No Joke, Oaxaca Flickrmeet

by Ron Mader

oaxaca trees (árboles de oaxaca)

Want to learn about community-based tourism in the woods?
Want to learn how to improve your photography?
Want to learn how to use Flickr as a way of uploading photos?
Want to identify trees in Oaxaca?

If so, please join us in person or online via the Oaxaca Flickrmeet

WHAT’S A FLICKRMEET? Glad you asked! This is a gathering of photographers who
use Flickr. Our event will focus on Oaxaca trees. Other events are different.


Tuesday, April 1 — Find the ahuehuete tree at old train station featured in the
Curtiduria map by Francisco Verástegui. (Map available at Amate Books, Macedonio
Alcalá #307). Meeting point: old train station, 11am.

Wednesday, April 2 – Ahuehuete tree count continues in Santa Maria del Tule
(includes visits to Ayuuk and Caldo de Piedra). Meeting point: Ayuuk, 11am.

Thursday, April 3 – Photo Safari in the Llano Park. Competition includes finding
trees native to Australia and the trees planted by Morelos y Pavon. Meeting
point: monument to Benito Juarez, 4pm

Friday, April 4 – Look for Tito and Lucia. Tito makes the pine needle baskets at
the Pochote Market and Lucia makes the delicious chocolates across the street at
the Antiguo Seminario. The crafts and food are made from trees and the markets
both feature notable trees featured in the Curtiduria map. Meeting point:
Pochote Market/Multio Bio Market, 11am.

Saturday, April 5 – Slideshow of Oaxaca tree photos and a give-away of books
(made mostly from dead trees). Meeting point: Comala, Allende #109, 6pm

VIVA MICROPHILANTRHOPY – Do you have deep pockets and long arms? We are seeking modest financial donations to help with incidental expenses of the Oaxaca Flickrmeet. Donors are recognized and if we raise enough $ this week, we’ll make a series of tree postcards and a DVD in time for the Guelaguetza. Questions? Just ask.


Hey there Buzz Directors! We have free Flickrmeet artwork available online

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT OAXACA? – Check out the award-winning Planeta Guide to Oaxaca.

BIG PICTURE – You can’t see the forest without seeing the trees. April is Forest

About Mexico President Felipe Calderón

MP Mexico News Staff

Mexico is a dynamic, changing country, being led by very smart, concerned people from three major political parties. We would like to introduce you to some of the major players who are helping Mexico embrace a truly democratic society, after 7 decades of single-party rule. We are fortunate observers to be able to witness the growth and evolution of the great, fascinating country.

Here is a profile of current President Felipe Calderón, as described on the Mexican government web site. 

President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was born on August 18, 1962, in Morelia, Michoacán. He is the youngest of five brothers, and the son of Carmen Hinojosa de Calderón and the late Luis Calderon Vega, founder, leader and historian of the National Action Party (PAN). He is married to Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, with whom he has three children.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho, a master’s in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Within the PAN, President Felipe Calderón was Secretary of Studies (1987), National Youth Secretary (1991) and Secretary General (1993). From 1994 to 1995, he was the PAN representative to the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), and in 1995 was candidate for governor of the state of Michoacán.

He was elected president of the PAN’s National Executive Committee during the three year period from 1996-1999. During his tenure, the PAN achieved significant electoral triumphs and was witness to several important agreements, such as the Electoral Reform, which paved the way for the IFE’s autonomy. During his legislative career, President Calderón was Representative of the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District (1988-1991) and Federal Deputy in the 55th Legislature (1991-1994).

In 2000, he was Federal Deputy in the 58th Legislature and was appointed Coordinator of the PAN’s Parliamentary Group (2000-2003), where he submitted various law proposals for the consecutive election of deputies, the Law of Responsibilities of the Civil Servant and the rules and regulations to apply the Law of Access to Information in the Chamber of Deputies.

In 2002, he was president of the Board of Political Coordination, where he promoted transparency in the use of funds in the Chamber of Deputies.

Because of his legislative leadership and performance, President Felipe Calderón was awarded the “NAFTA Congressional Leadership Award” from the México-US Chamber of Commerce and the “CANACINTRA Eagle Award for Legislative Merit” award from the National Chamber of the Manufacturing Industry.

In the international arena, he was Vice-president of the Christian Democrat Organization of America (CDOA). He was member of the “World Leaders of the Future” of the World Economic Forum from 1997 to 2000.

During his professional career, President Felipe Calderón worked in the areas of civil and labor law, at the firms of Goodrich, Riquelme and Partners and at Multibanco Comermex, respectively. Moreover, he has written as an editorialist for Mexico’s main newspapers. In March 2003, in the public sector, President Felipe Calderón was appointed General Director of the National Bank of Public Works and Services (BANOBRAS) a banking institution in charge of granting financing to states and city councils, as well as promoting investment in infrastructure projects.

In September 2003, he was appointed Secretary of Energy by then President Vicente Fox. As the head of Mexico’s energy sector, he promoted the modernization of state-owned companies as president of the Board of Directors of PEMEX, the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) and the electricity company Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LyFC).

In 2005, he was elected as the PAN’s presidential candidate, and, on July 2, 2006, he obtained the majority of the votes in one of Mexico’s closest elections. On December 1, he was sworn in as President of the United States of Mexico for the 2006-2012 term. 

AMResorts Announces New Packages, New Hotels for ’08

MP Mexico News Staff

AMResorts has something for everyone—from families to honeymooners!

• Family-friendly Dreams Resorts & Spas recently kicked off a “Kids Stay Free” promotion where two kids per family can stay and eat free! From April 24 to June 13, and again starting August 18 thru December 19, two kids can stay free, eat free, and play free in Mexico and the Dominican Republic at the Unlimited-Luxury Dreams Resorts & Spas. To take advantage of the promotion, guests can book their stay directly with the resort of their choice. Dreams is growing and over the next two years an additional six properties will open in Mexico!

• Couples-friendly Secrets Resorts & Spas just launched a new honeymoon package for 2008! Complimentary with a 7-night minimum stay, the Secrets’ Unity, Journey, and Eternity honeymoon packages include benefits such as fresh flowers & exotic fruits in the room, champagne breakfasts in bed, couples massages, beachfront dinners, rose petal baths, silver framed photo from your stay, two free nights stay on anniversary year, spa certificates, and more. Secrets also just announced that they will expand! Over the next two years, eight additional Secrets properties will open in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

• In addition, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun is running a Destination Wedding deal. All 2008 weddings with a 7-night stay will receive either 1 or 2 free nights during their 1-year anniversary stay.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come for AMResorts:

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Resort (Opening July 2008)Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun Resort (opening in July 2008)

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun (opening August 2008)Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun (opening August 2008)

Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa (opening late 2008)Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa (opening late 2008)

Mextesol, Teaching English In Mexico

MP Mexico News Staff

It’s nice to find  effective NGO programs that provide value and are geared for doing good instead of doing well. Mextesol, founded in 1973 by a group of English teachers in Mexico, is one such group. As their Mission Statement states:

The Mexican Association of teachers of English, A. C. is a professional academic association which seeks to develop in its members, as well as in non-members, the highest standards for teaching English to speakers of other languages so that their students can communicate effectively in all the diverse situations in which they may find themselves.

It will be increasingly important for students from both Mexico and the United States to effectively communicate in either language in the coming years. Mexico Premiere applauds this fine Mexican organization. To learn more please click here

About That Passport Requirement…One More Year

David Simmonds

In one of the least surprising news stories of the day, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the State Department announced that it will be another year (June 2009) before the new ID requirement takes affect for border crossers. They must be a little backed up working on that border fence that will never get built, or perhaps brainstorming something akin to having all plane passengers remove their shoes before boarding. That one was inspired genius.

 Evidently there is something called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (rumors of Dr. Strangelove being involved are highly exaggerated), that, when fully enacted, will make us all a lot safer…or is it paranoid? I wonder if the delay has anything to do with the timing of the  presidential election next fall. You know, not wanting one more inconvenience to be layed on the $3.50 a gallon voting public shortly before going to the polls. No, that would be way too cynical a thought. Forget I said that.

Anyway, read all about it here It’s late and I need to go wash my socks for my next flight.

Mexico City -The Grid of Confusion

By: Lisa Coleman 

As much as I love Mexico City, I’ll never drive there. I mean NEVER. I truly respect those Chilango taxi drivers that have grown up in the city and can navigate the hodgepodge, jam packed,  stop-and-go grid with relative ease, but my guess is they’re lost sometimes too!

I read a very entertaining article by Ken Ellingwood of the Los Angeles Times that brought to light some interesting traffic stats. Apparently there are 32,000 streets in Mexico City itself. If you include the surrounding areas, it tops out at 73,000. That’s one hell of a mapping dilemma. To make it more challenging, street names are often repeated, but not necessarily in the same parts of the city.  How about 632 streets named “Juarez,” 624 “Hildago” streets and at least 500 named “Zapata.”

Some taxis (luckily) are now equipped with GPS systems to help ease the pain… yet that tends to complicate the problem. Watch them plug in Juarez and see hundreds of entries pop up and then subdivided by postal code. It’s somewhat of a navigational nightmare!

That said… I can only offer a few tidbits of advice about driving in Mexico City… don’t. Unless you have a wicked sense of adventure and speak fluent Spanish, I’d take it off the list. Next,  upon arrival at the Mexico City airport, ALWAYS get your taxi ticket inside baggage claim. There’s a small booth in there and you can give them the name and address of your hotel and they will be sure you get to the right place. As you exit baggage claim, display your little ticke prominently so you are escorted to the taxi area by some nice guys looking to carry your bags and deposit you in the correct car. And finally, don’t take taxis on the street. Though it looks easy to jump into a green VW and be on your way, it’s just not safe for tourists. Step into a restaurant or hotel and ask them to call a “radio” taxi for you.

Other than that… go to Juarez Street, turn left on to Hildago and I’ll see you at the end of Zapata! Travel safely.

Mexico Becomes Second Fattest Nation in the World


OK, I almost had a chimichanga when I read that headline. (Whatever that means. I’ve never tasted one and ew, not planning on it.)

WHAT UP, MEXICO??? According to a news report, fast food and soft drinks are to blame. Good grief. This is the Mexico of the delicious fresh fruit, of the savory tacos (small tacos, not those monster things they call tacos at Taco Bell), of the tantalizing fish dishes. None of it lo-cal, but certainly not empty of any worthwhile nutrition. And now that I mention Taco Bell: Coleman, you heralded the arrival of that monstrosity in Mexico, didn’t you? PURE HERESY!! I nearly had a vaca when I read that one.

Man, I’m totally disappointed. There are scads, scores and tons of wonderful corner stands and little and big restaurants that serve fabulous food and delicious FRESH snacks, why oh why have they gone the way of the Sabritas and the Coca???

It is indeed a sad day. Even sadder to think Mexico might eventually surpass the US as the most grande nation in the world—for all the wrong reasons.

Shame on us here for setting such a bad example, and shame on them for taking us up on some of our worst habits. In my honest opinion, it’s just a shame all the way around.,2933,341250,00.html