May 1, 2008

Catemaco Puente

Catemaco lives off puentes (bridges).
Puentes are the equivalent of a US long weekend, such as when a holiday falls on a Friday, vacations begin Thursday afternoon.

Mexico adds a little quirk to that system so that when a holiday falls on a Thursday, vacationers head out the door on Wednesday noon till  next Monday morning. Of course this only applies to government officials above the rank of peon (low level worker), much of the upper educational infrastructure and anyone else who can afford it or get away with it.

So the Mexican federal lawmakers passed another one of their new laws in 2006. Many legal holidays that fall on a weekday are now supposed to be celebrated on the next Monday.

This has been a heaven sent gift for Catemaco, because many of those who previously abused puentes have decided to accomodate the new regulations by holding fast to the original holiday and now adding the new holiday on Mondays to their extended vacations. So now think Wednesday noon to Tuesday morning for the original one day holiday.

Naturally many of the hotels fill up in Catemaco, and of course the weasely hotel owners charge the high season tourist rates.

Did you ever wonder what the productivity statistics are in Mexico?


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