Yucatan News: Deer, Books and Obama
Early Spring Equinox
Spring will come a day or two early this year as the Spring Equinox responds to the Leap Year. As the home of the Temple of the Seven Dolls, Yucatan is the location of one of the most beautiful ways to experience this event. As the sun rose on March 19, 2016, the photo above was taken at the Temple of the Seven Dolls. That night, as the clock rolled over into March 20, 2016, at 12:30 AM, Spring officially began. While thousands come to see this phenomena, many thousands more head off to Chichen Itza, in Eastern Yucatan, to watch the battle between Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god of the Maya, and Chaac, the Rain God of the Maya. This can be seen in this video by our long-time friend E.J. Albright, http://www.americanegypt.com/ author of several books on Chichen Itza, including his latest one, The Man Who Owned a Wonder of the World). In the video, Spring Equinox Chichen Itza: What’s It Like? , Kukulcan, the great snake, crawls down the pyramid El Castillo during the equinox. Chaac attempts to use clouds and/or rain to cover the sun and render Kukulcan’s shadow invisible. The winner of this battle is believed, by some, to have control over the weather until the beginning of the Fall Equinox in September. While tours to these archaeological sites are wonderful experiences all year long, nothing is quite like being there as these legendary events unfold.
Yucatan and Guatemala Twinning Archaeological Sites
Over the course of the past few years, worldwide interest in the history, culture and archaeology of the Maya has steadily grown. In 2015 alone, tourism in Guatemala hit a new record growth rate in tourism of 15% per year! The tourists come from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Colombia, Germany, France, Spain and the United States; and they also travel to the Yucatan Peninsula. Mexico and Guatemala are now linking their archaeological sites, beginning with Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and Yucatan’s Chichen Itza. These sites are part of a group of UNESCO World Heritage sites and deeply indebted to UNESCO for financial support, as well as worldwide marketing to tourists.
2016: Semana Santa and the Close of Snowbird Season
This year, Semana Santa (aka Holy Week, Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday... all the details are in our Calendar of Events) falls between March 20 and March 27. Of course, the holiday festivities do tend to start a few days before Palm Sunday and last a day or so after Easter Sunday. Snowbirds, as a general rule, begin winging their way northward on or after the beginning of April. In years past, the end of Snowbird Season signaled a time of summer peace and tranquility along Yucatan’s beaches. However, now, as Snowbirds fly away, summer visitors (both foreign and domestic) begin arriving in astonishing new numbers. The Municipality of Progreso has already spent two days getting the beaches ready for summer sporting events, and the Queen of the Navy led college students and other citizens in cleaning the beaches. In the meantime, expats have been holding the last of some of their artisans’ markets and their big Spring Bingo, which helps to support the Chelem Christmas Dreams project. The heat in Merida drives hundreds of thousands to Yucatan’s beaches for Semana Santa’s long spring vacations and family reunions.
Mexico No Longer as Happy as It Was
There are 156 nations participating in the Index of World Happiness Report. Sadly, Mexico has fallen from 14th place to 21st place. Canada is at number six and the United States of America is at number 13. To learn more about this report, and your country’s place on the Index of World Happiness, visit their website. As we read through their site, we learned that this kind of data is used to develop advertising themes on national scales. Mexico and Mexicans are pushing forward at such a rapid pace that it is not unusual to find families with one or more new businesses underway, several children (and maybe even parents) in college, and all of the bills they would have as members of the middle class in any other nation. Their stamina is awesome, but this fall in happiness may explain the increase in advertising for parks and other opportunities to “stop and smell the roses.”
Merida Road Construction
With the annual escape from the city’s heat of thousands of Merida’s families, the city and state take advantage of lower traffic numbers to make repairs and new construction to roads in and around the city. Traffic directions can change on a daily basis, and alternate routes can turn up both in the city and at exits from main highways to smaller towns and villages. This is especially true during any school vacation. According to the highway construction companies, there are road construction projects scheduled in and around Merida from Semana Santa until November. Since the actual schedule will change as some projects finish faster than others, drivers are asked to watch the newspapers closely for additional information. Some projects are simply the addition of lights on the Periferico, while others necessitate the building of entirely new exits, so do be vigilante as the City of Merida and State of Yucatan work hard to improve the safety of drivers and their passengers throughout the state.
To Donate To or Apply For a CRIT Telethon Wig
One of the programs associated with the annual CRIT Telethon provides wigs for children and young people who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment, as well as to those who suffer from any number of other diseases that cost patients their hair. Until now, the only wig factory in this three year old program was in Aguascalientes, but now there is a new CRIT wig factory in Baja California. If you would like to donate hair to this program, or apply for a wig, please follow the instructions below.
- To Donate Hair for a Wig:
- Donated hair must measure at least 30 cm long.
- Hair must be clean and dry.
- Hair should not be colored (dyed).
- Hair should be braided.
- Place the braid in a paper envelope with your name, phone number, cell phone number, and e-mail address.
- Deliver to CRIT Yucatan, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, or to the guardhouse on weekends. Address: Periférico Norte Tablaje Catastral 21597, Col. Privada Chuburna de Hidalgo, 97203 Mérida, YUC, Mexico Phone:+52 999 940 7700
- To Request a Wig:
- You may request a wig either through the “We Help” section of the Telethon website, or through your local hospital oncology department. Both will require statements proving diagnosis by your physician.
More Than 18,000 People Visit Book Fair Daily
The annual Yucatan Book Fair, held at Siglo XXI Convention Center, is clocking traffic at about 18,000 visitors per day. During the fair, there are 800 scheduled events, including performances and book reviews, and 10,000 new titles available for purchase. The most popular seem to be books on design and illustration using computers, with children’s illustrations (cartoons) the most popular of all. What this tells us is that young people are flocking to book fairs in Yucatan and the books they bring home with them will open new worlds for them and for their peers. This is one fair to watch, on an annual basis, to get a sense of where the next generation of young Yucatecos is headed. It is great to know that this generation is headed for the book store!
Foreign Companies Compete for Mexican Deep Water Oil
The wheels of oil continue to churn in the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, 50.3% of the prospective resources of Mexico lie in deepwater off of the east coast of Mexico. Nine companies have already started their pre-qualification process for drilling, including BP Exploration, Chevron, ExxonMobile, Shell, and Statoil. Other companies are in competition for exploration and exploitation in ten fields, and nine more companies have begun pre-qualification for 14 other locations, all in deep water or ultra-deep water. They expect to find 52.6 billion barrels, 70.3% of which is expected to be oil and the rest either wet or dry gas. This seems like such an odd news story at the same time that Yucatan is constructing the largest windfarm in Mexico, but the economy doesn’t view it quite that way. Today, the world runs on oil. Tomorrow that will, at least in part, change to wind and solar. Whatever the case, Yucatan is well positioned for the future.
Cloning vs GMO: Yucatan Clones Papaya
Did you know that Yucatan has cloned a heart-shaped watermelon and successfully produced enough copies to export this specialty fruit to Japan? Now, Yucatan’s papaya farmers are cloning the popular maradol papaya and is set to take Russian markets by storm with it. Cloning is by no means the equivalent of genetic modification. The process of genetic modification produces a plant that is aggressive and disease resistant enough to ultimately take over its species, field by field. Cloning, on the other hand, produces copies of one plant through tissue cultures. Cloning will not produce male or female plants, only hermaphrodites. All will have fruit with seeds and production levels will soar. To better understand how this all happens, do read the Hawaiian blog Marketless Mondays. Agricultural research and development has been viewed as the enemy for a long time. However, through it all, the young scientists have continued to search for, and find, ways to better feed the people of the world without harming the environment and without destroying whole species.
Green Revolution Often Means Brake for Deer
Deer are amazing creatures that can completely populate an area in the blink of an eye. This has already begun in Quintana Roo and can be expected to spread throughout the peninsula. This past week, a whole herd of white-tailed deer appeared on the edge of a new subdivision that supports natural areas in Cancun. Expats, who have grown up in rural areas where deer populations must be managed, know full well how quickly these beautiful animals can take over, often to their own detriment. This will, eventually, become a problem that lands squarely in PROFECA’s court. However, in the meantime, everyone needs to slow down on rural roads. Always anticipate that a deer could run across in front of you at any moment. If you miss the first one, there is a high probability that the next two will hit you. Such an incident is not high on the probability scale at this time, but it doesn’t take long for it to develop, so do keep an eye out. There is nothing as pretty as a family of white-tailed deer, unless they are crashing through your windshield. So just be aware of where you are and what may be running toward the highways you are driving on, especially as we encourage larger and larger green spaces in close proximity to people.
Obama Entourage in Cuba
As we write this, President Obama, his family, his Secret Service agents and an untold number of additional people are visiting Cuba. This is the first time a sitting United States president has visited Cuba in 88 years. In Mexico, we say Que onda? In Cuba, they say Que bola? and that's what Obama tweeted today when he landed in Havana. We are excited that our neighbors across the Yucatan Channel are hosting this very special event and garnering the attention of the entire world today in a good way. Want to hear more about what is going on? Follow our friend Conner Gorry, originally from New York City but living in Havana for the last umpteen years. She'll certainly have a unique and interesting take on the event.