The Akumalian

Akumal's Newsletter for its Extended Global Community
Quintana Roo, Mexico

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 August 2004 Issue 17

AKUMAL COUNCIL

The last General Assembly of the Akumal Council was held at 11:00AM on Friday, August 13, 2004, at the Lol-Ha Restaurant.  This was a very interesting meeting with lots of information being discussed.  Some of it will be reported here as individual articles, but watch for the reports coming from your Akumal Council distribution.  See www.akumalcouncil.com
 

HOME OWNER'S INSURANCE INCREASES AGAIN!

            It's the hurricane season, and Akumal has been spared this year, so far, even though there were a couple (Charlie and Earl) to be concerned about.  Fortunately, we are OK so far.

            Unfortunately, we are not being spared with regards to the insurance for hurricane protection.  The ING Comercial America insurance company, represented by Luis Lobo, is sticking it to us again.  Remember, the rate increase last year was on the order of 253 percent, and now this year we are seeing something on the magnitude of another 34 - 35 percent increase!!!  When will this end??  Luis says, 'This is phase 2, and next year there will be no increase.'

            The two BIG HITS in the premium are with Hydro-Meterorological Phenomena, Building and Hydro-Meterorological Phenomena, Contents which are both up 42 percent.  A Hydro-Meterorological Phenomena is regarded as a hurricane.
 

FOUR-LANE HIGHWAY EXTENSION IS COMING!!

Rumor or Fact??  It has recently been reported/mentioned that the highway MEX 307 will be expanded to four lanes between Xcaret and Tulum in about two years.  This is something that just "came up" during the recent General Assembly Meeting of the Akumal Council, and there is no validation that this is fact.

However, in light of the planned expansion of Akumal City to 240,000 residents and the story on page 2, this really does make a lot of sense.  It makes sense just to alleviate the dangers on the current highway.
 

CAPA REPORT

            A representative from CAPA came to the Akumal Council General Assembly meeting on Friday, August 13, 2004 to present and discuss CAPA's drainage project.  The "Minutes" of this session have been distributed by the various Akumal Council representatives, and it is assumed that everybody has already seen this at least once.  Therefore, it will not be regurgitated here, but if it is something that missed you, please send a Letter to the Editor.

AROUND THE RIVIERA MAYA

The work on Sam's Club in Playa del Carmen is proceeding very nicely, and now they have a banner that does a daily countdown on the number of days remaining to the opening.  It looks like it will be Friday, August 27, 2004.

 Home Mart in Cancun is in the process of having its exterior signs removed.  Inside, most, if not all, of the signs are for Home Depot.  No indication of any BIG, or small, GRAND OPENING.
  

DID YOU KNOW?   THE COST OF GASOLINE!

            When was the last time a friend or relative from "up north" asked you questions about the cost of living in Mexico?  How much does a loaf of bread cost?  How are the taxes?  How much does gasoline costs? Etc., etc., etc.         Well, here is an easy way to answer one of those questions, "How many dollars does a gallon of gasoline cost?"

            It's really quite simple, once you make the conversion from pesos to dollars, and then liters to gallons.  Here's the formula:

             $US price per Gallon = (peso cost per liter * 3.7853) / (pesos per $US dollar)

 Using $5.89 pesos per liter and $11.3 pesos per dollar, it's about $1.97 per gallon.

 INTERNATIONAL GASOLINE PRICES 

Most Expensive

Location

Price Per Gallon

Hong Kong

$5.34

London, England

4.55

Paris, France

4.41

Amsterdam, Netherlands

4.38

Seoul, S. Korea

4.35

Copenhagen, Denmark

4.24

Tokyo, Japan

4.20

Milan, Italy

4.14

Oslo, Norway

4.13

Frankfurt, Germany

4.00

 Least Expensive

Location

Price Per Gallon

Caracas, Venezuela

$0.28

Jakarta, Indonesia

0.74

Cairo, Egypt

0.75

Kuwait City, Kuwait

0.77

Manama, Bahrain

0.82

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

0.93

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

1.05

Kiev, Ukraine

1.13

Muscat, Oman

1.13

Moscow, Russia

1.21

 

CASA COLIBRI MYSTERIES

Ingrid & Steve, at Casa Colibri in South Akumal, experienced two mysteries earlier this month, and they are still unresolved.  Any help or clues towards the solving, or at least better understanding, these mysteries would be greatly appreciated.

The first mystery involves baby turtles.  On the morning of August 3, 2004, Steve discovered a baby turtle swimming in the pool.  He rescued it with the (turtle) scooper and brought it to the sun-sparkled Caribbean Sea, where he released it. 

Later - around 5:00PM - that same day, Ingrid discovered another baby turtle in the palm tree well in the pool deck, and after the photo op, Ingrid took the baby turtle to the Caribbean Sea, where she released it.

Here’s where the mystery comes in.  Where did the baby turtles come from, as there is no known nest around where there has been a know hatching?  Ingrid & Steve believe there was a nest in front of Casa Colibri, but there is no evidence of a hatching.

What time of the day/evening did they hatch? Did they hatch together?  Was Ingrid's in that palm tree hole all day long?  Were there more than two baby turtles?  If so, where did they go?

Why did these two come towards the swimming pool, versus heading towards the Caribbean Sea, which is much closer to the location of the believed nest?  How did they climb up the 6 inch edge of the pool deck to gain access to the pool and the palm tree well in the deck?

Ingrid and Steve do not have a clue on any of this, so they have enlisted the support of the famed archeologist, Ryan Roberts.  Ryan has been to Akumal many times, and he is world renowned for his exploits with "The Jade Mask of Xel-Ha."  He himself has written a short book titled, "The Mayan Mysteries," so he is very capable of solving this turtle mystery.

The second mystery, Ingrid & Steve believe, is outside the realm of Ryan Roberts' capabilities, because it involves two toilet seats.  Ingrid & Steve have been married for 44+ years, and in this time they have lived all over the world, including a long stint in Medfield (not Medford) Massachusetts, and they have sat on a few toilet seats, literally tens-of-thousands of times, with absolutely no problems, with the toilet seats, that is.

Now after living in Casa Colibri for just under five years, two, not one, toilet seats broke within a one week span in early August.  The first one fell down onto the bowl while the maid was cleaning, and the toilet seat broke right at the front curve.  The second one broke while Steve was sitting on it; he heard this sharp "crack" sound, but did not feel any pain or anything.  When he got up, he saw that the toilet seat was split all the way through - a clean break - on the right cheek side.

Here's where the mystery comes in.  The first one is a KOHLER and the second one is a BEMIS.  They both are the oval style with the closed front end, and they both were brought down from the United States, so they are less than four years old.  That translates to about 1,200 sittings each, on average, give-or-take, more-or-less, mas-o-menos.  Whatever.

So, why do two, little used (relatively) toilet seats in South Akumal, Mexico break within a one week span, when Ingrid & Steve never had a toilet seat break on - that should be under - them during 40+ years in the United States and Germany?  Is it something with Sea level?  Is it the proximity to the Caribbean Sea?  Is there something in the water, or what we eat and drink?

THE MAYAKOBA DEVELOPMENT

            You have seen the Mayakoba entrance  - large wooden gates of Mayakoba, just north of Playa del Carmen - on the highway for a couple of years now, and you know they did some major highway work on the entrance not too long ago, well here's what’s going on behind those gates.

            This exceptional 1,600-acre environment, graced by enlightened design and the world's finest hoteliers, is creating a new international standard.  In time it will include a collection of luxurious hotels, including Laguna Kai, and a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course (and up to two others) all built to embrace the lagoons, jungle and Caribbean beachfront.

            The unique ecological system inspires the design character of Laguna Kai, and its individuality resides in how simply and naturally it reflects its environment. Laguna Kai is a strikingly modern statement in resort living constructed from ancient wisdoms and noble, enduring materials. Each suite reflects the portion of the environment in which it resides. The Lagoon Suites grow up out of the jungle.  The Over-Water Suites float over the lagoon. The Ocean View Suites rest on the mangrove treetops.  You are not merely closer to nature here. You are part of it.

Reflected sky in still lagoon            Within this inspiring setting, cars are nowhere to be seen: owners and guests choose from footpaths and bikes on land, or canopied launches that glide along the lagoon waterways.  The lagoons wind through Laguna Kai to the beach, a breathtaking curve of Caribbean coastline, and flow to cenotes or self-contained marine sanctuaries that offer some of the most beautiful cave and cavern diving in the world.  The waterways also take you to the spa - an island in the heart of Laguna Kai.

Currently scheduled to open in late 2005, The Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, will be part of the Mayakoba resort community development, which will encompass approximately 1,605 acres along 112 miles of coastline known as the 'Mexican Caribbean'.  Located approximately 40 miles south of Cancun near the town of Playa del Carmen, the Mayakoba resort development will also house five additional hotel sites, two or three golf courses and residential properties. 

The Fairmont Mayakoba will be located in the heart of the indigenous jungle and around Aerial view of beachthe area's natural interior lagoons.  Guestrooms and suites will be in a series of two-storey units formed in clusters throughout the jungle, including 33 one, two and three bedroom casitas, some with ocean views.  In addition, the hotel will offer approximately 30,000 sq. feet of meeting space, for meeting planners seeking a unique venue to hold events. 

The resort will manage and have priority access to a Greg Norman designed 18-hole championship golf course, one of two, maybe three, courses at the Mayakoba development.  A 16,000 sq. ft. Willow Stream spa will also be introduced, with 19 treatment rooms, including deluxe massage rooms and two couple's rooms.  Willow Stream, Fairmont's unique spa collection unveiled in 2001, has quickly garnered awards for its outstanding service, design, and treatments.  The resort will also feature three restaurants, a health club, tennis courts, and a 10,000 sq. ft. pool. 
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

            If you are left out, please use Letter To The Editor.

                        Paula and Neil have headed back to Qatar after a fairly long R&R visit to Akumal, where they enjoyed their usual cluster of family and friends, and they did a lot of diving.  Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, we never did get Paula onto the golf course this time around.

            Hugh also left after a long stay, doing lots of dives with Paula & Neil.

            Lisa Combs and her friend Chris returned for a brief one week visit to the Riviera Maya, with frequent visits to Akumal.  Lisa and Phill are in countdown mode to when Phill retires, and they really move down here.

            John & Wickie Rimell returned for a two week stay with Wickie's two boys, taking a break from their time in San Cristobol and Calgary.

            Bente Palmer has taken time out of her busy schedule flying back-and-forth between Chicago and Asia to return to Akumal for a week or two of R&R.  Bente just loved her North-South routes to South America before, but now this East-West stuff adds a new dimension for her, with the time zone changes (up to 12) on each way of the trip.

           

DID YOU KNOW THE DIMENSIONS OF A BOWLING LANE

  

THE COST OF ELECTRICITY

            We know the cost of a liter of gasoline has increased quite significantly over the last five years, and the premium on our home insurance has REALLY GONE UP in the last two years.  We all sense that the cost of electricity has also gone up, and here is a five year chart that shows that the cost per KWh used at Casa Colibri has indeed gone up, on a fairly steady rate.

 

 This next chart shows that the KWh consumption has increased just slightly (added swimming pool in December 2002) over the last five years, but the cost has been continuously increasing at an alarming rate.

 

 

CANCUN TOURISM EXPERIENCING RECORD NUMBERS!!

Cancun's Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has reported that Cancun is operating at nearly 97 percent of its hotel capacity, with at least 700,000 domestic and international tourists expected to arrive during the months of July and August alone.  Cancun CVB Director Miguel Borge Martin said, "The city is registering its strongest summer tourist season in 10 years, with visitor arrivals to the city expected to remain steady through the end of August."

"Cancun's particularly strong tourism figures for the first half of the year, in which hotel occupancy rates were up 10 percent over 2003 levels, make it likely that the city will register unprecedented visitor numbers and tourism revenue levels this year", Borge said.  He added, "Nearly all of the resort's 27,000 hotel rooms were currently filled, even though the summer is not considered Cancun's high season for visitors."
 

TELMEX USA

TelmexHave a holiday home or getaway and find it difficult to pay your TELMEX telephone bill while out of Mexico?

 Now you can pay your Telmex bill from Canada or the USA by making your payment to TELMEX USA at no additional cost.  The full amount of your payment is applied to your account at a very attractive Peso - Dollar exchange rate.  http://www.telmexusa.com/index.asp

TELMEX USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of TELMEX (NYSE: TMX), that owns and operates the largest and most advanced communications network in Mexico.  TELMEX USA has served the US Hispanic market since 1997 with products such as Mexico en Linea, Pagos desde Estados Unidos and Pay in the USA.  Its head office is in San Diego, CA.

1.      To register call TELMEX USA at 1-800-365-8808 Monday through Saturday, from 7am to 7pm PST.

2.      Provide us with the following information:

*      Your telephone number in Mexico including area code (Lada).

*        Name, Address and Telephone number.

3.      You will be provided with a Customer Number.  You can then use it to make payments toward your TELMEX telephone bill in Mexico.

4.      We also offer several convenient payment options, including:

*        Check / Money Order via Mail

*        Credit / Debit Card Online

*        Credit / Debit Card via Phone

*        Automatic Payment Service

*        Western Union Swift Pay

*        IPP Agents

LAST MONTH'S QUESTION ABOUT THE BLUE GATE?

In last month's AROUND THE MAYA RIVIERA section, the question was asked "What's going on behind the blue gate/entrance that leads into Yal Ku Lagoon from MEX 307?"  The section then speculated on some possibilities.  Well, here's an update on what's happening.

The blue tarp has been removed from the gate, so it is no longer "the blue gate."

A large 2,000+ room complex (the numbers vary from 1,200 to 2,080 depending on hotel rooms or total complex rooms) is going in along a 7 kilometer stretch of beach, starting from Yal Ku and going up to, and including Xaak. 

The main hotel building(s), with something like 1,200 or so rooms, will be at Xaak, and they will be up on the dunes.  Another part of the complex will be between Yal Ku and 'little' Xaak (or little Yal Ku - the next caletta north from Yal Ku), and in this area they have apparently cleared it up and made a beach there.

On the west side of Yal Ku, across from Casa del Sol, there is a development for 30 home sites on 60 hectares, and another part of the complex includes a golf course, probably in conjunction with Kantenah, and this 'may' be across the highway.

There are three entrances from the highway for this project, and they include the "blue gate" going into Yal-Ku, one going in about at Little Xaak, and then Xaak itself.

Apparently this is well organized, and the water and treatment will be provided by Aquakan, and CEA believes they are doing an ecologically sound development.

Security issues for Akumal were raised at the Akumal Council Meeting - what happens when all the workers are around for this project - and this was brought to the attention of the Municipality President, Gabriel Mendicuti Loria.  He responded that he would bring Akumal's concerns to the attention of the developer, but the Municipality could not impose anything on the development or the workers.
 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Farmer's Almanac reports that this month's full moon occurs on Saturday, August 29th at 9:23 pm, and it is called the Full Fruit/Barley Moon.

AKUMAL - CHEMUYIL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT!!

Do you know it's coming to a neighborhood near you?

 A fact, Construction of the Airport.

Point of the spear for the takeoff of Tulum, could be developed between Akumal and Chemuyil

 This was the headline of an article on page 18A (TULUM section) in the August 8, 2004 edition of the QUE QUINTANA ROO SE ENTERE newspaper.  This is a rough translation of the first two paragraphs.  There was a scanned image of the article going to be here, but the size is just too large for distribution and receiving.  Individual copies can be sent to those who are interested in actually seeing the article as it appeared in the newspaper.

Apparently the Municipal President, Gabriel Mendicuti Loria, was in Tulum and made these comments.  Mendicuti said, (paraphrasing the translation a bit), "With the exact location of the land not fully decided, it is safe to say that the International Airport of the Mayan Riviera will be constructed between the communities of Akumal Pueblo and Chemuyil Ciudad, and the proceedings, permissions and all the documentation are already being made ready."

Mendicuti, did not want to go deep on the matter, limiting himself to say that he will give more information when he has the permissions and documentation on the part of the Secretary of Urban Development and Environment.

Dumm-Da-Da-Dummm... . . . . . WHEN?  WHERE? 
  

ABC SUMMER LEAGUE

The downtown Cancun Wol Bol Alleys on Tulum Ave. (next to what was ACE Hardware) have closed, and the leagues that were set up there are moving out to the lanes at Kukulcan Plaza.  This will put a little crunch on lane availability at Kukulcan, especially in the evening, but it has not affected the Akumal Bowling Confederation yet.

The entrance from the Kukulcan Plaza mall to the alleys is now closed due to remodeling, so access is via the outside stairs on the north end of the mall.

During this week's match, Ingrid Clouther set new standard for the women's Single Game and Series as she rolled a 194 and a 472 respectively.  In the 194 game, Ingrid rolled seven strikes, including a 'turkey' in the first three frames, as she beat her partner, Steve, soundly.

            Steve & Ingrid also set a new standard for the Mixed Doubles High Series as they broke the 1,000 pin barrier with a fantabulous 1,003! 

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