The Akumalian

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

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June 2006 Issue 39

INTRODUCTION

Well, another hurricane season is here, and the forecast for the Atlantic storms is about the same as it was for last year, with regards to the number of hurricanes and named storms.  Unfortunately, none of the hurricane experts have any idea of when and where the hurricanes will form, or what kind of track they might take.  Having experienced two major hurricanes last year, Akumalians are a bit edgy and apprehensive, but we are also preparing for the worst, hoping for the best. 

Forgetting about the hurricanes for awhile, the Mexican presidential election is around the corner, as is the United States' Independence Day.  And, while it might be summer, the "Comings and Goings" remain quite active.

Do you know how geckos stick to walls and ceilings?
  

AKUMAL COUNCIL AND CAPA BRIEF

The Akumal Council, in its working relationship with CAPA to get CAPA water into all the houses and condos in North Akumal, has been informed that anyone who has an auxiliary pump attached directly to the water line can, by law, be fined up to $7,000 USD!  So to be on the safe side, anyone using a booster pump should remove it.

Stay informed by checking www.akumalcouncil.com on a regular basis.
 

FULL MOON, JUNE 11th

On June 11th, the Full Strawberry Moon occurred at 2:03 pm.

This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe.  However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon.  Also, because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June, so the full Moon that occurs during this month was christened for the strawberry!

 

PRINTING CFE BILL ON-LINE

Last month The Akumalian reported on CFE's on-line service at http://www.cfe.gob.mx/en/   to view your bill.  The question has come up about printing the bill, and to do it, you need to simultaneously press the Ctrl-Shift-Print keys.
 

AN ACTIVE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

The National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted another very active hurricane season, with as many as 16 tropical storms rising in the Atlantic Ocean.  Emergency officials urged the millions of Americans who live along the Gulf and East coasts to prepare now to fend for themselves the first three days if a major storm strikes their area.

The hurricane center's forecast is for 13-16 named storms this season, June 1 through Nov. 30.  Eight to 10 are expected to become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or more.  Of those, four to six could be major - Category 3 or higher, with winds of 111 mph or more.  Hurricane Katrina, which caused $80 billion in damage and more than 1,570 deaths, was a Category 3 storm.

The outlook echoes April's prediction by Colorado State University forecasters Bill Gray and Phil Klotzbach, who foresee 17 storms, nine of them hurricanes and five major.  Both estimates fall well below last year's record 28 storms, 15 of them hurricanes.

However, the outlook is well above the long-term average of about six hurricanes a year, with two reaching Category 3 or greater.

2006 Atlantic Storm Names 

 Alberto           Gordon             Michael           Tony

Beryl               Helene             Nadine            Valerie

Chris              Isaac                 Oscar              William

Debby             Joyce              Patty

Ernesto           Kirk                 Rafael

Florence         Leslie              Sandy

 

MEXICO INFORMATION ALERT

Severity: Informational Alert

Security: Mexican presidential election scheduled July 2.  Political rallies likely to disrupt road travel before the vote.

 Mexico will hold its hotly contested presidential election July 2.  Political tensions are high, and disturbances involving rival party supporters are likely.  Violence is possible.  Rallies will probably disrupt road travel in major cities.

Political violence in Mexico has been relatively common historically, but the only recent, notable attack occurred in early May, when gunmen killed the son-in-law of a state congresswoman from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in the southwestern state of Michoacan.  Authorities believe the murder was drug-related.

According to recent opinion polls, the two leading candidates - former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD and Felipe Calderon of the ruling National Action Party - are nearly tied with approximately 33 percent of the vote each.  A third candidate, Roberto Madrazo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, garnered 30-percent support in the recent poll, suggesting the campaign will be extremely heated, increasing tensions and the likelihood for violence.  Avoid political rallies and voting sites.

The locations affected by this alert are: Mexico City, Acapulco, Cancun, Guadalajara, Mazatlan, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana, Veracruz, and Nuevo Laredo.

 

DID YOU KNOW........?

Geckos are small to moderately large lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae and found in warm climates throughout the world.  Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos.  Geckos are unusual in other respects as well.  Many species have specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth vertical surfaces and even cross indoor ceilings with ease.  These antics are well-known to people who live in warm regions of the world where several species of geckos make their home inside human habitations.  These species (for example the House gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are seldom really discouraged because they feed on insect pests.

Most geckos are tan to dark grey, subtly patterned, and somewhat rubbery looking. Some species can change color to blend in with their surroundings or with temperature differences. However others can be brightly colored.

Some species are parthenogenic, the females capable of reproducing without copulating with a male. This improves the geckos' ability to spread to new islands.

The toes of the gecko have attracted a lot of attention, as they adhere to a wide variety of surfaces, without the use of liquids or surface tension.  Recent studies of the setae on gecko footpads demonstrates that the attractive forces that hold geckos to surfaces are van der Waals interactions between the finely divided setae and the surfaces themselves.  That these kinds of interactions involve no liquids (or no gases) is important; in theory, a boot made of synthetic setae would adhere as easily to the surface of the International Space Station as it would to a living room wall.
 

MORE LIGHT POLLUTION

For better or worse, there is more light pollution in Akumal.  Actually, it's along the edge of Akumal, on MX307.  The street/highway lights were turned on last week in Akumal, and they are quite visible from the second floor of the houses in South Akumal.  This can be quite disturbing for bedrooms and bathrooms that are on the west/jungle side of the house, and it is quite distracting to observations of the HST (Hubble Space Telescope) and ISS (International Space Station).

However, on the up side, the highway is better illuminated for those who venture out after dark.

 

CFE's PESO PER KWh RATE

The Akumalian realizes that this is not an exact model for everybody, but it does give a good sense of how the Peso per KWh has changed at Casa Colibri over the last six and a half years.  As we all know, the KWh rate it determined by the number of KWh used each month, and our consumption has not been increasing over the years.  In fact, periods 1 and 2 in 2006 were the two highest consumption periods ever, and in other charts, they are huge spikes.

 

 

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY, JULY 4th

In the United States, Independence Day, also called the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Independence Day is commonly associated with parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, and various other public and private events celebrating the history and traditions of the U.S. Fireworks have been associated with the Fourth of July since 1777.

Though the Fourth of July is almost iconic to Americans, some claim the date itself is somewhat arbitrary.  New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775.  The first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made on June 8.  After hard debate, the Congress voted unanimously (12-0), but secretly, for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 2.  The Congress reworked the text of the Declaration until a little after eleven o'clock, July 4th, when thirteen colonies voted for adoption and released an unsigned copy to the printers.  New York abstained from both votes.  Philadelphia celebrated the Declaration with public readings and bonfires on July 8.  Not until August 2 would a fair printing be signed by the members of the Congress, but even that was kept secret to protect the members from British reprisal.

John Adams, credited by Thomas Jefferson as the unofficial, tireless whip of the independence-minded, wrote his wife Abigail on July 3:  "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore."

Adams was off by two days, however.  Certainly, the vote on July 2 was the decisive act.  But July 4 is the date on the Declaration itself.  Jefferson's stirring prose, as edited by the Congress, was first adopted by the vote of the 4th.  It was also the first day Philadelphians heard the official news of independence from the Continental Congress, as opposed to rumors in the street about secret votes.
 

BOSTON'S FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION

Boston's Fourth of July Esplanade Concert is free and open to the public.  On any given year, the spectators can number from 400,000 to 700,000 people.  There are neither seats nor chair rentals, so it is advised that you bring a blanket or a beach chair.  Pets are discouraged as all areas on the Esplanade are very crowded.  

Boston's Fourth of July, as we know it today, was conceived in September of 1973 when David Mugar suggested to famed Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler that in order to revive the diminishing Esplanade concert series it might be a good idea to play Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" with a few added extras.  For the next Fourth of July, howitzer cannons, fireworks and church bells were all added to the concert, so that, as Fiedler said, "All hell could break loose."  And for the first time, a July 4th fireworks display took place over the Charles River.

Boston's Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks is a live television primetime special entitled "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular," which is broadcast both locally and nationally.  Live coverage of the event and the entire Pops concert is shown on CBS4 Boston from 8 PM to 11 PM.  The rest of the nation joins the celebration from 10 PM to 11 PM by way of the CBS Network.  For the past two years, this telecast has been the highest rated special of the night.

Boston's Fourth of July has long been viewed as the premier pyrotechnic experience among America's Fourth of July celebrations.  
 

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

It has been a busy time for real estate transactions, especially for South Akumal.

On May 3rd, Sy & Diana Wiener closed on the sale of their house, La Puerta Al Mar (Lote #6), in North Akumal to Peter & Judy Tortora of Greenwich, CT at ptortora@yahoo.com  Welcome to North Akumal, Peter & Judy.

 On May 26th, Michael & Lunda Schwartz closed on the purchase of "The Last Resort" (David Suess) in South Akumal.  Michael & Lunda are somehow/someway (distantly) related to Macon Gravlee, and they live in Mexico City and have three children.  They are going to be a nice addition to South Akumal.  Welcome, Michael & Lunda.

Tony & Judy James have purchased condo #1 in Yool Caanal in North Akumal.

 These other transactions are tentative, and as they say at the Metropolitan, "I ain't over until the fat lady sings."

It has been reported that Casa De Cielo (Bud & Kendall Inman) in South Akumal has a sale pending, with a closing date set for the end of July. 

 In another deal expected to close before July 31st, Denny & Diane Mahan have a contract to purchase Casa Sansu in North Akumal from Tony & Judy James.
 

SUMMER SOLTICE

Summer begins June 21, 8:26 A.M. EDT.

Solstice, from the Latin for sun stands still, in astronomy, either of the two points on the ecliptic that lie midway between the equinoxes (separated from them by an angular distance of 90 degrees).

At the solstices, the sun's apparent position on the celestial sphere reaches its greatest distance above or below the celestial equator, about 23 1/2 degree of arc.  At the time of summer solstice, the sun is directly overhead at noon at the Tropic of Cancer.

Simultaneously, this heralds the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

In the Northern Hemisphere the longest day and shortest night of the year occur on this date, marking the beginning of summer.  At winter solstice, about December 22, the sun is overhead at noon at the Tropic of Capricorn; this marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  For several days before and after each solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky, i.e., its noontime elevation does not seem to change from day to day.

On June 21, there are 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle (66.5 degrees north of the equator) and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle (66.5 degrees south of the equator).  
 

ENRIQUE ALCAREZ

            Everyone knows Enrique Alcaraz as an architect and builder, but Enrique's real passion has always been painting.  Now, he has his own web site at www.enriquealcaraz.com , and it has a very good representation of his art.  The paintings are done on canvas or plain wood, often texturized with sand.  The boxes are made of mahagony and are full of diverse objects, mixing antique toys with rarities, Mexican handcraft and period photographs.  Alcaraz has shown his paintings, engravings and drawings in Mexico and abroad.

Enrique lives and works in Akumal, Quintana Roo.  Here is a small representation of his art.

 

 

FATHER'S DAY, JUNE 18

golfer swingingSonora Dodd, of Washington, first had the idea of a "father's day."  She thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart.  Smart, who was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child.  Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.

TiesAfter Sonora became an adult she realized the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.  It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.  Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father's Day.  Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.  President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972.
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

            With All the "Comings & Goings", even at this time of the year, the government is correct in its assessment that another huge international airport is required closer to Akumal. 

Comings:

  • Karen & Larry Kantor, with Lou & daughters, and Stanley were at Mariposa.
  • Oveta Vardell was in South Akumal with some girl friends.
  • Bente Palmer flew in on her way to Paris, again.
  • Tricia Haynes is once again here with Salvador.
  • Tricia's Brother, Bob, was around town with his family.
  • El Moreland & Pato were visiting Akumal, from Bacalar.
  • Susan & Macon Gravlee were back for an extended stay.
  • Alice & Bud Blatner have returned from Philadelphia.
  • Chris & Bay Haas, visited with Chris' dad.
  • Sherwood & Bob Anders were seen around town once again.
  • Hugh Cook is back diving again.
  • Susan Meade was visiting with some friends for a brief stay.
  • Michele Conner was back to participate in the Cancun to Isla Mujeres swim
  • Lunda & Michael Schwartz were in town long enough to close on Last Resort
  • Kathy Sonheim Farrell and Jim have returned from Austin. 
  • Nancy & Creighton Walker were back visiting Seven Seas.
  • Lisa & Terry Turner were back with friends, Larry & Jan
  • Jack & Ann Kennedy are here, and Jack did get to Hobox.
  • Petra, Franz, Tobias, and Florian Zimmermann from Munich, Germany are visiting Steve & Ingrid, but they are staying at Bahia Principe – Tulum.
  • Denny Mahan's sister, Patty, her husband Dave, and their two sons, Ben and Jordan, were visiting Denny & Diane Mahan.
  • Don Foxx is back around the Lol Ha Beach Bar.
  • Bobby Mulgrew was back at the Beach Bar last Friday.

 Goings:

  • Phoebe has returned to Vail for a spell.
  • Lucy James has gone to Europe for a wedding.
  • Jisou & Thierry Vander Elst have returned to Europe for the summer.
  • Steve & Ingrid have returned to MA for two weeks with Ryan.
  • Didiere Jackson has also returned to the states for a family visit.

 

OFFICE DEPOT

has opened a store in Playa del Carmen.  It is right on the northbound side of MX307, just before Interceramic.  The address is Carretera Federal 307 Tulum-Cancun, No.781 Col. Centro, and the telephone is 01 984 803-2805.  And, they have underground parking.
 

VINCE WELNICK IS GONE

Vince Welnick, 51, the Grateful Dead's last keyboard player and a veteran musician in several other bands, including the Tubes and the Missing Man Formation, died Friday, June 2, Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally said.  The cause of death was not announced for Welnick, who lived in the Sonoma County town of Forestville. 

Vince, at one time, owned Casa Del Sol in North Akumal - on the Lagoon - and is responsible for building the Akumal Stage.

 

DID YOU KNOW.....?

  • The Grateful Dead wrote 36,086 songs, performed in 2,317 concerts, and played in 298 different cities.  Some of the group also played a New Year's Eve concert in Akumal.
  • The average true "deadhead" spent over $2,000 on concerts and traveled over 3,000 miles over the past 3 decades.
  • It is recorded that one person spent $13,000 attending Dead concerts.
  • Over the length of their career, the Grateful Dead have performed to more people than any other band in history!
  • The song, "Touch of Gray" was an expression of Jerry Garcia's determination to survive.  The music was recorded shortly after Garcia recovered from a diabetic coma, and the video featured skeletons that transformed into members of the band.

How did the Grateful Dead get their name?
In Blair Jackson's book on the Dead, Garcia was quoted as saying, "One day we were over at Phil's house... He had a big dictionary.  I opened it and there was 'Grateful Dead', those words juxtaposed.  It was one of those moments, you know, like everything else went blank, diffused just sort of oozed away, and there was GRATEFUL DEAD in big, black letters edged around in gold, man, man, blasting out at me, such a stunning combination.  So I said, ' How about Grateful Dead?' And that was it."

 It is also said that this quote from the Egyptian Book of the Dead had something to do with the name:

"We now return our souls to the creator, as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
Let our chant fill the void in order that others may know
In the land of the night the ship of the sun is drawn by the grateful dead."

How did Jerry lose his finger?

While they were chopping wood as children, his brother Tiff accidentally chopped it off with an axe!
 

DETAILS OF A SALE

There never seems to be one definitive answer or procedure for anything here in Q Roo, and that seems to be especially true with regards to tentative real estate transactions.  So this is very interesting information.

In a pending real estate transaction in Akumal, the prospective buyer has said, "As you know, it has been a learning experience buying property in Mexico, but we have muddled through and are moving forward."  They have declined to go further than that for The Akumalian, so we looked for a story from a seller.  This is what we have. 

The anonymous sellers started out with, "Once the agreement was reached, there were no snags whatsoever.  Of course, I am compulsive about paying taxes, etc., so there were no issues with paperwork or outstanding debts.  Also, we have had our FM-2's for many years, which I am convinced helped to move things along, especially where capital gains tax criteria were concerned."

 1. Real Estate Agent and/or Notary and/or Lawyer Used

Malu Guijosa, Akumal Real Estate, was very helpful with the paper-work and preparations.  Aside from the necessary letters required from the buyer (initial offer, final offer), and our acceptance letter, Malu took care of getting all the approval letters (no outstanding debts) from the governmental agencies and Bancomer (Fidecomiso), all papers to the notary, communicating wire-transfer information to the buyer, setting up of the closing.  Also, she prepared letters and calculations necessary for the termination of the caretakers employment.  Also, she prepared letters for the transfer of the phone line and car to the buyers.  She also terminated and paid the electric bill on the morning of the closing.  In addition, and at my request, she arranged for a Power of Attorney, so that she could act for me, in case I was unable to attend the closing. 

I provided all original tax receipts, water contract and connection bill receipts, copies of FM-2, papers pertaining to the transfer of the car, copies of insurance policies, calculations for pro-rated expenses. 

Prior to the closing, the Notary reviewed all documents including the Fidecomiso, taxes, FM-2, Electric bills and status of water bills, governmental approval letters.  He also reviewed the criteria for capital gains, and made the determination for exemption.  The transfer of the Fidecomiso was read at the closing, and transfer papers were signed there. 

2. Paperwork Required Of You, the Seller.

  • Official Letters showing that no pending debt exists from:  Cedula Catastral, Municipality, State, CAPA (also connection right letter and payment), Property Taxes, Federal Zone (Zofemat), and Bancomer/Fidecomiso.
  • Paid Receipts: Federal Zone Taxes, Property Taxes, Fidecomiso, House and Car Insurance, and CFE Electric Bill.
  • Ownership Transfer Letters: for Car and Phone Lines

Note: we paid termination expenses for our caretakers, even though they were remaining in the employ of the new owners.  This severance was our responsibility after six years of service.  They will begin the new relationship with no legal strings attached.  If the new work situation doesn't work out, the owners will have to deal only with their own time frame. 

 3. Inspections Required.

No inspections were necessary. 

4. Taxes (Property & Federal Zone) and Capital Gains Paid at Closing.

Our taxes were all up to date, and we paid no capital gains taxes in Mexico.

 5. Other Fees and Commissions.

We paid a 5% real estate commission.

 6. The Process of Transferring and/or Paying of Monies.

  • A $5,000 "good-faith/earnest" check payable to the real estate broker accompanied the initial offer for the property.
  • A few days after agreement was reached, a 10% deposit was wire-transferred to our checking account in the U.S. 
  • 28 days later, on the day before the closing in Cancun, the balance was wire-transferred to our checking account.
  • At the closing in Cancun, the buyer had to pay the notary's fee, and had to pay us pro-rated expenses for 2006 taxes, house insurance, and auto insurance. 

 7. Time From Agreement to Closing

Agreement was signed on March 27th, with transfer of 10% deposit on April 4th.  Closing took approximately half an hour on May 3rd. 

 

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