GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE !
Assembly 4: Park ‘n bark
Colonos responding to request
to help develop ‘dog park’
Membership management of park envisioned
The Colonos administration was listening when resident Karla Hinton stood up at the Dec. 12 annual assembly, petition in hand, imploring the community to get behind a request to create a dog park. And, evidently, the Colonos also took notice of a Pelican news article in which resident Inger Bjerre, owner of a plush condo on Caleta Xel Ha, complained about the deplorable condition of a nearby private lot that had been used by various contractors as an unsightly dumping ground.
Both of these requests represented responses by concerned citizens to the efforts by the Colonos administration to control dogs in the wake of several separate dog attacks last year and general dog complaints. Bjerre’s grievance followed requests by health officials to keep surroundings free of standing water and rubbish accumulations to stifle the disease-carrying aedes aegypti mosquito. A run-by by jogger and Colonos board chairman Jorge Kaufer, resulted in clearing the lot of debris.
Colonos GM Armando Rincon has met with Hinton to discuss Hinton’s proposal to use “common ground” for the dog park. Of several sites, one is the defunct park property between the main road in the vicinity of the skate park. In a late-breaking development this week, another site under consideration nearer to the main gate may not be available in deference to evolving plans to enlarge the main gate.
Use of common land, said Rincon, is doable, but maintenance will be the responsibility of a planned, private membership drive by users of the park. He said the Colonos doesn’t have the budget for the improvements or maintenance responsibility inside the park.
Hinton said 100 people have signed the petition that was presented at the assembly, indicating a good measure of support for the project envisioned by Hinton and others.
Envisions site development
She envisions a lot surrounded by by a fence and a locked double-gated door accessible only to paying members with the use of a key card. Members also would have to show their pet(s) have been vaccinated and help keep the park clean by tending to their pet(s) and using provided receptacles to discard leavings.
She said evolving development includes separate park areas for small and big dogs, agility toys and other improvements the passage of time and availability of funds may allow. In that regard, there will be a membership fee in addition to possible fund raising and sponsorships, of which there are already three. Sponsor advertising will be placed in the area, Hinton said.
Trial run set for movie project
with ‘Where the Wild Things Are’
Remember when you were young and enjoyed family outings driving to the “outdoor theater” in your town, rolling down the window to attach the speaker, going to the snack shack for popcorn then settling in for a movie?
The “outdoor theater” – without the car – is coming to the Puerto Aventuras Cultural Center at the end of Bahia Akumal at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, in a trial run that will help determine whether residents of Puerto Aventuras (Akumal and Paamul also invited) will actually attend outdoor movies with family, friends and neighbors on a regular basis, enough so to make the Colonos Arts and Sports project worth doing.
Colonos GM Armando Rincon and the board of directors has been looking for social events that bring the community together in entertaining ways and the movie idea is one of them. Attendance will help the Colonos determine whether and to what degree to continue with the program, showing one or two movies a month, perhaps in different neighborhoods.
Launching the effort is a Warner Brothers animated feature in the English language that was nominated for a Golden Globe award and features the voices of well-known actors such as James Gandolfini of “Sopranos” fame, Paul Dano, Mark Ruffalo and others. They bring voice to the myriad “wild things” discovered in the imagination of headstrong 9-year-old Max who escapes reality via the discovery of an island under his bed populated by monsters. The film was adapted from Maurice Sendak’s classic book of the same name.
Common Sense Media gave the movie four stars but also cautioned that it may not be appropriate for 4-year-olds who might enjoy the book pictures but be frightened by the sight and sounds of the animated wild things. “The movie explores mature themes of loneliness, insecurity and fear of change, both within Max’s human family and the one he finds on his imaginary island.”
The event will be presented by El Cine Club of Playa del Carmen, whose equipment has already been checked for sight and sound by Rincon. The club also has a popcorn machine. An admission charge of 30 pesos($1.63 USD) is charged to help cover expenses.
Trivial pursuits Sunday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy. Group Spanish lessons are returning to Puerto Aventuras this year with Maestra Gloria Contreras who has been teaching informal groups here for quite a few years. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. for beginners and 12:30 p.m. for advanced and intermediate. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call cel 984-108-3517 for more information… Workshop for writers will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 20 at the library. A 1,000 pesos donation will benefit the PA Library. More information and reservations at email@example.com … The International Gastronomical food fest date has been set for March 13 at the Colegio grounds. The popular annual event features foods from many countries representing the cosmopolitan demographics of Puerto Aventuras. Area chefs – professional or otherwise – are asked to participate by offering appetizer portions of food native to their country. Sign up by calling Colonos coordinator Carlos Quinones at 984-873-5116 or 5117. OBSERVANCES: Today, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, is Ash Wednesday. Valentine Day is Sunday, February 14, 2016…
Students claim development
of Zika mosquito repellent
Citronella candles available at WeRWater
Students at the University of Papaloapan in Oaxaca claim to have created a repellent to battle Zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya carried by the aedes aegypti mosquito.
Their formula, of natural ingredients as reported by the National Science and Technology Council, includes essential oils combined with alcohol, distilled water and glycerin that do not cause allergic reactions in the skin.
The key ingredients are orange peel, lavender flowers and lemongrass, from which the essential oils of citronella, limonene and linalool, all of which are strong-smelling, are extracted using hydrodistillation.
The students of biotechnology and chemical engineering say their product uses no toxic chemicals and works for three to six hours and will be 60 percent cheaper than current repellents.
They plan to market the product under the name CitroRepel and say they worked on the product in response to the needs of citizens in Oaxaca, where high temperatures and humidity levels contribute to the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
The World Health Organization has warned of Zika’s potentially “explosive” growth in Latin America. Thirty-seven cases of Zika have been identified in Mexico.
Symptoms include mild fever and skin rash along with conjunctivitis, an eye inflammation, and muscle or joint pain, and are felt two to five days after an infected mosquito bites.
While officials in area communities are alerting residents to avoid mosquito bites, four major businesses in Playa del Carmen that reportedly carried citronella candles did not have any last week. Employees at all four were at a lost to say when they would be available. However, a limited supply was found at WeRWater here in Puerto Aventuras Centro. Outdoor diners generally place one candle under the table and two at table level.
Snorkel guide in Akumal faulted
for absence during emergency…
There were three near drownings among snorkelers in Akumal last month, one of which called attention to the lack of oversight of guides and the absence of standard operating procedures for tour companies and their employees, according to Hector Lizaragga-Cubedo, director of Centro Ecologio Akumal (CEA).
The director reported that on Jan. 20, a young British man was brought to shore and although s responsive, exhibited weakness, coughing, shortness of breath, and vomiting — symptoms of a near drowning. First response actions by the lifeguards and paramedics stabilized the patient, who later declined to be taken to the hospital.
Lifeguards say the British man was part of a group of 13 other snorkelers and one guide, who was nowhere to be found during or after the rescue.
Program Coordinator for the Coastal Management Program at CEA, Miguel Lozano Huguenin says, “Each guide that goes into the water has the responsibility for their clients’ safety. Period. The guide leading this group failed. He had no concern or awareness that his guest was in trouble, and, most likely because he wasn’t present, had no water safety or first aid experience. Lack of experience and training is a recipe for disaster.”
In two other incidents, an American male on a guided snorkel tour was brought ashore unconscious and without vital signs. Lifeguards, funded by local hotels and CEA, applied CPR and called for a defibrillator, but were able to revive the man before the defibrillator arrived. Red Cross paramedics also arrived to stabilize the patient and bring him to a hospital.
A German woman suffered a similar incident while snorkeling. She was brought ashore by her guide where lifeguards resuscitated her and Red Cross paramedics took over and transported her to a hospital.
“The efforts and quick actions by the lifeguards with the support of the Red Cross paramedics played a key role in saving these lives,” says Lizarraga-Cubedo, director of Centro Ecologico Akumal.
“It is reassuring to know that despite having specialized lifesaving equipment for situations such as these, the lifeguards are not reliant on it. They are able to apply their training and experience to immediately take action and initiate manual CPR to quickly assist the victims,” he said.
The Round Up…
A waterspout, which is a tornado over water, struck off Cancun last weekend. The event put Playa del Carmen marine businesses and officials on alert to monitor the clouds, although waterspouts here are somewhat uncommon, say officials. The port was also shut down for a while during brisk winds to protect water craft under 40 feet…
High-flying talk, thus far uncorroborated, is making the rounds that the new Puerto Aventuras aerodrome replacing the one in Playa del Carmen has a long-enough runway to handle private jets and that a new bridged retorno a bit north of the current one will replace the one now used by resort residents to get to Chedraui. The airport road, just a few meters out of sync with the current retorno, begs the question of why a bridge?
Two new food businesses are opening up in the Chedraui Plaza across the highway, one called Pollo Boom offering soups, veggies, potatoes, macaroni and cheese and chicken meals to go or eat in. The other business under construction will offer a wide variety of ice cream products. Pollo Boom opened its doors Saturday…
The new trial system that holds an accused person innocent until proven guilty went into effect in Solidaridad last week. The system is also expected to reduce the time waiting for trials down from years to months in handling criminal complaints…
Some Puerto Aventurans were delayed on Highway 307 last Wednesday when a cement mixer truck toppled over in the middle of the northbound lane. The truck driver said he was trying to avoid a motorcyclist who darted out in front of the truck. There were no serious injuries although major gridlock ensued when northbound drivers crossed the dividing island without police help and occupied half the southbound lane. One Aventuran said he missed an appointment after deciding to turn back and avoid the risk of a head-on collision, while some others were delayed by four hours arriving in Cancun. The incident has raised calls for designing alternate routes and hastening police presence to break the gridlock safely …
Quality beaches – Two beaches in Quintana Roo have applied for the first time for a Blue Flag certification and will undergo inspection by a number of federal agencies for water quality, environmental education and management, safety and services. The beaches are Kantenha Bay in Playa del Carmen and Cancun’s Coral Beach…
Does state of Quintana Roo
rhyme with snow or zoo?
What or who is Quintana Roo and Solidaridad?
Every year there are freshly arrived visitors and long-term renters here from elsewhere in the world who ask us about Quintana Roo. Is it some exotic plant, Mayan ruin or ceremony? Or is it somebody’s name?
To begin, Quintana Roo, with a population of about 1.6 million, is the newest of Mexico’s 31 states (plus a federal district in transition to statehood), achieving statehood in 1974. It happens to be the state we live in while in Mexico. Cancun is the state’s largest city approaching an estimated 800,000 population.
Chetumal, 181 driving miles to our south, is the state capital with a population of nearly 220,000. To the north of Puerto Aventuras is Playa del Carmen, the municipal seat of our village/resort, which is part of the municipality of Solidaridad.
Solidaridad was once the mainland section of the island of Cozumel. The two were separated in 1993 to form Solidaridad on the mainland, becoming Q. Roo’s 10th municipality.
Playa del Carmen, 15 miles to the north of Puerto Aventuras on Federal Highway 307, is the rapidly growing seat of Solidaridad’s municipal government. Playa has grown since 1970 from a small fishing village to a sunny vacationland of around 140,000-plus-residents and growing. Puerto Aventuras, has an estimated population of roughly 15,000, including both sides of the highway.
It has three distinct quarters. One is the popular marina/ golf resort community on the east side of the highway along the Caribbean shore. The others are the Poblado, which is the older section on the west side of the highway, and the newer housing development known as Puerto Maya.
In 2008, Solidaridad was detached from the new municipality of Tulum, home to a spectacular and largely undeveloped beach and Mayan ruins.
As to Quintana Roo (pronounced Row), the name belongs to Mexican patriot Andres Quintana Roo, nee Nov. 30, 1787, a native of Merida in the next-door state of Yucatan. He was foremost a man of letters studying early at the Seminary San Lldefonso in Merida then in Mexico City’s Royal and Pontifical University.
His father established the first printing press that produced newspapers on the Yucatan Peninsula so it was not surprising that aside from Andres’ considerable curriculum vitae as poet, lawyer, politician, insurgent in search of independence for Mexico and participant in defining the Mexican declaration of independence, that he was also a journalist.
His forbears settled in Merida from the Canary Islands, which may explain the name. The Canaries, south of Spain in the Atlantic, were named after the large dogs (canes) found there. A sports arena in Cancun is also named after Quintana Roo as is a town in Yucatan state.
Sweet sunset solace…
PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication in any given week is Monday at 5 p.m. for production mid-week, usually Wednesday. Thank you.
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Race attracts 471 runners,
raises 85,000 pesos for charity
Snowbirds and expats made a small but spirited showing in the 8th annual Puerto Aventuras charity 1, 5, and 10K road race Sunday as some like Gayle Sandholm sprinted across the finish line while others like regulars Bart and Jean Dunn jogged across and still others like Bob Roadway, Kate Hauser and a group of friends showed solidarity by walking across the finish line in deference to one of their group with a knee injury. “We walked and talked and had fun enjoying the event,” Roadway said while munching on a refreshing orange near the bustling Dolphin Discovery palapa. There were no first place winners among them.
But it was a joyous occasion for the race’s eldest participant, Fran Threlkeld, 94, who jubilantly bettered last year’s time by about a minute to cheers and yeas from enthusiastic nationals who comprised most of the runners. Asked afterwards if she bettered her time with the help of steroids, she laughed a big “no” in reply. For what it’s worth, there were 219 female runners in the various categories and 252 men.
The explosion of whistles, applause, yeas,” “bravos” and other expressions of support like “C’mon Cassandra” that greeted most of the runners glistening with sweat in the morning sunshine was much different than the detonations 10K runner Bill Lord heard at the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon in 2013. Lord, 71, a Cape Cod neighbor of the Pelican publisher,traveled to PA for a vacation run.
A veteran of 17 Boston marathons, Lord was 500 yards from where the Tsarnaev brothers exploded two pressure-cooker bombs, killing three spectators including children, a policeman during a get-away attempt, and wounding nearly 300.
Thought he heard cannons
Lord was about a mile from the finish line when he heard what he thought were distant “cannons” and wondered why since he had never heard them in 16 previous marathons. “I turned a corner to get to the finish line when a policeman jumped into the middle of the road and told us the race was over but could not tell us precisely why. “ He said he didn’t know what happed just ahead of them until a half-hour later amid the mayhem. Armed police, FBI and ambulances were everywhere.”
Palapa alive with activity
Dolphin discovery of Puerto Aventuras, the major sponsor of the event along with the Colonos, also lent its large palapa facilities adjacent to the dolphin and seal pools to set up tables for distributing a melange of fruit and drink to runners and spectators, massage tables where aching muscles with the potential for post-run cramping were assuaged, and where award ceremonies were held.
First place winners in the 10K 19-39 age group were: Female Evelin Aldama, 45:59 and male Mahdi Khaldi, 41:38; in the 40-49 age group, female Maria Ortega Islas, 46:53 and male Mena Rey, 37:25; in the 50 and over group, female Guadalupe Maldonado Meza, 51:22 and male Martin Mendoza, 46:51. In the 5K portion, winners were, female Gabriela Vargas, 23:02 and male Manuel Salas, 19:01, in the 40+ age category, female Cleotilde Aguilar, 26:42 and male Akim Latreche, 19:58.
Colonos board President Jorge Kaufer, who coordinated efforts in the early years of the race along with Daniel Gracis, chair of the Colonos Sports and
Cultural Committee, ran the 5K then immediately got involved with helping launch the children’s run after all adult runners had come home to roost at the finish line.
The 85,000 pesos in proceeds from registrants ($4,600 USD at Monday’s X-rate) is being donated to the Transformar Educando organization (Transformative Education) teaching youngsters and adults in the Poblado to become bi-lingual and learn practical job skills.
Sponsors besides Dolphin Discovery included Serenis, Mayaland and Grayland, Bepensa powerade; Puerto Aventuras Trust, Dreams Hotel, Riviera Maya Hacienda, Imagen Multimedia, Riviera Maya and Cozumel Promotion Trust, Coco Bongo, Latitud 21, Brujulaq, Aventuras Mayas, Energy Fitness, Price Travel, Tulum Tourist Office, Omni Puerto Aventuras, Catalonia and Electro Fitness.
Learn about visas today, Feb. 3
LEARN ABOUT VISAS TODAY, FEB. 3 at 10:30 a.m. in the Colonos meeting room where representatives of Mexlaw will discuss the permanent and temporary resident visa processes along with other legal tips such as purchasing property. It is free and participants from neighboring communities are invited. Bring your own coffee or water, pen and notepaper if you wish … Colegio Puerto Aventuras will hold its traditional “Saturday in Puerto Bazaar” on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You will find new and old items to buy and fun activities for all the community. If you are interested in a booth, get information at firstname.lastname@example.org … Trivial pursuits Sunday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy. Group Spanish lessons are returning to Puerto Aventuras this year with Maestra Gloria Contreras who has been teaching informal groups here for quite a few years. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. for beginners and 12:30 p.m. for advanced and intermediate. Contact her at email@example.com or call cel 984-108-3517 for more information… Workshop for writers will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 20 at the library. A 1,000 pesos donation will benefit the PA Library. More information and reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org … The International Gastronomical food fest date has been set for March 13 at the Colegio grounds. The popular annual event features foods from many countries representing the cosmopolitan demographics of Puerto Aventuras. Area chefs – professional or otherwise – are asked to participate by offering appitizer portions of food native to their country. Sign up by calling Colonos co-ordinator Carlos Quinones at 984-873-5117 or 7.
Centro businesses note upturn
Drink from tap with new home,
condo filter system at WeRWater
Replace missing tiles
without emptying pool
WeRWater, located in Puerto Aventuras Centro, has expanded services and products and become a distributor for a major producer of individual home and condo water purifiers and softeners that let your drink water from the tap. The home-grown company is approaching its 4th anniversary in May.
Local owners Leliet Duschkin and Lucie Wedge, who have been supplying products for “everything water” – from chemicals, pumps, pool accessories and tile – have added an experienced tiling and general service pool technician to the staff.
And for people “tired of lifting water bottles and agonizing over late or missed water deliveries” said the owners, “we have become the local distributor for Purikor point-of-use osmosis purifying systems that are very, very, very affordable. Drink the water from the tap,” they said.
And in another expansion, WeRWater has contracted with a group of top-tier repair technicians affiliated with major companies like Bosch, Rheem, Mass, Raypack and others to offer a repair service by specialists trained to work on those products and quickly access replacement parts.
Duschkin and Wedge have simultaneously launched a flexible preventive maintenance contract program for water related systems and pools, somewhat like those offered in North America for maintenance of heating systems to catch mechanical breakdowns before they happen.
They said their new technician is an expert in underwater tiling and very detail oriented. “With his expertise and our lines of replacement tiles, there’s no need to empty a pool just to replace some missing tiles,” they said.
The point-of-use Purikor water purifiers for homes and condos uses three filtration stages; capture of suspended solids up to five microns, activated carbon for removal of odors and tastes, and ultra-violet light purification.
The Purikor company says their purifiers come with cartridge filters (replaceable), a UV lamp to sterilize bacteria, viruses and microorganisms, quick access to spare parts like lamps, cartridges and accessories and do-it-yourself installation (if you prefer) or installation arranged at WeRWater.
Information on these new products- including salt pellets – and services is available at WeRWater on the dolphin walk across from the Omni Hotel, by calling 984-873-5283 or cel 984-115-4588 or visit the web site by clicking on the WeRWater icon in the sponsor column for more information on products and services.
Jessie’s Gelato eases access to,
delivery of delectable flavors
Jessie Gelato has added several ways to access new flavors such as cookie black, spekulatius, ginger, spicy chocolate and more.
The rectangular stone-lined planter’s box in front of the busy business in Centro’s commercial district adjacent to The Pub restaurant, has been divided by a pathway that leads directly to Jessie’s gleaming counter bursting with a rainbow of blends and refreshing flavors of fresh, made-daily gelato.
Speaking between a steady flow of customers last Wednesday afternoon, Marten, Jessie’s charismatic owner, was upbeat in telling the Pelican that it has been a very good business year at Centro, not only the peak winter season, but the domestic summer season as well. It was a comment echoed by managers of several other nearby businesses and one that supports plans for added service in the near future.
“One day we had to close,” he said, “because supply couldn’t keep up with demand.” That’s when a woman walked in and ordered a kilo of a new flavor. She had one of those cooler bags, hoping, she said, to get the gelato home before it melted.
Marten offered her an ice pack from Jessie’s freezer to put into her bag, something he does for regular customers, asking only that they return the pack on their next visit. “We also offer free local delivery” he said, “to customers who order a minimum of 200 pesos.”
Bolstered by the steady demand for his products since launching Jessie’s with his wife, Valerie, three years ago, and by more accessible space created by dividing the planter’s box, he’s considering additional help to give table service for such delectables as banana splits and peach melba as a possible next step in Jessie’s continuing development.
Hole in one…
A beer truck overturned last week near the police filtro north of Playa del Carmen, spilling its contents by the side of the road. The event repeats an incident two years ago near Puerto Aventuras when a beer truck overturned, attracting many looters. In last week’s case, police reported the accident caused a traffic “bottleneck” -no pun intended… Two night-time car accidents on 307 near Puerto Aventuras this weekend injured eight people and caused thousands of dollars in damage…
Competition for tourists – Cuba, which can be reached by an overnight fast-ferry ride from Florida, reports hosting 3.5 million tourists in 2015 as relations between the island nation and the US eased. Some see the rapprochement between the two nations as competition for the Yucatan Peninsula tourist industry…
Pipeline to Mexico- San Antonio, Texas- based Howard Energy Products plans to build a 287-mile pipeline delivering refined fuels to Monterrey, Mexico suburb Santa Catarina. Delivery of 72,000 barrels a day is slated to begin in 2018 with expansion capability of 90,000 barrels a day. Mexico’s energy reforms are making it easier for foreign firms to sell their products across the border…
Canceled flights from the US and Canada because of weather conditions have hurt business on the Riviera Maya, but local observers believe the loss will be made up when the same tourists begin packing the airlines again as weather improves… Meanwhile Turkish Airlines is scheduled to begin weekly flights to Cancun from Istanbul via Mexico City, expanding another source of tourists for the Riviera Maya in the process…
Taxi complaints divided – The union representing taxi drivers in this area say many more complaints about poor service from drivers are expressed on social media than to officials of the union. Only four complaints have been received this year by the union. Anyone with a complaint has a better chance of having something done about by calling union secretary Ramon Aguilar at 984-116-6627 rather than waste their time griping on social networks…
The Mail Bag…
Nice to know what’s in store
Thank you again! This edition was great and very informative ! We always heard that a visa was an ordeal! It’s always good to know what is in store for the applicant!
Signed/ Maryann Parrack
Take the ‘green line’ to school
Last week we published two commentaries concerning problems with traffic and parking in Puerto Aventuras and we and the Colonos administration thank the authors for their concern and suggestions. To prove the point that some steps are being taken to ameliorate the concerns and improve on safety, note the green line denoting a safe bicycle lane and route being painted by Colonos employees at the junction of Bahia Xcacel and Bahia Yanten near the Information and Art Center. evidenced below. This line indicates the safest route to the local school.
The Visa Caper: Part 3 of 3
New personnel, courteous banker
ease path to resident visa card
Our last appointment of Phase 2 in the visa process was on Nov. 3, 2015 when we were told to wait until we received an email notice from immigration headquarters telling us when to return to the local office for further instructions.
The notice, surprisingly, was received by my wife six weeks later, at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18. We wondered where the other notice was. Oh Oh! Did something go wrong? At 8 p.m. that same day the other notice arrived. The notices said we had to return to the local office within three days of receipt.
Ever obedient, we showed up at the local office on Tuesday, Dec. 22. The only person there was a guard at the door who told us the place was closed until Jan. 6, in 2016.
On Jan. 6 we got in line again (our fifth visit). But this time, two new receptionists were a big improvement over the previous two. One spoke some English and both were most helpful and courteous and made certain we understood the instructions they gave us. (A basic knowledge of Spanish is most helpful too. Bring somebody along with that knowledge if you decide to do the process on your own.)
They gave us another appointment for 10 a.m. on Jan. 14. After looking at our papers that included the bank forms, we were told to be sure we paid the fee at the bank on the same day and before our Jan. 14 appointment.
We got to the storefront C-Bank just below the immigration office a little early, about 9:25, and a good thing too. One fact we hadn’t been told is that we had to pay in cash.
Thank the bank
There was a gentleman seated at a desk just inside the door of the small bank. He was very helpful. He said we couldn’t use a credit or debit card and needed cash. Since we are not familiar with ATMs (never use them) he offered to help us. We each gave him a debit card from a Mexican bank and he was able to get 5,000 pesos from each card to cover the fees and give us small change. He helped us fill out more forms that he later presented with the cash to the bank teller. The bank transaction alone took 32 minutes.
He refused a gratuity but put a hand on my shoulder to express appreciation for the thought. We were relieved. We had our receipts, meaning, we thought, that our visas were bought and paid for and we would have them that same day.
Our appointment that day went well with an agent behind a counter who asked us again all the basic questions we had answered many times before. She studied our passports again and took fingerprints of all our digits, right and left. We waited for the visa but what we got instead was a notice from her to return at noon on Jan. 21, a week away, and to come straight to her.
We did. It was our seventh visit to the office. She told us to take a seat. About 20 minutes later, another agent, a pleasant young man, asked us a few questions of no apparent import, had us sign papers re-affirming who we are and confirming the information on our visa cards that he delivered unto us and another form confirming the accuracy of the information.
We can say the entire process, from preparing our financials in August to our placing the visas in our wallets on Jan.21, spanned a period of 5 1/2 months, including the two weeks the INM service was closed for the holidays. But from the day we applied in Playa del Carmen for the Mexican leg, only took two months and 27 days including the INM two-week vacation. Not bad at all.
Having now gone through the process largely unaided, and being short on patience and long on anxiety, it would have been more prudent of us to first get some “accurate” information about the process from a bilingual facilitator or legal office for the Mexican leg of the process. It’s not necessary dealing with the foreign consulates, though, since they speak your language and the forms are not as demanding. You might inquire about prices for just the Mexican leg of the process before you commit.
This has been one couple’s experience in applying separately. Nineteen other individuals might each have a different story to tell.
PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication in any given week is Monday at 5 p.m. for production mid-week, usually Wednesday. Thank you.
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