AUGUST 2012: Who is PA’s real ‘greengo’?
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Good neighbor plants for the future
Anglos sometimes see red when dealing with life in Mexico, but Jan Oliszewicz, a native of Poland and longtime U.S. resident, sees mostly a joyful green. He is, by his own account, a dyed in the wool “greengo.”
His right to the title was earned in Puerto Aventuras over the last four years as he personally purchased and planted some 150 trees and bushes while his neighbors – and maintenance crew – at Condos Turquesa on Bahia Xaac, watched him perspire with shovel in hand to enhance what he calls “this beautiful place.”
And he has a special goal for Puerto Aventuras. He wants to plant 100 palm trees on local beaches if he can get permission from the powers that be. He’ll do the labor and “there is nothing to buy,” he told The Pelican Free Press during a recent interview. “We plant the coconuts,” he said. He is “very proud” of one of those plants sprouting on the grounds of Turquesa, where he was among the earliest buyers in 2008.
“This is a hobby I use for giving back in appreciation of the community. If the millions of people who visit here each bought one palm, there would be enough trees to plant along the highway from Cancun to Tulum.”
How did this man develop such an appreciation for plant life? Jan was born in Poland where his father was a forest ranger. As a youth, he lived deep in the forest where “ you never saw discarded bottles, cans and plastic. I’m not accustomed to that, so when I see litter here, I stop to pick it up.”
Jan credits the local residents and workers here in PA for his success with plantings. “I learn from them which trees are good to plant and how to do it,” he said. While he doesn’t speak Spanish, he says “If you really want to, you will communicate.”
Jan has a success story of his own. His grandfather preceded him to the United States shortly after World War I but returned to Poland in World War II to serve as an interpreter, after which Poland sank into an economic depression . There and then, Jan developed a work ethic and a plan for success. After four years of technical high school training as a mechanic in Poland, he came to the United States with a schedule and a commitment. He would work hard for 10 years, save money and open his own business, then work 20 years and retire.
When the time was ripe, he opened a 6-bay shop just outside of Chicago and eventually landed contracts with major railroads that kept 10 to 15 employees busy. In the process, he was able to invest in forest land in Poland, plant thousands of trees and eventually earn “a 1,000 percent return” which then allowed him to retire “two years early.”
He has never forgotten his roots from the forest. He has a home near Chicago and a vacation cottage in Poland where he summers. He says it is so nice here (in Puerto Aventuras) that he doesn’t bother to own a car. “I run every day and my wife and I walk or take the bus and colectivo to shop.” In that process, he carved out a small, pebbled path in the brush shortening the link from the golf course condos to Centro shopping for all his neighbors to use.
Like many snowbirds, he’ll be back for the winter season probably humming “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” – to be planted, of course.
Two more boats stolen from PA marina
Events stir speculation
about ‘Cuban Mafia’,
The theft of two boats from the Puerto Aventuras Marina last week launched a local media frenzy. The press here speculated that organized crime, specifically, the ‘Cuban-American Mafia,’ was responsible for the thefts. Their stories intimate that private security guards “may” be complicit and that the Navy sometimes stationed in the PA naval base is simply insufficient in these cases. Another boat was stolen earlier this year.
One newspaper even went so far as to state that PA is “one of the bases of operations” of the Cuban-American Mafia, which it also claimed is an appendage of the “Los Zetas” cartel. But in another news report concerning general crime and extortion in Playa del Carmen, Chetumal, Tulum and Cancun, officials were quoted as saying small-time crooks and extortionists are using the “Zeta” name just to spread fear into their intended victims.
The boat thefts add to another criminal activity reported earlier. That was the discovery this summer of two vehicles parked in the lot of Condos Turquesa that were linked to alleged criminals who were supposedly using a borrowed condo unit as a base of operations in a short-term arrangement with a “friend.” There was a resultant raid by military and police investigators to the site where the vehicles were recovered. No arrests were made since the apartment was not occupied by suspects at the time. (See July edition)
That event caused the Colonos administration to issue a letter cautioning property owners and real estate agents to practice due diligence when renting units to people they don’t personally know. (See letter below.)
One of the boats stolen last week, a large Panga, was used by a local dive shop and the other was owned by a well-known businessman. Both were equipped with new high horsepower outboard engines, which has led to further speculation that the boats are taken to hidden areas along the coast and stripped.
News accounts also said that while use of the marina may come with high costs to boat owners, the marina ownership, security or the Navy take no responsibility for theft of vessels.
Our pal Hal, man about town, adds that the stolen boats had both been recently equipped with new outboards and were docked near Pro-Dive adjacent to the drawbridge. He said the crew of another nearby vessel notified the boat’s owner that a lock had been cut on his boat and then everything placed back in its original position, leading to speculation that thieves intended to later take that one too. The boat has since been placed in dry dock.
(Ed.Note: The Colonos letter to property agents, in Spanish, was electronically translated and then edited. We believe its intent is nonetheless clear to Anglo readers, along with the humorous touch in the last paragraph.) The letter:
“Puerto Aventuras, Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, June 12, 2012
In recent days there was a raid by the military and police in one of our resort condominium buildings. Authorities had been following certain leads of alleged members of organized crime who had parked two SUVs in the condo parking area that were used in committing crimes.
To help prevent such occurrences in the future and make our complex more secure, the Colonos offers these recommendation:
1. Use due diligence and check the potential renter’s current situation.
2. Request verification of prospective tenants who present themselves as employed workers by requiring a work history and references that can be verified.
3. Request letters of general recommendation.
4. Require documented proof of ownership for those prospective tenants who present themselves as business owners or entrepreneurs.
5. In the case of vacation or short-term rentals, require and retain an original or a copy of an official identification document with a photograph for as long as the unit is rented.
Take into account that Puerto Aventuras is a good place to hide… because it is quiet. Let’s keep it that way.
Armando Rincon Navarrete, general manager”
Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
You want to try a new restaurant, so try saying: “Me podría recomendar un restaurant italiano (italian), barato y bueno (good and cheap), argentino (argentinian)?
Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos. Please call her first to make arrangements at 984-108-3517 for private summer lessons. Classes are canceled for the summer season and will resume in October
See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.
“Once again I am so grateful, so impressed, so relieved that such a quality,
informative, unbiased (to my perspective) media exists, and is carefully and artfully presented with each publication by the Pelican Press and it’s contributors. I share this newsletter with my friends who have come or are considering coming to the “gem of the Maya Riviera”, Puerto Aventuras.
Thank you again! Please know that without your diligence and reporting, we “part time” property owners and citizens of Puerto Aventuras would have virtually no way of staying current. Keep up the good work! In a way, we found a new Independence at Puerto Aventuras!
Denny Wall, along with his dear wife Marta, Minnesota fractional owners of property in Puerto Aventuras since 1999, the year we fell in love with Puerto!
The state of the road at the gates is very bad and in my opinion very hard on our cars and just plain annoying. I for one would very much like to see it fixed. If it takes a petition or consensus, perhaps your blog could run a poll on the subject.
(Ed. Note: The complaints about that rocky portion of road are many. Is it really necessary for security? Perhaps the Colonos will take notice. The issue could be raised by any member or group of members of the association prior to or at the next Colonos meeting.)
Compiled from staff, contributors and media reports
ROADWORK in PA for this season is evidently completed as the Colonos reported Bahia Chemuyil, which runs parallel to Highway 307 just inside the fence, has been resurfaced and opened to traffic, but rain reportedly wiped out the red coloring …A NEW VENDOR has begun setting up his loom near the fruit stand on Wednesdays and Saturdays, selling table cloths, runners and bedspreads…THE MAYOR OF SOLIDARIDAD visited the Puerto Aventuras puebla to help in cleaning streets and public places in hope of launching a new pride and image of the community…
BUT A RESORT business wishes workers who left this mess behind (photo) on a public sidewalk for days would clean up after themselves too… LATEST OMNI REPORT: The beach is no worse, but no better either, dashing an optimistic outlook from owners a few months ago…DANNY IGLESIAS has made his last visit to Merida for his knee surgery and should be walking well within a year…A MILESTONE was reached last month as Playa noted its 19thanniversary as Solidaridad’s eighth city. In 1972 there were five hotel rooms there, recalls a former teacher, and now there are around 40,000 on the Riviera Maya …
CHECK YOUR DOCTOR – The state says it has detected some doctors working hotels without specialty certifications and is moving with hotels to assure they conform with the law…MEXICO’S PRESIDENT-ELECT says he will see to it that the Tulum airport
project gets back on track next year, that a cancer hospital emerges in Chetumal and help is doled out to strengthen the tourist industry in Quintana Roo…DOMESTIC TOURISM is giving Playa del Carmen a boost as hotels reported 90 percent occupancy and restaurants report crowds. The Association of Bars and Clubs reports Playa remains a preferred and safe vacation spot…
THERE ISA MOVE ON to improve trash collection along 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen and replace containers with better ones. Businessmen along the favorite walking stretch of touristy Playa say keeping the trash hidden and the walkway clear invites more consumers…CUBA PASSENGERS arriving at the airport in Cancun were being monitored for cholera. There have been 158 cases reported in Cuba … THE STATE is looking to regulate pawn shops in order to stop them from inadvertent complicity in accepting without question items that may have been stolen and are without proof of ownership …
FLYING HIGH – Airline icon Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airline’s new Cancun-London service took off with better than expected response, leading to possible plans for three weekly flights in Boeing 757-800 aircraft carrying 460 passengers. Blimey! … TULUM: ANOTHER CENOTE DROWNINGwas reported over the July 4 week when a young man vacationing from Coahuila lost track of his guide at the “Dos Ojos” cenote in Tulum. He was pronounced DOA at Hospiten in Playa del Carmen where he was brought by ambulance… VULNERABLE HOUSEHOLDS complained in Tulum over increases in the price of chickens and eggs. Retailers say suppliers hiked the costs, but later reports could not confirm that prices have indeed spiked…
NAVY PERSONEL from the Puerto Aventuras Command intercepted two armed men who were reported “acting suspiciously” near a pickup truck at a hotel two miles from PA proper. But it turned out one suspect was an investigator from the attorney general’s office and the other from Interpol Mexico … AN EXPLOSION from a gas accumulation in the Hotel “Secrets” under construction in Cancun injured 11 workers, three seriously over the July 4 week… FIRE IN THREE PALAPAS at the Taj hotel at 14th St. and 1st Avenue in Playa resulted in 16 people afflicted with smoke inhalation, reported the fire department … FULL STREET, BUT NOT STORES was the report from the first week of the high summer indigenous season along 5thAvenue in Playa del Carmen as some stores noted only five sales a day, down from June sales…
SEVEN DRUG DEALERS possessing about 100 packets of various drugs were arrested in Playa del Carmen’s Luis Donaldo Colosio colony… STATE PREVENTIVE POLICE scored a hit with local businesses in the wake of those arrests and others leading to a request that the police extend their stay in Playa to continue their preventive tactics … THE LOCAL PRESScontinues its battle with the state (Quintana Roo) attorney general’s office for releasing known criminals on bail after they are arrested by Army and/or Navy elements and without investigating suspected links to organized crime. The press is alleging that organized crime violence is escalating on the Riviera Maya, a prospect, if true, that could further dampen the tourist industry already affected by the world economic downturn…A SWISS NATIONAL was killed in a one-car accident outside the entrance to Xcaret on Route 307 between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras, in which direction he was heading. The press identified him as 55-year-old Rumo Marcel … BUSINESSES on 10th Avenue have asked for an audit of the improvement work that was supposed to enhance the street to accommodate tourism but has resulted in lagging completion and poor work. The petitioners want to know if there has been a diversion of funds from the project to other uses. New appointed personnel at the top of the project say corrections will be made … 100 PERCENT TURNOVER of guard personnel at the Cozumel jail was under way during July as was an exchange of inmates…
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