News Starting July 12, 2010
Monterrey In Desperate Need
When news reports said that Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, was damaged, we never expected it was virtually destroyed. When they said that 10,000 km of water lines were damaged, along with all of their water tanks, that was a bit much to wrap our minds around. Surely that was overstated. When we remembered that over 3 million people live in the Monterrey area (3 times as many as in Merida), we thought it really couldn’t be that bad… but it was, and it is going to be bad in Monterrey for a long long time. This short article has links to photos of the flooded rivers, of the city during the hurricane, and of the aftermath of Alex. Here you can see videos of Monterrey Before and Monterrey After Alex. It remains to be seen what this latest onslaught, on top of the previous damage, will do to what is left of the most cosmopolitan city in all of Mexico. Never believe that, just because a hurricane only gains category one or two strength, it won’t hurt anything. Never believe that a mere tropical storm won’t kill. If they hit in just the wrong way, or at just the wrong time, all can be lost in a matter of hours. For now, please try to stop by Siglo XXI and drop off your donation of food, water, or medicine for the benefit of the people of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. Your gift is desperately needed and will be deeply appreciated.
Whale Sharks: Silent Deepwater Horizon Victims?
They feed by skimming the surface of the water and they ingest almost anything they find there. If what they swallow kills them, they sink silently to the bottom of the sea. This past week, several juvenile whale sharks were spotted within 4 miles of the origin of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Since some of these animals are “site specific” in their behaviors, wherever they were “hanging out” before the original blowout is where they will try to return – only this time, it is feared that, if they considered the Deepwater Horizon rig to be their home waters, then their return will be to their deaths.
The week before, a group of about 100 whale sharks were spotted off of the coast of Louisiana, but in an area where there was, as yet, no oil. What is most upsetting about this issue is that no one knows if the whale sharks along the U.S. coast and those along Yucatan’s coasts are part of the same migratory groups. In fact, no one – anywhere in the world – knows for certain what the migratory patterns of their whale sharks actually are!
Now, and with Mexico in the lead, scientists are getting serious about tracking the largest fish in the world. Since whale sharks not only skim the surface of the ocean to feed, but also dive to great depths, those in the Gulf of Mexico are at risk for death from poison and from suffocation. Finally, while researching this story, we learned another shocking piece of information. The World Conservation Union lists the whale shark as having become a vulnerable population. Yet, the U.S. does not list them as endangered or threatened, and hunting whale sharks in U.S. waters is legal! We are still attempting to decide if that knowledge is heartbreaking, infuriating, or both.
If you’ve been thinking about visiting Isla Holbox to see the whalesharks, don’t put it off any longer! Here are a few places that will help you plan your trip: Holbox Whale Shark Tours and Holbox Travel.
Home Safety During Vacations Away
As summer begins, there have already been several break-ins in the city and many more in homes in outlying areas along the beach. This has prompted the SSP (the state police department) to issue guidelines to homeowners who are considering leaving their homes unoccupied while they are out of town.
First, it is vital that all windows and all doors be closed, locked, and protected with iron protectores. Even this will not be enough if doors and windows are mounted in wood that has degraded to any degree. Also, make certain that a neighbor or friend collects your mail, since this is one of the things robbers look for when deciding on which homes to attack.
Finally, the SSP suggests that you not inform too many people that you are leaving and certainly not the dates during which you will be away. In several recent robberies, it has been discovered that the thieves got their information from the victims themselves via their Facebook posts. This last one gives us pause because we can think of many times we have posted not only as we are leaving, but where we will be, when we will be back and all points along the way. We will certainly be more careful in the future.
Update: Yucatan’s Tilapia
The model is working and its time to branch out into full scale production. With just a little more investment from the Producers Foundation, the last stages of building an aquaculture industry for the production of tilapia in Yucatan will be complete. Its been six long years since the first proposal was made. Back then, above-ground pools to raise fish seemed to be a strange idea to most folks in Yucatan and we couldn’t imagine what they would look like. Thankfully, Yucatan and the young scientists of Marist University were already following in well established footprints found in other places. Our tilapia pools look much like the tilapia aquaculture pools in the Virgin Islands. We’ll be looking forward to being able to buy Yucatan’s own tilapia in the very near future!
Pulpo For Sale
With 3 weeks to go before pulpo season begins again, processing plants in Progreso have managed to meet their local and export needs with only a little stock left in their freezers. With luck, the catch and sale will be greater this year than ever before, especially since pulpo is now the greatest income producing catch on the coast of Yucatan. While we are on this topic, we would also like to congratulate the workers (mostly ladies) who work in the pulpo processing plants. They go to great lengths to take sanitary certification classes on the best practices of manufacture and hygiene in this industry so that their products can be sold in Europe, Asia and throughout Mexico. We might also add that these workers are not only some of the best qualified in their industry in Yucatan, but are also some of the best paid. A well deserved congratulations goes to them all, as well as best wishes to the fishermen who keep them supplied with pulpo.
Yucatan Pluviometer = Fat Bulls
We just couldn’t resist that one, especially after a two year drought in Yucatan. A pluviometer is a rain gauge and anybody who keeps their eye on the cattle industry in Yucatan knows that, this year, even the bulls have regained their full weight without the need to truck in extra feed. For some, all this rain is an inconvenience, as is the lingering humidity; but, for others, it is the best thing they have seen in almost three years. Pastures and fields are doing well and, soon, so will be the wallets of the farmers and all who depend on them.
Environmental Crime Under Investigation
This past week, a light truck hit a car in Progreso. The lady in the car was, evidently, not hurt, but the driver of the truck jumped out and took off running. He has not been seen again but is under investigation because of his passenger. As excitement over the accident calmed down, a sea turtle calmly got out of the truck and began to walk away. The police immediately took the turtle into custody and brought it to CETMAR, where it will be released after examination for possible injuries. If the driver of the truck is captured, he is facing 20 years in prison. Once again, it is time for a month or more of sun and fun at the beach. Once again comes the warning: If you find a turtle or a turtle nest or see baby turtles heading for the ocean – please call the police and never try to keep one as a pet. Turn off your lights at night so the turtle babies don’t confuse your porch with the moon. These turtles are an endangered species and every turtle counts in the effort to save them in the wild.
Palapa Taxi in Celestun
Every mototaxi owner in Yucatan is unique, but Angel Chim Cervantes’ palapa mototaxi, in Celestun, is something to see and to experience! He built the top on a shoestring budget, with his own experience as a palapa builder. At first, the other mototaxi drivers laughed at him, but it is really true that whoever laughs last, laughs best. The palapa mototaxi is now sought out by many, if not most, tourists. The price of a ride is $5 pesos in Celestun and $10 pesos if one’s destination is the Ria de Celestun.
Congratulations to Graduates & Parents
There was a time when not many rural children in Yucatan made it to college and beyond. The 21st century sees that as a thing of the distant past. As the lists of professional degree graduates keep rolling in, along with their scholarship awards and plans for even more graduate and post-graduate education, we found one report in which a mayor suggested that parents might want to hold the expense of the celebration down a bit. More often than not now, many of these young folks are headed for grad school and professional degrees. Our advice to the parents of new college and grad students is: Hang in there! This is going to take a while and its going to cost you, but it is an investment in the quality of life of your grandchildren. …and that makes all the difference.
Yucatan’s Greater Value Economy
Since the Global Economy difficulties of last year, it seems that all the talk in Mexico has been about tourism. Indeed, the State of Yucatan seems to have launched a renewed, remodeled tourism program, inviting one and all to come on town and enjoy all that we have to offer.
The industrial sector is now reminding us that tourism is but one of Yucatan’s economic sectors and, in fact, is not even the major sector. Yucatan’s best resource, now as always, is its people. They are well educated and capable of functioning expertly on the world stage of imports and exports of all kinds. Yucatan also has location and infrastructure, in the form of modern highways and an international shipping port. If you, or someone you know, is interested in locating a business in one of the most viable business hubs in the world, then you are most welcome to come down, enjoy our tourism opportunities, then get down to business and see just what else it is that the Great State of Yucatan has to offer.
Joshywashington: Best Video Travel Blogger This Week
Joshua Washington is a young American video travel blogger. It is not often that we see someone with his courage, curiosity, insight, and humor all in the same media person. Needless to say, we think his future can be whatever he chooses. Joshua just spent 7 days in Quintana Roo, with a car and a camera. This first video is the Introduction into what will be a remarkable set of travel-video-commentaries. Then, move on to Act 1 of Joshywashington’s Super Yucatan Adventure to see our Ancient Mayan tourist attractions through the eyes of this remarkable young video-blogger. By the time we publish this, we hope all of his videos will be online for all of us to enjoy! Well done, Joshua! Now – next stop: Merida and the State of Yucatan? The invitation is always open.
The Pepsi Challenge
The Pepsi Refresh Project, a 20 million dollar initiative founded by Pepsi to fund people, business and non-profits with good ideas that have a positive impact on local communities has pledged an additional $1.3 million towards a special edition of the grant geared towards states along the Gulf of Mexico.
For 4 days, Pepsi is accepting up to 1000 submissions that benefit the gulf, the best of which will receive grants in increments of $5,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $250,000 (by popular vote).
There are some limitation—in other words, this isn’t meant to fund your personal idea to stop the leak. See below:
- Ideas may be submitted from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia but must have a clear community benefit for communities in the Gulf region (states that are on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida)
- Ideas must be executable within 12 months
- Ideas must intend to make a positive impact on communities affected by recent events in the Gulf
- Pepsi Refresh Project Gulf initiative will not support ideas directly related to clean-up efforts and environmental impact
- Ideas shall not pertain to seek financial reparation from the environmental tragedy or propose engineering or clean-up solutions
- Previous Gulf-focused Pepsi Refresh Project submissions may be re-submitted if they meet above stated criteria.
Submission acceptance begins July 12 at 12 noon on this website: gulf.refresheverything.com. Go for it!!
This Week… starting July 12, 2010
Municipal Fiestas This Week
The Remaining Events at the Free Expo Fair in Motul
Events Continue Until July 25
This is a fiesta in honor of la Purisima Concepción. If you have not been to Motul, now is the time to go. We suspect that the northeast quadrant of the Municipality of Merida will continue to grow in the direction of Motul and that expats should certainly become familiar with the area. The City of Motul is the birthplace of Yucatan’s most beloved Governor, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, and there is a museum, as well as a monument, there to celebrate his life and mourn his death. This year’s schedule of events in Motul include:
Tuesday 13: Concert: Alex Moguel, a romantic evening with Love, Love.
Wednesday 14: Comedy: Madelin Liama: Candita and Paula Quintana: La Chuli
Thursday 15: Regional Comedian Octavio Ayil
Friday 16: At noon: Activities for the Anniversary of Radio Motul, then a show for the children of the Cooperative System. At Night: Two performances by Juan Gabriel. Dance bands include Banda Furia Latina and Leos 77.
Saturday 17: Performance by the comedian Mactan. Dance music provided by the Roshesmen disco and Impact of Guanajuato
Sunday 18: Our pick of all the performances: Las Maya International. Plus dance music by Cleyver y La Carcajada
Monday 19: A night of singing by Local Artists
Tuesday 20: A Fantasy Show (Whatever will this be??)
Wednesday 21: Battle of the Local Young Bands (certain to be loud
Thursday 22: Circus and Theater (magicians, jugglers, clowns, and circus performers)
Friday 23: Folkloric Ballet featuring the Mayab Walkers of UCI and the trio Minstrels, Dance music by Kermith Disco
Saturday 24: An evening with comedian Cuxum Oxxo, Globito y Bizcochito, the Cubana Alina La Loba and Chicas Caribeñas; War of the Bands between Abusadora, Oro Verde, Usurpadora, and Respuesta de Durango
Sunday 25: Closing of the Fair with Noah el Makech Cabrera, Dance music by Clamor y Clamor, and Los Mendez.
Sinanché Fiesta One Day Event: July 14
This fiesta is in honor of San Buenaventura. In fact, the Templo de San Buenaventura, constructed in the 17th century, is one of the major tourist attractions of this area. Located on the coast of Yucatan, just this side of Telchac Pueblo, the town you are most likely to associate with Sinanche is San Crisanto, well known for its mangrove swamps and tours. In past centuries, Sinanche was known as "el arbol de alacran" (the tree of the scorpion) and was part of the province of Ceh Pech. If you have not been to Sinanche and San Crisanto, you are missing a "must see" part of both Yucatan’s coast and history.
Important Date Shift: Tunich Municipal Crafts Fair:
New Dates: July 30 to Aug. 8
If you are building, remodeling, or furnishing a home, this is your Mecca. Even if you had no idea you are looking for “it,” you are sure to find it here in Dzitya. This little artisan fair has grown to the point where foreign importers arrive in droves to see what upward of 200 professional artisans in the area have to offer. Not to worry about getting there or back either! Buses provide free transportation to and from the fair. They leave from Plaza Grande at 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM, with stops at Santa Lucia and the Hyatt Hotel. We will bring you more as we receive new information. In the meantime, don’t forget to read Yucatan Living’s The Stones of Dzitya.
In the City of Merida
As Yucatan winds down toward summer vacation, cultural venues in the city begin to host fewer and fewer performances. Soon, there will be virtually no formal performances in the city at all, but the countryside will explode with one municipal fiesta after another. As anywhere else in the world, young people will be celebrating their few short weeks of freedom before going back to the daily grind of classes and homework. Its going to be hot for the next few weeks, so take in a municipal fiesta or two and rest. You do realize that the Fall Cultural Festival is right around the corner… don’t you? We hope you take our advice and have a nice nap. In the meantime, here are a few cultural offerings that are available this week.
Monday (Lunes) July 12, 2010
Cairo Cinema Cafe: Democratic Monday
On Mondays, the movie is chosen by a vote of audience members.
Location: Calle 20 # 98-A x 15 y 17, Col. Itzimna
Time: Monday, 7:00 PM
Tuesday (Martes) July 13, 2010
Cairo Cinema Café: Where the Wild Things Are
(2009). This is a Spike Jonze adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world–a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler. One of the voices is that of James Gandolfini, most familiar as Tony Soprano. But that doesn’t get in the way of enjoying this unusual and heartfelt movie that takes you back into the mindset of a child.
Location: Calle 20 # 98-A x 15 y 17, Col. Itzimna
Time: Tuesday, 7:00 PM
Wednesday (Miercoles) July 14, 2010
6th Anniversary of the Centro Musical Initiation
Recital by music students from local schools.
Location: Teatro Peon Contreras, Calle 60 x 57
Time: Wednesday, 7:00 PM
Thursday (Jueves) July 15, 2010
Cairo Cinema Café: Mystery Train
(1989) Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Three stories are connected by a Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley. Stars include relative unknowns, but the movie won one award and was nominated for eight more. Anything directed by Jim Jarmusch is bound to be weird and wonderful.
Location: Calle 20 # 98-A x 15 y 17, Col. Itzimna
Time: Thursday, 7:00 PM
International Congress of Jazz Dance
Tonight’s performance will be by Sureste Danza.
Location: Auditorium of the Olimpo, Calle 62 x 61
Time: Thursday, 8:30 PM
Friday (Viernes) July 16, 2010
This is a chance for the locals to meet the extranjeros in a casual setting in the gardens at MELL. There is a cash bar and great botanas. Please join us for this sociable evening… meeting old friends and making new ones!
Location: The Merida English Language Library, Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68
Time: Things generally get underway at about 7:30 p.m. If you want to know more, call the Library at 924-8401.
Admission: Free with cash bar
Saturday (Sabado) July 17, 2010
Classic Cinema: It
(United States, 1927). As part of the film festival entitled Divas, Vamps and Femmes Fatales, this classic film stars Clara Bow, who became known as the "IT" girl. A salesgirl with plenty of "it" (sex appeal) pursues a handsome playboy. This is a movie you won’t be able to rent at Blockbuster, and it will be in English!
Location: Cineteca Nacional Manuel Barbachano Ponce in Teatro Merida, Calle 62 and 61
Time: Saturday, 8:00 PM
Sunday (Domingo) July 18, 2010
Artistic Weekend: The Choir of the City
This performance is under the direction of Mtra. Nidia Gongora. We do not think that lovelier voices can be found anywhere in the world than in the choirs of Yucatan.
Location: Auditorium of the Olimpo, Calle 61 at Calle 62
Time: Sunday, 7:00 PM
Low Cost Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic
Planned Pethood will conduct a low cost spay/neuter clinic for cats only in
their offices which are just past Costco, on the same side of the street. Please contact Planned Pethood for an
appointment at 9-44-23-10. For more information on Planned Pethood, please
visit their website at www.plannedpethoodmexico.com. Space is limited, so schedule your appointment today! Prices are significantly reduced to encourage the spay/neuter of these animals.
Location: Planned Pethood, 60 North No. 344 x 3 y 3-C in Colonia Gonzalo Guerrero (on 60 North in front of CBTIS 120, one and a half blocks before SAT
Time: By appointment
Cost: Male cats: 200 pesos, Female cats: 300 pesos
Cairo Cinema Café:
The White Ribbon
(2009, Austria). Story and screenplay written by the director, Michael Haneke. Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
Location: Calle 20 No. 98A x 15 y 17, Col. Itzimna
Time: Sunday, 7:00 PM
Movie: Pandora’s Box
This is the last film of the film series entitled Divas, Vamps and Femmes Fatales. The film was released in Germany in 1929 and in Japan in 1930. This movie stars Louise Brooks and Fritz Kortner. The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naive young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her. In English.
Location: Cineteca Nacional Manuel Barbachano Ponce in Teatro Merida, Calle 62 and 61
Time: Sunday, 8:00 PM
This Week: Teacher Institute: Into the Labyrinth.
July 12-August 6: Kids Summer Arts: Habla’s International Lab School
July 5-23 (intensive July 19-23): Exploring the Letter: A Visual Arts Course
July 12-21: Bomba Workshops
July 13-20: Introduction to Latin Dance
July 14: Improper and Unlikely Places for Art, a presentation by Anne Thulson
July 17 and 24: The Art and Form of Belly Dancing
July 17 and 24: Introduction to Latin Percussion
July 19: Ode to Ordinary Things: Poetry Workshop
July 24: The Art of the Book: A Bookmaking Workshop
Location: Habla, Calle 26 No. 99B x 19 y 21, Col. Mexico
For More Information: Habla’s website and blog
Classes in Dance and Yoga – July 6 through July 29
Contemporary Dance with Diana Bayardo
Location: Tumakat, Calle 51 #475-A x 49 y 51 Centro Merida
Time: 6:30 PM 7:55 PM Tue. Thur.
Cost: $400 pesos per month / $60 pesos for individual classes only
Yoga with Eyleen Rogers
Time: 8:00 PM to 9:25 PM Tue. Thur.
Cost: $520 pesos per month / $80 pesos per individual class
Contemporary Dance with Victor Hernandez
Workshop: Flying Low: Techniques of Dance
Dates: Aug. 2 20
Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Workshop: Passing Through: Improvisation
Dates: Aug. 9 20
Time: 11:15 AM to 1:15 PM
Cost(pesos): $1,000 for Passing Through; $1,200 for Flying Low; $1,800 for both.
Tunich Fair at Dzitya – July 30 through August 8
If you are building or decorating a home, you absolutely do not want to miss this fair. It grows larger every year and now has international companies coming to see what treasures they can find to export to their home countries. We are beyond belief lucky to have this village right on the edge of Merida! For more on this event, along with pictures of a few of the goodies youll find here, visit our article, The Stones of Dzitya. The organizers are currently working with Veracruz as the guest state for 2010. We will keep you posted as we learn new information. To see more pictures, a video and a calendar of events from 2009, visit en-Yucatan and dont forget, there will also be free transportation provided to and from Centro to the fair.
Hotel Zamnas 2nd Anniversary Celebration July 24th
Not only will there be a wonderful 3-course dinner served, there will also be a live concert by one of the best bands in Merida and there will be a video crew on hand to film the event. Wine will be served with dinner and local drinks will be served throughout the remainder of the evening.
Location: Hotel Zamna Calle 53 # 547, Barrio de Santiago.
Time: 7:30 PM
Admission: $220 pesos (reservations must be paid in advance as seating is limited to 40 guests and catering must be arranged)
Contact: Phone: (999) 924-0103
Introductory Fun With Sculpture Workshop – August 9 & 10
Sponsored by MexicaChica Getaways. Price includes all materials and
tools needed, a beautiful artist apron and two chef-prepared meals each day
in the studio. Six hours of instruction total.
Location: Nahualli- Casa de Los Artistas, Calle 60 #405, por 43 y 45, Centro
Time: 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Admission: $2,300 pesos
Contact: Claudette Elizondo to reserve your spot. claudette [at] mexicachica [dot] com or (999) 901-5430
10th International Festival of Choirs Yucatan - October 9 & 13
Concert under the direction of maestro Electo Silva (Cuba). This is a 6-month-long festival that begins on April 8th and travels from Jalisco to Merida and on to Colombia and Venezuela before its final performances in Merida in October. Visit the MySpace page of Conjunto Vocal Yucatan for a complete listing of the international dates. In case there is anyone who doesnt believe that a voice is the equivalent of a musical instrument or that a choir is the equivalent of an orchestra, we invite you to listen to samples of their work on their MySpace page. We especially liked A una dama que iba cubierta and La Cochinita Pibil. Performance dates near Merida include:
October 9 & 13: 10th International Festival of Choirs Yucatan and 25th Anniversary of Conjunto Vocal Yucatan
Location: Teatro Peon Contreras, Calle 60 at Calle 57
Admission: Tickets available at the box office
Yucatan 2010: Short Film Festival – November 12-21
The Yucatan 2010 Short Film Festival is calling for submissions. It is open to any non-professional resident of the Yucatan to submit their short films, and cash prizes will be awarded. Selected films will be exhibited during the festival. Films submitted must be digital videos, made in Yucatan and produced after Jan 1 2009.
One person can submit unlimited number of films. The themes must touch on mexicanidad, identidy, revolution, independence, liberty and/or democracy. There is even a category for one-minute cel phone films, as well as one for films in the Mayan language (with Spanish subtitles), and the films can be up to thirty minutes.
Screening: November 20 & 21. The public will select the winners.
Prizes: Cash prizes of $4000 and $5000 pesos for each category
For More Information: ICY Direccion de Artes Visuales, 930-4700 Ext 54035 and 54019
Submission Entry: Free
Taste of Playa – November 21, 2010
This is a huge annual event where over 40 restaurants are highlighted in a one day event. It was a great success last year, so be sure and put it on your list for Fall travel must see and do.
Time: 2 PM to 9 PM
More: Check the details on the Taste of Playa website.
Location: Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
For Merida Month-at-a-glance Calendar, click here
For ongoing events and classes in Merida,
please click here for our Ongoing Events Calendar!