News Starting March 26, 2012
Canadians in the News
We have been bragging about Yucatan’s Canadian expats all week and we can’t resist bragging about them again just this one more time. The Brandon Sun published a great article about Canadian Sharon Helgason, her volunteers and the Chicxulub Food Bank. Then, the Kootenay Advertiser published an article about even more Canadians working with Y.A.P.A. and AFAD, two groups that help homeless dogs and cats in Yucatan. We cannot think of anything that has been as heart-warming and successful as the annual spay/neuter programs. These expats are wonderful, caring individuals and, as a group, their talents and generosity are magnified. We are all lucky to have them as part of the fabric of the expat community in Yucatan!
Tourism Explodes in Quintana Roo
Here come the tourists! Spring break is upon us and Quintana Roo is filling up fast. Reports this week say that hotels and resorts are 95% full, with no sign of a slowdown ahead, and over 10,000 tourism-related jobs have been reactivated. Yucatan’s unemployment numbers tend to remain fairly constant, usually under 3% and seldom, if ever, as much as 4%. So these new jobs should bring that even lower. We know that 2012 is going to be a great year for everyone on the Yucatan Peninsula, but we are especially happy for those whose jobs have returned and for those whose businesses are recovering so rapidly.
Moving to Progreso or Merida With Children
We see a huge number of blogs over the course of any week, so its hard for one to stick in our imaginations and keep us coming back for more. That’s just what happened with Letters from Merida. This blog has it all. Kurt and Lyn are young Canadians who decided to bring their two young sons and live their dream for a year. As expats get younger, the numbers of questions about schools and things for children to do are growing rapidly. Kurt and Lyn explain it all, from prices in Wal-Mart to reviews of schools, so Letters from Merida is a must read, we think, for anyone who is considering moving to Yucatan with children.
Older Adults Take Emotional Well-Being Classes
As we enter the tenth week of Statewide Health for the Elderly, all of the public health agencies in the state have pooled their resources to create a course to help people of the Third Age to develop the skills necessary to ensure their mental and emotional well-being. The major Senior Citizens’ Center in Merida is receiving an increasing number of visitors, many of whom are asking for help with mental health and well-being issues. Realizing the importance of active aging, senior citizens are encouraged to understand that aging is not a time to sit down and wait for the end to come. Instead, aging is synonymous with growth and a unique opportunity to experience life from different perspectives. The participation of the elderly in every facet of life in Yucatan is becoming more and more evident and we feel certain it is classes such as these that encourage that age group to keep busy with life all of their lives!
The Great Rubber Ducky Race
The plane has landed and there are now 20,000 little yellow rubber ducks waiting in a hanger at the Merida International Airport for their big debut at Animaya on April 22. This Rubber Ducky Race is for the benefit of an organization that supports children with mental handicaps. It is sponsored by the local Rotary, as well as by SIPSE and many local businesses. The prizes are going to be wonderful and will include such things as a house, furniture, appliances and travel. At the very least, the ticket holders will receive coupons worth twice the $100 ticket price. Great Rubber Ducky Races have been successful fundraisers around the world for over 25 years, including a famous one in Napa, California, and we are very pleased to see these little yellow ducks right here at home in Merida. Keep an eye out for a place to purchase your ticket(s). They’ll be on sale at participating businesses soon!
Reflections on Collaboration: Exhibiting Contemporary Maya Art
A new academic paper has just been published by the well respected Museum Anthropology journal. The author of the paper is Mary Katherine Scott. “This article describes the collaboration with [four well known] Maya artisans during the exhibition, Crafting Maya Identity: Contemporary Wood Sculptures from the Puuc Region of Yucatán, Mexico. The exhibition [traveled to several locations in the U.S., from 2009 to 2011, and] called into question the applicability of Western systems of value and classification to the aesthetic works of other cultures and also explored notions of contemporary Maya identity in the context of the local tourism industry. The artisans’ presence during the exhibition and their engagement with the public during organized events created opportunities for visitors to learn more about the artisans and their work. This paper takes a critical look at the exhibition’s successes and shortcomings by way of feedback from the artisans and the public and offers recommendations for future collaborative projects.” We hope you enjoy Reflections on Collaboration: Exhibiting Contemporary Maya Art.
The numbers of Monarch Butterflies migrating to Mexico dropped by 28% this year as a direct result of drought in their breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada. That, added to past degradation of their wintering grounds in Mexico, leaves the Monarch Butterflies in what appears to be a slow, downward spiral. If you live in the area of the Great Lakes, you are in the middle of the prime breeding ground for the Monarch Butterflies that return to Mexico each year. Please make an extra effort to ensure that there are plenty of milkweed plants on which they can lay their eggs. Milkweed may not be the prettiest plant around, but it certainly provides the world with one of its most beautiful creations: the Monarch Butterfly.
Feathered Serpent Wins; Rain God Chaac Loses
During every Spring and Fall Equinox, the day begins at daylight in Dzibilchaltún and continues at Chichen Itza, where the great Plumed (Feathered) Serpent attempts to slither down the side of the stairs on the Pyramid of Kulkulkan, also known as El Castillo. Every Equinox, the Rain God Chaac attempts to stop him. Sometimes it’s with rain, but clouds will have the same effect. This year, however, Chaac was nowhere to be found and the Great Plumed Serpent was victorious! The next scheduled date for this battle royal is September 22, 2012. It will be the last Equinox before the end of the Maya Long Count Calendar. Will you be there to see it?
Campeche: National Motocross Championship
The Second Annual National Motocross Championships will be held on April 7th and 8th in Ciudad Del Carmen, Campeche. There will be over 30 different categories and more than 200 riders from all over the country. There will be exhibitions by Motocross groups and arrangements will be made so that even the children who visit the race will be included in some of the activities. For those who might be looking for a motorcycle club to ride with, Yucatan has those too. Their festival will be held in the capital of Campeche on May 11. We hear that there will be plenty of adrenaline flowing at both events and that some of the expos will be spectacular!
Snowbirds: Is It That Time Already?
Next week is Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Yucatan and absolutely everyone ends up at the beach in Progreso, even if only to take a quick peek at the crowds. Snowbirds are packing to leave for home and, in only a few days, summer tourists will begin to arrive. Its always a surprise when the Snowbirds leave. They have become a permanent part of the fabric of community life in Yucatan, so we admit that it’s a little lonesome around town when they leave. This year is a year for reevaluation. There are going to be more tourists in Yucatan than ever before, but it’s the Snowbirds who really make all the difference. We hope everyone has a safe trip home and enjoys their summer; but we want every Snowbird to know that we can hardly wait for your return in October so we can all experience Yucatan in 2012 together.