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Centro assembly supports renewal projects  

By Staff
      Snowbirds returning later this year can expect to see some improvements in the Centro Comercial common areas according to the minutes of the association’s May assembly chaired by Daniel Reyes Basso, of the association’s supervisory committee.       

     One improvement, although not in public view, will serve well the safety of the association members and the public by revamping the electrical service gauges and the deteriorated rooms that house them away from public view. On the advice of an architect, the voters also approved a plan to separate the electrical equipment from gas tanks also located in the area and posing a potential risk. Fortunately, the association had sufficient reserves to pay for the 337,982 pesos project ($25,262 USD),meaning there is no added cost to association members. The association reserves were accumulated from savings in 2011 and 2012.
      In response to numerous requests in the past, the association approved a plan whereby common area roofing at all commercial areas will eventually be standardized to cover all common-area pergolas used by businesses that now are open to the weather, which, in its wet or nasty moods, can disrupt diners and shoppers. A thatched-roof sample will be designed and installed for public view and comment, after which time further installations will be modeled from the sample to standardize, modernize and maintain the original aesthetic concept.
     A design prepared by Arq. Roman Rivera Torres was adopted and includes continued use of wood beams and cross members, thatched roofs but with addition of transparent polycarbonate material to keep out the rain while still maintaining the general aesthetics of Centro. 
     One of the more contentious situations concerned the problem of loud music (noise) from some of the eateries in the late night hours of operation. Debate yielded a compromise that would consider entertainment permits for limited days with the proviso that the sound not be the subject of continued, legitimate neighbor complaints.
     In another change,voters approved the purchase of four vendor carts to be placed in the area of the kiosk (post office and barber shop) where the fruit stand is located. This will standardize the look of the carts, accommodate more vendors and furnish income to the association after the first year of use when the cost of the carts would be recovered by income from the leases.

The Buzz…

COSTCO a NO GO for the time being

      By Staff
           We’ve been reporting on rumors that Costco, a favorite of quite a few locals, was considering an outlet in Playa del Carmen somewhere near Las Americas Mall. Nobody had bothered to counter the rumor until now.
The rumors of a COSTCO coming to Playa are just that…..rumors,” says reader Allan Rosenfeld. “  I know the manger of COSTCO, Cancun, Mr. Berek Skikman. Six months ago he told me that he had been the one in charge of looking into a Playa location but could not see one being built in Playa any time soon.
With two Walmarts, two Chedrauis, two Sorianna’s, a MEGA, a Sam’s Club, a City Club, and two AKis and a third huge AKi under construction at Aveneda 115 and Constituyentes and with a population of about only 200,000 to 300,000 equals no COSTCO in Playa any time soon,” he said. 

Navigating visa, foreign-plated car maze,

has become x-pat and snowbird craze

     Mr. Rosenfeld also wanted to know if anyone has “a definitive ruling” in writing on whether “residente permanente” holders driving cars with U.S./Canada plates and temporary import stickers are still able to drive the car in Mexico. “My lawyer says it is OK. But talk to five different lawyers and you get five different answers.” He wanted to know if anybody had some hard facts. 

The Pelican also monitors various blogs on the subject and receives information from readers like Mr. Rosenfeld, all of them looking for definitive answers that even lawyers and government employees can’t seem to provide with one authoritative voice. We received a few letters after publishing Robert Roadway’s comparatively uneventful drive back home to Colorado without any immigration problems.
     The latest news we have on that issue is from Prof. Andy Pittman of Texas A&M and Puerto Aventuras who has been going through the process. Here is his story, printed with his permission:
      “Pat (his wife) and I went to immigration on Monday and got fingerprinted and interviewed and were told that it would be two to three weeks before the permanent visa came back. However, we talked to a man waiting in the office and his came back in a week, so who knows. Also, you have to pick up your own visa. No one else can pick it up for you, which makes things interesting since immigration does not notify you online that it is ready. You have to guess.
The other issue that came up Monday has to do with driving our foreign plated car out of Mexico. I met with Solomon the attorney for advice. (see My Mexican Lawyer in the sponsor column).
      “Here is what I have to provide Mexican customs officials to safely get the car out: My social security number, my original driver’s license, my original American passport, the original car title, and the original of the registration document when we brought the car into the country. They keep this information until your application is processed, which can take up to a week.
     “Needless to say, I have numerous problems giving them this information but Solomon said the Mexican customs officials’ attitude is if you want to drive your car across the border you have to give them this information. You can take a chance and not get this safe passage letter like Bob did , but if you are stopped and the officials decide to enforce the law, Solomon said they can take your car from you. (There are reports of this happening on the country’s West Coast.) 
      “I think Bob was stopped three times and had an accident but not once did the police ask him for his letter nor did they ask him for his visa or passport until he crossed the border. What they did ask him for when he was stopped along the way was his driver’s license, a copy of his auto insurance, and his vehicle registration. Oh, one other thing Solomon told me. Since the vehicle was registered in my name when we crossed the border four years ago, my name is the only one that will appear on the safe passage letter and I am the only one who can officially drive the car.
      “In other words I will be the only one who can safely drive the car through Mexico and if we are stopped with Pat driving the vehicle we could be in trouble. How dangerous this could be! “
Maybe a suggestion for you to address in the Pelican Free Press and through the local embassy is to get some of this changed. (Let’s hope the politicians and bureaucrats are listening.)
If anything changes I will let you know.”
       It appears it will rake a considerable amount of time before all the rules of the visa-and-car game are understood, implemented and enforced similarly and fairly by all the players.

Ex-Bill Gates guard opens
martial arts school in PA

       Guy Warnow lays claim to impressive intellectual and physical attributes. He speaks four languages, English, Spanish, German, Portuguese and ”un poco” of French. He holds a dizzying number of martial arts belts and awards, has several championships under his belt (no pun intended) as a highly ranked competitor, fighter and teacher in a range of self-defense methods.  
      He owns the GWAR Fighting Team Playa del Carmen and is sharing his instructors and what he knows about self defense tactics at a new school in Puerto Aventuras located across from the Colegio along the marina. 
      Warnow is also well-versed in an eclectic array of self-defense practices. He was a shooting instructor for special police reams in the state of Mexico; was an anti-kidnapping instructor for Coca-Cola in the Mexico Federal District, a security officer for two Israeli armored car companies, bodyguard instructor for a Puebla governor among other officials in Hidalgo, Colima and Merida. He also served as b
odyguard for Bill Gates when in Mexico.
      He is also a tactical driving instructor, a level 3 British horse society instructor and knife-fighting master.
      At last count, the new school already had 10 students for classes being held from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 4 to 5 p.m. Fridays.The classes are open to all ages.       



Briefly Noted…

PUERTO AVENTURAS didn’t even get a mention when an agency listed the 10 best beaches in the Riviera Maya that included Isla Mujeres, Holbox (first),Cancun, Tulum and Akumal among others…DRIVER VISA I.D. is becoming necessary in some states according to several blogs noting that drivers

must have their visa, be it permanent, temporary or visitor, available to show police if they get stopped…MERCHANTS  and visitors along Juarez Avenue in Playa del Carmen have been complaining for more than a month about the stench of sewerage has been discouraging purchases. Complaint to officials did not bring immediate relief…OH, OH! Chunks of concrete fell from the northern tip of the Route 307 overpass near Calle 62 again raising the question about the failure to provide sufficient drainage and other alleged irregularities with the construction. Nobody was hurt by the falling concrete…COZUMEL-MIAMI flights will resume in November with American Airlines providing five weekly flights on Tuesdays then Thursdays through Sundays on Boeing 737s with 166 seats. It is being said the average cost of a ticket would be $500. Cozumel hotel group says it should hike room occupancy by 5 percent as hotels invest in promoting the flights and the airline…AN ESTIMATED 40,000 students started school August 19 in Solidarity. A WEEK LATER several dozen elementary school teachers marched in protest along 5th Avenue and other streets seeking education reform, better treatment, schools and furniture from the government…MEANWHILE, Solidarity reports 745 people took advantage of education opportunities offered by the Community Development Centers during the last quarter…BUSINESS COUNCIL officials have complained about the proliferation of ATMs on 5th Avenue in Playa, saying they emit a less than welcoming image to tourists by charging higher fees than banks. The council spokesman noted there were 15 ATMs in one 5th Avenue block…DELTA AIRLINES will inaugurate a daily direct flight from Los Angeles to Cancun in mid-December, shuttling an estimated 1,000 visitors a week…ONE PLAYA ASASSINATION apparently involving drug business was reported in mid-August. A body, shot in the head, was found on a rutted road near Xcalacoco north of Playa. Investigators later raided a place called The Santanera located at 12th St. between 5th and 10th Avenues that allegedly was a base for independent drug dealers, known as “grasshoppers.”. This was one of four assassinations in the area, the other three in Cancun and Cozumel…GREEN GROUP collected more than a ton of  recyclables in one day from the Villas del Sol neighborhood in Playa del Carmen, a worthy if heavy task…THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL was in Isla Mujeres for several days in August shooting the progress of a sun-powered boat of the future being developed there. The segment will be aired (don’t know when)  on a TV show entitled “Future Planet.”…CONSTRUCTION UNION  spokesman in Solidaridad says the industry is in a tailspin with major projects being postponed, but housing starts in Puerto Aventuras have appeared relatively vibrant this year…AUTHORITIES CONFISCATED 46 liters of adulterated alcohol in nearby Bacalar in August…HOTEL OWNERS in Playa del Carmen are waiting to work with the new municipal administration taking over in October to continue beach replenishment projects and  completion of 10th Avenue improvements…

Phrase a Week…By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
Next month the winter residents begin arriving. 
“El mes próximo comenzarán a llegar los residentes de invierno.”
Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at
nanigloria@hotmail.com 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.

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