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February 2010  Issue 86

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  

INTRODUCTION

This is going to be “One Wild and Crazy Month”, to paraphrase Steve Martin.

 The first week of the month is going to be one absolutely spectacular event after another, as February is kicked off with Groundhog Day and Candlemass on the 2nd, Robin’s Best Shirt Award night on the 5th, and the Super Bowl on the 7th, and all these Events will be held at the Lol Ha Beach Bar.  Also on the 5th is a Planet 2012 art showing at Villa Taj Kumal.

Then there’s Valentine’s Day on the 14th (and you need to see Charlene about buying some raffle tickets), President’s Day is the 15th, and The Akumal Council General Assembly meeting is on the 17th, and.

Moving into the latter part of February we have Carnaval on the 10 – 16, the PGA tournament at Mayakoba on the 17 – 21, the CEA Annual Festival on the 17th and 18th (Gala Dinner on 18th), and the month concludes with a full moon on the 28th.

Thankfully, the 2010 Oscars have been pushed forward two weeks to March 7th, due to the Winter Olympics running from February 12  28th.

And while all this is going on in Akumal, Mexico takes time to celebrate two major holidays, Day of the Constitution on the 5th and Flag Day on the 24th.

 “Mama Mia”.

 As a result of all this, this might just be the longest issue of The Akumalian yet.  Stick with it. There's lots of "Good Stuff." 
 

LETTER FROM THE STAFF

The Introduction up there says a lot, so there is not too much to add here.  One thing to note though is that the Subscription has finally exceeded 1,000, so that Subscription Box up in the top left hand corner must be working.  However, too many people continue to ignore it when they want to add or change an e-mail address.  Why?

Another thing with regards to that, The Akumalian Subscription Service does not automatically track e-mail address changes when you change an address.  When you do change your address, just go to the Subscription Box and unsubscribe the old address and then subscribe the new address.  It’s really quite simple and effective.

And, our friends from the Harbor Club can check of some of the scenes from the dinner at Casa Solymar right HERE.
 

“HOPE FOR HAITI” AKUMAL STYLE

On Sunday, January 24th, from 2:00pm to 9:00pm, there was a “Hope for Haiti” fund-raising event at the stage in the center of Akumal.  This Akumal event was held in conjunction with similar events in Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos.  This “Hope for Haiti” event is a local, grassroots campaign whose mission was to raise badly needed funds to support the relief efforts in Haiti, and all proceeds are going to Doctors Without Borders.

            Go to “Hope for Haiti” to see some pictures from the event.
 

IMPORTANT FEBRUARY FACTS

Aquarius:  January 20 - February 18

Pisces:  February 19 - March 20

 February Birthstone:  Amethyst
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and is a popular gemstone.  If it were not for its widespread availability, amethyst would be very expensive.  The name "amethyst" comes from the Greek and means "not drunken."  This was maybe due to a belief that amethyst would ward off the effects of alcohol, but most likely the Greeks were referring to the almost wine-like color of some stones that they may have encountered.  Its color is unparalleled, and even other, more expensive purple gemstones are often compared to its color and beauty.  Although it must always be purple to be amethyst, it can and does have a wide range of purple shades.

Amethyst can occur as long prismatic crystals that have a six sided pyramid at either end or can form as druzes that are crystalline crusts that only show the pointed terminations.  As a mineral specimen, amethyst is popular for its color and nice crystal shapes that produce a handsome, purple, sparkling cluster. 

February Flower:  Violet
Viola species typically have heart-shaped, scalloped leaves, though a number have palmate leaves or other shapes.  The vast majority of Viola species are herbaceous, however a substantial number are acaulescent in habit without any noticeable stems, while the others have short stems with flowers produced in the axils of the leaves.  The simple leaves of plants with either habit are arranged alternately; the acaulescent species produce basal rosettes.  Plants always have leaves with stipules that are often leaf-like.

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS 

Birthdays and Anniversaries
1          Bill Brab
5          Sam Nejame
5          Bill McClendon
6          Jerry Radlinsky
7          Hugo (Miramar chef)
9          Terry Turner
10        Gary Ness
10        Alex Gonzalez
11        Karen Kantor
15        George Alvarado
19        Myrna Sparks
22        Hagen Clements
23        Bob Anders
23        Chris McCasland
25        Jim Farrell
27        Shelley Cope
28        Judy Baxter 

There must be more than this.  Let’s hear about YOUR birthday before it happens.

 Missed January Birthdays

 None!
 

LUNAR HALO, JANUARY 29th  

There was a fantastic lunar halo directly over Akumal on Friday, January 29th.   It was huge, and it was like there was a hole in the atmosphere.  These seem to be a common occurrence around this time of the year, so watch for them – look up around 11:00pm – while the moon is reasonably full.

Unfortunately, this photo does not do the lunar halo justice. It was spectacular.

The ring around the Moon is caused by the refraction of Moonlight (which of course is reflected sunlight) from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The shape of the ice crystals results in a focusing of the light into a ring. Since the ice crystals typically have the same shape, namely a hexagonal shape, the Moon ring is almost always the same size.

 

The ring that appears around the moon arises from light passing through six-sided ice crystals high in the atmosphere.  These ice crystals refract, or bend, light in the same manner that a camera lens bends light. The ring has a diameter of 22°, and sometimes, if you are lucky, it is also possible to detect a second ring, 44° diameter.  Thin high cirrus clouds lofting at 20,000 feet or more contain tiny ice crystals that originate from the freezing of super cooled water droplets.  These crystals behave like jewels refracting and reflecting in different directions.
 

BIGGEST FULL MOON OF 2010, JANUARY 30th  

Ok, we are a tad late on this one, but on Saturday, January 30th, we had the biggest full moon of 2010, and it appeared with a bright sidekick, Mars.  January's full moon is also called the wolf moon, according to Native American tradition associating that full moon with wolves howling in the cold midwinter.

The 2010 wolf moon appeared 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than any other full moon this year, because our cosmic neighbor will actually be closer to Earth than usual.  The moon will be at its closest perigee—the nearest it gets to our planet during its egg-shaped orbit—for 2010 at 4:04 a.m. ET Saturday, January 30, reaching a distance of 221,577 miles (356,593 kilometers) from Earth.

At its farthest from Earth, the moon is said to be at apogee.  Perigee and apogee each happen generally once a month, but the moon's wobbly orbit means that the satellite's exact distance at each of those events varies over the year. The moon's phase can also be different during each apogee and perigee.  This month has the largest full moon of 2010, because it coincides with the special moment when the full moon happens to occur on the same day as it is at perigee.

And in a remarkable coincidence, Mars is at opposition—directly opposite to the sun in the sky—so that as the sun sets in the southwest, Mars rises in the northeast.  Around opposition, the red planet gets closest to Earth.  This year Mars swung by at just 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) on January 27, and it will still appear remarkably bright during the weekend's sky show. 
 

GROUNDHOG DAY, FEBRUARY 2nd  

Groundhog Day is always on February 2, and it is a traditional festival celebrated in the United States and Canada on this date.  It is a cross-quarter day, midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox.

Punxsutawney Phil is a groundhog and the most famous resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  On Groundhog Day of each year, the town of Punxsutawney celebrates the beloved groundhog with a festive atmosphere of music and food.  During the ceremony, which begins well before the winter sunrise, Phil emerges from his temporary home on Gobbler's Knob, located in a rural area about 2 miles east of town.  According to the tradition, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, the United States will suffer six more weeks of winter.  If Phil does not see his shadow, spring will arrive early.  During the rest of the year, Phil lives in the town library with his "wife" Phyllis.

A club of Phil enthusiasts, known as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, take care of the famed rodent year-round.  A select group called the Inner Circle plan the annual ceremony.  Members of the Inner Circle are recognizable by their top hats and tuxedos.

            Here in Akumal, we have our own Akumal Groundhog Club Inner Circle, comprised on Bud & Alice Blatner, and they too should be recognizable by their top hats and tuxedos.  The Inner Circle is preparing the groundhog jerky appetizers in preparation for the big day.

This year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is suggesting the use of an animatronic model in Punxsutawney.
 

DIA DE LA CANDELARIA, FEBRUARY 2nd  

Candlemas Day has numerous origins and meanings.

In modern life many people may not be aware that on February 2 we celebrate an ancient feast, common to the Church of both East and West, which is mentioned clearly in Leviticus and Luke.  February 2 is "Candlemas" in many churches and is the day for observing the ritual purification of Mary, forty days after the birth of Jesus, as well as the presentation of Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem.  The day has pagan roots and was a Christian adaptation of the older practices for this midwinter festivity from which we get our "Groundhog Day."  Since the presentation was also the purification of Mary, the church developed ritual practices known as the "Churching of Women" or "Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth."  The following is an explanation:

·         Seven days after Christmas, January 1, is the feast of our Lord's circumcision

·         Thirty three days after that, February 2 is the feast of his being offered in the Temple, the purification of the Virgin Mary.  So Candlemass is forty days after the birth of Jesus.

 This day also used to have great significance in the rural calendar, because the date lies half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so it marks the day upon which winter is half over!  It is a time of the year which naturally forms a transition period in winter - there is a sense in which thank God we are moving on into brighter and better days.

Like many Christians festivals, including Christmas itself, Candlemas has roots which lie deep in pagan roots and an understanding of nature.

Like many Celtic festivals, the Imbolc celebrations centered around the lighting of fires.  Fire was perhaps more important for this festival than others, as it was also the holy day of Brigid (also known as Bride, Brigit, Brid), the Goddess of fire, healing and fertility.  The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.  For the Christian calendar, this holiday was reformed and renamed 'Candlemas' when candles are lit to remember the purification of the Virgin Mary.

As Candlemas traditions evolved, many people embraced the legend that if the sun shone on the second day of February, an animal would see its shadow and there would be at least six more weeks of winter.  Bears or badgers are watched in some European countries, but the German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania found an abundance of groundhogs, and late in the 19th century a few residents in Punxsutawney began celebrating the groundhog as weather prophet.  So we have Groundhog Day.

You may know the rhyme:
 If Candlemas day be sunny and bright,
Winter again will show its might.
If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey,
Winter soon will pass away.

 In Mexico, Candlemas (Spanish: Día de La Candelaria) is celebrated with Tamales.  Tradition indicates that on January 5, the night before Three Kings Day (the Epiphany), whoever gets one or more of the few plastic or metal dolls (originally coins) buried within the Rosca de Reyes must throw a party on Candlemas.  In certain regions of Mexico, this is the day in which the baby Jesus of each household is taken up from the nativity scene and dressed up in various colorful, whimsical outfits.
 

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, FEBRUARY 5th

Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.

It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar. 

This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and his sister, Mary, is ready to once again be the judge and jury as she selects the “Best Shirt” for February. 

The January competition was won by Steve Clouther, and with it he became the first 4-time winner.  The photos for the January competition are located at January Best Shirt Award.
 

PLANET 2012, FEBRUARY 5th  

There will be a showing of a series of captivating and colorful oil paintings on Friday, February 5th, 7-10 PM at Villa Taj Kumal, located at the entrance to Las Casitas and next to TSA Travel Agency, in Akumal.

The show is titled PLANET 2012, and it explores the wonders of the Mayan calendar ending in the year 2012. It holds fascinating and ancient mysteries alluding to rebirth, enlightenment, and harmonic convergence.  These concepts are explored in a surrealistic series of paintings by local artist, Richard Mazzola, of Ak-Nah Galeria in Akumal.

 Wine and cheese will be served served.
 

DAY OF THE CONSTITUTION, FEBRUARY 5th 

Día de la Constitución, February 5, is an official holiday that commemorates Mexico's Constitution.

The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1917 is the present constitution of Mexico.  It was drafted in Santiago de Queretaro by a Constitutional Convention during the Mexican Revolution.  It was approved by the Constitutional Congress on February 5, 1917, with Venustiano Carranza serving as the first president under its terms.

The Constitution of 1917 came to be the crystallization of the revolutionary ideals that were elevated to the category of constitutional norms.  On it, were included advanced principles of social reforms and rights in favor of peasants and workers, in addition, it was formulated to govern all the Mexicans without distinction of race, creed, social or political condition, since in it were elevated to the rank of constitutional norms the freedom of thought and of belief.

Nevertheless, many years were spent before consolidating a Constitution according to the times and circumstances of the Mexicans.  Throughout history, different fundamental laws were emanated of a Constituent Congress. 
 

SUPER BOWL XLIV, FEBRUARY 7th 

Super Bowl 44 (XLIV) - will be played on Sunday, February 7, 2010 - at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida.  It will be broadcast on CBS, which lists the start time as 5:30 p.m. AST.

This year pits the two top teams, New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts (both had thoughts of going undefeated), and it has all the makings of a high scoring game.

The place to be: Lol Ha Beach Bar, Akumal Central, Quintana Roo, Mexico.  For the playoff games the weekend of January 23/24, the Lol Ha Beach Bar had a very large screen projection TV installed at the north end of the Beach Bar.
 

WINTER OLYMPICS, FEBRUARY 12th – 28th

      The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, will be held on February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the resort town of Whistler and in Richmond, a Vancouver suburb.  Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are being organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).  The 2010 Winter Olympics will be the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia. Previously, Canada was home to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.

Even though we do have some Canadians (Tom & Judy Baxter from Calgary) in Akumal, none of the events have scheduled Akumal as a venue.

VALENTINE’S DAY, FEBRUARY 14th 

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.  But who is this mysterious saint, and why do we celebrate this holiday?  The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery.  But we do know that February has long been a month of romance.  St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.  So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?  Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome.  When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers.  Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.  When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself.  While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement.  Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today.  Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure.  It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
 

VALENTINE’S DAY - DID YOU KNOW?

192 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion.  (This total excludes packaged kids valentines for classroom exchanges.)

Nearly 60 percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the observance, making Valentine’s Day a procrastinator’s delight.
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

 Comings:
·        
Mike & Debby Popen were back in their Aventuras Akumal villa.
·        
Debby’s brother, David was here with his wife, Carol.
·        
Ken Natskin and Judy Cain were back in their unit at Playa Blanca.
·        
Tony & Judy James are back for awhile.
·        
Don Papa is back in Puerto Aventuras until the 14th.
·        
Lisa & Phill Combs are back in Tankah, and Phill is a Best Shirt threat.
·        
Betty McElhatten returns once again on Feb 2nd.
·        
Jim & Kathy Ferrell return on Feb 2nd, albeit for a short 2-week stay.
·        
Bob & Diane Mather return to Casa Zama on the 17th.
·        
Laura Bush is returning after a short trip back to Austin.
·        
Dave & Michelle Bliss arrive back in town on the 17th.
·        
John & Allyson Sheffield also are returning on the 17th.
·        
South Akumal had a number of visitors - here for the Vecinos Meeting - in late January:
  o  
Gary & Oveta Vardell.
  o  
Terry & Lisa Turner
  o  
Bay & Chris Haas
  o  
Hollis Hines, George Plamondon, and Billy
  o  
Macon & Susan Gravlee
  o  
Crayton & Nancy Walker
  o  
Tom & Judy Baxter
  o  
Steve & Katherine Cole
  o  
Mark & Maureen Hiller
  o  
Gary & Bev Dehn
  o  
Larry & Shari Jackson
  o  
Michael & Lunda Schwarz
  o  
Sharne Hampton
  o  
Michele Connor
  o  
Janet Bouten and her daughter, Jessie
  o  
Scott Smith

   Denny & Diane Mahan had friends from up north at Casa Solymar:

o   Melissa & Jack Adcock (from Hilton Head)

o   Patty & Bimmer (Harbor Club neighbors)

o   Carol & Oscie Gordon (Harbor Club neighbors)

Goings:

  • Richard & Arlene Pargot are in Africa to celebrate their 50th anniversary (January 30th), and as we go to press they are at Ngoro Conservation Area (Nasera Rock, Angata Kiti and Salei Plains) on the 31st and at South Serengeti (Olduvai Gorge) / Ngorongoro Crater on Feb 1st.  Congratulations!!!
     

CHINESE NEW YEAR, FEBRUARY 14th  

 Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. February 14, 2010 is the first day of the Chinese New Year - Year of the Tiger.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day.  New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.  In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year.  Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one.  He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality.  One of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, the Ox is a sign of stability and strength. It also denotes prosperity through hard work, and people born in the Year of the Ox are said to be dependable, patient and intelligent, while possessing an innate ability to achieve great things.

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes.  Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck.  The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom.  Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion.  Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve.  In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead.  Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon, which might stretch a hundred feet long, is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo.  Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets.  In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend.  In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

May you all have a happy and prosperous Year Of The Tiger.  Will there be a Dragon Dance in Akumal?
 

PRESIDENT’S DAY, FEBRUARY 15th

President’s Day is the 3rd Monday in February, and this year it is the 15th. 

The original version of the holiday was in commemoration of George Washington's birthday in 1796 (the last full year of his presidency).  Washington, according to the calendar that has been used since at least the mid-18th century, was born on February 22, 1732.  According to the old style calendar in use back then, however, he was born on February 11.  At least in 1796, many Americans celebrated his birthday on the 22nd while others marked the occasion on the 11th instead.

By the early 19th century, Washington's Birthday had taken firm root in the American experience as a bona fide national holiday.  Its traditions included Birthnight Balls in various regions, speeches and receptions given by prominent public figures, and a lot of revelry in taverns throughout the land.  Then along came Abraham Lincoln, another revered president and fellow February baby (born on the 12th of the month).  The first formal observance of his birthday took place in 1865, the year after his assassination, when both houses of Congress gathered for a memorial address.  While Lincoln's Birthday did not become a federal holiday like George Washington's, it did become a legal holiday in several states.

In 1968, legislation was enacted that affected several federal holidays.  One of these was Washington's Birthday, the observation of which was shifted to the third Monday in February each year, whether or not it fell on the 22nd.  This act, which took effect in 1971, was designed to simplify the yearly calendar of holidays and give federal employees some standard three-day weekends in the process. 

Apparently, while the holiday in February is still officially known as Washington's Birthday (at least according to the Office of Personnel Management), it has become popularly (and, perhaps in some cases at the state level, legally) known as "President's Day."  This has made the third Monday in February a day for honoring both Washington and Lincoln, as well as all the other men who have served as president.
  

DID YOU KNOW THAT . . . ?

·         No piece of normal-size paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.

·         250 to 300 million cell phones are being used in the U.S.

·         The shrimp's heart is in its head

·         It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open

·         Dutch, on average are the tallest people

·         Kissing is healthier than shaking hands

·         There are no cemeteries in San Francisco

·         Married men tip better than unmarried men

·         India never invaded any country in her history

·         The skin of the average woman weighs 3 kilograms, while that of the average man weighs 5 kilograms

 

AKUMAL COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING, FEB. 17th

The next scheduled meeting of the Akumal Council General Membership is on Wednesday, February 17th (not the 12th as posted on the web site) at 10:00, and it will be at CEA.

The new Akumal Council is finally fully registered and ready to go!

If you have not already done so, please come prepared to sign the membership book, so that you can participate in the important decisions that will be made during the year.  An Agenda will be forth-coming.

The official name is "Consejo de la comunidad de Akumal", but we will be known as "Consejo de Akumal" or "Akumal Council". 

 Unfortunately, the Minutes from the last two General Assembly meetings (September and November) have not been posted on the Akumal Council’s web site at www.AkumalCouncil.com
 

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL
Peak Gym is Closed

      The Peak Gym of Akumal is just a memory and an empty shell.  Phoebe and Rocio have moved all the equipment to the new location in Tulum.  The Peak Gym of Tulum isn’t open for business yet, but there are expectations that it will be operational next month.  More to follow regarding the location and Grand Opening.

 
 New Band at Lol Ha Restaurant
Please be advised that new entertainment has been hired to play in the Lol Ha Restaurant on Thursday evenings, starting at 7:30.  The group is called Arpason, and it is a versatile group with the exquisite combination of strings and percussion.  They have a very extensive repertoire that should please just about everyone.  Listen to their Cuban, gypsy, and Mexican passion closely fused with rich interpretation, with a unique combination of harp, violin, and percussion.

There is a $30 peso cover charge per person.  You can get a preview of their talent and versatility at Arpason Music, and their web site is at Arpason Web, where you can listen to some additional music.

 
Dining Under the Stars and Full Moon at Lol Ha Restaurant

         If you have not yet noticed, an outdoor dining deck has been added to the Lol Ha Restaurant just to the left of the entrance.  While dining inside or under the covered patio are the usual alternatives, the deck is uncovered, thereby providing a good option for “dining under the stars”, or as is the case of this weekend, “dining under the full moon.”  With the table right in front of the window, there are good sight and audio lines to the inside entertainment, and it also provides a good proximity to the prime rib buffet. 


Hotel Akumal Caribe Reception

Have you noticed the relief painting at the entrance to the reception for Hotel Akumal Caribe at the arch?  It’s the work of Oscar Romero, a well recognized sculpture, painter, and muralist, who comes to Akumal every year and stays at Hotel Akumal Caribe.  He was born in Mexico and has been living in Chicago for 25 years.

 
Paintings in the Lol Ha Game Room
       There are two large paintings done by Oscar Romero in the Lol Ha Game Room, and one of them looks like a well-known Akumalian.  These should definitely attract the young boys to the Game Room to play ping-pong or air hockey.

  

 
Riviera Maya Video
    Laura and Myrna Bush worked with the Riviera Maya Association and producer on the part about Akumal.  The resulting video has been shown all over Spain, and it is now on line at Riviera Maya Video.  The video is over 49 minutes long, and the dialogue is in Spanish.  You need to watch for a bit before it gets to Akumal, Myrna and Villa Taj Kumal.

 
Shared Equity Ownership

         If you are around Akumal and/or the Lol Ha Beach Bar during the day, you might see some signs around the restaurant for My Akumal Retreat, an entity selling “Shared Equity Ownership” on the patio of the Lol Ha Restaurant.  At the moment, the properties they have in inventory include Villa Yalku and the Condo Koai Penthouse in the Sirenis Resort.  If you want any additional information, you can visit their web site at My Akumal Retreat, or drop over and meet Mike Corning.

 
Cold Spell

The arctic weather that pushed south and east through the heartland of US during the mid part of January was felt in Akumal as the cool wind and temperatures came from the north.  The temperature got down into the high 50s during the evening.  This cold front was the longest in memory.

The many of the locals were seen in sweaters and jackets, while the tourists enjoyed the mild (relative to the northeast) with tank tops, t-shirts, and shorts.
 

CARNAVAL, FEBRUARY 10 – 16th   

Carnaval is an official Mexican holiday that kicks off a five-day celebration of the libido before the Catholic lent.  Beginning the weekend before Lent, Carnaval is celebrated exuberantly with parades, floats and dancing in the streets.  Port towns such as Ensenada, La Paz, Mazatlan, Veracruz Campeche, and Merida are excellent places to watch Carnaval festivities.  

Hosting an array of parades, parties, concerts, culinary festivals, cultural programs and beauty pageants, Mexican coastal cities offer Mardi Gras celebrations comparable to New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro.  Carnival in México has a long tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Coming from the Latin word Carnavale meaning “goodbye to the flesh”, Carnival refers to the week before Lent (Cuaresma), where carefree abandonment and indulgence are encouraged.

Kick-off begins with the burning of El Mal Humor (Bad Mood), in which an effigy, usually modeled after an unpopular politician of the day, is hung and burned, followed by a flurry of confetti and fireworks. 

Host cities celebrate all sorts of parades daily, depending on the local carnival’s theme, which differs from region to region.  Parades display an array of floats, known as allegorical cars, decoratively inspired by Mexican scenery and normally featuring bright flowers and live entertainment.  Some parades require an entrance fee, and visitors are advised to get tickets to the parade as soon as they arrive via the local tourist office or hotel.

No carnival is complete without pageantry.  Included in the festivities are two major pageants: the crowning of the Reina del Carnaval (Carnival Queen); and the selection of the Rey del Carnaval (Carnival King), who may take on different names, including Rey Feo (Ugly King) and Rey de Alegría (King of Happiness), depending on the city.  Hopefuls compete amongst a handful of contestants in a grand ceremony for the coveted titles, followed by a massive party, featuring performances by regional groups.

Winners are crowned by a local government official and earn the privilege of being part of the major parades, normally held on Sunday and Tuesday during Carnival week.  To culminate the week of festivities, there is yet another symbolic burning.  This time, it’s of “Juan Carnaval", another doll symbolizing all that is impure.  The burning and burial of this character gives a fresh and new beginning to the period of Lent and the spring. 
 

PGA GOLF AT MAYAKOBA, FEBRUARY 17 -21 

The PGA TOUR returns to México for the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun, the PGA TOUR’s only official event to be held outside of the United States and Canada.  The Mayakoba Golf Classic will be conducted in Playa del Carmen at the Greg Norman designed El Camaleón Golf Club at Mayakoba, just 45 minutes north of Akumal. 
  

CEA FESTIVAL, FEBRUARY 17 & 18th 

Mark Your Calendars for CEA's Fifth Annual Festival and Gala Event; February 17 & 18 in Akumal, in and around the CEA Center.

 

"Treat Our Water Well."

 For the Gala Dinner on the 18th, you can buy your individual tickets (50 USD each) or a full table of 10 (500 USD) at CEA in Akumal, or with a click here at PayPal Link.  There is a space on the PayPal site to note how many reservations you are making; they are non-refundable. $30 of each reservation is tax deductible, using PayPal.

E-mail Paula Cook or Alma Boada at info@ceakumal.org  to ask for your seat and table number or to let them know if you have any preferences.

Click to Image View: (Gala Dinner: Tables Map)

Also, please consider being part of our successful Silent and Live Auctions by donating an item for auction.  You can contact Paula or Alma for more information.

 

MEXICAN FLAG DAY, FEBRUARY 24th 

February 24 is Mexican Flag Day, a national holiday that honors the Mexican flag

The national Día de la Bandera (Flag Day) celebration occurs on February 24.  On this day in 1821, all the factions fighting in the War of Independence joined together to form the Army of the Three Guarantees in response to the Plan de Iguala, which was signed by Vicente Guerrero and Agustín de Iturbide, officially declaring Mexico an independent country.  General Vicente Guerrero was the first military official who swore allegiance to the national flag.  Another flag tradition is that before every Olympics in which Mexico is a participant, the President hands a flag over to the flag bearer, chosen by their peers, to carry with them to the host city.

The Flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms charged in the center of the white stripe.  While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country's War of Independence.  The current flag was adopted in 1968, but the overall design has been used since 1821 when the First National Flag was created.  The current law of national symbols that governs the use of the national flag has been in place since 1984.

Throughout history, the flag has changed eight times, as the design of the coat of arms and the length-width ratios of the flag have been modified.  However, the coat of arms has had the same features throughout: an eagle, holding a serpent in its talon, is perched on top of a prickly pear cactus; the cactus is situated on a rock that rises above a lake.  The coat of arms is derived from an Aztec legend that their gods told them to build a city where they spot an eagle and a serpent, which is now Mexico City.  The current national flag, the Fourth National Flag, is also used as the Mexican naval ensign by ships registered in Mexico.
 

FULL MOON, FEBRUARY 28th  

The Full Snow Moon will be on Sunday, February 28, 15:38 AST.  Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of north and west (hilly area) Akumal most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon.  Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting and fishing very difficult.

 

 

EVENTS

Robin’s Best Shirt Award, was one of three recorded “Events” for January, and the others are "Harbor Club at Solymar" and  "Hope for Haiti".

 

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