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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Presidential daughter dives with Aquanauts

Tennis anyone?

      

Reported 700 in Akumal protest

closing of 40-year beach access

By Staff
   Agitation for continued beach access in Akumal was resurrected on Easter Sunday when an estimated 700 indigenous children , adults and supporters of the puebla marched across the bridge linking the puebla and the beach to peacefully demand continued access.

The marchers are protesting an alleged move by the privately-owned Ecological Center of Akumal (CEA) to deny an access route to the beach over territory that the CEA claims as its own. The protesters argue the path has been a public access to the beach for more than 40 years. Nonetheless, when marchers arrived at the path in question, a sign reportedly erected minutes before their arrival by CEA declared “private property, no marching.” The situation is similar to adverse issues in the U.S. that are argued in courts on the basis of grandfathering and “access by right of use.” 

It’s a given that beach access for the indigenous populations generally living on the west side of Highway 307 has been all but barricaded by “exclusive” private property that blocks entry to the federal beach zone along the Riviera Maya. The public federal zone comprises beachfront some 20 meters inland from the high tide mark, or about 60 feet. The general problem is getting through the nearly solid line of private property along the Riviera Maya blocking access to the federal zone.

The marchers have alleged in the near past that the action by the CEA is intended to freeze locals out of the beach area for exclusive use by guests of a new hotel under construction. The CEA counters that general ecological abuse of the nearby reef and iconic turtle feeding grounds by excessive human activity is the reason the CEA has exercised what it believes is its legal right to limit public access over its territory.

A smaller protest was held recently at the Municipal Palace (City Hall in Playa del Carmen) by a group of school children in Puerto Aventuras also seeking beach access in their area.

Observers of these developing situations say the federal and municipal governments failed their constituencies early on by not assuring that foreign developers provide legally defensible public access to federal zone beaches. The observers say the only way to open access at this point – since earlier questionable business practices and politics failed – is through legal action and/or use of eminent domain proceedings.

In a nutshell, eminent domain is the expropriation of private property purchased with public funds at appraised value for the greater public good and use.

 

Commerce Corner …

President Pena Nieto’s daughter

dives with Aquanauts shop here

Holy Week sales run gamut of “great” to “OK”

By Staff

The Easter holy days attracted a mélange of domestic and foreign tourism to the Riviera Maya that filled hotels to a roughly 80-90 percent occupancy and gave assorted vendors and retailers of goods and water-related services something to smile about.

Right here in Puerto Aventuras, for example, Marten, the engaging owner of Jessie Gelato in Centro Comercial, noted a record 35 percent spike in sales on Palm Sunday, FullSizeRender (5) his best day since opening the business nearly two years ago. But even that was exceeded by an additional 5 percent on the Easter weekend as an increase in visitors with a yen for gelato flocked to his shop and enlivened the Centro resort area.

“Saturday night was non-stop,” he said, (see photo at right) noting that it required four employees and double the amount of kilos in various flavors he had on hand over the weekend. Other local businesses did not experience the same exuberant volume of sales, noting instead that business was “OK.”

Fishing “terrific”

At Capt. Rick’s sports fishing, Glenna Uecker, owner for the last dozen years, said the fishing was productive during the week and that business was “okay” despite what she saw as fewer tourists here because of the declining oil economy and loss of jobs in Mexico, Canada and the U.S., along with a noticeable absence of Russian visitors.

“I think there were fewer people here than last year. But the fishing was terrific – all the big fish like tuna, blue and white marlin, swordfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo are running,” she said. She also said the fledgling “Gray Fishtag” operation in which Capt. Rick’s is participating was popular among fishermen who named their fish and filled out a report on size and weight of their catch to be recorded in the data base of the worldwide fish tracking effort.

President’s daughter dives

The Aquanauts Dive shop in Puerto Aventuras was surprised by a notable person last week, said owner Jim Young. He said a daughter of Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto, was among divers the shop hosted over the weekend. He didn’t say much about it, noting that he is not aware of what the protocol is for publicizing an event like this.

The president has two daughters, Paulina and Nicole, and a son, Alejandro, with his former wife, Monica Pretelini between 1993-2007. He has a son, Diego, with his current wife, Angelica, since 2010.

Young said the daughter, Paulina, arrived with a group that had notified him beforehand there would be a notable person in the group with an entourage that, it turned out, included armed bodyguards and a navy patrol boat that followed the dive boat to its destination and back, keeping other vessels at bay.

Otherwise, Young said business volume was “okay” and that he believed the unfavorable exchange rate for Mexicans at about 1 to 15 discouraged discretionary spending by domestic visitors. Many businesses price their services in U.S. dollars, requiring many more pesos. The local press has been reporting for the last several months that sales volume of water services like diving have been relatively flat this year because of the soft economies of major nations.

Restaurants encouraged

“It wasn’t hectic,” said Jim Stubbs, the new owner of Latitude 20 Restaurant since November, “but it was steady afternoons and evenings. I’d say business was very good. It was a mix of domestic and foreign families with kids, lots of kids. We like kids here,” he said. The restaurant has established itself as a “local” place with ex-pats and snowbirds. Most of the snowbirds are gone,” Stubbs said, “It’s a shame to see them go, but we look forward to seeing them again in the fall,” he said.

Federico Martinez, longtime resident and manager of The Pub, was just short of ecstatic in reporting that Pub sales were exceeding last year’s by around 25-30 percent. “I’m very pleased,” he said, noting that business has been good since November when the snowbirds begin to arrive and has lasted all year so far. He said the usual slowdown in weeks before Christmas didn’t happen this season. “It’s been very nice,” he said.

Georgina Lara, a Puerto Aventuras resident and owner of the new and pioneering Gaia Hotel in Tulum, backed up reports of high occupancy rates in Tulum hotels for the holidays. She said the Gaia business was “very good” with an occupancy rate of 80 percent “with a lot of domestic visitors and families. One family,” she said,”rented four rooms.” She said a musical event in Tulum attracted many young people. “They find the Gaia, with its ultra-compact rooms, pool, gardens and parking just outside the door, very useful.”  She said some guests who just discovered the hotel have already made reservations for later in the summer. 

Children celebrate Easter

An outpouring of religious fervor was also reported in the local press as thousands of Christians attended services all along the Mayan Riviera in observance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

In keeping with the observance, several services were conducted during Holy Week at Sta. Teresita del Nino Church in the PA Poblado where particular events are meant to involve community children who, incidentally, also found time to have fun running among the outdoor pews prior to the services or waiting patiently for the rituals to begin.

On Saturday and Sunday, parking spaces around Centro Comercial and Omni Beach were either at a premium or non-existent, a condition that will need to be addressed as more homes and condos are sold and the pace of Phase 4 construction develops.

Generally, Playa del Carmen restaurants were reporting a 35 percent hike in sales over last year as an estimated 20,000 or more people visited Playa beaches daily and another estimated 30,000 of foreign and domestic tourists walked the iconic 5th Avenue. Beaches at Akumal and Tulum and all-inclusive destinations like the Hard Rock Hotel in Puerto Aventuras also reported healthy occupancy as did Cancun.

Through it all, noted various police officials, incidents were kept at a minimum as a protective, coordinated force of safety personnel patrolled the tourist sector. One youth, 14, climbed a fence to a cenote in Playa and subsequently drowned, the police said.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Concert April 17 by former

symphony violinist in Portugal

Arlindo Silva also opens music academy

here for budding musicians of all ages

By Staff
   It didn’t take long for one of Puerto Aventuras’ newer residents to make an auspicious entrance into the community’s cultural life. Violinist and music teacher Arlindo Silva launched the “Rock School” of music in a large Centro studio above the Hoo Haa Restaurant just four weeks ago and will present his first solo concert here from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 17 at the Cultural Center to benefit the medal-winning PA Youth Sailing Club.

With a quarter century of music experience and performance, Silva started the Academy of Music here four weeks ago with six instructors on various instruments and 12 students, which quickly grew to 20 students ranging in age from six to 70, he said during a brief interview at his studio last week. The studio has several rooms that accommodate group lessons, individual lessons and percussion (drums) room. Windows in every room offer an inspirational vista of the surrounding marina activity.

“Rock School” is the name of an accelerated  teaching method out of Cambridge, England, that integrates the group learning process on different instruments. “Many people come to us who already know how to play an instrument well by ear. We teach them to read music to expand their skill and ability to perform with others playing various instruments,”  Silva said.

He defined the “rock” instruments as voice, keyboard, guitar, drums and bass, although the academy teaches other instruments like the saxophone as well. “Fast learners move on quickly to the next step,” Silva said. He taught average classes of more than 200 students in Portugal over a 6-year period and after several years of studying in Chicago on a scholarship, moved to Puerto Aventuras with his family that includes two school-aged children.  “We used to vacation here and just fell in love with the Riviera Maya,” he said.

Residents here can see and hear Silva at the April 17 concert and support the youth sailing club simultaneously. Information about the music academy is available at 984-142-6660 or email musicjourney@outlook.com .

ALSO HAPPENING…

Top ski instructor, author to speak

at PA cultural center on April 18

Will give a motivational talk on overcoming adversity

   Englishman Bernard ‘Chalky’ White is a renowned ski instructor and author who may have climbed close to the pinnacle of his chosen profession as an alpine snow ski instructor. Clients have described Chalky as, “one of the world’s best.” Accolades regarding his #1 Amazon best selling book, “The 7 Secrets of Skiing “ include comments like “It deserves its place in the pantheon of best ski instruction books ever written.”

Chalky is now a motivational speaker and he currently runs his exclusive skiing operation, Ski the World with Chalky White on a global basis. The life experiences that made him a motivational speaker on overcoming adversity are noted by his handlers below:

“Chalky’s career is littered with the kind of adversity that would have stopped many in their tracks. There were naysayers, sometimes intentionally, blocking Chalky’s progress all along a ‘rocky’ road to eventual achievement and success.

He was once told that he would never make it as ski instructor because he had, as the naysayers put it, “The Wrong Body Shape!” He overcame that too without getting a leg transplant! Chalky has overcome almost every major naysayer that he has encountered. Happily, in that regard, he continues to consistently have the last laugh. Currently, he continues to challenge himself to be the best motivational speaker he can be. The word quit is apparently not in Chalky’s vocabulary.”

He will speak at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at the cultural center and asks that “no young children attend” since the talk will be video taped. Attendees are welcomed to bring drinks for hydration. Admission is free. 

LABOR DAY  is May 1 in Mexico… SPANISH CLASSES at Latitude 20: Call Gloria Contreras at cel: 984-108-3517 for information… ERROL THE ENTERTAINER appears evenings on Tuesdays and Fridays at Latitude 20 Restaurant, the “Cheers” of Puerto Aventuras … SEASIDE ROTARY is an English speaking Rotary Club that services the Municipality of Solidaridad. The club meets at 12;30 p.m. Tuesdays at the SOHO Bistro in Playa del Carmen. Meetings are open to the public and visits from visiting Rotarians and anyone interested in doing good work to support our local community are encouraged to attend… Monthly recycling will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 8 at the Skate Park as usual … Training Courses for employees of Dolphin Discovery will be conducted in the Colonos meeting room from May 4 through May 8…

 

Did you know…

Thieves tapping oil pipelines

are draining Mexican economy

   Illegal Pemex pipeline connections throughout the country have nearly tripled – from 1,361 in 2011 to 3,198 in 2014 and  losses of oil from those illegal taps are estimated at 33,188,591 barrels, or as much oil as Mexico exports in a month.

As a result, there is a move on by special human rights investigators (rapporteurs) to get Pemex to become more transparent in reporting the names of company employees who have links to the thefts or been prosecuted for some of the pipeline taps. The investigator said the problem is not just financial but has also affected  human rights..

The commissioner of investigators, Joel Salas, said that on March 20, a debate over energy reform sponsored by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights noted the income lost to the state by the theft of oil  in such large quantities affects economic, social and cultural rights. The exorbitant losses threaten the well-being of the entire population, Salas said in calling for Pemex to identify employees who have been successfully prosecuted.

  

 

Briefly Noted…

Despite widespread erosion along Riviera Maya shores, an estimated 30,000 tourists visited the area’s beaches over the Easter weekend. Meanwhile, residents of the Puerto Aventuras poblado conducted another demonstration at City Hall in Playa del Carmen last week with school children protesting their lack of access to local beaches through private developments. Also, one million U.S. Mexicans were expected to visit Mexico for the Easter holidays… A Security golf cart  has been added to the resort’s security motor pool. Security Chief Jesus Galdeano says the vehicle will be used to patrol the golf course fairways at night. It has a red light to signal its official business… Mexico’s economy ended the year 2014 with a growth rate of 2.1 percent, much lower than the expected 3.9 percent that was predicted. Financial analysts have also reduced expectations of a 3.08 percent growth in the economy this year down to 2.95 percent. Hampering growth, say analysts, are, in order of importance, public insecurity, the oil production platform, domestic market weakness, international financial instability and the low export price for oil… Crime rate reduction was heralded by President Enrique Pena Nieto as he delivered more crime-fighting apparatus and lighting funds to various municipalities while noting that rates are down for crimes of extortion, robberies, kidnapping and intentional homicides linked to organized crime…  481 murders last month in El Salvador make the Massachusetts-sized country one of the most dangerous outside a war zone…

 

Nature Watch…

Gentle giants of the sea among

local species on endangered list

By Staff
   There  is a reason why it has become rare in these parts to spot a manatee, or sea cow, in its natural habitat. The reason, say environmentalists, is man, the only major predator of the manatee.

On a visit to Tampa a few years ago we traveled in a 17-foot Whaler along the Withlacoochee River north of Tampa and, while the number of manatees we saw was rather prolific, most bore the scars and gashes of having been sliced by the propellers of motor vessels as the manatees seemed to hang in the water barely moving. It is also reported they die frequently from accidently swallowing trash or fishhooks and getting caught in netting. 

Here in Puerto Aventuras, we fortunately have several manatees being kept and cared for at the Dolphin Discovery pools in the Centro Comercial area. The manatee is migratory but has become quite rare in local waters, depriving residents and visitors alike a glimpse of the only water mammal that is reportedly a cousin to the elephant, another gentle giant.

The manatee, which can weigh more than 1,000 pounds and grow to eight to 11 feet, has no hind limbs and thus has adapted to life in the water, albeit its fantail still has nails. The largest manatee on record weighed 3,649 pounds and was 15 feet long – hence the elephant comparison. The manatee’s flippers up front also have nails with which to hold food while eating mostly vegetarian sea grass.

The best but rare opportunity to view them in the wild here is in the Chetumal Bay manatee sanctuary or the  Si’an Ka’an Reserve. But even there, the manatee chooses murky waters that effectively blurs viewing as its preferred hangout. 

image

Croc attacks man in nightmarish incident

 

Ferry could start Cancun-Cuba

route as early as this spring

By Staff
   United Caribbean Lines in Florida is expected to begin overnight ferry service from Florida to Havana, Cuba, in the fall of his year. The company says it is also continuing to pursue service to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula ports and service between Cancun and Cuba that could start as early as this spring pending permits.

“We will sail from major Florida ports like Miami, Tampa Bay and Port Everglades. Our proposed schedule has ships departing Florida at 6 p.m. and arriving in Havana at 7 a.m. The return trip will depart Havana at 6 p.m and arrive in Florida at 7 a.m.” This schedule is a draft proposal yet to be approved, along with licensure, by U.S. and Cuban authorities.

The company’s ships are specialized overnight ferries with 400 cabins and rated for 1,500 passengers. The company estimates consumers will be able to save 25 to 50% over air travel to those destinations. Ship’s services include a-la-carte and buffet dining, fitness and exercise area, movie theater for cultural and educational presentations and ample storage for baggage and larger goods.

The company website did not particularly address whether tourists could bring bicycles aboard, but a person close to the developments said the  Florida-Yucatan ferry would “definitely” carry cars as well as a passengers.

 

Annual electronic music festival

delivers 50 wheelchairs to needy

By Staff
   The annual electronic music festival called BPM (Beat Per Minute) that attracted an audience estimated at 50,000 over a 10-day period earlier this year has teamed up with Solidaridad’s System for Integral Family Development (DIF) to deliver 50 wheelchairs to poor adults in the municipality who need them. Playa del Carmen, with a population of 216,000 according to the 2014 local census, is the municipal seat of government, tourism and retailing. It is the birthplace of BPM and has sustained the program for eight years.

The DIF, which supports local families with a multitude of integrated family services including medical, psychological, legal, violence prevention and other services, has an outpost in the Puerto Aventuras poblado. It is located in a building immediately west of the closed Red Cross facility on Avenida El Vivero (the main street) and was opened last Saturday to welcome Pelican Free Press staff on a fact-finding tour.

A municipal clinic in the poblado is being expanded to provide for more comprehensive DIF family services including medical, under one roof. A woman attending the DIF office on Saturday who said she was a manager, was asked whether the pending opening of a newer municipal clinic, the presence of a private clinic and of a part-time doctor at the pharmacy in the Chedraui building, still requires a Red Cross clinic to service the poblado, the resort and Puerto Maya.

She responded in the affirmative and noted the growing population of the poblado and Puerto Maya which could surpass 15,000 men, women and children in the coming year, according to some figures. That requires multiple medical services and sites, she inferred. Importantly, the Red Cross provides the only ambulance service that does not charge a fee for service, meaning free service for the poor, while those who can afford a donation are asked to do so. The woman said she expected the Red Cross clinic and ambulance service to resume operations soon in the building next door.

That is the expectation also of an ad hoc committee in the resort area that has been working toward reopening the Red Cross facility, which has been closed since December. The committee has promised to deliver sustained donated funds throughout 2015 to support the local clinic while also approaching local hotels to help in the effort. The Hard Rock Hotel’s manager, Rene Malacara, has already promised support on several fronts while the outcomes of planned meetings with Barcelo, Omni, Dreams and Catalonia are pending.

Don’t be a “slipper” – Protect your floors with non-slip Innovative Floor Solutions

 

Poblado retailers seek municipal

market area to deter petty theft

By Staff
   The political delegation from Puerto Aventuras located in the poblado has appealed to the municipal government for construction of a market place that would prevent the frequent occurrences of petty theft from the existing “Little Market” in the center of the village.

As is, the rickety shops invite petty theft for their inability to secure their goods in a safe building, they say. The Solidaridad municipality’s public works director, Eddie Flores, said he would look into the matter perhaps in the second half of this year to see if finances are available to construct a municipal market place that would offer better security and protection of goods.

Neighbors and tenants of the so-called “Little Market” say it is an easy target for petty nighttime thieves who pilfer goods for their own basic needs of shoes, cloth materials and other goods. But Flores said the financial resources for such a project simply aren’t available at the moment as the ministry of finance works on a projected budget. He pointed out that a number of public improvement projects have been carried out in the village, including repaved streets and construction of an IMSS (Social Security) medical clinic that is currently being expanded. 

 

 

Return home with a brighter smile – Visit “Smile” dentistry in PA

   

Coming Events… 

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MAYAN ARTS AND CRAFTS festival called K’iwic will be held tomorrow (April 2) in concert with the holiday week all along Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Many various artisans from the area’s Mayan communities are expected to display their wares and art representing more than 100 families from 17 villages in the Riviera Maya. The displays will be concentrated in the Quinta Alegria Square at Constituents and Fifth Avenues. An estimated 9000 tourists are expected to be in the area on that day. Native musicians will entertain…

PUBLIC LIBRARY hours at the PA colegio during spring break are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1 and 8. Regular hours resume April 13.

EASTER WEEK SERVICES at Chapel/Capilla Sta. Teresita del Nino, Calle Coba, Puerto Aventuras poblado, tel. (984) 206-6245: Holy Thursday, April 2, 6 p.m., Mass of the Institution of the Eucharist and washing of feet; 8 p.m. Prayer Vigil
Holy Friday, April 3 *new chapel  San Jose Obrero, Puerto Maya, , 12 noon, Holy Cross Walk; 3 p.m., Celebration of The 7 Words; 4 p.m. Celebration of the Passion of our Lord & Adoration of the Cross; 5 p.m. Rosary;6 p.m., March of Silence.
Holy Saturday, April 4, 6:30 a.m., Route of the Church/Via Matriz; 11 a.m.,Route of the Cross for Children; 6 p.m., Benediction of the New Fire (candles and water will be blessed)
Easter Sunday, April 5, 9 a.m., Liturgy (Mass), 7 p.m. ,Mass.

TODAY IS APRIL FOOL’S DAY (April 1) when practical jokes are played on people by friends and the media in the U.S., Canada and Europe – and now Mexico… LABOR DAY  is May 1 in Mexico… SPANISH CLASSES at Latitude 20: Call Gloria Contreras at cel: 984-108-3517 for information… SEASIDE ROTARY is an English speaking Rotary Club that services the Municipality of Solidaridad. The club meets at 12;30 p.m. Tuesdays at the SOHO Bistro in Playa del Carmen. Meetings are open to the public and visits from visiting Rotarians and anyone interested in doing good work to support our local community are encouraged to attend…

 Save on power and charging – Put a Xolar roof on your golf cart

Editorial-ito…

Let old wars rest in peace

   Here is a story for aficionados of historic retribution. It seems a legislator in Chechnya has offered to arm Mexico to the teeth to help it regain lands such as Texas, California, Colorado, etc., previously annexed and paid for by the United States. This would occur only if the United States begins supplying arms to the legitimate Ukraine government to fend off the Russian incursion into Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

What the misguided Chechen legislator who proposed this absurdity fails to realize is that much of the lands aforementioned have already been re-colonized in a fashion by Mexico without firing a shot. Consider this: “A record 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origin resided in the United States in 2012, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center. This estimate includes 11.4 million immigrants born in Mexico and 22.3 million born in the U.S. who self-identified as Hispanics of Mexican origin.”

Conversely, it is estimated that 1 million U.S. ex-pats call Mexico home while many more call it their winter retreat – “Paradise” some say – from the snow-bound north. It would seem, then, that the intermingling populations of the two countries are drawing them closer together, not further apart.

Even the Russian hierarchy agrees. On the day the proposal was made, Russia immediately disavowed the idea as contrary to Russian law and intent. Let the free-flow between two friendly nations continue and their disagreements solved at the table, not the battlefield.

Commerce Corner…

Mexlaw firm supports reforms

in law, real estate professions

By Staff:

N. Charles Tibshirani is not at all happy about the way many barristers operating in Mexico inadequately interpret the law and misinform their clients. That’s surprising, since Mr. Tibshirani is a lawyer himself and the CEO of Mexlaw in Playa del Carmen. The difference between him and those of his profession he views with a critical eye, is that he has set out to do something about that and more.

Born in Egypt and raised in Canada, the l982 law graduate of the University of Ottawa has been vacationing on the Yucatan with his wife and three children for more than 15 years, but it wasn’t until he joined a U.S. native with Mexican law training in a business venture here that Tibshirani’s blood began to boil.

Without sharing details, he said in effect that the partnership soured, forcing him to hire another lawyer whose legal opinions, it turned out, were suspect as well. Finally, Tibshirani took the bull by the horns and formed a Mexican division in Playa del Carmen of his successful 35-year law practice in Montreal.

“The number one reason many Canadians balk at investing in Mexico is fear,” Tibshirani said during an interview in his second-floor office on Avenida Paseo Coba. A Canadian flag flutters outside the office window.“They don’t mean the fear of criminal violence,” he emphasized. “They mean, ‘is it safe to buy in Mexico?’”

Horror stories describing financial losses and pain of business and real estate deals gone sour abound on the Riviera Maya. The tales of woe find their way into the foreign pool of potential buyers and investors of various entrepreneurial stripes, causing reluctance to purchase or invest. Why this has developed, Tibshirani believes, is that Mexico, a developing nation, needs to regulate, legitimize, certify and control the legal and real estate professions.

This view does not imply a blanket indictment of those professions along the Mayan Riviera. Rather, Tibshirani’s goal is to level the playing field for clients of those two professions so that the practitioners are bound by the same expectations, training, oversight and, most importantly, the same ethics and reviews of their work with consequences for improper performance.

“A lawyer here can offer a client an opinion of the law, but since lawyers aren’t licensed, and since there is no agency to complain to, a lawyer can just say whatever he wants with impunity,” Tibshirani said.

Contrarily, he emphasizes that Mexlaw is the “only Canadian law firm” operating in Mexico. As a Canadian company, clients of any nationality in Mexico have recourse to file complaints about Mexlaw’s service with the Canadian bar, which could lead to dire consequences for a lawyer accused of shady practices. In addition, lawyers in the U.S. and Canada need to continue periodic training throughout their active careers, an important  rule that does not exist in Mexico. How else to keep up with the changes in the law?

Until such time as the law and real estate professions are regulated in Mexico by licensing, certification, training and ethics, Mexlaw sees itself as the best bet, for Canadians in particular, to rely on for proper conduct of business and real estate transactions. “I have 35 years’ experience handling civil matters in Canadian courts as a real estate advocate and commercial negotiator,” he said.

Now, with U.S. and Mexican law partners – five of them in the Playa del Carmen office and one in Cancun – Tibshirani is offering reliable and secure legal accompaniment for real estate buyers and entrepreneurs investing in Mexico. He has actively supported government licensure reforms concerning real estate agents that are scheduled to take effect soon.

To assist the government in that endeavor, Mexlaw continues to reach out to the legal and real estate communities, Tibshirani said, with instructional courses and speaking engagements planned for the Puerto Aventuras and Tulum areas in the coming months. Much more information about Mexlaw is available by clicking on the company website in the sponsor column or calling Mexlaw at 984-803-1240.

 Weekend in Tulum? – Call Gaia Hotel or click on logo at left for info

Briefly Noted…

Daylight saving time takes effect in the rest of Mexico on Sunday, April 5, as most of the rest of the country springs forward one hour and Quintana Roo – that’s us folks…remains the same. That puts us in the same time frame as our Yucatan neighbors for the time being until October… The ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) Bus Line was pallning to add four more runs to the Cancun Airport because their current 26 daily runs were jam packed coming to Playa del Carmen… Two “filter” policemen between Puerto Aventuras and Playa del Carmen were arrested by their peers for extorting money from Israeli tourists for not wearing seat belts… The Dallas Cowgirls strutted their stuff in bikinis for the fourth consecutive year in Playa del Carmen but it could be the last, for a while. They attracted a crowd at Iberostar Hotel’s Playacar venue last Friday as part of their annual calendar photoshoot along the Riviera Maya in the final year of a contract that is now being renegotiated… A demonstration protesting the lack of enforcement of environmental regulations was held last Friday on the grounds of Profepa, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection in Playa del Carmen. The demonstrators cited lack of enforcement as hotel projects destroyed parts of mangroves along the shores, among other complaints, without any enforcement action by the agency… While Fatima Bay has had its share of kelp along its shore, reports are that 40 tons of the sargassum was removed from Playa del Carmen beaches per week for over a month… Female bicyclists in Playa del Carmen have formed a club “Somos Mujeres en Bici” (Women on Bikes) and call themselves “xixicletas.” They are promoting bicycle use for everyday chores, bicycling for recreation and exercise and bicycling safety. They are lobbying the government and businesses for safety measures with some success, including a driver’s union representing 83 urban trucks and 153 drivers who will undergo bike safety awareness training … Students of area universities were exposed to a fake car accident to show them the horrid damage to lives that drinking and driving can do. The program conducted by various cooperting police agencies is aptly called “More life, less spirits.”…

The Mail Bag…

Ambulance news disturbing

image Dear editor:

Disturbing news!. You may remember back on January 30th, the boat fire and how we worked frantically to save the crewman because the ambulance did not arrive for 30 minutes.

Well, in discussions with many seniors the fact that HELP can be 30 plus minutes away is disturbing. Many seniors are debating if this is an area of Mexico where they want to vacation. Heart attacks and strokes happen without warning and the survival rate after 30 minutes is grim.

If the area is willing to count on younger vacationers, that’s fine. However, January and February are filled with seniors that support the local economy. Just my thoughts that may get someone thinking of the larger picture.

Signed/Mike Kilgar.

(Ed. Note: Mr. Kilgar was one of the people deeply involved in treating the crewman.)

Sign’s order questioned

Dear editor:  

I heard of a breakfast meeting at the Pub. I went and there were only two people, Ralph and Bob.  My husband and I moved our plates to their table.  The two men were very nice and I had seen Ralph the day before on a dive we were on but we never spoke. I asked the owner of the Pub about the breakfast meeting but he was not aware of any. I think he is now.

I am trying to find more information about the goings on here. Now that my friends John and Darlene Schwande have sold their condo below us, we are at a loss. There is a new sign by the dive shop in the Omni (back entrance) that states now we cannot bring coolers or beach chairs to the beach, or a dog. They claim they rent space and now we have to sit on a towel. Do you or anyone know if this is legal? I am unsure and I was hoping to get to meet you as well at the breakfast meeting.

I will take a peek again today to see if anyone is there in the Pub. We leave for home on Friday, sadly. If the beach is not available to us anymore we will have to sell our unit and buy one on the beach. When we purchased, these issues were never told to us. Now we have owned here for 12 years and it seems that the beach is an ongoing problem here. I just wonder if anyone knows anything. If we ignore the signs,will we wind up in a Mexican jail?

We have no one here that really knows and we ask everyone!  If that sign is not new, we never noticed it before. It appears to be brand new. It is on the building next to the back door of the dive shop in English and Spanish. P.S. I love your newsletters.

Signed/Sharyn Guzzi

(Ed. Note: Thank you. As to the dog on the beach, it is a municipal prohibition. As to coolers and chairs, you can bring them on the federal beach in front of the condominiums where there are no concessions and you cannot be prohibited from using the federal zone for passage by the hotel concession areas. The Schwandkes certainly were an asset to the community. As to group breakfast meetings, that seems to be in limbo until the snowbirds return.)

Latitude 20 Restaurant – The local “Cheers” of Puerto Aventuras

Nature Watch…

Croc attack injures Paamul man

in nightmarish cenote incident 

By Paamul Jack  

Most sightings of a crocodile occur when almost all of his body is submerged, except his protruding eyes and those long jaws studded with ominous blood-chilling teeth. Being an avid photo-hobbyist, I have often fantasized meeting a local crocodile completely exposed, on the beach or somewhere along a jungle path.

How thrilling it would be, and what great images I could get, if I were to meet one on a sunny day, while sitting securely in my golf cart, able to flee with a touch of a pedal.

But that’s not the way it happened.

On my morning outing with my dog Fila, I ordered her to "Stay!" in the golf cart near the entrance to a narrow trail leading to a local cenote – a known home to crocs – where I spent some time taking pictures of birds. I had not seen any crocodiles there recently and was pretty sure they all moved to a larger cenote nearby. When finished, camera in hand, I walked the narrow winding trail nonchalantly back toward the main path.

And – lo and behold – there he was! My wish come true! The biggest croc I have seen in the area – his body filling the width of the trail, half his length out of sight behind the bushes around the next bend.

Having been accustomed earlier in life to extreme danger situations, it only took me a split second to realize the magnitude of my predicament. Mesmerized, I froze in my tracks, and while we were both gazing at each-other it occurred to me that I must have been stupid to have assumed that previous crocodile tracks on this trail were only OUTBOUND to the main path and not incoming.

With great relief, a quick observation of the croc’s clean jaws assured me that he didn’t gobble-up my Fila for breakfast. The next thought seemed to have been generated by ice-cold adrenaline running up my spine: “I am trapped!“

The thick jungle on both sides of the trail allowed no escape. The croc’s stance did not leave any doubts as to what will happen if I advance toward him. This was HIS cenote! I was the intruder – and he wasn’t about to step aside and let me go by.

I started taking very slow steps backwards, contemplating my options with a chess-player’s approach. But the options seemed non-existent. I was thinking "Ah, if I could only get to my machete in the golf-cart…but too late for that.

I stepped back toward the cenote without taking my eyes off him. But at about 12 feet distance, he leaped towards me. I felt cold sweat oozing down the back of my neck.

Frightening thoughts ran through my mind. "HE might just be a SHE who has a baby croc in the water to protect – and here I am backing up towards it!" But choosing the opposite direction, toward him, was certain suicide. Feeling like a cornered cat, a sudden brainstorm spawned two new options for me to consider:

"If I jump into the cenote and swim fast clear to the other side, I might find a way out."Or,,"I could climb up a thick mangrove branch, where he couldn’t reach me."There was one dry mangrove, very close to the water, and I decided it was better than trying to out-swim an experienced croc. What I would do once safe on the mangrove branch didn’t really matter at the moment – I would think about that later.

Just as I was about to surprise him with this genius strategy – he must have read my mind – his jaws sprang wide-open and he exploded with a mad sprint, reaching my legs in a split second. I instinctively hit him on the snout with my camera several times, but he kept snapping relentlessly. I had no choice but to climb up that branch. I already had one foot on it, when he lunged forward again and one of his long white "canines" carved a deep groove in my left leg, exposing white bone. I pulled the bleeding leg out of his reach, and we were staring at each other. I saw my blood gushing down, and I could not believe my eyes when two more huge crocodiles came rushing to the scene, leaping upwards to grab my legs.

After a few minutes of snapping, one of them started gnawing and pulling the branch I was standing on. It was clear to me what would happen if he succeeded. Within seconds, the branch did crack under me. I lost my footing as one of the monsters grabbed my bleeding foot and dragged me into the murky water.

Knowing I was nearing my end, a crazy idea flashed in my tortured mind and I screamed at the top of my lungs "Fila, Come!," thinking she just might scare them off momentarily, giving me a chance to escape. It took a few horrifying seconds before I saw her leaping into the cenote with a determined, loyal look on her face. Just before I was completely submerged, I saw Fila in the air, sandwiched between the jaws of the big croc. Then I heard a loud scolding voice from nearby: "You deserve it – this is what you get when you spend so much time trying to photograph crocodiles: You get nightmares, amigo, nightmares!"

When I woke from the nightmare drenched in perspiration, I realized it was April Fool’s day, so I got on the PC and opened Photoshop to compose an appropriate photo to illustrate the nightmare. (Check a real video – honest – of Jack photographing a real Yanten cenote croc at http://youtu.be/a67eHGUoP3s.

)

FrenchSpanish

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