NOTE: Clocks, watches turned back one hour today, Sunday Oct. 30. Yucatan time is Central time.
REMINDER: Get your tickets for the the season’s first concert Friday, Nov. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the cultural center. They are available at the Colonos office and at Bamboo for 60 pesos. Beer, wine and soft beverages available. See the poster in our previous issue below.
NO DAMAGE FROM RINA, PA STILL WELCOMING
Our snowbird return to PA the day after Hurricane Rina blew into town began very well with a Jet Blue flight from Boston that was really smooth – like sleeping on a cloud despite the pilot’s caution that we might run into disturbing weather in the storm’s wake.
We didn’t…until we reached PA and found that our phone, internet and TV weren’t working and the car wouldn’t start after six months of being idle. We don’t know yet if the interruptions are weather related. Those of you coming down in the next few days or weeks have nothing storm-related to worry about. But first things first…
After landing, we trudged our luggage over to the familiar blue building outside Terminal 2 to get our reserved car from Executive…only to find Executive had moved
”but I don’t know where,” said the smiling man behind the desk of Advantage Car Rental, the less expensive subsidiary of Hertz now occupying the former Executive space.
Out choice of Executive was based on the fact that we can drop off the car in PA, but the Advantage man, still smiling, said we could drop it off in Playa and Hertz would give us a free ride to PA. And that’s how it was. FYI: We think Executive is now in a Terminal 2 rental kiosk. Ask if you’re looking for it.
The ride on 307 was slowed on three occasions because of flooding on the starboard side of the road. But little traffic. Then a real treat! We got to use the overpass through Playa and emerged at Soriana’s having to face only one stoplight! A welcome timesaver!
PA looked lush from the rain but quite less populated and perhaps a bit forlorn because of it. We heard from one realtor who hasn’t sold a single unit in months and gossip about the future of some restaurants that are now closed.
We noticed some fairly extensive repairs going on at Cafe Ole where some diner-type counters and stools of attractive brick have been installed to accommodate informality and perhaps Happy Hour, and learned a few small businesses have closed.
Our hands are somewhat tied at the moment with chasing phone and internet access from Telmex, airing out the place, and trying to find a battery for the car but we wanted to let y’all know briefly that PA is still a welcoming place that some people equate with Paradise, albeit it none of us have ever been to the “real” one…yet.
We haven’t found any reason for not coming back to our second home and, as usual, a lot of good reasons for being here joyfully linking up with friends and acquaintances, enjoying the weather and nurturing a sense of hope of a strong tourist season for our business friends.
Restrictions Implemented at Akumal’s Half Moon Bay
Posted 10/30/11 by Juanito,
Providers of nautical services, along with businessmen and members of the Association of Settlers, have taken action to restrict water sports activity in Half Moon Bay. The action was taken to mitigate the impact of increased human activity at the bay’s reef. According to businessman Luis Alberto Manriques Perez, it’s the surge in tour bus activity, from large coastal resorts, that causes concern.
The measures at Half Moon Bay are being implemented in collaboration with the Centro Ecologico Akumal (CEA), the non-profit organization who has been asked to develop an even grander plan designed to increase protection of the ecosystem, through a more controlled integration with tourism.
Fishing, snorkeling and diving tours have become major attractions at the bay, but have grown to the point of being a threat to marine life. The fact that Akumal Bay presents one of the few places in the world where a swimmer can simply walk into the water, and begin swimming alongside turtles and rays in their natural habitat, only compounds the problem.
The Ecology Center Akumal (CEA) released the following statement… “As part of this management program, we are also working to regulate the number of boats in the bay and their activities. Unfortunately, over the years, more and more boats have begun doing business in Akumal Bay, disturbing the tranquil swimming space and affecting the coral and sea turtles. We are working with the Port Captain, within the legal framework, to find a solution to this. We have a unique destination with incredible natural resources. The sea turtles in Akumal Bay are treasures to protect. Our goal is to preserve Akumal for future generations, by taking positive actions such as those defined in the Bay Management Program. Please join us.”
New restrictions allow only properly licensed boats to use the bay, require that all boat traffic stay within marked channels, and forbids the dropping of anchor inside the reef. Furthermore, in an effort to insure the turtles and rays are given ample room to swim without distraction, swimmers are asked to stay a specified distance away from marine life.
Portions from “Respuesta”, dated 23 Oct 2011
From Staff, contributor and media reports
HURRICANE RINA came and went through PA without leaving much of a trace. No damage to speak of…HARD TIMES are blamed by Alejandro Cruz, director general of preliminary investigations in Riviera Maya, for an uptick in robberies. He specified population growth, the low season and unemployment as variants feeding the surge…CANCUN TRAVEL MART last month attracted in excess of 467 delegates from 15 countries in Europe and the Americas, seen as a sign of Quintana Roo’s pre-eminence in the tourism industry…TORRENTIAL RAINS did a tune on some 17 boats in Isla Mujeres and Puerto Juarez waters, sinking some and leaving others to founder…
To all Colonos and residents:
We want to inform you that according to The National Hurricane center http://www.nhc.noaa.gov Hurricane Rina will be passing through Puerto Aventuras Thursday or Friday, please take all the preventive measures possible.
You have to secure or put inside everything you have in your gardens, terraces and roof tops, like furniture, lamps, flower pots, decorations or anything else that could become a projectile.
We recommend you should have candles, flashlights, water and food. Also fill up your car gas tank.
The Colonos office is designated as a Hurricane shelter, so if you don´t feel safe at home you are welcome to use the shelter. Our security and operations personnel will be taking care of all the areas.
Also we inform you that tomorrow Wednesday we will be collecting branches from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, therefore if you have some branches left please put them in a safe place, as this will be the only schedule.
So far we do not know if Public services will be collecting garbage from Thursday 1:00 AM and over night, so please keep your garbage inside your home one more night, until the contingency has passed.
Concert, race welcome another year
Snowbirds begin to arrive for the high season this week, but this time it will seem like Paradise has somehow become more heavenly.
Returnees and year-round residents will be able to usher in the new season and renew acquaintances at a concert on Friday, Nov. 4 at the cultural center that debuted last year, and, of course, the 4th annual 1, 5,10K race Nov. 13 through the resort that last year attracted more than 400 participants and a considerable number of fans.
The season-opening concert produced by Daniele Gracis, chair of the Cultural Committee, in participation with the Colonos, features the Canadian group “Bowfire” playing Celtic, bluegrass and jazz. The group includes Shane Cook, Stephanie Cadman and special guest Jake Charron, all of Canada, and Bogdan Djukic of Serbia. Tickets are 60 pesos for the 7 to 9.m. concert and available at the Colonos office and at the Bamboo eatery. Refreshments, beer and wine will be available.
More on the race in the next issue.
Municipality takes over rubbish collection
Colonos still seeks previous agreement
A notice issued by Colonos management says the municipal government was to take over the task of rubbish collection from the colonos as of Tuesday, Oct. 18. This follows failed negotiations between the colonos and municipality to return to a prior agreement. That accord concerned a deal with the previous municipal administration that allowed the colonos to collect the rubbish along with a fee modification.
Colonos general manager Armando Rincon said the issue was raised at the Dec. 10
general assembly. Not only did the municipality reject the fee issue, it threatened the colonos with fines for the way the colonos managed the collection, Rincon said. He added that the colonos will continue to negotiate this issue with the municipal government and that his office has worked to minimize any inconvenience to residents..
He said the municipality would take over the collection process beginning at 1 a.m. Oct. 18. “The (the municipality) promised to give us punctual night-time collection service 365 days a year,” he said.
Rincon urged residents to continue with the rubbish recycling process by separating recyclable materials as they have been doing. He said the colonos will collect recyclables every Monday.
For the uninitiated, the colonos is a volunteer organization funded by residents and local businesses to maintain and develop local infrastructure, while the municipality is a duly elected government housed at the municipal palace in Playa del Carmen.
From Staff, contributor and media reports
SPANISH LESSONS are being offered again this year in PA. Contact BetsyAmy@gmailcom or firstname.lastname@example.org for info…HARD TIMES are blamed by Alejandro Cruz, director general of preliminary investigations in Riviera Maya, for an uptick in robberies. He specified population growth, the low season and unemployment as variants feeding the surge. Watch your stuff… CANCUN TRAVEL MART last month attracted in excess of 467 delegates from 15 countries in Europe and the Americas, seen as a sign of Quintana Roo’s pre-eminence in the tourism industry…TORRENTIAL RAINS did a tune on some 17 boats in Isla Mujeres and Puerto Juarez waters, sinking some and leaving others to founder…THE NAVY has been awarded a considerable budget to construct a Sea/Air Rescue operation at the Chetumal Airport to cover the Yucatan Peninsula area and waters…HARD ROCK hotels coming to Riviera Maya next year…
Responds to requests for ad space
WELCOME to the Pelican Free Press as it prepares to return to its more frequent editions next month. As a result of requests for and a recognition that advertising also is a public service, and to help defray costs of publication and site maintenance, the Pelican has provided space for a limited number of sponsorships, should potential patrons be so inclined. They will be seen on the left side of the news page. Local classified advertising is being offered on the ”Commerce” page for residents who may want to inform readers of goods such as cars or furniture for sale or the gamut of available local services such as carpentry, plumbing, metal work, various repairs, property management, restaurants and other offerings.
The Pelican has also added Google translation on the right side of the news page to extend its reach to non-English readers by simply clicking on a nation’s flag. Choices include Spanish, German, Danish, Italian, French and Russian, however fractured these translations may be. A “sponsor page” will carry pertinent information about each sponsor in addition to a website link and contact information, and readers can click on the sponsor logo for more information. Also in the news page gutters are the weather station, money exchange, the easy and free subscription form and archives. Some pages on the site remain under construction and we apologize beforehand for any possible inconveniences to our readers.
The Pelican staff can be reached at email@example.com.
Fourth annual PA race is Nov. 13
New PA high school waits government aid
Despite generous contributions from the x-pat and snowbird population, the Anat Kah fund and a successful golf tournament that raised some $7,000 earlier this year for windows that are now installed, the new one-room high school in the poblado remains closed for lack of government and/or union action to provide electricity and other infrastructure improvements needed to make the building usable.
“The high school program continues to operate in the building next to the delegation,” Christina Alexander of Anat Kah, a major fund-raising sponsor of the school
construction, said in response to reports the building was in operation. “They might be thinking of the primary school that opened in Puerto Maya. As I’m sure you know, the Mexican government is legally committed to provide education only up through middle school. That is part of the reason why we are having such a problem getting their support for the high school.”
Alexander and others were supposed to meet with the governor on Sept. 30, but “the governor did not show up, so we are working other channels to get the petitions to him. I think that he is our best chance as everybody has commented on how difficult it is to get to the new municipal president, and the governor has publicly stated his intent to have a building bonanza of social and public “obras” (works). Once we have submitted the petitions to him I will share them so the public can see exactly what it is we are asking for and need from the authorities. It always comes down to the final details,” Alexander said, adding that she was slated for a meeting with the president’s wife and will ask for her help. “The students will be able to get into the school once the septic system is in place and the electricity is brought to the site and final details dependent on those things are installed”, Alexander said. Meanwhile, Bob Uecker, representing the golf tourney’s charitable interest in the school, reported he would meet with the new delegato.
In later developments a few days ago, the school director was urged to look at temporary options such as using an offered small generator to meet minimal electrical needs such as classroom fans and bathroom lights and put the school to use as soon as possible, pending government approval of temporary options. Currently, said Alexander, there are five groups of high school students, requiring a trailer be put to use to accommodate them.
The PA school effort comes at a time when the state of Quintana Roo is singled out as having the lowest score in student math skills in the country.(See Briefly Noted below).
Meanwhile, Jim Jamieson, chair of the founding charity golf tournament, said he is already preparing for a second annual tourney sometime next year before too many snowbirds depart.
Government data unveils the two Akumals
Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and Informatics has released findings comparing the “uneven aspects” of life between the touristy and comparatively wealthy “Akumal” by the sea and its pueblo across Highway 307 where poverty thrives under Third World conditions.
The Mexican press has picked up on the study, noting the “uneven” conditions between the 40 percent “wealthy people” who own “nearly all the natural wealth under concessions” and the 1,000 families “just across the highway” whose miseries remain relatively hidden.
Since Akumal’s development 20 years ago, the findings allege, not much has been done to improve the pueblo infrastructure. Many families are living in darkness under roofs made of corrugated cardboard whose inhabitants are vulnerable to the typical diseases of poverty.
During the day, said press reports, the pueblo inhabitants working in Akumal proper and other resort areas “live in a First World environment” but return home in the evening to Third World conditions.
The press reported that a group of adult women living in the pueblo said during 20 years of seeking improvements to the pueblo, they still face serious problems without much visible attempt at solutions.
Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
Q. ROO’S STATUS despite considerable financial help from generous snowbirds and ex-pats is listed at the bottom of the education and social development heap by the Mexican government which recently noted that Q. Roo students are at the bottom of mathematics scores and under the national average for economic and social development …NINTH ANNUAL 3-DAY JAZZ FESTIVAL at Mamitas Beach in Playa del Carmen starting Nov. 24 is expected to attract some 15- to 20,000 jazz aficionados.. DEVASTATING LOW SEASON is how the Tulum Hotel Association described the current business level with only 20 percent hotel unit occupation, forcing closure of a number of small businesses. The hotel group is looking to recoup in the high holiday season…HIGHER FOOD COSTS –
Snowbirds may face higher food costs when they begin returning next month if complaints by low-income housewives is any indication. They say the price of fuel has driven up costs for perishable agricultural products and basic staples…THE DOCTOR IS OUT? - Local media has noted the plight of a pregnant woman in Puerto Aventuras who complains that the lack of a doctor in the municipal area has complicated her pregnancy and caused hardships having to travel to Playa del Carmen for medical service. Which brings up the question: “What is happening with the plan to locate an Angel Notion clinic in the poblado? It was reported there hasn’t been a doctor in the poblado since February, complicating transfer of medical records,…COLONOS CONVOCATION – A PA traffic committee was formed in an attempt to help regulate traffic flow and cars that use the resort roads. It was also reported that construction by-laws still await approval by the municipal authorities and cannot be enforced until that approval is received…WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? – If you’ve wondered what bothers the Cancun public these days, your answer is found in a poll of 3,500 citizens conducted by various business and academic entities. Of major concern, in order of importance, are: Corruption of authorities in granting urban development permits, pollution of aquifers, increase in crime and organized crime, environmental degradation and insufficient diversification of the local economy…EMPTY HOUSING – Roughly 78,000 living units are empty in the state of Quintana Roo, most of them in Solidaridad, followed by 14,000 in Ciudad Juarez, reports the National Institute of Statistics and Geography…DENGUE FEVER UP – There was an increase of 78 cases of Dengue Fever and several deaths reported 0n the Peninsula and nearby islands as the federal government redirected strategies, such as fogging urban areas and increasing collection of statistical data in Cozumel,Cancun and Solidaridad where summer heat and rain create conditions for large mosquito populations…NEW HOSPITAL – the Pelican has received reports of a new hospital in Playa del Carmen constructed by the IMSS. Its location, according to a contributor, is on the road to the Wal-Mart and Las Americas Mall “…at the intersection before the turn to get back onto Highway 307…The hospital is big, has an emergency room with ambulances and looks great.” More on this in later issues…SOLIDARITY’S Director of Public Safety, Angel Rodolfo Campos who escaped an assassination attempt when he was shot in the shoulder July 31 in Playa del Carmen, is back at work and has announced a shake-up in the Solidarity Tourist Police that includes the resignation of the chief and removal of 11 officers. Radical changes to improve protection of the public was announced in the wake of the Playa Tourist Chief’s murder on Sept, 9…MEANWHILE, Q. Roo Director of Public Safety Carlos Bibiano Villa Castillo, characterizes recent crimes, including assassination of Playa del Carmen’s chief of tourist police,as isolated incidents. He said crime is minimal in Q. Roo and urged citizens to be cordial to tourists who help sustain the Mayan Riviera economy. He urged anyone seeing or suspecting criminal or illegal activity to contact his office at 983-154-0350 or 844-160-4110 and/or local police. Nonetheless, there were 102 murder investigations in Q. Roo in 2010 and already this year investigations are up to 114, about 65 of them attributed to organized crime, according to press reports…SOCIAL MEDIA (Facebook, Twitter, cell phones etc.) is reportedly becoming a major survival tool in Mexico where the network is used to alert peaceful citizens to avoid crime scenes as occurred in Veracruz recently when gunmen dumped 35 bodies on a busy highway near a Las Americas mall. Nearly everyone has a cell phone. Networking is growing amid a fearful Middle Class as a matter of defense, say press reports.Twitter has more than 4 million users while 95 percent of the 30 million people on the Mexico internet have Facebook accounts, particularly in areas where the state and the free press have been seriously intimidated and compromised by organized crime. Oddly enough, the same day as the Veracruz horror occurred, that state made it a crime to use social media to subvert public order by issuing false reports…A FORMER-MAYOR OF Playa del Carmen was wounded by attackers who took shots at him last week on Highway 307 between along Puerto Morelos, say unconfirmed press reports. Former Mayor Miguel Ramon Martin Azueta , now the CEO of a Playa del Carmen tabloid, was shot in the shoulder and his accountant killed. About seven suspects were arrested after police found two cars allegedly used in the attack, one on Highway 307 between Cancun and Playa del Carmen and the other in Playa.