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DECEMBER: It’s time and place for race, concert!

As is customary, the Colonos office is now accepting donations of holiday gifts from residents for distribution at the annual Colonos employee party.

The gifts manifest an expression of appreciation to the employees who labor diligently to maintain a pleasant environment and sturdy infrastructure for the enjoyment of resort residents. If you are optimistic about the new year please share it with our employees and help fill Santa’s bag with joy. Gifts can be deposited at the Colonos office.
Thank you.


Race, concert to help launch high season



     It isn’t too late to sign up for the annual Puerto Aventuras 1- 5- 10K Road Race: You’ve got until Saturday. Once again, here are the details:
The race is taking place December 2 starting at the post office kiosk. As usual, all runners are invited to compete for a total purse of 50,000 pesos to be shared by winners. Last year’s race set a record at 500+ runners, albeit there is a 500-runner limit.    

Starting time for categories: 10 km. 7:00 a.m.; 5 km. at 7:15 a.m. 1 km. at 9 a.m. Categories are: 1 km for coed kids (9 to 14) 500 meters for kids 8 and under; 5 km.for junior men and women (15 to 18); OPEN: men and women (19 to 39); MASTERS: men or women (40 and up); 10 KM.- OPEN: men or women (19 to 39);MASTERS: men or women (40 to 49);VETERANS: men or women (50 and up).
COST AND REGISTRATION:$100.00 pesos per person until Saturday December 1 at 16:00 p.m.; register 1) By e-mail to:c[email protected] ; 2) Asociación de Colonos de Puerto Aventuras. Tel 984 873 51-16 y 17. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
     PACKAGES AND NUMBERS will be distributed at the Colonos office Friday, Nov. 30 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Registration on Sunday will cost $250.00 pesos and only in the categories still available under the 500 person limit for runners. You will receive your number but no gift package.
     PRICES AND AWARDS – There will be 50,000 pesos in total purse for the first, second and third place of each category and special prizes from sponsors. There will be gifts for the first resident of P.A. to arrive. For the safety of runners, the race duration will be 1 hr. and 59 minutes and the route will be free of automobile traffic.


Cultural Center opens concert season Dec. 7

Popular concerts that entertained Greater Puerto Aventuras for the past two high seasons return again this year, with the first one at 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7 at the enchanting palapa Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal.
Concerts at that venue last year were widely welcomed by area residents who used the festive occasions to dance, wiggle, snap their fingers, hum, sing and simply enjoy the rhythm of life with friends and family.
This year’s opening show features the Hiram Gomez jazz fusion band with Gomez on bass, Gonzalo Grasetti on guitar, Arturo Solis on drums, Danyel Fuentes on keyboard and Julio Barro on piano.
Refreshments will be available for purchase. Tickets are 80 pesos.

Colonos annual meeting Dec. 15

Time to get your 2 cents worth in

     The semi-annual Colonos meeting set for Dec. 15 at he Dreams Hotel appears to be much ado about little.
From the printed announcement of the agenda, there are no major articles to be voted upon other than the routine approvals of previous actions, a budget and board elections.

There is one omnibus article that gives residents the opportunity to submit issues for discussion but not votes. If anyone out there has a concern he or she wishes to discuss, please submit a brief summary to the Colonos office by Dec. 7 to qualify for discussion at the meeting.
Pelican readers have expressed concerns this year regarding the lack of sufficient lighting in the resort and on the highway and disatisfaction with marina security where four expensive boats have been stolen within a year. The assembly offers a venue at which to discuss these things.
While most condo complexes are represented (maybe) by administrators, the owners of units, homes and land who wish to vote individually must register at the Colonos Office between Dec. 10-13, hotel representatives on Dec. 14. Proxies are accepted as usual.


Property tax discounts announced by mayor 

    Paying property taxes on time not only gives the municipality of Solidaridad money for infrastructure improvements, it gives taxpayers a break you won’t find in the U.S.
Mayor Feliberto Martinez Mendez has announced a 50 percent discount for elderly people and disabled people who pay their tax in a lump sum between
Dec. 1 and 20.

Other citizens will enjoy a 15 percent discount if  the tax is paid in one installment during Dec. 1-20. A discount of 10 percent comes in play if payments are made between Dec. 21-Jan. 15 and 5 percent is discounted for payments between Jan. 16 and Feb. 28.
In past years,  agents from the tax collector’s office have come to the Colonos meeting room in Puerto Aventuras to simplify the collection process, enabling residents to take advantage of the early 15 percent discount without much do. Things move faster if property owners bring along last year’s tax bill.
(Check with the Colonos office to learn if and when municipal collectors will be available in PA to accept early tax payments that will qualify for the discount.)

U.S.  updates Mexico travel warning

Drug war killings decline;
Maya coast not on danger list

The U.S. State Department has updated its Mexico travel warning, noting once again the continuing drug war as cartels battle for trafficking routes to the U.S.

On the bright side, the report underscores the decline of U.S. drug-related fatalities in Mexico from 113 in 2011 to 32 in the first six months of 2012.
The statement says U.S. deaths often resulted from the battle between criminal transnational groups and the Mexican government’s fight to control the drug war in which U.S. citizens were affected in the framework of the struggle.
The best news, locally, is that the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo were not among the 20 states listed by the U.S. State Department as considered risky for foreign travelers and that the department finds no evidence that criminal organizations have directed attacks against visitors and residents based on nationality.
The update was issued 10 days before the new Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto takes office and meets with President Barack Obama in Washington to discuss common concerns.


BE AWARE of new speed limits in Playa!

A ticket will cost you 1,250 pesos

(The Pelican Free Press now has more contributor boots on the ground as the high season emerges. Stories “between the lines” contributed by Juanito)
     Visitors to Mexico’s Riviera Maya need to be watchful for new speed limit signs recently posted along many of the main thoroughfares in Playa del Carmen.

These are not speed traps designed to generate new revenue for the city, but rather, well posted warnings designed to reduce the growing number of accidents being caused by increased traffic flow in a fast growing metropolis. Some of the streets affected include Arco Vial, Benito Juarez, and the local portion of highway 307 as it moves through the city.
I was introduced to these newly reduced speeds by a young motorcycle policeman named Miguel, who pulled me over with lights brightly flashing along the Arco Vial. He looked mighty spiffy in his well pressed uniform and designer sunglasses. I suspected an ulterior motive as he asked for my driver’s license and vehicle registration. Mustering up the best Spanish possible, I asked why he had stopped me. “You were speeding”… he said. To which I replied… “Yo no estaba rapido.”
He asked how fast I thought I was going? Having been aware of his presence for some distance, I was confident, almost defiant, when I replied… “Yo conductor solo 60 kilometers.” To which he replied… “El limito es 40”… and he pointed to the sign that you see pictured here. Remembering that the speed limit on this road has been 60 KPH since its construction… the thought of a change occurring, while my wife and I were back in Chicago this summer, hadn’t even entered my mind.
Seemingly impressed with my struggle to speak Spanish, the young man returned my documents and cautioned me to be more watchful of the speed limit in the future or I would get a ticket the next time. He emphasized that a speeding ticket in Playa del Carmen will cost the offender $1,250 pesos in police court.
I will tell you from experience that driving 40kph on these roads seems a snail’s pace, especially when on the local portion of highway 307 in front of Sam’s. But I am pleased to report, that even with many of the locals flying past me, some even honking their horns, I have managed to remain “ticket free.” My hope is that you can do the same.

Damaged walkway ready for high season

Damage was caused in October when a walkway collapsed in front of Donna Carey’s Tiramisu Restaurant. There was a similar, albeit less severe, collapse near this same spot less than two years ago.

A recent photo (first photo) shows the damage while the second photo shows workers adding finishing touches prior to removing the scaffolding.
Most residents probably aren’t even aware that there are several points around the marina where underground rivers surface to meet the sea. This is one of the primary features that made this an attractive place to dredge a marina. With water flowing in naturally from the most westerly point it continually flushes the marina as the water continues on its route to the Caribbean. One of the largest of these underground river entry points is in front of Hippo’s and Tiramisu. There is a small exposed cenote between Mango’s and Massimo’s where you can often see children

peaking down to watch the tiny fish that swim within it. There is another large entry point for water where the walkway is noticeably sunken near Café Ole. Some suspect this might be the next area to present a challenge.
It is nearly impossible to predict when an underground river might decide to give way and expose what lays beneath the surface… just ask local golfers who were surprised one morning to find that a cenote had magically appeared in the middle of PA’s #1 fairway overnight!
Definition of a Cenote: (Spanish:[seˈnote]; (from Yucatec Mayadzonot or ts’onot)A Cenote is a deep natural pit, or sinkhole, characteristic of Mexico and resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Cenotes are especially associated with the Yucatan Peninsula.

Never Ending Story reprised

     Or… so it seems. Remember the novel that was made into a fantasy movie in 1984, about a boy who dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book?

Lately, it seems progress on our roadwork here in Puerto Aventuras could have a roll in the sequel to that movie. Great stretches of cement magically appear. You wonder… how could such a small crew pour so much cement?
But, it comes in spurts… like acts from a play. In our local version of The Never Ending Story, we even feature a cast of our own special characters to heighten the entertainment. Have you seen the whimsical little road workers, cut and painted from plywood, that stand there, oh so patiently, holding little message signs to tell us why they are there? Someone from Colonos has a sense of humor and we applaud them for it.
The signs were the general idea of Colonos General  Manager Armando Rincon complimented with comical wording by Maintenance Supervisor Eduardo Reynoso and painted by artist “Veronica,” the same painter who designs the whimsically amusing buses to Xcaret.

“Liverpool” is not just a city


Retailer opens in Playa

With a growing trend for really big retail stores to set up operation in Playa del Carmen… the department store Liverpool is the most recent to join the retail

community. The large and very modern two story building is located at the big roundabout, a quarter mile south of Centro Maya Shopping Center, on highway 307.
The large lot provides for plenty of free parking both front and back, with an almost gourmet like restaurant occupying the northeast corner of the ground floor. Clerks and employees look very professional in their dark suits contrasting their crispy white shirts and blouses.
With 85 stores, Liverpool is one of the largest department store chains in Mexico. The name is a puzzlement to some. It is not a name you would normally associate with Mexico. Founded in Mexico City in 1847, by a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Ebrard who sold clothes in cases.
Eventually, he began to import merchandise from Europe. Much of the merchandise was shipped via Liverpool, England, prompting Ebrard to adopt the city name for his store. He opened his second store in 1862 and the company has continued growing since.
After having spent nearly two hours in the store on opening day, I can describe the store using one word. Expensive!
Some area residents keep their fingers crossed that Costco might eventually pop up somewhere in Playa too. Only time will tell.


Sixty pound ‘baby’ born here

Those who live in Puerto Aventuras are accustomed to witnessing many births from the resident dolphins living in the marina. Dolphins are prolific breeders and scientists say

that the bottlenose is the most “ubiquitous” of the 32 species of dolphins. With Puerto Aventuras being a birthing center for Dolphin Discovery, it is not uncommon to see several mothers preparing to give birth simultaneously.
Not so common is to witness the birth of a manatee. But, if you were here on Nov. 9, you could have! So new is the “wee one” (sixty pounds at birth) that it must swim nameless next to its mother until such time the trainers can determine its gender.
Manatees are mammals. They give birth to one pup and only reproduce every two or three years. When the youngsters are born they are brown, but turn gray in a month and stop nursing in three months. When fully grown they are thirteen feet long and up to 3,500 pounds. Typically, they will live forty to seventy years.

School asking for learning materials

Some 70 low-income tots, a few pictured above, will benefit if a “December Wish List” of inexpensive classroom supplies by the Montessori pre-school located in the Akumal Pueblo is filled by the generosity of area donors.
Anne Gabbett of Paamul, who works with the children,  said the school has three rooms, one for babies 18 months to 3 and two rooms for the 3 to 5-year-olds who attend a full day from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “We are not looking for specific gifts for the children,” Ms. Gabbett said, “but for supplies for the classrooms.”
Centro Comunitario Otoch Paal Montessori School offers high quality early childhood education to families in the Riviera Maya, says Marieke Brown, . Otoch Paal opened in 2004 with only two classrooms and has grown to include an English classroom, an additional preschool classroom (ages 3-5), and a kiosk for school events.
The school does not receive any state/federal funding, but also does not function like a ‘typical’ private school. From its inception Otoch Paal has been a community center based on a grass-roots model of participation.
It was created to help fill an urgent need for the low income families of the area, many of whom are working parents with few alternatives for child care. Education at Otoch Paal is available to all children, provided the parents are willing to put in time to fulfill their service at the school. Only 25% of the families at the school pay full tuition.
The school’s Christmas Posada is scheduled for Saturday, December 15th at 6:00 p.m. at the school and is open to the community. Come visit us and see what we are all about! We are located in the Pueblo of Akumal one block off the central road on Yalku, next door to the public elementary school.
Arrange delivery of items by calling Ms. Gabbett at 984-130-0920.. the items needed:
Classroom Materials: Glass measuring cups, wood puzzles of vegetables, transportation, animals, human body; Colored pencils and crayons, small and large scissors, sSmall pieces of carpet (samples) or rugs, books/stories in Spanish and English.
Construction paper. white copy paper, scrapbook paper for crafts, Sequins, glitter, yarn, shiny paper for crafts, Jars for pouring (with handle and spout), white and assorted colors of posterboard, straws, tweezers, paint brushes, white glue, glue Sticks, clear wide tape (packing tape), small dry erase boards and dry erase markers, magnets and magnet letters, foamy squares or large pieces/rolls.
Small magnifying glasses, small test tubes (preferably plastic), fingerpaint in basic colors and old magazines in English (for cutting).
For Physical Education: Balls of all types ,Hula hoops. orange cones, bowling set (plastic) , bean bags, net for volleyball.
Montessori Materials: Thermal cups for sensory experiments (hot and cold), color cylinders of different sizes, globes, world map, map of North America, South American and Central America; cards with items of clothing and modes of transportation, small green chalkboards, lined and unlined.

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

Please donate a holiday gift for our employee families “Por favor, donar un regalo para nuestros empleados familias”
Anyone interested in learning the language can contact Ms. Contreras by email at Gloria Contreras [email protected] or Cel: 984-108-3517.
(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 per session. Please call her first to make arrangements.

What’s Playing…

See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.


Briefly Noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media sources
     TWO NEW BUSINESSES owned by the same person have cropped up in PA, one a gourmet shop and deli and the other an Office Net…
EXPECT some improvements along Fifth Avenue this year as the municipality enforces use of public space by hawkers…TWO TOURISTS died last week in a rented buggy accident on Cozumel . The sad irony is that the buggy belonged to “Paradise” Rental, according to press reports…ECONOMIC U-TURN – Spain, which has heavily invested in South America including Mexico, is now in financial trouble and wants to reverse the process, asking South America to invest in Spain…PLAYA CITY CONTROLLER is investigating allegations of extortion brought against five inspectors from the Commission of Transportation and Highways…PORN PALACE was broken up by the police after Red Cross paramedics called to the home in the Villamar section to care for a drugged male and referred the case to police, who then discovered three women and a variety of cameras, clothing and tools used in filming pornography….THE DRAGON MART mega construction project in Puerto Morelos is under attack by citizens there along with various agencies that want the project’s environmental approval revoked by the incoming Mexican President to protect the environment and the cultural, economic and cultural norms of the area, say the project’s opponents…INFLATION RATE in Mexico is expected to have an annual decrease of 4.36 percent…HOSPITALITY EMPLOYEES – waitresses, bartenders and security guards – tested for drug use in Cancun and Playa show that an average of five employees out of 20 show positive for marijuana or cocaine use.  Officials are trying to reduce drug use by employees dealing with the public…SAD REPORT notes a 4.6 percent murder rate of females in Q. Roo while 35 percent of married women 15 and up suffered at least one violent incident by their partner…

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