News Starting October 15, 2012
Weather: It Isn’t November 1 Yet
Hurricane season does not end until November 1 and there is a large weather system that has already crossed the Atlantic. It seems to be headed for Guatemala and, perhaps, up into Chiapas from there. Those are two places that suffer regularly from mud slides and flooding. Please keep those folks in mind and watch for drives to collect food and clothing to send to hurricane victims if need be. Fortunately, for Yucatan, it looks as if all we will get out of this system will be a little rain.
Festival of the City of Merida 2013
For the past few years, beginning with Dia de Reyes (Three Kings’ Day – January 6), there has been a huge, month long celebration of the Anniversary of the City of Merida. With over 1,000 events usually scheduled in just over three week, and almost 100% of them free to the public, the cost to the city has grown to an outrageous amount of money. With Merida now facing austerity measures for the next few years, there was a rumor that this Festival of the City would be canceled. Such is not the case. This year the events will be pared down to the more traditional events that actually have some association with the founding of the city. Many of the performers for the more spectacular events offered to provide their services free of charge. However, and rightly so, the Minister of Culture noted that they have to live too and it would be unfair to take advantage of them. From what we hear, the night of January 5, 2013, will be one night that no one will want to miss in Merida.
Dia de Los Muertos Vendors
The Day of the Dead vendors have already begun to line up for their permissions to do business during the upcoming holiday. They will open on October 30 and remain open until November 3. Those who do not get permission to sell on the street will be allowed to set up in and around the cemeteries throughout the city. Flowers, candles for table altars, sugar skulls and other sugar figures will be the main products sold. Prices are expected to be higher, but not high enough so that the people cannot afford to purchase the things they need. This is a special holiday for all cultures that celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, but it is particularly well attended in Merida. To learn more, visit Yucatan Living’s Hanal Pixan in Merida.
Sea Cucumber Ponds in Greenhouses
As the Asian demand for sea cucumbers grows, the black market for this delicacy also grows, as do the numbers of tragic deaths among Yucatan’s fishermen. A means of steady production would resolve all of those issues and Yucatan’s marine biologists turned their attention to the project in 2007. The first three years were spent in observing the behavior, feeding habits and health of sea cucumbers. The second three years will work to keep them healthy, happy and fat in ponds covered by greenhouses. By 2015, it is fully expected that Yucatan will be ready to launch itself into the on-land farming of sea cucumbers.
Oxkutzcab: Reconsidering the Interior
So many potential expats consider only Merida and the coast as possible destinations, especially if they have children. We thought you might like to hear that living in the interior of the state is not quite as backward as it used to be. For example, Oxkutzcab is in the southwest of Yucatan, just at the top of what is commonly called the southern cone of the state. It also happens to be the Citrus Capital of Yucatan and home to the annual Orange Festival. This week, jazz dancing lessons were added to the list of dance classes available for children in Oxkutzcab. A teacher from World of Ballet Dance Company comes from Merida to Oxkutzcab three times a week. They also teach dance as therapy to individuals who have psychomotor or auditory disabilities and the teacher for those students has a degree in Special Education. All of this to say that Yucatan is growing and changing daily. We hope that everyone who looks at Yucatan as a possible place for retirement or raising children will take a second look at some of the wonderful towns that are scattered across the state. For the faint of heart, rest assured. You might be in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula, but you can still buy your groceries at Wal-Mart in Oxkutzcab.
Breast Cancer in Yucatan: Statistics Suggest….
After the significant increase in breast cancer numbers among women who are from Yucatan, UADY researchers have now released the results of a statistical analysis of the characteristics that are common to these women. The results show the following as possible risk factors for breast cancer: (1) waiting to have children until a later age, (2) opting not to breast feed babies, (3) choosing to have fewer children, (4) taking oral contraceptives at an earlier age, (5) obesity and (6) lack of physical activity. Those are all lifestyle choices that exist in the developed world and the researchers noted that, in developed nations, breast cancer has reached epidemic proportions. We have no idea what the final recommendations of researchers will be but this is another chapter in a journey that means life or death for millions. It certainly leaves us with much to think about.
Price of Eggs Capped at $30 Pesos
The price of eggs has now been capped at $30 pesos in Yucatan for the remainder of the year. Consumers are being asked to purchase their eggs from local producers, if at all possible, to reduce the expense and dubious quality of eggs imported by large chain stores. Of course, purchasing from local producers might also have a negative impact on small corner stores that lose that business. The tendejons have already seen that higher prices have significantly reduced their egg sales, so this might not be much of an additional hit for them. Overall, the state leader of the National Chamber of Commerce for Small Businesses and the Association of Poultry Farmers suggest that prices remain at $25 pesos per dozen, even though the legal maximum is now $30 pesos per dozen. They are trying to make certain that small egg producers are able to stay in business while, at the same time, providing an affordable product to the general public. If you live near San Sebastian or Ermita, there is an egg-only store on Calle 81 between Calle 70 and 72 that provides eggs from local producers. Undoubtedly, this is one of many in the city.
Recovery Hospital Back on Track
Lack of funding temporarily stopped construction on a 44 bed addiction recovery hospital in Merida. That has been rectified now and it looks as if the hospital will open sometime in 2013. While the major focus of the hospital is the treatment of patients who suffer from addiction, they also will be working with the public to stop addiction before it begins. The specialists say that domestic violence, alcoholism and sexual abuse are creating a younger and younger group of addicts. The hospital will be prepared to provide both in-patient and out-patient assistance. Prevention is still the best cure and that can only take place with the help of society as a whole. We certainly wish everyone associated with the new addiction recovery hospital great success in all of their endeavors.
Yucatan’s Canine Unit
Yucatan’s Canine Unit consists of an extraordinary group of dogs and their handlers. They are trained to search for both explosives and drugs, and their signals for each are quite different. When they smell explosives, they sit back quietly, knowing that any sound or movement has the potential to set off an unknown type of explosion. When they smell drugs, their reaction is just the opposite. They jump and scratch at the spot, and make quite a racket to lead their handlers to the illegal substance. All of this is not done for free, of course. At the end of the day, the dogs are rewarded by recreation time with just the dog and their handler. We commend all of Yucatan’s canine soldiers, dog and humans, and want them all to know how deeply we appreciate their service.
Tourism: Who Visits Mexico?
Although the lion’s share of visitors to Mexico still come from the United States, Mexico has reached out to the rest of the world and they are coming too! Tourism is up 77% from Russia, 61% from Brazil and 38% from Venezuela. Other major sources of tourists to Mexico are Peru and Colombia. Official estimates are that, by year’s end, Mexico will have hosted 24.7 million foreign visitors, surpassing the 2011 record of 23.4 million. Part of the success of current tourism in Mexico is due to Mexico’s having introduced an online process to review visa applications from Brazil, Ukraine, China and Russia within 24 hours and to waive the need for a visa from Peruvians, Chileans and Colombians. This comes after Mexico realized that tourism accounts for 10% of its gross domestic product, and 70% of that was tied to tourists from the United States. That put Mexico at the mercy of economic winds of fortune in just one country and the need for diversification was obvious. We are very pleased to welcome all of our visitors from all around the world and know that, once you ever visit Mexico, you will always come back.