News Starting March 08
Soon-To-Be-Law: Cell Phones + Driving ≠ Yucatan
Put your cell phone away when driving in Yucatan! The State of Yucatan will soon join other states in Mexico, including Campeche and Quintana Roo, in a ban on both talking on cell phones and texting while driving. This comes after discovering that 80% of all road accidents in our state take place while the driver is engaged with his or her cell phone in some capacity. Those kinds of accidents leave more victims than anyone realizes. The person who is injured or killed is certainly a victim, as are all of their family members and friends. In addition, the person who caused the accident must pay both legally and with sometimes irreparable damage to their own mental health and personal lives. All of this from one moment of inattention that need not have happened. This bill has now gone to the Congress of the State of Yucatan and is expected to pass. Soon it will be illegal to talk or be involved in texting on a cell phone while driving. This is already a law in most parts of the United States and is expected to work its way across the nation of Mexico very quickly, as well it should!
2009 Business Stats on Yucatan and Merida!
During 2009, we have brought our readers several stories from other states, especially states along the East Coast of Mexico, and each claiming to be the state that provides the easiest entrance into business in the entire nation. Well – the numbers, along with an economic analysis – are in from the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Infomatics. It is with great glee that we announce “Yucatan WINS!” The bad news was that approximately 1,000 small and micro businesses failed in our state last year. The good news is that over 101,000 businesses are alive and well in the State of Yucatan!
In fact, the State of Yucatan is rocking along quite nicely with a business growth rate of 37.4%. We lead Baja California Sur, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place. Following far behind and in the last 3 places are Nuevo Leon, Mexico City, and Chihuahua.
Estado de Yucatan is also the state with the 3rd highest rate of employment and participation in IMSS. One of our best characteristics, it seems, is that 63.7% of our population falls within the working age group. (el Diario).
We were also excited to discover that Merida is the driving force behind much of the growth throughout the state. Not to rest for a moment, the Mayor of Merida, along with the mayors of 50 municipalities, got together to acknowledge that Merida funds 42 free cultural and artistic events each week, as well as other projects throughout the other municipalities to ensure that tourism continues to grow at a constant rate. (el Diario)
Add to all of that the fact that the State of Yucatan is the only state in Mexico with zero (!!!!) drug-related murders last year. Add that Merida is the safest large city in the country, has world class medical care facilities and personnel (approved, if ever necessary, to treat an American President) — we did mention the low cost of living, didn’t we? — and what you have is the best place on Earth in which to live, work, and play!
Merida to Get Doubletree Hilton
Construction is to begin this month on the newest Doubletree By Hilton, which is part of Hilton Worldwide. The hotel is expected to be finished in approximately one year. It will have 100 rooms and suites, plus the best of all additional services, such as meeting rooms, pool, spa, gym, bar, and restaurant. Visit the Doubletree Hilton website to learn more about this special group of Hilton Hotels, as well as the other Hilton venues. We’re not exactly sure where it is being built yet but we’ll let you know when we find out.
National Award: Yucatan Hammock Kit
Go North-of-the-Border and you will be inundated with advertisements about one mattress supposedly being better than another. Come to Mexico and there is hardly a mention of mattresses. What you hear in Mexico, almost without fail, is that the finest hammocks come from Yucatan. Accepting that as a fact (since it is a fact), the question then becomes one of where does one get a really “fine” hammock and how in the world does one install it, especially if one does not live in Yucatan!
Enter HammocKit, which premiered at the National Exhibition of Gift Items & Mexican Artisan décor in Jalisco – and they won! The kit contains not only a luxury Yucateco hammock, but also all of the hardware necessary to hang it and instructions for care and washing, in both Spanish and English. The company is the brain-child of Beatriz Alanis Lara and her mother, and will be first marketed through Liverpool and exported to France, Montreal, Cozumel, and Guadalajara.
You can also order a HammocKit online. Congratulations to this daughter and mom duo who have not only brought a wonderful award home to Yucatan, but who also provide employment for many of the best weavers in all of southeastern Mexico.
Restoration: Merida & Chile
We get so excited about taking so many huge steps forward that we often forget to look back at some of the things that make our lives richer just by their mere existence. Such is the case with the pipe organ in Merida’s Cathedral, and such is the case with the Mexican murals on the walls of the library of Escuela Mexico de Chillan. Originally, this school was donated by Mexico to Chile after an earlier devastating earthquake, and the school was named after Mexico as tribute. The murals in the school are very characteristic of Mexican mural art of the time, and were painted by David Siquieros. The mural is entitled Death to the Invader, and was painted by the artist to picture what the two countries, Mexico and Chile, had in common.
At the time of this latest earthquake, the murals were being restored under the supervision of experts from the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico. Specialists in Chile are currently examining the damage created by the recent earthquake and then they will all move forward to restore these 1942 murals.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to look on our Ongoing Events page and plan to not only visit our historic pipe organ, which resides in the oldest cathedral in the Americas, and is also undergoing a restoration. The grandeur of the art and music we experience has a direct bearing on our quality of life and it is up to each of us to do our part to restore and protect as many of these wonders as possible.
Spring Break Is Already Underway!
Springbreakers are defined as U.S. and Canadian high school and college students, usually under the age of 21. On the Yucatan Peninsula, they are almost always thought of in terms of their annual Spring break in Cancun. This year, although the season has begun earlier than usual, it is expected that there will be only about 6,000 Springbreakers in Cancun, which is fewer than usual.
This, in turn, leads to two trains of thought and action. First, the international tourist trade is important to the global economy and must continue to be encouraged. However, second, there is one fact that is often neglected, i.e. the middle class in Mexico is now very nearly the same percent of the population in Mexico that it is in the U.S. Increasing domestic tourism is one way that Mexico can work to undo some of the damage caused to the tourism economy by the global financial crisis and the H1N1 scare.
In either case, we hope this year’s Springbreakers have a wonderful time and we also hope to see everyone (and their Mexican brothers…) back again next year!
March 13: Slow Food Market Moves to Saturdays
The beginning of the Slow Food Market was a rousing success! In order to serve the needs of those who work on weekdays, it has been decided to move the market to Saturdays. This information is on our Events page, but we want to make sure that everyone knows about it. The Slow Food Market already sells homemade breads, tofu, and dips as well as organically grown fruit and vegetables, organic compost, organically raised quail and quail eggs and much more. Support this growing and very worthy cause in whatever way you can!
Location: Calle 31 x 60, Chuburna de Hidalgo, catty-cornered to the Super Faraon (turn at the light across the street from the Oxxo).
Time: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Admission: Free – but please consider becoming a member (and encourage others to do so as well)! Membership is only $100 pesos per year and directly supports keeping the market going, as well as providing assistance to sustainable and organic production in Yucatan. There is a membership sign-up table on the porch on market day.