The Akumalian

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

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October 2012  Issue 118

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Thankfully, September 2012 is history.  Akumal and the Caribbean have dodged all the Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, and in the last few days of the month, we received the well needed rain; some may say “too much”. 

And, Ryan Fredette celebrated his 19th birthday in MA, and his grandparents were there to be part of the celebration. 

The October issue of The Akumalian has been outsourced to the Cape Cod branch in Chatham.


Laura Wolfe has arranged for the Municipal President, Martin Cobos Villalobos,  to come to Akumal on Monday, October 1st for a Town Meeting.  Laura says, “He would bring a presentation to make to those that represent homeowners, and condo owners who rent their property and who have not as yet gotten legal.  He would also bring some foreign investors from Tulum who could testify to the process, and how this government is helping foreign investors get their papers and taxes in order and how it has benefited them.  They do not want to fine anyone, nor do they want to charge any back taxes. The orders that the Municipal President received from the governor is to get order in the municipality, and whoever is not paying their due taxes on rentals, would now need to start.” 


In Latin, octo means "eight".  October was also the eighth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February.  October has always had 31 days.

Libra - September 23 - October 22
Scorpio - October 23 - November 21

 October Birthstone: Opal
Australia produces about 95% of the world's opal supply.  The aborigines of that country say that the opal was created where a rainbow touched the earth.  This certainly explains the cascade of color in fine opal specimens.  (Black opal rivals the price of diamonds for very fine specimens.)  While the black opal isn't really black, it does have a dark base color.  Given their shimmer and fire fine Black Opal Jewelry is particularly exotic.

 October Birthday Flower: Marigold
The golden colors of autumn are displayed by the marigold, which makes them the ideal flower for October birthdays.  Marigolds have come to be associated with affection.



O'zapft is - The Octoberfest has started and is well underway.  Is this real reason behind the tardiness of the October issue of The Akumalian?

Saturday, 12 o'clock - high noon in the "Schottenhamel" beer tent: By tapping the first barrel of beer, the mayor of Munich started the 179th Oktoberfest.

The nowadays both legendary and traditional ritual of tapping the first barrel of Oktoberfest-beer, broadcast on live TV and via the Internet, was, as usually, held in the “Schottenhamel” beer tent.  Celebrities, press and thousands of Oktoberfest fans were attending, as the mayor of Munich did his duty.

With Gabriele Weishäupl, head of the Oktoberfest management, and the Bavarian prime-minister Horst Seehofer at his side, it took the mayor only two swings with the five-pound hammer to drive the tap into the barrell. As usual, the first thing he spoke into the microphone was “O’zapft is!” (= “It is tapped!”) and wished everyone a peaceful Oktoberfest.

As protocol demands, the first mug of beer was passed on to prime-minister Seehofer and with that all the other beer tents could start selling beer as well.

Why is Oktoberfest called "Oktober"-fest when it actually begins in September?
The historical background: the first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.  The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a horse race.  In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September.

By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Because the September nights were warmer, the visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over "die Wiesen" or the fields much longer without feeling chilly.  Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.

How much will a liter of beer (the "Maß" Oktoberfest Beer) cost this year?  The prices for one litre of beer will range from 9,10 € to 9,50 € on the Oktoberfest in 2012. 


Birthdays and Anniversaries
4          Stefanie Fredette
8          Maureen Miller
9          Pat Reagan
14        Denny Mahan
17        Alison Keegan
19        Verana Titze
25        Jim Power
25        Stefanie & Robert Fredette Anniversary
26        Sharon Brier
30        Cassie Gonzalez
31        Mike & Lynda Jochim Anniversary

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

 Missed September Birthdays
2          Leandro Kantun
22        Mauricio Bautista



The 22nd 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony happened on Thursday, September 20, 2012.  The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.  The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

In a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, 1,200 splendidly eccentric spectators watched the winners step forward to accept their Prizes.  These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel Laureates.  The ceremony was webcast live.

The Ig Nobel Prizes are organized by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research.  The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Student, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard Computer Society.

Ig Nobel prizes awarded, highlighting the fun side of science.  They are not the discoveries that have altered our understanding of nature, transformed medicine, or rewritten the laws of physics.  But they have made us laugh.  The 2012 prizes: 

·       PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller.

·       PEACE PRIZE: Converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.

·       ACOUSTICS PRIZE: Creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person's speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.

·       NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.

·       CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden, people's hair turned green.

·       LITERATURE PRIZE: The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.

·       PHYSICS PRIZE: Calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail.

·       FLUID DYNAMICS PRIZE: Studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.

·       ANATOMY PRIZE: Discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.

·       MEDICINE PRIZE: Advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimize the chance that their patients will explode.


In 2008 and 2010 reforms to the Ley del Servicio Público de Energía, made it possible for producers of renewable energy in Mexico to sell electricity back into the power grid after decades of electricity monopoly by the Comission de Electricidad Federal (CFE). This new law mandates that CFE allows for both residences and commercial enterprises, and possibly municipalities, to sell electric power from renewable energy generators, such as solar Photovoltaic systems or wind generators, back to the electricity grid, and is one of the most important steps in building a national solar energy industry and wind industry in Mexico.

As population and industry grows, Mexico will have to build new transmission and gas-fired generation plants to meet demand. But Mexico already depends on gas for 74% of electric generation capacity, and PEMEX production of fossil fuels has diminished to such a great extent that Mexico now imports 40% of the gas needed for domestic consumption. This has resulted in drastically higher electricity rates, as every homeowner and business owner in Mexico can attest. That’s why net metering is so important for Mexico, as it begins the process of creating a stable and green energy grid for Mexico that is not dependent on fossil fuels, and which can produce electricity at half the cost of gas. Wind and solar energy resources in Mexico are abundant and limitless. And the day will surely come when most of the electricity produced in Mexico comes from such renewable resources. It makes logical, ecological and economic sense.


The ‘official’ hurricane season ends on November 30, and while we have passed the peak point of the season, the Atlantic continues to be quite inactive, with most of the activity that has come from Africa heading up into the Atlantic. 

Did you Know?  Hurricane Nadine has been swirling around in the Atlantic for more than two weeks since becoming a tropical storm Sept. 11.


 This year, on October 5, 2011 we celebrate the fourthteenth World Smile Day.  As ever the theme for the day is "Do an act of kindness.  Help one person smile."  And, as ever, the image that leads the way on this day is the smiley face.

World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday in the month of October every year.  The idea of World Smile Day was coined and initiated by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts.  Harvey Ball is known to have created the Smiley Face in 1963.  The World's first World Smile Day was held in the year 1999 and has been held annually since.


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 the honor of judging the merits of the shirts.  And, as we go to print the criteria are still somewhat nebulous, and they seem to be changing as we move into Fall.

The September competition drew another large crowd of brightly shirted contestants, and the judges had a difficult time with their decision, and they ultimately selected Sherwood Anders.  The photos are located at September Best Shirt Award.


In Mexico, October 12th is a national holiday known as Día de la Raza or Day of the Race.  This date is honored in other countries as Columbus Day and under other names; but the event it commemorates and the way in which it is observed have become quite controversial.

In the fifteenth century, an obscure Italian seafarer named Christopher Columbus became convinced that it was possible to reach the East from Europe by sailing westward across the Atlantic and that this route would be shorter than traveling around Africa; he underestimated the size of the Earth and overestimated the size and eastward extension of Asia.  After eight years of negotiations, he convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to support his enterprise.  He finally set out in three small ships and, on October 12th, 1492, he landed on an island in the Bahamas inhabited by the Taino or Arawak tribe, thinking that it was India.

            Although Christopher Columbus was perhaps not the first to discover America, as has so often been claimed, he was the one to bring about the first real contact and interaction between Renaissance Europe and the American continent with its various civilizations; and that has shaped and changed world history in countless ways.  Over 500 years later, this date is still celebrated, lamented, and debated.

One of the main consequences of this contact, was the imminent conquest of the new world by the old.  In writing of his discovery, Columbus noted how he and his men were greeted with gifts and said: "As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts".  And, generally speaking, this was to characterize relations between the old world and the new: Europeans sought wealth and to impart (or impose) their culture.  The indigenous people befriended them and were dominated by armies from abroad.

Less than 30 years later, in 1521, Hernán Cortés landed on the shores of Mexico. He too was received with gifts, and he proceeded to conquer the vast Mexica empire, which is Mexico today.  Relations between the indigenous population and the conquerors of Mexico during the 300 year colonial period were complex.  Spain sought riches in the new land, but also converts for Catholicism. Missionaries traveled with the soldiers.  Some of them were greatly impressed by native cultures and are responsible for the preservation of many codices and documents regarding the period.

When Mexico celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus' landing, in 1892, the country was ruled by Porfirio Díaz, who remained in power for over thirty years and was a great admirer of European culture, especially the French.  At that time, the government prepared a celebration of "The communion of all peoples in sentiments of justice and admiration for the past, noble aspirations and glowing hopes for the future" for October 12, 1892.  As in most of the world, this event praised Columbus for his skill as navigator, for his Discovery of America and for bringing European culture to this land, although all of these things have since been questioned and re-examined.

In 1918, philosopher Antonio Caso took October 12th as an opportunity to praise the "Mexican mestizo race", La Raza, the rich mixture of Spanish and indigenous cultures which characterizes Mexicans.  He was perhaps the first to coin the term La Raza, which has now been adopted by Latinos from all across the continent.  Ten years later, the Día de la Raza was declared an official national holiday by Congress, after only minor debate.

As early as 1836, Oaxacan historian Don Carlos María de Bustamante began the "first vitriolic Mexican commentary on the Columbian event".  For him, October 12, 1492 was "the most villainous day there could ever be in America; the day its slavery was established".

            Columbus Day is on Monday, October 8 in the US.


            September was one busy month but for the most part, it was quite slow.  The photos from the Best Shirt Award give some example of the “crowd”. 


            There were a few people down in South Akumal in September, including:

·       Tom Baxter returned for a short visit to check on the house.

·       Debby Entwistle is here in Casa Cielo

·       Sharne Hampton was spotted in South Akumal.

·       Gene & Mary Ellen Langan were also back in South Akumal for a bit.

  • David Richards will be back in South Akumal for a short stay.
  • Hurley Hackler was spotted at the beach bar one Tuesday early in the month.
  • Don Eischen was back at The Reef’s Penthouse for the owner’s meeting.
  • John & Shea, new owners of 204B, were here to check out their new digs.
  • Larry & Karen Kantor are returning to Mariposa in mid-month.
  • Michael Schwartz is coming down for a wedding in PA.

Richard & Arlene have returned to NJ for the Fall
·       Dave Zucker has made a brief trip back to Philadelphia.



 The 108th Major League Baseball World Series is scheduled to start on Wednesday, October 24, and it will end on November 1st, if seven games are required..  Last year, the Giants capitalized on that home-field advantage and won it all at Texas in Game 5 on Nov. 1, so a Game 7 could have been on Nov. 4.

Now, there definitely are some readers who question the designation of this event as the “World” Series, when only 30 teams – all but Toronto being from the United States – are eligible to even be considered.


 Held annually in Tulum, the Sea Turtle Festival is a free event which encourages participants to learn about sea turtles and familiarize themselves with the various organizations that are trying to protect them. Artistic, environmental and cultural activities are also a part of the festival.

This year we are celebrating the 10th Tulum Sea Turtle Festival.  The festival will take place from the 25–28 October in various places.  Some of the hosts will be the Bahía Príncipe Hotel, Casa de Cultura de Tulum, and Playa Pescadores in Tulum and Akumal.

Centro Ecológico Akumal is, once again, part of the organizing committee.  On Sunday, 28 October, Akumal will be hosting the closing event, in which you will be able to participate in different activities, as well as watch an artistic event and enjoy lots of food and drink.  Check out our Newsletter next month for more details about the festival.  See you in October!


In Akumal and Europe, DST ends on Sunday, October 28.  Do not forget to turn the clocks back one hour.

For the U.S., and only the U.S., DST ends on the first Sunday in November – November 4 – as the clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time.  

Remember, On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S.  Beginning in 2007, DST begins on the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November.  


The Full Hunter's Moon is on Wednesday, October 29, 6:49pm AST.  With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt.  Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more easily see the fox, also other animals that have come out to glean and can be caught for a thanksgiving banquet after the harvest; don’t do the North Akumal racoons though.


There is not much to report on here, other than the brief update below.

 Bruce Nierenberg, Chairman CEO United Caribbean Lines, tells The Akumalian, “We are working hard to get the ferry service up and running.  Our target is for next summer.  We expect to have our schedules for the public by the end of the year.  We are anticipating two trips a week from Florida to the Yucatan, a mid-week and a weekend.”

 All we can do is wait and see.



Good question.  Not much.


Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a celebration of?  And how did this peculiar custom originate?  Is it, as some claim, a kind of demon worship?  Or is it just a harmless vestige of some ancient pagan ritual?

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church.  It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve.  November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.  But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31.  The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New year. 

One story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year.  It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife.  The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed.  So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable.  They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was not to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes could relight their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was kept burning in the Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling.  On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants.  The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors.  At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore.  As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree.  Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree.  Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree.

According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil.  Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness.  The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally.  But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips, so the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.  


Besides the usual Robin’s “Best Shirt Award” in September as an Event, we also had another exhibition at ONDEARTE.


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