The Akumalian

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

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July 2006 Issue 41


It is now the middle of July, and the 2006 hurricane season is six weeks old, and Akumal has not had any threats from any tropical depressions, let alone a hurricane - knock on wood.  The area has had warm and humid days and some rain - tropical downpours and high winds - but nothing serious.

A BIG event this past week was a General Meeting of the Akumal Council.


Paul Sanchez-Navarro Russell, Director, Centro Ecologico Akumal, reports, "This week, with the support of Semarnat and the Port Captain, CEA installed two buoys in the entrance to Yal-ku, for the purpose of signaling the prohibition of boats, including jet skis, in the caleta.  We will soon install a sign, provided by the Port Captain, indicating the same prohibition.  We hope that this will be the beginning of increased protection of Yal-ku."


The Full Buck Moon occurred on July 10, 11:02 a.m. ADT.  July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur.  It is also called the Full Thunder Moon in Akumal, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time.  Another name for this month's Moon was the Full Hay Moon.


A German scientist has created the world's smallest soccer pitch -- so minute that 20,000 of them could fit onto the tip of a human hair.  The imitation playing field, created by using nanotechnology, measures 500 by 380 nanometres and can only be seen through a special microscope, said creator Stefan Trellenkamp, whose country just hosted the 2006 World Cup.

"I am really, really proud," the nanotechnology researcher from the University of Kaiserslautern told The Akumalian by telephone.  "The only problem is that I really don't know what to do with it.  I can't put it on show as no one can see it," he said. "I guess it'll just stay in my drawer for the time being."

Trellenkamp said it took him a whole day to engrave the lines of a soccer pitch with an electron beam onto a tiny piece of acrylic glass.  A nanometre is a billionth of a meter.


The Akumal Council's semi-annual General Meeting, held on Tuesday, July 11th at the Lol-Ha restaurant, was very good and well attended, with at least 27 attendees.  This is by no means the Minutes of said meeting but just some of the highlights for The Akumalian.  A full report should be  posted to the Akumal Council's web site in the near future.

The 2006 Membership Report shows that there are 73 members (down 2 from 2005) and the amount pledged is $45,371US, just slightly lower than 2005.  This does not include pledges and payments made at the door.

 It was suggested that the Membership Committee open up a fourth level of membership for friends of Akumal who only come here for a brief stay, once a year.  This could be called "Friends" and be set at a level lower than the current silver level.

The Akumal Council is looking for ideas for a fund raiser event.  When the BOD comes up with an idea, they usually get sidetracked by trying to determine where the resources and monies are coming from to run it.  Ideas might come from CEA, who periodically has fund raisers, but all ideas and suggestions are welcome.  Email us at:

Gonzalo was wearing an Akumal Council polo shirt.  It was reported that there is information on the web site about them and the purchase of them for $25US, for "Members Only."  I have not found them on the web site yet.

Gonzalo had a 2-page hand out/Report on the status of some projects, and it is too much to report here.  Everything should be covered and reported on the web site at 

Gary Walton is managing the web site and broadcast e-mails about important information regarding Akumal and the Akumal Council.  Unfortunately, many e-mails are being returned because of invalid addresses and SPAM filters.  It is recommended that you look at your Outlook or Outlook Express and ensure that these messages are allowed through; check filters and Junk Mail Box.  Use the e-mail above if you want to convey an address change to the Akumal Council.

Andrea presented/represented Oscar Constandse on the agenda item on selling beer at Yal-ku Lagoon.  Needless to say, this opened up a lot of other issues around Oscar's operation at the Lagoon; i.e. too many people; too much trash; parking outside the park; parties at night after hours; etc. etc.  These are the real issues that need to be resolved.  Andrea offered to do - believe she is going to do - an environmental audit of the Lagoon, but no times was specified, and no decision on the sale of beer was made.  The issue is not so much getting a license to sell beer as it is in trying to be a good community citizen.

At lot of time was spent on the CAPA issue for North Akumal, again.  It sounds like a classic CATCH-22.

It was recommended/suggested that the General Meetings get back on track as regular Quarterly meetings.

 Stay informed by checking on a regular basis.


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

Bougainvillea spectabilisThe colorful, papery "blooms" of the bougainvillea are not flowers; they are bracts.  The true flower is white, trumpet shaped and almost unnoticeable within the bracts.

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina.  Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus.  Its name comes from Louis Antoine de Bougainville, an admiral in the French Navy who discovered the plant in Brazil in 1768.

They are thorny, woody, vines growing to 1-12 m tall, scrambling over other plants with the hooked thorns.  They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous in the dry season.  The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4-13 cm long and 2-6 cm broad.  The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.  Bougainvillea glabra is sometimes referred to as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery.  The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene.   Thanks to IngridC.




            Not to be outdone by the McDonalds right by Chedraui on MX307, Burger King now has its own restaurant on the north bound side MX307, shortly before you come to Av. Constituyentes.  Now, we have Sam's Club, McDonalds, Office Depot, and Burger King right there in Playa del Carmen, all on the north bound lane of MX307.


One aspect of Hispanic culture that seems to provide no end of confusion for those dwelling in more northern locales is their system of naming themselves.  What possesses the Mexicans, for example, to call the former president "Salinas" when his real name is Carlos Salinas de Gortari? Why not Gortari?  Or de Gortari?  

The Spanish system of designating surnames reflects the importance of the family in Hispanic culture.  The family is close, extended, supportive and a major source of one's social identity.  Because families tend to live in the same locations for generations, the family name comes over time to take on important social meaning with regard to status within any particular region.  The name game becomes very significant.

All Mexicans have two last names.  The first is the father's last name and the second is the mother's last name.  So Pedro Gonzales Ulba, of course, has a father named Gonzales and a mother named Ulba.  And he is Senor Gonzales, using the father's last name and not the mother's, just like in traditional Anglo nomenclature.  However, Anglos, in the age of gender equality, are now moving to hyphenated last names, and we still don't quite know what to name the child of Peter Adams-Martin and Suzanne Porter-Smith.  Would the child be named Johnny Adams-Martin-Porter-Smith?  We dread to think what we might call the grandchildren!

Upon marriage a woman drops her mother's last name and replaces it with her husband's last name, with a de (of) in front of it.  Thus, Pedro Gonzales Ulba's sister, Carmen Gonzales Ulba, upon marrying Victor Mejia Rubio, becomes Carmen Gonzales de Mejia.  Hispanic culture is very male dominated by U.S. standards, so Carmen is now "of Mejia".

And this is not such a gender-discriminatory system as one might imagine.  After all, the woman still gets to keep her own identity (as in Carmen Gonzales) with the addendum "de Mejia" suggestive of something like "of the house of Mejia."

Now we go back to our protagonist again, Pedro Gonzales Ulba.  Let's say that he marries Maria Vasquez Phelan.  She now becomes Maria Vasquez de Gonzales.  It is customary in Mexico to name the first-born son after the father, so the name of the first son of Pedro and Maria will be Pedro Gonzales Vasquez.  This has the advantage of distinguishing between the two Pedros living in the household, Pedro Senior (Pedro Gonzales UIba) and Pedro Junior (Pedro Gonzales Vasquez) without having to resort to names like "Junior" or "Bubba."  Their daughter Elena, of course, would be named Elena Gonzales Vasquez.

Consider now some possibilities for Maria Vasquez de Gonzales.  Let's say that she and Pedro get divorced (which is still not all that likely given the strong community and religious sanctions against divorce which still prevail in Mexico, although the times are changing this tradition to a degree).  Maria would now drop the "de Gonzales" part and, retaining her maiden name, would simply be known as Maria Vasquez.  If she happened to be famous in her own right, like a famous actress or novelist, she may also choose to be known as Maria Vasquez without adding "de Gonzales" to her name, even though she may well be married (think of the late Lola Beltran).  If Pedro were to die then Maria would probably decide to retain her name as Maria Vasquez de Gonzales.

 Unless they have parents who may be opposed to the dominance of the Catholic Church and subscribe to a new trend in which babies are named for figures from indigenous traditions (such as Xochitl, for flower, or Cuauhtemoc, for the last Aztec emperor), most Mexicans have Christian names.  Thus there is an abundance of Marias, Joses and Jesuses in Mexico (the English equivalent of these names, of course, being Mary, Joseph and Jesus).  In fact, the pressure to name a child after religious figures is so great that many boys are named Jose Maria and many girls are named Maria Jose, without regard for what the English speaker would regard as traditional gender designations.  Mexicans would think nothing of meeting a man with Angel as part of his name, but the typical Norteamericano would howl if she or he were to meet a boy named Sue.  Likewise, Jesus is a very corunion name in Mexico, but most U.S. citizens would consider it blasphemy, and a sign of madness, to name a child Jesus ("Won't you kiss my little baby Jesus?").

While nicknames in the English-speaking world bear some resemblance to the formal names they replace (as in Bob for Robert, Bill for William, or Beth for Elizabeth), this is not always the case in hispanic culture.  Thus, Pancho (or Paco) stands for Francisco, Lola for Dolores, Pepe for Jose, Lalo for Eduardo, and Chucho for Jesus.  What's more, everyone knows these equivalents and they don't have to be explained.

And here is a puzzler; how would most English speakers feel about being called by names which bring attention to some of their most unattractive physical features (like "fatty" or "chrome-dome")?  The Mexicans think nothing of calling someone Gorda, or Gordita if the person is a young girl (this means fatty) or Flaco (skinny) or Chato (pug-nose).  Most Mexicans with these designated names wear them proudly and wouldn't think of protesting them, much less changing them.  This simple cultural observation may lead one to conclude, in fact, that Mexicans tend to be much more accepting of the uniqueness of the individual than we are likely to see north of the Rio Grande.  And this is just one more reason to love Mexico.   Thanks to Denny Mahan.


HospitenThe very new HOSPITEN hospital is open in Playa del Carmen.  It is on the north bound side of MX307, just after the first entrance to Playacar.  The particulars are:

C. Balamcanche Lote 1, MZA.30,
Carr. Federal,
Playacar Fase II en Playa del Carmen
77710 Quintana Roo.  Mexico
Telephone  +52 (984) 803 10 02
Fax: +52 (984) 803 16 06



The hospital has a staff of 10 doctors, and the medical services include Anesthesia, Cardiology, Emergencies, General and Digestive Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Internal Medicine, Otorhinolaryngology, Pediatrics, Trauma and Orthopedic Surgery, and Urology.  The hospital has 4 Emergency cubicles, 1 delivery room, and 19 hospital rooms.


Formal in many ways (eulogizing heroes, respect for the family, pride in the history homeland), Mexicans are downright informal when it comes to their language.  Humor and irony bubble over in everyday conversation and are visible in the funny names given to all kinds of retail businesses, from grocery shops to restaurants.  Can you imagine an auto part shop named "La Colision" (The Collision) or a butcher shop called "La Vaca Feliz" (The Happy Cow)?

Cantinas are no exception.  There are those with coded names.  If one man says to another, "Nos vemos en mi oficina" (Lets meet in my office), both know it doesn't imply a business meeting but the name of a bar on Revillagigedo street in Mexico City.  A similar message applies to "El Colegio" (The School), another tavern in the city.

Anecdotes about bar names abound.  Thirty years ago in Tampico, in state of Tamauliapas, a bar opened opposite the cemetery.  Its name was "Aqui se esta mejor que enfrente" (Here it is better than across the street).  Months later, someone put a sign on the cemetery gate that said: "We here, were once over there."


tn1Soriana is the second largest retailer in Mexico, second only to Wal-Mart de Mexico, and they opened for business on Wednesday, July 12 at the Centro Maya shopping mall on MX307.

The Playa del Carmen store is being stocked with more gourmet and imported items, compared to some of their other locations, due to the fact that the area has such a wide variety of people here. 

Centro Maya is now partially open with Soriana being the first to open its doors.  There are a few other store fronts open as well, such as Coppel, a houseware store that will be officially open on July 13th, and a trendy looking women's clothing store.  Over the next few months more and more shop fronts with be opening their doors, including Liz Minelli, Marti Sporting Goods, Woolworths, Radio Shack, Hot Baking Company, and a large Cineplex.


It has been reported that tourists have been seen interfering with the turtles in Akumal Bay, and it is reported that one Bozzo actually carried a turtle out of the water and up onto the beach to have his photo taken with a turtle!!!!!

As a result of this recent incident, Paul Sanchez-Navarro Russell, Director, Centro Ecologico Akumal, has had some refrigerator stick-ons made up, and all owners and Property Managers should talk to Paul about getting a bunch of them for all the rental properties.


            With all the "Comings & Goings", even at this time of the year, the government is correct in its assessment that MX307 needs to be expanded to four lanes. 


  • Monica Meyer Poma and her sister, Michele Meyer Correa were back in Akumal for a memorial service for their father, Cliff Meyer, who recently succumbed to a long battle with cancer.  The service was a festive occasion at their house, Los Primos, in South Akumal, where Cliff’s ashes were buried under his favorite banana tree.
  • Bud Blatner's daughter, Amy, was in town for a short stay at Casa Zama.
  • Davis & Margaret Richards are here through to early September.
  • Richard & Arlene Pargot are back in Akumal for the month of July.
  • Susan & Macon Gravlee are back for another extended stay.
  • Myrna Sparks, Membership Chairman, Akumal Council, is in town for the Meeting.
  • Lydia Pontius is back around town.
  • Neil & Paula Humphreys, along with the girls, are here for their 5 week vacation.
  • Michael & Lunda Schwartz, as well as the kids, are back in South Akumal to over see the renovations they are doing at "Last Resort."
  • Lisa Combs and her friend Chris popped into Tankah for three nights to check construction.
  • John, Allyson, and Holly Sheffield are back in the Ref Penthouse for three weeks.
  • Michelle, Dave, Kurt and Jonathan Bliss will be here for about three weeks, starting on the 26th.  Michelle & Dave are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary on Saturday, August 12th.


  • Alice Blatner has returned to Philadelphia for the summer.
  • Denny & Diane Mahan are gone on their extended 2 month trip to Georgia and Ohio.
  • Didiere Jackson is back up in the states again.



            The May issue of the on-line CEA Newsletter addresses the Mexican law [Section 4.10 of the Norma Official Mexicana NOM-017-PESC-1994 (Official Mexican Rules for Recreational Fishing)] with regards to sport fishing, and The Akumalian has taken the liberty of reprinting it.

An Easy Guide to Sport Fishing Rights, According to Mexican Law by Rafael Gonzalez

            Sport fishing is only permitted for fin fish.  Capture of crustaceans, mollusks, marine mammals, reptiles and amphibians is prohibited.  Only one fishing rod, fishing line or hand line, with bait or lure, is allowed per sport fisher.  The resistance of the fishing line cannot exceed 60 kilograms.

            For deep-sea fishing, only one fishing rod or fishing line with up to four hooks in a vertical line is permitted per fisher.  The maximum number of specimens caught per day is 10 per fisher.  Of this number only five specimens of the same species are allowed.  With regard to marlin, sailfish, swordfish and shark, the maximum allowed catch is only one specimen, which is equivalent to five specimens of any other species.

            In the case of tarpon, dolphin fish and roosterfish, the maximum allowed catch is two specimens of either of these species, which is equivalent to five specimens of any other species.

            Underwater (spear) fishing is allowed only if free diving (i.e., it is prohibited to fish while SCUBA diving).  When spear fishing, only five specimens of any fish species are allowed per diver/day.

            Fishing is prohibited during closed seasons; within 250 meters of the edge of beaches frequented by swimmers; within 250 meters of vessels dedicated to commercial fishing; and in zones that are natural refuges, reserves or protected areas.  This means no fishing the Akumal bays, where people swim and snorkel all the time.

In order to fish in Mexico, you need a license.  If you are fishing from a fishing tour boat this is covered by the tour operator, but if you are fishing from shore you need an individual fishing license.  The fact that the person has a fishing license is irrelevant; fishing is not permitted in the bays in Akumal as they are frequented by swimmers.  See

 As Ian Cousteau has said, "Pourriez-vous laisser mon poisson en paix et reprendre un autre poulet?  (Would you please leave my fish alone and have another chicken?)"


Disney's sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean; Dead Man's Chest, shattered the all-time North American weekend opening box office record with a three-day treasure haul of $132 million.  The previous record was held by 2002's Spider-Man, which took in $114.8 million in its first weekend.  Astonishingly, Dead Man's Chest took in almost three times the $46 million the first film in the series, The Curse of the Black Pearl, captured in its first weekend in 2003.

For the numerically-obsessed, Chest also busted the opening day record, stashing away $55.5 million Friday to beat the previous single-POTCEyesday record of $50 million, set just last year by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.  The return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow also generated $44.7 million on Saturday, thereby becoming the first movie to top $100 million in just two days.

By way of comparison, Dead Man's Chest plundered nearly double the total of the rest of the top 12 films combined.  The previous weekend's top film, Superman Returns, fell to number two with $21.85 million, down 58 percent from opening weekend.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest opens in Cancun on July 21.


What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints?  It's amazing and completely insane.  It's a hysterical and spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.  Go to  Thanks to Ryan Fredette.


Phil Mickelson - US Open, June 18

2006 US Open ChampionshipA simple par on the 18th hole was all he needed to capture a major championship that would put him in the record books.  What followed was a comedy of errors that turned into a double bogey, a collapse that left his adoring gallery stunned.  That was Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot.

Phil Mickelson hangs his head after missing a chip shot and losing the U.S. Open Championship to Geoff Ogilvy at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck.

Making par on the 18th hole at Winged Foot was no picnic, especially after Lefty's tee shot caromed through the trees and off a corporate tent.  Then came the 3-iron that he meant to carve around a tree, but hit smack into it.  That was followed by a plugged lie in the bunker to a green tilting away from him.  Just like that, Mickelson became known for five words he uttered in disbelief: "I am such an idiot."

"I just can't believe that I did that," he would say later after his final-round 74.   

Zinedine Zidane - World Cup Final, July 9

In the last match of his career, the 34-year-old France national team captain was ejected during extra-time after smashing his head into Materazzi's chest, knocking his opponent over.  The game ended 1-1, and France lost the final 5-3 on penalty kicks.

Zidane, who led France to the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship titles, hadn't spoken publicly about what happened until today.  After being ejected in the Berlin final, he walked to the locker room and didn't return to the field to collect his second-place medal

Zinedine Zidane, soccer's three-time world player of the year, said insults about his mother and sister prompted him to head-butt Italy defender Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final.

"It's not a forgivable act, and I apologize to all the children who may have seen this,'' Zidane told The Akumalian. "You need to penalize the real guilty one, and that's the person who provokes.''


            Look skyward 7:48 – 7:50pm on Friday, July 21, as the HST (Hubble Space Telescope) passes almost directly over Akumal.  It will be on a SSE to NNE track just to the east of Akumal.




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