The Akumalian

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

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April 2006 Issue 37


Akumal is the place to be, and some days and nights it seems as if everyone has taken that literally.  It's Easter vacation for everyone, and everyone is here in   Akumal.  Fortunately, there's all the space up in the sky, and I need to periodically - every night - get up on the rooftop and gaze at the stars, planets, and space craft.  It's MMMaaaahhhh-vvellll-oussss!

Sorry about being late for the April 12th events, but Prodigy was down this afternoon.



In the Jewish calendar, Passover always begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan.  In the Gregorian calendar, the Passover holiday officially begins just after sundown on Wednesday, the evening of April 12, 2006 at 7:35 P.M. EST.

Passover (Hebrew: פסח; transliterated as Pesach or Pesah), also called חג המצות (Chag HaMatzot - Festival of Matzot) is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt.  Passover marks the "birth" of the Jewish nation, as the Jews were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh and allowed to become servants of God instead.

Together with Sukkot and Shavuot, Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the days of the Holy Temple.

In Israel, Passover is a 7-day holiday, with the first and last days celebrated as a full festival (involving abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals).  Outside Israel, the holiday is celebrated for 8 days, with the first two days and last two days celebrated as full festivals.  The intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed (festival weekdays).

The primary symbol of Passover is the matzo, a flat, unleavened bread which recalls the bread that the Israelites ate after their hasty departure from Egypt.  According to Halakha, this bread is made from dough of flour and water only, which has not been allowed to rise for more than 18-22 minutes.  Religious Jews will observe the positive Torah commandment of eating matzo on the first night, as well as the Torah prohibition against eating or owning any leavened products - such as bread, cake, cookies, or pasta (anything whose dough has been mixed with a leavening agent or which has been left to rise more than 18-22 minutes) - for the duration of the holiday.

The term Pesach is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23). There it refers to the way God "passed over" the houses of the Israelites during the final plague of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the killing of the first-born.  On the night of that plague, which occurred on the 15th day of Nisan, the Jews smeared their lintels and doorposts with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and were spared.

The term Pesach also refers to the lamb which was designated as the Passover sacrifice (called the Korban Pesach in Hebrew).  Four days before the Exodus, the Jews were commanded to set aside a lamb (Exodus 12:3) and inspect it daily for blemishes.  During the day on the 14th of Nisan, they were to slaughter the lamb and use its blood to mark their lintels and doorposts. Up until midnight on the 15th of Nisan, they were to consume the lamb.  Each family (or group of families) gathered together to eat a meal that included the meat of the Korban Pesach while the Tenth Plague ravaged Egypt.



Full Pink Moon - April 13 is at 12:00 pm AST. Earth's Moon

This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring.  Other names for this month's celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.



·        When Neil Armstrong took that historical step of "one small step for man one giant step for mankind" it would not have occurred to anyone that the step he took in the dust of the moon was there to stay.  It will be there for at least 10 million years.

·        When Alan Sheppard was on the moon, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet, nearly a half a mile.

·        In a survey conducted in 1988, 13% of those surveyed believe that the moon is made of cheese.

·        Only 59% of the moon's surface is visible from earth.



For Mexico, Easter is a combination of Semana Santa (Holy Week - Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday).  For most Mexicans, this 2 week period is THE time of year for vacation (good time to not be on the highways - just stay put and enjoy the community of your choice during this holiday season).

Semana Santa celebrates the last days of the Christ's life.  Pascua is the celebration of the Christ's Resurrection, and it is also the release from the sacrifices of Lent.

In many communities, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and, finally, the Resurrection.  In some communities, flagellation and/or real crucifixion is included.  The enactments are often wondrously staged, costumed and acted, with participants preparing for their roles for nearly the full year leading up to Semana Santa.


Do you know about Goggle Earth?  Ever watch the news and see the camera zoom in on Baghdad?  Look up in the corner, and you’ll see "Google Earth".

The whole world is covered with medium resolution imagery and terrain data.  This resolution allows you to see major geographic features and man-made development such as towns, but not detail of individual buildings.  Additional high-resolution imagery, which reveals detail for individual buildings, is available for most of the major cities in the US, Western Europe, Canada, and the UK.  3D buildings are represented in 38 US cities (the major urban areas).  Detailed road maps are available for the US, Canada, the UK, and Western Europe.  And Google Local search is available for the US, Canada, and the UK.

The Google Earth images are photographs taken by satellites and aircraft sometime in the last three year, and the images are updated on a rolling basis.

Google Earth is just plain "fun" to find houses of family and friends, and it seems to be really great for vacation planning/preparation, especially if you are going to an urban area.  It shows street addresses, hotels, and restaurants.  Here's an example of a shot of the Roman Coliseum.

 Go to and check it out.  It's FREE.

 Fly to an Address
If you're looking for a specific address, type it into the "Fly To" box and hit search, and you’ll "fly" there over the earth.  You can also enter the intersection of two streets, a city, a state, a zip code, or just a country.  Note: Street address searches are limited to the US, UK and Canada only.

Business Search
Google Earth features integrated Google Local searching that allows you to search for businesses in an area.  Type in "pizza in Mountain View" in the "Fly To" box and hit the search button.  Google Earth will fly you to a viewpoint showing 10 search results.  Alternatively, you can use the Local Search tab to find a business.

Double-clicking on a business listing in Google Earth will fly you down to the location and pop up a balloon window view with information about the business.  You can do several things at this point.

1. View street address including phone number of a business.

2. Get driving directions To or From the location.

3. Link to detailed information about a business in Google Local.



Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day are four distinctly American tributes to liberties, freedom and democracy, commemorated by a holiday in the United States.

Then there is Patriots' Day.  For New Englanders, Patriots' Day remains the quintessential observance: the anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War with skirmishes between British troops and the Minute Men of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, and preceded by Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride.  For runners, Patriots' Day has become synonymous with the Boston Marathon or, as locals often refer to the day, Marathon Monday.

The events of more than two centuries ago in April 1775, now commemorated as the Patriots' Day holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, marked a turning point in the long struggle between England and her American colonies.  In a march of protest and petition, which turned into revolution and independence, the fighting on April 19, 1775 foreshadowed the rebellious action of the American colonies in ultimately creating a new nation, the United States of America.  Originally celebrated on April 19, Patriots' Day was moved to the third Monday of April in 1969.

While "the shot heard 'round the world" continues to reverberate in re-enactments of the historic events, the sound of gunfire also will ring clearly in Hopkinton this Patriots' Day to signal the start of the 110th Boston Marathon and to recall the ideals of the American Revolution.

The Boston area is a uniquely and profoundly American locale; there's no better venue and no better occasion than the Boston Marathon and Patriots' Day to showcase the spirit.

Also, the Boston Red Sox traditionally play season opening day home game on this date, typically starting at 11:00 AM.  Many schools, elementary through high school, take the entire week off as "April vacation."

This holiday should not be confused with Patriot Day, a day that commemorates the attacks of September 11, 2001.



Hurley Hackler lost his Zippo cigarette lighter.

Didier Jackson lost his cell phone.


Now is the time to save vital ecosystems to ensure the future of a living planet.Since the first Earth Day in 1970, people around the world have sought to celebrate the planet through a variety of individual and community activities.  But Earth Day is about more than observing the beauty and vitality of nature; it is also about renewing your commitment to saving our living planet.  As we celebrate its 37th year on April 22, The Akumalian and World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) offer you five ways to make Earth Day matter:

·        Take Action - Many of us want to make a difference.  WWF's Conservation Action Network allows you to do just that.  Stand up and make your voice be heard; grassroots efforts can be even more effective than big money politics.

·        Adopt an Animal - Join WWF's efforts to save tigers, pandas and gorillas by making an online adoption today -- for yourself or a friend!

·        Think (and Act) Green - Keep the environment in mind when shopping and gardening, around the house and in your world.  Recycle!!

·        Send an eCard - Be a voice for change.  Get your friends involved and wish them a happy earth day!

·        Join WWF - World Wildlife Fund is working around the world to save endangered species, preserve wild places and address global challenges.  You can help us save a living planet.

 You can take steps in your everyday life to ensure the survival of our living planet.  By educating yourself about the products you consume, where they come from and their impact on the environment; conserving energy; buying recycled products; using safe alternatives to household chemicals; and voicing your concerns to the government and corporations, you can help tilt the balance from extinction to survival.



            Last month it was reported that Tony James was back in Akumal, looking for a rematch with the Lol-Ha Beach Bar palapa, which hit Tony when he was not looking.  Tony was slightly bruised, but probably more embarrassed.  There have not been any details of the rematch, but Tony can be seen at the Beach Bar with another red bruise above his forehead.  The excuse this time is something about "the car boot".  So . . . . . .OK, Judy, where’s "The Rest of the Story"?



El Dia del Nino is a celebration of the children, and it is celebrated each year on April 30th.  It's like a kid's day.  They usually get nice surprises or presents.  This is a very exiting day for both the child and parents.  It's also a celebration where fortunate people give food, toys, and clothes to the less fortunate.


It is Easter Week - Semana Santa - and there are lots of "comings and goings".  Where are you??



  • Didier's son, Scott, and his wife, Sally were visiting for a week.
  • Didier's daughter, Nicole, and her husband Scott followed a week later.
  • Rachel, Hollis' daughter, and Michael and their sons were visiting at Los Primos
  • Jill, Judy James' sister, was over from England.
  • Sherwood & Bob Anders were in town once again.
  • Janet Bouton was here with her daughter, Jessie…..Where's Marshall?
  • David & Diane Daniels were seen around the Beach Bar.
  • Amy Blatner was in town for a short visit with Bud & Alice.
  • Don Papa came down from Philly to help Diane with the computer move to South Akumal.
  • Denise Burton flew into town for a very short visit to supervise construction.
  • Jim Coke continues to slip in and out of town, and he is here now.
  • Butch was in town for his birthday on April 10th.
  • Lisa & Phill are doing another visit before the BIG MOVE!!!!!
  • Mary Langan, along with Gene, was back for Spring Break.
  • Gary & Oveta Vardell were back again for a short spell.
  • Denny & Diane Mahan moved over to South Akumal on April7th.
  • Frank & Lennie are back in Casa Del Sol on the lagoon.
  • Katie Datica is visiting from Denver, without her usual tan.
  • Tony, Joan, Cassie, and Alex Gonzalez are back for Easter week
  • Patrick & Cheryl Reagan have returned for another visit.
  • Hurley Hackler has been coming and going to/from Tankah on a regular basis.

 Photo of Taking Off Commercial Jet - Boeing 747 - Jumbo JetGoings:

  • Steve & Judy Holz left after an extended stay in Aventuras Akumal.
  • Wendell & Lynda Day have also departed Aventuras Akumal.
  • Hollis & George returned to Chicago.
  • Mary Henderson went for a visit to Kentucky, back in March.
  • Isabel Schober has gone to the Galapagos on a Celebrity Cruise for some R&R with Nancy Walker
  • Alice Blatner has headed north to Philly for a chance to smell the spring flowers.
  • Denny & Diane Mahan are going to Atlanta and Ohio for some northern golf.



Myrna hosted a Birthday party for Butch at the Lol Ha Beach Bar on Monday, April 10, and it was very well attended.  A good time was had by all, especially Butch, who received lots of well wishes from his friends on the Riviera Maya.  Unfortunately, the photos have not been processed.



The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day, but it should be!  And, Cinco de Mayo is not an American holiday, but it should be.  Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810, and it took 11 years before the first Spanish soldiers were told and forced to leave Mexico.  So, why Cinco de Mayo

El Cinco de Mayo ("The Fifth of May" in Spanish) is a national celebration in Mexico.  It commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza over the French expeditionary forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Under the pretext of forcing payment for Mexico's outstanding and crippling debt, Britain, Spain and France sent troops to Mexico.  The democratically elected government of President Benito Juarez made agreements with the British and the Spanish, who promptly recalled their armies, but the French stayed, thus beginning the period of the French intervention in Mexico.  Emperor Napoleon III wanted to secure French dominance in the former Spanish colony, including installing one of his relatives, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as ruler of Mexico.

Confident of a quick victory, 6,500 French soldiers marched on Mexico City to seize the capital before the Mexicans could muster a viable defense.  Along their march, the French already encountered stiff resistance before Zaragoza struck out to intercept the invaders.

The battle between the French and Mexican armies occurred on May 5 when Zaragoza's ill-equipped militia of 4,500 men encountered the better armed French force.  However, Zaragoza's small and nimble cavalry units were able to prevent French dragoons from taking the field and overwhelming the Mexican infantry.  With the dragoons removed from the main attack, the Mexicans routed the remaining French soldiers with a combination of their tenacity, inhospitable terrain, and a stampede of cattle set off by local peasants.  The invasion was stopped and crushed.

Zaragoza won the battle but lost the war.  The French Emperor, upon learning of the failed invasion, immediately dispatched another force, this time numbering 30,000 soldiers.  By 1864, they succeeded in defeating the Mexican army and occupying Mexico City.  Archduke Maximillian became Emperor of Mexico.

Maximilian's rule was short-lived.  Mexican rebels opposed to his rule resisted, seeking the aid of the United States.  Once the American Civil War was over, the U.S. military began supplying Mexicans with weapons and ammunition, and by 1867, the rebels finally defeated the French and deposed their puppet Emperor.  The Mexican people then reelected Juarez as president.

Also on 5 May 1901, Ignacio Bravo telegraphed the news of the end of the Caste War of Yucatan with the Mexican victory against the self-proclaimed state of Chan Santa Cruz.



Casa Cenote is alive and well after the reconstruction and remodeling needed after  Hurricane Wilma.  The road into Tankah Tres is even "paved", and now they need topes.Casa Cenote restaurant

There is a well designed menu, an expanded Sunday barbecue, and a new bar that has to be Gary's pride and joy.  Ivan played guitar as backup to a singer, thus providing live music, and, while good, it is a tad on the loud side if you want to have a conversation with anybody.  Casa Cenote continues to be a popular destination for tourists and Akumalians alike, and the cenote across the road is busier than ever.


Kentucky DerbyThe Kentucky Derby is a stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses, staged yearly in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival.  The race currently covers one and one-quarter miles (2.012 km) at Churchill Downs; colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kg), fillies 121 pounds (55 kg).  The race, known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate time length, is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in the United States.  It typically draws around 155,000 fans.

            The Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses," because a lush blanket of red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year.  The tradition is as a result of New York socialite E. Berry Wall presenting roses to ladies at a post-Derby party in 1883 that was attended by Churchill Downs president, Col. M. Lewis Clark.  This gesture is believed to have eventually led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race's official flower.  However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner.  The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the trophy.  Pop vocalist Dan Fogelberg composed a song by that title for the 1980 running of the race.

            On February 1, 2006, the Louisville-based fast-food company Yum! Brands, Inc. announced a corporate sponsorship deal to officially name the race "The Kentucky Derby, presented by Yum! Brands".

            In addition to the race itself, a number of traditions have played a large role in the Derby atmosphere.  The Mint Julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and a sugar syrup is the traditional beverage of the race.  The historic drink is best served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup, but most patrons of Churchill Down's sip theirs from a souvenir glass printed with all previous Derby winners.  Over 80,000 mint juleps are typically served on Derby Day and the preceding day's event, The Kentucky Oaks stakes race, often considered "the Derby for Fillies".

            In Akumal, the Kentucky Derby will once again be hosted at the Lol Ha Beach Bar, where the attendees, especially the women, will be decked out in their finest Derby Hats and attire, while the gentlemen make their wagers at Betting Pool.  Come early.  Bet often.  And stay late.



CheetaCheeta, Tarzan's chimp, is 74.  Long retired from "acting" and now living at a primate sanctuary in -  where else? - Palm Springs, California, Cheeta celebrated his world-record 74th birthday Sunday.  He's said by the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records to be the world's oldest primate.  Few chimps are known to have lived past the age 50.  According to National Public Radio, in retirement Cheeta has become an avid painter.

Best known for his roles alongside Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan in the Tarzan movies, Cheeta first appeared on screen in 1934 and had parts in 12 flicks.  

MOTHER’S DAY - MAY 10th and 14th

Mother's Day is celebrated by some as an obligatory observance, and some deride it as being too commercial.  Nonetheless, many people are grateful for a chance to express to their mother's -- and other women as well -- warm feelings and genuine appreciation.

During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday", celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (also called Mid-Lent Sunday).  "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.  As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother Church" -- the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm.  Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration.  People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.  During this time many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy.  As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers.  On Mothering Sunday, the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers.  A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.  Sometimes furmety was served - wheat grains boiled in sweet milk, sugared and spiced.  In northern England and in Scotland, the preferred refreshments were carlings - pancakes made of steeped peas fried in butter, with pepper and salt.  In fact, in some locations this day was called Carling Sunday.

In the United States, Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace.  The cause of world peace was the impetus for Julia Ward Howe's establishment, over a century ago, of a special day for mothers.  Following unsuccessful efforts to pull together an international pacifist conference after the Franco-Prussian War, Howe began to think of a global appeal to women.

Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) is credited with originating the United States Mother's Day holiday.  The younger Anna Jarvis was only twelve years old in 1878 when she listened to her mother teach a Sunday school lesson on mothers in the Bible.  "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day," the senior Jarvis said.  "There are many days for men, but none for mothers."

Two years after her mother's death (1907) Anna Jarvis and her friends began a letter-writing campaign to gain the support of influential ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring a national Mother's Day holiday.  She poured out a constant stream of letters to men of prominence --President William Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt among them-- and enlisted considerable help from Philadelphia merchant John Wannamaker.  She felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while the mother was still alive.  She hoped Mother's Day would increase respect for parents and strengthen family bonds.

The House of Representatives in May, 1913, unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the President, his Cabinet, members of Congress, and all officials of the federal government to wear a white carnation on Mother's Day.  Congress passed another Joint Resolution May 8, 1914, designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.  The U.S. flag is to be displayed on government buildings and at people's homes "as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."  President Woodrow Wilson issued the first proclamation making Mother's Day an official national holiday.

 The Tradition in Mexico for Mother's Day (May 10th in Mexico) is for all of the sons and daughters to come from different places to the house, and on the day before (the 9th).


Late Breaking News


In case you have not noticed, there are large BIENVENIDOS AKUMAL signs - one right by the new pedestrian overpass - as you approach the entrance to Akumal from the north, and there is another - by the Akumal Beach Resort entrance - as you approach Akumal (Central, North, and West) from the south.  The implication seems to be that Jade Bay, South Akumal, and Aventuras Akumal, are not in Akumal, or they do not welcome visitors.



In case you have not noticed, there are traffic lights and big highways signs right at that street where Boxito is on MX307, and it seems like they are planning to make that another intersection going across MX307 in the very near future.  The ride to Cancun gets even longer.



This Wednesday, April 12 - that's TODAY - at 6:00pm, there is an Exposition of Ceramic and Bronze Sculptures at Escultura at Plaza Ukana in Akumal, Centro.  The artists are Gerardo Perea and Jorge Gonzalez, and the implication is that the exposition will be there until April 26th.



As you know, there is Akumal Norte (North Akumal), Akumal Centro (Central Akumal), Akumal Sur (South Akumal), and the Akumal Pueblo.  A while ago, The Akumalian suggested that Akumal Pueblo might be better named as Akumal Oeste (West Akumal), and for numerous reasons that has never caught on.

Recently, an expatriate resident in the Akumal Pueblo suggested it be called Akumal Hills.

It doesn’t look like we'll ever have an Akumal East, unless Mah-Bax catches on.



The Mount Washington Observatory is seen covered in rime ice, Jan. 23, 2006, on Mount Washington, N.H.It was calm atop New Hampshire's Mount Washington on Wednesday, perfect weather for observers to mark one of the worst weather days to hit the earth.  The weather was in the 30s, with a 20 mph wind, a far cry from the conditions on April 12, 1934.

It was 72 years ago Wednesday that the wind howled at 231 mph atop the highest peak in the Northeast — the fastest wind ever clocked on the earth's surface.


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