Priority given to 7 infrastructure projects costing 500 billion pesos

López Obrador, left, and incoming finance secretary Carlos Manuel Urzúa Macías at yesterday's press conference.López Obrador, left, and incoming finance secretary Carlos Manuel Urzúa Macías at yesterday’s press conference.

Priority given to 7 infrastructure projects costing 500 billion pesos

Mexico City airport, Cancún-Palenque train, isthmus trade corridor, full internet coverage among them

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced yesterday that the next government will prioritize seven urgent infrastructure projects with an investment of 500 billion pesos (US $26.5 billion).

The projects are the new Mexico City International Airport; a trade corridor in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; the Cancún-Palenque train; the paving of 300 rural roads; the provision of internet to the whole country; earthquake reconstruction; and support for residents of marginalized neighborhoods.

López Obrador, or AMLO as he is widely known, told reporters outside his transition headquarters that the funds to carry out the projects will come from cost-saving measures his administration intends to adopt such as cutting the salaries of high-ranking officials and consolidating government purchases in the Secretariat of Finance as well as through the elimination of corruption.

With regard to the new airport, López Obrador repeated that there are three options: continue the project as a public-private joint venture, auction it off to the private sector or scrap it completely and use the existing airbase in Santa Lucía, México state, for commercial flights.

The president-elect, who was vehemently opposed to the airport project before softening his position, said his transition team will consult with specialists and the public between August 15 and October 15 as part of the incoming administration’s analysis of the three alternatives.

He said the current government has invested 80 billion pesos (US $4.2 billion) in the project, of which 45 billion pesos have been spent and 35 billion pesos remain in a trust.

In the Isthmus region — where the distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean is the shortest in the country — López Obrador said the aim is to “connect the countries of Asia with the east coast of the United States and create jobs in that entire strip of national territory.”

Future transportation secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú said earlier this month that the development planned for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec would include the modernization of the railroad between Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, as well as the upgrading of the region’s highways.

The third infrastructure priority is the so-called Mayan Train which will run between Quintana Roo and Chiapas and cost 64.9 billion pesos (US $3.4 billion), according to the incoming government’s National Project 2018-2014 document.

Slated to be completed in four stages, the train line will have nine stops and is intended to boost tourism and the economy in the south of Mexico.

López Obrador said the fourth project would focus primarily on ensuring that all rural communities in Oaxaca and Guerrero are accessible via paved roads, adding that construction would require “the intensive use of labor” and consequently generate much-needed employment for local residents.

The president-elect also said his government will prioritize guaranteeing internet access to all Mexicans, pledging that the entire country will be connected.

López Obrador said he will present a national earthquake reconstruction plan on September 19, the first anniversary of the second of last September’s two major quakes.

The plan will prioritize “victims who are still living in camps, [exposed] to the elements and who have not been supported,” he said.

He pledged that monetary assistance will be fully funded by the federal budget and not provided in the form of loans.

Finally, the president-elect said that residents of Mexico’s poorest neighborhoods will also be afforded support with those living in marginalized areas of border cities, the country’s main tourism destinations and the metropolitan area of greater Mexico City set to be the initial priority.

López Obrador, who won the July 1 election in a landslide, will be sworn in on December 1 while the new federal Congress — in which the next president’s three-party coalition will have a majority in both houses — will sit for the first time on September 1.

Source: Sin Embargo (sp), Milenio (sp), El Economista (sp), El Universal (sp)

Medical Matters: Assorted Stuff!

Medical Matters: Assorted Stuff!

A great big sincere apology to my good friend, Robina Oliver. In my last article, I gave a shout out to her and her shop and put the wrong name of her shop. It is LA SIRENA REINA. I believe she is still speaking to me after this big blooper. Swimsuits galore with some excellent bargains right now. Disculpas!

Our July clinics continue and as we head into August, those clinics are filling up as well. If you would like a copy of the newsletter, just let me know. No clinics in September! Remember that our clinics are screening clinics, offered at a discounted price than a regular consult and do not include any procedures if found on exam. We have been doing these clinics for many years and they remain popular. We have not raised the prices of the clinics for ages and it is time to do that soon. They will all still be at discounted prices but I need to increase the prices just a tad.

We are so proud of the physicians that we work with! As I write this, Dr. Carlos Garcia is in Korea, training Korean urologists on the HIFU method of prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Guillermo Ramos, plastic surgeon, recently did a presentation at an International Plastic Surgery conference on the Brazilian Butt Lift.

Two weeks ago a huge international conference on bariatric surgery was held in Puerto Vallarta, hosted by Dr. Armando Joya who did ten ‘live’ surgeries. Our physicians travel to various points around the globe to attend a wide variety of medical conferences. All of our physicians are board-certified (very important!) in their specialty. It is no wonder that we have so many people travelling here for various medical procedures, surgeries! So proud of them all!

If you live here full time, or even part time, you really should be registered with your consulate.

US Citizens: https://step.state.gov/

Canadian Citizens: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration

Why is this important? If you go missing, it is the consulate that will be contacted to provide assistance. If you go to jail, it is the consulate that will be contacted.  It only takes a few minutes and is very important! This is even more important if you are here and single.

Save the date!  Cheryl’s Shoebox 3rd Annual Summer Bash! Sunday, August 5, 2018. 2pm to 8pm. This fundraiser will consist of live music and picnic style games where your favorite restaurants, bars and shops will compete for the title of Cheryl’s Shoebox Summer Beach Bash Champions! Location: Babel Bar – Isla Cuale. Tickets are 200 pesos per person and available at the door.  Click here for further details. Maybe you want to put a team together!

One thousand thank you’s to all of the Facebook messages wishing me a Happy Birthday! I am still plowing through them all. Truly overwhelming and so very much appreciated. Now let’s forget about it until next year. Fine by me!

Stay hydrated!

Here’s to a witty week!

Welcome Home: Style Guide for Creating a Coastal Home

Welcome Home: Style Guide for Creating a Coastal Home

Two décor styles are popular with Americans and Canadians who have a new home in Mexico.  Since most of their properties tend to be near the ocean, it will come as no surprise that one of them is coastal style.

Coastal decor is best described as a fun and relaxing style that stirs memories of summer vacations of lore.  This is one of the fastest growing and most popular décor styles, whether you live on the ocean or just want to evoke the feel of the seaside.  Natural light and fabrics, as well as ocean blue and sun-drenched white color tones, constitute the core elements of this style.  From there, the category splits depending on which coast you prefer to take your inspiration:  tropical, cottage, Mediterranean, or American.

Tropical is reminiscent of the Pacific.  Also referred to as Island style, think dark greens, floral colors, and natural weaves.  Teak is also a go-to material to create this vibe.  I love this style for homes that are situated in jungle settings.  What an excellent way to extend the outside indoors.

Cottage is arguably the most relaxed of the subsets of coastal décor style.  Most furniture pieces in this style coordinate but are not matched.  An eclectic approach with a common color palette is the way to tie everything together while maintaining the ultimate relaxed feel.  Wood furniture made from reclaimed materials and vintage pieces that catch your interest is the best way to create this look.

The Mediterranean style brings to mind the bright, terra cotta colors, lots of carving detail, heavy black iron and dark woods.  This is a perfect option to decorate a home in Mexico since it evokes the old world feel of the shores of Spain.

The American style of coastal décor takes a nautical slant with reflective surfaces, navy blues, and rope.  Relaxed upholstery often with white or off-white slipcovers are a fixture of this coastal style.  Shiplap, chevron patterns, and decorative lanterns round out the little touches that complete the style.

If Coastal décor is the style that appeals, there are some beautiful interior paint colors available in Mexico.  The Coastal Cool color card is one of my favorites.  It gives me many options to work with depending on whether my client prefers bolder or softer colored walls.               

Although white shutters and horizontal blinds are common, billowing white cotton or linen drapes really make the room look relaxed.      

For upholstered goods, stay clear of dark colors.  Instead, go light and airy with a white or cream fabric cover.  With the new performance fabrics available, there is no reason to be concerned about owning a light color sofa, sectional or sofa bed.  Heavily coated, yet incredibly soft, even red wine left overnight will easily roll off in the morning.  Down feather filling or thick foam, with a frame that has curved arms will create this style.

Choose headboards, tables, chairs and rugs constructed from natural weaves, distressed wood and wrought iron metal to complete the look.            

New US Travel Advisories Exempt Mexico Tourist Spots

New US Travel Advisories Exempt Mexico Tourist Spots


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July 20, 2018
More than 40 of Mexico’s major tourist destinations, including Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Los Cabos, Guadalajara and Mexico City, have no travel restrictions. (Photo: axl5188/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

On July 16, 2018, the United States Department of State issued an update for its travel advisory to Mexico by deeming all major tourism destinations safe.

The Mexico Tourism Board revealed that more than 40 of the country’s major international tourist destinations have no travel restrictions and exist in states where there are no special travel advisories for tourists.

Mexican officials cite the updated travel advisory to prove the vast majority of crimes in the country do not occur in areas frequented by international tourists. Even some of the areas with remaining warnings have resort areas free of the travel restrictions, including Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.

In total, Mexico is the sixth-most visited country in the world, registering 39.3 million international visitors in 2017. The tourism industry in the country has also experienced a growth rate above industry-average levels for the last five years, thanks in part to the government’s focus on the safety of tourists.

Mexico’s tourism industry and the Mexico Tourism Board continue to work together to make the country safe for travelers.

Original article

Analyst who predicted stronger peso is still bullish on the currency

The peso has strengthened since the electionThe peso has strengthened since the election. BLOOMBERG

Analyst who predicted stronger peso is still bullish on the currency

Latest prediction is it will reach 18 to the dollar by the end of the year

One of just two analysts who predicted the peso would strengthen after the July 1 election is still bullish, Bloomberg reported today.

Ilya Gofshteyn at Standard Chartered Bank in New York forecast the currency would strengthen past 19 to the dollar during this quarter.

It has gained more than 5% since the election to about 18.85 per dollar, the best performance among more than 40 currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Now it will reach 18 to the dollar by the end of the year, predicts Gofshteyn, who expects a new NAFTA agreement by early next year.

A United States trade war with China would be good for Mexico as companies move their purchases to Mexico to avoid tariffs on Chinese goods. Barriers for Chinese goods mean an advantage for Mexican producers, the analyst said.

Source: Bloomberg (en)

CHOCOLATE & COCKTAILS FESTIVAL KICKS OFF IN PUERTO VALLARTA AND PUNTA DE MITA

CHOCOLATE & COCKTAILS FESTIVAL KICKS OFF IN PUERTO VALLARTA AND PUNTA DE MITA

By  Alexis Velasco

Jul. 19, 2018

This past Tuesday, July 17, the Chocolate & Cocktails Festival began in its two venues: chef Thierry Blouet’s restaurants Café des Artistes (Puerto Vallarta) and Tuna Blanca (Punta Mita). The event will run until July 31 and features a special menu with 10 desserts made with Barry Callebaut chocolate by Nancy Citlalli Hernández, pastry chef at Café des Artistes and Jorge Rangel, Barry Callebaut’s chef chocolatier. Some of them are the Chocolate Soufflé with Orange Mousse and the Tout Chocolat, consisting of chocolate, Sacher, Praline and cacao mousse.

Renowned, local mixologist and raicilla expert Dan Dimey Rodríguez serves 10 different and original cocktails at the festival, which you can pair with the desserts or any given specialty of both host restaurants. The cocktails feature a very innovative presentation, including elements such as exotic chapulines or edible flowers, such as “Negrilla” (raicilla, vermouth, Campari and cinnamon) or “Love You Chata” (cognac, Agave nectar, coconut water and chocolate).

Foodies can enjoy the event even if they don’t want to order from the restaurants’ set menus. We encourage you to take advantage of this festival whether you feel like having a full meal or just dessert and cocktails.

At the festival’s opening gala, Café des Artistes and Tuna Blanca were also pleased to announce they are using now sustainable drinking straws made of avocado seeds, invented by Scott Munguía, a native of Guadalajara.

For more information about the Chocolate & Cocktails Festival, visit the Facebook event.

‘Qulture’ Artists’ Co-Op & Jazz Bistro to Open in August

‘Qulture’ Artists’ Co-Op & Jazz Bistro to Open in August


July 10, 2018
Architectural rendering of the new interior of ‘Qulture,’ a unique venue that will blend art, music and food in one beautiful setting, that is scheduled to open next month in the heart of Old Town Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico – We are excited to announce the upcoming opening of Qulture in Puerto Vallarta. This unique venue will blend art, music and food in one beautiful setting in the heart of Old Town.

THE FACTS

• Qulture is located at Venustiano Carranza 466, Emiliano Zapata, PV 48380

• It features 19 local artists in individual studio/galleries, with art ranging from paintings, mixed-media, sculpture, ceramics, leather and jewelry. These studios are completely leased with a waiting list.

The Galería will open mid-August and will feature works from the resident artists as well as guest artists. Additionally, The Coleccióngift shop will feature jewelry, custom greeting cards, small prints & ceramics and Qulture souvenirs.• Bar Q, an amazing bar-in-the-round will open in late August, mid-September in the courtyard of Qulture. Open for happy hour and evening to start, it will feature art-inspired drink creations and local favorites at reasonable prices, entertainment and a dedicated dog & cigarette friendly area.

Bistro Q, the restaurant, will open late October and coincide with the grand opening of Qulture. It will be open for lunch and dinner with Saturday & Sunday jazz brunches. An ever-changing menu will feature small plates, tapas and miniature decadent desserts to compliment a light and lively lifestyle. Take-out specialty party trays will also be available.

QULTURE IN THE COMMUNITY

Qulture is committed to being a good neighbor in our community and will participate in various activities to further a better life for many here. These include:

• Q Mentors – Our artists will donate their time to various art workshops at Qulture for children, particularly those from abused families and from the poorest of our colonias.

• The grand opening of Qulture will benefit a charity to be announced soon.

• Qulture will spearhead the continuing fund-raising efforts to support the coaching staff of Jim Lee’s “Kick Start” soccer program for the Volcanes Kids Project.

The Qulture website and Facebook page are pending further development. For more information, send an email to jim(at)livingvallarta.com.

Bird watching in Puerto Vallarta will surprise you!

puerto vallarta bird watching

Listening to birds singing is common even in the city, but doing it while walking through Puerto Vallarta, surrounded by trees and observing the different and colorful species, many of them endemic to Mexico, from where the sound comes, is a unique experience.

It is 7:00 AM and although the weather forecast doesn’t favor the sun, that does not discourage the biologist Fernando Romo, guide of the Birds of Paradise Tour, of the company Eco Tours Mexico, who remembers that it is the rainy season which is ideal for nesting birds. Also, it is early when they are more active in searching for food.

“The plan is to look for the beautiful birds of Banderas Bay, you can find ‘atrapamoscas’, ‘plumones’ and ‘momotos’, which already have their chicks, so you can take good pictures of the birds arriving at the nests”, he explains of the road towards the border with Nayarit, in the north of the municipality.

Fernando shares a little history of Puerto Vallarta, named after Ignacio Luis Vallarta, governor of Jalisco (1871-1875). The original name was Puerto las Peñas and even the guide makes a stop where in the middle of the ocean the rocks that honored that name are located.

He also points out Mismaloya, the beach where “La noche de la iguana” (1964) was filmed, starring actor Richard Burton and actress Ava Gardner, which led to the visit of Elizabeth Taylor, the actor’s girlfriend, and so the press International that came to cover the love story began to discover the beauty of Vallarta.

“You have to be quiet to listen and see the birds,” says Fernando, returning to the topic. “In those arches you see a lot what are pelicans, cormorants, fregatas, blue footed boobies, vultures, egrets, many birds that are quite good, now we are going to focus on the small ones”.

The journey starts on a steep street in Lomas del Pacífico, which although it has houses nearby, has a lot of vegetation and large trees; Fernando lends us some binoculars, meanwhile, he installs his “scope” to show us the most special birds of the region.

The specialist explains that you have to adjust the binoculars with the opening, which is in accordance with the separation of the eyes, and with the upper roller you should focus until you see a single image clearly; meanwhile, anticipate that there will be birds that are seen every day, but that does not stop the enjoyment of bird watching.

As soon as he hears a song, Fernando says excitedly: “Listen, it’s a …” and before the complicated name of the species can be assimilated, he raises the peephole of his scope (telescope) and points to the top of a tree, not in vain the 12 years of experience leading such tours, although his specialty was in the area of marine mammals.

“When I bought a camera, my interest in birds began, but it was until one day when I went out to walk with my dogs that I saw a Painted Burnting, a member of the cardinal family, that awoke the spark in me to see more birds; that’s how I began to look for more and more and I began to photograph them and identify them,” he recalls.

The first to appear is a cachetidorado woodpecker, so Fernando warns that most of the names are very funny, such is the case of llanerito tortilla with chile, which is found in other regions of the country; Immediately one observes preening itself to a pair of headed sparrows.

After a few minutes the emotion of finding other species is contagious, and among the trees is a cacique with yellow wings; then another kind of complex name standing on some cables, near some sparrows; followed by a swift, which is often mistaken for swallows.

The guide dominates perfectly the places where the birds like to perch, as in certain branches or type of trees, so it is not difficult to find even the smallest species, such as the bumblebee hummingbird, which is the second smallest in the world, about two centimeters in size, the smallest is the hummingbird bee, from Cuba.

Suddenly, a yellow grosbeak appears -pink yellow. Fernando says that the names of the species are handled in English because it is easier to generalize them, in addition to the fact that most of those who take the tour, especially in winter, are foreigners from the United States and Canada.

Following the route, each bird surprises with its plumage that becomes brighter in the reproductive state. Males emphasizes because they must exhibit it to attract the females; some are jumping on the ground, so it is necessary to locate them at a distance because when they feel the presence they take flight.

“The tour is for all ages but children sometimes do not have much interest in looking for birds; for this reason, it is recommended for adolescents, adults, and seniors, “says Fernando about birdwatching, due to the patience and caution involved.

The tip that he provides is first observing the birds flying, see where they land and then focus the binoculars to admire closely the beautiful colors they have, such as yellow, orange, blue, green, white and even black that contrasts with other shades between their feathers.

A scratched back oriol, in honor of the black and white lines of his “back”, makes an appearance; centimeters above, a dove is located, which is the most common, unlike the collarejo or semillerito, caciques and titira, which precede it. Shortly after, a colorful momoto appears, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of the journey through the chromatic range that it carries.

Almost two hours later, as the temperature began to rise, we took the road back to Barra de Navidad to go to the Botanical Gardens of Vallarta, where you can walk between vast paths of plants and trees, cross the Bridge of Dreams and go down to the Horcones River, all while continuing the objective of searching for birds.

After traveling only a small part of the 26 hectares of the place, it is time to rest in the Visitor Center where there is a viewpoint from which you can see the hummingbirds that are approaching to drink nectar from drinking fountains, as well as flowers that there abound, like orchids, all of them of different and beautiful colors.

Although at the conclusion, visitors do not take any material remembrance, since Fernando jokingly says that he will not capture a parakeet or another species for that purpose, it is clear that this experience is something that will always take place because not everyone has the fortune of admiring these types of bird. However, the biologist gives us a list of birds to mark those that were seen during the trip.

On this occasion, we had the opportunity to appreciate 26 species in a shorter period than usual (sometimes from 07:00 to 15:00), so Fernando describes the tour as successful. Before saying goodbye, he mentions that in a four-hour tour during the winter you can see up to 80 or 100 species, and in the summer season up to 50, however, it is guaranteed that the whole year you can enjoy birdwatching, so the Birds of Paradise Tour can be enjoyed any day, although the best time is from November to April.

-Notimex

DE CÁNTARO BAR Y PARRILLA

DE CÁNTARO BAR Y PARRILLA

Jorge Chávez

Jul. 11, 2018

Located in the heart of the Romantic Zone, restaurant De Cántaro Bar y Parrilla in Puerto Vallarta opened in November 2017 with the drive, vision and experience of entrepreneur Oliver Applegate, who has forged an effective team with Badir Hazael Padilla, the executive chef of this establishment that has the capacity to pamper up to 130, divided among the spacious terrace, the air-conditioned area and the contemporary bar that contrasts with the natural, organic atmosphere.

Its cuisine is based on the concept “Contemporary Mexican Grill,” merging the best of Mexico’s traditional foods with cosmopolitan gastronomic trends, all grilled over a wood fire and prepared with high-quality national ingredients.

During our visit to the restaurant De Cántaro Bar y Parrilla in Puerto Vallarta, our hosts prepared the Medio Pollo (Half Chicken), a dish that stands out for its exquisite flavor and preparation. Everything starts with the protein, a young chicken split in half and deboned and then marinated with chimichurri sauce (made with salsa macha, parsley, oregano, thyme, garlic and olive oil), Dijon mustard, crushed rat-tail chile, lemon juice, salt from Colima and pepper. Then it is grilled along with slices of eggplant, zucchini, carrot, Portobello, asparagus and cherry tomato. Finally, it is served on a base of jasmine rice and garnished with onion and lentil sprouts, as well as baby spinach oil and balsamic reduction.

To accompany it, the barman prepared us a Cantarito, a traditional Mexican drink made with natural orange, lime and grapefruit juices, grapefruit soda, 400 Conejos mezcal (served with a bull’s horn, in the traditional way) and the house’s secret ingredient. This delicious mixture is served on the rocks in a cantarito de barro (small earthen jar), which is rimmed with salt and Tajín chile and garnished with a slice of grapefruit. To contribute to the conservation of the environment, De Cántaro Bar y Parrilla uses 100 percent biodegradable straws made of avocado pits and only when the client requests them.

Throughout the month of July 2018, De Cántaro Bar y Parrilla will offer 2×1 margaritas and a 50 percent discount on the BBQ Spareribs, which take 48 hours to prepare, as the first day they are marinated in a mixture of herbs and the next day they are seared at high heat and smoked with fruit wood. Then a confit of vegetables is added and they are wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked for four more hours. The BBQ sauce has an exquisite touch of mezcal and raicilla.

Restaurant De Cántaro Bar y Parrilla in Puerto Vallarta
Basilio Badillo 219, Emiliano Zapata
Monday through Sunday, from 8:00am to 11:00pm
Reservations suggested at (322) 688-2159
Facebook: @DeCantaroPuertoVallarta

Vallarta to Analyze a Ban on Plastics

Vallarta to Analyze a Ban on Plastics

Recognizing the need of caring and contributing to the improvement of the environment, the City Council of Puerto Vallarta has undertaken an initiative brought forward by councilman Juan José Cuevas García, for the gradual transition to the use of biodegradable plastics, and seeking to gradually prohibit the use of some plastic products in commercial establishments in Puerto Vallarta.

During the recent session of City Hall, the mayor pointed out that contamination by plastic is causing irreparable damage to the planet, with 300 million discarded annually, of which a significant percentage ends up in rivers and seas.

He went on to say that with the growth of our cities and the rapid increase of plastic in daily life, has had great consequences for the environment that are reflected in the pollution of water, air, loss of forest land and seas, as well as the habitat of important animal and vegetable spaces.

Given this problem and tourism and the beaches being the main economic activity of Puerto Vallarta, councilman Juan José Cuevas García asked to take the initiative to gradually prohibit the use of plastic and straws in city ​​establishments.

In his proposal, Cuevas García proposes five actions, such as changing the use of plastic bags for reusable bags; encourage the use of reusable containers; bulk purchased to avoid packaging; avoid buying bottled water, as well as improve recycling management from shops and homes.

The initiative was turned over to the Ecology, Public Services, Regulations and Constitutional Points commissions, for analysis, study and opinion, and subsequent approval of the City Council.