Consider this

 

Yesterday I wrote about residents’ concerns over the noise level in downtown Merida. From the comments on social media, I conclude that a number of people do not fully understand the situation. Some wrote that the residents who are complaining are “intolerant” and  “un-cool”.

Fine, I guess that everyone has the right to an opinion. But, consider this scenario…

I know a young man (born in Merida) who purchased a derelict carpentry shop on a beautiful lot… 10 meters by 52 meters. It is located in Santa Ana, about 12 blocks northeast of the main square. When he took possession of the property, it was overgrown with 20 years of weeds, piles of rubble, and old shacks; there was no septic tank…  He has spent the past 8 years cleaning, repairing, planting trees and a garden. He built a 2 bedroom home. He is now married and has a child. The young family LOVE their home, especially because so much of their own hard work (and all their money) went into creating it.

Then a huge empty building, right next door to them, was bought by a group of wealthy investors from Mexico City. They are turning this property into a multi-venue eatery, with live music every night. The developers claim it will be a “happening” place… a great “attraction” for Merida.

The young man’s home and the restaurant share a 52 meter common wall. He asked the new owners to somehow soundproof. They said this would be “impossible”… a synonym for “expensive”… The restaurant complex is currently under construction, and jack hammers pound all day. The dust makes it impossible to go outside to the garden or open the windows. The toddler has a cough that won’t go away.

And once the business is up and running, the young family can expect typical restaurant prep noise all day long… kitchen banging, cooks swearing, delivery trucks coming and going, tables being dragged into place… Not to mention the vermin that propagate wherever food is stored.

And at night there will be live music, people whooping it up… it will be IMPOSSIBLE to live in the home they love.

This couple does not have the money to move, and they can’t sell. Who will buy their property with the monstrosity next door? They have been completely SCREWED – OVER.  Sorry, but there is no polite way to put it.

The one hope they have is the meeting to be held today at 4 PM in San Sebastian. The authorities have promised to show up and listen to the residents’ side. The young couple is praying that someone will help them out of this mess.

The residents who are complaining about noise are not just “whining expats”. They are also Meridanos whose families have lived in El Centro for generations, and they are not asking for anything outlandish. They are not “intolerant and un-cool”. They are people who have rights and they need to be heard. We should show them respect and support… not dismiss them.

Because think about this… if proper zoning and noise ordinances are not enforced, anyone’s home could be the next to be invaded. I don’t think anyone would like that.

Protecting Merida’s Quality of Life

                                                Is this what you want going on next door to your home?

Merida is a wonderful place to live… just look at the statistics documenting the numbers of people moving here from other states in Mexico and from other countries .

So many settle here for the “quality of life”-

However, the “quality” is at risk for homeowners in Merida’s “Centro” (the downtown area). There are now so many restaurants, bars and night clubs, and the noise levels are out-of-control. Rules and regulations that “manage” these businesses do exist, but obviously there is a lot of “oversight”…

I know one resident of the Santiago area who had to close her guest house because the racket coming from two bars, nearly every night of the week, made it impossible for her guests to sleep.

Someone very dear to me is watching in horror, as what seems to be a giant eatery, is being set up right beside him on Calle 47. The young family’s home shares a common wall with this place, and the owners (investors from Mexico City) refuse to reveal their full intensions. Jack hammers are pounding all day and into the evening, so I think there is A LOT going on. And I ask, who is “gaining” from this invasion of a homeowners’ rights?

The neighbors who established their homes long before “the investors” moved in have every right to see their property respected, but they are led around the mulberry bush  time and time again.

Finally a meeting has been scheduled to address these issues with the:

  • Chief of police
  • Director of Urban Development
  • Officials of the Ministry of the Interior and Justice
  • Director of Tourism

If you are concerned (and we all should be) please come to the meeting:

Friday March 24, 2017

4 PM

In front of the Church of San Sebasistian, Calle 75 # 549 X 72 and 70)

If you have any evidence to support your complaints (decibel readings, video, photos, testimonials, or documentation of your interaction with the business owners or authorities) please bring them to the meeting.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you are worried that your participation will be construed as a political act (which is forbidden for foreigners) please get that idea out of your head. This is not solely a “foreigners’ protest”. It is action led by this city’s local residents who wish to conserve the very way of life that makes their city so attractive to themselves and other people. They are sick and tired of unrelenting, mismanaged “progress” that destroys their tranquility, just so “the investors” can make more money.

My husband and I will be at this meeting, we hope you will join us.

The eyes have it…

“I am sure many people compliment you on your eyes,” I said to a woman I met last week.

“Just as they must comment on yours,” she replied.

Between two international residents, such an exchange would sound strange, but my new acquaintance is not from the United States, Canada or a European country.

Her brightly embroidered huipil, friendly smile, and physical features type-cast her as a Yucatecan village woman, and indeed, she comes from Muna, close to Uxmal. But while most of the country’s population is dark-eyed – this lady has  striking blue eyes.

We did not have a long conversation, but I figured her family tree probably includes a few of the Casa Carlota settlers.

Casa Carlota was established during the Second Mexican Empire (1864-1867) when two Yucatecan hamlets – Santa Elena and Pustunich – received 443 German immigrants. They were farmers and artisans who came to the country at the invitation of Mexico’s Emperor Maximilian, brother of the Austrian king Franz Joseph. The emperor hoped to colonize the Yucatan with 600 European families a year.

Funding for the project did not last long because Emperor Maximilian met an early demise by firing squad. The German settlers dispersed. Some went to other Mexican cities, some to the USA, others back to Europe, and of course some stayed on.

These individuals and families quickly formed relationships with the people living in the surrounding countryside. Marriages were performed,  and many German-Maya children arrived into the world.

Readers interested in learning more about this unique period of local history can download and read this PDF containing information compiled by Alma Duran-Merk:

http://www.academia.edu/2140174/Identifying_Villa_Carlota_German_Settlements_in_Yucat%C3%A1n_M%C3%A9xico_During_the_Second_Empire_1864-1867_._3rd._edition_electronic_version