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Monthly Archives: January 2016

January 2016, Week 2

Disabled naval ship goes

under off south channel

Repair crews work to refloat her,

giving beachgoers days of drama

By Staff:

A Mexican Navy Polaris 2 interceptor patrol boat capable of 50 knots and a 350 mile range lost power (or fuel) while it was exiting the south Puerto Aventuras channel last Wednesday. It was rendered dead in the water and at the mercy of brisk SE wind that drove her into the reef rocks near the south channel exit.

Against the rocks, the vessel began to take on water as several Navy interceptors sped to the scene and attempted to free her from the rocky grip. Bathers at Omni Beach like Gayle and Deanne Sandholm, put down their books and stood to watch and photograph the attempted salvage operation in which no injuries were reported.

‘By midmorning we were joined by numerous others watching a ship pushed by the waves against the rocks at the end of the South pier in Fatima Bay. Efforts from other boaters in the area were unsuccessful in freeing it,” the Sandholms said. “Soon Marina Rescue boats arrived, then what appeared to be a large coast guard vessel.”

After numerous attempts to free the ship, “it continued to be tossed by the waves against the rocks. A little later what we took to be a large ferry arrived and continued the efforts to free the ship. On one occasion, we observed the cable between the vessels snap. By early afternoon the rescue efforts were continuing when we left for home.”

When the Sandholms returned to Omni beach late Thursday afternoon, they observed the ship, half submerged, just beyond the reef. Two marina rescue vessels were nearby.

Folks passing by might have had a clue to the unfolding drama when they heard the dark humor of the theme song from The Titanic playing over the Omni Beach Club speakers,” the Sandholms said.

“We returned to the Omni on Friday morning and observed the top of the ship sticking out of the water, just past the reef. Rescue vessels continued to stand by.”

On Friday afternoon, a gray, twin-prop plane without markings – evidently military or government issue – circled the Puerto Aventuras shore morning and afternoon for more than 45 minutes, circling and circling and leading observers to wonder what it was doing.

Perhaps it was checking on salvage operations for the sunken naval Polaris II patrol boat, or for a potential sargassum invasion or for any number of problems going on in the area better viewed from 5,000 or so feet. Later on Monday, naval damage control personnel were working to dismantle some items such as weaponry from the vessel and conduct a salvage operation.

This class vessel is one of the Mexican Navy’s more than 189 ships manned by a force of 56,000 personnel including reserves and some 130 aircraft that patrol the nation’s extensive 11,122 km (nearly 7,000 miles) of coastline. This class interceptor vessel is equipped with an auto-firing .50 caliber machine gun, carries a crew of four and can also transport a landing force of 18 marines.

The same brisk winds and choppy waters also spelled hard times for the purveyors of nautical services who had to deal with partially closed ports while tourists with US dollars were willing to spend on such experiences at an advantageous exchange rate.

race 2016

Puerto Aventuras gears up for 8th

annual road race slated Jan. 31

More than 500 runners expected;

Colonos seeks volunteers to help

By Staff:

With seven successful and popular road races already making history in Puerto Aventuras, the community is preparing for its 8th event scheduled for Jan. 31 with a call for volunteers to assist in a variety of tasks.

The route will be the same this year as last, beginning in the lot adjacent to the Porto Bello Fractional Apartments off the south marina canal, southeast along Boulevard Puerto Aventuras, into the new Phase 4 roadway then back to the finish line which is again this year at the “big palapa” at Dolphin Discovery in Centro, which is sponsoring the event and where food, massages, socialization and award ceremonies will be conducted.

Volunteers are needed for Friday, Jan. 29, Saturday, Jan.30 and the day of the race, Sunday, Jan. 31 to perform a variety of tasks necessary to the success of the event. Call the Colonos office at 984-873=5116 or 5117 to offer your services.

There are 1, 5 and 10K events, with the first beginning at 8 a.m., and a 400-meter event for children. Sign up at the Colonos office. Check out the details contained in the above poster to learn how well you are doing reading Spanish.

 

A Paamul Charity Garage Sale will be held from 8 to 11:30 on Sunday, Jan. 17 at the site of David’s Store at the Highway and Paamul Road. Clothing, shoes, kitchen and household items, appliances, toys, bedding, children’s items, electronics, furniture, building supplies, tools, books, and everything else. All proceeds go to charity projects by Paamul’s Service to Others Committee… Drawing workshop  in all techniques – graphite, prismacolor, inks and watercolor to name a few – continue today (Wednesday, Jan. 13)  from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Information and Art Center. Oil painting classes continue at the same place every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.… Trivial Pursuits Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy.  The Dec. 13 trivial game collected  gifts and raised 3,000 pesos with which to buy more gifts for the children of the poblado … Back by popular demand is the Petanque tournament for another go-around on Jan. 23 at the Information and Art Center… Annual road race scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31. Time is getting short so sign up at the Colonos office. There are 10K and 5K races and shorter jaunts for children…  About 30 volunteers are needed for two days before and the day of the race to help with various activities to make this successful event continue. Sign up at or call the Colonos office to volunteer and help your community. (984-873-5116).… Group Spanish lessons are returning to Puerto Aventuras this year with Maestra Gloria Contreras who has been teaching informal groups here for quite a few years. Classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. for beginners and 12:30 p.m. for advanced and intermediate. Contact her at gloriatraducciones@hotmail.com or call cel 984-108-3517 for more information… Christmas tree collection for recycling will be at the recycling center at the skate park Friday,  Feb. 5. between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m…

Crime Watch…

It’s easy to get scammed

when airport is jammed

By Staff:
When he isn’t vacationing at his villa in Puerto Aventuras, Randy Widmer is busy raising Tennessee Walker horses on his ranch outside of Calgary, Canada.

But he wasn’t horsing around one morning last week during breakfast at The Pub as he recounted details of his wife’s pick-pocketed cell phone and iPad and the arrogance of the suspected thief who offered to sell the phone back to them for $150.

“The airport was really busy when we arrived,” Widmer recalled. “We didn’t have luggage, only carry-ons, so we didn’t need to go to baggage claim. As we maneuvered through the busy lobby, my wife had two small satchels over her shoulders, one of them carrying her phone and an iPad in separate zippered pockets.”

When his wife tried to retrieve her phone to make a call at the airport,the phone wasn’t there. The zipper was still zipped, but no phone. What happened?

Arriving home in Puerto Aventuras, they received a call on their house phone from their daughter in Calgary. She said a man had called her from Cancun, identified the missing cell phone, and said he had found it at the Cancun airport and wished to return it … for $150. She put him in touch with her parents in Puerto Aventuras.

“We arranged a meeting in Cancun,” Widmer said. “The young man seemed a nice sort. We negotiated the return of the phone for $40 and then asked him where he had found it. He said in the baggage claims area. We thought that was strange since we didn’t need to go to baggage claims.” That was one of those “gotcha” moments that Widmer let slip by in preference to get things over with.

It wasn’t until Widmer and his wife returned to their villa that they learned the iPad, which was in a separate zipped pocket of the same bag, was also missing.

And still is. Ironically, the issue of self-protection and security awareness was raised at the Dec. 20 Colonos Assembly where there were calls for residents to take some responsibility for their security and foster  cooperation toward that end with the Colonos.

The phone theft could happen at any airport or supermarket or restaurant anywhere. It gives notice that vigilance needs to be a constant if it is to serve man well.

Nature Watch…

 Steps in place to preserve

beauty of Phase 4 caleta

By Staff
Our first outing of the year to the caleta in Phase 4 on Sunday held a few surprises, including what we in jest noted was a new one-room hotel complete with a man sleeping in it, putting the otherwise pristine promontory of rocks to good use.

On our approach to the makeshift structure, we noted it was enterprisingly fashioned with sticks and branches and various plastic tarpaulins to provide shelter for one or maybe two people. A rickety white plastic chair was perched on another waterside rock a few yards away from the shelter that overlooks the caleta entrance channel from the sea. An impromptu guard shelter, most likely.

Leaning against the shelter – we could call it a lean-to –  were three large buoys of the type that have been strung across the caleta entrance from the sea to keep motorized vessels away from the ecologically and historically important site of a Mayan ruin. The idea is to preserve the area for less invasive human activity such as kayaking. paddle boarding, swimming, sitting and thinking about nature’s wonders and helping keep the place free as possible of flotsam and jetsam.

The latter, unfortunately, also rides in with the tide, clinging to the few scattered patches of sargassum that were in evidence Sunday morning. It deterred some potential swimmers from entering the water in deference to health cautions, albeit one brave soul slipped in and remains fit and well as of this writing.

The tide had just peaked and was on the ebb, swirling along the rocky shore with its cargo of sargassum and assorted plastic remnants of cups, forks, knives, bottle caps, and several small bottles of the type that contain pharmaceutical remedies. In other words, the kind of stuff that kept the wary high and dry.

In the new absence of motorized watercraft spewing nauseating fumes of diesel fuel and discharging dozens of snorkelers into the caleta amid the blare of rock music , the site on Sunday was blissful, peaceful, the embodiment of wondrous silence, the illusion of peace on earth. Two egrets, their white plumage reflecting the morning sun, generously shared their wild space with the few humans milling about.

The developer, as promised last year, is doing his part to preserve the nuggets of nature comprised of the sandy-bottomed caleta itself, the ruin, the nature reserve containing the cenote that feeds the caleta. Also, the two palapas on the side of the main road that provide covered parking for bicycles and mark the entrance to various trails through the mangrove and along the cenote to reach the ruin and caleta.

Despite these efforts to accommodate the residents of Puerto Aventuras, we noticed that a gate at the former entrance to the caleta has been seriously bent to allow people to crawl through it, as one innocent couple did  on Sunday because they didn’t know about the trailheads at the palapas a little farther down the road. They followed us out through the trails and were happy to know they did not have to experience the indignity of crawling through a gate in the future.

Preserving the caleta is a common cause. Rubbish barrels are there to be used. Respect for nature and behavioral decorum sensitive to the needs of others will pay social and ecological dividends well into the future.

The Mail Bag…

Not answer he wanted, but…

Dear Editor:
Thank you for answering my questions. It may not be what I wanted to hear, but your publication provides more information than any other publication that I know of. Thank you for doing such a great job of reporting.

Signed/ Jerry Sutherland

(Ed. Note: Thanks for the feedback and the kudos. Useful information is life’s roadmap.

Osmosis reversed…

Dear Editor:
It appears the reverse osmosis water project is not going through due to a foreign firm that was expected to construct the project.  This is unfortunate as it would likely increase our home values and provide good drinking water to many.

I thought that in one of the previous articles, it was stated that the reverse osmosis plant was already built and it was simply a matter of running the water to the Puerto Aventuras pipe system, then cleaning the existing plumbing?

Perhaps I recall this incorrectly, but I thought the well had been dug and we were much farther along.  2016 was to be implementation year.  Is this project now on indefinite hold?

Also, any updates the Fiber Optic lines that already reside in Puerto Aventuras and simply needed to be run out to the highway to bring high speed internet to our homes?

Signed/Robert Rosania

(Ed. Note: The reverse osmosis ship appears dead in the water for the moment, perhaps waiting for a fresh wind to fill its sails. The Pelican never was told or said it was a done deal, just a plan, reminding us that deals aren’t done until they’re done. Fiber optics still a work in process. Viva manana!)

Love is in the air

Dear editor:

Keep up on the great stories and great information! Love your paper.

Signed/MaryAnn Parrack

 

The Roundup…

The state governor Roberto Borge Angulo responded to last week’s item in the Pelican about moving the Playa del Carmen airstrip to a new airfield under construction near the Puerto Aventuras villages west of the highway. He said 60 percent of the money has been allocated and used but that an extension of time has been requested so the new strip can be finished this year with the release of the additional funds needed. There was no information released as to the fate and potential uses of the prime land that is the current airstrip in Playa…

Using empty lots as dumping grounds by contractors was an issue visited last week by The Pelican. Now we learn that a similar situation in Chetumal has moved officials to consider tweaking local laws to assure empty lots are cleared after use to prevent development of mosquito breeding grounds…

The Red Cross Ambulance is back in Akumal but for how long depends on the willingness of locals to support it financially. Activist Marieke Brown said the community needs 65,000 pesos per month for the year and so far is 20,000 pesos short. “We are looking for kind individuals and businesses to help us to raise this and keep the ambulance in Akumal permanently,” she said. Contact her at 984-105-8475 for assistance in making a donation…

The federal electricity commission says prices for power will remain fairly constant in Solidaridad despite the growth of 10 percent demand reflecting the number of new consumers, up 10 percent from last year and due mostly to population growth west of Highway 307…

911 will become the only emergency number in Quintana Roo sometime in April, report emergency officials. The public 066 and Red Cross 065 numbers will cease to exist then and all calls will be channeled through the 911 number for traffic accidents, theft, fire, emergency health issues currently operating out of various numbers. Quintana Roo is one of eight states that will be used as a model to test the 911 system that will include real-time phone location capability.

Expect gradual increases in the cost of commodities such as meat and daily bread if the value of the pesos against the dollar continues its decline, says the services and tourism branch of the National Chamber of Commerce…

The Mexican Senate wants a free-trade agreement with Cuba to promote more economic activity and facilitate the exchange of goods and services on numerous fronts including oil exploration, science and technology. Mexico is Cuba’s sixth largest supplier with exports of $392 million last year versus imports of $11 million and the two countries – Cancun to Havana – are only320  miles apart from the Yucatan.

The Mexican peso fell to record low against the dollar last week slumping to 18.2 due to uncertainty in global markets and declining oil prices. The slump gives tourists with US dollars more purchasing power. The peso has fallen 20 percent against the dollar during the last year…

 

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of non-profit 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 – Previous issue below

January 2016, Week 1

 

Puerto Aventuras coed sets

new Mexico free-dive record

 

By Staff

Here’s a story that could leave you breathless. Camila Jaber Lara, 20, of Puerto Aventuras, broke the Mexico women’s national free-dive record by descending 65 meters (213 feet) in 2 minutes and 45 seconds during recent world competition in San Andres, Colombia.

The earlier record for Mexican women was 58 meters, or 190.3 feet. The current world record for women is 160 meters (524 feet).

 

The daughter of Felix Jaber and Georgina Lara of Puerto Aventuras Boulevard, Miss Jaber, whose early education was at the local Colegio and in Playa del Carmen, is currently an environmental engineering student at the Technical College in Monterrey. She is preparing for world championship competition to be held in April at Long Island, Bahamas, where she hopes to best her own record. She said the event there is akin to “the Wimbledon of tennis.”

 

Her performance in Colombia generated enthusiasm among peer observers, as reported in the official results that had her “showing great potential.” On her first-day dive of the 6-day competition, “she retrieved the tag at 61 meters” parlaying that into the new national record 65 meter dive the following day.

For the laymen, free diving is an endurance sport that relies on a diver’s ability to hold his or her breath and withstand changes in atmospheric pressure without use of any breathing apparatus. Miss Jaber is able to hold her breath during fitness exercises for 4.5 minutes, a feat accomplished in only three years of training in the sport.

An engaging conversationalist with the calm demeanor of a Tibetan monk, she said she “started free-diving because, from living in Puerto Aventuras, I fell in love with the ocean and I wanted to be able to enjoy it. Free-diving gives me the freedom I was looking for,” Miss Jaber said during an interview while visiting her parents for the holidays.

 

The diving champ goes into a completely opposite direction for her recreational sport as a member of the college’s rock climbing club, scaling walls upwards ashore-  and then diving downward asea.

 

The dives are made from a special platform that fits a team of four with room to prepare by relaxing muscles, organizing the mind and concentrating on breathing. Meanwhile, a team handles a line she will use to guide her dive. The line is set at the pre-determined goal chosen by the diver. A small tag, or flag, is attached to the desired depth that the diver must retrieve to prove the goal has been reached.

“My ankle is tethered to the guide line for safety. I have a diver’s watch at my wrist, an alarm at my ear to help warn when I have reached my goal, and a nose guard,” she explained, “but no breathing apparatus.”

Free-divers benefit from a reaction known as “mammalian dive reflex.” Briefly noted, it slows the heart when the body descends into water, thus requiring less oxygen. Nonetheless, the practiced but non-competitive free-diver reaches a limit of about three minutes total under water, compared to Miss Jaber’s current 4.5 minutes and climbing.

She said her descent was guided by the line for 25 meters after which she went into free-fall until reaching and retrieving the flag. On her way up, as all divers are, she was met at 30 meters from the surface by two divers to assist if necessary in the event of an emergency.

Miss Jaber is now certified to teach free-diving fitness training and has been conducting classes here during the holiday college break. Her next course here begins Jan. 8 for three days. “The only prerequisite is knowing how to swim,” she said. Of her own enthusiasm for the sport, she explains that “free-diving for me is meditation in movement. Scuba divers dive to look around, free-divers dive into ourselves.”

She is now also busy soliciting sponsorships for the April competition in the Bahamas that will cost about $8,000 USD. Her contacts for sponsorship and instruction:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CamilaJaberFreediver

Email:camilajaberfreedive@gmail.com

Phone:9841133981

Paypal account:camilajaber@hotmail.com

 

Assembly 3…

How to beat the deadbeats

is a universal condo enigma

Staff Commentary:

The recurring and frustrating riddle of getting freeloading owners to pay their condo maintenance fees came up again at the Dec. 20 Colonos Assembly.

While the Colonos itself has its share of parasites, the problem, we are told, affects most condo associations in varying degrees. Condo administrators realize by now that these spongers abuse the system with impunity because they can!

There is not enough push-back from condo administrators and boards, not enough thinking outside the box and an appalling lack of legal tools provided by various levels of government to end this highly inequitable practice by some opportunistic owners.

During the Assembly, condo administrator Carlos Suarez, who is a member of the Colonos Vigilance Committee, proposed one cooperative effort by administrators and the Colonos. Briefly, administrators could write to the Colonos asking that gate-cards of an egregious deadbeats be revoked. The Colonos appeared amenable to the proposal.

The idea, unfortunately, is more like a slap on the wrist and not sufficient to extract payments from absentee owners who pocket the rent, don’t need the gate card, don’t pay the fee, and laugh all the way to the bank.

Elevate the Suarez proposal to the next level, as was reportedly done several years ago at one condo by a group of owners. A deadbeat who hadn’t paid a dime in about four years and haughtily rejected pleas for payment, came back one weekend to find the unit’s water valve had been shut off.

He turned it back on. The next day, he found the water pipe severed. His offer to pay pitifully partial arrears out of more than four years was rejected by the condo board. A short time later he sold the unit to somebody who pays the fee on time  like the majority of owners do, and the arrears were collected at sale. It worked!

Problem is, apparently, shutting off water is illegal. Why? It isn’t potable and therefore not a major health threat. This is one of many outdated laws riding the books that are illogical and biased and need updating.  Does not the water concessionaire legally deprive homeowners of water when they don’t pay the water bill? Does ePura or Bonafant leave a five-gallon jug by your door if the money isn’t there? Can  you walk out of Chedraui with a 5-gallon jug of potable water without paying?

Suarez explains that condos usually have only one meter so it can’t be shut. The water payment is made from the common condo treasury that includes the deadbeat units, meaning the other owners are paying the deadbeat’s water bill, furnishing a free ride for the moment. But each unit, usually, has its own set of water pipes that could be individually constrained and, as we mentioned above, has been done with a good and equitable result.

Suarez says administrators themselves cannot legally deprive a non-paying unit of water. However, could not the same process as proposed by Suarez with the Colonos to cancel gate cards be made with the local, private water concession?

Could not a request in writing to the water concession saying that unit such and such isn’t paying its share (water bill divided by number of units = average cost) and request service be ended at that unit until maintenance payment is received? Could not condo owners provide the concessionaire reason to act by withholding the deadbeat shares of the condo association’s water bill payment?

Could not legislators be lobbied to modify the water law as it regards resort properties whose owners, it is generally presumed, can afford to make the payments?

The non-payment curse is a preventable drain on association financial/manpower resources  and an effrontery to the majority of paying owners. A solution must exist. First, shed the pervasive “can’t do” mindset that impedes progress on this front, then tackle the Devil’s details and get it done.

 

Drawing worshop  in all techniques – graphite, prismacolor, inks and waterolor to name a few – begin today (Wednesday, Jan. 6)  from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Information and Art Center. Oil painting classes continue at the same place every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.… Trivial Pursuits Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy.  The Dec. 13 trivial game collected  gifts and raised 3,000 pesos with which to buy more gifts for the children of the poblado … Annual road race scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31. Time is getting short so sign up at the Colonos office. There are 10K and 5K races and shorter jaunts for children. More information later. About 30 volunteers are needed for two days before and the day of the race to help with various activities to make this successful event continue. Sign up at or call the Colonos office to volunteer and help your community. (984-873-5116).… Group Spanish lessons are returning to Puerto Aventuras this year with Maestra Gloria Contreras who has been teaching informal groups here for quite a few years. Classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. for beginners and 12:30 p.m. for advanced and intermediate. Contact her at gloriatraducciones@hotmail.com or call cel 984-108-3517 for more information… Christmas tree collection for recycling will be at the recycling center at the skate park this Friday, Feb. 8 and also on Friday,  Feb. 5. between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m… Also upcoming is cooler weather, says the weatherman, a return to local schools today (Wednesday Jan.6) and re-opening of the INM office in Playa after being closed since before Christmas…

 

Commerce Corner…

Non-government agency claims

PA’s population about 22,000

By Staff

A population study of Puerto Aventuras by a non-government organization (NGO) called “Coexistence” predicts a Puerto Aventuras population of 22,000 between 2014-2018, a much higher figure than the roughly 9,000 counted in a 2014 municipal census.

Authorities explain that the municipal census was marred by lack of cooperation from residents who didn’t return polling papers or answer the door to pollsters because they were at work.

An alarming claim in the study is that Puerto Maya is growing so rapidly that infrastructure is unable to keep pace, leaving too many children without early childhood education for lack of local school space. Some 22 percent of the population figure reportedly represents children under 15.

Another growth spurt in Puerto Maya is expected when developers begin building more homes in the community’s third development phase. The report lists Puerto Maya with 16,000 residents and Puerto Aventuras at around 5,000.

An informal count of the resort population by the Colonos in 2013 showed around 1,500 permanent residents, increasing to about 2,200 in the high season.

 

Novamar insurance expands

representation in Puerto

Novamar Insurance Mexico spokesman Michael Kelleher reports addition of staff covering the Riviera Maya from its Puerto Aventuras base.

“Novamar Insurance México (MGI Agente de Seguros, S.A. de C.V has named Mick Hoffman, partner in Paradise Professionals with Launa ‘Cha Cha’ Brockman, as exclusive agent here. Hoffman has more than 40 years of experience as an insurance attorney in the United States before settling in Puerto three years ago.

The addition of Hoffman adds broader coverage opportunities and efficient service to this area, Keller said.He said the company has designed special insurance programs to fill the void of well-designed insurance options for homeowners, renters, and condo complex associations tailored specifically for ex-pats and snowbirds.” he said.,

“We can now provide residents and condominium complexes coverage through US agents, brokers and expert claims specialists via a US company with international backing and local service in Mexico”.

“Novamar has developed specialized coverages with flexibility to select tailored plans for properties with replacement value or market value, glass breakage, electronics, jewelry, theft, with or without hurricane coverage, even for renters, and also, special endorsements for tenants or renters. The plans can also include coverage for golf carts,”  Hoffman added.

Novamar Insurance México provides comprehensive insurance for businesses, boats and autos as well. Contact Hoffman at mickhoffman@gmail.com or Cel 984-125-4612.

Click the Novamar icon at left to learn more about the company and its products.

 

Where is it?…

Debit card awakens after 8-day coma

By Staff
Last week we reported what we saw as difficulties renewing our debit card at Bancomer. We admit we are spoiled by the model of efficient customer service in North American banking that is fueled by government oversight, competition, studied business sense and the will and training to assure exemplary service and information practices.

US banks, for example, take the initiative to mail you a renewal card with the same numbers that requires only a one-minute phone call to activate. At Bancomer here, in contrast, we had a nearly two-hour wait at a branch office and made to sign a bunch of papers. We were then given new cards by a customer service (?) representative with different numbers than the old ones.

We asked if the cards were then active and we were told they were ready for use by the customer service (?) agent. But they weren’t. Soriana refused it. Sam’s Club, where a clerk told us we had to wait 24 hours, refused it. A US credit card bailed us out.

The holidays were upon us and the banks were closed. We tried to activate the card via the internet but it didn’t work. Something might have been lost in translation. During the holiday respite, a friend suggested we call one of the numbers on the back of the card. We did. Another 15 minutes on the phone and we were told we need to slip the cards in an ATM machine to activate them using our old pin number. We never use an ATM machine, nor do we intend to because we plan not to need to. Would the old pin number work or were we supposed to have a new one? Our cards went into an 8-day coma over the holidays.

On the first Monday of the new year, we went to the bank at 9:02 a.m. Do your banking early for faster service. A guard at the door led us to an English-speaking customer representative. We explained the problem. She showed us how to use the ATM to activate the cards. All was done in five minutes. An email from the bank at precisely the time we activated the card at the ATM was waiting for us on our computer at home.  It said, in translation, “This is the notice to confirm the (activation) operation, the only official proof is the statement that issued BBVA Bancomer.”

We refrain from overly criticizing the way the bank conducts its business here, but we do suggest it become more sensitive to non-Spanish speaking residents by preparing some instructions in English on how to proceed on those transactions. It would save time and aggravation on both sides.That being said, we quote the bard: “All’s well that ends well.”

 

The Roundup…

 

Gasoline prices dropped by 3 percent last week. Magna went from $13.57 per liter (78 cents USD) to $13.16 (76 cents) or $3.04 per gallon. Similar reductions were made for premium and diesel products. Next month, prices will fluctuate in a 3 percent range monthly as more fuel imports hit the Mexican market…Meanwhile, the average per gallon price in the US for regular dropped below $2 this week…

Not to be outdone, the CFE (Mexican Federal Electricity Commission) and SHC (Finance Secretariat) jointly announced a 2 percent rate reduction for low-consumption households beginning this week. Other user rates will be regulated and updated monthly by the SHC…

The Red Cross Ambulance is back in Akumal but for how long depends on the willingness of locals to support it financially. Activist Marieke Brown said the community needs 65,000 pesos per month for the year and so far is 20,000 pesos short. “We are looking for kind individuals and businesses to help us to raise this and keep the ambulance in Akumal permanently.” Reach her at 984-105-8475…

Solidaridad recorded 14 of the 95 cases of Chikungunya reported in the northern part of the state and also registered 750 cases of dengue fever, 60 percent more than in 2014. Officials say part of the problem is that some private properties prevent health officials from spraying. In PA, the Colonos sprays religiously but can’t reach every drop of water on leaves or in tree trunks where skeeters incubate, say administrators…

Rumor has it that the aeropista in Playa del Carmen, just off Highway 307, may close operations sometime in February, meaning, it is presumed, the landing strip in Puerto Aventuras will be ready? Thus far, the supposed road to the strip located at the retorno to Chedraui continues to be barricaded. (See aerial photo…)

The new year was off to a bad start in Playa del Carmen where a gang-related murder and a traffic fatality involving an ambulance striking a pedestrian in the Colonia Luis Donaldo Colosia just north of the tourist zone occurred. Also, a family of six suffered injuries when their speeding car slammed into a cement wall on Playa del Carmen Boulevard (under the overpass) and a pedestrian was hit by a car that didn’t stop then struck again by a taxi while lying on the road. The victim is reported in serious condition at the hospital… Meanwhile, hotel occupancy rates in Playa were down about 4 percent from last year’s holiday surge… And new mayor Gisel Mota of Temixco,  a city of 100,000 south of Mexico City, took the oath of office on New Year’s Day last Friday and was immediately murdered by four masked gunmen the next day, making international news pages. Three suspects have been arrested including a woman and a minor and two others were killed in  shootout with police…

Small-scale pot farmers in Mexico say US laws liberalizing marijuana use has cut badly into their business. Farmers north of the border increased their crops legally to generate 2013-2014 sales of $2.7billion, up from $1.5 billion, while Mexico’s farmers have seen prices drop from $100 per kilo to $30, causing some small farmers to give it up, reports the Arc View Group, a cannabis industry investment and research company….

Beachfront businesses in Playa continued to devise methods to keep sargassum off the beaches, the latest being the use of a long net that works fairly well in calm waters, not so much in rough water, according to reports… Cost of admission to the AAA archeological sites in the area has been increased to 65 pesos. The sites include Tulum, Coba, Maya Museum of Cancun among others out of this area. The AA site of Xcaret and Xel Ha will also cost 65 pesos to visit the ruins only…

Rubbish collection for the Solidaridad municipality averages 500 tons a day. But an influx of tourists including a surge of 5- and 6-member families from Montreal, Canada, at some condo complexes helped boost the holiday collections to 750 tons. Some of it was left uncollected in locations such as Puerto Aventuras to fester for a day or two, generating strong odors as did overuse of sewerage facilities. It also generated more robust rodent activity as more fat raccoons were seen flitting about…

Nature Watch…

 

Nature is hard to watch

when  covered with debris

By Staff
Inger Bjerre is the proud owner of a gorgeous apartment on Caleta Xel-Ha overlooking the sprawling marina vista on one side and a partial rooftop view of the rolling sea on the other. In between the sea and her unit is a private empty lot for sale that’s been transformed into a visual disturbance. Construction workers for various companies, including the Colonos, have used the lot to mix cement for nearby jobs, destroying natural growth along the sidewalk, chopping or otherwise downing flora, creating mounds of rotting brush and just leaving it all there when the jobs are done.

The lot is no different than many others in the community that fall victim to what appears to be a belief by contractors that part of their destiny to create dumps on other people’s land alongside their new buildings.

“We are asked by the Colonos board to ‘do our share’ to help keep the community clean, yet this practice goes on, destroying the views of people who have paid good money for a nice place to live,” Ms. Bjerre said.

Colonos general manager Armando Rincon said workers installing new lights on the road recently did use the lot and Ms. Bjerre noted that workers on a building next to hers also used it at about the same time to mix cement, leaving unsightly gravel and cement particles on the sod sidewalk that people could trip on.

Left to Mother Nature’s whims, empty lots throughout the community could stand more like coddled pocket parks if only contractors did not violate them, Ms. Bjerre inferred.  She suggests that security personnel making the rounds should stop and inquire of workers who are seen dumping trash or making cement in private empty lots – probably without owners’ permission – be asked to provide the contractor’s name and phone number if possible so the Colonos would know who to contact to clean and haul the mess away.

In true “practice what you preach” fashion, Ms. Bjerre did recently approach workers making cement at the lot across from her condo to inquire who they were working for. “The Colonos,” they replied. They were working on the street light improvement project. Oops! 

Rincon said the Colonos regularly tries to clean private lots, in deference to concern for local health maintenance, before every mosquito season and collects its own construction leavings when a job is done. That is a practice that all contractors should follow, said Ms. Bjerre, if the bPuerto Aventuras paradise is to remain a jewel in the Mayan Riviera’s crown.     

 

The Mail Bag…

Osmosis plan reversed

Dear Editor:

Any more news about the proposed ferry from Southern United States and the Yucatan Peninsula? And what happened to the reverse osmosis system to purify the water that was proposed for Puerto Aventuras? As much as we pay for water, you cannot drink it.

Signed/Jerry Sutherland

(Ed.Note: We have already published a story the ferry service has again been postponed another year. Similarly, we have reported the merger of the water concessionaire with a foreign firm that was expected to construct the reverse osmosis infrastructure didn’t work out. The water concession remains the same.)

On providing a service

Dear Editor:

Thank you for this wonderful publication! We are new to Paamul and learn so much from every story. And happy holidays!

Signed/ Gina Dixon Roemer

(Ed. Note: Welcome to Paamul and thank you for the feedback. It’s always nice to know we are are being useful.)

Sometimes, the sword is mightier than the pen

Dear Editor:

Capt. Freddy of the Knotty Hooker put owners Rhonda and Gary Johnson on quite a fish! Over 450-pound swordfish! Although several have been caught here, none that big. Several have been seen much bigger though- an 800-pounder beached off Puerto Morelos and I saw a 900-plus pounder around the Barcelo four years ago. In the 26 years I have been here, I usually see one or two a year, but this was a beauty. Swordfish are around in this area, but usually not targeted by Charter boats since the gear is very specialized (expensive) and odds are not that great.

Signed/Andy Beltran

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

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

For emergency phone numbers, church services, “resident” and “gate” card forms and processes; rules for golf carts and motorcycles, pets, construction by-laws, recycling schedule and other pertinent community information and services, please click on the Puerto Aventuras Colonos icon below. Thank you

PA Colonos Information

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