Lots of local news to report. I've had a chance to catch up on a lot of the stories that have been carried by our local paper, Por Esto, lately. Here are some interesting ones:
Unless you have been living in a box, you know that a boat carrying American teenagers sunk in Cancun last Saturday, killing one girl. For a more in-depth look at this, CancunCanuck has been doing an excellent job of keeping up. I watched the interview on Good Morning America Thursday (via internet) and was appalled that the kids verified that the crew were the first ones off the boat! How despicable and cowardly is that!
For some reason, the boat was hauled over here to be inspected. Por Esto was outraged that no inspection had even been begun by last Tuesday. And even more outraged that the results are not being released to the public. Somehow, the Navy has become involved in all of this also. They did tell the paper that no hole was found in the hull so that means the Captain did not actually drive onto the reef. They still think that the boat was overloaded and caused the engine room to take on water, thus causing the sinking. This incident is getting international coverage, and rightly so. I'll let you know if anything worthwhile comes of this. Right now it still stands at a needless and unacceptable tragedy.
Moving on, we have had yet another suicide here. This time a 23 year old young man, originally from Chiapas. He was found hanging from his own belt in the bathroom by his mother. The was transported to the local hospital to be treated for shock. According to the paper, there was much beer drinking going on prior to this. Another tragedy.
Somebody once asked me why all the Mexicans (they were using their broad paint brush!) use hanging as a means for suicide. I think it is quite clear. Most of the people who commit suicide do not have the money for a gun so they can't shoot themselves. Nor do they have money to go buy a bunch of pills of some kind. Hanging is about the only solution for them.
Two items that I found either funny or of the Duh! variety involve traffic.
A car was recently found abandoned downtown. It was illegally parked and blocked traffic so that the larger delivery trucks could not get through. Even so, I know for sure the car sat there for two days unattended before the license plates were removed by the police. They do this to compel the owner to show up at the police department and pay a fine. The police are just flabbergasted that no one has come forward to retrieve the plates! They printed the plate number and it is a local plate for the island. Now my question. Why don't they simply look the plate number up on the computer and go to the person's house???
A related story talks about the problem of parking downtown. (I can attest to this problem!) As the growth of the island increases (currently at 18,000 residents) so does the need for parking spaces. Especially since so many people are now buying "large box cars". (SUV's) These cars create a problem because they just park where they want, ignoring all regulations and blocking traffic. (so enforce the regulations! Duh.) Also adding to the problem, as reported in the paper, is the deteriorated condition of most of the signs, along with the total lack of signs. The excuse given by the City when asked about this problem is that they only have three traffic officers for the whole island. (I'm not even going to comment on that!)
Speaking of police, they are up in arms, so to speak. Our police force is also responsible for policing the area of Isla Mujeres on the mainland, known as the Continental Zone. In order to get to and from work, they have to take the ferry over. The past Mayor compensated them for this fare as part of their work duty. The current Mayor has now cut that subsidy and requires the police officers to pay their own way. Adding insult to injury, she wants this "illegal funding" by the previous Mayor paid back by each and every one of the police officers! Their response so far has been to tell the current Mayor to go collect it from the previous Mayor. Ain't we got fun!
Here's three stories that might be of greater interest to tourists.
Isla Mujeres has decided to now abide by the Federal No Smoking laws and will be going non-smoking as of September. Merchants don't expect any adverse effects since the law does not apply to any "open air" areas. Almost every bar and restaurant on the island is "open air". You can't be much more open air than when sitting on the street!
It appears that a license is about to be granted to the some of the new North Beach and vicinity condos being built to add "hundreds of golf trolleys" (carts) to the island. This is so that their future customers and owners do not have to be inconvenienced to go to town to rent one. (gimme a break!) There has been a moratorium on bringing any new golf carts to the island for a while now. Current rental companies may only replace their fleet, not add to it. Guess whether these companies are upset? They say they will support the condo measure only if they are each allowed to increase their fleets too. Por Esto makes the valid point that this addition of golf carts will only add to the problem of "deranged traffic" on the island, leading to more accidents. And the taxi drivers have gotten into it and want to add more taxis also. I laughed when Por Esto said that this island has no room for more traffic growth and said that the island "is fast becoming a Mexico City surrounded by water!".
Sadly, the paper also reports that North Beach has now lost 80% of it's sand via erosion. They take the past and present Mayors to task for showing no interest in this problem and the effect it is having on tourism. Vendors and hotels report that tourists show up, take a look at the beach, and move on. Especially since they are covered with decaying, stinking Sargossa grass washed up in the numerous storms we have had. There has been no assistance from the City with its' removal. (let me tell you, the beach is NOT the place to be right now!)
And finally, just since many of you have asked. The demolition and remodel of Avenue Hidalgo was supposed to start on May 1, so as not to disrupt high season tourism. As of this writing, not a shovel full of dirt has been turned over. Nada, nothing, zilch.
Have a nice day in your neighborhood too!