CELEBRATION OF LIFE will be observed for Doe Stowell at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal. All of her friends and acquaintances are invited. (Please see letter at end of page)… VALENTINE’S DAY IS Saturday, Feb. 14. Have a chocolate without feeling guilty… CENTRO COMERCIAL MARINA assembly is at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Colonos Room… CONDOMINIO PUNTA ROCA assembly is at 9 a.m. Saturday Feb. 28 in the Colonos Room… COOKING CLASS – Latitude 20 cooking class is held at 10 a.m. Fridays. All are welcome to join in … ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…SPANISH CLASSES at Latitude 20 are continuing. (See “sling the slang” story below for more information)… ARMY DAY, Feb. 19, celebrates the Mexican Army loyalty… Flag day Feb. 24, celebrates the current Mexican flag. This civic holiday was implemented by President Lazaro Cardenos in 1937… Free lecture: “Super Foods That Fight Cancer “– Foods that contain minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals possess anti-cancer benefits. Eating combinations of certain foods offers the strongest cancer protection. Join Professor Emeritus Jim White at 10 a.m., Feb. 20 in the Colonos Room and learn exactly which foods give you maximum protection… Paamul’s annual charity auction will be held Saturday, Feb.21, beginning at the Paamul Restaurant. It will feature quality jewelry, original paintings, signed first edition books, collectibles, Mayan Riviera Souvenirs, a silent auction of smaller items and other unique treasures. There will be afternoon bidding on silent auction items until 6:45 p.m. with the live collectibles auction starting at 7 p.m. More information at 984-134-2324 or 984-130-9670.
Colonos may be best conduit
for sustaining local Red Cross
If Puerto Aventuras really wants a Red Cross clinic and ambulance, it will really have to help pay for it.
After a month of being closed for lack of operating funds, according to the district Red Cross headquarters in Playa del Carmen, its reincarnation depends most heavily on supplemental funding of an operating budget. But what precisely is the budget figure and would PA’s contributions be deposited in a dedicated account?
The Red Cross district office has come under suspicion that it overspent on its recently opened Playa del Carmen facility to the detriment of outlying stations, a situation that has irked some generous donors in Puerto Aventuras who have been supplying equipment and repairs to the local clinic in the belief it would remain open. In addition, the Colonos has also furnished the local ambulance – which is no longer here – with a credit card to purchase petrol.
It seems logical that before Puerto Aventurans consider funding options, they be made privy to precise supplementary budget requirements for the local station. Otherwise, how are donors to know how much is needed, where the money goes and when enough is enough?
Last week’s Puerto Aventuras boat fire resulting in the painful burn injury to a crewman and the reportedly slow ambulance response time have demonstrated the life and death importance of having an ambulance service and clinic close at hand. In its wake, the incident has prompted the Red Cross volunteer group in Playa del Carmen to suggest formation of a fund-raising committee in Puerto Aventuras to help sustain the local PA Red Cross operation all year.
Since every man, woman, child, visitor and hotel guest may need an ambulance at any unfortunate moment, all should help defray the cost of having this important public service nearby. From the Pelican’s perspective, there is no need to re-invent the funding machine with volunteers that come and go when the community already has the fine-tuned fiscal administration, the Colonos, that is supported by and represents all stakeholders.
In general, the Colonos operating budget is a little over $1 million a year USD. Once a supplementary budget figure to the Red Cross clinic can be established, for example, 1 percent of the Colonos budget or $10,000 USD, could be added to the Colonos fee for the year, placed in a dedicated account and used to supplement the ambulance and clinic funding as needed all year. In this way, all stakeholders, not just a generous few, would be contributing to this moral imperative.
In the wake of the Pelican Free Press accounts of the boat fire tragedy last week and the Red Cross station closure, the following letter from Peter and Cecilia Moulton was received: “Couldn’t we have a fund-raiser in Puerto Aventuras to bring back the Red Cross ambulance and station to the Poblado and present it to the Mexican Red Cross on that condition? We have donated to the Red Cross but it seems to end up in Playa. To get it started we will personally give $100 USD towards a Red Cross station and ambulance in the poblado. I am sure there are at least 100 other PA residents that would do the same if not more. Let’s do it!”
The generosity of Puerto Aventuras resort residents and businesses is not at question here. Where the funds go and a transparent operating budget are. Producing a handful of people to form a liaison committee with the Playa Red Cross to create a sensible local operating budget and sustaining it year after year is more difficult and cumbersome than entrusting it to the existing and exemplary Colonos administration.
Another ambulance proposal
suggested by Hard Rock Hotel
The specifics aren’t in, but the Hard Rock Hotel next door has contacted the Colonos to suggest that a gate be installed on the border between the hotel and Colonos property on Bahia Kantenha to expedite ambulance service between the two communities.
Colonos GM Armando Rincon said he was contacted by a Hard Rock Hotel administrator in the wake of last Friday’s boat explosion in which a young crewman was badly burned. Rincon said the administrator explained that a security camera on hotel property picked up the smoke from the boat fire and that the hotel’s private ambulance service – which is paid by the hotel to remain on site 24/7 – was sent to respond because two Red Cross ambulances were already on other calls.
Civilian responders who rendered first aid to the burn victim complained that it took nearly 30 minutes for an ambulance to respond. It would have taken less than five minutes had there been a gate on Bahia Kantenha, near Bay Blue Condominiums. As it was, the ambulance, by the time it was called, had to travel to a “retorno” then double back and make its way through the underpass, main gate and main road to the fire scene.
Recently formed water company
merger is apparently dissolved
A notice released by the Colonos last week informed the community that the highly-touted merger of the local water company and Fusion H20 of Puerto Aventuras has been dissolved and that company business is back in the hands of the PA developer and Fideicomiso. No other information regarding the future of the company – such as a possible switch to desalination – or its future plans was provided. The notice from the Colonos:
“Recently we were informed that Fideicomiso Puerto Aventuras has taken back the administration of the water and sewage operation since Jan. 1, 2015. For that reason, you must consider the following:
1.- The office which Fusión H2O used to have will remain open for clarifications with a schedule from 9 to 11 am from Monday to Friday.
2.- Ms. Maricela Reyes will attend you as before, tel. (984) 873 5000 ext. 23 from 11 am to 2 pm and from 4 to 7 pm from Monday to Friday.
3.- Bills and payments will be received in the same window where they used to be received, at the Fideicomiso downstairs with Ms. Karla Marín.”
Military says Yucatan area
one of safest in the nation
A military commander said during the observance of the Mexican Air Force’s centennial, that the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the nation’s safest places.
Air Force Cmdr. Raymundo Luis Larios Saiz said that two helicopters that daily perform overflights of the Yucatan have not detected a single clandestine air strip in seven years or any major marijuana growing operations on the peninsula, both red flags of a drug cartel presence. He said that makes the Yucatan one of the safest places in the nation.
He said the last suspicious air field was discovered in the Yucatec territory seven years ago and destroyed in an operation by the Air Force and other government agencies. The helicopters, a Bell 212 and a Bell 206 are seen intermittently passing by the Riviera Maya shoreline. The image of a secure territory has helped promote the Yucatan as a distinctly safe place to vacation and live.
Annual International Food
Fest scheduled for March 15
Colonos asks participants to register early
Here’s an early notice for the chefs and cooks who like pleasing PA palates to prepare for the 5th edition of the International Food Festival of Puerto Aventuras to be held Sunday, March 15, in the expansive setting of the Colegio of Puerto Aventuras.
This has been one of the community’s premier events in past years and a delicious way of getting to know people from around the world and the country as local chefs share their gastronomical cultures and neighbors renew acquaintances.
Those who want to participate – restaurants, hotels and individuals – are asked by the Colonos to confirm their intent as soon as possible to facilitate planning.
“The idea is ery simple: One country,” says the Colonos, “one dish. It’s a way of getting to know each other and the traditions of each country through their food. It’s not high level cuisine, but the traditional foods eaten daily by the Greeks, Chinese Turkish and other countries.
We’re not looking for lobster or caviar, but something simple and characteristic of each country. México will participate by states, that is, Puebla, Yucatán, Nuevo León, etc.
“Each dish must be enough for 250/300 samples, small portions, a taste of flavor, 30 grams of meat or 30 grams of pasta. Nothing big. We would like for everyone to be able to taste 10 countries before being full.”
There are two ways to participate:
1) A private citizen cooks his recipe just to introduce his country, with no commercial intent. In this case, the Association of Colonos will refund the food cost (but we need the receipts) up to a max of $2,000.00 pesos. Obviously the Association of Colonos provides also the installation: tables, chairs, cups, main course or soup dishes, napkins, etc.
2) As commercial business (restaurant, hotel, foods dealer). The company makes its own publicity, in any way they want, but we need it to identify with one country: Chinese restaurant, Argentinean parrilla, French cheese import, etc. The Association of Colonos provides the installation: tables, chairs, cups, main course or soup dishes, napkins, etc., but not the food. This is the cost of publicity.
We need to know ASAP who wants to participate, name of the country and the dish that will be prepared. Invite your neighbors and friends from other countries to participate. We expect around 600 people at the event. Drinks are sold separately. Call or contact Carlos Quiñones at email@example.com or tel. 8735116.
Tickets are $150.00 adults, $100.00 pesos children
House-call doctor helped
pioneer Puerto health care
In the early days of Puerto Aventuras’ visionary development some 25 years ago, 2,000 workers were employed to do the required heavy lifting of transforming a shoreline jungle into a modern community with running water, electricity, sewerage, roadways, canals, telephony and landscaping. But who took care of their and their families’ cuts and bruises, general ailments, injuries and health needs…and is still here today making house calls?
That’s Dra. Carolina Guzman, M.D., M.P.H, a native of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, who then had visited the Caribbean coast on holidays and “fell in love” with the ongoing adventure and promise of a raw tourist mecca that would come to be known world-wide as the Riviera Maya. Subsequently, she requested a transfer from the federal secretariat of health hospital (SSA) where she had been employed for five years as a general practitioner near Monterrey, and made her way to Cancun, which was also in its developmental infancy.
What helped her get the transfer she wanted was her childhood education that had included English-language studies at a private Catholic school. She is the eldest of six children, and her father, who was comptroller of a large beer company in Monterrey, was able to send all his children to early private schools then on to college. Dra. Guzman received her doctorate in medicine from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, completed her internship and then remained on the staff of the SSA hospital there while also earning a master’s degree in public health.
Because of her bi-lingual skills, Dra. Guzman saw the opportunity to service both the domestic labor force and the growing number of early tourists staying at the few Cancun Hotels. She remained on the staff of the Cancun hospital for five years. Then, “I visited Puerto Aventuras where they were just breaking ground and accepted a position helping the workforce doctor.” As the labor numbers dwindled over the years, the flow of new residents and tourists began to take over, many speaking only English, she said. Fortunately, it was something she was prepared for linguistically and medically.
During that transition, Dra. Guzman, married and joined her husband part-time in the sale of real estate for the fledgling Puerto Aventuras “to supplement income,” she said while continuing her medical practice and also enjoying cooking, snorkeling, diving, “and lots of exercise” that presented a social outlet.
“As a general practitioner trained in public health, I take a holistic view of health care,” she said. “We start with preventive medicine and see things more holistically.” This includes nutrition, exercise, epidemiology – treatment that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population – and accidents at work or play. That is what public health is, viewing and diagnosing the patient as a whole and referring to specialists when appropriate.”
General practitioners (GP), also known as family doctors or primary care physicians, prescribe and/or administer treatment, therapy, medication, vaccination and other care including sutures and diagnostic care to treat or prevent illnesses, injury or disease. , and refer patients to specialists or a hospital when appropriate.
In the early days of Puerto Aventuras, Dra. Guzman worked from an office near the Omni Hotel and now confines her services to house calls in deference to residents and visitors who do not have means of transportation or feel too ill to leave the house. Dra. Guzman holds professional and medical certification from the national Secretary of Health office. Learn more by clicking on Dra. Guzman’s logo on the left of this page.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton appeared at a “Youth and Productivity” summit in Mexico City where he reportedly apologized to Mexico for any policies he might have implemented that worsened the drug trade and its deleterious effects on Mexico… Domestic violence is the main reason the Center of Attention to Women in Playa del Carmen noted an increase of 20 percent in the number of women seeking services in 2014… A drive-in theater with a two-wheel twist is a unique plan by the Cine Club in Playa to attract bicyclists to the outdoor showing of movies on Wednesday evenings in Playa… Seeing is believing – The Lions International Club held free eye exams and issued eye-glasses during a free 4-day clinic ending today (Thursday, Feb. 12) that aimed at helping preserve the eye health of some 7000 area residents… The police filter at the Highway 307 Punta Venado location captured several thieves there after receiving 066 calls by alert neighbors who witnessed a possible theft in Playa and described the car… A census of cenotes and underground rivers will begin after Easter in preparation for a new municipal goal of maintaining the sites in good and safe order… More than half the population of Tulum suffer from dental disease, according to local health officials, particularly in the rural communities where dentists are in dire need… The new road from Playa del Carmen to Tintal and Merida will be getting a police filtro in the wake of evidence criminals are using it as an option to flee from Playa del Carmen crimes… Teachers in Mexico City are demonstrating for back pay while their counterparts in Acapulco have blocked the airport to demand their back pay… Cuts in public spending nationally are expected to cause a contraction of between 0.2 and 0.5 percent in GDP this year…
The Mail Bag…
Remembering Doe Stowell
Many of my late mother’s friends have asked how they can help with the “Celebration of Life” service at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 at the Cultural Center. I appreciate it and am not good at asking or relating what I need, but here goes!
The “Celebration of Life” needs are: Tables and coverings for food, photos and flowers, food (appetizers) and beverages, coolers and ice and paper products for that. I figure an hour to set up. Set-up helpers are needed starting at least by 2pm. I also need someone willing to be a translator for the event.
Since it will be at the Centro Cultural, bear in mind that the “seats” are concrete, meaning hard, so bring a pad to sit on for added comfort.This is not a formal affair, so please dress any way you wish. The format will be simple. Three of Doe’s friends will speak, as will I, a little music, then food and refreshments to follow. I think that’s it for now. I appreciate all the love and support. Thank you.
Signed/ Cate Hauser Cell: 984-807-5031
Some positive feedback
We love your paper. You all do such great reporting. We look forward to it, as we stay in the area and Cancun for six months of the year.
Hoping for your continued success!
Signed/ Aileen and Pat
Words for the birds
(Addressed to birdman Gayle Sandholm) Gayle, I really enjoy your articles and will keep my eyes peeled for the Mot Mot. There is a Summer Tanager resident outside Acentos Café. It takes bread crumbs from your hand. (Not sure if that is a good thing, but it is cute.) I am surprised how many jungle birds there are in Puerto considering the amount of cats!
Signed/ John Barton
To be part of the gang,
just sling some slang
By Gloria Contreras
Maybe you took Spanish classes for a long time, and you even have a nice certificate to prove it. But although you can communicate in Spanish, you can’t understand two Mexicans chatting at a party. That’s because they are using slang. So you feel like an outsider while everybody is having a great time. You wonder if you really will fit into this crazy Mexican culture.
Schools won’t teach you slang because it is not “proper Spanish.” Also, there are some quite vulgar slang words that you don’t really want to know. So get ready to learn some inelegant Spanish. Perhaps you will begin to add some of these in your daily chatting with friends and join the conversation with confidence, or maybe you just want to understand what people are really saying and fit in.
Here are some slang phrases that will make your day!
Qué onda? – Literally means: “What a wave?” The slang meaning is “What’s up?”
Aguas! – Literally means: “Waters!” The slang meaning is, “Be careful”
Estoy crudo – Literally means: “I’m raw.” The slang meaning is “I’m hung over.”
Te crees la muy muy – Literally means “You think you are very, very,” but it slang it means “You think you’re the best.”
Está canon – Literally means: “It’s cannon” but in slang “it’s rough.”
Eso que ni que – Literally means: “That than not what” which in slag in “No doubt about it.”
Tienes Feria? – Literally means “Do you have country fair?”, but in slag it’s “Do you have money?
Qué estás haciendo guey?
Literally means: What’s going on castrated bull?
What it really means: “What’s going on bro?
No manches. It literally means: “Don’t stain”
What it actually means: “Unbelievable”
(Gloria Contreras is an authorized translator and Spanish Teacher. She teaches basic Spanish at 11:30 a.m. and intermediate Spanish at 12:30 Mondays and Wednesdays at Latitude 20 Restaurant. New class ready to begin. Contact her soonest at 984 108 3517.)
Playa using ‘endotherapy’
to protect its palm trees
Jorge Alberto Fuentes, an environmentalist with Solidaridad for 40 years, reported an interesting finding recently on using a form of endotherapy to treat coconut palm trees to protect them from mites and other pests. The therapy consists of injecting nutrients into the base of the trees rather than relying on treatment with pesticides.
Fuentes said that since October, 290 adult Malay hybrid trees located on local beaches were injected. All of them have survived the pestilence that had begun to turn their fronds a yellowish color, which is a symptom of pest infestation, Fuentes said.
Endoscopic management then seems to play a successful scientific role as a primary interventional procedure in plant life, pre-empting the use of pesticides. It is also a primary human treatment is some cases of, for example, chronic pancreatitis as a bridge to surgery or as an assessment of potential response to surgery.
Armed with a documented success rate, Fuentes said the city will apply the treatment to other trees on municipal property as needed, suggesting in the process that plantation owners and private properties may want to adopt the process for their trees. He said the coconut palm is not an indigenous plant, but that it is difficult to imagine a Riviera Beach without it.
Explosion and fire destroys
30-ft. boat at town ramp
Crew member suffers severe burns
A 23-year-old crewman on a 30-foot private boat suffered first and third degree burns over 45 percent of his body Friday when gas fumes in the bilge ignited into an explosion and fire that lasted nearly two hours.
Early reports noted the crew was attempting to launch the boat at the Puerto Aventuras ramp on Bahia Xcacel when the crew noticed the bilge pump was emitting petrol rather than water and attempted to disconnect the batteries, inadvertently creating a spark that ignited the fumes. A crowd had gathered by the time firefighters arrived about 15 minutes later and as the boat became fully engulfed in flames and thick smoke.l
There were unconfirmed reports that firefighters, believed to have come from Chemuyil near Akumal, arrived with only 40 gallons of water in their tank truck and had forgotten to bring a pump to use local water.
The boat, “Spirit of Juliana” was powered by two 250-horse outboards and is reportedly owned by Azael Martin. The vessel’s estimated value was reported at around a million pesos.
A black cloud hung over a row of condos looking as though a bomb had been dropped in the area while flames licked fiercely at the fiberglass hull and its accessories. Firefighters had trouble dousing the flames because the boat was carrying an estimated 300 liters of gasoline..
The fire started at about 12.30 p.m. as startled tourists were walking by the boat ramp and was under control by about 2:20 p.m. Colonos officials arrived at the scene to assist and called for four Colonos employees to work overtime to clean the mess on the public roadway left by the badly damaged vessel. (More below)
Aventuras Club residents, staff
join hands to save a young life
Tragic accident elicits profound empathy
Snowbird fractional owners and local staff of the Aventuras Club joined hands and hearts shortly after noon last Friday in sustaining the life of a young boat crewman who suffered first and third degree burns over 45 percent or more of his body in a tragic boat fire. (See above story)
A group of Aventuras Club residents was sitting by the pool along the marina near the launch ramp when Mike Kilgar of Canada smelled “plastic burning. I’d been to boat fires before so I recognized it for what it was.” Others around the pool noticed black smoke rising from near the launch ramp. The group hurried out to the street and instinctively reacted swiftly to what they saw.
The burn victim had been placed in a golf cart and was not receiving primary medical attention, asking instead to be taken home. Kilgar, who worked for the Bell Co. in Canada and is well-versed in first aid, and Ron Habib, a former nurse and paramedic from Pennsylvania, USA -along with their wives and other owners – knew what to do
“We need water, towels, ice, scissors,” Habib and Kilgar ordered after a quick assessment of the victim who, they said, appeared to be in or near shock. The spouses, staff and others anxious to help the suffering burn victim scrambled for the items inside the Aventuras Club and quickly returned with staff members carrying the primary necessities of burn treatment to prevent the burn from spreading. Habib and Kilgar, meanwhile, talked to the victim, later identified as Alejandro Estrella, 23, of Playa del Carmen, to assure him they were there to help. “He told us he just wanted to go home and that his wife would take care of him,” Kilgar and Habib recalled. “He was in no condition to do that.”
When the treatment items arrived, “We cut away some of his shirt and it was then we saw the extent of the damage. There were large, rolling welts that, if left unattended, could continue burning into the skin and result in potential life-threatening infection,” Habib and Kilgar said. As the two men prepared to administer treatment over the welts and other parts of Estrella’s burned body, including his feet, they quoted Estrella as saying, “I’m in so much pain I just want to cry.” Kilgar said. “We told him it was going to hurt more when we applied the towels and water, so to go ahead and cry. But he didn’t,” Kilgar said. “He’s a strong young man,” the men noted in deepening affinity for his courageous demeanor.
When the Aventuras Club staffers first heard of the accident, they had immediately called for the ambulance, Kilgar said as he and Habib bemoaned the response time of about 30 minutes by the private “Life” ambulance dispatched from Playa del Carmen. It is a far cry from response time standards in the U.S. and Canada, the men said. “This is a classic example of why Puerto Aventuras needs the return of the Red Cross ambulance and clinic,” they said. “A 20-minute difference in response time can mean life or death to an elderly person suffering from a heart attack or other serious health problem.” They noted that in the northern countries Estrella would have been taken by helicopter immediately to a specialized burn-center hospital.
As the boat spewed flames and smoke, and a crowd in excess of 100 picture-taking onlookers formed, the Aventuras group continued treatment for the estimated 27 minutes it took the ambulance paramedics to arrive and assume control of the medical situation on their way to the General Hospital in Playa del Carmen. “We used 25 towels, five bed-sheets and many pitchers of water,” said Terry Quinlan, one of the group, all of whose members complimented the Aventuras Club staff for its efficiency and response.
But there is more to this tale of humane reaction to emergencies.
Kilgar wondered if fate played a role in the incident. “It was my 65th birthday on Friday,” he said,” and we had planned a trip to Tulum that day but ended up with car trouble. So we were here to respond,” he said contemplatively. Perhaps that’s what fate intended.
The story doesn’t end there either. Habib, Kilgar and the crew were so taken by Estrella’s bravery and painful circumstance, that it elicited a profound measure of empathy for him and his wife, daughter and parents. Accordingly, the next day, Saturday, the group planned a fund-raiser at Latitude 20 Restaurant, notifying some 42 Aventuras Club residents who responded. “There were other people at the restaurant too,” Kilgar said, “so when I announced why we were there, they gave freely as we passed the hat for donations.”
The next day, after confirming where Estrella had been taken, Habib and Kilgar visited the hospital with a contribution of 10,000 pesos, which they delivered to his wife. “They allowed us to visit him, but we had to wear masks, gowns and gloves to be near him briefly,” Habib and Kilgar said. “The first thing he said to us was ‘thank you for saving my life.’”
Habib said that with good care, Estrella may be facing at least three months of recuperation. “He has first and third degree burns. He was barefooted and the burns to his feet were third degree.”
As to Habib and Kilgar, they said they only did what they were trained to do and expressed a deep respect for friends and staff who helped and the generosity of donors.
Red Cross station in PA
remains out of service
Akumal activists hope to keep ambulance
The new Red Cross regional facility in Playa del Carmen held a second inauguration of its new headquarters yesterday to publicize receipt of $500,000 in equipment from the International Rotary Club and distribution of same to other local agencies. Meanwhile, the Puerto Aventuras clinic and ambulance service in the Poblado, which is under the Playa del Carmen Red Cross jurisdiction, remains closed as of yesterday ostensibly for a lack of operating funds as worried Akumalians seek donations to keep a Red Cross ambulance stationed in that community.
Residents of the Puerto Aventuras Poblado, resort and Puerto Maya have decried the closing of the local Red Cross clinic. They claim it provided the best option for poor residents to attain health and ambulance services at affordable prices without having to spend a minimum 250 pesos for a taxi to Playa del Carmen for primary and emergency medical care and transport. Response time is an issue with resort residents who proved their point Friday in the wake of a boat fire. (See above story)
A critically burned man in Friday’s boat fire had to wait 27 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from Playa del Carmen, according to sources at the scene. (See above story)
In a public letter to the Pelican Free Press, activists in Akumal have appealed for added funding from the Tulum District to sustain the Akumal ambulance and its crew. The letter is quoted below:
“In its first month, starting Dec 10, 2014, the ambulance crew attended more than 20 emergencies in the local area which included a car accident, a number of near drownings and a decompression incident. Through speed of response, paramedics were able to save at least three lives! This is such an important addition to our community, and the numbers from the first 4.5 weeks show how necessary it is for us to have the ambulance here. This ambulance supports not just the village of Akumal, but also the wider area communities including Jade Bay, South Akumal, Aventuras Akumal, and beyond.
We are continuing to fund-raise for the paramedics’ salaries and the ambulance’s operating costs, and to ensure that we can keep this service in our community. Plaza Ukana very generously donates accommodations for the paramedics at night time to ensure that they are centrally located at all times. The Akumal Comedy Festival (April 14-18, 2015) is the next large fundraiser event. 100% of the proceeds from the Festival will go directly to the Red Cross and the money from the Akumal shows will be used to pay for the Akumal Ambulance.
If you would like to support the ambulance project by way of a donation, you can do so via Paypal or with your credit card. Please click here. This goes directly to the Tulum Red Cross PayPal account and the donation is labeled "Akumal Ambulance". Donors can also make a bank transfer directly to the Red Cross if they wish to donate. Mexican businesses will receive a deduction form for tax purposes. Please contact the Red Cross directly for bank information. Cruz Roja Tulum – Lic. Verónica Madrid Pérez, firstname.lastname@example.org 984 151 7553 / 984 176 1217.”
World oil glut helps derail
Trans-peninsular train plan
Locals who couldn’t wait for the “dream ride” on a train from nearby Punta Venado to Merida, Chichen Itza and other inland sites of interest will have to dream about something else.
Plummeting oil prices – read that as considerable lost income for producer nations like Mexico – have taken the bottom out of spending plans not only for the much-touted trans-peninsular train but also the other dream, that of an international airport in Tulum. Also reportedly dead in the water is the Dragon Mart development in Cancun via public objection. The only other major area project having to do with transportation is the proposed fuel shipping terminal in Punta Venado, which, like the airport dream, remains way up in the air as the federal environmental agency has postponed its environmental impact decision until April.
Add to this mélange of distressful news the pending opening of Cuba to U.S. tourism and investment, eroding beaches along the Mexican Caribbean and slowly rising cost of living in Quintana Roo and it appears on the surface that the Riviera Maya tourism and real estate businesses will have to be at their best to maintain, sustain and grow their industries.
Carlos Constandse Madrazo, vice president of “Experience Xcaret”, said the train was the only “real possibility of generating a transportation circuit on the peninsula” and laments its loss. On the other hand, he said, “we have a very good road network.” A new connector road in Playa del Carmen linking up with major highways west was recently opened, cutting more than an hour from travel time to Merida. (bus)
The train’s demise was announced last week by Mexico Finance Minister Luis Videgaray. It put to rest arguments between the business sectors of Cancun and Playa del Carmen as to where the train terminal in Q. Roo should be located.
If there is any solace to be found in the decision, it comes from the environmentalists who say the rail path would have dislocated wildlife, such as the jaguar specie that has already been affected by the El Tintal-Playa del Carmen roadway. The animals have been reported approaching areas inhabited by humans since their habitat was disturbed. Relief has also been expressed by a few ex-pat homebuyers who are leery of overdevelopment and excessive growth.
The 277-mile-long rail line would have connected Merida and points in between to Punta Venado.
CONSTITUTION DAY, a federal day-off holiday on Feb. 5 celebrates the promulgation of the 1857 and 1917 constitutions… RECYCLE DAY is Friday, Feb. 6 at the skate park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m…. PUERTO DEL MAR ASSEMBLY is at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Colonos meeting room… VILLAS DEL MAR II assembly is at 8:30 a.m. on Tueday, Feb. 10… COOKING CLASS – Latitude 20 cooking class has switched back to its regular Friday class schedule at 10 a.m on Fridays… ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…SPANISH CLASSES at Latitude 20 are held at 11:30 a.m. (basic) and 12:30 (intermediate) on Mondays and Wednesdays…
Commerce Corner …
Reserve car storage early,
advises Riviera Maya facility
Paamul company expands indoor capacity
Riviera Maya Storage, located across Highway 307 from the Paamul entrance road, is in the process of increasing storage capacity for cars, golf carts, motorcycles, jet skis and bicycles. Ample space is also provided outdoors for large boats, travel buses, trucks, trailers and cars.
Ted Faber, owner, said indoor storage of cars last summer was limited to 32 spaces and filled up early. This year, changes in the hurricane-proof structure will allow for at least 40 cars indoors in addition to multiple outdoor spaces. Storage lockers for household goods have been reconfigured to include 8×10 and 12, 8×8 and smaller 4×4 cubes for personal items, particularly for those owners who rent their units while they are away and need a safe, low-cost space to keep their personal items.
”We’re also improving our ventilation scheme,’’ Faber said “in addition to our security camera system that allows clients to view the stored items from their computers back home.” Security also includes a 12-foot high-tensile security fence around the facility’s perimeter and 24/7 on-site personnel.” He suggests that car owners make early reservations, particularly for indoor service.
Stored cars are started several times a month to maintain batteries and are washed as needed as part of the service fee. Pick-up and delivery service is also available at reasonable rates.
Faber advises owners that older sealed
batteries sometimes do not facilitate recharging because they do not accept distilled water.
In keeping with the business plan that was announced when the facility opened several years ago, Riviera Maya Storage has steadily added comprehensive services including drop-in maintenance and repair of cars, boats, wave runners , golf carts, ATVs and just about any vehicle that moves on wheels or over water.
The company also has the trailers necessary to move large boats in and out of the water and provide mechanical and detail services while the vessels are in dry storage. Personnel are available to take calls in English and Spanish. For Spanish speakers, call Gabriella at 984-116-8876. For English, dial 984-139-6632.
Faber said another service, helping transport and transfer foreign-plated cars, is available. Click on the Riviera Maya Dry Storage logo at left for more information.
Saudi Arabia has been in the news lately with the death of the country’s king. But it didn’t stop one of the princes, Alwaleed Bin Talal from visiting the ruins in Tulum last week where he spent the better part of an hour after arriving by helicopter… Playa del Carmen is planning to issue commercial operating licenses for micro businesses in the various neighborhoods to spur investment and encourage the small entrepreneur… More bicycle paths are being proposed in Playa del Carmen along with registration of bicycles to prevent theft, two of which occurred last week in Puerto Aventuras. Security is investigating and on the lookout… Car insurance became compulsory as of Jan. 1 this year for cars using federal highways including the one between Cancun and Tulum. It affects cars made before 2010… U.S., Canada and Mexico secretaries of state met in Boston last week to discuss a number of issues including cooperation in hemispheric priorities and enhancing security… Not everybody got the word on the time zone change that occurred Sunday, causing some confusion among travelers and businesses that apparently don’t stay tuned to media information outlets… The federal electric company has opened a special window at its office in Playa to serve people with disabilities as the result of complaints that the federal CFE was not enforcing the disabilities law… TelCel line failures were reported in a number of communities over the weekend, including Playa del Carmen and renewal services at retail outlets suspended temporarily… World Wetlands Day observance this week noted that our State of Quintana Roo ranks second in the nation in the number of mangroves after the loss of 2,161 hectares (5,339 acres) of wetlands… Propane gas deliveries during businesses hours is a dangerous practice, the municipality has warned retailers and schools, and ignoring the rules will bring sanctions down on violators… Akumal poblado residents are defying death by not using the pedestrian bridge over Highway 307, officials warn. They say one in 10 people do not use the bridge to cross the highway, a particularly dangerous practice at night when there is an absence of lighting and a plethora of speeding vehicles…
The Mail Bag…
Lamenting a “chairless” beach
Good articles! Looking for some clarification on beach access. Internet makes it pretty clear all Mexican beach is Public, up to 20 meters (60 ft.) which is shown on our local maps. Yet, most of the beach gives the implication that it is "private" almost to the water’s edge. Even the Colonos states (on the access sign) that you can’t bring chairs or cooler to the beach, which is contrary to the Federal law. Shouldn’t the Colonos do a little more to advance the rights of the public? Thanks,
Hard Rock hard to take
I haven’t seen anything mentioned in the Pelican about the Hard Rock Hotel and its incredibly loud music and concerts. Last night’s (Feb. 3) lasted until almost 3 am. Is there anything that can be done? I’m sure the residents of Pueblo Escondido are very upset about this. I live on the lagoon next to the Catalonia and there are many times that they rattle our windows. Has anyone tried to find a solution?
Signed/ Launa Brockman
(Ed. Note: This is evidently a recurring issue requiring recurring complaints such as yours, Launa. The Hard Rock and Colonos administration reached an informal agreement last spring about being good neighbors. It was published in the Pelican. Apparently, Hard Rock doesn’t place lasting value on agreements and neighborliness. It is particularly disturbing since the Hard Rock has an optional venue that is less noisy.)
Turquoise-browed MotMot welcomes
White-bearded Birdman back to PA
By Gayle Sandholm
With the change to Eastern Time, I thought I’d report on the “clock bird”, hoping you won’t think I have gone a little cuckoo.
A life bird (meaning seen for the first time) that I am enjoying this year is the Turquoise-Browed MotMot. This unique and very colorful bird,, which is about 13 inches (34 cm-long) has a mostly green-blue body with a rufous (reddish) back and belly. There is a black patch on the throat and a bright blue stripe above the eye (from which the name is derived).
The bare feather shafts and racket-tipped tail are distinctive. The Turquoise-browed MotMot often is seen perching in the open on wires or branches at the edge of the jungle where it hunts for insects and small reptiles. If you get too close, the motmot will wag its tail, a display thought to let any predator know it has been seen and any pursuit will not result in capture. In the Yucatan, this motmot is also known as pájaro reloj or "clock bird" based on the habit of wagging its tail like a pendulum.
I also am enjoying watching the Squirrel Cuckoo leaping from branch to branch like a squirrel. It is often seen as a flash of brown near the top of trees. It normally flies only short distances, mainly gliding with an occasional flap of its wings. About 19 inches-50cm-long, the head and upperparts are mainly chestnut in color, becoming paler on the throat.
The central tail feathers are rufous, and the outer tail feathers are black with white tips. This cuckoo has a yellow bill and a distinct red eye. It feeds on large insects such as cicadas, wasps and caterpillars (including those with stinging hairs or spines), and occasionally spiders and small lizards.
There are lots of interesting birds out there, like the Grey Hawk, mangrove Vireo, Rufous-browed Ppeppershrike, Rose-throated Becard, Black-headed Trogon, Summer Tanager, and at least four varieties of orioles. So, take a stroll, and keep looking up.