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Octogenarian throws birthday bash


DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME in the Yucatan will occur Sunday, April 6, when we spring forward one hour. This will return us to one hour behind the U.S. Eastern Time. We are currently two hours behind the U.S. Eastern since daylight saving went into effect there March 9. That put us two hours behind the U.S. eastern time zone until April 6. Tune in for 6:30 Eastern Time news at 4:30 until then.
FOOD FEST participants sought by Colonos for March 30 event. Sign up at the Colonos office!!
March 24, Latitude 20, Harry the Entertainer PLUS songstress Teresa Lopez, together to entertain you 7-9 p.m.
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 Latitude 20 Restaurant
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


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At least 20 participants will cook

native foods at March 30 fest

U.S., Canada conspicuous by their absence


By Staff
There is room for four more participants in the 4th annual world gastronomic event being held from 1 to 5 p.m. March 30 at the Colegio grounds and the Colonos Cultural Committee is hoping someone or a group will come forward to add a few more recipes to the stew.

We have 20 participants signed in,” said Chairman Jorge Kaufer, “and we still have four spaces we would like to fill. We don’t have anyone representing the USA or Canada.” He did say, 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 there will be 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 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 at the entrance. Country recipes to be tasted are from Cuba, Italy, France, Serbia, Jamaica, India, Argentina, Switzerland and from areas of Mexico.




Puerto’s latest octogenarian throws

birthday bash filled with local history


By Staff
“It’s been great!”

That was resident Doe Stowell’s self-assessment of her 16-year affiliation with Puerto Aventuras as nearly 90 well-wishers attended her 80th birthday party at the Latitude 20 Restaurant Tuesday night, including members of a Mayan family she befriended seven years ago.

The invitation noted, characteristically, “no gifts” but it was an edict she herself did not follow by picking up the tab for an enjoyable evening of camaraderie, delicious food and drink for the many multi-cultural friends she’s made over the years. The bonds were tied by a profound curiosity of and friendship with the Mayan people and culture to the point of learning to speak some of the language.

The metaphorical frosting on her cake was being surrounded by her family members, three children and six grandchildren, who were together for the first time in a decade and who lavished great affection upon her. Also present was the Mayan family she helped over the years and caused moments of wonder as several generations of that family, the elder women garbed in white, laced native dresses, made a dignified entrance cradling a substantial bouquet of white lilies.

Doe has been a fixture along the Dolphin Walk for most of her years here, starting with an informal breakfast club with the late Parker Woods and others including his daughter, Sally Evans, that persisted at various local restaurants even after Mr. Woods’ passing and continues today, “…although I don’t get out that much anymore,” Doe said.

She created an artistic canvas through the years here as she spent entire days wearing a large-brimmed

hat and sitting in a portable chair into the night to watch dolphin births. “The Dolphin Discovery staff was so generous with biological information,” she said, “…that I think I earned two years of biology credits.”  As one thing leads to another, she also developed an abiding interest in the ritual of sea turtles and their propagation on nearby beaches where she would venture to protect the nests.

Her interest in one particular Mayan family sprouted from a program that delivered Christmas gifts in the Poblado. One family there asked that any gifts intended for them should be given instead to a severely handicapped family member living two hours away in a Mayan village.

Two days before Christmas, Doe traveled with Carrie Conn, who had just founded “Carrie’s Heart” to help in situations such as these, and a member of the Poblado family as a guide to find the relatives in a jungle village where only Mayan was spoken. Doe said she was so taken by the abject poverty found there and the condition of the handicapped youth, that she stayed with the project through the following years.

“When I first walked into the boy’s room, I was taken by his plight. I sat there and stroked him and told him he was beautiful.The other children there were sadly lacking in nutrition.  We arranged to buy a refrigerator and a steady supply of nutritious foods and provide therapy for the boy,” she said. He has since died but the family situation has improved greatly by being able to rent decent housing,” she said.

Doe came to Puerto from the frigid environs of Minnesota and in the few years prior to her 80th birthday has had a lingering illness that has reduced her otherwise energetic community and environmental activities, but not her unending interest in them.

But it wasn’t all giving. Shortly after arriving in Puerto in January, she e-mailed: “I am so delighted to open windows, greet the sun (even if it is the 50s) , look at the sea, and see people here.” Nearly 90 people on Tuesday night gave testimony the feeling is mutual.



Fewer hurricanes predicted here,

but prepare for them anyway

Compiled by Staff
A fresh report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) suggests changes could be on the way for weather patterns across the U.S. and the globe with resultant impact on hurricane predictions for 2014.

According to the report, the chance of an El Niño re-emerging this year has increased. And, if the models are correct, that could mean fewer named storms in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season and potential drought relief for parts of California later this year.

Nonetheless,  El Nacional (SMN) Weather Service reporting from Chetumal issued the first forecast of hurricane season 2014 for the Atlantic area with a prediction of 10 tropical storms.

Through a video conference, the director of the SMN, Juan Manuel Caballero, agrees the Yucatan Peninsula is favored by the possible presence of El Niño beginning in July, which brings drought to much of the country except for the Yucatan.

The preliminary forecast for the June-November 2014 hurricane season is for 10 tropical storms in the Atlantic basin. Three will be tropical storms, five moderate hurricanes (categories 1 and 2) and two intense (3, 4 and 5). A more precise forecast will be released next month and the seasonal forecast will be reported on May 1 for a more accurate prediction.

The approved names for the 2014 hurricane season are Amanda, Boris, Cristina, Douglas, Elida, Fausto, Genevier, Hernan, Iselle, Julio, Karina, Lowell, Marie, Norbert, Odile, Polo, Rachel, Simon, Trudy, Vance and Winnie.

An El Niño cycle can occur every two to seven years, when weaker trade winds allow warmer water around the equator in the far eastern Pacific Ocean to emerge. That warmer water changes wind patterns and alters storm cycles around the globe.

In general, the eastern tropical Pacific ocean cycles between three phases: El Niño (warmer than average sea-surface temperatures), La Niña (cooler than average sea-surface temperatures) and a neutral phase in which sea-surface temperatures are generally near long-term averages.

Since spring 2012, the eastern Pacific ocean has been in the neutral phase, but according to the latest NOAA/CPC report, there’s now a 50 percent chance that equatorial waters in the Pacific will warm sufficiently to meet the criteria for an El Niño. As a result, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño Watch for summer 2014.

Even if forecasts for fewer storms stand, Colonos officials remind residents, particularly snowbirds who are not here during the hurricane season, to assure the tightness and safety of their living units and arrange a local contact they can count on to assist in the event of a hurricane.




Commerce Corner…


Jessie Gelato brand becomes

a hit with Puerto Aventurans

By Staff
We were invited to an impromptu dinner the other night over at Gayle and Deanne Sandholm’s condo along the lush golf course tree line where Gayle has earned a reputation as birdman of Puerto Aventuras. They told us they also had a surprise guest, a sweet but not sugary type who, they said, we would surely enjoy.

They were right.

After a delightful al fresco dinner on the veranda, the Sandholms brought out home-baked brownies and placed a round, pint-sized carton on the table, lifted the lid and, voila! – there was Jessie Gelato, a palate pleasing personality looking as cool as new-fallen snow.

Gelato is the Italian word for “ice cream” taken from the Latin “gelatus” meaning “frozen.” It is created generally with a mix of ingredients that includes milk, cream, various sugars, flavorings and fruits blended in a traditional centuries-old Italian way. While the ingredients are much the same, it is how one apportions and measures them that makes the difference in taste and texture.

Jessie Gelato is the brand name given to the year-old “gelatoria” in Puerto Aventuras located in a retail condo between the Aquanauts Dive shop and the “Pub” on the delightful Marina Centro dolphin walk.

The Jessie brand is made daily on the premises by Marten and Valerie, a husband and wife team of European roots, whose daughter, by some coincidence, is also named Jessie. They brought their distinct recipes and creative juices from a far-away place we’ve all heard of, Monte Carlo, an administrative ward of the Principality of Monaco, known for its ritzy casino and wealthy visitors.

Marten is Dutch and Valerie is French. They met in Monte Carlo where Marten was a top-notch salesman for high end cars – what else? – selling for up to $300,000. Valerie was his secretary, became his wife and, Marten quips, has since been promoted to sales manager of Jessie Gelato.

After 25 years of selling cars, Marten and Valerie decided it was time for something else. “But what, and where?“ That’s where daughter Jessie comes in. “I used to go deep-sea fishing and when we came to the Riviera Maya on a vacation in Playa (del Carmen) seven years ago, I heard about Capt. Rick’s (Sport fishing Center) here in Puerto Aventuras and decided to try fishing again. Then we started coming here regularly for vacations and fishing.

“After one fishing trip, Jessie asked if we could go buy some gelato and Glenna (Uecker) an owner of Capt. Rick’s, said there wasn’t any place that sold gelato here and that maybe I should open one. I just laughed it off,” Marten said.

But a year later, as decision time approached to leave Monte Carlo in search of new meaning and simplicity in life, “Glenna’s idea struck me as a possibility.” Marten had a friend at a large Monaco hotel with a substantial “gelatoria” who led him to an Italian master gelato maker willing to share the art. “He told me to keep life simple. Sell pizza or gelato.”

He also told Marten there were two ways to run a gelato business, the easy away, which would be to order pre-mixed product from wholesalers and lose all control of the product, or the other more satisfying way making his own gelato from scratch. That’s the only way  to maintain control of the product and the satisfaction of creating new flavors with locally grown fruit. Marten chose the way to satisfy the creative urge. And it paid off.

“I tried the gelato one day,” said Liliet Duschkin. of the nearby WeRWater Co., “but I told Marten it was too sweet for my taste. A few days later Marten brought a sample for me to try. It was sweetened perfectly! I’ve been a fan ever since” – providing just one example of being able to coach the product to play to local tastes and adopt new flavors from local fresh fruit.

The move to Mexico included spending nearly a year collecting the permits and fulfilling other business requirements.  Nine months ago, Marten and Valerie finally opened the first made-on-the-premises “gelatoria” in Puerto Aventuras. It offers 20 flavors of gelato from dark chocolate to whiskey cream  and other exotic-sounding flavors, to nine fresh-fruit sorbets easy on the diet and light and refreshing as a fine dessert that doesn’t pack on the weight.

Some diners from nearby restaurants stop by after dinner for dessert and join strollers for a leisurely bite of delight on the cozy patio. In addition, Marten sells wholesale to a number of restaurants and also packages gelato to bring home, like the Sandholms did to surprise their guests.

Jessie Gelato opens early with a smile on his face to make the day’s fresh products. The stand closes when the surrounding restaurants call it a night and satisfied strollers vanish into their abodes with a pleasing gelato flavor on their breath. (Click on the Jessie Gelato logo in the column at left for more product information on Jessie’s web site.)






WeRWater represents two new products,

‘Desincal’ water softener, ‘Kolorines’ tile


Two new products were unveiled this week at WeRWater Co., one of which promises to soften water and get rid of pesky calcium deposits clogging water heaters, shower heads, faucet filters and more using no-fuss electronics rather than chemicals. WeRWater is also now carrying a Mexican-made line of tile by Kolorines, manufactured in Cuernavaca.

An electronic device manufactured in Europe by the Desincal Corp. and first installed in Playa del Carmen in 1995, is now available through WeRWater, located on the Dolphin walk in Puerto Aventuras with an entrance just across from the Omni Hotel. The water softener and de-scaler is a small device attached to the metal water pipe. It emits an electrical frequency inside the pipe. The frequency changes the natural shape of the limestone molecules that allowed the limestone to calcify. The new shape, like needles, forms crystals that will not stick to anything, thus clearing and preventing pipes, filters, shower heads of further calcification.

The device comes in varying sizes for single condo units and homes, hotels, industries and also is said to improve water for agriculture and gardening. The devices require no maintenance, use very little electricity and are guaranteed for five years but generally last much longer. The device must be attached to metal which is required for the process, so where plastic piping is concerned, a small slice is replaced by metal during installation. More information on these products available at WeRWater, 984-873-5283.


Spring sprouts today, March 20,

and revives snake at Chichen Itza

Spring begins today, March 20, 2014 at the time of the vernal equinox, when night and day are nearly 12 hours each. Equinox in Latin means “equal night.”

But in reality equinoxes don’t have exactly 12 hours of daylight. The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.

This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth’s axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth’s axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun, like the above illustration shows.

There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on each side of the equator, so the equinox in March is also known as the “spring equinox” in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it’s known as the “autumnal or fall equinox”

In the northern hemisphere the March equinox marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. Many cultures and religions celebrate or observe holidays and festivals around the March equinox, like Easter and Passover.

Equinoxes – along with solstices – have been celebrated in cultures all over the world for as long as we have written history. One of the most famous ancient Spring equinox celebrations was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

The main pyramid – also known as El Castillo – has four staircases running from the top to the bottom of the pyramid’s faces, notorious for the bloody human sacrifices that used to take place there.

The staircases are built at a carefully calculated angle which makes it look like an enormous snake of sunlight slithering down the stairs at the precise moment of the equinox.

Knowledge of the equinoxes and solstices is also crucial in developing dependable calendars, another thing the Mayans and their predecessors clearly had perfected. The Mayan calendar is most famous for ending exactly at 11:11 UTC (  )on the 2012 December solstice.




Briefly Noted…

Gringo-ld being unloaded

photo (3) THE PRICE OF LIMES has shot up like a Saturn rocket in the last weeks going for 50 pesos a kilo at the local Chedraui and as high as 70 pesos per kilo in Cozumel and Cancun, and even 80 pesos in some parts of the country. Those prices are compared to the traditionally low price of limes that in November, for example, were selling for only 6 pesos per kilo. It was reported in some parts of the country that trucks carrying limes were being hijacked and some delivered by armored car (Photo at left). Mexico is the world’s largest lime producer…A CANADIAN COUPLE’S Feb. 9 murder in the western state of Jalisco has yielded a suspect who has been placed under arrest and charged with committing the double murder of Canadian writer Lida Discombe Marian, 72, and her partner, Edward Kular, 84, at the writer’s home in Ajijic on Lake Chapala. The motive was robbery while the suspect was high on drugs and alcohol…A GROUP OF MEXICAN SENATORS wants to follow the U.S. states that have approved medical marijuana use…MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES in Playa del Carmen say they hope to complete all the roadwork and other construction projects in the tourist area by Easter when a nearly 100 percent hotel occupancy is expected…


MORE GERMAN TOURISTS are expected beginning in November when six flights are added to the schedule of that country. It is expected to increase tourism by 10 percent in the Riviera Maya…TWO ATM MACHINES installed on the edge of Playa del Carmen sidewalks have been broken into in the last month and large sums of money taken…

UNCORROBORATED STORY has it that one of four monkeys living here last year died from a broken neck as the result of a fall somewhere along the golf course perimeter. And now there are three being seen around town, sometimes in an irritated mood – just like humans… LARGE AMOUNTS OF SEA KELP are being deposited on Playa del Carmen beaches to the point that hotel officials have invited environmental officials to have breakfast at a waterfront restaurant to get a whiff of the odor that is keeping tourists away. The Puerto Aventuras dolphin pools aren’t the only aquatic systems being affected by natural phenomena this year. Problem is, what to do about it…MEXICO’S Inbursa bank, controlled by Carlos Slim and the country’s sixth largest commercial bank by assets, aims to buy the Brazilian unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group for $45 million…PEMEX is beefing up security of the company’s installations and assets…TWO PEOPLE were caught in a rip tide off Mamitas Beach over the weekend but were rescued by lifeguards. (See last week’s edition on how to NOT drown in a rip tide.)…TWO U.S. CONGRESSMEN from states bordering Mexico will file a bill next week seeking greater oversight of the border patrol…MEXICO’S TOP CRIME FIGHTER, Manuel Mondragon, will resign after a little over  year in office. He was appointed by President Enrique Pena Nieto who vowed a new approach to fighting crime. Nonetheless, the nation’s homicide rate has remained nearly the same with 21,000 homicides during the 14 months of Nieto’s administration, just 206 less than former President Calderon’s first 14 months in office…   




The Mail Bag…

Dear Editor:
Continue to remind people to watch their valuables. My black passport case with passport, drivers license, lots of cash, debit card and other I.D. were stolen from my golf cart. It was parked in front of Latitude 20. In just a few minutes, it was gone!

Signed/J. Radell

Dear Editor:
The Pelican Free Press appears to be a great paper for locals and ex-pats to communicate. I think whatever we can do to make our time here as pleasant as possible will be a win for all. I have a story that requires some guidance. My son flew in to visit me and I would have hoped this would be more of a tradition. He was in typical sleep-deprived mode as many travelers are coming through customs.

He had been asleep on the plane and missed the forms he needed to fill out. He is a smoker and had purchased a duty-free carton of cigarettes and had 1.5 packs making the total 11 1/2 packs. When he was filling out his form in customs he asked what the limit was. The agents response was to ask for my son’s passport to hold it hostage. Then he asked to look through his bags.

Upon finding the cigarettes he levied a “tax” that apparently is a new law for 2014. If there were taxes before they have increased . A lady ahead of him was being told to pay $400 and she was in tears and begging to just throw away the 4 cartons that she had. The customs agent refused her request. My son went through the drill thinking that he may have to pay on the pack and a half.

There was confusion in the word for pack of cigarette. My son used the word paquet and clarified his use of the words. He paid 84.00 US . The printed “receipt that he got said the IVA% was 583 and change that is used to calculate the tax. Just for the record this appeared for all intents and purposes to be a very intentional ploy to extract gringo money.

The story goes on and is not over and I think this kind of thing should be scrutinized. I have a place here and my son now refuses to come back to Mexico. He did spend 4 more hours in the airport trying to find a supervisor to complain. He will pursue his end of further complaint after he leaves. I will also write a letter directed to appropriate places but if there is any specific place that your readers might suggest, it would be appreciated.

Signed/ Kv Smith


Word a Week…

alegría, noun – happiness, joy

Alegría is a great quality to have, and is the noun deriving from the adjective alegre , happy, which you probably already know.

Es un motivo grande de alegría.
It’s a great cause for happiness.

Church Services… Please click Colonos icon on right top of page.

AA and Alanon meetings…
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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