, Yucatan Living has 1175 subscribers. We have decided to offer a gift to subscribers 1223, 1242 and 1323 and 1342. The gift will be their choice of a Yucatan Living Eco Tote Bag, A Hacienda Mousepad or a Merida Yucatan t-shirt. The gifts are available for viewing on Yucatan Living’s page at Café Press. Becoming a subscriber is easy and takes no more time that typing your e-mail into the “Subscribe” box and clicking on the button. We hope to see your name soon as one of the regular subscribers of Yucatan Living.
Santa’s Workshop in Merida
With a name like this: The Organización de Servicio y Ayuda para la Navidad de los Enfermos (The Organization for the Service and Support of the Sick at Christmas), it must be a relief for those who work with this organization to know that they can just be called OSANE and everyone will know who they are. This is a wonderful organization that was founded 43 years ago to follow in the footsteps of a priest, Jenaro Cervera Ceballos, who took it upon himself to dress up like Santa and bring gifts to patients in Merida’s hospitals. Today, Osane brings gifts to people in shelters, nursing homes and hospitals, and also fills requests from others in need, especially if they are disabled or in advanced age. If anyone would like to help them, Santa’s Workshop is located in Casa de las Madres Guadalupanas (Calle 23 con Avenida Itzaes, Colonia García Ginerés). They can also be reached by phone at 285-2632 or 999 143-4502. If you would like to just donate money, there are collection boxes located in Centro Megamedia. If anyone knows of any other Santa projects in the area, please let us know and we will be happy to list them as well.
Premio Nacional de Ciencias & Artes 2009 Comes to Yucatan!
For the first time ever, Mexico’s National Science and Art Award goes to a woman. Her name is Celsa Iuit Moh and she is a Mayan Yucateca! This lady has been working with henequen to support her family for over 50 years and has brought her children and grandchildren into her business with her. We were not overly thrilled with the English headline describing her as an indigenous woman, but we’ll take “Mayan lady” any old time! Congratulations to Celsa Iuit Moh for a lifetime of service to her family, to our state, and to an industry that does not damage the environment.
Ricardo Salinas Presents PROMESA to Governors
La Orquesta Sinfonica Esperanza Azteca is part of "Programa Musical Esperanza Azteca" (PROMESA), a project sponsored by Grupo Salinas and Fundacion Azteca. The Orquesta Sinfonica Esperanza Azteca includes 150 musicians and a 125 member choir, ages six through 18. The purpose of PROMESA is to educate youth in excellence, teamwork and self-esteem through classical music training and practice. We think Ricardo Salinas said it best when he told the governors: "Orquesta Sinfonica Esperanza Azteca is an example of what music can do to promote teamwork, a love of the arts, concentration, development. In short, the creation of values. It’s much more than music. It’s the formation of our youth” and continued with: "We don’t want this effort to be limited to a single orchestra. We want to create not one, but many orchestras and youth choirs throughout the country. We think that this way we can educate citizens who learn the value of discipline, know how to work in teams and can appreciate beauty." (prnewswire). We remember a time when all developed nations understood this principle. Today, only a few remain on the path to a future based on the values we all hold so dear. Yucatan’s children are well on their way to greatness because they are already exposed – throughout the State of Yucatan – to classical music, voice, dance and art. We look forward to their participation in PROMESA.
The First World Conchinita Pibil Competition Held in Merida
This was no easy contest to win. There were no national or international cooks invited. Yucatan has all of the heavy hitters when it comes to cooking Conchinita Pibil. There was one cook here who cooked for Pope John Paul II, and another who represented us on tour through such places as Chicago and New York. There were 53 taco vendors, a few pig farmers, students from culinary schools, and restaurateurs. All were competing for prestige and $30,000 pesos. The winner was Ramiro Cobá Caamal, a taco vendor from Colonia Díaz Ordaz. The entire event was supported, of course, by a brass band. The event was held at the ex hacienda San Pedro Ochil, in Abalá and everyone there got to vote, even the tourists. This event will go into our calendar as a recurring annual event so we can be sure and watch for it next year. We all want to be at this competition to get our hands on not only the great food, but on a few of those secret recipes as well. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this event and especially to the winner, Ramiro Cobá Caamal.
Spain Assesses Investment in Latin American Countries
Spain has issued its list of which Latin American countries it intends to invest in, and why – as well as a list of which Latin American countries it intends to stay away from, and why. Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru have all shown a substantial reduction in poverty, increased employment, increased consumption and less social instability. Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina have too many imbalances, such as high inflation, problems with their exchange rate policies that are sufficient to impact foreign investment, and denial of assistance from international financial organizations. Spain will be opening major investment offices in each of the countries where they intend to invest. We have seen a good deal of activity from Spain in both Quintana Roo and in Campeche in recent years in the resort business, but would love to see them form import/export relationships with companies in Yucatan.
Gulf Ports Closed Due to Cold Front
As snow lay on the ground in Galveston, strong, cold winds, high waves and poor visibility caused Mexico to close 10 ports on the entire length of the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The ports, including Progreso, were closed when it was learned that winds were expected to increase from between 22 to 45 mph to as much as 57 mph. Whether these recurring incidents are due to global warming or a natural cycle of the planet’s total environment, the fact remains, its rather chilly here this weekend. At least we live in the tropics and can take solace in the fact that it won’t last long.
Cozumel Gets an Ironman for 4 More Years
Congratulations to Cozumel’s Iron team “L’Aak” for winning the 2009 Ironman contest held in their city. Ironman officials were so impressed when competitors rated it a 9 out of 10 that they have given Cozumel its own Ironman contest for at least the next 4 years. This is great news for all of the athletes who work so hard to bring national and international sports to the Yucatan Peninsula. Again, congratulations to all participants in this event and to Cozumel too.
Underwater Sculpture Garden Saving Cancun’s Coral Reefs
Many places attempt to hold back coastal erosion and the death of coral reefs by putting all sorts of strange, different and odd things into the sea. In recent years, we have seen experiments with everything from discarded Christmas trees to old cars, but this new plan in Cancun is the best plan we’ve seen by far! Sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor specializes in the rare art of underwater sculpture and has begun placing human forms made of inert, PH neutral concrete in the water in an offshore park at Cancun. They really do look like plaster casts of Pompeii victims and will provide homes for algae and other sea creatures, such as coral, for many years to come. The bonus is that they also provide a great new tourist activity for scuba divers and snorkelers. We hope Yucatan’s artistic community reads This Article. We think we need a few of those in Yucatan and would love to see some enterprising artist or group of concerned citizens explore this idea for all sorts of beach enhancing projects.
Comparing Grocery Prices
This week, someone sent us a great little online tool for determining at which grocery store we can get the cheapest basket of groceries. That tool is HERE. The only problem we can see with it is that users will have to be able to use it in Spanish. We tried running it through an online translator, but we couldn’t get the translation to continue from page to page because of the way the site is programmed. However, for those who can even get by a little bit in Spanish (names of foods), this tool will help you decide if it is cheaper to run all over town, looking for bargains, or to shop for everything you want at one store. The final output is not “item vs item,” but total “basket vs basket.” We were amazed at the number of store chains that participated in this project and are available for comparison using this relatively simple little tool.
Need a Christmas Turkey?
If you are buying a turkey for the holidays, please keep an eye out for Yucatan’s own Creole Turkeys. They are raised in Tzucacab and are said to have a wonderful flavor. Farmers have both turkeys and their eggs for sale. Turkeys are between $70 and $80 pesos per kilo and eggs are $4 pesos each. Turkeys cost a bit more than chickens because they require extra care to survive when they are young. For those of us who grew up on a farm, that is a very polite way of saying that turkeys are not the sharpest tacks in the box. But these farmers manage to get them grown and fat on corn and a special food mix, so everyone can have a holiday turkey.
Warning Against Bomblets (Fireworks)
Every year, we warn people about the sheer amount of fireworks that are set off in Merida and, indeed, in all of Mexico, during the holidays. We now know who much legal gunpowder is sold just in Merida during this time… 15 tons. Can you imagine 15 tons of unmonitored gunpowder being sold in one city alone? Every year, 30 to 40 children are injured by fireworks here, but they expect to see 100,000 customers coming to the market per day (!!!) to buy fireworks for the next week. Please be careful of any situation where fireworks are involved and keep a first aid kit handy, along with the telephone numbers of emergency personnel.
Unasletras Returns as Ule
Programming includes Jazz concerts on Friday nights. Ule is available for anyone who wants to schedule and perform conferences, meetings, seminars, workshops or concerts.
New Location: Calle 64 #560 x 71 y 73, in a colonial house locally known as La Carpinteria, in the Barrio de La Ermita. The house has recently become a cultural center.
For More Information: Call: 286-2786 or (cell) 999 120-4210
And Please Visit the Ule Website. http://www.unasletras.com
Dec. 11: Writer and Journalist Victor Roura will talk about his book “The Sizes of Love.”
Dec. 12: Presentation of Christian Nunez’s book of poetry and collages “Blue Bubble”
Both nights will close with an electrifying concert by the jazz/rock band Agumala, led by drummer Fernando Toussaint.
Coming also in December: Exhibit of a collection of art books designed by artists in New York.
JAPAY to Raffle Off a New House in Ciudad Caucel
One thing new renters in Yucatan often find is that they may not have to pay a deposit on the house they rent, but they will have to pay off old electric and water bills left by previous tenants. For some reason, the city just doesn’t cut off service, opting instead to let some pretty hefty bills mount up. But they are trying to change all of that now and this new contest is quite a start. JAPAY (the Water Dept. for the Municipality of Merida) is going to raffle off a brand new house in a fraccionamiento in Ciudad Caucel. It will be the standard fraccionamiento home, i.e. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, living/dining together, kitchen separated by a bar. These are great little starter homes for young people or patio homes for older folks. All that is necessary is for the JAPAY customer to be current on their bill through January 15, 2010. No hotels, commercial establishments, or government offices will be allowed to participate. The drawing will be on January 18, 2010. …and, can you believe? Customers can even get an e-ticket for the drawing!