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Monthly Archives: December 2011

MAYAN YEAR OF FEAR (OR CHEER) IS HERE

NEW YEAR EVE SERVICE 11 p.m. Sta. Teresita in the Poblado
NEW YEAR ELECTRONIC FIXES – See Alan on services page
SUSHI AT HOME FOR NEW YEAR – See on dining page
DIVE INTO THE NEW YEAR – Just click on “Dive Aventuras” logo

Will 2012 deliver us whole unto 2013 ?

Posted 12/25/11 by Pelican Paulie
Earth and its organisms are about to enter the ominously dark and potentially catastrophic year of 2012. It is the year in which apocryphal Mayan lore, rising like a toxic fog from the ancient and occult jungle not too far from Puerto Aventuras, predicts by some accounts, that Armageddon will visit the world’s degenerate populations and culminate in the annihilation of the present universe.
G-Gulp and egads!
You have until the winter solstice of Dec. 21, 2012, to spend all your money, use up all of nature’s bounty in one massive epicurean blitzkrieg of travel and dining – hurry up, see everything, do everything, eat everything, sate yourself – before a singular cosmic clash with a black hole or meteor shatters us and our world into micro-particles of nothingness, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, a reverse Big Bang and dinosaur extinction simultaneously reprised. Or even worse! Social Security runs out of money and the FM3 process is further complicated!
     Or… you can saddle your angst and take these apocalyptic fortunes for the myths they are, save your money and safely spread your penchant for the good life over a much longer period of time. There’s no rush if you lean toward the more enlightened interpretations of primitive Mayan prognoses.
How embryonic Mayan history from 2,000 BC was deciphered into a prophesy of dated catastrophe– the winter solstice of Dec, 21, 2012 – from a 1,300 year old mysteriously imprinted tablet, is understandable in the context of a culture that idolized jaguars, which once roamed Puerto Aventuras and the Yucatan, creating a blend of religion and superstition based on primal physical and emotional forays into the unknown. And the world does have its share of over-imaginative kooks, no?
Behind the suggestion of chaos on that date is the Mayan long-count calendar that, briefly, views Dec. 21, 2012, as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long era and since it purports that the calendar merely stops there, not time, it gives rise to transformative pseudo-scientific theories including disaster for the pessimist and renewal for the optimist.

Modern Mayanists and scientists find little support for any of the life-altering expectations attached to the end of the long-count calendar, but that doesn’t stop Mexico – which itself does not believe in the calendar’s significance – from employing the misguided prophecies to attract in 2012 an estimated 52 million visitors into the cauldron of superstition stew and have fun with it. Normal tourist activity is about 22 million for the whole country.
In the jungles outside Cancun, for example, there are plans to bury time capsules with photos and messages. This is among some 500 various events – masked priests performing ancient voodoo-like rituals, burning incense, chanting and dancing like the colorful but intimidating actors along Avenida Cinco in Playa del Carmen giving us a glimpse, however embellished or moderated, of ancient times.
Will Puerto Aventuras position itself to also employ this rare non-event to attract more tourists and give its businesses a boost? Hurry! Think of something!
And will it be a Boo Year or a Renew Year for you? … By the way, what are you doing on Dec. 22, 2012…that is, if the world is still turning?

 

Dredging more new sand may not be the answer

Posted 12/24/11 by Juanito
     Puerto Aventuras isn’t the only place along the Mayan Riviera that has experienced disappearing beaches.

For whatever reason, be it removal of mangrove forests, overdevelopment or destruction of reefs, it is evident that the coastline between Cancun and Tulum is changing. It is most evident along the beaches at Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras where, coincidently, there has been aggressive commercial and residential buildup during the past decade. The phenomenon seems to have escalated in recent years.
Fearing a major loss of tourism, and following a plan used along the Hotel Zone in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, roughly 15 miles north of Puerto Aventuras, decided to take on the costly chore of dredging sand from the depths of the Caribbean to rebuild the beaches along what is known as Playa’s “Golden Zone”.
The zone is a 2.7 mile stretch of sand that runs from Avenue Constituyentes, down to the Ferry Dock, and then continuing south through Playacar’s Hotel Zone. The project, which took nearly all of January 2010 to complete, deposited 2.6 billion cubic feet of new sand along the entire 2.7 mile stretch of beach.
The sand was dredged using huge pipes that extended a considerable distance from shore, out to where no coral would be disturbed and was of the same sugar white consistency that rates Mexico’s Riviera Maya among the top ten beach destinations in the world.
I remember walking the “new beach” soon after its transformation in 2010. It was immense! A true marvel of modern engineering. At the time, there was a lot of hubbub. “Why don’t we do that in Puerto Aventuras”, the locals wanted to know? But sometimes it pays to wait. For it seems, that in the case of Playa del Carmen’s beach, man’s modern engineering may not be able to overcome Mother Nature.

During a stroll of the beach earlier this week, a mere two years following the rebuild, the beach at Playa del Carmen has become a “two level” affair. As some has been washed back to sea, it has created an upper shelf and a lower shelf of beach, divided by a six or seven foot high wall of sand. Reminiscent of Great Britain’s famous White Cliffs of Dover, we could call this the “White Cliffs of Playa del Carmen”, which would be humorous were it not so sad. Some enterprising hotels and restaurants have gone to shoveling sand stairways and ramps to help ease transition between the two levels.
Yet, for some unknown reason, the large area of sandy beach, located between Calle 2 and the Ferry Terminal, appears to have grown in size since last year and remains natural and flat, similar to the southern corner of Bahia Fatima here in Puerto Aventuras. However, that section of Playa del Carmen’s beach remained void of college breaker’s on the day I was there. Apparently easy access to refreshment is a bigger draw than being on a perfectly groomed beach?

Plan for Omni Beach gathers more dust than support

Posted 12/28/11 by Pelican Paulie
  A bona fide plan to replenish and preserve the Omni Beach sand asset does exist. What is evidently lacking is political will and compromise between the Colonos and the Fideicomiso. the federal and state governments and, of course, the abundance of time and money.
According to Colonos GM Armando Rincon, a plan at the behest of the Fideicomiso was put forward several years ago by Oceanus Search & Recovery to replenish and then preserve the sand asset. Oceanus would employ 710 pyramids in several rows, 12 feet long at the base and seven feet high, along the breakwater, somewhat in the fashion used by Villa del Mar to preserve the sand fronting its property next to the Omni, but on a much larger scale, as shown in the above photo.
There are multiple stories making the rounds as to why this hasn’t happened, some falling deeply into the realm of rumor. What is evidently fact is that when the idea was proposed by the Fideicomiso, the Colonos balked because of  the then $1 million USD price tag and lack of a compromise to create a decent public way to water for free and “guaranteed” access for Colonos stakeholders whose properties do not front the beach but would help pay for the project.
The issue of access flared again last year, said Rincon, when the dive shop through which the public must currently transit to gain access to the federal beach property, went on vacation and closed its doors. denying any access other than paying for it via a beach or health club membership, hotel reservation or day pass.

It has also been said that because the private Puerto Aventuras community itself has limited public access, the state and federal governments are not inclined to help fund such a project for the benefit of the few and the exclusion of the many.
A majority of people here appear to concur that the human capacity to engineer a guaranteed solution to the sand syndrome draws a snicker from Mother Nature, who reminds us that “mother knows best” in her habit of not guaranteeing anything.
It is said the jetties here flanking the marina channels may have shifted the natural ebb and flow in the bay. The buildup of sand near the south channel jetties is perceived as evidence and that Puerto Aventuras wouldn’t have to go far to find extra sand.
Rincon said the political situation could change when the Phase 4 development by the Fideicomiso becomes more advanced. As to funding, the issue continues to be debated on the street and in public forums in broad terms suggesting the community will become what its stakeholders are willing to support. The Fideicomiso did not respond by deadline to an e-mailed request for comment.
A new year brings new hope, another step in time as manana approaches…

CONSUL TO EXPLAIN NEW FOREIGN-PLATED CAR RULES
Interested parties should mark calendar for Feb. 7

Posted 12/24/11 by Juanito
U.S. Consular Agent, Samantha Mason, will present another in her series of informational seminars in Puerto Aventuras on February 7, 2012. Her meetings have become an annual event much to the delight of area residents.
This year’s program will be held in the Colonos Meeting Room, with doors opening at 9:00 O’clock and presentation to begin at 9:30. Topics to be discussed include a detailed explanation of the many changes made to laws regulating U.S. plated cars in Mexico, including the 2012 reintroduction of an annual import sticker. Yes, it will cost you more for the coming year.
Those who own foreign plated cars, or are considering bringing one into Mexico, are encouraged to attend this meeting. Other topics on the agenda include a detailed explanation of services offered by the U.S. Consulate Office in Playa del Carmen, the suggested protocol to use when stopped by police, how to pay your traffic ticket and what to do if you become the victim of a crime.  No reservation is required to attend and the meeting is open to all interested parties.

Briefly Noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and press reports
A RECORD HOMICIDE rate  of 64 , most allegedly involving executions by criminal groups in Q. Roo, was being reported for 2011, many of those deaths in the Cancun area…MEANWHILE, the growth in crime is being met by an exodus of Cancun small businesses tired of extortion and being fearful of the violent crime spree, reports Senator Jose Luis Garcia Zalvidia, who also notes crime spreading south to the Riviera Maya. Meanwhile, fewer foreigners are moving to live in Cancun, he reports… THE CALICA MARITIME TERMINAL is getting infrastructure improvement as work continued last week on a road widening and paving project adjacent to Highway 307 …DROP IN REAL ESTATE  industry is forcing many workers in the sector to find other employment, reports Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor delegate Rogelio Marquez Valdivia as a statistical drop of 70 percent in sales and rentals was reported. Q. Roo fares better than other parts of the country experiencing an 80 percent plunge in activity… A MEDICAL CITY with internationally accredited hospitals is being eyed for either Cancun or the Riviera Maya  if the funding can be organized. Some 60 acres of hospitals are envisioned between Puerto Morelos and Cancun, the same area where, supposedly, Dragon Mart is preparing to bring a huge mall. Whether these dreams blossom into reality remains to be seen… A TOURIST CALL CENTER casting broad information in Spanish, English,  French and Italian is expected to open in Q. Roo the second week of January. The number reported for Mexico is 01800…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FAR FROM THE NORTH POLE

CAFE OLE CHRISTMAS EVE TURKEY- 200 PESOS –Click food/dining
THREE-DAY FORECAST – See weather station in right column
SMILE IN THE NEW YEAR – Click on service providers
SPECIAL PARTY FOR SPECIAL KIDS – See story below
NEW FOREIGN CAR RULES – See story below

 

Yule party lifts curtain on special PA people

For them, giving of self is a dedicated event

The Pelican was invited to a party for “special” people. It was held Wednesday evening (Dec. 21,2011) in a tiny, older but neat and charming rented 4-room school house with an ample gated courtyard with one working light on 90th St., in old Playa del Carmen’s teeming North End. The guest list of celebs was impressive: St. Joseph, Mary the Blessed Virgin, angels and Santa being among them.
The “special” people are mostly children, 13 of them, with brain damage from various congenital or accidental causes. They acted the part of St. Joseph, Mary, and the angels for their own special “posada” that depicts the Holy Family’s search for lodgings as the birth of Christ nears, all of this done by candle light and the spirited singing of Joseph’s request for a room, and the innkeepers’ rejections.
There were also extra-special people there representing Puerto Aventuras, among them Gaylita Dunaway, owner of Cafe Ole; Hal Harper, man about town and PA ice-fishing guru; and snowbirds Rob and Sharalee Solosth, Tim and Jacki Berreth and Anne Silver (there in spirit), who generously give of their time and assets to provide these children with extra love and hope via the the school’s equine therapy program conducted in nearby PA horse stables. The Berreths also volunteer for the same program in their state of Washington when they are not in PA.

“The first time I got on a horse and a mother lifted up her child to me, I cried,” recalled Dunaway, “and I thanked her for trusting me with her child.” That was four years ago. Now Dunaway happily gives more than 10 hours weekly to the training program all year long, as does Harper.
“In the summer, when it’s really hot, three hours leading a horse is tiring. I get home and have to sit on the steps for a while before climbing to the second floor,” says Harper. “but it’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he says convincingly.
Then there were the extra-extra-special people, the moms and dads of these children – the moms in particular who are fending with the complexities of special children and life in general without a partner in some cases– and still showing a strength and a love only a mother can conjure up for a vulnerable, high-maintenance child.

There was something quite telling at this party: Most of the children balked at showering the unarmed pinata (stuffed with 11 pounds of candy brought by the Berreths) with hard and repeated blows with a stick – it seemed to betray their tender, fragile beings – while adults attacked with a barrage of solid strikes that eventually tore the pinata apart. Who is teaching whom the civilized way of life?
There is more to this story than a Christmas party imparts, and there are more special people whose individual struggles are in themselves singular dramas of survival. These will unfold from time to time in the Pelican.
Santa (with the help of the elf Gaylita who scoured stores for gifts) was the last guest to arrive at this party, adding to the already copious merriment of special people who both give and get from each other all year long.

Yule Grinch roils Soriana snowbirds

Posted 11/21/11 by Pelican Paulie
     Several snowbirds who had been saving points on their Soriana shopping cards for holiday season spending were roiled this week upon learning that their points were, let’s say “pointless” because their cards and thus their points were no longer valid.
Yet cashiers have kept asking for and using the cards and adding points knowing they weren’t valid? What’s that all about?

Not content with being rebuffed at the checkout counter, they appealed to the customer service desk only to be told the cards had expired. So the snowbirds asked for a new card to carry over the points.
“You know how it is” observed one snowbird, “There were huddles by staff, then finally a decision to send us to another desk.”
There they were greeted by a woman in a white shirt who told them they would be issued new cards upon presentation of their passports, proof of residency and FM2 visas.
One of the snowbirds had FM3 identification with photo, but was told that wasn’t good enough. The snowbirds left without resolving the situation to their satisfaction. As far as they know, they lost all their accumulated points (one of them had 600) and can no longer get cards.
When one of the snowbirds told the white-shirted woman she would henceforth shop at Chedraui’s, the woman merely shrugged, like, so go ahead.
This biased treatment is tantamount to a sort of commercial “profiling” that does not take into account that some older snowbirds cut coupons back home but give generously of their time and assets to assist in the poblados. In that vein, the snowbirds are now wanting to give their expired cards to local residents in hopes they can use the points.
That’s because now playing on this same stage is the recent news that more than 10 percent of poor families in Quintana Roo cannot fill their dinner plates because of rising food costs and low wages.
If this is a move by Soriana to deny the comparatively affluent snowbirds so that discounts can continue for the indigenous shoppers, then it should have been clearly explained when this new program supposedly began last June, observed one of the snowbirds. It is not so much what has been done, but the insensitive way in which it was done, said one snowbird.
The incident added a fleeting sour taste to the sweet season.

 New rules govern foreign cars here

People bringing cars or other recreational vehicles and boats from the U.S. and other nations are now subject to new rules and fees. Regulations are of such length that the best way to convey them to our readers is to provide links to the information needed as noted in links below.
You will be dealing with a government sanctioned agency known as “Banjercito” a national credit society authorized by the government. In brief, the import will require deposits of from $200 to $400 “collected in Mexican pesos” and based on the model year of the vehicle. More information on the substantial rules is contained in the links below that were provided by the U.S. consular agency in Playa del Carmen. the consul notes that “As of June 11, 2011, there have been some significant changes to the laws regulating your U.S. plated car in Mexico. Everyone who has, or is considering bringing a car from the USA is encouraged to visit these sites for the latest update on requirements.”
https://www.banjercito.com.mx/iitv/sitio/html/cte_cst_info2biitv_ing.php
Input from other Americans who have posted information on this subject and on the general topic of life in Mexico can be found at:
http://yucalandia.wordpress.com/driving-in-mexico-issues-fun/importing-driving-a-car-in-mexico/
http://yucalandia.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/new-requirements-for-bringing-foreign-plated-cars-into-mexico-banjercito/
http://rollybrook.com/car-in-México.htm
http://rollybrook.com/vehicle_permits.htm
http://rollybrook.com/Page%20Directory.htm [14]http://nancyandbarry.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/nationalizing-a-vehicle-in-mxico/

Theft underscores need for caution

There was a theft from a home on Bahia Chemuyil last week that serves as a reminder from Colonos General Manager Armando Rincon to take precautions by locking cars and using “the stick in the window” to prevent theft.
In this case, a window was apparently left opened while the owners were elsewhere, making it easy for thieves to enter and leave with a large TV, two laptops and some luggage. The holidays often bring with them an uptick in petty crimes by people looking for presents they can’t otherwise afford.
There will also be a renewed effort on the part of Colonos to enforce leash laws after a worker was bitten on the arm recently and several tourists complained about being frightened by dogs running loose.

 BRIEFLY NOTED…

THE SIGN AT HAL’S consignment shop on the road to Dreams says it is going out of business at the end of the month. Rumor is somebody is considering taking over the consignment business at a retail space just outside the main gate. If not, one can always advertise wares in the Pelican Free Press… AN EVIDENT FLAP between some real estate personalities in the area generated a story in the local press claiming that the  attorney general and other officials were being asked to investigate. This could not be corroborated in the absence of complaints by any victims of the alleged improprieties…NASSAU IN THE BAHAMAS bested Cozumel on the number of cruise ship arrivals in 2011, albeit Cozumel expects a 20 percent increase in 2012…CAREER CHANGERS –The technological institute in Cancun says enrollment in technical courses is giving way to accounting and administration courses because there aren’t enough engineering jobs for graduates…THERE ARE CONCERNS in the tourism industry over what effect the national 2012 elections in Mexico and the U.S. will have on the industry…THE FOURTH AND FINAL  dolphin birth here for this year occurred Monday at about 2 p.m. All moms and pups reported doing fine…

 

Phrase a week… By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
You are unhappy. almost angry, with the work of a craftsman. You can tell him so and to please fix it. “Este trabajo esta muy mal hecho. Por favor, arregle lo.”
(Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos. Please call her first to make arrangements at 984-108-3517.  Holiday break, lessons resume Jan. 9)

 

 

Religious services…

Sta. Teresita del nino Jesus Y la Santa Paz (Roman
Catholic), a
t the poblado; classes: Mondays through Sundays, 7 p.m.
(Spanish);Contact church office: 984-206-6245 (4-8 p.m.-
Spanish)
Corpus Christi Parrish (Roman Catholic);
Calle 110  entre 25, Playa del Carmen (near Soriana); Mass: Saturdays,
9 a.m. (English); office: 803-0600; Rev. James Hogan.
Chabad
Lubavitch Jewish Center, 
Avenida 10 entre Calle 6 , Playa Del Carmen; service: Sundays, 9 a.m.;
tel. 984-876-5571; Contact: Rabbi Mendel Goldberg.
Lighthouse Church English Speaking Christian church, non-denominational, Meets
at 10:00 a.m. Sundays; more information at 984-120-4169; located on Highway 307
in Tulum 1.2 miles south of San Francisco store, past the Mormon church, on the
right next to the fruit stand.

The Red rose End

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

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