Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mérida, Yucatan's very best dentistry

After over thirty years of experience here in Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico, my wife Jane and I have definitely found a dentist that does quality work, is reliable, and trustworthy.
Let’s face it, going to the dentist is not something most people eagerly look forward to. That is why when dental problems present themselves it is reassuring to have the very best.

This is the man worthy of all my praise. Dr. Rudy Santos Mendez. He will make you happy and make you smile.
Odontologia Integral
Dr. Rudy R. Méndez Santos
Tel. 926-24-52
Cel: 9999-00-96-41
Calle 15, No. 101 x Calle 28, Dept. 2
Col. Itzimná


My wife Jane is another satisfied customer. Dr. Rudy makes sure that you have the very best cutting edge technology and will not prescribe unnecessary procedures. That is why we keep going back.
Believe me, we have had some comparative analysis of what is available so we are especially thankful to Dr. Rudy.

Somebody who truly cares enough to give you the very best makes for a relaxing atmosphere.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dead Zones of the Seas - Plus Red Tides

Fishermen selling their catch on the waterfront at Progreso, Yucatan.

Dead zones and red tides have similar attributes but are different entities; both feed on sea born nutrients and destroy marine life.

Dead zones are hypoxic areas.  Hypoxic refers to low oxygen concentration that cause living creatures to suffocate and die.

The world’s largest dead zone is in the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is surrounded by ten countries including St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg has a population of eight million.

The Gulf of Mexico is in second place.

Rain water runoff from the Midwest washes nutrient rich fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides plus excrement into rivers causing inorganic deserts down stream. Eventually the runoff reaches the Mississippi River and then the Gulf of Mexico.

Dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico have occurred naturally. Spanish Conquistadors observed red tides associated with dead zones when they arrived in the Gulf of Mexico. They were caused by rain driven purges of rivers and wetlands in the early 1500s.

Nutrient pollution is the cause of dead zones. Excess nutrients running down rivers stimulate growth of algae, which then sink and decompose. This process consumes oxygen resulting in a deadly imbalance.

Dead zones are found along the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.

A dead zone begins in Sarnia, Ontario, known as Canada’s chemical valley in southern Lake Huron. This dead zone flows south in the St. Claire River to Lake St. Claire, the Detroit River, and south into Lake Erie.

There is no part of the country or the world that is immune.

Global warming expands the growth of ocean dead zones. Warmer water holds less oxygen, and the world's dead zones are in areas where yearly temperatures are increasing.

In 1960 there were 49 dead zones world-wide, now there are well over 400 according to the Scientific American. Some say the count is 1,000-plus globally.

More land has been converted to agriculture since 1945 than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.  Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides made expansion of agriculture possible.

Excess nitrogen from burning coal, oil, and natural gas plus all fecal matter add destructive amounts of nitrogen to marine ecosystems.

Phytoplankton and seaweed expand explosively. Discharges from the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers of South America where deforestation coupled with reckless agriculture practices generate out-of-control growth of Sargassum seaweed. This is naturally carried across the Caribbean Sea by the currents to the Yucatan Peninsula, 1,700 miles away. Recently the Sargassum piled up to three meters high on the beaches from Cancun south to Belize. It dried, rotted and killed tourism.

Toxic algal blooms known as “red tide” create conditions where most marine life cannot survive.

In high concentrations, the toxin of the bloom paralyzes the central nervous system of marine life.

Red tide is harmful to human health. Eating contaminated shellfish can kill. It even kills manatees and dolphins, warm blooded mammals breathing air.

These algae- phytoplankton are single-celled organisms that form thick surface patches. Some of the many species are brown to red or discolored and murky.

Eye and respiratory irritation are serious but lung disease or asthma suffers fare worse.

In Yucatan, Mexico, our second red tide passed this year devastating marine life. Hordes of people rushed to scoop up dead or dying lobsters and fish. Some of this pestilence found it its way to markets and restaurants. The health department issued statements regarding the danger of eating seafood contaminated by red tide but they were largely ignored.

In July my wife and I swam in the first red tide contaminated waters, became extremely sick, and are still recovering after potent medications.

Amazingly the tourist industry lobby trumps the health department so no warnings are posted on the beaches.

We love the sea and seafood…but can’t trust it!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Victor Rico Cusi, from the Arctic Ocean to the southern tip of South America.

Victor Rico Cusi’s miraculous “Crotch Rocket”ride!

Determined, focused and powerfully motivated, Victor began in tropical Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico.

He crossed Mexico from extreme southeast to extreme northwest. Then he crossed the continental U.S. to Canada. In Canada it was north to Alaska and on to the shores of the Arctic Ocean…as close to the North Pole as you can go on wheels and still be on land and returned.

As if that wasn’t enough to satisfy his wanderlust next he turned south from Yucatan through Central America to Panama. There he boarded a ship for Columbia and continued south following the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of South America to its southern tip at Ushuaia, Argentina.

Returning took him up the Pacific coast of South America.

Victor took the seldom traveled scenic routes including Route 40 through Argentina. Few motorcyclists travel the full length of Route 40 as much of it is unpaved.

Victor says the people he met along the way made his trip unforgettable.

To the best of my knowledge Victor is the first from Yucatan to complete this Arctic to Antarctic round trip by “Crotch Rocket”…his BMW motorcycle. 

Special congratulations to an exceptional man who lives his dreams!   

In Argentina Victor and his heavily- laden Crotch Rocket hang on as gale force winds add a dimension of adventure.

Photos by Victor Rico Cusi

Friday, March 6, 2015


For those of us who cherish the food from bygone days before bar-coded chemically embalmed ersatz convenience cuisine:

This Mayan lady brings the produce of her home garden plus traditional baked goods, native honey, chaya and whatever else is in season to her spot in Colonial Alemán. This location is about three kilometers northeast of Mérida’s center. You are sure to see Mayan ladies at various market places and in the villages of Yucatan selling their goods.

All is top quality, ecologically friendly, and reasonably priced.  

The flat crackers to the left in the photo are known as ish waaj.  They are made from new corn. There are two varieties: salted or sweet.  The midget bananas are exceptionally sweet.

The white shucked beans in the front of this photo are known as ibes and the black ones are xpelón. A delicicous food favorite in Yucatan are vaporcitos (tamales) made with xpelón. The brown bags contain ground roasted squash seeds (pepita molida).  Pepita molida is the main ingredient in Si-Kil Pac, a tasty dip made with the ground squash seeds, tomatoes, sour orange, cilantro, and Yucatan’s hot chile habanero.

A treasure trove of fun to sample foods not found in the super stores can be found in the markets and along the streets of Yucatan..

So, what are you waiting for?

Sample some of the real Yucatan that tourists miss most.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Eye surgery a success in Merida, Yucatan

Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico
Jane and Dr. Wilbert Chi after a successful but complicated surgery.
In 1990 Jane underwent a radical new laser eye surgery. It was like a miracle, with reshaped corneas she could do away with the glasses she had worn since childhood.
In 1994 she was diagnosed with glaucoma in her left eye.  All went well for a while but then glaucoma took most of the sight in her left eye.
This month cataract surgery was done on her good eye. The cornea reshaping surgery of twenty-five years ago complicated the cataract removal and a surgery other than what has now become routine had to be performed. Great care had to be taken.
The procedure was much more technical than what I can describe here.  Jane was fortunate to find Dr. Chi, an eye surgeon with the expertise to do this complicated surgery.
It was very gratifying to see the elation on Dr. Chi’s face after his successful operation.  He is a fine doctor and an exceptional person, truly concerned about the well-being of his patients.
Jane is smiling also.  She now has perfect vision is the right eye without correction.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Binion's Million Dollar Horseshoe

November 1970 Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.  Jane and John (Bing) Grimsrud in front of a big plastic horseshoe displaying $1 million in $10,000 bills.[i] Tourists lined up to have their photos taken next to it, and night after night, Binion’s Horseshoe Casino bulged with gamblers.
Over the years we made numerous vacation getaway trips to this one-of-a-kind fantasyland in the desert. We stuffed ourselves with fabulous food, took in Broadway class floor shows, and comedy acts. The lights never went out in Vegas. We had to go home to rest up.
I recently read Blood Aces: Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker by Doug Swanson.  The book brought back memories of our fun-filled times in Las Vegas. 
The book is a biography of an implausible self-made renegade.  I loved this book that shifted my emotional allegiance from the side of law and order to underprivileged Benny Binion and his humble hard scrabble quest to make a living. Ruthless business competitors and governmental sting operations pushed by dispassionate power hungry technocratic zealots made this story stranger than fiction. An excellent true story well told.
Many tributes have been made to Benny Binion.  The following is excerpted from Blood Aces by Doug Swanson:
There were frequent tributes befitting a man of many years and much public generosity. He was named Man of the Year by the National Jewish Health hospital, as it showed institutional gratitude for big donations. A video produced for the ceremony featured testimonials from a number of Vegas luminaries, including another old racketeer in his dotage, Moe Dalitz. “He’s a very quiet man until he’s aroused,” Dalitz said of Binion. “But he’s never aroused unjustly.” Steve Wynn called Binion “the most unforgettable character I’ve ever met in my entire life,” and added, “He’s a perfectly honest man.” Others attested to the affection of Binion’s lifelong customers and compadres. “All the poker players love you,” said Bobby Baldwin, a former poker series champion. “You’re the greatest guy in the world.”
The old man in the cowboy hat smiled and waved. “Benny! Benny! Benny!” He had become the most beloved gangster of them all.
A quote from Benny Binion:
“The assumption was that if someone wanted to trade away a horse, that horse was defective. Everyone was out for the swindle, and he who swindled best, won.”

[i] The above photo is from the book Sailing Beyond Lake Superior: Travels of Dursmirg by John M. Grimsrud.  The book is available from Amazon. com and other vendors in paperback, Kindle, and e-book editions.