NEWS: PORT OF PROGRESO

The port of Progreso, established in 1872 by Don Juan Miguel Castro, serves as a vital link between the Yucatán Peninsula and the rest of the world due to its strategic location just 36 km from Merida. Originally, three wooden piers were constructed to facilitate the export of Sisal (Henequen) and cater to the peninsula’s maritime traffic. However, with an official depth of 11 feet, ships had to anchor three miles away at sea.

Recognizing the need for deeper docks to meet the growing demands of maritime traffic, President Lazaro Cardenas sought the construction of a new dock. In 1937, the Danish company “Christine and Nielsen” was commissioned to build a viaduct and two wharf docks, a project that lasted over 11 years and spanned the presidential terms of Lazaro Cardenas, General Manuel Avila Camacho, and Miguel Aleman Valdez.

In the early days of June, 1947, the monumental building was completed, featuring a 1.8-kilometer viaduct and two 200-meter wharf docks with an official depth of 15 feet. The first ship to dock at the newly finished pier was named the Emancipation.

Today the Port of Progreso, known for having the world’s longest jetty/pier, is set to undergo expansion and improvement projects to accommodate larger vessels and boost its logistics capabilities. The port, inaugurated in 1871, has become a vital gateway for tourism and commercial exchanges with the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Governor Mauricio Vila has been instrumental in promoting and positioning Yucatan as a prominent player in port logistics, enhancing connectivity with the rest of Mexico and the world.

The expansion plans aim to increase the port’s capacity to handle larger ships, with the current limit being around 36,000 to 40,000 tons. With the improvements, the port will be able to accommodate ships carrying up to 100,000 tons of cargo. The industrial activity in Yucatan has shown significant growth, with an average annual growth rate of 1.5% from 2016 to 2021, surpassing the national average. Manufacturing, in particular, has experienced an average annual growth rate of 9.8%, placing Yucatan seventh in the country.

The growth in industrial activity has had a positive impact on employment in the region. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Yucatan achieved a historic peak in employment registrations with the Mexican Institute of Social Security in February 2023. The expansion of the port is expected to further generate both direct and indirect jobs, contributing to the economic development of the region.

The tourism sector is also set to benefit from the expansion, as cruise ships with capacities ranging from 7,000 to 8,000 passengers will be able to dock at Progreso. Currently, the port’s limited dredging and draft capacity have resulted in the loss of cruise ship arrivals. With the expansion, an additional 52 cruise ships could potentially visit Progreso, including large vessels like the Carnival Mardi Gras, Oasis Of The Seas, Allure Of The Seas, and Norwegian Epic.

To fully utilize the port’s strategic location and attract new investments, the construction of a ship repair, conversion, and maintenance shipyard has been planned. The Italian company Fincantieri will invest up to $220 million in the project, creating a significant number of jobs and boosting the economic development of the port and Yucatan as a whole. The expansion project includes dredging, increasing the width and length of the navigation channel, and constructing two masonry docks, making it the largest shipyard in the Americas.

These developments will not only enhance the logistics capabilities of the port but also open up new opportunities for businesses in various sectors, including natural gas, automobile, and export manufacturing. The increase in the size of merchant ships will result in decreased logistics costs, making Yucatan more attractive for investments. Moreover, the expansion will lead to a higher number of tourists visiting the region, contributing to the overall economic growth and prosperity of Yucatan.

SOURCES:
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https://blog.simca.mx/en/this-is-progreso-the-most-important-port-in-yucatan ~ https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ports-destinations/progreso-pier-one-guinness-record-book
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https://www.puertosyucatan.com/ap/historia_en.htm

REAL ESTATE:  HOME MAINTENANCE

Home Maintenance Tips

Mini-Split

Regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and energy efficiency. Conducting routine maintenance, such as cleaning filters, checking refrigerant levels, and inspecting electrical connections, homeowners can ensure that their mini-split units operate efficiently, reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills.Proper maintenance helps to extend the lifespan of mini-split units. The high humidity levels can contribute to the growth of mold, mildew, and other contaminants, which can damage the unit’s internal components.

Maintenance Schedule:  

  • Bedrooms and common areas – every 5 – 6 months
  • Kitchen – every 4 – 5 months (needs more frequent maintenance due to grease, dust, etc. generated by cooking)

Settings:

  • Temperature settings between 22 and 24
  • Use the dry setting which is the drop of water vs. the snowflake. This helps energy efficiency.

Tinaco

Cleaning and maintaining tinacos, or water storage tanks, most often found on top of houses, helps to prevent the buildup of sediment, debris, and microorganisms. Merida’s water supply, while generally safe for consumption, can contain impurities that settle at the bottom of the tank over time. By removing sediments and preventing the growth of microorganisms, the tank’s interior remains in good condition, reducing the risk of corrosion and degradation over time. 

Maintenance Schedule:

  • Generally recommended to clean tinacos at least once a year. However, the frequency may vary depending on factors such as water quality, usage, and environmental conditions. 
  • During cleaning,accumulated sediments, debris, or microorganisms are removed by draining the tank and scrubbing the interior surfaces to remove any buildup.
  • After cleaning, it is advisable to disinfect the tinaco to eliminate any potential bacteria or contaminants with a suitable disinfectant recommended for water storage tanks. Follow the instructions provided by the disinfectant manufacturer for proper usage and dilution.

Cisterna

Cisternas play a vital role in providing households with a reliable water supply, especially in areas where access to piped water may be limited or unreliable. Maintaining cisternas helps to ensure the cleanliness and quality of the stored water. Over time, sediment, debris, and microorganisms can accumulate in cisternas. Therefore, regular cleaning ensures safe and potable water for consumption and domestic use.

Cisternas are typically constructed using materials like concrete or plastic, which can deteriorate over time. Regular inspections and maintenance allow for the early detection of any cracks, leaks, or other issues, preventing water loss, contamination, and potential damage to the surrounding area.

Maintenance Schedule:

  • Recommended to clean annually. During cleaning, ask the professional to inspect wiring and other parts of the cisterna to ensure property connections are present and for preventative maintenance.

Pool

Regularly clean the pool by removing debris, such as leaves and twigs, from the surface and bottom of the pool. Use a skimmer net and a pool vacuum to keep the pool clean and free of dirt and debris. If a filtration system is present, check and clean the system regularly. This includes cleaning or replacing the filter cartridges or backwashing the sand or DE filter to remove trapped debris and maintain proper water circulation. Regularly add the necessary chemicals to the pool to maintain proper water chemistry. This includes adding chlorine or other sanitizers to kill bacteria and algae, as well as balancing the pH and alkalinity levels.

Maintenance Schedule:

  • Recommended to clean once a week during the hot season (from March to October). This is especially important during the rainy season to prevent algae buildup.
  • Good pool service providers can be hard to come by. Hiring a good provider weekly ensures reliable service and loyalty. We recommend paying your provider weekly with a small tip and a cold drink. Consider also paying them when you need to cancel during vacation, etc. They rely on this regular income and it’s important to consider their time and loyalty to you.

Water Heater

Regular inspections can help identify any issues or signs of wear and tear. If you notice leaks, unusual noises, or a decrease in hot water supply, it may be time to perform maintenance or call a professional. Options are gas, electric, and on-demand. Specific maintenance requirements may vary depending on the type of water heater and manufacturer recommendations. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional advice for your specific water heater model.

Maintenance Schedule:

  • Flushing the tank should be done annually to remove sediment buildup, which can improve efficiency and extend the lifespan of the water heater.

Roof

It’s important to note that the specific maintenance requirements for flat roofs may vary depending on the materials used and the condition of the roof. It’s recommended to consult with a professional for more accurate and tailored advice based on your specific flat roof type and climate conditions which can vary depending upon the location of the property. For example, maintenance at the beach will be slightly different than the city or a pueblo. Conduct regular inspections of your flat roof to identify any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or pooling water. Repair any cracks or damaged areas promptly to prevent water infiltration.

 

Maintenance Schedule:

  • Inspect the roof after heavy rain or storms. Remove any debris, leaves, or branches to prevent clogging of drains and gutters, which can lead to water pooling and potential damage. Ensure that the roof has proper drainage to prevent water from accumulating. 
  • Apply a waterproof coating (called impermeabilizante) to protect the roof from water leaks and extend the lifespan of the roof. Can apply annually by scraping off the old layer OR only in parts that are damaged. Ask your service provider for more information and recommendations.

General Maintenance:

  1. Cisternas: clean and disinfect cisternas regularly to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the stored water.
  2. Tinacos:  clean and disinfect tinacos regularly to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the stored water.
  3. Inspect and Clean Roofs: regularly clean roofs to prevent water pooling and ensure proper drainage. This is important after storms or heavy rains.
  4. Test and Maintain Electrical Systems: regularly check electrical systems for any issues, such as faulty wiring or outlets. Hire a professional electrician for inspections and repairs. It is common for ants to get into electrical boxes, wall contacts and other electrical areas. 
  5. Plumbing Maintenance: Inspect plumbing systems for leaks, drips, or clogs. Address any issues promptly to prevent water damage and waste.
  6. Mini-splits:  schedule regular maintenance, including cleaning filters and checking for any issues, to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency.
  7. Pest Control: take measures to prevent and control pests, such as ants, spiders, and mosquitoes, through regular cleaning, sealing cracks, and using appropriate pest control methods. Schedule fumigation every 3 – 4 months, or as needed.
  8. Maintain Exterior/Interior Paint: regularly inspect and touch up exterior paint to protect the home from weathering and maintain its appearance.
  9. Check and Maintain Windows and Doors: inspect windows and doors for any gaps, cracks, or damaged seals. Repair or replace as necessary to improve energy efficiency and security.
  10. Maintain Landscaping: regularly trim trees and bushes, remove weeds, and maintain the overall landscaping to prevent overgrowth and reduce attracting bugs and rodents.
  11. Standing Water:  drain all standing water, especially after rain, to prevent mosquitoes from hatching.
  12. Maintain Security Measures: ensure that locks, security systems, and outdoor lighting are in good working condition to enhance home security.
  13. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance of Appliances: clean and maintain household appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines, according to manufacturer guidelines to ensure their longevity and efficient operation. Invest in regulators for refrigerators and other large appliances to increase longevity (protecting them from power surges). 

CULTURE: AMAZONAS DE YAXUNAH

ESPN Deportes today announced “Las Amazonas de Yaxunah,” a compelling documentary that shines a light on the remarkable spirit and determination of an extraordinary Mayan women’s softball team from the Yucatán region of Mexico. Narrated by Yalitza Aparicio, the first Indigenous Mexican Actress to be nominated for an Oscar, the film follows the inspiring journey of this team of 26 passionate players, aged 13 to 62, as they shattered gender stereotypes and overcame immense challenges to pursue their passion for softball.

Source: ESPN Pressroom: https://espnpressroom.com/us/press-releases/2024/05/espn-deportes-announces-las-amazonas-de-yaxunah-powerful-documentary-about-trailblazing-mayan-womens-softball-team/

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In the Mayan community of Yaxunah, a group of women from diverse backgrounds, including artisans, embroiderers, shepherds, students, and housewives, come together every afternoon to play softball on a field where their sheep grazed earlier. What began as a way to exercise has evolved into a symbol of community cohesion. The team, known as Las Amazonas, has gained recognition in southern Yucatan for their recent victories.

For three years, Las Amazonas have been training on their own, with just two bats, five worn-out gloves, and a few balls they acquired by winning a contest. They practice in traditional clothing called huipiles and without shoes because “they just get in the way.” Despite the initial challenges of not having proper equipment or a field, they have always had an audience of supportive neighbors.

Captain Fermina Dzib Dzul, a lifelong lover of the game, agreed with the men’s team to share the softball field for training. The women of Las Amazonas are proud representatives of Yaxunah when competing against other teams from the municipality and nearby towns.

Las Amazonas train relentlessly under the sun, accepting small matches with other teams to showcase their strength. They aim to defeat rivals like Las Xibalbas, Las Bravas, and Las Panteras de Pisté, with whom they have a long-standing rivalry dating back to pre-Hispanic times.

Captain Fermina emphasizes that the team values fun and improvement over scolding or fighting. Mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and grow. The ultimate goal for Las Amazonas is to continue playing, compete against stronger opponents, and explore other towns. They were recently invited to play in Playa de Carmen but lack sponsors for transportation.

The name “Amazonas” was chosen because it represents the courage and pride of Mayan women, drawing inspiration from the mythological warrior women. Captain Fermina emphasizes that these traits are embodied by the Mayan women in her team.

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In September 2023, an exhibition match — celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in the US — took place in Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, where the Amazonas defeated the Falcons of Arizona State University 22-3. Their pitcher also tossed the opening pitch at the start of the MLB game that followed.

Source: Yucatan Magazine: https://yucatanmagazine.com/the-amazonas-of-yaxunah-win-big-after-their-first-international-game-in-arizona/

Sources:
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https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/softbol-y-huipiles-las-diablillas-de-hondzonot-y-las-amazonas-de-yaxunah.html ~ https://piedepagina.mx/las-amazonas-guerreras-mayas-del-softbol/
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https://punto.mx/2023/09/18/mujeres-mayas-de-las-amazonas-de-yaxunah-haran-historia-en-eu/ ~ https://www.moviendo-ideas.com.mx/general/las-amazonas-de-yaxunah-desde-yucatan-hasta-hollywood/

TRENDING: TREN MAYA

“In 2019, a referendum held by AMLO to approve the train passed with around 90 percent of the vote. But with less than one percent turnout, and UN observers subsequently criticizing the government’s one-sided consultation of Indigenous assemblies, the Mexico Office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded that the process had not complied with international standards. Despite this, AMLO declared the vote an emphatic endorsement of his project and proceeded with construction.”

Source: https://nacla.org/controversial-maya-train-and-running-mexicans-cast-ballots

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The Maya Train, a 950-mile rail line project in the Yucatán Peninsula, has been hailed by Mexican President López Obrador as “the most important public works project in the world.” However, the completion of the entire route has faced delays, with the remaining segment between Playa del Carmen and Escárcega expected to take “two or three months” longer than initially projected. Environmental concerns have been raised, particularly regarding the potential impact on the local aquifer and the destruction of environmentally sensitive limestone caves.

Despite assurances of protection, recent photos reveal that steel and cement pilings from the project have been driven directly through the roofs of these caves, which are crucial for the region’s freshwater supply and contain some of the oldest human remains in North America.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) had claimed that soil mapping studies would be conducted to prevent damage to the caves, but cave expert Guillermo DChristy alleges that this promise was not upheld.

The project has faced criticism from various quarters, including ecologists, cave divers, and archaeologists. President López Obrador, aiming to complete the project before leaving office in September, has exempted it from normal permitting, public reporting, and environmental impact statements, citing national security concerns.

The Maya Train controversy underscores the ongoing clash between development ambitions and environmental preservation in Mexico, with doubts persisting regarding the project’s feasibility, given its frequent stops and unwieldy route. Despite officials presenting the train as a practical transport option for freight and residents, its primary income source is expected to be tourism. The project has faced legal challenges, with a court ruling indefinitely suspending construction over environmental concerns.

When asked about the environmental concerns surrounding the train, President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaim replied, “All projects have impacts. The issue is if there is mitigation of this environmental impact… And in this case, yes, this was done.”

“Historically this area, particularly in the zone of Cancún and the Maya Riviera, has experienced a very severe environmental impact with the large hotels,” Sheinbaum stated. “The environmentalists of today never said anything about these impacts. And now they are talking about the impact of the Maya Train, which has a lot to do with politics and little to do with knowledge.”

During its third month of operation, the Maya Train encountered 29 issues, bringing the total number of recorded incidents since its inauguration on December 15, 2023, to 51. According to a statement from Tren Maya, the state-owned company responsible for the project, from February 19 to March 25, 2024, the government’s flagship project under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador experienced a failure approximately every 30 hours, averaging almost one failure per day.

Most recently, some of the railings and concrete walls suffered damage after the heavy rains this month close to the Maxcanu stop. To sum it up, I would proceed with caution when considering riding the train at this time. Angel and I have been watching the news and it appears that more time is needed before stepping off the platform into one of the cars.

Read this article for a personal perspective from Carlos Rosado van der Gracht, write for Yucatan Magazine:
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https://yucatanmagazine.com/the-many-problems-with-taking-tren-maya-to-chichen-itza/

SOURCES:
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https://eturbonews.com/controversial-tren-maya-project-in-mexico/
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https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/mexico-environment-train/
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https://mexicobusiness.news/infrastructure/news/mayan-train-section-5-inaugurated-amid-concerns-court-decision

GASTRONOMY: PLAYAVIVA

Nestled on the stunning shores of Telchac Puerto, Yucatan, Playaviva Restaurant offers a culinary experience that perfectly complements its picturesque beachfront location.

When it comes to the menu, Playaviva Restaurant excels in showcasing the best of Yucatecan cuisine, with a focus on fresh seafood and vibrant flavors; sourcing ingredients from local suppliers with an authentic representation of the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Our favorite dishes: ~ Guacamole Natural ~ Tacos Gobernador del Camaron ~ Tacos de Carnitas de Atun ~ Tacos de Chicharron de Sirloin ~ Ceviche ~ Tostadas de Atun ~ Dessert – you MUST try the brownie! one of the best I’ve ever had!!!

To complement the yummy cuisine, the bar offers an great selection of cocktails, beers, and wines. We recommend a mezcalito or for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, order Naranja Mineral (with club soda) or Naranja Natural (with still water). The orange is fresh squeezed and very delicious.

Service at Playaviva Restaurant is attentive and friendly, with staff members going above and beyond to ensure an enjoyable dining experience. In terms of ambiance, whether you choose to dine indoors or al fresco, the stunning views of the beach and the sound of the waves crashing in the background create a serene and romantic setting.

Overall, Playaviva Restaurant is a hidden culinary oasis in Telchac Puerto, Yucatan. With its commitment to showcasing the best of Yucatecan cuisine, sustainable practices, and breathtaking views, it is a must-visit for food enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. Out of the way, off the beaten path, and TOTALLY worth it!

Google Maps Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/gesV7eDvutKgoqgF7

Ask for Carlos Canul, one of the managers. He’ll take good care of you!