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Monthly Archives: January 2017

January 18, 2017

PA’s premier annual race event
gets under way Sunday at 8 a.m.

Registration open through Saturday

What has become a premier event in Puerto Aventuras kicks off again Sunday, Jan. 22, as the 9th annual 1, 5 and 10k road race gets under way at 8 a.m. outside the Dolphin Discovery on Bahia Xcacel.

No telling what kind of courage you’ll see crossing the finish line. (File Photo)

There were close to 500 runners of all ages last year with good representation from the x-pat and snowbird community. A similar number is expected again this year, report race officials. Runners, strollers and walkers  – men, women, children – wishing to participate have until Saturday to register.

Dolphin Discovery, one of Puerto Aventuras’ popular interactive tourist attractions and race sponsor, announces there will be 150,000 pesos in donated prizes and that all proceeds will be directed to Transformar Educando, a certified teaching and social services agency working with the most under-served populations of Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Chemuyil.

Interested parties are invited to register this week at the Colonos office in Centro Comercial Plaza to receive their chip ticket and pay the registration fee of 250 pesos for adults and 200 pesos for youngsters. The children’s race will begin as soon as the adult 5 and 10k races end.

The event attracts runners from other communities along the Maya coast and from other states as well. Residents and tourists are welcomed to join the excitement from the reception area in front of the Dolphin Discovery store to cheer the runners as they cross the finish line.

Gunman kills five, injures 12
in Playa tourist zone lounge

By Staff
A lone gunman using a rifle hidden under his clothing walked into the Blue Parrot lounge in Playa del Carmen early Monday morning and started shooting in what police initially believed was related to a drug cartel dispute.

When it was over five people including three security personnel were reported dead and 12 injured. There were conflicting reports in the local press concerning the escape and/or detainment of suspects and other details.

Later on Monday, Atty. Gen. Miguel Angel Pec Cen called a press conference to avoid leaks that could mislead the public and to protect the integrity of the investigation.

He said the dead included two Canadians, two from Colombia and an Italian and that three suspects have been detained pending review of security cameras. One of the injured is in serious condition, he said. He said BPM security personel were first on the scene and were involved in detaining suspects.

The lounge was reportedly jammed with more than 200 mostly foreign tourists by festival’s end.  Nearby streets had thousands more revelers. One local newspaper described the event as one where “the sale of drugs abounds and rivers of alcohol flow.”

The festival, in its 10th year, is produced by a Canadian business group, reports the local press. The loud festival has reportedly drawn objections from the business community concerned about tainting the tourist destination’s image.

The festival was created 10 years go by Canadians Craig Pettigrew and Phillip Pulitano. BPM stands for Bartenders, Promoters and Musicians. While not all names of the injured and dead were available on Monday, it appeared none were from Puerto Aventuras.

News of the shootings spread quickly on the international wires, reported in Monday’s newspapers and on television evening newscasts.

Officials investigating the case said that as of Monday they did not believe the incident to be motivated by terrorism. At yesterday’s level of investigation, officials said it may have been prompted by a personal or drug-related feud.

Hurry, hurry.hurry for your curry!

A homespun charity night of ‘curry’ as you like it hosted by Bet, Amy and John Hughes  has been part of the Puerto Aventuras scene for quite a few years. Now its popularity has outgrown the Hughes home and will he held instead at the Latitude 20 Restaurant at 6:30 P.M., Friday, Jan. 20. Ticket price of 200 pesos is donated to the community center in the poblado, home of Transformar Educando and Friends of Puerto Aventuras (FOPA). They offer basic education and skills classes to adults and children and a host of social services. Tickets available at Latitude 20. Choose between four types of curry that includes medium hot and hot turkey curry with mixed vegetables and spices, Caribbean vegan and Caribbean fish curry.

LEARNING TO SPEAK SPANISH can take you a longer way than you think. It is the language of 21 countries including several in Europe and Africa.

Spanish classes taught with expertise and humor by Maestra and certified translator Gloria Contreras, who has been teaching informal groups here for quite a few years, are under way at the Latitude 20 Restaurant. Beginners class from 9 to 10 a.m. and advanced class from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cost per one-hour class in is 130 pesos ($6.29 USD). The maestra asks that 10 classes be paid in advance to incentivize attendance and learning. Contact her at [email protected] or call cel 984-108-3517 for more information…

A carnival of games such as ring toss, water balloon toss and trivia booths among 12 game booths will get underway at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at Latitude 20 Restaurant. It’s an event for all ages best enjoyed with teams of four to maximize points for prizes. Sign up with team name and number of players by Jan. 28 with Jill Schneden at [email protected]. Tickets are 50 pesos per person and all proceeds are donated to the poblado Community Center.

The Round-up…

THE RIGHT THING – More people are parking golf carts in designated lots, leaving street and car lot spaces for cars and delivery vehicles in Centro. (Staff Photo)

It looks as if ‘cart” drivers are beginning to cooperate with the Colonos by parking in the new spaces in and around the Centro commercial area. A few drivers headed for one of the stores for a short stop for whatever reason didn’t park in the new cart lot and ate up several spaces for cars and vehicles unloading goods at Centro businesses…

US fugitive William Bowen, who was apprehended here last April by US marshals and returned to Colorado to face multiple fraud charges there, remains in a Colorado jail without bail awaiting a second trial, reports Monica Staab, one of his alleged Colorado fraud victims. Bowen ran a highly questionable real estate “club” – International Travel Club (ITC) – at a rented office in the Bamboo building off the new marina for a short time before being outed and returned to the US. The ITC office here was immediately closed and ITC gone with the wind…

From NBA to MBA? – A couple of US National Basketball Association (NBA) teams played games in Mexico City last week, giving Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera high hopes that Mexico City could someday have an NBA (or Mexico Basketball Association (MBA) of its own. Given that dream, maybe Puerto Aventuras will consider a basketball court at the new yet-to-be developed community park?

The first monthly payment of $1,000 to Transformar Educando was made last week by the Colonos, reports GM Armando Rincon. The payment was approved by unanimous vote of the Colonos Assembly held in December. Transformar Educando provides educational and social services to the neediest populations in Puerto Aventura, Akumal and Chemuyil. The state-certified agency says it will render a fiscal report annually to the Colonos Assembly…

Hilton Hotels plans to add nine new properties to its Mexican hotel porfolio including a 93-room The Fives in downtown Playa del Carmen and a Hilton Garden Inn with 128 rooms in Merida. Hilton’s executives say tourism continues to flourish in Mexico. In all, Hilton will add 1,200 rooms in Mexico between 2017 and 2019…

Fire believed caused by an electrical problem damaged a palapa and three kitchens at Bahia Principe resort and golf course located just south of Akumal in the municipality of Tulum. The course is frequented by some Puerto Aventuras golfers…

Retailers in Merida say they will not raise prices beyond 15 percent in a concerted move to remain below the increases in gasoline prices and ward off runaway inflation….

An attempt to take command of an irregular colony of some 50 families in Puerto Aventuras was thwarted by the colonists and municipal police last week. Colonists told police men wearing masks and wielding pistols tried to drive into the colony saying they were taking control. Police allowed the intruders to leave without further ado as colonists vowed to protect their community…

The state’s  transportation authority plans to digitalize its data on standard taxi concessions to crosscheck with the attorney general’s data base. The goal is to prevent the hiring of drivers who have criminal records to further ensure the safety of public transport passengers…

Animal rights protesters reportedly prevented some people from entering a touring circus in Tulum and in the Puerto Aventuras poblado last week because the circus includes a show with captive animals…

Watch your stuff – A Brazilian visitor traveling on a bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen left the bus when it stopped to allow passengers to buy coffee. When he returned he found his luggage had been entered and told police more than $1,000 stolen. Police said suspect passengers had disembarked and did not return….

HAVING A BALL in a local condo pool is a playboy locust left over from the October swarm here. (Staff Photo)

US campaign’s threats, peso’s decline,
dull Mexico’s economic outlook
Price hikes already hurting local labor force 

By Staff
The Mexican peso hit a record low last week. The dollar yielded 22.16 pesos over the money exchange counter while the US president-elect continued at a press conference to bash the US’s smaller neighbor already hemorrhaging from economic wounds.

The rate, expected to hover around 1-23 in 2017, underscores visions of a financial horror show for the Mexican economy forecast earlier this year by Bank of Mexico President Augustin Carstens. How an economic downturn nationally might affect the Puerto Aventuras area remains to be seen.

Factors contributing to steady decline in the peso over the past five years include a precipitous drop in oil prices that are now predicted to rise in 2017, increasing fuel prices. That and Mexico’s energy reform allowing the free market to set gasoline prices have already caused a spike at the pump prompting nationwide protests.

Factors converge

Factor in the US president-elect’s threats to set import taxes on cars made in Mexico, build a border wall, pursue mass deportations, block the outsourcing of jobs from the US, torpedo US plant investments in Mexico and dismember the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, makes optimism hard to come by.

But there is some. The Mexican consul in Los Angeles said since the inception of the internet and electronic developments occurring after NAFTA was adopted indicate a need to open NAFTA negotiations to consider the electronic revolution.

And some snowbirds question the cost of American goods on the Mexican side of the border that are burdened with tariffs. Here at Chedraui last week, a bag of Lay’s potato chips imported from the US cost 90 pesos vs. 19 pesos for a similar size bag of domestic Sabritas brand chips.

For established US expats and snowbirds here, times are good as they live for the moment at half-price for food commodities and gasoline they can well afford. But local purveyors are being forced to consider modest price hikes that at least ease the financial burden on the labor force and the punishing exchange rate. In Yucatan State, for example, retailers are promising to limit increases to 15 percent hoping to stall inflation.

Shoppers here are already noticing increases in food costs while some smaller businesses are charging an 8 percent fee to those who pay with a credit card using the dollar. Some commercial quarters are beginning to price their products in dollars to circumvent the exchange rate loss.

Worker here laments

A Mexican worker in Puerto Aventuras lamented gasoline and food price increases. “I paid 600 pesos to fill the tank of my car,’ he said last week. “Don’t they know for many families that’s food for the week?” He said he would use the illusionary strategy of filling his gas tank more often – while the tank is still over half full – so that it will seem like it costs less.

And while a 30-year employee of Whirlpool in Mexico had a few pay raises after NAFTA, he is still earning much less than $10,000 a year, the New York Times has reported. To him, NAFTA has not improved his situation that much, contrary to the beliefs of the incoming US administration.

One local real estate broker used the word “unemployed” last week to indicate stalled sales in the housing market while another said she was “busy.” The local press continues to report on foreign investments being made on new hotels while tourism, the basic industry of the Riviera Maya, was reported robust over the holidays.

Mexican companies reacting
to Ford’s concession to Trump
Xcaret will stop buying Ford vehicles

The Ford Motor Co.’s concession to the US president-elect’s demand to reverse a plan to invest $1.6 billion in a new Mexican production plant is generating push-back from at least one fleet buyer in Mexico.

The Experience Xcaret Group has already announced it will end its practice of purchasing products from Ford, a move that  now has other companies considering similar actions.

Pablo Alcocer Gongora, president of the area Chamber of Commerce Services and Tourism Division, said similar responses to show solidarity with the Mexican people are being discussed by area businesses. He said the Chamber here supports discussing this type of proposal.

“We obviously depend on the United States for some things,” he said, “…but we have to make the United States see that we really depend on each other.” He explained Mexico can decide to buy its products elsewhere. In that vein, it can be noted that Mexico and China, two countries verbally attacked by the US president-elect, have had recent talks concerning a possible trade confrontation with a common antagonist.

The Mail Bag…
Elated with
election result

Dear Editor:
Regarding your negative US election comment: If it’s any consolation, some US snowbirds are elated with the election results and look forward to life in the US after 20 January.

Signed/ Bruce K.

Nature Watch…
Pelicans, nearly extinct in 1970s,
still creating curious splash here

Elegance once nearly extinct.

By Staff
The aerobic equipment like treadmills and bicycles at the Omni Hotel gym here is conveniently situated alongside a glass wall. It faces the Caribbean’s turquoise waters and mini whitecaps gently lapping at the shore.

The equipment’s positions exposes users to snippets of the seascape and various activities ashore. There are the ubiquitous white-clad waiters balancing trays delivering libations to guests lounging under shady palapas, children with tiny shovels emptying the sea into small holes in the sand, amateur adventurers with wobbly legs on paddleboards boldly venturing past the protective barriers before falling off and comically rising again like the Phoenix in a tribute to human resolve. There are tiny shorebirds racing hither and yon on skinny legs, strolling vacationers stopping on the shore to wonder why the brown Pelican flings itself with such unseemly force into the sea creating a substantial splash.

Come to think of it, why does the Pelican, Louisiana’s state bird, crash like a downed fighter jet? Couldn’t it muster a more delicate way of food shopping? Probably not.

Belly flopper

For the visitors who watch the big bird’s antics and wonder what’s up with that, we offer a primer. Gliding gracefully not too far above the water, the brown pelican spots a school of small fish. Floating on air, it adjusts its flaps, swoops downward and plunge-dives inelegantly with a comical splash similar to a human belly flop. Why do this?

To begin, the Pelican is an easily distinguishable large bird averaging about 48 inches in length, weighs around 9-12 pounds, has a wingspan of about 78 inches. It sports a long bill that can reach to 13 inches.

The pelican uses its generous eyesight, substantial body weight and piloting skills to fall from the sky like a bomb onto schools of small fish riding the surface waters and stun them, which gives the pelican time to scoop up a beak full. Of course, the scooping process comes with a lot of seawater. Not to worry. The pelican’s lower bill contains a pouch, like a kitchen strainer, that allows the liquid to flow out but keep the fish in.

What most observers don’t notice when the pelican dives is the bird’s subtle but important habit of tucking its head in and rotating its body to the left as it plummets from the sky. Why? Not to damage its trachea and esophagus, which are on the right side of its body during impact. Watching the pelican do its thing is like vaudeville, especially when, with a beak full of fish, you see a seagull sitting on the pelican’s head waiting for an opportunity to steal some fish from its pouch.

When not plunging for lunch, look for pelicans lounging on the tops of pilings in marinas and particularly along fishing docks, floating along in calm waters or cruising shorelines as they do singly or in squadron formations over PA’s shores.

…Facing death in a coat of oil…

Mankind has probably forgotten that the brown pelican was on the verge of extinction from pesticide pollution in the 1970s and to a lesser but considerable degree after the 2010 Gulf oil spill that claimed in excess of 5,000 pelicans and provided mankind with the enduring photos of helpless birds grounded by coats of toxic oil.

The oldest brown pelican on record was 43 years old. The specie has been around for millions of years and avoided extinction in the 1970s only when pesticide became regulated.

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites or social media links.

The end – Previous edition below

January 11, 2017

Artist, a renter, unwittingly finds
himself in middle of water battle  

AFTER THE SHOUTING a water truck prepares to unload at the Plaza Gourmet condo complex. (Staff Photo)

Bearing the brunt of others’ disagreements
By Staff
An incident report outlining repeated main-gate entry denials of a water truck by the Colonos Security last Wednesday tells the story of a happy artist suddenly struck by a jolt of misery for a problem not of his making. Then it almost happened again on Sunday.

SHOWING FRUSTRATION, artist Peter Terrin describes how he was drawn into somebody else’s water battle. (Staff Photo)

Peter Terrin, known for his large paintings of faces, is an affable man who rents a condo/studio where he loves to work and live with his hound dog and pet pig “Picasso” in the so-called Gourmet Plaza in Centro. “I’m a peace and love guy. But I got caught in the middle,” he said last week in his sprawling studio commanding a view of the dolphin pools.

The artist sketched a verbal design of how he came to be drawn into an apparently routine non-payment skirmish between the operator of a lounge, some unit owners and the local water concession. He explained there is only one water meter for the entire  complex.

Complex lacks an HOA

Terrin said while every unit’s water passes through that one meter, Dugan Harley, the operator of the Hoo Haa lounge, has been mostly responsible for making the payment. In an aside comment, Terrin said be believes that to be patently unfair, albeit most condos operate on the one-meter model.

Unfortunately, the complex has neither a bona-fide owners’ association nor an elected administrator, according to Colonos GM Armando Rincon. “Besides the water bill, the complex hasn’t paid the Colonos maintenance for…” he paused, “…for forever.”

Continuing to describe how he became unwittingly involved, Terrin said the lounge was closed for more than a month after an unknown person caught on tape ignited a nighttime fire there last Oct, 21. After that the lounge owner did not pay the water bill because, Terrin said he was told, the lounge did not use any water while it was closed. However, water still flowed to other tenants like Terrin, running up a bill on the common meter.

Water truck blocked at gate

Subsequently, he said, the water service was shut for non-payment. As a painter, Terrin said, water is a necessity for him. His studio is part of his living quarters. “I have to shower after I work to remove the paint from my body,” he said, in addition to normal water needs of a household. He said he had to walk the length of a football field to go to the bathroom at the  nearby Omni Hotel.

After a few days without water, Terrin said, water trucks were called in to replenish a secondary water source, a cistern. But then on Wednesday, Jan. 4, when another truck was hailed to renew the supply, guards at the main gate refused to allow it to enter the resort.

The report, submitted by Security to the Colonos, noted that Terrin called the office several times on Jan.3 pleading with the staff to let the truck in before the cistern ran out of water. His requests were denied on the premise that only the condo administrator could approve delivery. Unfortunately, there is no elected administrator, as pointed out by Colonos GM Rincon.

Other callers also refused

THE FORMER Si, Si, Si Restaurant becoming a decaying no. no. (Staff Photo)

Between 5:18  and 6:15 p.m. on the same day, others were enlisted to help. Calls asking for the truck to be allowed came from Cindy Lapkine, longtime assistant to an appointed condo administrator, Oscar Calderon, who evidently was not available. Also calling were Mrs. Elizabeth Suarez and Vera Alonzo Galvan, identified as a secretary to the Fideicomiso. All to no avail. The truck was not admitted.

The next day, on Thursday, Jan. 5, frustrated with Security’s rejection of his entreaties and those of others, Terrin, fearing another weekend without water, decided to pay the water bill himself, only to be told the office was closed for the week. “It made me feel powerless,” Terrin said.

On Sunday, Jan. 8, as only a trickle of water was left in the complex’s cistern, Terrin said,  the owner of Terrin’s rental unit, Luis Cejudo, who had been away, called a water truck for a separate address using subterfuge, he said, as the only way for the truck to be allowed through the main gate. Once it arrived, Cajudo directed the driver to the Gourmet Plaza.

As soon as it arrived, Cejudo said, it was met by Security personnel who verbally and respectfully attempted to stop delivery. Some shouting at Security personnel by frustrated  owners ensued, attracting the attention of passersby, including The Pelican Free Press.

It ended when Cejudo told Security to talk to him and not his employee (the water truck driver who he was paying), after which he stood on the truck’s running board and ordered the driver to deliver the water. The driver did so as Security stood by reporting the events by phone.

Unintended consequences

Terrin repeated on several occasions during the interview that it is not legal to deprive people of water in Mexico. GM Rincon concurred. “But water can be shut down 99 percent – to a trickle that won’t even allow a shower.”

As a result of Sunday’s delivery over the objections of Security personnel who were acting at the behest of the water company, the delivery company involved has been temporarily banned from entering the resort, Rincon said on Monday.

He said the Plaza Gourmet complex has never been accorded an owners’ association and that owners have not paid condo dues or Colonos maintenance fees. He indicated the development is embroiled in litigation between some owners who also complain of the building’s increasing deterioration.

Paamul charity Garage Sale is Sunday

The Paamul Services to Others Committee (PSOC) is announcing the Annual Garage Sale to be held at David’s Store at the entrance to Paamul on Sunday, Jan. 15.  This event is one of the charity functions held each year by the PSOC to raise funds to help with the necessities of life and further the education of the residents in some of our villages, currently Chumpon in Quintana Roo and Santa Clara and Kulunche in Yucatan state.The sale will begin at 8 a.m. and continue until mid-afternoon.  Come have fun shopping and at the same time know that you are helping provide some more needs of residents in our villages.If you have items to donate or any questions about our charities, please refer to the Facebook page for “Paamul Services to Others Committee” and send a message…

Spanish language classes taught with expertise and humor by Maestra and certified translator Gloria Contreras, who has been teaching informal groups here for quite a few years, will resume on Thursday, January 12, at the Latitude 20 Restaurant on the shore of the Lagoon of Dreams. Beginners class from 9 to 10 a.m. and advanced class from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cost per one hour class is 130 pesos7 ($6.29 USD). The maestra asks that 10 classes be paid in advance to incentivize attendance and learning. Contact her at [email protected] or call cel 984-108-3517 for more information…

Bingo will be played at Latitude 20 Restaurant at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. Proceeds help fund assistance to the children in the poblado through the Transformar Educando Civic Association…

Register for race until Jan. 21

The annual road race is scheduled for January 22. Register at the Colonos office. The event is being sponsored by Dolphin Discovery. There were nearly 500 runners at last year’s race…

Charity curry night moves to Latitude 20

A homespun charity night of curry as you like it hosted by Bet, Amy and John Hughes  has been part of the Puerto Aventuras scene for quite a few years. Now its popularity has outgrown the Hughes home and will he held instead at the Latitude 20 Restaurant at 6;30 P.M., Friday, Jan. 20.

Ticket price of 200 pesos is donated to the community center in the poblado, home of Transformar Educando and Friends of Puerto Aventuras (FOPA). They offer basic education and skills classes to adults and children and a host of social services. Tickets now available at Latitude 20. Choose between four types of curry.

The menu includes medium hot, and hot turkey curry with mixed vegetables and spices, Caribbean vegan and Caribbean fish curry.


Commerce Corner…

Enjoying a visit to the Divot. (Divot Photos)

Swing by the Divot Restaurant
to relax and score good food

By Staff
Some people relish a seascape with their salad.  Others like their potatoes peppered with pastoral peace. Some like viewing a busy boardwalk with their burger while many favor breakfast with a birdy song.

The Divot restaurant, nestled as it is in a cradle of quietude on the fringes of the bucolic golf course, has been offering diners – from breakfast to dinner – the option of a restive repast for the past year.

Laura Pohlenz, Divot owner, welcomes patrons with a smile. (Staff Photo)

The idea of adding a restaurant to the golf course emerged quite naturally from conversations between owner/manager Laura Pohlenz and her husband, Jose Luis Ortega, who is the golf and racquet club pro and manager.

It began with the idea of offering a light breakfast and lunch menu to accommodate golfers and the public. A dinner menu was added later along with special events such as wine tastings to nearly full houses.

The location, easily accessible yet comfortably private, is a natural for hosting private parties as well for up to 45 people. The Divot has had success with children’s birthday parties too, providing ample room for games, entertainment and other fun in the foliage.

The Divot will present its third wine and food pairing at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, showcasing select wines from the El Cielo winery in Baja California and new items from our dinner menu. Seating limited to 30. Reserve with Laura at 984-802-8939 or 998-156-5900 or at the Divot before Friday.


“This was all new to me,” said Mrs. Pohlenz, who left a career as a university language teacher (English and German) in Cancun and at the Puerto Aventuras Colegio to engage a new challenge. “I’m finding it very interesting and enjoyable meeting so many great people,” she said.

The restaurant, with its expansive, sloping palapa roof and choice furnishings is literally steps above the norm. It sits just off the main road across from Centro, has ample parking, is on the second level that places it almost even with the surrounding verdant canopy of trees.

Assisting in the move to a dinner menu was longtime PA restaurateur Peter Metric who has just taken leave to care for a health condition. Stephanie Hammond de Boboli will be night manager and is working with Mrs.  Pohlenz in continuing to offer a varied dinner menu and showcasing wines and craft beers.

The Divot has received its share of favorable reviews, including one from Jen Dunlop-Jones who described the Divot experience in part as “…an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen…serene and refreshing…great for group events.”

Anne Brown said she had a “…wonderful breakfast there with friends…delicious food…it’s the perfect place, quiet, calm and relaxing,” to which a smiling Mrs. Pohlenz quips more simply “I have breakfast here every morning, And I like it too.”

(See more about the Divot by clicking on the logo in the sponsor column to reach the Facebook Page.)

 The Roundup…

The Riviera Maya must be doing well despite the Mexican gloom and doom being forecast by the USA’s incoming administration. Stores were jammed last Thursday when Chedraui’s across the highway ran out of packaged bread, onions and other basic foodstuffs. Soriana’s in Centro Maya was crammed with shoppers. Incoming shoppers were told to go back to the parking lot and look for a carriage. Several customers were observed going back out into the lot, getting into their cars, and going elsewhere to shop.

But there evidently was a reason for what looked like clumsy management, with one of the entrances shuttered and a few more uniformed security personnel. Some markets were setting up shutters in response to vandalism last week to a number of gasoline stations by vandals purportedly protesting price increases. Their actions spooked other businesses such as the supermarkets, some smaller firms even closing early to avoid problems…

Panicked shoppers fled the Las Americas Mall in Playa del Carmen at about 5:30 p.m. last Saturday after four vandals believed to be minors ran through the mall with calamitous shouting and setting off alarms to create panic then plunder items from stores. The plan didn’t work though because multiple police patrols arrived quickly, calmed the crowd and patrolled the area the rest of the evening…

Speaking of Chedraui’s, it appeared last week that work was finally being done to replace the ATM in the plaza area that provides a service for many poblado and Puerto Maya residents. The guts of the ATM were removed and stolen in a brazen nighttime heist last November in which a guard was bound and gagged…

Gasoline woes brought on a night of vandalism of Pemex stations in Playa del Carmen last week in response to price increases and delivery issues that caused some stations to deny magna at the pumps for fear of running out. Gangs vandalized a number of stations for 10 hours before the police put a stop to it…Meanwhile, Cancun braced for a blockade of gasoline stations by the taxi union in protest to the implementation of market-based price increases… These actions have caused supermarkets to be on the alert and small businesses to close early… Gasoline prices could jump more come February, say some reports…

A 30 percent hike in tortilla prices is also a cause for unrest in the domestic population which depends on tortillas as an inexpensive dietary staple. The price increase from 15 to 30 pesos for a kilo on average was reportedly caused by a hike in propane gas prices…

Beachgoers in Playa del Carmen have been alerted to the number of indigents using beaches as rest rooms and “dedicating” themselves to stealing from careless tourists who leave their belongings on the beach unguarded…Word to the wise….

OH! OH! – Traces of sargassum washed up on the shore of Fatima Bay last week reviving memories of the gruesome invasion that plagued the Riviera Maya last year. Workers at the Omni Hotel, however, quickly dispatched the minor deposits and the beach was sparkling clean for bathers.  Observers blamed a change in the wind direction for the deposits…

Home break-ins in Puerto Aventuras were down considerably in December and so far this month compared to last year, reports the Colonos. The possible reason is that changes in shifts were made and more roving guards employed at night…

The Mail Bag…

Wary of moto-trikes

Dear Editor:
If the little taxis get permits to work inside the resort, there can be a problem in the future. The “moto-trikes” do not have any insurance and avoid safety regulations. I do not believe they even have a driver’s license.  They may create problems vs. the benefits.

Signed/ Lic. Stanley Durell 

Beach access obligation

Dear Editor:
As foreigners in this country we have an obligation to blend in with the local population and do our best to respect their traditions and rights. It is disturbing to read articles like the one about the beach access for the poblado residents.

To me, it is impossible to argue with their right to access local beaches. It frustrates me that it is hard for people who live here in Puerto Aventuras to get to the beach, so I am sure it seriously upsets all the poblado residents and not just those who are raising the issue. To me, issues like this are extremely divisive and add to the ‘haves and have-nots’ feelings that separate people. Even if the local government does not take action on this issue, we as a community should.

Signed/ Ron Hughes

Tai Chi anyone? Or Mexican Train?

Dear Editor:

My name is Bernard. I am a 70-year-old Englishman who lives in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada.  I am in Puerto Aventuras with my retired Canadian teacher wife, Diane, until late April 2017.  I am an experienced Tai Chi instructor who would like to start a class on the beach. I run a 10-week course or less and charge  $5 USD or $8 CA  an  hour.

I do a short warm-up breathing exercise of Chi Gung, which is free.  I taught on the beach in Ecuador where I had thirty people at one point.  I have also taught around the world.  I would also like to start some games on the beach for anybody who is interested, such as Mexican Train or Dominoes game once a week.  Please e-mail me if you are interested.  From the small amount of money I take, at the end of the 10 weeks, I make a donation to the local pueblo school, usually around $200 Depending on class size. Contact me at [email protected] if you’re interested.

Signed/ Bernard Longman

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