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Geo-social issue rises from Caribbean waters

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Beach erosion, access, interlocked issues


Mother Nature plays starring role

The decision by the Omni Hotel to lock the public access gate to the federal waterfront, coupled with the reality of a significantly diminished beach, has generated some heated letters and conversations among residents with opposing and generally self-serving opinions.
While poor-me fault-finding is part of the dialog, only a few participants concentrate on the starring role being played by Mother Nature’s noteworthy threat to the community’s economy and individuals’ investments: The deterioration of the beach.

Obviously, Nature has taken an unexpected course, using the power of the sea as a broom to sweep away the fine powdered sand that is the welcome mat of the Mayan Riviera’s  shoreline facilities. Some puzzled stakeholders ask why hotels and condos were constructed so close to the water in the first place. Other casual observers say higher spring tides are causing a temporary problem that is stalling replenishment. Real estate agents argue on behalf of their short-term renters and their own income on what they perceive is the negative effect of closing beach access. Others simply straddle the fence for lack of sufficient information from those who would dare to control the savage side of Nature.
But for a primer, we can say Puerto Aventuras hasn’t cornered the market on beach erosion. It is happening worldwide. And the problem is not the neglect of those with the authority to do something about it. It is, in PA’s case, not a lack of will but a dearth of money coupled with the access issue that leads to the prolonged selection of a workable solution, of which there is more than one option on the table.
A few facts about the water hole known as the Caribbean Sea: It is roughly 1 million square miles of surface, stretches 1,700 miles from east to west and 500 to 800 miles from north to south. It is tagged as a sub-oceanic basin in the same sanitorio as the immense bathtub that is the Atlantic Ocean.
These two bodies of water are separated only by underwater mountain chains of the West Indies islands, which are the peaks of the sub-oceanic mountains. Some geologists theorize that between 225 to 570 million years ago the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Seas were actually connected.
Now, the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are linked by underwater valleys between the submerged mountains created over geological ages and events. They are deep passages that allow cooler Atlantic water to enter the Caribbean and are known as the Anageda Passage between the Virgin Islands and Lesser Antilles, and the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti.
The geologists say the Caribbean basin is only 20,000 years old, young compared to the oceans and other seas, and descends five miles at its deepest point. The Caribbean is contained on the north and east by the island nations of the West Indies, on the south by the northern rim of South America, on the west by Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula and passageways into the Gulf of Mexico.
It is a lot of water and its tidal and current movements generate enormous power affecting the edges of its containment, that is, the shores of the land masses that surround it.
While Mother Nature is the star, man has a leading role in the beach erosion drama and his disruptions of nature’s routine often leads to unintended consequences.…TO BE CONTINUED

Colonos meets May 5 to adopt budget, set fee

      The Colonos will resume an effort to adopt a budget for the year at a general assembly May 5 in the Kuuch Muuch Kuxtal (Let’s Get Together) room located in Centro Comercial above the Oxxo store. First quorum call will be at 9:30 a.m. and second  at 10 a.m..
The assembly earlier this year failed to reach a compromise on a Colonos proposal to reduce the Colonos fee by 2 percent, with several hotels arguing for a larger reduction, resulting in a postponement of voting on a budget and fee.
Registration to attend for home, condo and lot owners showing identification will be held April 27 and 30 and May 2. Proxies must present a simple document valid for the date of the meeting and signed by two witnesses bearing copies of ID documents of owner and proxy. Otherwise condo owners are represented by their administrators who, along with hotel representatives, must register on May 2.
There are a total of 6,296 votes in the Colonos. The combined hotels have 949 votes and Centro Comercial 126 votes for a total of 1,075. Lot, home and condo owners wield the remaining 5,221 votes…but must be present or have a proxy present to use them. Many snowbird owners have already departed. Only stakeholders current in dues will be allowed entrance.
      Also on the agenda is a question of applying the 5 percent discount to the base fee for the hotel, key and square meter of commercial properties, presentation of the expense budget for 2012-13 and approval of the maintenance fee retroactive to Feb. 1, 2012.

.Business beat…

Battle of the Mexican tele-titans

Customers not only ones with problems

A PA resident sent us an e-mail last week asking if we knew any “important folks” at Telmex because many customers here, the writer claimed, are getting imperfect service.

The answer is yes. We know Telmex-Telcel super-boss Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world according to The Economistmagazine. He got that way because people – even those who can’t afford it – are enchanted by the sonorous timbre of their own voice.
Like the young woman on the beach the other day. Unbelievable. She was on the CelTel for more than an hour unabashedly chatting frivolities, purposefully it seemed, to share the wonders of her voice box with others by being within earshot of nearby beachgoers. One could hear the pesos from the bottom of her beach bag screaming for her to stop or become like the boy who said he had to sell his chair to pay for his phone bill.
We may know Carlos Slim. But Carlos Slim doesn’t know us. We also know “Felipe” and ”Oscar” and “Federico” and ‘Enrique” and others at Telmex, voices without faces who gave us the runaround last year for nearly a month with words like “guarantee tomorrow” or “promise today” before we got our service back. They are in Mexico City. Like Carlos, they don’t know us either.

But we can help the hapless customers by suggesting some advice: When dealing with the “Tels” here, accept the fact that Mr. Slim’s empire remains somewhat dysfunctional and cannot be improved overnight while he creates even more wealth than his $63 billion fortune. It’s what wealth creators do. Customer service is an important but back-burner issue.
If you are a disgruntled victim, do this: Allow yourself to become frustrated and enraged. It’s a Telmex-Telcel customer characteristic. For relief, kick chairs, throw things at walls, blame everyone you love for your lost Internet access and scream invectives at the moon and stars.
As you cool off, think of the problems Mr. Slim has had in his lifetime accumulating such a mind-boggling pile of money. How painful it must be knowing he can’t possibly spend it all, particularly in Mr. Slim’s case since he doesn’t give it away in the same measure as Bill Gates does, again according to the Economist.
Then find a neighbor willing to give you his or her WEP key so you can use his or her access temporarily, or telephone, if they have service. Be sure to thank them and promise not to divulge the WEP to anyone else. Or go to any hotspot like restaurants to access the net and use your Skype too. As you calm down, call Telmex or Telcel to report your problem to “Federico” or “Enrique” or “Oscar” or “Filipe”. You may need to do that multiple, irritating times. There is more to this than meets the eye and it may help if you read the entire Economist story at http://www.economist.com/node/21546028.
You will learn that Telmex is locking horns in high-stakes battles with the government and competitor Televisa over TV rights, that cell phone service in Mexico is comparatively expensive and … but read it yourself at the above link to the Feb. 4, 2012 edition of The Economist..
Remember there are other victims besides you but that millions of people in 18 countries in the Americas use Telmex and Telcel under America Movil and are satisfied with it. Locals will tell you the best way to get things done is to be patient, and you may also end up being satisfied after your private battle with Telmex-cel is over…at least until the next skirmish flares.


Is the over-55 concept good for PA condos?

There was a local newspaper article last week noting that the Riviera Maya and particularly Cancun are not marketing the area to the senior tourists, snowbirds and potential medical tourism populations that have the time, the money and the inclination to travel and/or live abroad. PA is no exception, but should it look at the potential of senior housing and assisted living?
In another story a few days later, tourism and medical authorities here lamented the fact that a potential 25,000 clients are being lost because of the area’s failure to specifically publicize medical tourism. What could the Mayan Riviera offer?
Just as social difficulties blossom in the mixed-use zoning theory of coupling business alongside residential units, problems also arise when trying to integrate the desires of young and old in the close-living conditions of residential condo buildings, particularly those acoustic monsters made of sound-carrying cement products and designed for open living.
The development of “over-55” housing and condo projects in the U.S. offer proof that segregation – a word soiled over time by racial malpractice – is viable when it comes to age-related housing conditions. Here in PA, none of the condo developments to our knowledge are dedicated to senior living.
Few things mar a vacation or living conditions more for many seniors, particularly some skittish combat veterans, than sudden loud noises and the raucous behavior of boisterous young adults emboldened by alcohol and music booming a nocturnal good time in a nearby apartment; or, numbers of innocent children screaming their delight by the toy-filled pool while seniors might be trying to find peace to read or enjoy quiet conversation. The ideal would be for each to have their desires met without infringing upon the contentment of the other.
The Pelican hears the results of this questionable mélange, older people telling us they are irritated by the antics of younger people and younger people saying they are aggravated by the complaints of older people.
“Weren’t they young once?” ask the young. Good question but absent a repartee. The old cannot ask of the young,” Weren’t you older once?”
Here in open-living conditions it would seem the problem lacks a solution…other than, perhaps, modest moves toward developing the over-55 concept in a few enclaves, an attempt to assuage both poles while improving housing sales and the economic climate.
Not here? Not in this lifetime?
What’s your view?

Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
Your friend’s wife has been ill. You might ask him: “Esta mejor tu esposa hoy?
 (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

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, contributors and media reports
COLONOS GM Armando Rincon reports that road resurfacing and/or replacement will begin in about three weeks along the stretch of  Bahia Xcacel near the parking lot and taxi


stand on the south to the boat ramp near Latitude 20 on the north. Concrete paving is expected to replace the current brick-interlock surface for smoother driving….THE EXODUS of the snowbirds has begun and while goodbye parties and dinners are the norm until the next high season, one business may be exiting for good from its current Centro location with a grand 50 percent sale. Mary Maher-Shaw of Flamingo’s Crossing clothing boutique reported last week she is closing for good soon at the

current location but may return to a smaller venue…HOLE IN ONE – An email from two witnesses, Kay Strange and Chris Landahl, purported that man-about-Centro John Schwandke got a hole in one at El Manglar this week. Another witness, his wife, Darlene, also in the foursome,witnessed the surprise event…TWO MEN WERE ARRESTED in Chetumal for being in possession of a 3-month old spider monkey in a box in their car and with with a rope around its neck. The primate is an endangered species…23 UNDOCUMENTED CUBANS, four women among them, were rescued by the cruise ship Oasis of the Seas last week after drifting  for 22 days in international waters. They were delivered to Cozumel where they were being kept in a detention center to ascertain their health situation. They said they wanted to escape the Cuban regime and get a decent job…DENGUE FEVER is back with the humidity and mosquitoes, with 173 cases reported in Quintana Roo up to April 2. Protect yourselves against the mosquito bite…LOCALS complain in Playa del Carmen that taxi drivers shun them to pick up tourists who pay fares in U.S. dollars…HOTELSreported good occupancy, in some cases exceeding expectations, in the Riviera Maya for Easter weekend. Some of that rubbed off on PA hotels, at least one saying it was sold out for the weekend…

END THIS POST Just kidding

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