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Monthly Archives: November 2015

November 2015, Week 4


Wait for wide Fatima Bay

beach said to be over soon

Chac-Hal-Al, Omni, Villa del Mar set to act

Work to be done in phases

By Staff
The wait for beach reclamation along a stretch of Fatima Bay reportedly will be over beginning next week. Three major waterfront property boards have essentially assented to fund first-phase sand replenishment within an existing temporary inshore barrier.

A new strategy for the long-awaited project will be presented at the annual Colonos assembly Dec. 12 in the Dreams Hotel by developer Roman Rivera Torres. The latest design is less expensive than one previously proposed but which was subsequently entangled in and delayed by the permitting process.

The new design, to be done in phases, informs that Chac-Hal-Al would begin importing 70 truckloads of sand along its proprietary beach from roughly Dec. 1 to Dec. 15, Rivera Torres said. Once that sand has settled in from tidal action and firmly contained, 70 loads will be deposited along the Omni Hotel waterfront from Jan. 10-20, then along the Villa del Mar property. Each of these entities will pay for their sand.

It is expected the total amount of imported material would create a sandy beach 20 meters (65 feet) wide and reverse the threat of property damage, particularly along the Omni Hotel beach bar, retainer walls and beach access points, and provide ample space for beachgoers.

The sand would continue to be sheltered long-term by future piecemeal construction of a less expensive artificial reef similar to the ones now existing closer to shore. These stone and netting jetties – also designed to deter the landfall of future sargassum invasions – would be placed 80 meters (197 feet) from the shoreline in water 1.8 to 2.2 meters deep (about 5 to 7 feet.)

Rivera Torres said Chac-Hal-Al, Omni and Villa del Mar will fund the sand replacement as an emergency spending assessment. Additional funding for the larger permanent reef farther in the the bay will require the approval of the coming condo assemblies involved in the project. That portion of funding, however, will be repaid by the Colonos from Phase 4 building permit receipts, as previously agreed at a prior assembly.

The earlier design, reported last year in the Pelican Press, would have used large inverted pyramids or huge boulders requiring a barge and crane/pulley device for lifting, transporting and placing the cumbersome boulders.

The current jetty design plan on paper also includes private properties along the southern section of the shoreline. (See rendering Photo). Owners there would have to agree to join the project. At any rate, Rivera Torres said, the work being done will not affect sand movement at other parts of the beachfront.

The previous funding agreement, approved by a past assembly vote, was for an estimated $1.3 million to be amortized by Colonos receipts from Phase 4 building permits. That meant waiting for payments to be made as lots there were sold and construction begun.

In return, the developer funded all Phase 4 infrastructure, including roads that will eventually come under Colonos jurisdiction and maintenance as they transition as part of the larger community.

The Colonos board thought that since the original plan was presented by the developer at an assembly, this change in strategy and design should also be presented by the developer and open to questions for the edification of the general community.

Property tax discounts offered

It’s property tax time again and agents from the municipality of Solidaridad will be present in the Colonos meeting room for two weeks offering substantial discounts for payment.

A 25 percent discount is in effect during December and the agents will accept payment from Monday, Dec. 7 to Friday Dec. 11 and also Dec. 14 through 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a 15 percent discount for those who pay in January and 10 percent in February. The Colonos advises that those who pay more than 10 tax bills should send their catastral numbers (property number) to [email protected] .

Traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner

is being offered for the 20th year at Café Ole tomorrow, Nov. 26, in three seatings. Interested parties are asked to reserve seating either from 5-7, or 7-9 or 9-10:30 p.m. … Trivial Pursuits Sunday, Nov. 29, 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy…

Traditional Colegio Christmas Bazaar from 12 to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, new items only, and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (new and old items). Reserve booths now at the school. The Saturday bazaar includes family activities and entertainment… Colonos Assembly to be held Dec. 12 at Dreams Hotel… Annual road race scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31. Sign up at the Colonos office… Something new – The first annual “Petanque” tournament of Puerto Aventuras will be held also on De. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Information and Art Center near Centro. What is “Petanque?” More later… Christmas reminder that the Colonos office is now accepting gifts and/or money to buy presents for Colonos employees who do such a good job maintaining the community. Gifts can be brought to the Colonos office during working hours. The gifts will be distributed at the annual employee party in the Poblado on Dec. 18. “As usual we look forward to your generosity,” says the Colonos board of directors……

‘Courthouse’ yacht in and out;

phase 4 cart access confuses

By Staff

Several weeks ago the Pelican reported a story concerning the final departure of the yacht ‘Courthouse’, which had been docked here for more than a quarter century. Then it suddenly re-appeared.

That’s because, say sources, it had left Puerto Aventuras for maintenance at Isla Mujeres where, it was learned, it needed more repairs to handle the crossing to Florida to be closer to its aging owner. Florida reportedly remains the yacht’s eventual destination, said PA developer Roman Rivera Torres.

No sooner do we report the boat’s return that it was observed leaving again last Saturday and had not returned by Sunday, said a waterfront observer. Then it reappeared and evidently has been out fishing.

Rivera Torres was a friend and diving colleague of yacht owner Guy H. Allison, now 84, a longtime attorney. He said last week that the dock space so long occupied by “Courthouse” will have new tenants soon in the form of a floating Vandutch Yachts showroom.

Golf carts welcome…really!

In the wake of several reports that golf cart drivers have encountered difficulties entering Phase 4 through the now-gated entrance, developer Roman Rivera Torres has reiterated that the carts should be admitted, with one exception.

He said people entering to visit the ruins to enjoy the caleta for a while are most welcome. But, he said, guards have been notified to turn away carts containing camping gear, since camping is not permitted.

He said that sometimes various guards at the gate are unsure of the details outlined in a letter to them to admit visitors in carts. In one case witnessed by a Pelican staff member, a language barrier existed and the cart occupants were permitted entrance after translation. To reiterate, golf carts are generally welcome to Phase 4.


Weekend sail club regatta

attracts 120 boats, skippers

By Staff

   If the Mexican Navy ever decides to expand its fleet with more ships, it won’t have any trouble finding officers and crews if last weekend’s sailing regatta here is any indication.

At least 120 young skippers of several boat classes participated in the regatta from all over seaboard Mexico. It was an event that morphed the usually noiseless tail end of the winding new Phase 4 roadway into a jammed but amazingly efficient staging area for the 120 boats, assorted trailers, trucks and cars, skippers and family members hauling coolers and gear in preparation.

Waddling through the crowd at 10:30 a.m. on the bright Sunday morning, the Pelican spoke with a young woman from Puerto Vallarta who skippers one of the boats sponsored by the Army and was working on her boat’s rigging.

She said the regatta was supposed to “go to water” at 11 a.m., but the minimal breath of air that morning she said could engender delays and remind the young sailors why man invented the engine. Even Nature is whimsically unreliable.

Scurrying hither and yon among the sailors and crews of several motor vessels preparing to set out markers for the course, was Daniele Gracis, commodore of the local Youth Sailing Club now ensconced off a Phase 4 canal.

Gracis, who in his earlier days sailed from Italy to Cuba then to Mexico on a cement sailing vessel he built, has parlayed a fledgling sailing club into award-winning sailors in national competition and to boosting the Puerto Aventuras name and its businesses by hosting national regattas here. He also raises money from sponsors for individual young sailors with promise who cannot afford to participate.


Briefly noted

When oh when oh when – is the Chedraui Supermarket across the highway going to fill and repair the exacerbating potholes leading into and out of the parking lot? …  The Impossible ‘Dreams’ – A number of residents could have found it “impossible to dream” last Thursday night as an earsplitting musical group did its best on the shore of the peaceful sounding “Lagoon of Dreams” to entertain but inadvertently preempt slumber. Fortunately, and to the hotel’s credit, the entertainment ended at 9:30 p.m. Good show!… A hotel construction worker  attempting to cross the highway between Puerto Aventuras and Akumal was killed Monday by a hit and run driver…

One PA resident with a sense of humor carries a business card that heralds “ice fishing” in the Caribbean. Now comes an announcement that  our neighbor Hard Rock Hotel in a deal with sports company Woodward Camp may offer “snow skiing” in the hotel facility next year…

Fixing a visa flap In a face to face discussion at the G20 meeting last week in Turkey, Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto he was ready to recommend the repeal of Mexican visa requirements.The permit requirement was imposed by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in 2009 to stanch the flow of Mexicans seeking asylum in Canada.The visa permit had become a nuisance between the two countries, leading a vexed Mexican ambassador to say he was “really mad” at Harper’s conservative government. Trudeau had included the repeal issue in his successful election platform.

Best roads – Quintana Roo tops the list of states on the peninsula for maintenance of its roadways and places fourth nationally. The state pledges to continue the practice in 2016… The federal government’s new and elite “gendarmerie” police force will have a presence in this area during the upcoming holiday season. They will participate in security efforts during the peak influx of tourists. Mayor Mauricio Gongora hopes to have a permanent contingent of gendarmes in the municipality to help battle criminal activity…

A day without water – Some 70,000 inhabitants of Playa del Carmen went a day without water last week when an electrical problem in water supplier Aguakan’s catchment area stopped the flow. The stoppage began in the Ejidal colony west of the highway then spread to the entire city, causing loss of profits to some businesses and inconvenience to residents and tourists…

Delta Airlines is investing another $600 million USD to boost its share of AeroMexico to 49 percent… Former Mexican President Vincente Fox predicts cocaine to be legalized within 10 years since the Mexican federal court has declared banning marijuana use unconstitutional… Tiny pet pigs on a leash becoming the vogue in Mexico City… Housing costs could rise by 10 percent in the new home industry because of increased material and labor costs…

Day of the Toilet declared by the UN in 2013 to call attention to the millions of people without one came and went on Nov. 19, but not before it was noted that many families in Solidaridad’s impoverished districts are without sanitary infrastructure, contributing to the higher incidence of disease…

Warm waters of El Nino containing all sorts of fish are flowing north from Mexico and unexpectedly depositing the fish off the California coast, a boon to anglers. El Nino is the periodic warming of Pacific currents … PEW Research Center in Chicago says more Mexicans are leaving the United States to find work and be with family in Mexico than entering it…

Anyone keeping count? – Another traffic death was reported last week on Boulevard Playa del Carmen. That is the name of the street under the 307 overpass through Playa. It would be enlightening to know how many people die or are seriously maimed on that stretch of roadway and how many incidents involve taxis whose drivers run away from the scene rather than stay with the victim and call for help…

Nature Watch…

Area mosquito carries more

viruses than a furniture van

By Staff:
Just when we thought we heard it all, the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries dengue, chikungunya and yellow fevers has found room to carry a new kid on this block called “Zika” virus.

Health officials in Playa del Carmen last week diagnosed one case of this newer threat to the area in a traveler who had recently been to Colombia. The virus is transmitted only by mosquito bite and not communicable.

The symptoms of Zika fever are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya – fever, rash, joint pain and red eye. The Aedes mosquito family is found throughout the world, so is capable of introducing new viruses worldwide from parochial outbreaks.

Health officials say there is no treatment or vaccine for Zika but that its symptoms are comparatively mild and best treated by drinking plenty of liquids, rest, taking medicines such as acetaminophen or paracetomal. It is best to avoid aspirin and other non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory until dengue can be ruled out to avoid the possibility of hemorrhage.

As always, the best way to avoid these viruses is to avoid being bitten by the mosquito by wearing protective clothing, using sprays, window and door screens and/or air conditioning.

Politically, assure that governments and/or HOAs spray effectively to eliminate breeding grounds in standing water found near residences. Several neighborhoods in Playa are already agitating for added spraying.

Meanwhile, it is reported that an infant in our neighboring state of Yucatan has become the second person there to succumb to dengue fever this year.

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication in any given week is Monday at 5 p.m. for production mid-week, usually Wednesday. Thank you.

The end

November 2015, Week 3


Beach replenishment strategy

plan to air at Dec. 12 assembly

By Staff:
  Several significant issues will be debated and voted upon when the annual Colonos Association of Homeowners meets at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 12 in the beach pavilion of the Dreams Hotel on Caleta Xel Ha.

Among items to be discussed is a new strategy for the reclamation of beaches on Fatima Bay – a long-awaited improvement sought by association members – and a special presentation by developer Roman Rivera Torres regarding the Phase 4 project. Specifics were not released in the association’s initial meeting notice, but will be pursued by the Pelican in the coming weeks.

There will also be a presentation of an agreement with the developer to increase the community’s security, a proposed adjustment to the guarantee deposits on new construction, budgetary and auditing reports and adoption of the maintenance fee for 2016.

Voter registration for owners of homes, condos and vacant lots will be held Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 7-9 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m in the Colonos meeting room above the Oxxo Convenience Store.

Voters may register in person by showing identification or by proxy, requiring a simple proxy document valid for the meeting date, signed by two witnesses and accompanied by identification of grantor and proxy holder. Condo owners who do not wish to cast a vote are usually represented by their condo management.
Condo managers and hotel representatives can register on one day only, Thursday, Dec. 10, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 3 and 5 p.m.

Association rules require that voters must be up to date in maintenance fee payments, requiring they bring such evidence to the meeting. Anyone wishing to raise a topic for discussion should present the intention to Colonos management by Dec. 4.


Commerce Corner…


Heirloom quality furniture

marks new ‘Unique’ shop

By Staff
If you’ve ever longed for a bucolic pine patch of rural land with a river meandering lazily through it, perhaps a less expensive timber table with flowing river illusion will do.

See for yourself at Unique Wood and Iron, a recently opened custom wood shop designing, handcrafting and retailing what owner Ron Hughes of Puerto Aventuras calls a “rustic industrial” line of various size and type tables, lighting, wine racks, intricate shelving, headboards and other custom-made wood and metal furniture and accessories.

“If you’re drawn to a rustic wood furniture item you see in a magazine, send or bring it to us and we’ll design your preferences, hand-mixed organic stain for the look you want and handcraft it for you,” Hughes said. “Since we launched the business seven months ago,” he added, “we’ve been exceeding sales every month. I think we’re the only shop customizing these designs in Mexico.”

Hughes, a native of Canada and retired executive involved in outsourcing management at companies in New Zealand and

Australia, has owned property in Puerto Aventuras for 11 years and has been a full-time resident for a little more than five years. As is the case for some men and women, “retirement wasn’t for me,” he admits.

Working with two finish carpenters – and looking for one more – some of his products have already been solicited by retailers in Mexico and the US for resale. The shop is also producing job lots such as 35 headboards for a small, local hotel and producing and shipping products to the US and Canada tariff-free because of NAFTA.

While the word “unique” – meaning “only one of its kind” – is often loosely used, it fits Hughes’ creations honestly since each grain and cut of specially selected, rough-hewn edge woods used for the tables are, like fingerprints, “unlike any other.”

Photographic art by well-known artist Gary Dillard, available for purchase, helps grace the showroom. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, visit the woodshop-showroom web site for more photos by clicking on the “Unique” logo at left and see the selection for yourself.

To visit the showroom from locations south of Playa del Carmen, take elevated Highway 307 north through Playa until you exit the bridge and see the sign “Paradisus”. Take the next retorno heading south and look for the Unique sign on your right. (More directions and contact information on the web site).


About Town…

Trivial pursuits drawing more

players to bi-monthly  games

Staff Feature
Shannon Rachynski picked up the microphone as some 44 Puerto Aventuras residents seated at 11 tables in Latitude 20 Restaurant Sunday looked up and waited attentively for her to pop the question.

“What,” Rachynski asked, “is the common name for the Abominable Snowman?” Heads bobbed and weaved in a hum of conspiratorial conversation, then down as hushed writers scribbled their answers on a prepared answer sheet representing a homegrown version of the Trivial Pursuits game.

It was the fourth session of a bi-monthly event spawned in early October by Rachynski and Latitude 20 owner Jim Stubbs to bring “fun” events to the community and share proceeds with needy organizations, such as the Red Cross. To date, estimated Rachynski, the events distributed 12,450 pesos to three needy organizations.

Good-hearted team

As a feel-good aside, winners of last Sunday’s jackpot – Anne Brown, Rick Neubert, Karla and Craig Hinton – folded their winnings into the amount to be donated to charity.

Seated at one table was Joe Mertens and his two children, Alan, 8, and Aly, 10, both pupils at the Colegio here. After Rachynski asked where TV’s Happy Days character “Fonzie” kept his office, we asked Mertens if the children wondered “What’s a Fonzie”? He smiled broadly and nodded vigorously. The children, who had said they were eager to play the game, weren’t even born in the Fonzie era.

Prior to the start of the game at 4 p.m. as clouds opened their spigots drenching the area, Rachynski went over the rules of the game for first-timers as players settled in comfortably under a generous and efficient palapa roof.

 Enjoys others having fun

A neatly mustachioed man with smiling eyes noted during a lull, that he participates more to enjoy neighbors having a good time while exercising their retention and recall abilities.

Teams of four, who give themselves names like “Smart Alecs”, occupy each table (though teams can be smaller) and all four contribute intelligence to the team answer.

For example, the abominable snowman is commonly known as “Yeti” in the Himalayas but is easily confused with the Pacific Northwest “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch” ape-like creature roaming the dense forests. That’s the fun of the game. How can somebody so right be so wrong, yes?

And speaking of trivial pursuits, where did the game originate, what year was it released, what year did it peak in North America and what company paid how much and when to purchase full rights to it?

The game’s genesis

The game originated in Montreal, Canada, when two newspapermen, Chris Haney, a photo journalist and Scott Abbot, a sports editor, lost pieces of their Scrabble game and decided to create a game of their own. That was in 1979. With some help, their game was released and marketed in 1982.

In 1984 when the game peaked, 20 million units were sold. The license changed hands several times until Hasbro bought full rights for $80 million. As of 2004, 88 million units had been sold in 26 countries and 17 languages, with 30 million manufactured by Northern Plastics of Elroy, Wisconsin, between 1983 and 1985.

Trivial Pursuits made it into the “Games Hall of Fame” in 1993. An on-line version was released in 2003 and various forms of the game found its way into television shows.

Prior to starting Sunday’s game, Rachynski said she was surprised by its growing popularity here and noted there is room for more participants. The next game is 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29.


Briefly Noted…

On the job – Puerto’s new security chief, Luis Eduardo Espinosa, showed up just in time to avoid gridlock inside the main gate last week where a large tractor trailer truck became disabled. The chief displayed logistical acumen using a police whistle and both arms to direct the traffic, probably like he did when he served in the federal police force…

Two thirds of Mexicans are against the decriminalization of marijuana despite the federal court’s recent decision that prohibiting it for medical and recreational use is unconstitutional. President Pena Nieto, who leans toward a conservative view, says he will open national debate on the topic… Carry-on baggage has increased, filling overhead compartments quickly and completely on some flights, since the airlines began charging extra for checked bags…

The World Amateur golf tourney will be held on the Riviera Maya on 8 to 24 September 2016 when 400 competitors from 72 countries are expected to compete on courses at Mayakoba and Playa Paraiso… Flights from France to Cancun continued normally last weekend despite the terror attacks, officials have reported…

The US and Mexico signed an agreement last week allowing Mexico to use raw data of land surface imagery from a US satellite, a deal that yields benefits to Mexico’s agriculture, forestry, geology, forestry, mapping and climate change studies… US approves cancer drug that reduces tumor size in lung cancer patients. The drug, Tagrisso, is manufactured by AstraZeneca…

Sargassum notwithstanding, 2015 has been a record year for turtle hatching along the Riviera Maya with unofficial sources estimating a turtle population of more than a million… While sargssum appears to be on the wane, there is an ongoing, coordinated study by the federal environmental agency, engineers and scientists debating the feasibility of creating barriers at sea to prevent kelp landfall…China is set to invest $2.5 billion in Mexico’s energy sector…

As two French visitors were scammed by “pirate” tour operators on 5th Avenue last weekend, officials were announcing plans to attack this growing threat to tourism along 5th Avenue… Analysts are reporting that the Big Three auto makers in the US are planning to shift more production of small cars to Mexico to take advantage of cheaper labor costs… Not surprising, the late rainy season is affecting profits in the lagging tourist season…

The Mail Bag…

Most tourists law abiding

Dear Editor:

Mr. Sindal, are you living under a tree? All these people complaining about the speed traps (even when you are under the speed allowed) are not people who go 90km because they think they can do whatever they choose while in Mexico.

Most of these tourists paid mucho pesos to come here and pretty much are law abiding citizens here in Mexico and at whatever country they come from, and leave with a very sour taste. Good for you, 11 years and no police activity. I can’t wait for your first time and see how you react!

Signed/Edward Lupa

No problem for most

Dear Editor:

In answer to Robert Rosania’s comment, drivers should take responsibility for their mistake. Not only do some break the law if they are speeding, but they put other peoples’ lives at risk.

You were not stopped for speeding because you were in a rental car full of luggage driving to the airport. Hundreds of people do that every day who don´t get stopped. The police have enough work stopping drivers who are speeding on their way to the airport. They should leave early, drive slowly and use seatbelts. They will be happier and trouble-free.

If people decide not to come to the Riviera Maya because they have been asked for a bribe after speeding, I think it is good news for the safety of the people who live here.I receive friends and family each year who use rental cars and none of them get problems because they do not speed.

You say that a lot of tourists have problems with the police, but I think the majority does not. Some people do not respect the speed limit but when you ask them, they will say they didn´t speed. Last point: I did not say it was right or wrong to pay a bribe. I just say it is foolish to complain to your embassy and admit you gave a bribe.

Signed/ T. Casino

The end

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

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