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February 2011  Issue 98

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 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 4th, and the Super Bowl on the 6th, and all these Events will be held at the Lol Ha Beach Bar.  Then, there’s Valentine’s Day on the 14th (and you need to see Charlene about buying some raffle tickets), and the full moon is on the 18th.   .

Moving into the latter part of February we have President’s Day and the Akumal Council General Assembly meeting on the 21st, the PGA tournament at Mayakoba on the 23rd – 27th, the CEA Silent Auction on the 24th, and the month concludes with the 2011 Oscar telecast on the 27th .

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, and the Chinese celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 3rd.

 “Mama Mia”.

As a result of all this, this might just be the longest issue of The Akumalian yet.

LETTER FROM THE STAFF

The Introduction up there says a lot, so there is not too much to add here. 

However, we are getting closer to the 100th Anniversary issue in April, and it will probably pass as “just another issue”.

You have heard of the Australian Crawl and a Pub Crawl (also done very well by the Aussies) and now we have The Akumal Crawl.  Check out the Lynn Chase demonstration video on YouTube

You also should check-out Ryan Fredette’s recent snowboarding trip to Winter Park, Colorado at Ryan in Winter Park.

 And, for additional information about Akumal and Puerto Aventuras, don’t forget to check out Sac-Be and the Pelican Press of Puerto Aventuras

To keep track of all of this and other “stuff”, we need to continually use and improve the brain.  One fun way of doing that is via Luminosity.  Check it out, and have fun.
 

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.
  

BELATED OBITUARY

Most of you, probably all of you, never saw “Star Gazer” on TV or YouTube, but……

The host of Public Television’s “Star Gazer” show, Jack Horkheimer, died on August 20, 2010.  Originally called the ‘Star Hustler,’ the program ran for 30 years and Horkheimer’s craggy voice combined with his flamboyant, show-biz style made him a unique and internationally recognized pioneer in popularizing naked-eye astronomy.  Horkheimer was 72 and died of a respiratory ailment, according to a spokesman for the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, where Horkheimer was the executive director for over 35 years.

Museum officials said Horkheimer was the “foremost commentator on all astronomy related happenings nationwide.  His show reached millions of people, helping to create a love of the stars for several generations of enthusiasts.”

Horkheimer took advantage of the internet and made his shows available on You Tube.  But the show’s original name, “Star Hustler” caused a problem when people did internet searches, as the adult magazine “Hustler” usually showed up at the top of search engines.  As a result, the producers renamed the show “Star Gazer” to avoid any confusion or sending any unintended traffic Hustler’s way.

Horkheimer’s appearances on the show were always marked with his opening line, “Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers!” and his signature closing line, “Keep looking up!”

Horkheimer’s final show can be seen on YouTube at Horkheimer’s Final Show  Check this and other ones out; they are very informative.
 

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
12        Jock Horner
15        George Alvarado
19        Myrna Sparks
22        Hagen Clements
23        Bob Anders
23        Chris McCasland
25        Jim Farrell
27        Shelley Cope
27        Julie Brenton
28        Judy Baxter

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

Missed January Birthdays
 21        Dan Freeman with Lol Ha cake

 

 

 

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.

Get over to the Lol Ha Beach Bar for Happy Hour to support our own Akumal Groundhog Club and the Akumal Groundhog Club Inner Circle.
  

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 lays 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 lay 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.
 

CHINESE NEW YEAR, FEBRUARY 3rd 

As the Chinese New Year falls on a different date every year, the question on everybody's mind is, “When is Chinese New Year 2011?”  Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.  In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

Chinese New Year 2011 - Year of the Rabbit - falls on February 3, 2011.  The Chinese New Year is celebrated as the symbol of spring's celebration.  In fact, in China the Chinese New Year is still called the Spring festival.  It is celebrated after the fall harvest and before the spring planting season.  The date of the Chinese New Year is always changing and is dependant on the Chinese calendar.  Emperor Huangdi invented the Chinese calendar in the year 2637 B.C.E.

The Chinese calendar is a combined solar/lunar calendar and is somewhat similar to the Chinese calendar.  For the purpose of determining the dates of the Chinese New Year some astronomical calculations need to be taken care of.  Firstly, we need to determine the dates for the new moon.  The new moon is the black moon that is when the moon is in conjunction with the sun. The date of the new moon is taken as the first day of the new month. 

Secondly those dates are determined when the sun's longitude is the multiple of 30 degrees.  These dates are termed as Principal terms and are used for determining the number of each month.  The Principle term 1 takes place when the sun's longitude is 330 degrees, the 2nd Principle term occurs when the sun's longitude is about 0 degrees.  The principle term 3 takes place when the sun's longitude is 30 degrees, the principle term 11 occurs when the sun's longitude is 270 degrees and the principle term 12 occurs when the sun's longitude is 300 degrees.

The current 60-year cycle in the Chinese calendar started on 2nd February 1984.

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 Rabbit.  Will there be a Dragon Dance in Akumal?
 

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, FEBRUARY 4th

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, Roberto.  The photos for the January competition are located at January Best Shirt Award.
 

 

DAY OF THE CONSTITUTION, FEB.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 XLV, FEBRUARY 6th

 Super Bowl 45 (XLV) - will be played on Sunday, February 6, 2011 - at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.  It's going to be the Pittsburg Steelers vs the Green Bay Packers.  The incredible new Stadium can handle as many as 110 Thousand spectators. The official broadcast starts at 5PM Akumal Time, but (judging from past years) kickoff will be slightly after 5:30.

 

The Black Eyed Peas will play at the Bridgestone Halftime Show.  It marks the first time since the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime controversy that the halftime show has been performed by an act from outside the classic rock genre.

 The place to be: Lol Ha Beach Bar, Akumal Central, Quintana Roo, Mexico.  Get there early and make your entries on the Football Pool.  The funds from the Pool will benefit the Pablo Busch Romero Scholarshp Fund.
 

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.

 Laura plans to have a ‘special’ dinner at the Lol Ha Restaurant with live music; a saxophone player.  And, there will be the usual Valentine’s Day Basket Raffle, and you need to see Charlene about getting a bunch of these.  Depending on what was raised at the Super Bowl Party, some of the funds will go towards the PBR Scholarship Fund.
 

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.

 

HECHIZO’S VALENTINE’S DAY MENU

Hechizo has a special fixed-price menu for Monday, Valentine’s Day as seen below.  Everything is included. 

·         seared tuna on jicama-citrus salad

 ·         radicchio and asparagus salad with lime-honey vinaigrette and parmesan shavings

 ·         crab cake on avocado salad with cilantro oil

 ·         hibiscus flower sorbet

  ·         angus beef filet on soft polenta with oven dried tomatoes, onion marmalade and red wine jus

 ·         crunchy almond meringue topped with whipped cream and red berry compote

 ·         coffee or selection of teas

  

$790 pesos per person, gratuities not included

Hechizo does not accept credit cards or personal checks

  

FULL MOON FEBRUARY 18th 

The Full Snow Moon will be on Friday, February 18, 2011, 08:35:42 am 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.

   

COMINGS AND GOINGS

            Comings:
·        
David & Nancy Poor are back in town preparing for the Akumal Council meeting
·        
Linda Mulgrew was back in down for a few days in mid-January
·        
Bente Palmer was back – between trips to Moscow – with her Nordic friends.
·        
Larry & Karen Kantor are back at Mariposa.  Lou is here too.
·        
Tony & Judy James are back on the scene.
·        
Don Papa and Dennis Burris are back in Puerto Aventuras.
·        
Tricia Hayes and her mother are back, albeit without Salvador.
·        
Maimo & Marcy Essy have returned to Aventuras Akumal.
·        
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  
Macon & Susan Gravlee
o  
Nancy Walker
o  
Tom & Judy Baxter
o  
Steve & Katherine Cole
o  
Mark & Maureen Hiller
o  
Steve & Bev Dehn
o  
Michael & Lunda Schwarz
o  
Sharne Hampton
o  
Janet Bouten and her daughter, Jessie
o  
 

Goings:
·        
Ryan Fredette is going snowboarding in Maine for President’s Week

 

PRESIDENT’S DAY FEBRUARY 21st

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 . . . ?

There are weird similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

·        
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.  John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946. 
·        
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.  John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
·        
Both were shot in the back of the head in the presence of their wives. 
·        
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.
·        
Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre.  Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford. 
·        
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday. 
·        
Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy. 
·        
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.  Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.  Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908. 
·        
Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.  Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.
·        
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

 

AKUMAL COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING, FEBRUARY 21st

The next scheduled meeting of the Akumal Council General Membership is on Monday, February 21st at 10:00, and it will be at CEA.  This meeting will be preceded by a Community Workshop at 9:30.

The Pre-Meeting Community Workshop is a new service from your council.  Before each meeting, The Akumal Council hopes to present a community workshop with useful information.  For our inaugural event, Paul Sanchez-Navarro will present one of his pet initiatives: composting! Short, informative, practical.

The General Meeting will focus on Programs, Budgets, and Pledges.  The formal meeting will provide updates with Program reports and area concerns.  Then, it will move on to the priorities and programs for 2011.  Come with your checkbook, or ready to sign your pledge card, as this is the time to show your support for council initiatives.  At the meeting, members will formally determine the organization's priorities, membership levels, and budgets.  Then, they will determine whether or not the Akumal Council has the funds pledged to make the budget and the programs real.  Your active participation and support is important.

Unfortunately, the Akumal Council seems to abandoned the idea of posting Minutes from the General Assembly meetings on the Akumal Council’s web site at www.AkumalCouncil.com

 And, the Akumal Council is hosting a Community Wine And Cheese Get-Together the evening before the General Meeting.  It will be held on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at CEA at 6:00 PM.  This is an excellent opportunity to socialize and informally discuss some of the issues affecting the community.
 

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL

"New" Happy Hour at Lol Ha
      Laura reports that starting on Tuesday, February 1st, for one month, there is going to be a 'new' and additional Happy Hour exclusively on the new deck of Restaurant Lol-Ha.  This is somewhat of a one month  'test' to see how it goes and is received by the 'locals'.

    So to keep those Happy Hour prices flowing with the Cuba Libres and G-Ts, make the move over to the deck just outside the Lol Ha Restaurant. 

New Topes in North Akumal
    
It keeps getting better.  Please be advised that two more topes have been added to Avenida North Akumal to slow the traffic even more.  Watch for the two new additions to the road in front of Villas Flamingo.  Enjoy.

            Rumor(s) has/have it that these have been installed because:

    • Villa Flamingos want to channel all the raccoons to their garbage
    • Gynn’AK wants to get more people in to try the Lion Fish Tacos
    • There is a mechanic specializing in shocks absorbers just after Flamingos

 PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 New Walmart
      Walmart has opened another store in Playa del Carmen, and this is bigger, better, and has less tourists.  With less tourists, we have to assume it has also fewer mugging attempts than the one on 30th in town.

            The new Walmart is located on the MX307/Playa del Carmen by-pass, out by the Plaza Americas.  If you haven’t ever taken the by-pass, you turn left at Maya Centro (location of Soriana and MMCinemas) going north from Akumal.  Follow that ring-road around for a couple of miles, and you’ll see the Mall – with a Chedraui – on the right, and then just past that is Walmart on the left.

            The real nice thing – among many things – is that it is off the beaten path for tourists, so it is not that busy, there is nobody following you around with ketchup or mayonnaise bottle and a slippery hand.  The meats, vegetables, and other goods look quite nice; it’s worth a trip out there.  It does not have underground parking, but the parking lot does have shade.  

Movies Coming to Cinepolis in Playa Del Carmen
     True Grit is reported to be opening on February 4, and The King’s Speech on February 18

 Sam’s Club Member Benefits
         Besides all the great shopping experiences at Sam’s Club, be advised that your card entitles you to numerous discounts in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.  Check out Sam’s Club Member Benefits for the discounts.  For example, you can get a 10% discount at Chili’s and Ruth’s Chris, among others, in Cancun, and in Playa del Carmen you can use the card for a 15% discount at Carlos’ y Charlie’s and Senor Frog’s.  

 PEMEX Warnings
            Unfortunately, we do not have a photo of these signs, because they would tell the whole story.  PEMEX stations – at least the first one north of Akumal on the south bound side of MX307 – have very visible signs instructing drivers on how to protect against being ripped off by the bill switcheroo; i.e. “you gave me $50 pesos not $500.”  These signs are bright, visible, in-your-face, and they are in Spanish and English.  Follow the steps provided, and you should not have to deal with the bill switcheroo, but you still need to be cautious of getting the amount you asked/paid for; i.e. the pump is reset to $00.00 there should not be a problem, and that is Step 1.

 Puerto Aventuras Meeting
       The Pelican Press of Puerto Aventuras reports that there is going to be an interesting and important meeting on Wednesday, February 2 at 9:30am at Colonos Hall.  U.S. consular agent Samantha Mason, police representatives and hopefully someone from immigration will be on hand to answer the public’s questions about the new Fm3-2 process and protocols for handling traffic stops and paying fines.  There have already been inquiries from other villages about this meeting, and all residents and visitors in Q. Roo are invited.  Bring your own coffee.

 CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS

 Why Leave ‘Paradise’ for the Northeast?

When people learn that The Staff is selling Casa Colibri and moving to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the invariable next question is “Why?”  This is followed by, “It’s so cold up there, and there is lots of snow.”

            Well, we all know the northeast was hit by a number of “snow storms”; i.e. it snowed.  For those of you who do not know what such a “storm” does with regards to snow fall, here is a photo of what 2-feet of snow looks like on Cape Cod.

 

 

 

 

 

Then again, we get the best of both worlds, sun and snow.
  

PGA GOLF AT MAYAKOBA, FEBRUARY 23 – 27th  

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. 

The Mayakoba Golf Classic made golf history when it became the first PGA TOUR event to ever be contested outside of the United States and Canada in February 2007.  After four years of steady growth, México’s Only PGA TOUR Event is regarded as one of the finest on TOUR.  Players rave about El Camaleón Golf Club as a competitive venue and about the Mayakoba Resort as an ideal location to bring their families.

With the wonders of the Riviera Maya and Cancún regions, the beauty of the Mayakoba resort and the warmth and hospitality of the Mexican people, the Mayakoba Golf Classic is poised for its best year ever when 132 pro golfers descend upon Playa del Carmen for the 2011 edition of México's Only PGA TOUR Event.
 

CEA FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 24th to March 3rd  

Mark your calendar for CEA's Sixth Annual Festival and Gala Event; from February 24th to March 3rd, in and around the CEA Center in Akumal.

The Silent Auction will start at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 24, at CEA's Information Center and will end with a wine and cheese cocktail party.  There will be music and loads of fun.  This one-day event will be the only time to bid in the Silent Auction.  So, get there early to place your bids.

The Gala Dinner will be held on March 3rd at the CEA center in Akumal, and individual tickets are $50 US, with a full table of 10 at the discounted price of $500 US.  You can purchase tickets directly from the CEA office, or on the CEA Web site starting February 1.  PayPal will offer a space to note how many reservations you are making, and they are non-refundable.  $30 of each reservation is tax deductible using PayPal.  Remember, there will be a Live Auction during the dinner.

E-mail CEA at info@ceakumal.org  if you have any questions.

Throughout the week, CEA's staff will be holding lectures, workshops and activities.
 

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.
  

2011 OSCAR TELECAST, FEBRUARY 27TH

The 83rd Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 27, 2011.  The ceremony will be telecast live from the historic Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on ABC.  

Actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway will co-host the 83rd Academy Awards.  Franco, star of Danny Boyle's latest movie "127 Hours" and whose previous credits include "Eat, Pray, Love," "Date Night" and Harry Osborn in the "Spider Man" trilogy, will be making his second Oscars telecast.

Hathaway, on her fifth appearance when she takes the stage on February 27, is currently in "Love and Other Drugs," and was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for her lead performance in "Rachel Getting Married."

 While there might be BIG ‘happenings’ in Hollywood, there are going to be even BIGGER happenings right here in Akumal.  Once again, Laura will host Akumal’s Oscar Party, with red carpet and all, at the Lol Ha Beach Bar, and Laura has a ‘surprise star’ showing up to help her as the Master of Ceremonies.  There are going to be prizes for Best Look Alike, Best Dressed (in both female and male category), and also will be Guess the Oscars for the fundraising part.  And, there is going to be a buffet of delectable finger food worthy of Hollywood.  Watch those movies and get out those costumes.
 

WHAT IS HE THINKING?

Vegas Tourist Sues After 'Tragic' Lap Dance Encounter
   
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  Unless you go home and file a federal lawsuit alleging the exotic dancer/hooker who came to your hotel room didn't live up to expectations.  And when you complained to Las Vegas police, they threatened to arrest you (but didn't), instead helpfully suggesting you take your complaint to the Better Business Bureau. 

And you want your $155 for the lap dance back, plus the 120 bucks you shelled out for the sex act, because, after all, you were drunk and unable to enter into a coherent business agreement. Oh, yes, and $1.8 million to make it all better.

Or that's what the Las Vegas Sun reports in one of those only-in-Vegas stories.  The paper says Hubert Blackman, a student from New York City, filed a lawsuit earlier this month stemming from the Dec. 17 incident.  He said he called Las Vegas Exclusive Personals to hire an exotic dancer to come to his room and strip.  She offered to perform a sex act, which he paid for, but stayed only half of the hour he alleges they agreed on.  When the company wouldn't refund his money, Blackman called police, who reminded him prostitution is illegal and told him he could be arrested.  Then they advised contacting the BBB to complain, Blackman told the Sun.

Upon returning home, Blackman filed suit (without the aid of an attorney), alleging the incident caused a mental condition for which he needs treatment.

In an interview, Blackman told the Sun that the dancer solicited him, but said he knew prostitution is illegal in Sin City.  The escort service said it notifies potential customers who say they're looking for sex that prostitution is illegal in Clark County.
 

READY FOR A TRIP TO THE ISS?

Space Adventures Concludes Agreement to Offer Commercial Spaceflight Opportunities to the International Space Station (ISS).  Three seats are available beginning in 2013.

On January 12, 2011, Space Adventures, the only company that has provided human space  mission opportunities to the world marketplace, announced the conclusion of an agreement with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) and Rocket Space Corporation Energia (RSC Energia) to commercially offer three seats on the Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS), beginning in 2013.  These seats will be made available through the increase of Soyuz production, from four to five spacecraft per year.  Each flight will be short duration, approximately 10 days, and will contribute to the increase of launch capacity to the ISS.

Space Adventures became world-renowned 10 years ago with the launch of Dennis Tito, the world's first privately-funded space explorer.  Since then, the company has arranged seven additional missions to the ISS.  Cumulatively, their clients have spent almost three months in space, traveling over 36 million miles, and have been true ambassadors in sharing their experience and explaining to millions of people around the world why it's important to explore space.

Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world's first private space explorers, is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. with an office in Moscow.  It offers a variety of programs such as the availability today for spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecraft.  The company's advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker, and Skylab/Shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott.

Check them out at Space Adventures and plan your trip to the ISS.

 

 

CROSSWORD PUZZLE #3

Happy February

 

                         

     
                         

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ACROSS

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February full moon

4

 

Akumal’s laundry service

7

 

Akumal Restaurant with Original artwork by Mexican artist Eduardo Stein

11

 

Friendly name for 16th president of US

12

 

Stadium hosting Super Bowl

13

 

Super Bowl number

14

 

Celebration of love and affection between intimate companions

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February flower

17

 

Name of figure in niche outside Lol Ha Beach Bar

19

 

Tree Washington reportedly chopped down

21

 

Great restaurant in Tulum Hotel Zone

22

 

Chinese New Year of

 

DOWN

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Lol Ha Beach Bar Manager

2

 

Band that plays at Lol Ha on Thursday

3

 

Dip made from avocado

5

 

Resort hosting PGA Golf Tournament

6

 

Island of the coast of Akumal

8

 

"The Yellow City" in Yucatán

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Mexican holiday preceding Lent

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Animal that helps determine length of winter

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Sur name of artist who painted façade of Super Chomak

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Main ingredient of margarita cocktail

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Familiar shape in February

 

EVENTS

Once again, Robin’s “Best Shirt Award”, was the only recorded “Event” for January, but February is bursting at the seams.  

 

 

 

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