The Akumalian

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

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January 2006 Issue 34


There’s not too much happening in Akumal right now, but there is a full schedule of things coming up over the next month or so.  If you do not have plans to be in Akumal, maybe you should reconsider and book those flights now. 


The only thing to report about the Akumal Council is the schedule of the next General Meeting on Friday, February (TBD) at Lol Ha restaurant at 11:00am –see www.akumalcouncil.com   Since this is the first meeting in 2006, and only members are allowed to attend, it is recommended you come with your checkbook.


Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Fear of Friday the 13th  

The fear of Friday the 13th stems from two separate fears -- the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Fridays.  Both fears have deep roots in Western culture, most notably in Christian theology.  Thirteen is significant to Christians because it is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper (Jesus and his 12 apostles).  Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive.  

Christians have traditionally been wary of Fridays because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.  Additionally, some theologians hold that Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit on a Friday, and that the Great Flood began on a Friday.  In the past, many Christians would never begin any new project or trip on a Friday, fearing they would be doomed from the start.  

Sailors were particularly superstitious in this regard, often refusing to ship out on a Friday.  According to unverified legend, the British Navy commissioned a ship in the 1800s called H.M.S. Friday, in order to quell the superstition.  The navy selected the crew on a Friday, launched the ship on a Friday and even selected a man named James Friday as the ship's captain.  Then, one Friday morning, the ship set off on its maiden voyage and disappeared forever.  A similar, entirely factual story is the harrowing flight of Apollo 13.



The Full Wolf Moon occurs on Saturday, January 14th at 09:47am ADT (Akumal Daylight Time).  Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages; thus, the name for January's full Moon.  Sometimes, it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule.  Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.



The International Space Station (ISS) will be almost directly over Akumal on Wednesday, January 18th at 18:23:30 - that's about 23 minutes after 6; i.e. just before Happy Hour ends at the Beach Bar.  At that time it will be 344 kilometers from the Beach Bar, and the magnitude will be -1.0.  Take a look at this track, and as long as the sky is clear, the ISS should be very visible to everyone who looks straight up.

On Tuesday, January 17th, the ISS will also be visible, albeit lower on the horizon in the NNE direction from Akumal, at exactly 17:58 - 17:59

            The HST (Hubble Space Telescope) can also be seen above Akumal in January, usually between 18:00 and 19:47, but it's low on the horizon and not too bright.



            Ernesto Martinez Orta at sanitariocompostero@prodigy.net.mx is distributing re-cycled plastic panels that are excellent for boarding up windows in the time of a hurricane.  They do not replace the hurricane shutters, but are a much better alternative to the plywood panels that are commonly used, because they do not rot or attract insects.

            The panels currently are available only in one size (42.5 inches x 96 inches) and three thicknesses.  The cost varies by the thickness, but not by that much.  They are:

  • 3/8 inch for $690 pesos – weighs about 50 pounds
  • 1/2 inch for $720 pesos – weighs about 70 pounds
  • 3/4 inch for $750 pesos – weighs about 90 pounds

 The biggest portion of the cost is for shipping.

 Unfortunately, Ernesto needs to have a combination of orders for about 100 panels to make the shipping to Akumal /Riviera Maya practical, so tell Ernesto how many you want, and when he has the requisite amount, he will proceed in bringing them to Akumal.



In the 1880s some friends in Punxsutawney, Penn., went into the woods on Candlemas Day to look for groundhogs.  This outing became a tradition, and a local newspaper editor nicknamed the seekers "the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club."  Starting in 1887, the search became an official event centered on a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil.  A ceremony still takes place every year.

A groundhog with his shadowToday Punxsutawney Phil lives in a climate-controlled habitat adjoining the Punxsutawney Library.  A local celebrity, he gained national fame in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day (which was shot in scenic Woodstock, Illinois).  The weather-watching rodent's predictions are recorded in the Congressional Records of our National Archive.  So far, Phil has seen his shadow about 85 percent of the time.  It is said that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of bad weather, and if he doesn't, that spring will be here soon.

Canada's Groundhog Day relies on the predictions of an albino groundhog named Wiarton Willie.  Although Punxsutawney Phil gets the most attention, various American cities have their own special groundhogs; New York City's official groundhog is called "Pothole Pete."



New England led Pittsburgh 3-0 early in last year's AFC Championship Game, but the trailing Steelers drove to the Patriots' 39-yard line, where they faced fourth-and-1.  New England coach Bill Belichick instructed linebacker Ted Johnson, his defensive play-caller, to add a wrinkle to the usual alignment.

"If he guessed wrong, there would have been a gaping hole," Johnson recalls.  "He felt in his heart of hearts they were going to run a certain play, and he knew this would blow it up.  And it did."

Nose tackle Keith Traylor and defensive end Jarvis Green met at the point of attack that Belichick had designated, and each delivered a huge blow to running back Jerome Bettis.  Rosevelt Colvin swooped in to punch the ball loose for a fumble fellow linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered.

Tom Brady immediately threw 60 yards to Deion Branch for a touchdown that had the Patriots on their way to a 41-27 win.  They went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX for their third NFL title in four years.

 That was last year.  This year, Super Bowl XL is being played on Sunday, February 5th at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, but all the excitement is going to be at the Lol-Ha Beach Bar, where kick-off will be at approximately 5:25pm AST.

            On January 7th, the Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 28 – 3 in a Wild-card Playoff game, this giving them a record 10th straight postseason game victory.  On Saturday, January 14th, the Patriots meet the Denver Broncos in Denver, with kickoff at 7pm AST.  NOTE: The Broncos still haven't won a postseason game without John Elway as their quarterback.


            Laura has hired (steel drum) Jozef to play inside the Lol Ha restaurant for Valentines Day.

Jozef reports, "I have teamed up with the great jazz singer, Gala Del Mar, and we play a lot of Bossa Nova and Latin jazz.  She is a delight to hear!

Gala had a bad car accident last year in which her husband was killed on the way to an audition at Bahia Principe.  Gala has had several operations and is unable to walk at this time, but we manage to get gigs, and she arrives on crutches.  I am playing her husband’s beautiful guitars.

We are both hurting as of the hurricane, and she more, because of the accident, but the music has given her new light and hope for the future, and we make incredible music together."



The 78th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 5, 2006, and as such, the show will fall a week later in the calendar than in 2004 and 2005.  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Frank Pierson described the step back into March as a one-year expedient to avoid a conflict with the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to fall on the Academy's "natural" date of Sunday, February 26.  

Jon Stewart, who worked the Grammys in 2001 and 2002, will host the 2006 Oscars.  The 43-year-old star of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" follows a long line of standup comedians who have hosted the Oscars, and after the announcement, Stewart joked, "Although, as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice. It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal."

Lol Ha will once again have a spectacular (hopefully not rainy) Oscar evening, complete with red carpet, full live coverage, and of course, a very worthy cause for the proceeds.  This is once again hosted by Laura Busch, who says, "Mark March 5th on your calendar and start to dig out your costumes and makeup". 

While "Aviator" is not a contender this year, Laura is expecting to see a number of (local) "stars" attending this huge event.



The Shuttle, LLC, based in Tampa, Florida, is working actively to start a new service between the ports of Tampa and Progresso.  They are currently in project phase and are not ready to publicly announce a starting date, although it is anticipated to be in late spring, 2006.

 tel. +1.813.248.1288                                       fax. +1.813.248.3040

www.theshuttle.com does not tell you much at all, but they do respond to e-mails and add you to the distribution list.



There are more and more banks willing to provide mortgages and home loans on property in Mexico, and this can be advantageous if you want to buy or sell property in Akumal or along the Riviera Maya.  Here's a little bit of information on two that have recently come to light.

Conficasa Riviera Maya at www.conficasaplaya.com now has a joint office in Houston, Texas and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  The new facilities recently had their grand opening and are now ready to process loans for Mexican Real Estate.  If you have been waiting to sell or buy your dream home in Mexico, the wait is over.  Down payments start at just 20 percent.  For more information, or to speak with one of their loan officers, call from the United States (713)-344-1712 or Mexico (984)-803-5013, or email them at info@Conficasaplaya.com .

Applicants are required to have their primary, permanent, residence in the U.S.  It can be a rental.  They must be able to provide clear evidence that they reside in the U.S. and intend to permanently reside in the U.S.  The Processing Department will review all of the information submitted to make a determination.  The property in Mexico cannot be the permanent residence of the Borrower, must be only for a vacation home.

 Intercontinental National Bank at www.interconbank.com in San Antonio, Texas is offering loans to American citizens residing in the United States for the purpose of acquiring, building or remodeling vacation property in Mexico.  The bank’s Mortgage Program provides loans to American citizens who have their primary residence in the USA, who are building, acquiring or remodeling a second residence in Mexico.

            Intercon Bank has been around for 40 years, and today it remains locally owned and operated.  Intercon Bank has been awarded an "A" Rating from Sheshunoff and given "5 stars" from Bauer Financial Reports, Inc. as "one of the safest financial institutions in the USA."  It is also one of the few banks in San Antonio registered in Mexico.  For more information, call Steve Pritchard, President/CEO at (210) 645-3700 or write to Steve.Pritchard@InterConBank.com .



Mexicarte is the new shop in town.  It is in the pink building beside the Hotel Akumal Caribe Reception / Front Desk, just inside the arch.  Owned and operated by the wife and husband team of Nayeli Aparicio and Pablo Diaz, Mexicarte is about fine Mexican handcrafts, jewelry, and art.

What makes Mexicarte unique, is that Nayeli & Pablo carry an eclectic selection of the finest representations of Mexican handcrafts, and they choose to sell the pieces of artisans that are true to their trade, and don’t have access to mass marketing.  In other words, they visited remote villages, and learned about them as they documented their work, and they are working in a close relationship with the cultural branches of the Mexican government, whose sole purpose is to preserve the tradition and cultural heritage of the vast array of ethnic and indigenous communities that are in Mexico.

You may recognize Nayeli Aparicio as the one who does the tour sales and car, golf cart and bikes rentals at TSA, and her husband, Pablo Diaz, is manager/partner at the Akumal Dive Shop.



Internet Voice, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line.  Some services using VoIP may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number - including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers.  Also, while some services only work over your computer, or a special VoIP phone, other services allow you to use a traditional phone through an adaptor.

Many subscribers to The Akumalian are well aware of the advantages of using Vonage www.vonage.com , the broadband telephone service, and now there are more and more of these broadband telephone service providers.  Here’s information on two "new" ones.

Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, SunRocket, the "no gotcha" phone company, is bringing new personal Internet phone service to mainstream America with its SunRocket Signature Services.  The only company to offer a complete Internet phone service at an all-inclusive, bottom-line monthly price of $24.95 with no hidden charges or "gotchas", SunRocket makes it easy for broadband households to take advantage of the value and enhanced capabilities of state-of-the-art  Internet telephony.  Nokia Venture Partners is the lead investor in the privately-held corporation. 

SunRocket, the No Gotcha Phone Company, provides home phone service over a broadband connection.  You must have a broadband service such as high-speed cable or DSL to use SunRocket.  For more information, see the company's web site at www.SunRocket.com

SunRocket, one of the nation's fastest-growing Internet phone service providers, announced that it has once again revolutionized the way consumers buy residential phone service with a breakthrough $9.95 per month offering that includes enhanced 911 service, free calling features such as call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling, 200 minutes of global calling and unlimited inbound and SunRocket to SunRocket Internet phone calling. 

Skype is the Global P2P Telephony Company that is changing the telecommunications world by offering consumers free, superior-quality calling worldwide.  Skype is a little program for making free calls over the internet to anyone else who also has Skype.  It's free and easy to download and use, and works with most computers.

With SkypeIn, you can get your own, regular phone number.  So if your friends who aren't using Skype want to call you by dialing a regular number, you can still receive the call in Skype. No matter where you are.

So, if you have a Chicago-based SkypeIn number, but you’re living somewhere in the suburbs of Paris, your Chicago area friends - or anyone! - can just dial your SkypeIn number, and your Skype on the other side of the world starts ringing, and your friends are only paying whatever their phone company charges them for making a phone call to Chicago.

Of course people from everywhere in the world can call your SkypeIn number; but if your SkypeIn number is in the United States, and they call from another country, they pay for the international nature of the call.  And if you have friends in many places, you can get up to 10 SkypeIn numbers in different places and keep them guessing as to where you really are!

See http://www.skype.com/  for more information.



            Christmas and New Years were pretty much turned over to the tourists, but as 2006 got underway, numerous absentee "locals" were returning to Akumal for a short post-holiday visit.  Some notable “comings” include:

  • Gabriella Herbert returned from Ohio before the holidays.
  • Denny & Diane Mahan are back from their extended trip to Maui, Honolulu, and Sydney.
  • Claudia Munoz is back from the holidays in Texas with a new vehicle.
  • Jack & Ann Kennedy returned for the holidays.
  • Gene & Mary Ellen Langan were also here, in South Akumal, for the holidays.
  • Frank & Lennie Hatch were back in town for a short spell.
  • Roger & Denise Burton came down to oversee some of their Wilma recovery.
  • Leroy & Margaret Wiedman are in from Alaska.
  • Mike & Linda Mulgrew were in from Toronto.
  • Bob Mulgrew is back!  Was he ever away?
  • Bob & Gayle Doebert are back in Aventuras Akumal for an extended stay.
  • Joe & Kathy Volpicello are also in Aventuras.
  • Ray & Barbara Armstrong also returned to Aventuras.
  • Wendell & Lynda Day are still in Aventuras.
  • Phil Growick was back in Aventuras over Christmas and New Years.
  • Phill & Lisa Combs return to Tankah next week.
  • Richard & Arlene Pargot are returning later in the month, stopping in San Miguel en-route.
  • Betty McElhatten returns in early February for her annual visit.
  • When is Ryan Fredette coming back?  Actually, on Wednesday, February 15th.



Thierry and Jissou Vander Elst returned to Belgium for the holidays.

RUMORS – Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Mike Mulgrew replaced Jack Kennedy as the president of Las Casitas.

 Seven Seas owners voted to keep Tuli out of the swimming pool.

Karen Jenkins has remarried.

 ZOFEMAT has assumed the collection of the Federal Zone Tax, and reports are that the Federal Zone Tax has doubled this year.

 The construction project just north – right by the bus stop – of the newly installed traffic lights (still not working) is for a pedestrian overpass.

bora bora beachcomberThe "new" Mahan-Baxter development just south of the existing South Akumal residential area has been dubbed Mah-Bax (Maya for "what will they ever think of next?") by The Akumalian.  While it is well known that the initial plans ../../photo/pcd1726/668.phpcall for dredging the bay, blasting the reef, and building a long pier for large (80+ feet) pleasure craft, reports from Australia indicate that Mah-Bax is also going to include a series of over-the-water bungalows and an aquarium made exclusively of underwater tubes.  These will be great new additions to Akumal and the Riviera Maya



            Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures of the "new" Lol-Ha Beach Bar palapa and expanded sitting/dining area on the north side of the round bar.  It’s now a palapa within a palapa, and the area seems huge, due to the high, expanded palapa roof. And, to complement this new area, Laura has purchased furniture (yes, f-u-r-n-i-t-u-r-e) for comfortable seating arrangements with sofas, chairs and tables; a la' a living room. 

Laura says, "Just got another center table, and on Monday I am getting a few more nice sitting areas with same furniture.  I liked it so much, that I really think it will make it a much better space with what I bought today!  I hope all of the locals enjoy it too!"


            The work on the Akumal Telephone Book has reached a point of diminishing returns, so it is time to make it available, electronically, to those of you who might be interested in it.  Be advised that it is in a Microsoft Excel file format.  In return, you need to inform The Akumalian of any corrections and additions you might be aware of.  Once the subsequent corrections are made, we shall look at the cost of doing a hard copy, depending on the level of interest.  Are you interested?




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