Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A better way

We've been in Merida for a couple of days.  I attended an international advisory board for a prestigious university (University del Mayab) and my wife got to see the area.   Her luck on weather held again.   About three years ago we went to Tajin, which is a great archeological site in Veracruz.   I've been there three or four times and each time was unable to get good pictures because it was so humid (steamy lenses do not make for good photography).   We got off the plane in Poza Rica and it was about 70• and low humidity.   So we got here, which is very tropical, and the weather was pretty nice.

We spent the day before the meeting visiting Progreso - which is a beach town about 30 minutes from Merida and then walking around downtown.  The photo is of a major bureaucratic mistake of a couple of hundred years ago.   The cathedral in Merida was slated to be built in Lima, Peru but the plans got sent to Merida, a much smaller town then.

The Zocalo in Merida is wonderful.  This magnificent cathedral plus a municipal palace with a salon on the second floor that is adorned with a series of paintings about the history of the region.  On Monday night they were preparing for a civic event but we got to sneak in and see the inside.   We also were given a private tour (by a guard who was very proud of the theater) of the Teatro Péon Contrearas which is a bit larger than the one in Guanajuato but dates to about the same time.

Yesterday, I participated in the board meeting.  The university is doing some very interesting things including developing an incubator for start-ups called Unico.  When I was last here, they were in construction and the building is now completed.   The project will encourage a group of start-ups by giving them space and advice.   One of the companies is about to negotiate a sale of its product to a major health company and a couple of others are growing concerns.   They will add the expertise of the university in design and law (for intellectual property issues) to help these companies grow.  They are also looking at some growth issues and like many of the best universities in Mexico are thinking about how do they develop and maintain standards that put them a the small group of universities around the world.

So what is the better way?   In the hotel we are staying in they bill you on the internet for usage.   I am often grumpy about paying for internet in hotels.   After all you do not pay for water or towels.   I've even had a series of exchanges with the CEO of Hilton hotels about the issue. They offer free internet to customers who reach a high level in their loyalty program.   I argued (to no positive result) that they would get more of my business if they offered (as some parts of the Hilton chain do) free internet.  Well, the Fiesta Inn, offers a series of plans that allow you to use internet for a period of time.  So we bought 24 hours - which was available for the entire stay.  We ended up, over the three days using only about half the time (between my wife and I) but from my perspective, for a little more than what most American hotels charge for 24 hours on the clock - that sounds like a fair price.

Today we head back to San Miguel for our last week there.   Dar Gracia - comes up tomorrow.

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