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ONE OF WORLD’S LARGEST YACHTS VISITS

ART GALLERY OPENS HERE – See “Briefly Noted” below
TWO OLDER CARS available on the For Sale page
PART OF CAR TAX ELIMINATED – See story below
EXPERIENCE DIVING ADVENTURE – Click ‘Dive Aventuras’ icon

OK folks: How long was mystery vessel?

Posted o1/09/2012 by Pelican Paulie
     The black-hulled yacht with a helicopter on her deck and swimming pool obviously was no ordinary rich-boy toy. Let’s begin with the fact she was too big to pull into a marina slip here through a too-shallow channel, albeit the channel depth does accommodate yachts at least to around 80 feet.
The vessel appeared with the sunrise Saturday morning just off shore where the deep water is, inviting anybody ashore with a camera to have a field day without knowing what they were shooting.
The Marina and beach areas were abuzz with wild guesses because few cameras were able to pick up the yacht’s identification and flag. “It had some sort of hammer on it,” said one observer. “I think it has Cayman Islands registry,” said another. “Bet it belongs to a cartel kingpin,” was another wild guess, or this one, “It must be Calderon (Mexican president) on his way to his retreat on Cozumel,” or this one, “It belongs to Bill Gates.”

The Pelican can’t say for sure who currently owns this emblematic display of untold wealth, but it can say with nearly unassailable certainty that the vessel is 295 feet in length (90 meters),  is as beamy at 50 feet as a sumo wrestler, has a crew of around 27 with staterooms to accommodate 14 guests; has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, was launched in 2005 in Bremen, Germany, and at that time at least was reportedly owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov. It is an environmental “statement” super yacht that won the 2006 “super yacht of the year” award. The ecologically friendly vessel that moves like cats’ feet incorporated the newest in noise and vibration technology, miserly fuel consumption and exhaust emissions control systems.
Some observers reported seeing a yacht tender come ashore but crew on it were mute when it came to revealing anything about the yacht, particularly who might be on board. Her cruising speed is listed at 16 knots with a range of 6000 nautical miles from her 1,059 gallon fuel tanks.
She is reportedly for charter but attempts to find a listing were not successful. At any rate, if you don’t regularly have lunch with Bill Gates, Carlos Slim or Warren Buffet, you’ll never get to see the inside of this zen-designed interior of super luxury, so enjoy the exterior view and dream on.



Mexican-plated car registration tax plummets

But state to lower boom on foreign-plated cars

Posted 01/10/2012 by Juanito
Good news for those who own cars with Mexican license plates. The cost to renew those plates for 2012 has plummeted to a mere fraction of their former cost. This is because Mexico’s unpopular vehicle ownership tax, after years of lobbying by the local auto industry, has finally been repealed.
Myself, along with two others, went to Playa del Carmen recently to renew our plates and what a pleasant surprise it was. After only a short wait, all three of us walked out of the building holding a renewal sticker in one hand and waiving a paid receipt in the other.

A quick comparison between the three showed that we each paid exactly the same amount even though the description of our vehicles varied greatly. The cost was a meager 278 pesos each. Compare that to what you paid last year and you’ll be waving your sticker as you come out the door too! So, what changed?
Prior to December 2011, the cost to register your Mexican car each year was a combination of two different taxes. First, there was theDerecho Vehicularcommonly known as a referendo, which is a “fixed amount”, and the only one that you still pay when renewing for 2012.
The other tax was the tenencia,which was an annual tax calculated as a percentage of the car’s value and could become quite exorbitant when tacked onto the back of an already expensive new car purchase.
The tenencia had long been a perennial point of contention for the Mexican automotive industry since it was introduced in the 1960s to help pay for the country’s 1968 hosting of the Olympic Games. It was widely seen as a serious hindrance to domestic new car sales. That tax has now been eliminated altogether for cars costing 250,000 pesos ($19,250) or less.
While 2012 brings good news for cars sporting Mexican plates… this doesn’t seem to be the case for those who continue to harbor foreign plated cars and trucks in Mexico. The State of Quintana Roo, who for many years has looked the other way when it came to expired registrations and vehicle import stickers, has now joined the federal movement in cracking down to eliminate these past discretions.
To learn more detail about these and other rule changes, you are invited to attend an informational seminar that will be presented by U.S. Consular Agent Samantha Mason, on Tuesday morning, February 7, 2012, at the Colonos Meeting Room in Puerto Aventuras. The meeting is free and open to the public. No reservations are required and seating will be on a first come, first served, basis.
This seminar will be followed by another, on February 21, that will be hosted by representatives of BBVA Bancomer, to talk about the advantages of having a Mexican bank account through their English Speaking, Preferred Customers Unit. I expect both meetings to be informative and look forward to seeing you there!


Ferry plan defies Mayan end of world; plods on

Meanwhile, container shipping here seems healthy

Posted 1/7/2012 by Pelican Paulie
    Businessmen in Tampa are still talking about a car and passenger ferry from Tampa, Fla. to a Yucatan port, most likely Progeso, by the middle of this year despite Mayan theories of Armageddon. But meanwhile, Hyde Shipping out of Port Everglades, Fla., near Ft. Lauderdale, is already hauling items as small as outdoor grilles and as big as cars, housefulls of furniture and more in containers to Puerto Morelos, around 40 miles north of Puerto Aventuras. Progeso, near Merida, is about a 5.5-hour drive from here.

While  United Caribbean Linesexecutives continue to predict the proposed ferry service on European style ferries capable of 1,000 to 2,000 passengers and as many as  600 cars for sometime this year, Hyde Shipping is chugging two container ships and delivering more than predictions to people choosing to haul their stuff from there to here or vice versa.
One case in point is that of Janet and Bruce Hardwicke of Puerto Aventuras who shipped their 10-year-old plus car from Florida recently and were quite satisfied with the service  despite having to jump through a number of seemingly redundant hoops once the car arrived in Mexico..
“I found Hyde Shipping while perusing the Internet under ‘international shipping’,” said Mrs. Hardwicke. Her husband then took over, called the company about shipping the car and got instructions. “I e-mailed them a copy of the car title and they e-mailed me a booking number and said if we delivered the car  on a Monday it would ship on a Thursday and take five days to get to Puerto Morelos.”
The car was already in Florida, so they drove it to Port Everglades. Mrs. Hardwicke chuckled as she noted the car made a classy crossing, being cooped up in a container with an expensive Hummer.

But the Hardwickes had to go to Cancun to complete paperwork before they could take possession of the car in Puerto Morelos. That turned out to be a daylong affair, having to visit several offices in different places to get papers stamped and in the process spending nearly $1,000 USD for the shipping and other fees which included, in Puerto Juarez,  $200 “cash only” for duty and $50 for a tax stamp
They recommend anyone using the system make three or four copies of every paper then have…passports, FM3s, bills of lading, titles, since all the various offices need a copy to stamp. They also recommend getting the options for payment of shipping either in Port Everglades or in Cancun, where cash only may be the standard. “It’s a lot of work,” the Hardwickes agreed.
Finally getting to Puerto Morelos, they had to surrender their FM3s and passports at a guarded gate that “looked like a military installation” in return for a badge allowing them access  to collect the car.  One man helped them get the car, which was sniffed by dogs and searched, then to an office where another man again checked the car, took photos of the I.D. plate and stamped papers, charging $384 pesos for removing the car from the container.
Now the Hardwickes are happy driving their old car around, suggesting the effort was worth it.
Meanwhile, Louis and Pat Horner of Playacar are an example of a smaller  experience. They shipped a Weber Grill from  Massachusetts to the Hyde Corp., which crated it bound for Puerto Morelos for $59. “They were great,” said Mrs.Horner. “They even e-mailed us photos of the grill before it was crated and containerized to show they had received it undamaged.” She too said security is primary at the Morelos port,  but the employees helpful and efficient.
Hyde doesn’t carry passengers, however, which leaves an opening for United Caribbean to launch such a service. “It’s a no-brainer,” says United CEO Bruce Nierenberg. He believes one ferry would generate (an estimated) $300 million a year in economic impact. “They have more impact” than cruise ships because the passengers stay at destinations longer, he says.
The a ferry trip would take 27 hours, provide stateroom or seat options and charge an average of $195. More information on Hyde Shipping prices and box sizes is available at its website,www.hydeshipping.com


Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
A witty Mexican lady, commenting on local movies, joked that actor
George Clooney was in her bedroom. It goes like this: George Clooney esta en mi recamara.
(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.
http://cinemex.com/cartelera/cartelera_cine.php?cvecine=115

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

Briefly Noted…

Compiled from staff, contributors and media reports
AN ART GALLERY  has been opened here in the ample space above the former SiSiSi Restaurant on

the Dolphin Walk by artist Peter Terrin, causing an anticipatory stir among art lovers. If you missed the opening Wednesday (1/11), check his work and philosophy atinfo@terrinart.com SPEAKING OF ART,  a “Saturday in Puerto Art Festival” is slated for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Colegio. Musicians, singers and dancers are invited to enjoy the day and perform. It’s free, although donations accepted for the school. More information at  873-5141 orgabi@pa.com.mx ….A STATE POLICE PAY HIKE of 20 percent for all officers in Quintana Roo has been announced by Gov. Roberto Borge Angula. Maybe this will help ease the traditional on-the-spot method of collecting traffic violation “fines”…HEARING SOME TALK about increased taxes for PA condo units along the waterfront’s receding beaches…RELIGIOUS TOURISM conclave will be held April 23-27 at the Cancun Convention Center…   

End this post Broken heart   See previous posts below.

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