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August 2010  Issue 92

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index

INTRODUCTION

August is another month with no (major) Mexican holidays.  But, August is very noteworthy if you look to the sky.  Besides the usual Full Moon, there is the Perseid Meteor Shower on the 12th

July was somewhat of a mixed bag, weather-wise; e.g.  lots of rain, hot steamy days, and strong winds.  What will August bring us??

THE STAFF SAYS. . . .

This July has been a very frustrating and exasperating month for The BOD, Management Team, and The Staff, and everybody put in a lot of extra work to get this issue posted to the web site.  We got that far, but not to the distribution list. 

The ‘problem’ started at the beginning of July when the Don Papa informed us that his servers hosting The Akumalian could no longer continue the hosting, because they were making some changes that prevented the hosting of Front Page-based web sites.  The Akumalian is all Front Page.  Don suggested moving to 1-4-1 Solutions as a hosting site, because they did support the Front Page Extensions.

Unfortunately, the move was not that easy at first.  It was a painful learning experience that pushed our IT Staff and Webmaster to their limits.  We decided not to bore you with the trials and tribulations, so let it be said that this issue of The Akumalian has been posted to the web site.  One thing you might notice if you look around at the Photo Galleries, most of them do not have any photos, but these are slowly being restored one Gallery at a time.

The one thing that still has not been resolved is the e-mail distribution each month to inform subscribers of the availability of the new issue.  The Subscribe program is gone, and as of this point in time, a new one has not been implemented.  So, if you are reading this, PLEASE pass the message along that the August issue of The Akumalian has been posted to the web site.

Due to the problems we had this past month, two Events are going un-recorded. The Events in mind at the July 4th BBQ hosted by Dan & Dave, as well as Mary Henderson’s July 29th Roof-Top Warming Party.  Both Events were very well attended, and a great time was had by all.

             Finally, The Staff extends a very large, warm “Thank You” to Don Papa for helping The Akumalian get to the internet and be electronically available.  Don’s help and hosting services have been invaluable, and they are greatly appreciated.  It is unfortunate that the hosting services had to end – all the work this month aside – for we always felt we had a friend at the other end to help us through some of the rough spots.  Thanks, Don.
 

AUGUST BIRTHDAYS

You can go to August Birthday and Anniversaries to see these for every month of the year. Go check it out to see if you are there. 

 August Birthdays and Anniversaries
2          Peter Titze
4          Bob Mather
7          Lucy Gallagher
8          Steve Wandler
8          Shari Jackson
8          Fermina
9          Donny Hall
9          Ryan Wolfe
9          Pat & Cheryl Ragan Anniversary
14        Alice Blatner
14        Oveta Vardell
15        Kurt and Jonathan Bliss
15        Mari Sanchez
16        Maribel Bianchi
16        Sibylle Gonzalez
18        Pete & Lois Raap Anniversary
18        Cheryl Hall
23        Jana Simpson
24        Dave & Michelle Bliss Anniversary
30        Tony & Judy James Anniversary

 Missed Birthdays or Anniversaries in July.
            Nada. Got them all.

 

IMPORTANT AUGUST FACTS

August was named after Augustus Caesar in 8 B.C.

This month was originally named Sextilis in Latin, because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, when March was the first month of the year.  About 700 BC it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year, before March, by King Numa Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days.  Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 45 BC giving it its modern length of 31 days.  In 8 BC it was renamed in honor of Augustus, who did not take a day from February.  

Leo - July 23 -August 21
Virgo – August 24 – September 23

 August Birthstone:  Peridot
In 1912 the American National Association of Jewelers named the Peridot (pronounced pair i dot or pair i doe) as the august birthstone.  It is also given as the 16th anniversary gem.

A beautiful green to yellow-green in color, the Peridot is often mistake for an emerald.  In fact, legend has it that Queen Cleopatra preferred Peridot over other gems and that some of her "Emeralds" may have been Peridot.  Emeralds, though, don't have the yellow tint and tend to be a darker green.

August Flower:  Gladiolus
The gladiolus flower is the birth flower for August.  The name "Gladiolus" is derived from the Latin word "gladius", meaning "sword", for the shape of its leaves.  An ancient name for the gladiolus was "xiphium," from the Greek word "xiphos", also meaning sword. 
 

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, AUGUST 6th

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, has an alternative to be the judge and jury to select the “Best Shirt” for August.  And, as we go to print the criteria are still somewhat nebulous, and they seem to be changing as we move into the summer  months.

This August "Event" is building itself into one of the all-time-great ones as the competition has come from as far as Qatar.

The July competition was on Friday, July 2ndd, and the winner was Russ Motley.  See July Best Shirt for more photos.
 

TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES

So far, so good.  Nice and quiet to date, relatively.  In the early part of July the Tropical Depression 2 went over the southern part of the Yucatan on basically the same path as Alex.  It brought some serious rain on the night of July 5th, and the wave and surf action of the beach was something else.  Let’s keep Clyde out of Akumal.
 

PERSEID METOR SHOWER, AUGUST 12th

The legendary Perseid meteor shower will peak on August 12.  It’s expected to display the greatest number of meteors Wednesday morning around 6:30am AST, but you’ll see some Perseids the other days too.

The Perseids are probably the most-watched annual meteor shower.  The shower has a very long duration, from about July 15 through August 25.  The shower is most interesting around its peak on August 12 or 13.  This year, the peak comes on August 12.  The radiant is above the horizon the entire night for observers north of latitude 32N, but it is fairly low at the end of evening twilight.  Evening Perseid rates are fairly low, and the bright Moon makes things worse this year.  The real meat of the show comes during the predawn hours when the Moon is down and the radiant is high.

Predawn rates for observers with truly dark skies may exceed 100 Perseids per hour (West Coast of North America and/or Eastern Asia may be favored this year), with a nice sprinkling of sporadic and minor shower meteors added to the mix.  Adjacent mornings from August 10 through August 13 are well worth watching, although rates will be significantly lower.

Perseids are fast meteors and tend to be fairly bright on average.  An occasional fireball is seen.

You don’t need to identify Perseus to enjoy the meteor shower.  The Perseids are a especially rich and dependable meteor shower.  They shoot all across the sky – often leaving persistent trains – and occasionally lighting things up with bright fireballs.  To watch the show, find a dark, open sky.  Get away from city lights, up on the roof, and give your eyes at least 20 minutes to adapt to the dark.  The Perseid shower favors northern hemisphere skywatchers. 
 

AKUMAL COUNCIL MEETING, AUGUST 18th

The next Akumal Council General Assembly Meeting will be on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 10AM at CEA.  The meeting will focus on the Municipality of Tulum’s fees, taxes, and more.

Join your council board members and others for a presentation by lawyers and specialists, so that you can better understand your rights and your obligations.  At the same time, you can sign up to become a member, pay your 2010 contributions, support the security efforts, join a committee, or just listen, learn, and share your concerns and experiences.

The Akumal Council will send out a formal agenda approximately one week before the meeting.

For general information:  info@akumalcouncil.com

For membership information: membership@akumalcouncil.com

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL

 Lol Ha Food & Beverage Manager
     
Saul Suarez is the new Food & Beverage Manager for Hotel Akumal Caribe and the Lol Ha Restaurant.  Saul Has a Master in Tourism and a degree in International Gastronomy and Enology (wines).  Be sure to welcome Saul to Akumal and introduce yourself the next time you are at the Beach Bar.

Saul was born in Mexico City, and before coming to Akumal, he was working in a small luxury hotel, Tentaciones, with two fine dining restaurants with Fusion Cuisine in Zihuatanejo.  Before that, Saul worked in Puerto Vallarta, in the Tikul restaurant that boasts Fusion Pacific Cuisine fine dining.

In his short time here, Saul says, “The things I most like of Akumal are the environment, the unbelievable night and moon, the clearness of the sea, and most of all, the people that live here, our customers; very nice people.

Any time you want to come here, please be my guest and feel like at home.”

 Kids Soccer Tournament on Beach
    
The Education Committee of the Akumal Council invited the kids from the Telesecundaria, and from the Pueblo to compete in a friendly Tournament on July 8th on the beach in front of Hotel Akumal Caribe.   Everyone had a great time, and everyone was a winner!  They had a pizza party hosted at Lol Ha afterwards to celebrate the event.

Best of all, Leti Cordova got both the first and second place winners free passes to Rio Secreto on Monday!  Rhett Schober sponsored the drinks!

Fernando Perez Garcia, from the Lol Ha maintenance staff, whose skills in Soccer really helped to get this Tournament going.  He helped train the kids and was the official Referee.  And, the Hotel Akumal Caribe Staff helped with coordination and logistics!

This is some of the work that the Akumal Council does through the Education Committee.

Gym Is Open
Paul finally announced the opening of AK-GYM at Plaza Ukana (site of the Peak Gym) in Akumal.  The rates are $8 per day, $30 per week, and $40 per month.  The telephone is 984-876-3363, and the e-mail is akgym777@gmail.com 

 Turtle Nests
As of July 13, CEA reported the nests per beach:

·         Half Moon Bay - 19 Nests

·         Akumal Bay - 30 Nests

·         Jade Beach - 55 Nests

·         South Akumal - 10 Nests

 It seems to be a great year for Green Turtles.  They are coming to shore quite a lot this year. You can continue to help them have a successful season by doing the following:

·         Keep lights on the beach to a minimum.

·         Keep dogs off the beach.

·         Inform your guests about how to use flashlights on the beach (with a red filter).

·         Inform your guests about sea turtles and their nesting in Akumal (send them to CEA).

·         Remove beach chairs and other obstacles at night.

·         Please leave the markers CEA puts on the beach.  CEA reports that someone in South Akumal has been removing them, and this makes it more difficult to protect the hatchlings, so please help CEA on this.

 The Brown Cliffs of Akumal
            The Tropical Storm Bonnie brought a lot of rain and wave action to the beaches of Akumal, and a few isolated sections of beach brought on memories of “the brown cliffs of Akumal.”  This photo is in front of El Moreland’s lot, and there are indications that he might be opening Akumal’s own Rio Secreto in the near future. 

CANCUN

 Another Walmart
Another Superama Walmart has opened in Cancun, and the latest one is on Bonampak Av., between Av. Coba and Av. Uxmal, by Notario 3.

 

SATELLITE TV

            Dish Network seems to be history here unless you want to invest in a 2.1 meter dish, and then it seems questionable on just what you end up getting.  Nobody seems to have a clear definitive answer.

It looks like most of us are opting for Sky, primarily because it is HERE, and there should not be a problem with service.  That said, we signed up for Sky on Wednesday, and it was to be installed "manana" but it was not installed until Tuesday, July 20.  We ordered it at the Sky kiosk at Sam's Club in Playa, and I just cannot understand much of what the young man says, and it is even worse over the telephone.  More on the purchase and installation in the next story.

The best alternative seems to be Shaw Direct out of Canada, and it apparently does work here in Akumal with the 1.1 meter dish most of us have from Dish Network. See http://www.shawdirect.ca/english/default.asp  

Unfortunately, you seem to need three contacts to get everything you need.

Mike Kohl at http://www.global-cm.net/  seems to be the one to get whatever is needed for hardware (dish, LMNB, switches, etc).  The site is very informative as is Mike.  He seems like he wants to help too.

Mike says, "I am not able to sell Shaw Direct receivers due to a conflict of interest with Motorola---but will send you to Ku Satellite in Montreal to make that purchase, as well as set up a Canadian address account to maintain a subscription.  Their telephone is 514-276-7997 web site at http://www.kusat.com/Canadian-Television/     Email  info@kusat.com    Tell them that I sent you."  I have not communicated with them yet, so I am not sure if they take care of the subscription/service/programming/ etc.  I have another name for that????

Cathy says, "I manage accounts for people not in Canada for Canadian satellite.  You can receive Shaw Direct in Mexico.  TVM is an US company, but I work in Ontario.  I have attached the TVM information letter for your review and records (not included here.).  If you wish to become a TVM client, I will need a signed Acknowledgment form, your name, address, phone number, email address, spouse's name, credit card information including expiry date and CVC code, hardware information and programming selections."  e-mail is tvm@tvmdeicom.ca  

Shaw Direct does offer programming quite similar to Dish Network, including the networks, and I think we might eventually go in this direction once it is determined just what equipment is needed, and how to get it here.  Apparently, it is relatively easy to align the dish, and Mike has given others the alignment directions.

Before you come down, you might want to speak with Mike and see if he can get you whatever equipment you need.  And, Ku Satellite can send you the receiver you need.  Under Shaw Direct's "store" you also can see the receivers they have.  Ku Satellite lists 5 receivers.

I think everybody here would much prefer Shaw Direct for the programming and (almost all) English language, but Sky is the "quick and dirty" solution without working through the aforementioned issues.   
 

ANOTHER MEXICO EXPERIENCE – SKY INSTALLATION

            This may look long on text, but it is something The Staff feels it’s a worthwhile read.

     The Akumalian Staff made an executive decision at this month’s staff meeting to contract for Sky television rather than waiting around trying to figure out the issues, options, and logistics in getting Shaw Direct Satellite TV.  On Wednesday, July 14, the Staff went to Sam’s Club in Playa del Carmen to sign up, and it did not take too long to realize this was not a simple deal.

            For starters, there was a small language communication gap, but not too bad.  To start off, the salesman, Jorge, wanted a passport, CFE bill, credit (not debit) card, and two references with telephone numbers.  We had the passport, credit card, and two reference names without telephone numbers (one of the few who travels without a cell phone).

            The contract has to be about 10 pages, and Jorge used my passport to enter my name on the contract; my passport has the full name including the middle name.  The passport number and reference names were written on a separate piece of paper instead of directly onto the contract.  The credit card had to be imprinted twice into the contract, and since there is no credit card imprint machine there, Jorge got the impressions buy rubbing a pen over the paper on top of the credit card.

            Then it came time to sign the next born over to Sky.  This contract required my signature no less than eight (8) times, and one page alone needed the signature four (4) times!!!

            Once done there, we were told the installation would be “manana”.

            We’ll skip over the details, but “manana” didn’t happen until Tuesday, July 20.

            Pedro, the installation technician, arrived in the morning for the installation, and before he would do anything, he needed to have a copy of the passport and CFE bill!  Since we have 2 dishes from Dish Network, we wanted to use one of them for Sky.  It took awhile, but Pedro finally acknowledged that the 1.1 meter fiberglass dishes were much better than the small, cheap, metal ones from Sky, but there would be a problem with the shorter arm and the Sky LMNB.  So, more dialogue, and Pedro makes a call and finds out he can get an adjusted bracket so the Sky LMNB will fit onto the Dish Network arm.  He goes to Playa del Carmen to get one (costs $500 pesos) and returns around 2:20pm. The physical installation and alignment goes quite smoothly, because the cables just came out of the Dish Network receiver and plugged into essentially the same on the Sky receiver; even DVD viewing and recording went without a hitch.

            Now the fun really begins. This is the authorization and turning on.

            Pedro would not get into the authorization process until I signed the contract in two (2) more places!!!  First, he needed to validate the references, and in Playa I did not have the telephone numbers.  There are names on the contract, and he is having problems with the numbers and getting a response. It takes awhile before I look at the contract and realize that somebody, probably Jorge at Sam’s, put some other names in there, of people we do not know.  So, I provide real names and telephone numbers of people we know in Akumal, and that step comes to a conclusion.

            However, the next phase of the authorization starts to take an undue amount of time, and I am not understanding the conversation going on with the telephone.  Moving ahead – it’s starting to get late – so I ask what this problem is.  Well, the name on the contract is my full legal name with the full middle name, but the name on the credit card does not match, because it only has my middle initial!!!!  This is a serious problem here in Mexico, and it looked like the installation was going to be terminated.  This took a very long time and many telephone calls from Pedro, but he finally was able to get an “OK” from somewhere, for we finally got the signal.

            Pedro explained a few things – very few – and he was gone, leaving around three-and-a-half hours after he arrived, and close to 2 ½ hours were spent on the authorization process.

Keep a supply of movies on DVD around, because the programming leave an awful lot to be desired!!
 

FULL MOON, AUGUST 24th

The Full Sturgeon Moon is on August 24th at 4:05pm AST.

 The fishing Maya tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the great cenotes and other major bodies of water in the Yucatan, were most readily caught during this month.  A few Maya tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze.  It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.
 

DON’T ASK ABOUT MARS!!  AUGUST 27th   

It’s happening again.  People are clamoring for information about an amazing spectacle involving the red planet Mars.  An email is circulating suggesting that – on August 27, 2010 – Mars will appear as large as a full moon in Earth’s sky.  It has been suggested that Mars and Earth’s moon will appear as a “double moon” in late August.  It sounds amazing!  Can it possibly be true?

No. It can’t.  The email is a hoax.  It has circulated every summer since 2003.  Mars can never appear as large as a full moon as seen from Earth, and Mars will not even be at its brightest in August of 2010.

In fact, in August of 2010 Mars appears as modestly bright star in the western evening sky.  Mars was substantially brighter earlier this year, shining most brilliantly when this world came closest to Earth for the year on January 27, 2010.  Even so, Mars looked like a bright star, with nowhere the size or brilliance of the full moon.  In fact, the only time that Mars “doubled up” with the full moon this year was on the night of January 29, 2010.  But as seen from earth, Mars’ diameter was 1/140th the diameter of the full moon.  In other words, you would have had to line up 140 Mars side by side to equal the diameter of the moon.

So how did this rumor of Mars-as-big-and-bright-as-the-moon get started?  It started with an actual event, in 2003.  On August 27 of that year, Earth and Mars came very slightly closer than they’d been in nearly 60,000 years.  Our two worlds, center-to-center, were less than 35 million miles apart – just over three light-minutes apart.  The last people to come so close to Mars were Neanderthals.  Astronomy people like me had a field day that year, talking about Mars at its closest. Was it a spectacular sight?  Yes!  It looked like a dot of flame in the night sky.  But was Mars as big and bright as the moon, even at its closest in 2003?  Never.
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

 Comings:

  • Jamie & Yolanda Foshee were back at Bahia Principe for a short visit.
  • Wickie Rimmel was reportedly back on the Lagoon.
  • Michael & Lunda Schwartz arrived back in South Akumal with the kids.
  • Macon & Susan Gravlee popped into South Akumal for a brief vacation.
  • Don Papa was here with his daughter, Victoria.
  • Priscilla was visiting Dan & Dave at Casa Gatos.
  • Dennis Burris was also back in Puerto Aventuras for a brief stint.
  • Bill & Cheryl McClendon were back at Luna Azul for a short stay.
  • Tom & Brooke Gordon (bought John McCullum’s house) were back with their daughters, Isabel and Elouiese.
  • Bruce & Ellen Eanet pooped in for a short visit.
  • Michele Meyer and her family have been in Los Primos for a couple of weeks.
  • Monica Meyer and her family have just arrived at Los Primos in South Akumal.
  • Hugh Maynard is back for the summer.
  • Ron Stern has also arrived, probably for a mathematician conference with Hugh.
  • Gary & Myrna Sparks have returned once again.
  • Sam & Sharon Goby are here too.
  • Richard Dooley is also back at Playa Caribe; must be a meeting.
  • Monika Estrada’s parents were spotted at Akumal’s outdoor market.
  • Oteka Brab, Terry Chambers, Theresa Weed, and co-owner of the house, Patricia Murray. will be here in Casa San Francisco August 3 - 10
    • Caoline is in town visiting Hugh Maynard.
    • Terry & Lisa Turner are back in South Akumal.
    • Gary& Oveta Vardell are there too.

 Goings:

·         Kevin (Red Beard) McKee and Tammy went to Palenque and San Cristobal for a short vacation.

·         Richard & Arlene Pargot went to Holbox to swim with the whale sharks.

·         Richard Fröhning has gone to the Pacific Northwest for some sightseeing.
 

METEOR SHOWERS VERSUS SHOOTING STARS

What are meteor showers I hear you ask?

An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower.

Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers.  As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet's orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower.  Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant.  For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo.  The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus. 

What are shooting stars?
"Shooting stars" and "falling stars" are both names that people have used for many hundreds of years to describe meteors -- intense streaks of light across the night sky caused by small bits of interplanetary rock and debris called meteoroids crashing and burning high in Earth's upper atmosphere.  Traveling at thousands of miles an hour, meteoroids quickly ignite in searing friction of the atmosphere, 30 to 80 miles above the ground.  Almost all are destroyed in this process; the rare few that survive and hit the ground are known as meteorites.

When a meteor appears, it seems to "shoot" quickly across the sky, and its small size and intense brightness might make you think it is a star.  If you're lucky enough to spot a meteorite (a meteor that makes it all the way to the ground), and see where it hits, it's easy to think you just saw a star "fall."
 

EVENTS

There were other Akumal "Events" in July besides the "Best Shirt Award", but they have not been posted due to the moving of the web site to a new host.

 

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