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Monthly Archives: May 2012

JUNE 2012: Erosion remains major issue

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Yachtsman’s view of beach erosion supported

Tourism officials underscore economic
importance of Riviera Maya’s beaches

Yachtsman Mads Emanuelsen’s earlier observation that the north jetty extension is the likely cause of beach erosion in the Fatima Bay lagoon has generated supporters, one of them a longtime student of  marine depositional (laying down of matter by a natural process) systems.
Like Emanuelsen, Lee Knudtson, who has a waterfront view, sees the jetty extension as built by the Fideicomiso to protect vessels from drifting into the shallow lagoon  as the usual suspect of beach erosion. The denuding of sand from the beach is now threatening waterfront properties including the Omni Hotel, which has already been forced into action to protect steps to the beachfront lounge from damage by the encroaching seawater.
Knudtson writes: “Mads is correct about the reason for the lack of sand–the jetty extension. There are several examples of this documented on the east coast of the U.S. where the Army Corps of Engineers has built jetties.
“The easiest solution to the problem is to remove the jetty extension or cut a large opening in it. This may not be practical because we need a safe harbor for boats during times of high seas. Maybe some gates could be installed that would be closed when seas run high.”
For the record, Knudtson says he studied marine depositional systems while earning a BS in geological engineering and MS in geology. He spent40 years looking at sand distribution in the sub-surface while working in the oil industry. “I also had a friend who has a PhD in Geology look at the sand distribution from our balcony. It took him less than 30 seconds to come up with the same answer.”
And Michael Savage, in a separate letter, offers this advice: “If you use Bing’s satellite image to look at the region and then compare it to Google’s image you can see the amount of change that occurred since the cut-through on south inlet’s northern jetty was made.

“If someone were to examine the photos from older satellite shots that might be helpful to determine the structures that resulted in a more stable beach by noticing the rate of change.
“It only makes sense that a study of currents takes place in trying to solve the beach problem but it will be difficult to determine what undesired consequences may occur from any proposed changes.”  That leaves us searching on a broader scale, then, why other beaches without man-made jetties also become denuded.  Whatever the case, letters of disappointment and concern from stakeholders in PA continue trickling in to the Pelican.
To date some short-range action has been taken in an attempt to protect Omni waterfront from the potential of extensive damage. A report from an observer last week noted that the water was threatening the corner of the building housing the Omni Gym. The Fideicomiso did not respond to a request for an update on the project for this edition but previously noted in was working on short-term replenishment that has so far failed to materialize, and long-term plans pending a funding strategy.
In the long view, the Riviera Maya’s beach erosion problems – in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, here and elsewhere – are gaining national attention as tourism officials underscore the importance of expansive sandy beaches while they also implore the federal government to participate in funding solutions.
The beginning  of the hurricane season this month inserts another mystery into the erosion puzzle as debate considers the possible effects – denuding or replenishment – that any given storm may cause.
And there is talk from several local quarters about an unintended consequence of beach erosion that is costing waterfront condo and homeowners considerable cash. What the Pelican hears is that as the beach shrinks, the federal land encroaches – moves up – on what was private property (couldn’t it be the other way around?) and the government swiftly upped taxes in those areas. One condo reportedly paid a negotiated settlement of $75,000 USD while owners remain hush-hush about it. (EROSION 4 in the July issue).


Some housekeeping items..

While snowbirds do their thing up north, workers in PA are improving the lot of their southern digs and in at least several cases asking for all residents to cooperate. Repaving of Bahia Xcacel from the boat ramp near the former Latitude 20 Restaurant to the southern edge of the Centro Business District and Post Office is nearing completion as workers have been repaving the road to make for smoother driving (we hope) with fewer potholes. Traffic has been reduced to one lane during construction.
Man-on-the-scene Andy Pittman tells us he talked with Colonos GM Armando Rincon and board member Jorge Kaufer. They told him there were so few vehicles around, supporting other reports that there’s “NOBODY HERE”, that they undertook to do phases one and two of the road work, which should be completed in three to four weeks.
Pittman also reports more construction activity at the northern end of Bahia Chemuyil  north of where several new condo buildings are near completion. He said four to eight homes are apparently planned for this project, “if the money holds out.”
The observations that PA’s population has disappeared for the summer didn’t hold true as the Latitude 20 Restaurant (see photo above) opened at its new venue near the Dreams Hotel to a considerable crowd. The place is quite expansive and well protecrted uner its new palapa roof.
We received last-minute news from Andrew Leigh that he saw two dead spider monkeys on Route 307 and was hoping it wasn’t one of the pairs roaming PA to the delight of onlookers. He rthought the carcasses, about 50 yards from one another and obviously hit by cars, were dogs and he got out of his car to look, to his chagrin.

Hal Harper, who owns PA’s only ice-fishing operation and a real car-storage service continues to report on the progress of Poblado car-wash owner Danny Iglesias who recently underwent a second operation for a busted knee and is looking forward to walking again. Danny’s medical care funding came from a dance held in PA a few months ago to pay for therapy and a most generous  donation by an anonymous couple for both operations.
And people who attended the talk on immigration held in the Colonos room earlier this year still wonder when immigration changes will occur. The hope is that the new rules may surface at the some point (?) following national elections July 1 when a new president is seated to a 6-year term.
On another front, Security has continued doing its job, reporting only a handful of robberies  – several of them with suspects interrogated – from several businesses and condos while the grounds crew continues to improve the landscaping.  We are also told that a Liverpool Department Store is going up between Hong Kong’s and the Pemex Station on Route 307. Another construction project on a large lot just north of Hospiten that has been teasing the curious for a while also is showing some construction activity. We aren’t sure yet what is going in there.
Meanwhile, cooperation is asked to report suspicious events and characters to Security and also to follow the rules outlined in the panel below concerning recycling. Copy it if you can and stick it on the refrigerator as a reminder that PA will only be as clean and environmentally sensitive as its inhabitants make it.
All seems well in our absence.


Mesmerized by the Maya, Puerto Morelos author
pens an e-book treatise of the 2012 debate

Posted by the author
     A small bookstore in a rustic pueblo in Quintana Roo, Mexico, was apparently the right place for author and journalist Jeanine Kitchel to nurture her craving to learn more about the Maya culture. Now she’s sharing what she learned through her eBook, “Maya 2012 Revealed” which is now available on Amazon, iTunes and Nook.

Kitchel moved to Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, in 1997 after traveling there frequently in the 1980s. Her bookstore, one of seven in the state of Quintana Roo and the only English language bookshop at the time, carried numerous titles about Maya culture, the pyramid sites, breaking the Maya code, the Maya calendar, the explorers who dug the sites, the scholars who studied them, and the myths of the Chilam Balam and the Popul Vuh.
Becoming more mesmerized by the Maya with each passing year, she began writing about them on urgings from publishers Ron Mader, planeta.com, and David Simmonds of The Mexico Files (now website MexicoPremiere.com).
Her writing range expanded to The Miami Herald and three Mexico City newspapers.
“It was something I loved to read about,” she said. “I was fascinated by the Maya culture and the fact that, at the time, no one could break the code. It was this incredible mystery and a very exciting time in the Yucatan and I was at ground zero. It was like being a kid in a candy store. As each new Maya title was published—about the civilization, the code, the pyramids–I ordered it. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was seriously addicted.”
Flash forward to 2012 and the end date debate of the Maya calendar. Who is positioned to author a book describing in detail the end time prophecy and the nuances of the Maya culture than Kitchel?

Her new book, Maya 2012 Revealed, Demystifying the Prophecy, brings a pragmatic approach to the furor caused by December 21, 2012, with emphasis on who are the Maya, the code, their calendar system, Maya astronomy and the night sky, 2012ology, the collapse of their culture, and the prophecy as seen by Maya elders.
The book is now available on-line. On each book sold, a portion of the profits will go to a charitable organization in Yucatan, edúcaTE. As a non-profit registered in both Mexico and the US, edúcaTE helps children in Cholul, a pueblo near Merida, receive an education. While the Mexican government provides free public education to children, mandatory uniforms, school supplies and specific footwear are not provided, thus students living in poverty are often unable to attend school because of these additional costs.
EdúcaTE works to identify students with the greatest needs, establishes academic criteria for financial support, and also academic support for students in the sponsorship program. In addition, daily breakfasts are supplied to the needier children in the program. EdúcaTE recognizes the fact that children cannot learn if they are hungry.
To get a copy of “Maya 2012 Revealed, Demystifying the Prophecy”, stay tuned to Kitchel’s website at www.jeaninekitchel.com and follow her blog, “Maya Musings” at : jeaninekitchel.blogspot.com/.
(Ed. Note: The book is a quick-read 57 pages available online for the Kindle at $4.99)

Cubans said ready to test dengue fever vaccine

When a neighbor who lives abutting the golf course here came down with mosquito-borne dengue fever two seasons ago, his wife reported he was miserably sick with flu-like symptoms for some 10 days, despite the fact that the golf course is sprayed frequently during the mosquito season. The oily scent of whatever it is that is misted early mornings is like an alarm clock when it wafts into one’s nostrils.

It doesn’t help to know that dengue is prevalent in more than 100 countries and afflicts some 100 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization, some of them on the Yucatan Peninsula. Now, dengue is beginning to expand in the United States with local cases in Key West and Miami, Fla., and reported in some 28 U.S. states.
Subsequently, the British company Oxitec ( sounds Mayan ) is working on genetically modifying mosquitoes that carry the disease and is conducting trials in Malaysia, the Cayman Islands and Brazil. It is seeking permission to do the same in Florida. Meanwhile, two other European companies are working on vaccines, one of which could be ready by 2015 depending on final test results.
Half the world population is at risk of getting dengue, which kills only 2.5 percent of the estimated 500,000 people who get it in its worst form. Nonetheless it generates an estimated $840 million a year in medical costs in the Americas alone and $1.2 billion mainly is “lost production.”
Last March, the International Biotechnology Council in Cuba announced a project against dengue fever via a vaccine that will be tested on humans after tests on monkeys showed the vaccine’s effectiveness in controlling the multiplication of the virus.
For the record, the 104-5 fevers can be so painful that the disease is also known as broken bones fever. Until then, protect yourself from the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito.

    A grasshopper walks into a bar and the surprised bartender exclaims, “Hey. We have a drink named after you!” – to which the utterly astonished but honored grasshopper replies “You have a drink named Kevin?”

Fear factor: Could it happen here?

The USA Today newspaper recently filed  a story concerning a few ex-pats living on beautiful Lake Chapala deciding to move away because of apparent gang-related murders of local residents and the resultant fear that has penetrated this largely expatriate community.
While some here in PA have a tendency to shoot the messenger, it is nonetheless imperative that we note ex-pat/tourist/art communities enjoy relative freedom from the criminal cartel activities in some of the northern states but that no guarantees exist to insure it stays that way.
The story quotes local officials there saying the drug wars have been around for a long time, but that the situation seems worse since the cartels, according to a captured Los Zetas territory boss, that he ordered a May 9 massacre of innocent people – one of three such events in one month – to spread fear and reinforce the reputation of his cartel.
The USA story quotes a retired Air Force major referring to Lake Chapala as “paradise lost, at least for the short term” and his plan to sell out and leave the area for safer ground rather than be caught n the middle of a situation that ex-pats can do nothing about.
Realtors there say housing sales have slumped 50 percent since 2007 and blame it on the economy, not drug wars, but locals aren’t taking risks. They are closing restaurants early and staying home at night, says the USA report.
Read it in its entirety at:   http://content.usatoday.com/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=floridatoday&sParam=55174936.story
Meanwhile, some eight people were wounded and one dead from unrelated shootings in Chicago. Like disease, violence is everywhere. Forewarned is forearmed.



Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

You left your keys inside your house or car and need a locksmith. Say: Deje las llaves dentro de mi casa / carro. Donde hay un cerrajero?
(Spanish classes taught by Ms. Contreras have ended for the season and will resume in October.  However, she will accept one-on-one assignments. Please call her to make arrangements at 984-108-3517).

What’s Playing

See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.

Briefly Noted…

Compiled from staff, contributors and media reports
MONKEY SHINES – The spider monkeys have finally made it to Chac Hal Al, reports

resident Doe Stowell. She describes their antics as nonchalantly frolicking on the beach, the trees, around the pool and neighbors’ patios with little apparent fear of humans. They evidently have found a beach access without a resident card…AKUMAL IN THE AISLES – From all reports, the lst annual Akumal Comedy Festival was a huge laugh, attracting as many as 300 people in four venues during the 3-day event, opening the way for a second annual event next year. Earlier would be better, no?,…SNOWWBIRDS who also happen to be serious Mayaphiles missed the exciting and colorful  6th annual Maya sacred journey as 230 canoeists paddled from Xcaret to Cozumel in search of the goddess of fertility, a lofty goal if there ever was one, then on to Playa del CArmen for more rites and dancing.  The paddlers were dressed in traditional Maya costumes and made quite a show of it…EXTORTION CAPITOL – The crime of extortion on the Yucatan is said to be highest in the Q. Roo region, which is among the top 10 states nationally where businesses are suffering from the extortion plague… TOO MUCH SALT – If you find there is too much salt in local restaurant food, doctors in Merida agree. They say the Yucatan diet is too  salt-rich and leads to risks of diseases such as hypertension. Tell your chef if he or she is too heavy on the salt…LOOKING UP – Working parents in the tourism industry are undergoing parental training in Solidaridad. A two-hour class was held at Sandos Playacar reminding parents they have the responsibility for their children and how to accomplish that despite their need to work…

COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS –Visited a number of Riviera Maya beaches during spring break as sites for promotional photos. The ministry of Tourism also reported a 7.2 percent spike in tourists during the same period compared to last year, a possible sign of continuing economic recovery …  DEBT KILLS – Two suicides and one attempted suicide in Q. Roo’s capital of Chetumal were blamed on poverty and debt. A homeless and evidently hopeless man was found hanging from a tree near the center of the city last month, a woman in her apartment who left a note that she could not longer handle her debts and a third who attempted an overdose of pills but was found in time… BUSINESS GROUPS in Playa del Carmen and Solidaridad were agitating for the dismissal of  a delegate to the state attorney general’s office alleging the delegate was complicit in helping criminals including an alleged local captain of a drug cartel…AN ACCIDENT outside the hotel Bahia Principe on Highway 307 involving a funeral company truck injured five people and detached a coffin, with corpse in it, into the middle of the road…TULUM MURDER – An attorney was murdered In Tulum and police went to Cancun to have a sketch of the suspect drawn to aid in his capture…MUHAMMAD ALIis hopefully expected on the peninsula to be honored as “King of Boxing” in Cancun December 2-8 when the World Boxing Council holds its annual convention…THE GAY AND LESBIANcommunity in Playa del Carmen has complained of harassment by the tourist police as reports claim some have been detained for alleged prostitution…CREDIT CARD CLONERS- Three men were arrested in Playa del Carmen attempting to sell cheap credit cards the buyers could use for cash at ATM’s. Police found credit cards and a code reader in the trio’s van…

END THIS POSTJust kidding

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