Yucatan News: YAPA and Blah-Blah
Speeding on the Periferico: The Fine Is In the Mail
Radar and a high speed camera has arrived in 3 spots along the Periferico in Merida. When a driver exceeds the speed limit, the camera takes a picture of the vehicle's plates and the radar does what radar has always done. Then, the bill for the fine is simply mailed to the home of the owner of the vehicle. This is a dandy little system that has been used with great success in large cities everywhere and there is no reason not to use it in Merida. We have long noticed that all of the lovely wide roads around Merida seem to invite a little bit of a heavy foot, which results in far too many accidents. Be careful out there and try to get home without either having an accident or getting a speeding ticket.
Bread and Blah-Blah
If you don't know, you should know that there is great homemade bread available at the Slow Food Market every Saturday. The baker is Monique DuVal, an expat living here with her husband and two sons. Not only does she have many different flavors of whole-grain breads, sweet breads, loaves full of nuts and seeds, muffins, cookies and more, but she has perfected sourdough bread rounds (our favorite!) and everything is fresh every Saturday morning.
To her friends, Monique sends out a weekly email reminder, letting people know what she is cooking that week and giving them a chance to order something special. And then she closes with a philosophical or slice-of-life writing... a little glimpse into the heart and soul of the writer.
Here's a sample:
I seem to be living in a weird parallel universe filled with co-incidences and mysterious connections. I´ll tell you what happened to me last Thursday night because maybe you are experiencing the same strange phenomenon, maybe you are as moved and changed as I am by something similar in your own life. And then perhaps you´ll have some valuable insight for me, some reasonable explanation.
First of all, I was in a state of exhaustion. Maybe exhaustion alone can put you in a mysterious state. Alone with my kids. Husband away on a conference. Waking early. Working late. Managing staff tantrums. Managing children´s tantrums. My own tantrums. Holding catastrophes at bay. In short, it was 1 a.m. and I was bone tired. I would have to wake up extremely early in the morning and work until late Friday. And again on Saturday. So, I set the alarm for 5 AM, climbed wearily into bed knowing that 4 hours of precious sleep was all mine, mine, mine. I closed my eyes like a greedy girl and waited to drift away.
Instead, of being overcome with sleep, I was overwhelmed with the unfortunate and irrefutable urge to eat a carrot. The thing is, I don´t really like carrots and have never gone out of my way to eat them. (Don´t tell my kids.) I shut my eyes tighter. The carrot craving got bigger. I haul myself out of bed and now my head is in the fridge and I´m digging out baby carrots. I decide that the night is cool and I should go outside and stand in the middle of the back yard to eat the stupid carrots. So I do.
The thing is, I am scared of the Yucatecan dark. I never go outside at night and stand in the grass because I fear Coral snakes more than anything on this earth. And yet here I am, in my pajamas, eating root vegetables in a snake den.
The darkness is sucking all the green trees into itself and I am wondering why I´m standing out here. And then suddenly, out of the night, I see a smallish white thing charging out at me. Its still relatively far away, its fuzzy, ghostly aura glowing in a sea of dark. I can see that its running as fast as it can, which granted is not all that fast -- its moving comically slow considering its fast feet. I would laugh if I wasn´t so scared. Still, I do not know what it is. I think: Possum With Albino Fur. I think: French Poodle with Armadillo legs. I think: WHY AM I THINKING SUCH ABSURD THINGS?...but the creature is still making its ferocious way towards me! I start to back up, I consider running but I´m too worried I´ll step on a snake. My heart is pounding but my curiosity wins over fear and I am immobilized. I´ve stopped chewing my carrot. My eyes start to adjust as the phantom creature gets closer and my night-vision-optical-synaptic thingies click into place: Hey, wait a minute. Its Chuck the Bunny! What the hell is he doing out of his cage??? And how on earth did he get into the wilderness of our backyard??? It´s dangerous out here for bunnies! He passes me up with a whish and leaps into the nearby bushes. Then I spot Charles the Bunny, his sidekick, his boy toy, and he´s charging towards me as well. Oh those bad bad bunnies! How am I ever going to get any sleep if I´m out here rounding up bunnies in the middle of the night like renegade cattle? I imagine myself on horseback with a lasso....and then I look down into my hand.
Now, you can guess the rest of the story. It was easy as pie to get Chuck and Charles back into their love shack. I blush to tell you about their happy reunion, back in their happy home, simultaneously munching on carrots and iloveyou iloveyou iloveyou all over the place everywhere.
Chuck and Charles would not have made it through the night in the wilderness. They would have certainly been devoured by the same moonlight creatures that have devoured an array of our other unfortunate pets: whole chickens from their coops, roosters from their roosts, cats and small dogs. When the sun sets in the Yucatan, everything loses its Spanish accent. The night reverts back to its Mayan name with tongue on teeth, inward wind, hollow slaps and sharp clicks. The rhythm of walk and pause and clap. Everything gives itself back to the visceral language of Mayan. Bunnies notwithstanding.
It only takes a single receptive moment, one seemingly insignificant event to alter your perspective. A moment that causes you to feel a connection to that which is outside of you and let it in so it becomes, simply, an extension of you. This idea feels comfortable to me. I can live with it. I can sleep well knowing it.
I´m in bed by 1:20 AM, my craving for carrots replaced by a deep satiation, like something lost has been found, rediscovered, returned to me. I feel whole. I feel like my own lost, ancient life has begun to generate gravity. Just like the Mayan night, it has begun to pull itself together again, like the moon pulling at the ocean, my own life gathering all the pieces of my lost self and reuniting them back to me saying iloveyou iloveyou iloveyou all over the place everywhere. I melt into the dark and sleep a good sleep.
©2010 Monique Duval
We'll be bringing you a Monique "blah-blah" every so often... we hope you enjoy them! And if you want to meet Monique in person (and buy one of her charming books, The Persistence of Yellow), get yourself down to the Slow Food Market on Saturday morning (every morning except NEXT Saturday morning, when the bakery ONLY will be closed). You can find information and directions on our Events Calendar (linked in the upper right hand corner of every page) or on the page of Ongoing Events and Classes in Merida here.
Police in Ciudad Juarez Put Commander in Custody
Earlier this year, we bid a sad farewell to the SSP Unit in Valladolid as they left to clean up Ciudad Juarez. This past week, headlines blazed that the new SSP Unit in Ciudad Juarez held their commander in custody until the Federal Police Commissioner agreed to investigate the man for planting drugs on police in an attempt to extort them into working with the cartels. Although no one identified these officers as having come there from Yucatan, it is still with great pride that we read the headlines and can suspect that the values of our adopted state are making a difference in the effort to stop border violence and drug trafficking.
Jim Conrad Ate the Cosmos
Its been a while since we revisited Jim Conrad's Backyard Newsletter, but he is working in the Piste-Hacienda Chichen area now and we thought they might like to know what happened to their baby cosmos plants. Yes – he ate them – something about health, beauty, and fresh breath. His assessment of this plant, as food, is that it won't be going on his regular menu. But that isn't all that's in the BackYard Nature Newsletter this month. Jim also brings us the very interesting Four Points of Being a Mayan Man. We invite you to read Jim's Newsletter... there is always some delightful tidbit (and usually more than one!) in his educated and intelligent musings.
Yucatan To Investigate Legalizing Same Sex Unions
The Governor of Yucatan has stated that she is open to looking into legalizing same-sex marriage along the same lines as he law that the Supreme Court recently upheld for Mexico City. It is widely thought that a beginning point would be some sort of recognized same-sex union, but this is still a huge step in the direction of affording human rights to everyone who lives in Yucatan.
At the present time, the Supreme Court is considering adoption rights for same-sex couples. If that happens, same-sex adoption laws are expected to go nationwide in a short period of time. This is even more good news on the human rights front and, since human rights are important to us, we are pleased to see Mexico moving forward with both same-sex marriage and adoption rights.
Book Your Travel From Yucatan Living!
Yucatan Living has partnered with Best Day, a very reputable Cancun-based travel agency, to bring you, for your convenience, an easy way to book travel right from the pages of Yucatan Living. You'll see the form in the right column of every one of our pages that lets you choose a date and destination.
From this easy-to-use site, you can book a hotel, a flight, a car, a tour, a shuttle, or any combination of those services, all from the comfort of one, simple-to-use page. We would love to have you visit our new travel link partner and then book your travel from Yucatan Living's link. In this way, you can help support our site. Thank you!
Cholo has Passed Away in Merida
Award winning theater actor and satirist Hector Herrera "Cholo" passed away in Merida last week. His body lay in state in the Teatro Peon Contreras and his funeral was held there. Although he is probably best known for his totally irreverent satirical monologues, he also won an Ariel (Mexico's Oscar) for a movie and is best loved and remembered as an extraordinarily talented teacher of regional theater. Cholo was the father of seven children and leaves behind his wife, Jazmin Lopez, who is also known as “Tina Tuyub” on stage.
Theater of the Blind
This past week saw the performance of some wonderful murder mystery plays by Yucatan's blind theater group. We will be watching them closely because they have several projects planned during the Fall Cultural Festival in the month of October. One is these will be a play entitled “Haunted.”
Yucatan has so many opportunities for the differently-abled citizens who live here. We are constantly amazed at the artistic heights to which these talented individuals continue to rise. We ask that everyone please take the time to go out and see these performances whenever you can and let these artists know that their hard work is appreciated.
YAPA Volunteers Needed!
Yucatan Ayuda (Help) Por Los Animales, a new group of English-speaking volunteers dedicated to helping all the local organizations that help animals, has held its first meeting and what they find they need most is volunteers. While the greatest need still lies in the spay/neuter program area, it has come to light that domestic violence often includes violence against pets. With this in mind, a new push toward working with families on the general issue of violence is now developing. If you can help with this type of counseling, it would be deeply appreciated. If not, then perhaps you can volunteer at the shelters while others address the educational and counseling programs.
Another desperate need right now is the need for foster homes. The non-profit shelters here in Merida are full up with dogs, and yet, the dogs and cats keep coming. If you can foster a pet for even two weeks, that would be a big help... and of course if you can adopt one, that's even better!
Rio Lagartos: Crocodile Farming Coming Soon
As we reported last year, Campeche has gone into the crocodile farming business along its southern coast. Their farming experiment has been a total success and Yucatan's Rio Lagartos fishermen have decided to add crocodile farming to their own list of income producing resources. Toward that goal, they have just paid a visit to Campeche to see how its done. Since both meat and skins have value, crocodile farming wastes nothing and allows local people to manage the crocodile population in their area.
e suspect this will be a good thing on more than just an income producing front. It seems that increases in environmental temperatures produce more male than female crocodiles. In the wild, they are then run off by the largest local male crocodile and look for new homes along the coast and in rivers. The result is increases in crocodile attacks on humans. While this is not a problem in Yucatan now, proper farming techniques will ensure that crocodiles will never become a problem in the State of Yucatan.
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