Downpours dampen tourism, spirits
Continuing heavy rainfall floods
streets, fogs gringo temperament
But relief believed on the way
They say the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, but in the Riviera Maya this season, torrential downpours – too many of them – dampened business for retailers, spas and restaurants according to a number of reports trickling down to the Pelican.
The tenor of e-mails indicate a sort of mild depression in the human condition as well as the atmosphere. There were press reports that tourists chose to closet themselves in the resort hotels rather than chance a soaking by venturing out to various beaches or the shopping icon of Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen.
While flooding was bad enough in some of the tourist areas, it was worse in some colonies where man-made drainage is scarce or non-existent and rainwater has no place to go. Lucio Salvador Argea, a civil protection officer, said subdivisions of Guadalupe, Sac-Pakal, Mission de Carmen and Villas del Sol, among others, were hardest hit early during a recent deluge.
Cold fronts arriving
Now for the good news. A recent e-mail from Puerto Aventuras noted that “finally” the chance of rain was moving down the scale of possibility to about 30 percent. And on the bright side, as snowbirds begin landing, the environment will be a lush ‘Paradise’ in the welcome wake of an inactive hurricane season as it affects the Caribbean.
And according to Conagua, the national water commission, a cold front arrived a few days before the start of the winter season on Nov. 7 and predicted there would be from 40 to 45 cold fronts for the entire winter season with lows ranging from 16 to 18 celsius (60-64 F), or put in practical terms, light jacket and/or sweater evenings great for slumber if neighbors, bars and hotels keep the nocturnal noise down.
U.S., Canada lead in buying
property on Riviera Maya
Sales reported up 35 percent
Property sales on the Riviera Maya are up 35 percent and most of the buyers are from the United States and Canada, reports Guillermo Salgada Castaneda, president of the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals.
He said U.S. investment in the Maya market is first, followed by Canadian investors buying developments not only as assets but forming Canadian communities in response to increased flights from Canada to the Riviera Maya.
While the Cancun market is saturated, he said, there is plenty of room to grow southward on the Riviera Maya. “We will grow much farther south,” he said. “We are taking care of environmental issues along the Caribbean coast that will help us grow sustainable developments.”
Salgada’s views were underscored locally by Michellle Kinnon of “Buy Playa”, a Pelican Free Press sponsor. "Obviously the Riviera Maya’s real estate sales were adversely effected by the economic meltdown several years ago, 2012 showed a marked increase in both interest and sales of property all up and down the coast predominately by US and Canadian buyers. 2013 has continued this positive trend and we are seeing both leads and sales up over 35% in 2013 with our American and Canadian buyers in the forefront and increasing interest from both European as well as South American clients looking to invest in this booming area," she said.
While Salgado didn’t mention it, there is background awareness that major transportation improvements are in the works to include a cross—Yucatan rail expansion with a station at Calica and the oft-mentioned possibility of a new airport near Tulum, both opening up the corridor south to facilitate expansion.
Meanwhile, the municipality of Solidarity is still attracting investment despite an increase of 20 to 30 percent in building permit fees, says Eduardo Morentin Ocejo, director of environmental planning and urban development.
This type of news projection allows current property owners to speculate that as the market expands, so will the value of their property assets.
Allegations continue that PA
is quiet organized crime haven
The local media continue to allege – meaning solid evidence is lacking – that the Puerto Aventuras resort is a prime base for activities from drug trafficking to moving undocumented Cubans and boat theft. These allegations have hovered over the resort intermittently for some eight years and are usually revived when an incident is reported that triggers police intervention in the private resort that is guarded by its own unarmed and largely powerless security personnel.
The latest incident occurred Monday, Oct. 28, when what was described as an “intense” police mobilization was triggered by a report concerning a luxury SUV occupied by heavily armed men being spotted in the resort. Unfortunately, the media did not follow through on the report to say whether any evidence of armed men was found or any action taken.
In the past several years, however, there have been documented incidents of several yacht thefts. These events helped to lend credence to the general media observations concerning the presence of organized criminal activity.
Additionally, regular policing inside the resort is non-existent, meaning that vessels can come and go inside the marina without authoritative supervision or inspection, according to media conjecture. Other than the documented boat thefts and one documented incident of stolen vehicles being parked in a PA condo lot sometime last year, there are no reports of any PA resident other than the owners of the stolen boats, who have been victimized by any organized criminal activity in the resort.
The largely unsupervised stretch of sea-front property, along the PA shore specifically and the Mayan Riviera in general, lends itself to this type of speculation while the general population shares a feeling of being “safe” in what many of them refer to as “Paradise.”
A witness in view of the military base also told the Pelican that the Mexican Marines at the local base boarded a panga in the marina, then directed foot soldiers to a rock area where a body – a possible overdose victim -was discovered and removed. The panga crew reported the find to the authorities.
Maya Riviera, Cozumel ripe
for piece of medical tourism
The Riviera Maya including Cozumel has ample opportunity to be of public service and generate considerable revenue by actively pursuing a piece of the medical tourism industry.
That was the belief expressed in Cozumel as plans for representation from the state of Quintana Roo were discussed on Cozumel, which also plans to be represented at the National Forum on Medical Tourism Coparmex 2013 in Mexico City.
Coparmex president Pedro Joaquin Delbouis said tourists from the U.S. and Canada are mostly concerned with care for orthopedics, plastic surgery, dental, pacemakers and stem cells. He noted that the cost of a pacemaker in the northern countries runs around $30,000 compared to $8,000 in Mexico with the same level of expertise and service, he claimed.
Primer on the slippery slope
of Mexico’s political oil spill
As snowbirds begin arriving this month from the U.S., Canada and elsewhere, the Mexican Congress will continue debating oil reform that could eventually change and reportedly improve snowbird dealings with local Pemex fuel stations.
The PRI government of President Enrique Pina Nieto wants to jump-start the national government-owned Pemex monopoly and open the nation’s oil industry to foreign investment, a move that apparently has the support of many economists worldwide.
The reforms would modify two articles of the nation’s constitution in order to support contracts between the government and private companies and investors to share profits from expanded off-shore and shale drilling. The reforms would presumably increase profits to the Mexican people via their government. Nonetheless, there is considerable opposition to messing with what has historically been a near-religious issue among some of the nation’s citizens and suspicion of added government corruption.
The Mexican oil industry was nationalize in 1938 and full control given to Pemex by a constitutional change in 1960. Why those two events occurred is also why opposition to opening up the industry remains.
Mexico’s Constitution of 1917, born in the cradle of social revolution, took over ownership of resources above and below ground from Spain’s Crown. But other foreign manipulators refused to accept the move, prompting President Lazarus Cardenas to nationalize the industry. It was seen by the population as a reaffirmation of national honor and is still celebrated. The proposed reforms then face emotional as well as fiscal encounters with the opposition.
Some believe that a victory for reforms would ultimately trickle down to individual Pemex retail outlets as investment from the eventual expansion of revenue and thus, money to re-invest in the industry for improved customer service.
Playa del Carmen Rotary’s
first charity golf tourney a success
Raises funds for area’s needy children, families
By Michelle Kinnon
On Saturday October 26, Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside hosted its first annual Charity Golf Tournament, the Seaside Rotary Golf Classic, at the Grand Coral Golf Course. Despite the inclement weather, some of the Riviera Maya’s best golfers came out to take part in this inaugural tournament and show their support for Playa del Carmen’s newest Rotary Chapter and its ongoing programs and charitable initiatives in the local community. Participating golfers took home a number of impressive honors and a variety of prizes all donated by local businesses.
The foursome of Seaside Rotarian J.J. Johnston, Marcus Roehmer, Dan Palka and Isaac DeAnda took home first place in the tournament with a 9 under par score of 62, a one-shot win over second place finishers Andres Balladares, Francisco Llinas, Juan Diego Diaz and Nicolas Tsakolas.The tournament’s Longest Drive was contested on the 18 hole and won by Francisco Llinas, with a heroic tee shot that, despite the day’s wind and heavy air, carried beyond the 300-yard marker. Llimas won a weekend for four – two adults and two children – at the RIU Peninsula Cancun Resort.
All golfers were challenged to Beat The Pro, top ranked, Junior golfer, Alejandro Dallava, on Grand Coral’s beautiful par 3 fifth hole. Four players succeeded, Seaside Rotarian Bill Sinclair, Pedro Gomez, Andres Balladares and Francisco Llimas, each winning a prize of $400mn for their efforts.
In the tournament’s signature event, the Tequila Barrel Closest-To-The-Pin Shootout, Marcus Santa Cruz, Oscar Lloyd Andrade, Juan Diego Diaz and Antonio Zumora kept spectators on the edge of their seats until, on the last shot of the third round, Andrade fired a beautiful 8 iron, landing his ball about 16 feet away from the pin, and locking up the win taking home a much coveted, week-long pass for two at the upcoming OHL Mayakoba Classic and a cash prize of $5,000mn.
Following game play, golfers joined Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotarians and friends for an awards luncheon and raffle in Grand Coral’s elegant clubhouse. Throughout the luncheon, guests were treated to live music courtesy of Explayarte School of Music. In his welcoming remarks, Rotary Club President Doug Morgan thanked Grand Coral Golf Director Glenn Doyle and staff members Emma Quinones and Fabiola Uribe for their help in making the first-time venture a success. Also credited were the many local business owners who sponsored the tournament or donated prizes. Major corporate sponsors included Bric Vacation Rentals, BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors, Calderon y Asociados, Costa Realty and The Playa Times. President Morgan stressed that 100% of the tournament’s net proceeds will go toward Seaside Rotary charitable endeavors that support the tournament motto, ”For Playa’s Kids”.
For more information about the event, visit the official website www.seasiderotarygolfclassic.com. Images from the tournament can be found on the Rotary Playa del Carmen Seaside Facebook page.
The Mail Bag
“Here’s a follow-up to our previous correspondence on Bancomer’s trust business. We’ve heard that mental challenges help keep the brain active and Mexico has plenty to keep the gray matter engaged.Upon recently arriving here in PA, we began our latest Mexican adventure to find out how and where to make those yearly trust payments. We won this round and here is the complete info everyone will need when making Bancomer trust payments:
Alejandra Villafuerte Alarcon is the person to contact. Her number is 998-193-1017 and her e-mail is Alejandra.firstname.lastname@example.org but you don’t need to go to Cancun to pay your trust. Alejandra speaks very good English and has everything set up to do over the internet. She is very responsive and extremely helpful (she returns e-mails and phone calls!). In the past (with Alma), we’ve paid the trust fee this way and it is a relief to see it can still be done from wherever you are (when you are not here).
Our conversation and e-mail with Alejandra asked us to send the usual things we do every year we make our trust payment: (1) copy of passports, (2) completed bank form (sent by e-mail attachment to us), and (3), copy of credit card we use to make the payment. (we use VISA; AMEX is not accepted by Bancomer).
It took more than two weeks to track down the right person and, thanks to our own angel, Sandra Alvarez (who we located ourselves by various means, including begging the Bancomer rep in Playa del Carmen for a number). Thanks to Sandra, we got a good starting point with Mauricio in Bancomer Mortgages.
My name is Marianne Beck and I live in Villas Del Mar. I am looking for men and women who like to play doubles at the USTA 3.5/4.0 level from 4:30 until 6 in the afternoon. Send me an email at email@example.com if you are interested in mixed doubles at this time. We play at Villas del Mar nd there is no fee.
Compiled from staff, resident and media sources
ROAD BLOCK – Teachers and parents blocked traffic on the federal highway in Playa Del Carmen for 45 minutes on a recent Saturday as another expression against education reform. Teachers in the Puerto Aventuras high school and an elementary school reportedly returned to work this week under pressure from parents of school children who said they could wait no longer for classes to resume…SOLIDARIDAD ranks second in the state, after Cancun, in demand for housing and has thus been assigned 12,000 credits toward new housing for labor…OFFICIALS REPORT that 30 percent of the Playa population in the northern neighborhoods is polluting the sea because some housing is not connected to a sewer system and they don’t know where to deposit their waste, allowing seepage to enter the nearby sea…SOLIDARITY is said to be first municipality in state for deforestation because of explosive growth requiring more housing, and more housing bringing more commercial development…MORE RAIN than usual has Fifth Avenue businesses worried as the downpours of this rainy season have been keeping tourists in their hotel rooms and not spending on the popular avenue…TWO PEOPLE in Quintana Roo have died from dengue fever since August, reports the national disease center. One was a boy, 10, in Tulum ,and an adult woman in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, down from three in 2012…HIGHER TAXES are on the federal table while businesses join in arguing against a proposed increase in the value added tax from 11 to 16 percent…THE EMPLOYMENT SERVICE says the Riviera Maya, that is, Playa del Carmen, kept more workers working and paid them better in September than counterparts in Cancun…
Phrase a Week…By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
Refreshing cold fronts expected this winter. In Spanish, you would say, “Refrescante frentes fríos espera este invierno.”
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.