Feasting and sharing in Paradise
REMINDERS: The Colonos General Assembly begins at 9:30 Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Xenote Restaurant in the Omni Hotel and Beach Club. There will be a report on the important Fatima Bay beach reclamation project and details for receiving and using the new beach access cards. Also, runners in the annual road race, being held on Jan. 19 this year, are reminded to get in shape to vie for one of the prizes. More details later.
FOR SALE: There is a 44-foot yacht available for the men of the sea and a guitar and banjo for those who like to strum in Margaritaville. Get the details by clicking on the “for sale” page.
REMEMBER: Pelican Free Press sponsors, logos at left, help make our local volunteer publication possible by underwriting some of the expenses. Please consider and patronize them when you need the services or products they offer. Thank you.
WANTED: Golf cart, aluminum frame, 4-person, good shape. Contact Carlos 984-111-1252
Paamul’s Thanksgiving spirit
like a page from the past
Ninety native Americans and 63 Pilgrims attended the first Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth Colony, USA, in 1621 after a successful first harvest. Last week, 392 years later, about 260 people of diverse ethnic and cultural groups gathered in congenial brotherhood under a palapa in Paamul. They were there to replicate a ritual of appreciation that was proclaimed a USA federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as the U.S. Civil War raged. Lincoln nonetheless called for a day of “Thanksgiving and praise” to one’s deity.
Plymouth and Paamul start with a “P” and both are villages by the sea. Similarities continued last Thursday as joyful Paamul residents strolled with foodstuffs in hand along thatched-roof domiciles to a gathering place – this one the palapa church/cultural center – to feed on the good fortune their lifetimes have harvested. The scene was reminiscent of artistic renderings of strolling Indians carrying fowl from the hunt and Pilgrims preparing and sharing the yields from the rich earth of what would some day become, arguably, the world’s greatest nation.
Like Plymouth Colony, Paamul is a desirable seafront community of expats, snowbirds and natives of only a few hundred residents linked as the likeness of one big family. That was exactly the enviable scenario cast on Thanksgiving Day last Thursday as the residents and friends from other villages shared in a blessing given by Doug Millar, pastor of the sponsoring Fellowship Church of Riviera Maya.
“About three quarters of the people here today are from Paamul. Most of them are from the United States. Of course, there are Canadians here too who are only too happy to partake of the feast,” Millar quipped. (The Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October).
Millar said the communal celebration was inaugurated by the church and interested parties about 10 years ago. “The church budget buys the turkeys – 17 of them this year – and 17 volunteers each cook one.” All other families are asked to bring a dish, a dessert or vegetable, and bring them they did. It took quite a few tables and small signs gracing them to accommodate and identify the generous melange of foodstuffs that were available to complement the turkey.
Participant Linda Gosslin, a Paamul resident and library volunteer in nearby Puerto Aventuras, marveled at the “amazing array of side dishes and desserts, from mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green bean casseroles, vegetable medleys to pumpkin pie with whipped cream, brownies, assorted cakes, cookies and an amazing, beautifully decorated cake celebrating a Mayan occasion.” It was, briefly, a completely satisfying horn of plenty, another dimension of Paradise.
And in keeping with the generous nature and tenet of religious raison d’etre, each participant was asked to bring canned or packaged foodstuffs to be distributed to needy families in Playa del Carmen of which, we are told, there are many in the growing city.
One elderly gentleman clutching the neck of a wine bottle walked into the visually welcoming dining area in a situation the church doesn’t condone but looks the other way in heavenly understanding.
Promptly at 4 p.m. a line formed outside the dining area for the buffet-style celebration and the aura of great expectations was palpable. Also like the first Thanksgiving, which lasted three days, there was three days of celebratory bent here as a jazz festival in Playa del Carmen’s popular Mamitas Beach attracted thousands of music lovers, mostly locals, we are told, to three nights of music, which is considered the universal language. One Pelican contributor from Puerto Aventuras who ventured to the event via collectivo said the event was so crowded they couldn’t get close enough to hear the music and left before the starring attraction, Earth, Wind and Fire, was to perform at 11:30 p.m.
Another event rounded out the active holiday weekend at the Latitude 20 Restaurant in Puerto Aventuras where artists, artisans, musicians, cooks and bakers were invited to display their skills and products. The early season event provided a venue for returning snowbirds to enjoy the food while renewing acquaintances in lagoon-front ambience. Another such event is being planned for later in the high season, when most of the snowbirds and visitors have arrived.
Report says Dragon Mart
construction to begin
By Staff from media reports
A report out of Cancun indicates site preparation for the long-discussed Dragon Mart exhibition center is about to begin on some 557 hectares (1,376 acres) of land located at the 3.31 mile point on Highway 307 between Cancun and Chetumal and known as the “El Tucan” site. The mega-complex exhibition of Chinese and Mexican goods is expected to open its doors during the third quarter of 2015.
Juan Carlos Lopez Rodrigues, project director, has reported the site preparation will last about 22 weeks while some actual construction will begin in tandem with site work. The announced size of the exhibition center is 127,000 square meters (1,367,000 sq. feet) and will house numerous companies from China exhibiting their wares. Earlier reports of the project in the area included numerous retail outlets as well. A final segment of the project will be construction of 722 homes for employees at the site that will include restaurants, public parks, banks and general offices.
The ratio of Mexican-Chinese firms occupying the complex is expected to be 500 Chinese and 200 Mexican. Earlier reports noted 100 Mexican corporations had already signed up for space and that marketing was beginning in China to attract companies in various product lines such as furniture, electronics, hardware, building materials, lighting, medical, machinery, heavy equipment among other product lines.
There has been a five-month delay in start of construction, in part awaiting building permits and in part because of the drenching rains that flooded much of the property. In the latest report, some of the land remains flooded but work will begin on areas that already have dried out.
Library seeks media volunteer,
new members to up revenue
By Library Staff:
The Puerto Aventuras community library is in need of a volunteer with marketing and social media experience to aid us in fulfilling our mission to provide literary resources for students and teachers of the school as well as the the local community.
Ideally we are looking for someone who can spend a few hours per week keeping our web page updated, creating and maintaining a Facebook page, and preparing marketing/informational communications as needed.
Interested parties with skills in these areas who are interested in volunteering their time to assist us in our efforts, please contact Bonnie Karns at email@example.com.
Lifetime membership 100 pesos
Snowbirds and nationals may not realize that the community library, staffed entirely by volunteers, has a surprisingly considerable collection of English and Spanish-language books to loan, all of them donated to the library. The current tally includes 4,400 non-fiction and 10,890 works of fiction across all genres that make terrific beach reading.
The community library is in dire need of supplies to support our work. Any monetary donations would be greatly appreciated, including lifetime memberships for a very modest one-time payment of 100 pesos. We encourage everyone to become a member and read all the books you want for the rest of your life…(and more if you can figure out the resurrection scheme.)
Memberships and donations not only provide operating expenses, but also the opportunity to check out books from our collection of over 15,000 volumes. You may join the library week-day afternoons from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. If you would like to make a donation, please contact our Treasurer, Linda Gosslin via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those in the community who have checked out books in the past, and somehow forgotten to return them, December is Amnesty Month! You can return your books, no matter how long you have had them, with no questions asked! We have quite a number of books that are past due at this time. If you could take a moment to look around to see if you have any tucked away and return them, it would be greatly appreciated. The library is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
‘Eat ‘em to beat ‘em’ lionfish
plan joined by local agencies
The colorful killer we all know around these parts as the “lionfish” has a reputation and voracious appetite for decimating coral fish populations along reefs, including our own here on the Riviera Maya. But now, environmental and restaurant groups in the area are joining the strategy of “eat ‘em to beat ‘em.”
Now, municipal authorities, restaurant groups, environmentalists, ecology students and nautical tourism providers are planning to “monetize” the fish by marketing it in restaurants and markets as a way to provide incentives to divers and fishermen. Reportedly, the fish is going for 140 pesos per kilo (a little over two pounds) on Cozumel.
There have been contests in this area for divers to capture as many lionfish as they can and they, like similar contests in the Florida Keyes, have yielded good results, but perhaps not enough to stem the spreading population of these interlopers from other seas.
Maintaining the indigenous fish populations in area reefs for recreational diving is an important part of the Rivera Maya’s revenue strategy, but a sustained economic incentive for capturing lionfish has been absent…until now. The strategy of marketing the fish to tourists follows an old Cuban tenet that says something like “if you can’t beat it, eat it.”
So the Key Largo, Fla. based Reef Environmental Education Foundation has published “The Lionfish Cookbook” which has 45 recipes for the mild flavored fish plus tips on how to handle them without getting injured from their venomous spines.Proceeds from the sale of the book go to support REEF’s marine conservation and lionfish research activities.
There is nothing new with the strategy. As stocks of prime eating fish – such as cod – are depleted,
The mane-like assemblage of spines that give the fish its lion-like appearance are tipped in poison that can cause severe pain, swelling, nausea, headaches and convulsions in humans. However, the fish can be safely handled once the spines have been removed. Many people filet lionfish and cook them up just like any other fish. Several chefs in Puerto Aventuras say they have cooked the fish creatively for a delightful meal.
Observers in Florida, where many derbies have yielded hundreds of lionfish, say that if a local market for lionfish as food could be developed, the fish population could be locally controlled. Perhaps there is a message there for the Riviera Maya?
Meanwhile, students of Sustainable Tourism and Gastronomy of the University of the Caribbean talked to high school students on Isla de Mujeres concerning the consumption and preparation of lionfish.
Biologist José Ángel Cohuo Colli told the high school students that the project now being undertaken by the University of the Caribbean is to reduce the spread of lionfish since it is not native to the Caribbean.
He said activities and joint projects aim to promote consumption of lionfish as an important alternative to regulate their presence on the island coasts, as it is a serious threat to local wildlife.For more cookbook information, email email@example.com orhttp://www.reef.org/catalog/cookbook.
IN OTHER business news, local media is quoting various agencies and public officials about an expected surge in tourism, housing and cruise ships, all of which would contribute to the local economy. But there is a red flag flying that could in reality dampen prospects, and that’s the rising tide of pension reductions being taken by a growing number of cities in the U.S. that made pension promises they now find they can’t keep. It put Detroit into bankruptcy and just yesterday the governor of Illinois signed a bill trimming pensions in that state as the movement drifts toward California. It could affect future housing investment in Mexico by northern pensioners.
ON A BRIGHTER NOTE, the all inclusive Playa Paraiso hotel in Playa del Carmen reportedly emerged as the number 1 choice of international vacationers in a recent worldwide poll…
The Mail Bag …
Thank you for your note on egrets. For future reference on birds, you might wish to be aware of the Yucatan Bird Club http://yucatanbirdclub.wordpress.com/, the wonderful ongoing photos of Cherie Pittilo of Backyard Birding in Merida in The Yucatan Times http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2012/11/backyard-birding-in-merida-and-beyond/. Many, many birders and outings in Yucatan, which is really not far away.
Signed/ Phyllis Boyd
Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
A SAFE IDEA – Colonos officials call attention to new sidewalks constructed along the top portion of Bahia Chemuyil adjacent to the fence perimeter separating the resort from the highway. The walks, one inside and one outside the fence, will help improve the safety of joggers, strollers and walkers who use the narrow street for exercise or to get to the markets across the highway. Bahia Chemuyil will get busier as new construction of housing seen in the last year becomes occupied. Pedestrians are asked to use the walkways, which also provide some shade on hot days…WHILE PUERTO AVENTURAS struggles in its efforts to reclaim Fatima Bay beaches, Playa del Carmen officials prepare to jump in a similar boat to have the European Foundation for Environmental Education certify 1.2 miles of beach for European travelers. The first step would be to create a natural barrier to contain beach sand, which is what PA is now attempting. Playa’s second and more important project would be to offer certified clean waters…ANIMAL SAFETY is getting more attention along Playa’s 5th Avenue as permanent patrols from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) take to tourist areas where animals are used as attractions. Profepa says there is a right to have the animals but not abuse them, as has been reported to the agency by tourists…CRUISE SHIP ARRIVALS in Cozumel this week were expected to bring 75,000 tourists ashore, a figure that is in line with great expectations for the tourist industry this season…OUR HOST STATE, Quintana Roo, has been cited as a top generator of jobs this year averaging 5.3 percent growth compared to just the opposite national job-growth figure of 3.5 percent. The figure supports the growth spurt in populations on the western side of the highway in Playa and Puerto…MORE THAN 10,000 federal government bureaucrats have been punished by the Pena Nieto administration for misfeasance in the handling of public funds and thousands of dollars recouped…A STATE HOUSING AWARD was presented to the Solidarity comprehensive housing group “Vinte” by Gov. Roberto Borge Angulo for developing housing through efficient and creative use of natural, social and economic resources and for promoting legal certainty of ownership…SAVING THE GREEN – Three thousand trees will be distributed in Playa del Carmen through “adoption” by citizens in an effort to sustain the “go green” effort. The trees are being donated by Banyan Tree Mayakoba Co. and Riviera Maya Sustainable group…
Phrase a Week…By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
If you go to an art show, you might ask: “I wonder who painted that?” In Spanish, you would say, “Quien pintaria eso?”
Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cel: 984-108-3517 .
Church Services… Please click Colonos icon on right top of page.
AA and Alanon meetings…
AA and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:
AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 5:30 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.