We’re up on the roof of the Bell Mar condo building looking down at the devastation of what once was the holistically pristineSerena Hotel and Spa on the north side of the Lagoon Bridge. What we see is, above all, a sorrowful sight – scattered heaps of flotsam and jetsam, smashed windows, missing rooftops, scarred walls, staircases without stairs, and later, inside, geckos scattering along scribbled hieroglyphics not fit for immature audiences, we are told…albeit evidently inscribed by those same immature audiences. It is uninviting ambiance at its best.
“Forget the ruins at Tulum. We have our own right here,” quips Gil Cyrulnik, whose rooftop paradise overlooks Serena’s skeletal remains bleaching in the sun after being ravaged by the hurricanes of 2005, shortly after the hotel’s opening, and later to be disemboweled by brazen scavengers.
“We were told their insurance hadn’t kicked in yet,” says Cyrulnik as he shakes his head in disbelief. Maybe it was purchased from the wrong gecko? “We had seen the Serena in 2005 andit was beautiful.” It prompted him to sign on to a pre-built unit at Bell Mar in 2006overlooking Serena’s attractive shoulder. Now the view is a demolition derby that won’t go away for lack of political will, money and/or buyers willing to rebuild, says Cyrulnik.
Helping to sustain the status quo, he says, is an asking price of $2.2 million and an impasse wherein the owners seem unwilling for whatever reason to pay the Colonos fee. Colonos officials concede the owners are in arrears about $10,000 U.S. and have refused a deal that would limit their liability. There has not been a payment for six years.
The Colonos board was willing to help the owners by charging them a fee assessed on the land only, since the the buildings are ruined, but the option was refused. It would have lowered the quarterly fee from around $1,000 to $200 pesos, said Colonos GM Armando Rincon.
Instead, owners suggested 50 percent of the bill be forgiven, the remainder to be paid in four months followed by on-time quarterly payments. The Colonos refused that unless the spokesman-owner, Tom Scotto, brought it up to the full Colonos assembly. He didn’t. So nothing has been done, to the chagrin of nearby residents who pay substantial fees for their digs that unfortunately include a recurrent view of appalling neglect.
Cyrulnik, who spends some time at his unit and also offers it for rent, says he has to apologize to potential tenants and offer a discount because of the ruins next door. Other neighbors say the ruins attract youths, their ill-gotten libations and shenanigans to the bridge area and the ruins, essentially disturbing the neighborhood calm.
If there is an answer to this predicament, it may lie with the municipal government. A letter was sent by the Colonos in July asking for assistance in this matter, perhaps by declaring the lot abandoned so the remains could be cleared and the lot made whole and attractive again.
But a new mayor and administration take over on April 11 and already the Colonos is preparing to argue for support on a number of fronts that include the Serena ruins and the questionable fees for rubbish collection – a service the Colonos provides to itself yet is assessed to support the municipal rubbish operations.
Meanwhile, Serena’s neighbors will continue to get a free look at abominable“ruins” as the political machine tries to grind out solutions to a variety of problems including this one. (Express your views, solutions, ideas in the comments section.)
Cultural Center concert a treat with a Latin beat;
Turnout seals prospect for a new-season series
Posted 3/26/2011 by Pelican Paulie
A sizzling solo by nimble-fingered Latin guitarist Juan D’Anyelica, who coined more notes than the U.S. Mint, opened the final concert of the season at the Cultural Center last night, (Friday,3/25/2011) alerting a little more than 400 music lovers they were in for a treat with a Latin beat.
With bodies a-swaying and hands a-clapping in the audience, the ensemble of four musicians sometimes sounded like a 12-piece orchestra and, given the versatility of its individual members to elicit complementary sounds from their instruments, they carried the evening of musical merry-making to a blazing finale.
One might describe the group as a collection of electric virtuosos, each taking turns at improvising rifts, seamlessly passing the honor on to one another – drummer, base, guitar, violin and back again – during a number of given pieces, thus underscoring the notion that talent was indeed ruling the evening.
The upbeat rhythm set early on and sustained through most of the performance was delightfully and surprisingly interrupted only once, and that by the slow, haunting strains ofTomaso Albinoni’s adagio rising from soul of violinist Guillerme Guiterrez, a movement that, given certain emotional conditions of the listeners, is capable of eliciting tears of sorrow or joy from its provocatively related tones.
And who in the audience didn’t ask “What’s he sitting on?” as white-capped drummer Tito Martinez spent the evening hunched forward slapping the tempo on that mysterious box upon which he was seated, only occasionally swiping a single cymbal with his open hand or arising abruptly to dance a few steps.
The performance moved on from listening to viewing on several occasions as flamenco dancers Lorena Allende and Xolalt Vazquez took to the makeshift wooden platform , adding to the tapping beat of the musicians and, forgive us for saying this, reminding some of us with their slim bodies undulating blithely that we need to lose weight.
The first concert several weeks ago attracted some 350 patrons and now, while the season begins to fade, it was telling that promoters of the event, the Colonos Sports and Cultural Committee chaired by Daniele Gracis, has been infused by the growing turnout to present at least six concerts next season beginning in November.
The performers received kudos from grateful music lovers, some of whom, after only two concerts, have learned to tote a pillow of some sort to separate their backsides from the cement seating. The performers appreciated the audience gusto, pausing to look up appreciatively in response.
The Pelican heard only one sad story. A gentleman who needed to use the facility beneath the stadium was approached by what he perceived to be a washroom attendant and told to deposit a coin or two in a cup to gain access to a stall in the co-ed facility.
He said he wanted to tell the attendant he wasn’t there to relieve his wallet, but a bodily urge. Being without a coin, he did neither, he said, and rather took a walk in the dark. Free.
Perhaps the next concert poster will advertise not only beverages for sale, but relief as well. That way, patrons will know to bring coins and that the payment is legitimate. If there was any other sadness, it was that the concert had to fall silent into the starry night.
We end on a high note: It is always so comforting and heartwarming to see neighbors come together to enjoy the language we all understand. Onward to next November.
Local author’s compendium lists area’s flora and fauna
You stare at something exotic and wondrous and dressed in rainbow colors; you don’t know what it is but wish you did. Maybe biologist David Nunez, who has recently taken up residence in Puerto Aventuras, can help.
He has authored a basic, photo-laden guide book that identifies the more common flora and fauna of the Mexican Caribbean. It has the appropriate title, “What Did I See?” – a question frequently asked by visitors, particularly amateur divers and snorkelers being newly exposed to the Yucatan Peninsula’s bio-diversity.
Nunez is a native of Guadalajara who speaks English and Spanish by virtue of having an American mother, a Mexican father and earning two masters degrees in the United States, both in fields of biology. The book is in both languages.
The book – a soft cover that has the look and feel of a National Geographic magazine – opens into a canvas of local colors and eclectic shapes of life forms found along the mangroves, reefs and fields, “those that you are most likely to encounter,” says Nunez.
It is 201 slick-paper pages of more than 100 photos and prose that take you from the sapadilla, chit palm, sea grape plants and trees, the lush but mangled mangrove trappings to the majestic yet awkward brown penguin, the Yucatan jay seen at the feeder to the elusive plain chachalaca whose early morning breakfast call embodies the meaning of “garbled.”
Then come the mammals of the area, the much seen Tzereque or Agouti, half rabbit and squirrel it seems, to the rarely seen, long-tailed Coatia, cousin to the raccoon; the spider and howler monkeys and last but not least, the unending species of sea and plant life hugging the reefs that attract curious diver-tourists to the area. Each photo is accompanied by basic information, such as: Do you know the only surface that a ceiling-walking and wall-climbing gecko can’t cling to? It’s in the book. (Answer below)
How Nunez came to compile the Yucatan guide begins with his biological studies, and several U.S. jobs that didn’t fulfill his notion of biological research. “It had become more chemistry than biology.” He returned to Mexico.
Nunez said he was about to accept a posting in China as an English teacher when an older advertisement caught his eye. It was for an ecological group in Akumal. “I had to decide if I wanted to be in a dusty industrial city in China or on the Caribbean coast.” He took the Akumal job, made friends that together during their spare time launched the non-profit “Mexiconservacion,” There came other environmental employment later in Tulum where he also lived for a while, simultaneously taking and compiling photos of the flora and fauna he encountered along tghe way.
“I had all these photos and information when a friend of mine showed me a book from Costa Rica that essentially did the same thing.” When his mother became ill, Nunez returned to care for her in Guadalajara and there found the time to compile the book.
In 2009 “What Did I See?” was published and is still in its first printing while sales suffer, he explains, for lack of “a broader sales strategy involving hotels, vacation rentals, tour operators – that sort of thing,” which, he readily recognizes, would require the skills of a marketing strategist.
Nunez says the ability of “Mexiconservacion” to survive is dependent to a degree on book sales,10 percent of which go to the non-profit, which is now working with 20 ejido land groups around Merida on conservation practices and tourism efforts. Some of the modest receipts have been used to supply copies to local libraries and schools in Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
The $250 peso price includes a waterproof marine guide divers can take with them to immediately identify what they see.
Nunez, who says he finds Puerto Aventuras to be one of the finest places to live on the Mayan Riviera, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cel 984-807-4843. The book is available here at Aquanauts Dive Shop and the “Think Organic” store next to ReMax.
(Answer: Teflon )
YUCATAN HEALTH SERVICES report 54 cases of dengue fever so far over the Peninsula in advance of anti-dengue week April 11 to 15, during which mayors will be trained to ID breeding sites of the dengue-carrying mosquito and implement precautionary programs in the schools. Symptoms of this viral infection are fever, headache,extreme pain and skin rash. It runs its course usually in a week but can lag on a bit longer. Do not invite mosquitoes to dinner or to play Mexican Train as summer rolls around…AN ASPHYXIATED then dismembered and unidentified body was discovered on a dirt road in Cancun this week, the investigation of which, along with discovery of a few burned bodies, seems to be leading toward Cancun’s international airport, say press reports…DAYLIGT SAVING TIME begins at 2 a.m. Sunday April 3 on the Yucatan. Spring forward on the clock to 3 a.m. local daylight time and readjust U.S. TV viewing accordingly…AIR FRANCE adding a thrice weekly direct flight from-to Cancun-Paris, leaving Paris at 13:30 hours Arr Cancun 17:10 hrs Wed. Fri and Sundays begining Oct. 21 and leaving Cancun 19:30 hours, Arr Paris 11:30 hrs. Flying Boeing 777-300 aircraft carrying 472 passengers…THE DOLLAR fell 3 cents against the peso this week as the Euro gained 12 cents, the USD drawing 11.67 pesos at federal banks while the Euro commanded 17.32 pesos…PUERTO MORELOS civic leaders plan a peaceful demonstration at the inaugural of Cancun Mayor-elect Julian Ricaide Magano over proposed development issues in Puerto Morelos…
Thank you for reading this edition of the Pelican Free Press
See below for previous editions, or check the archives at right