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Coming events:

MIRADOR BASIN PROJECT, lecture and slide show by Prof. Richard D. Hansen, Ph.D., 7 p.m., Feb. 17 at Cultural Center, tickets 150 pesos at the Colonos office or at the door. Scroll down for story in previous edition.
NIGHT OF RISING STARS at Latitude 20 Restaurant, 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. The program features children from the  Puerto Aventuras school.
REGGAE DANCE BAND Roots & Wisdom, Feb. 16 from 6:30 p.m., Latitude 20 Restaurant.
HEALTHCARE FOR EXPATS is the title of an important  symposium scheduled for 10 a.m., Feb. 26, in the Colonos Meeting Room. The American consular officer in Playa del Carmen and representatives from the new Red Cross clinic in the Poblado, Hospiten and insurers are expected to be presenters. Stay tuned and set that date aside if you have any concerns about health care and coverage.

 PA regatta launches national competition

 

 

Races begin to attract more fans

 

Businesses get a boost from sailing event

Puerto Aventuras put a feather in the cap of sailmeister Daniele Gracis,  pesos in the pockets of local businesses and another notch in its resume as a primary port of call for national small-boat sailing regattas.

About the only element that didn’t fully cooperate with the three-day weekend of races in three classes of sailing craft was, well, the elements. The usually bright sun in a blue firmament with sporadic white clouds gave way Friday to a leaden overcast sky that chilled.
But that was generally ignored by the busy sailors concentrating on victory as they rode their craft over swells like cowboys on bucking bulls. For observers who watched from various vantage points ashore and a-sea,  it was a hit for those who know sailing and mildly interesting for the curious layman.
The awards ceremony conducted Sunday evening at the Cultural Center terminated the three-day event in celebratory style with the distribution of plaques to the winning sailors from throughout Mexico and accolades to those who were involved in hosting the national sailing event.

When speakers introduced PA’s own Daniele Gracis, the open air cultural center exploded with whistles, hoots, hollers and sustained applause as the man who not only attracted the race to this venue, but captains the local sailing club in the Optimist Class, repairs the boats, manages the annual marathon and advocates to put more kids on water to tame the sea and shape their character. But for brave sailors, there would be would be undiscovered continents, no?
The weekend also brought out the more gracious among us, like Inger Bjerre for example, as owners of  roof-top units in various condo buildings offered friends a lofty  “terraza” vantage point from which to observe the sailing action, albeit at a distance, and to socialize.
One such rooftop sailing fan was Danish recreational sailor and visitor Hans Ottesen who was armed with binoculars and a compass. He told the Pelican Free Press that he was able to actually follow the race leaders on each day from the numbers on their sails. He said quite a few boats went bottoms-up in Friday’s stiff winds and relatively rough sea, but the young sailors righted them well in don’t-give-up-the ship fashion to resume racing.

Among a smattering of observers on local beaches and other waterfront sites, the thrill of the race eluded some observers because of constricted views and brought forth admissions that they couldn’t tell what was going on. In some cases, their view was too narrow to see all the markers. Nonetheless, those who gave it thought were impressed with the evident skills of young sailors no older than 15 in the Optimist Class handling themselves so well.
There were actually four classes of boats sailing, but only three preparing for world championships. They included the Optimist Class for children, the Laser for youth and adults, a windsurfer class and the 420 two-man class sailed mostly by military cadets. The races were conducted on two courses, with multiple classes sailing the same courses simultaneously. The number of boats and various classes sailing at the same time helped build the action and the excitement of the race for observers ashore.

 

Puerto Aventuras hosted its first national regatta last year toward the end of the high season and it was a success, according to Gracis and press reports in the sports-centered newspaper “El Deportivo.”
Other regattas this year will be held in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico State and Acapulco. Winners of the regattas will continue competing to represent Mexico on the World Championship teams.
Gracis is the tireless chairman of the Colonos Sports and Cultural Committee and commodore of the sailing club here. He is joined by his wife, Lucia Perrotta, in also promoting cultural events like concerts. He would like to integrate the international community of ex-pats and snowbirds into the competitive sailing scene even though it is a national Mexican undertaking.

To that end, music and food and beverages have been woven into the awards ceremony at the cultural center in hopes of attracting an international audience, although the awards portion of the evening is conducted in Spanish.
Unfortunately this year, the ceremony coincided with the biggest athletic event of the year in the United States, the overhyped  football Super Bowl. That had an effect on attendance to the concert Sunday night to top off the race finale.
One man who had watched some of the races from the Omni Beach said he would have gone to the awards ceremony and concert had it not been for the Super Bowl that he wanted to watch on television. “Sometimes you have to make choices,” he said.

Despite that, there were around 200 people at the local event, where food, beverages and entertainment by Natalie and the Foxes offered a good mix of rock and blues renditions.
Oddly enough, Natalie the diva is also a diver based in Akumal and sings locally at Lol-Ha about once a month and at Zenzi in Playa del Carmen.
In the group are Mauro Montero, guitar; Daniel Martinez Sandra, keyboard; Jose Noe Paris, bass and
Charaguas on drums, who goes by one name only.
Regatta sponsors included the PA Fideicomiso, Nissan Cars, the Colonos, the Playa del Carmen Municipal Council, City Club, Coca Cola and the PROA Sailing Association.
In case you want to know….

Advantages and Disadvantages of Residente Permanente
vs. Residente Temporal Immigration Permits for Mexico

~   Residente Permanente offers the ease of a single, one-time application/registration.
~   There is only one payment needed for Residente Permanente vs. 4 years of Temporary Resident payments.
~   Residente Temporal
 card holders must change to Residente Permanente after four years of Temporary Residency anyway (or change to 6 month Visitor permits).
~   If you have a Residente Permanente card, your Notary may approve you for the Home-owners exemption from paying the 25% gains tax on a future sale of your Mexican home – a potential savings of $10′s – $100′s thousands of dollars.
~   If you are outside Mexico for part of the year, Residente Permanente keeps you from having to return to Mexico to deal with an expiring Residente Temporal card.
~    Residente Permanente allows you to work in Mexico, and to get an RFC from Hacienda.
~    Residente Permanente is a good stepping stone to becoming a Naturalized Citizen. Why?  If you have property under a Fidei Comiso, then getting Citizenship allows you to terminate theFidei Comiso , saving you $ thousands in annual payments to the bank.

      Please note that Yucalandia’s master article describing the latest information on how to Visit Mexico, Immigrate to Mexico, and how to apply for residency in Mexico is at:
New Rules and Procedures for Immigration, Visiting, and Staying in Mexico
Courtesy of YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.

Looking up in PA… with Gayle Sandholm

Thanks to some good folks who spotted it, I was able to spend some time recently

watching a rat snake, its head well into a small opening in a dead tree trunk. (Photo at right). I assumed it was looking for a meal. I know little about snakes, but one resident who came by said, “It is the snake that eats rats.”
Rat snakes are powerful constrictors able to take large prey. They can grow over three meters long. This one was more like 1.5 meters (5 feet). It was persistent. It was turning and twisting in the tree trunk for nearly an hour. Because they eat rats, some say when a rat snake appears, expect good health to follow! So “salud”, good health, to all in Puerto this week.

I also saw two Coatis cross a trail just off Blvd. Puerto Aventuras. Members of the raccoon family, these two were about 25 inches long with a tail equaling the length of the body.
Tails were held erect, which I have learned is one way to keep together in tall vegetation. Locals report coatis scavenging in garbage bins around Puerto. They can be fierce fighters so it is better to look but not approach.
If you have been looking up at the birds around town you may have seen more orioles. This week I saw Hooded and Scott’s Orioles along with the more usual Orange and Orchard ones. I also spotted small flocks of Blue Grosbeaks on the lawns and in the trees. And, though they were in the tops of trees some distance away and seen only through binoculars, I did see two Yucatan parrots and what I think were three green parakeets.
Until next time, keep looking up.

Letters…

Dear Editor:
Our normal means of transferring funds from our USA bank to our account with Bancomer in Mexico is via “Express Send”. The transfer fee is $2.00.
Sounds good so far, and it has worked very well except that the “wholesale currency price and the retail rate” have a significant gap. It appears to be about 25 cents difference between those two rates. For example, the bank’s most recent exchange rate yesterday (Jan. 31) was $1 USD = 12.5431 MXN.
Are there any other methods of transferring money into Mexican bank accounts that are giving better rates for other PA residents who also transfer money to pay their HOA fees, etc. in Mexico?
Often we have heard that banks pay the lowest exchange rate but we are not familiar with other means of transferring money. If any Pelican Free Press readers (or Pelican staff has suggestions) could you share those with us all?

Most appreciated,
Mary and Bernie Strojny

 

Dear Editor:
I just want to thank you for all the time and energy you contribute to this community newspaper. Since I’m frequently away from Puerto for my work in the United States, I enjoy reading the news and feeling “connected”. Thank you again.

Signed/Jayne A. Halle\

Smiling in Spanish…

 

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter

The sales tax on a new car is 11 percent here.“Impuesto sobre la ventas en un coche nuevo es de 11 por ciento aquí ” Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at Gloria Contreras nanigloria@hotmail.com or Cel: 984-108-3517 so she can prepare materials in advance.
(Classes are from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos per session. (No class today, Feb. 7).

What’s Playing…

See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.
Centro Maya: http://cinemex.com/

Las Americas: http://www.cinepolis.com/_CARTELERA/cartelera.aspx?ic=70#Cine215

Briefly noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
A DRY MARINA AND STORAGE business has opened in Paamul, on the southbound lane of 307. Look for the sign there on the white, low-slung building and stay tuned…GRINGO’S CANTINA is reportedly for sale as  former owner Gringo Dave is seen in Puerto Aventuras…MOODY’S DOWNGRADE is a possibility for Quintana Roo and seven other Mexican states. But no municipality in Q. Roo other than Cancun faces a potential credit rating downgrade, says Moody’s…MAJOR PLANS for Mayakoba to include new hotels on its existing site and luxury homes and golf course across the highway are still in the works…NEIGHBOR COMPLAINTS in the north end of Playa known as Colonia Luis Donaldo led to the arrest of eight drug distributors and seizure of 60 doses of cocaine…RIVIERA TOURIST officials say they did well at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, Spain, negotiating more than 80 strategic alliances with major companies and tour operators…SLIPPERY WHEN WET HIGHWAY 307 from Cancun to Tulum has the attention of local officials who are asking the federal government for help in diminishing the danger of wet cement roads in favor of blacktop. The highway carries some 4 million visitors to the Riviera Maya annually…

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