Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Cancun- Thursday Report

I was interviewed by a local Saskatoon radio station this morning, so if you've ever wondered what the Canucka sounds like at 7 am while hiding in a closet from her screaming four year old, here you go....(Thanks Brent and Ashley at NewsTalk980 CJME)

What's happening in Cancun right now? Not much of anything really, it's pretty quiet out in the streets. I went to the grocery store this morning to fill the fridge and there were very few people at the Mega (Lopez Portillo for you Cancunenses looking to shop without a crowd). The only things they didn't have in stock were alcohol hand wash, Lysol and surgical masks, but that was no surprise, they are nowhere to be found in town. It really and truly feels like hurricane time here, everyone is stressed about being able to feed their families, no one knows when we'll be back to the crazy kind of "normal" that is Cancun. Hubby and I are both waiting for word on whether we'll have work in the next month, he's been told they will make an announcement this afternoon that he may be laid off without pay. My stomach is in knots about our financial situation and I feel terrible for ALL the people in Mexico who are going to be seriously suffering from the "side effects" of the flu. They might not be physically ill with swine flu, but it's going to wreak havoc on everyone's life here.

Aside from my boring life, here are some news snippets about the situation in Mexico:

Federal Government Ceases Operations for Five Days
- President Felipe Calderon is asking for all non-essential workers to stay home, both government and private sectors.

Mexican "Quarantine"- All Mexicans urged to stay home for the next five days.

Government of Quintana Roo Orders Bars/Restaurants Closed, Airlines Plan Evacuations- Any bar or restaurant with a capacity of over 80 people will be shut down (no word of when they'll reopen, most likely this will be evaluated before May 6). Some airlines are sending empty planes to evacuate their clients, this is NOT a forced evacuation, nor is it being implemented by the government, it's the private companies who have made this decision.

edited to add- Mexico Shuts Down Non-Essential Services (Dallas Morning News)

To follow the news on your own, the following media outlets in Mexico will be useful to you. Yes of course they are in Spanish, use Google translate if your español isn't up to the task.

Milenio- national Mexican publication

El Universal- national Mexican publication

La Jornada- publication from Mexico City

Noticaribe- local Quintana Roo news website

Por Esto- local Quintana Roo newspaper

Novedades- local Quintana Roo newspaper

I want to extend a big thank you to all who are reading, leaving comments and sending emails. I'm actually quite overwhelmed with the mostly positive responses, I know this is a time of tension and I appreciate everyone keeping their cool. I'm doing my best to reply to emails, but I know some of you may slip through the cracks, I am sorry for that. I'll try to address some comments later today, though I hope that perhaps this post will answer some of your previous questions. Please take a moment to check out the "Otros Blogos" section to the left, there are several fantastic bloggers in Mexico discussing their own points of view on the situation, give them a click for a different look at the situation.

Take care and be well, keep your cool, don't panic, this mess will pass soon enough.

(this is now old news, here's a link for the latest updates on AH1N1 in Cancun)


bham4ever said...

Thanks CancunCanuck,
For keeping us updated, I think it will be hard for people there because of the media and the way they twist the news to Exaggerate some things to sale the news. That's why I like your Blog for facts. I am coming there at the end of May so i hope things will get better for everyone. Not canceling just listening for the facts...thanks!

Rx/LA said...

Good evening, thanks for keeping us updated. I am a pharmacist from south Louisiana and am still planning on bringing my family of 8 to Cancun at end of May. I am keeping up with the spread of the virus and it seems that most of the people are coming out of the Mexico City area including the New York students whose plane stopped in Mexico City on their return home trip. Hopefully people will trace the route of the virus before jumping to conclusions and say it comes out of Cancun, or etc. just because someone was there. Where did they stop before or after before returning home? Hope you can continue to keep us informed at local ground area which is usually better info. Hope to see Cancun again in May, this will be our 4th trip in 8 years.

Steve Cotton said...

Your updates have been incredibly helpful as a reporter on the ground in eastern Mexico. I fully appreciate the difficulty that some officials are facing in how to address the flu issue. I am heading up to La Manzanilla in an hour or two to meet with American Mommy in Mexico. We were going to eat in one of my favorite little restaurants, but they are all closed -- take-out only. That is ironic. When we were at the restaurant where I wanted to eat last week, there were a total of four patrons for the evening. There will be more of us congregated there to pick up take out than if we had simply sat down to eat. Ah, well. We will make our way through this.

Manolo said...

Pues thanks for the updates. I am at YorkU right now without speakers or headphones, so I will check your interview later.

Dear friend, I hope you and your loved ones will pass this "hurricane" as you properly call it.

Is good the WHO (who?) decided to call it H1N1 now and not "Mexican Influenza" as a country who may remain unnamed wanted to. I am fearing that stigma will start for Mexicans (and those who looked like them... e.g. me) in this land of ours.

Un abrazo amiga.

Carrie Elliott '05 said...

I'm sure it's hard to really give advice about this, but I am leaving on Saturday from Upstate NY to go to Cancun and I'm wondering if you think that we should reconsider either because of the possibility of infection or because of the possibility that things might close down while we are there. I called our resort today and they said that nothing had changed because of the swine flu. Are the resorts remaining open even though the restaurants and bars and clubs are closing? Will I still be able to have a semi-normal vacation? All the news in the US is about Mexico City, there's nothing anywhere about what to expect in Cancun.

Meg said...

Wonderful interview Kelly. Clear, concise, and level-headed. I wish all news outlets were like this...

helene said...

yesterday i was quite optimistic and ready to head to cancun this weekend, bu today things have changed and we have canceled our plans. it sounds like it wouldn't be much fun, too much to worry about and things closing. we will reschedule our vacation for a later date, but for now, i'm going to just wait this out, i don't think it's worth the risk

kav said...

I am planning on going to cancun for my birthday during the second week of july with my family and 3 bet friends. They are begining to reconsider the trip becuase of the flu pandemic. I really hope that everything will be under control by then and my friends parents will still let them go. I am so worried. I have been looking forward to this for months and I almost broke down when i found out my friends parents were reconsidering. any advice? do you think it will be okay to go?

Anonymous said...

I am trying to do my part to help offset the drop in tourist's dollars. I was to leave today from Isla but I extended my stay to next Tuesday.Friends on Isla who have two and three suite establishments are already feeling the pain due to cancelations. When you go from 100% or 50 % occupancy to 50% or 0% it realloy hurts.

PingPong_Kid said...

Hey Gang:
Please read my lengthy but informative postings written the last 3 days. I want to address some people directly:

Bham4ever: GO and don't change your plans. The so called "disease" will be gone way before then. Ningunos problemas para su y su familia.

Helene: We got hosed too-- planning to go Saturday and we canceled not because of flu but because our hotel will probably be shut down and there will be nothing to do. You made the right choice. I am working on rebooking our trip starting May 10 as I believe this fraud/hoax will be over by then. After that will probably postpone until november at the earliest. Buena suerte a su y su amante. Siento malo para Uds.

Kav: You're being overly paranoid my friend. This pig flu will be over way way way before then. Think twice about July for other reasons. I like hot weather and I'm a near world class athlete. Even for me it's still miserable and I guarantee you won't like it. Stay wherever you are and go again in November, but no sooner.(hurricane season).

Carrie: Sadly I would reconsider and reschedule your trip. Your hotel will be deserted even if it's open and there will be nothing to do anyways. This is based on the most accurate advice I can find. Plus I think by then, the fearmongering, paraniod maniac governments and health organizations will have shut down our airports. Still though you can TRY to go and see what happens.
Good luck to you my dear. You're exactly like us- same exact situation.

Pharmacist Dude: End of May? You're good to go as far as I'm concerned. As mentioned above, like Bernie Madoff, the missing TARP funds and the AIG bonuses, this thing will be long forgotten. Espero que su y su familia tendrian un buen tiempo.

I am truly horrified and am still in shock with happened. A few insane, paranoid fearmongerers have literally caused the whole world to be shut down. Imagine competely shutting down a world class resort Cancun and this is a place with ZERO confirmed cases. I am halfway predicting that these nutcases will have domestic airports closed by this weekend. And thats when even the most conservative of you will be going 'what the hell..?' The experts will tell us that they are trying to keep us safe, keep us healthy and keep us protected. Do I feel safer? NOPE. Do I feel healthier? Negative. Do I feel protected? Otro vez, NO! DO I feel like I have had my civil rights violated yet again? Absolutely YES!

And this just in: I raised the point that this is a sham and a hoax. But why? One of my associates has raised the point that this has been a phony sham designed to PREVENT PEOPLE FROM TRAVELING TO MEXICO AND OTHER COUNTRIES FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF KEEPING THE MONEY IN THE USA. To bolster the sagging economy,etc. Friends, if this is true, this is a swindle and fraud so large in magnitude that its beyond even my imagination.

Good luck to everyone. Just heard we're rebooked for the same exact trip starting next Sun. May 10. I will certainly keep you all posted.

Danielle said...

I'm needing a little help. We are supposed to be staying at the hotel casa maya and would still like to as long as it is open and their restaurant on site is open, but I can't seem to get ahold of them. The number on their website and on our confirmation sheet is not working. 998-881-05-00 is what I have. Does anyone know another number to contact them? Thanks so much.

Unknown said...

PingPong, you are my hero. I'm going to Cancun. I'm absolutely not going to miss out on the trip of a lifetime due to a HOAX. Thanks man.

PingPong_Kid said...

I was wondering what your name was and now I know! Anyway, listened to the radio interview and wanted to tell you that not only do you come off like a pro, but you're a very intelligent woman with a strong dose of common sense.

We that are traveling or are going to travel to Mexico all appreciate your updates and advice.

When all is said and done you may become very popular woman.

The best to you and your family. Please keep us updated with any more info on hotel/ resort closures. Thanks- PingPong. BTW, if any of you have not heard the audio clip, you should--its up at the top and is only 3 minutes long.

LisaG05 said...

I just saw a video on that said "swine flu is doctor's life-long nemesis". Is that right?? Hmmph, guess cancer isn't so bad then. Or diabetes or heart disease. Another one..."Napolitano:'If you feel sick, take responsibility'." GASP!!! Is that all I need to do? REALLY? Didn't know medication, fluids and rest can easily relieve all these symptoms. WOW! Ok, I'm being a bit of a smart a$$ but this is getting really old. Yes, we do have to be aware of our individual and family health and take precautions not to get sick but do we have to be spoken to like children? Apparently so, according to all these government organizations. Whatever, it's not stopping me. I will be leaving BWI (baltimore)as scheduled, unless they amp up the fearmongering and shut the airports down. I just wish they would stop talking about it and show that they are actually doing something.

Michael Rura said...

My wife and I have been preparing to come down for a friends wedding and some much needed RnR. I, on the other hand, was preparing for Nightclub DJ bookings. My new remixes are getting listened to. My rating on The DJ List (dot com) has me just crossing into the top 2000 DJs. Finally instead of just some freebee guest appearances at my resort, I was going to appear at some of the Playa del Carmen beach bars and a club or two in Cancun with PAY! Now, I can get nowhere with the clubs. After all would you sign a contract or make any commitment when you may be closed.

The poor girl having the wedding is freaking out because 1/2 her guests are afraid to come. We love it down there but I'm not sure how I feel about it as a ghost town.

It's all so over hyped and I feel so bad for our friends there and their jobs. It's the flu, take medication, drink lots of water, go to bed...take care of yourself, get better. Take precautions not to pass it on. The odds are you aren't getting it anyway.

These days we live in a world full of sheep!

Unknown said...

Dear CC,
I want to personally thank you for saving our dream wedding. All of the hype in the US news almost derailed our plans. Though we won't hav everyone (my maid of honor bailed) we will have eachother, in our dream location-thanks to you!

Please keep us informed as all of this unfolds (or deescalates!) we love your updates and appreciate your honesty.

Another good article on the H1N1 flu:

At the end of the day, it is the flu. Stay rested and drink fluids and you will be okay!


Unknown said...

I am in the same boat. Don't want to cancel. Leaving on May 11th. Our problem is we are taking our 6 year old daughter. I think it is overblown and have no problem taking her. But the stigma of going to mexico with the mass hysteria going on is the issue. May not let her back in school. Maybe the media moves on to something else in a week.

Fned said...

This may sound completely irrelevant to the issue but you sound like a professional reporter!!


leah said...

Jon - I have the same issue. Not at all worried about actually contracting the flu (and even if we did, looks to be no worse than a typical flu) but having to deal with the stigma of "bringing it back" is driving me mad. That and feeling like I have to educate people on what's really going on. Not much of a vacation anymore.

And CC - thanks again for your blog. It's been a source of sanity over the last week.

Homero said...

Hello! I've been reading your blog for a bit now and it's been very helpful. We have a trip scheduled May 8th through the 12th and I'm not planning on cancelling but I'm worried that the airports might close. Do you think people will be less crazy by then? Thank you so much! Saludos de Nebraska!

kav said...

wow! i can't believe i was worrying about going in july when a lot of people seem to be okay with going in may! i am worried still tho that when we do go the restaurants will still be closed and downtown will still be a ghost town? maybe i'm am being too paranoid. whoops!
pingpong-thanks so much for your advice, i know it is going to be close to unbearably hot, i've gone in june before so i think i know what i'm getting myself into. but then again, i don't who would everrr want to turn down a trip to cancun!! so you think i shouldn't loose sleep on the fact that mabye our trip won't work out? Thanks!

CancunCanuck said...

Wow, reading through all the comments has made me so happy, such kind words from some of you and such passionate support for the area.

Again, pingpongkid, lol, I'm trying to keep up with you, phew! I really appreciate your comments and I hope that you have been able to reschedule and can come enjoy paradise. (Perhaps I should read all the comments first, lol, maybe you've already mentioned where you are going, sorry if this is old news now).

beachprincess said...

Hi CancunCanuck,

We are scheduled to arrive on Sunday. The weather for Cancun is showing rain everyday for the next 10 days. Is this typical ? Last year we were there May 20ish, and the weather was beautiful. I hope these are just scattered showers. Thanks for the great updates !!

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