Leukemia strikes popular local artist
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME will occur Sunday, April 6, when we spring forward one hour. .
PA’s 4th ANNUAL FOOD FEST is 1 to 5 p.m. SUNDAY, MARCH 30
BIKE WANTED, men’s. 984-802-8705 or cel 984-131-7771
AKUMAL COMEDY CLUB Festival returns April 30-May 3. Stay tuned, more later
VILLA CHOICES for families, friends. Click on Akumal Villas at left for a family vacation.
REPAIR LEAKS BEFORE THE RAINY SEASON, click on Definitive Solutions for help.
LIBRARY HOURS Mon-Fri from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. More than 15,000 English and Spanish books to choose from.
ENTERTAINMENT NIGHTLY at PA’s Latitude 20 Restaurant: Salsa band playing Saturday nights
RESERVE NOW for summer car storage at Riviera Maya vehicle and boat storage. Click the logo at left.
REMEMBER Puerto Aventuras Catering for small house parties or large weddings
PELICAN HITS PARADE – By Computerize
3/21/14 Today, Last 24 hours, Last 7 days, Last 30 days, Total
Hits 893 2485 8412 30129 117609
World food festival this Sunday
has dishes from Cuba to India
Being held at the Colegio from 1 to 5 p.m.
The 4th annual world gastronomic event gets under way this Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Colegio grounds with an invitation from the Colonos Cultural and Sports Committee to come sample foods from around the world but prepared locally. The Colonos Cultural Committee says it added more participants last week and now has a total of 23 and two more possibles from Holland and Q. Roo.
Chairman Jorge Kaufer advises that, judging from the success of the previous events, it is best to come early. “If you want to sample everything, arrive early. By 3 or 4 p.m. some countries will be out of food.”
He said the “Celestial Steel Drums” group will provide live music for several hours and that the Puerto Aventuras Sailing Club, which has been putting Puerto Aventuras on the national sailing map with its collection of victory medals and hosting national regattas, will have the beverage concession. The club will be selling beer, wine and soft drinks (maybe coffee). Proceeds will help fund the club’s participation in annual events throughout the country and scholarships for young sailors.
Tickets to the event are $150 for adults and $100 for children and are qvcailable at the Colonos office or at the entrance. Country recipes to be tasted are from Cuba, Italy, France, Serbia, Jamaica, India, Argentina, Switzerland and from areas of Mexico.
State of the Town: Part 1
Stable future for Puerto Aventuras
assured by space, construction limits
Townwide population could reach about 30,000
As the Universe itself expands, so does Puerto Aventuras. The good news is that, unlike the endless heavens, the expansion of Puerto Aventuras into its final phase of development, Phase 4, has a conclusion. It will be reached long before this peaceful coastal community becomes burdened with the negative trappings of another Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
Puerto Aventuras resort is predicted to reach “buildout” – the point at which most available building space is occupied and there is no more room to expand – in about a decade.
That is the studied prediction of visionary developer and architect Roman Rivera Torres, who, one could say, has borrowed General Electric’s motto hawked by Ronald Reagan, a GE spokesman who became an American president: “Progress is our most important product.”
And progress is what this series of reports is all about. It concerns the present and the future of Puerto Aventuras as a unique community born of, and sustained by, Rivera’s concept of understated community living and steadfast commitment to it. “We now have a resort population of 3,200 fulltime residents that expands to 8,000 with the addition of transient residents in the high season,” he notes.
When Phase 4, the resort’s final development project currently under construction, reaches near-buildout in about 10 years, the resort community population is expected to hover around 7,000 fulltime residents stretching to 12,000 with the annual flow of transients.
In addition, the population in the Poblado and Puerto Maya across the highway is expected to explode from the current 15,000 to 20,000 fulltime residents, creating a combined small city of nearly 30,000 fulltime residents that includes both sides of the highway. “When I built the Poblado, I did so for an expected population there of 3,200,” Rivera said with a sense of wonder.
What helps make Puerto Aventuras unique is that it isn’t a Cancun or a Playa del Carmen, nor will it ever be. When development began in Cancun in the late 60s, infrastructure was subsidized by the federal government and the Hotel Zone as we know it, an island, was uninhabited. It was allowed to grow relatively unchecked for 40 years. It attracted private investment and by 1975 the zone had 1,769 hotel rooms. That in turn attracted more tourists arriving for the sunshine and fun, which in turn spurred more development. By 2008, the zone had a whopping 27,000 rooms. It became a victim of urban sprawl that incubated a population of less than 50,000 in 1975 to an estimated 722,000 this year.
Development drifted southward along the Riviera Maya and reached the storied, “sleepy fishing village” of Playa del Carmen that, like Cancun, has experienced phenomenal growth in a relatively brief period of time and continues to expand northward and westward. It now has a population of more than 150,000. What Rivera has achieved in Puerto Aventuras is a microcosm of a well-equipped urban center without the disquieting traffic, crime and social problems big cities engender.
Progress in Puerto Aventuras, not all of it, is now centered on construction of the 42.8 hectare (105.76 acres) Phase 4. Rivera said 18.8 percent of the area is dedicated to conservation holdings that include a cenote and an ancient Mayan outpost by a caleta (cove), which is a much favored attraction to bathers and snorkelers for its relatively untouched surroundings, placid waters and sense of mystery and history.
There has also been a construction spurt in the golf-marina resort’s first three phases in the last two years, topping off the remaining lots with villas and small condo complexes. Rivera said there is a difference with this sudden spike. “It’s because there are more people building to live here rather than vacation,” Rivera said.
Rivera notes that five former mayors and other men of political and business station have chosen to live with their families in Puerto Aventuras. “One day over coffee I asked some of them why they chose to live here. They told me ‘Because it’s safe.’”
(NEXT WEEK: An update on Phase 4 and the future of the caleta.)
BULLETIN: “I am very sorry to let you know that our friend, Michel, passed this afternoon (3/26/2014) at 2:40 pm. Lourdes and Lorenia, friends, were in the hospital. They will be taking Michel’s body for cremation. His daughter, Vanessa, and her partner are expected to arrive from Paris on Sunday. They will take his ashes out to sea in Cancun by boat to spread them and say goodbye. This is all I know. Hopefully, Michel’s friends will attend the Gastronomica on Sunday at the Colegio Puerto Aventuras where his trompe l’oiel painting will be auctioned.” (Reported by Gloria Fastrup) (See story below)
Popular PA artist, gravely ill
with advanced leukemia
Well known artist, singer, teacher and Puerto Aventuras personality Michel Brown is reported to be terminally ill and has been hospitalized in Cancun with a diagnosis of advanced leukemia, reports friends Gloria and local pianist Jerry Fastrup. They summoned a doctor after Brown called them last week to say he was ill and could not attend a rehearsal. Brown sang with Fastrup’s band at Latitude 20 Restaurant on Saturday nights.
Brown has also been a familiar face on the dolphin walk in past years where he joined other local artists showing his graceful and creative art. In his seventies, he possesses the self-assured bearing of an aristocratic military officer and the physique of one who is no stranger to the gym, exercise and diet. Friends suggest he has a holistic approach to health that did not include regular medical check-ups and likely was unaware he had the condition.
The suddenness of the news shocked friends and acquaintances since they had spoken to him just several weeks ago when, with characteristic French certitude, Brown declared he was not just “very well,” but “very, very, very well.”
“It is very sad,” said Mrs. Fastrup. “Michel is well-loved by adults and children alike.
He has given many of us painting, French and guitar lessons and has entertained us with his humor and song. I am lucky to have seven of his paintings, which I have acquired over the years.”
To help defray expenses, some of his paintings were offered for sale last Saturday at an impromptu showing at Latitude 20 where he often sang.
“I am happy to report they are almost all gone except for three large paintings. We held back the painting ‘Trompe L’oeil’ for an auction, unless someone offers $700 USD for it beforehand. Trompe l’oeil is a French term meaning “deceive the eye,” an art technique using realistic imagery to create an optical illusion that objects existing on a flat canvas give the appearance of three dimensions. This one is painted on a door.
“I am hoping Colonos will allow the auction as part of the Gastronomica on Sunday (March 30) and if not successful, owner Peter Metrick said we can do it at Latitude 20 in conjunction with his Art Fest on April 5.”
Puerto Aventuras developer Arq. Roman Rivera Torres, who is a Brown friend and patron, said during an interview this week, that Brown was to be part of a new and permanent art center being organized and scheduled to open soon at the Puerto Aventuras Information Center. Space there is being donated by Rivera for use by 17 local area artists so far.
PA pair sees future for Tulum,
invests in housing market there
A husband and wife team from Puerto Aventuras has made a property investment in Tulum, about 30 minutes from PA. It is their belief that the ancient, walled Mayan city is committed to historical and environmental preservation that precludes the kind of urbanized sprawl that has occurred in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
In keeping with that view, Felix Jaber, a developer-contractor, and Georgina Lara, his wife and independent real estate agent of Puerto Aventuras, have already developed Villas Akalan, six new-construction rental apartment units on Route 106 – the beach road – a block west from its intersection with the North-South Route 307 from Cancun to Belize that also serves as Tulum’s main street. “The units are in three separate buildings of two units each for privacy,” Jaber said, “each providing two bedrooms, 2 baths,open living-kitchen and ample covered terraces occupying a total of about 1,250 sq. feet.” A small hotel in keeping with the town’s plan to shun excessive growth, is also under development, Jaber said.
“Tulum is very popular with the hipsters who like to hike and back-pack along the beach and enjoy that kind of ambiance,” Jaber said. But the area is no stranger to older residents and snowbirds as well who live up and down the coast. They frequently make Tulum a destination for day-trips to enjoy what is probably the last remaining pristine expanse of shore untouched by big development.
“The Tulum beach is like Playa del Carmen was years ago when it attracted tourists to the sleepy fishing village” but is now a teeming city by the crowded beach. “The Tulum beach is going to stay the way it is,” Jaber believes.
The couple said they wanted to provide rentals as close to the beach as possible but even closer to amenities like a supermarket, of which
there are three in Tulum and one, a new super-Chedraui, just a 5-minute walk from Villas Akalan. The apartments are within walking distance to an Oxxo convenience store, bike and car rentals, ATM, and just across the highway from a wide, cement walk and bike path leading directly to the beach, about an eight- to 10-minute ride away.
For the uninitiated, Tulum, spelled Tulu’um in Yucatec, meaning fence or wall, is the site of the only pre-Columbian walled, port city of about 1,200 inhabitants gracing the Mayan Riviera. It thrived between the 14th and 15th centuries and now contains the city ruins on a 39-foot bluff overlooking a sandy shore and sun-splashed waters below that are enjoyed yearly by thousands of tourists.
The beach area extending just south of the ruins is fringed by a narrow, macadam road that winds along the shore’s powdery sands dotted with palm trees, small well-spaced hotels and palapa –roofed restaurants down to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a 5,280 sq. km. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Buy a drink or a meal and use restaurant beach chair and palapas all day. You’re in heaven!
The beach’s popularity was captured in a local news report during last week’s heat: “Yesterday it was observed that some families came from all over loading food and refreshments, some with nothing, others with the snack, but all seeking to mitigate the harsh rays of the sun at the beach.”
Jaber and Lara arrived in the Puerto Aventuras area a decade ago from their native Campeche where Jaber helped run a family-owned hotel and learned to be a jack of all trades. Parents of two children, they sought a fresh challenge to a better life on the developing Mayan Riviera and have evidently found it.
The Villas Akalan have already attracted short- and long-term renters from Germany, Norway, Belgium, the United States and Mexico, said Lara, indicating that Tulum is indeed becoming a vacation as well as a day-trip destination.
Get the complete information, photos and on-line reservation for Akalan Villas by clicking on the Akalan logo in the left hand column of this page. Check it out then plan a stay close to Mayan history and the arguably best beach on the Mayan Riviera.
AUTO REGISTRATION PLATES NOW AVAILABLE
The local press reported this week that registration plates for Solidarity’s 60,000 registered cars and other vehicles have arrived, evidenced by the number of cars parked around the Registry of Motor Vehicles building in downtown Playa del Carmen. The process is evidently moving along quickly since many car owners did the paperwork while the 20 percent discount was in effect.
EDITORIAL-ITO – The CFE (Mexico’s Electric company) wants users – particularly snowbirds – to conserve electricity during the hot summer months by shutting down gadgets like TV cable boxes, Internet routers and refrigerators to conserve power when it is needed for air conditioners that get a maximum workout. We are certain all snowbirds would gladly comply if only Telmex and the various TV service providers would put a hold on their services at a reduced summer price. Currently, snowbirds need to shut down their service and go through the time-consuming torture of re-applying when they return, a process that can take weeks. From this corner, the ball’s in their court.
Government faulted for lack
of press freedom enforcement
Mexico City, Mar 19 (EFE).- Public officials accounted for 60 percent of the 330 acts of aggression against journalists and media outlets documented in Mexico last year, press-freedom watchdog Article 19 says in a new report.
The first 12 months of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term witnessed the largest number of attacks on journalists since 2007, according to the group, which takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming the right to freedom of expression.
“That it is the most violent year should frighten and worry us, but above all that it’s the most violent year against the press when he have the most robust system of institutional protection,” Dario Ramirez, Article 19’s director for Mexico and Central America, told a press conference.
The Mexican government has several agencies whose stated mission is protecting journalists and human rights advocates, including the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression.
But in its eight years of existence, that office has yet to secure a single conviction, despite an annual budget of more than 30 million pesos ($8.2 million), Ramirez said.
Murders of reporters and “newsrooms filled with fear” reflect a continual deterioration of freedom of expression in Mexico, he said.
The violence leads to self-censorship and there are parts of Mexico where reporters “don’t want to report the news because they are afraid,” Ramirez said.
One of the worst areas is the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where 10 journalists have been slain since the start of 2011.
In Mexico City, Article 19 documented 34 instances of police aggression against journalists in 2013, including arbitrary arrests of reporters covering public protests.
“The government has received the information that the situation is worrisome, it has offered to respond in that regard, but it has done nothing concrete to resolve the situation,” journalist and author Juan Villoro said at the press conference.
THE RED ROSS annual drive is under way until April 20 with a goal of raising 1 million pesos. Puerto Aventuras has a Red Cross clinic and ambulance so that any support given will be reflected here as well…A REAL ESTATE company plans to construct family vacation housing in Playa del Carmen saying that integrating family units will provide an accommodation that other tourist areas lack. All that’s needed now is movements recognizing the potential of assisted living housing…LIME PRICE from 63 to 90 pesos a kilo in some places has exceeded the daily minimum wage of 63 pesos, causing hardship in poor families. A downward price trend is expected, but if that does not occur say restaurateurs, they may have to raise Easter holiday prices..…PLAYA BUSINESSES along the waterfront say they are losing business as their beaches lose sand, noting that the February loss was particularly high…TWO ELDERLY PEOPLE were seriously injured last Thursday when the tricycle they were riding to cross Highway 307 near the Puerto Aventuras Resort was struck by a van. The local Red Cross and police responded and brought the couple, who sell chopped fruit and snacks, to a Playa hospital…GOV. DEVAL PATRICK of Massachusetts and Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland security, visited with Mexican officials last week, Patrick on trade and Johnson on border security…ECONOMIC DIFFERENCES exist between the Nieto Administration, which predicts 3.9 percent growth this year, and Mexico’s central bank that says it sees no evidence the economy was bouncing back at the beginning of this year…MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR fraud case has led to the arrest of Amado Yanez Osuna, main stockholder of Pemex contractor Oceanografia for allegedly defrauding U.S. based Citigroup’s Banamex unit of $360 million and other irregularities…PEMEX says it will invest $27 billion this year to increase oil production to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2025, up from the 2013 output of 2.52 bpd…MEXICO’S new federal police force, the “Gendarmerie” is expected to hit the streets 5,000 strong in July…THE MEXICAN HOUSE has passed a federal law of competition that would end monopolistic practices that they believe have a negative impact on economic growth…AS TEMPERATURES RISE so does irritability, increased alcohol consumption and domestic problems. Also, officials suggest increased hygiene such as frequently washing one’s hands particularly before eating to avoid illness. A word to the wise ought to be sufficient…
The Mail Bag…
Another theft from golf cart
Hi, we love reading your informative pages while we are away from our Mexican home, and hope it continues. Quick comment re: golf cart theft outside Latitudes. Why on earth would one leave a wallet with passport, cash and driver’s license in an open golf cart? I wouldn’t do that in front of a bunch of trustworthy monks!! Too much temptation!
On a side note, my wife and I call PA our future retirement home, and bought there almost 5 years ago. We love it!. Sadly, we were victims of our 1st theft in January, our last visit there. We left our sippy cups in our golf cart, somewhat hidden in a cubby, to go for our morning walk. We parked outside of Peter’s Latitude 20 as well.Upon our return, one of our cups had been taken.
Not as crucial as one’s I.D and cash, but still feeling somewhat violated, and hurt. It was our 1st ever concern for the safety of our possessions in PA. I think it bothered us more than anything we’ve ever experienced there. The feeling of invasion of privacy. Petty theft, but theft either way…and they only took one?
Just venting, but I would NEVER leave anything that even looked remotely valuable in the open…even for 30 seconds! Keep up the good work!
Signed/ Rob Bernardi
Chart chip could lead to thief
Message to other boat owners: Last night (3/22/14) some POS (Piece of sh—) went on my boat and stole the chart chip out of my Raymarine E80 multifunction display. Its a Navionics XL9. Which only works in old outdated equipment anyway. So when someone tries to sell this to you, you should know its really worthless, no detail, worse charts I ever saw and you can pick them up on ebay for a few bucks. Anyway you will know who the thieves are in this marina if you are offered one.
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.