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April 2012  Issue 124

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index   2011 Index   2012 Index

MESSAGE FROM THE STAFF

            March was a fairly uneventful month here in Akumal, with Robin’s Best Shirt Award being topped by Nan’s toga birthday party at CEA as the highlight event. 

            It’s no April Fool’s joke; Akumalians need to turn the clocks ahead one hour on April 7th .

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

BTW – did you notice that March has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.  This happens once every 823 years. 

  This is a relatively long issue with a couple of upcoming events covering multiple pages, so get a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
 

IMPORTANT APRIL FACTS  

Aries March 21-April 20

Taurus April 21-May 20

 April Birthstone: 
   
April's birthstone, the diamond, is remarkably simple in composition, yet stunning in its unique ability to reflect and refract light into vivid flashes of brilliant color.  The ancient Hindus called the Diamond "Vajra," meaning lightening, both because of the sparks of light thrown off by this gem as well as its invincible strength.  The diamond is harder than any other substance on earth. 

April Flower: 
  
The month of April is represented by the daisy.  Daisies have long been associated with innocence.  The large vibrant blooms of the gerbera daisy have made it a favorite among flower lovers.
  

APRIL BIRTHDAYS   

Birthdays and Anniversaries    ¡Feliz cumpleanos!
1          Marcy Essy
1          Holly Sheffield
4          Diane Firth
4          Maggie McKown
5          Ivan Mauricio Perez
6          Mary Sue Northcutt
7          Holly Batting
7          Seddon Wylde
8          Sam Goby
10        Butch
10        Michelle Bliss
11        Judy James
12        Didier Jackson
15        Monica Estrada
18        Lucy James
18        Jody Allen
19        Greg Goudy
20        Jan Koenst
21        Zoe Alexis Gonzalez Campbell
23        Sharon Wandler
25        Lindsay Firth
27        Gary Sparks
27        Jerry & Lois Radlinsky Anniversary

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

 Missed March birthdays:
20        Natalie Novak Perez
 

PASSOVER, MARCH 26 - APRIL 1st 

Passover (Hebrew, Yiddish: פֶּסַח, Pesach, Tiberian: pɛsaħ, Israeli: Pesah, Pesakh, Yiddish: Peysekh) is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating God sparing the Israelites when he killed the first born of Egypt, and is followed by the seven day Feast of the Unleavened Bread commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan (equivalent to March and April in Gregorian calendar), the full moon of that month, the first month of the Hebrew calendar's festival year according to the Hebrew Bible.

In the story of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of firstborn sons.  However, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb, and upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover".  When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is also called חַג הַמַּצּוֹת (Chag HaMatzot), "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread".  Matza (unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.  This bread that is flat and unrisen is called Matzo.

Together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.  Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.
  

EASTER SUNDAY, MARCH 31st   

On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches.  Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross.  As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion, is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter.  Through his death, burial and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.

In Western Christianity, Easter marks the ending of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter.  Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.

The Annual Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival
  
On Easter Sunday, you have the opportunity to see Easter bonnets to the New York City extreme as "paraders" wander along Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets.  The area around St. Patrick's Cathedral is the ideal place to see the parade.  The Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

 When and Where is the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival in Akumal?  There’s plenty of time to organize something.  Maybe, just maybe, the Robin’s Best Shirt Award Committee (Mary Henderson) and/or the Lol Ha Beach Bar Best Easter Bonnet Committee (Laura and Sam) could arrange for an Akumal Best Easter Bonnet Award on Friday, April 5, in conjunction with the Best Shirt Award; like the Best Shirt Award, open to both women and men.
 

EASTER IN MEXICO

For Mexico, Easter is a combination of Semana Santa (Holy Week - Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday).  For most Mexicans, this 2 week period is THE time of year for vacation; good time to not be on the highways - just stay put and enjoy Akumal during this holiday season.

Semana Santa celebrates the last days of the Christ's life, and Pascua is the celebration of the Christ's Resurrection.  It is also the release from the sacrifices of Lent.

In many communities, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and, finally, the Resurrection.  In some communities, flagellation and/or real crucifixion is included.  The enactments are often wondrously staged, costumed and acted, with participants preparing for their roles for nearly the full year leading up to Semana Santa.
  

EASTER IN AKUMAL

            Semana Santa and Pascua make up the busiest time of the year in Akumal, and this year is no exception.  But there is an exception this year on crowd control, at least at the entrance to Akumal.  The Akumal powers have worked together and with the Municipality to ensure that residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience during this period.  It does seem to be working.

            First, there is NO PARKING on the entrance road, at all.  Both sides of the road have been lined with big orange markers that are roped together, and to enforce the NO PARKING, there is a strong contingent of police on hand.  The police are diligently working in a number of places to keep the traffic moving.

Second, Carlos Ortiz has opened his lot – where the baseball field used to be - behind the parking lot for parking, including, and most importantly buses.  This was a necessity to keep the road free of parked buses and cars.  Kudos to Carlos.

Third, there is an ambulance on the road beside Super Chomak, and its presence is very refreshing and reassuring.  Hopefully, it will not be needed for anything too serious.

Finally, and this has not been confirmed or observed by The Staff, but it has been reported that the road through the arch is blocked for pedestrian traffic; vehicular traffic only.  The report The Staff received was about being prevented from walking through the arch to go to Super Chomak by an Uzi wielding military person in a very dark blue/black uniform.  This is something that has been broached before, and Semana Santa seems like a good time to implement it.  The alternative route was to be around by Ak-Nah Galeria in Plaza Ukana, and then across the street to the beach.
 

APRIL FOOL’S DAY, APRIL 1st   

Unlike most of the other non-foolish holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear.  There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar.  Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.

The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France.  Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25.  The celebration culminated on April 1.  With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.

However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years.  Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1.  These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace.  They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fool’s errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.

This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April.  The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century.  It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French.  April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.

In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days.  The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body.  It is called Taily Day.  The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.

Mexico's counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28.  Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod.  It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.
  

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, APRIL 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, picks the judges to select the “Best Shirt” for April. 

George Pritcard, a new condo owner, was the winner for March, and you can see the other photos at Best Shirt Award, March.    Congratulations.
                                                

 

DST IN MEXICO IS April 7th 

In Akumal, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April.  On the last Sunday in October (the 27th ), Akumal falls back to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m.  The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time.  Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), and so forth.  The state of Sonora does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Mexico uses three time zones.  Most of the country uses Central Standard Time.
 

MASTERS TOURNAMENT, APRIL 11th – 14th

The 2013 Masters Tournament will be the 77th edition of the Masters Tournament, the first of golf's four major championships.  It is scheduled to be held April 11–14 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.  The Masters is one of the four major championships in men's professional golf. 

 

MT WASHINGTON MARKS “THE BIG WIND”, APRIL 12th

On April 12, 1934, the second highest surface wind measured anywhere on earth was clocked by the staff of the Mount Washington (New Hampshire) Observatory.  This "World Record Wind" of 231 miles per hour has become the stuff of legend, but what is the meaning of that decades-old record?

First and foremost, the World Record Wind is a testimony of the real extremes that can rule on Mount Washington.  Significant cold, abundant snowfall, dense fog, heavy icing, and exceptional winds are a prominent feature of Mount Washington's environment.  Yes, there are colder places, such as Antarctica, and snowier places, such as some peaks in the Cascade Range. However, Mount Washington, a small peak by global standards, really does have weather that can rival some of the most rugged places on earth.  There are days each winter when the combination of life-threatening weather factors on Mount Washington is remarkably similar to weather extremes which have been recorded in the polar regions and on peaks three or four times Mount Washington's height.  The World Record Wind is one benchmark testifying to the mountain's truly severe weather.

New Hampshire's Presidential Range includes the highest peaks in the Northeast.  Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the highest in the range, and is the only peak in the Northeastern United States which exceeds 6,000 feet in elevation. 

The Presidential Range forms a ridgeline, about twelve miles in length.  Perhaps the Range's most remarkable feature is its extensive area above treeline, the greatest contiguous alpine area in the United States east of the Mississippi.  Treeline here, which averages about 4,500 feet, is significantly lower than in mountains in the west, thanks to the extreme climatic conditions, including cold temperatures, high winds, and frequent atmospheric icing.  The unusual conditions above treeline have led to a fascinating landscape, seemingly barren, but decorated with low spruce and fir scrub and a variety of alpine plants, whose bright blooming usually occurs in a brief period from mid-June to late July.

In New England it is said, “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere”.
 

2nd ANNUAL AKUMAL COMEDY FESTIVAL, APRIL 11 - 13

Thanks to Marieke White for this.

Stand Up! Records is proud to present The Second Annual Akumal Comedy Festival.  The festival will take place on April 11 - 13, 2013 in the heart of Mexico's lovely Mayan Riviera.

This completely free comedy festival will feature over a dozen professional comedians from the United States performing seven shows in four distinct venues in Akumal over three days.  The Festival is the brain child of Grammy Award winning president and founder of Stand Up! Records Dan Schlissel and comedian/actor Gus Lynch (Saving Silverman, North Country, I Spy), who seek to showcase the finest professional and fastest rising stars in stand up comedy, as well as the people, restaurants, and businesses of Akumal.

Again, all shows are completely free.

Click on the Akumal Comedy Festival banner below for the complete line-up of events.

   

COMINGS AND GOINGS

            Comings:

Visitors in March:

  • Paula, Katie, and Ellie Humphreys flew into town for a week of R&R
  • Wickie Rimell was back at Casa Aurora for a short spell in early March
  • Bay & Chis Haas were back in Seven Seas with their son.
  • Sharne Hampton is back in Seven Seas
  • Michael Schwartz and his son were back in Akumal Breakers for a couple of days.
  • Lance Schober was in town for Rhett’s birthday.
  • Katie, Jamie Prendergast’s granddaughter was in town for a bit.
  • Janet Bouton Thurber and her daughter, Jessie, were reportedly in South Akumal.
  • Michael & Rachel (Hollis Hine’s daughter) and kids were in Los Primos.
  • David & Francesca McElhatten were here with Dylan and Phinn.

 Coming in April

  • It is reported that David Richards will be back in South Akumal for a short visit.
  • It has been rumored that Don Papa is returning to Puerto Aventuras.
  • Stefanie Fredette is coming, and she will be at the beach on the 19th.
  • Sherry Motley, Russ’ mother, is also coming.  Watch for her at the beach bar.

 Goings:

            The snow birds have been flocking and circling Akumal as they return north for the summer.  Some left in March, and more are leaving in April.  Who will reach Capistrano first?

  • Lynn Chase and Rick Tompkins have returned to Maine after wintering in AA.
  • Steve & Judy Holz are also bailing out of Aventuras Akumal.
  • Bud & Alice Blatner are back in Philadelphia.
  • Richard & Cami Mazzola have returned to Colorado for the season
  • Richard & Arlene Pargot are heading back to New Jersey.
  • Steve & Kathleen Cole are heading back to Alaska.
  • Steve & Sharon Wandler are gone.
  • Ken & Mary Margret Goldstein have departed.
  • Didier Jackson is also heading out.
  • Thiery & Jissou Vander Elst seem to have departed for Europe.
  • Gail Rowland is heading back to Washington state
  • Hollis Hines & George Plamondon are going back to Chicago

CURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS, APRIL 13th – 21st

The 2013 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship and the 2013 World Senior Curling Championships will be held from April 13 to 20 at the newly constructed Grant-Harvey Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  This event marks the first time that Canada has hosted a World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship since its inception in 2008.

 The 2013 Players' Championship will be held from April 16 to 21 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ontario as part of the 2012–13 World Curling Tour.  It will be the fourth men's and fifth women's Grand Slam event of the 2012–13 curling season.  The event will be held in a round robin format.
 

PATRIOT’S DAY, APRIL 15th

Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day are four distinctly American tributes to liberties, freedom and democracy, commemorated by a holiday in the United States.

Then there is Patriot’s Day, celebrated on the third Monday of April.  For New Englanders, Patriot’s Day remains the quintessential observance: the anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War with skirmishes between British troops and the Minute Men of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, and preceded by Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride.  This uniquely New England holiday is celebrated only in the states of Massachusetts and Maine.

It should not be confused with Patriot Day, held on September 11 to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001.

The events of more than two centuries ago in April 1775, now commemorated as the Patriot’s Day holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, marked a turning point in the long struggle between England and her American colonies. In a march of protest and petition, which turned into revolution and independence, the fighting on April 19, 1775 foreshadowed the rebellious action of the American colonies in ultimately creating a new nation, the United States of America.  Originally celebrated on April 19, Patriot’s Day was moved to the third Monday of April in 1969.

For runners, Patriot’s Day has become synonymous with the Boston Marathon or, as locals  often refer to the day, Marathon Monday.   While "the shot heard 'round the world" continues to reverberate in re-enactments of the historic events, the sound of gunfire also will ring clearly in Hopkinton this Patriot’s Day to signal the start of the 117th Boston Marathon and to recall the ideals of the American Revolution.  

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon.  In 2012, the Boston Marathon attracted 26,895 entrants and about 500,000 spectators.

The Boston area is a uniquely and profoundly American locale; there's no better venue and no better occasion than the Boston Marathon and Patriots' Day to showcase the spirit.  And then there’s the Red Sox.

Every year, on the third Monday in April, the Red Sox play host to the only morning game on the entire Major League Baseball schedule.  The annual 11:05 a.m. game at Fenway Park is part of the festivities of Patriot’s Day, a federally recognized holiday in Massachusetts.  This year, the Boston Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
 

TAX DAY UNITED STATES, APRIL 15th

Mark your calendars!  The last day to file your 2012 taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is on Monday, April 15, 2013.

For those wanting to file a tax extension, basically asking the IRS that you need more time to file your tax return, you will have until October 16, 2012 to do so.  Keep in mind that asking for an extension of time to file does not mean that you can wait on any payments owed to the government.  If you will owe any money for underpaid taxes, then you may be slapped with interest charges and/or a penalty for paying late (the fee is about 5% per month interest on the balance due).

 

EMANCIPATION DAY, APRIL 16th  

Emancipation Day is a holiday in Washington DC to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which president Abraham Lincoln signed on April 16, 1862.  It is annually held on April 16.  In all other areas of the United States, April 16 is a normal day and public life is not affected.

Formal slavery was legal from 1619 until 1865 in the area that is now the United States.  Many slaves were of African origin and many slave owners were of European descent, although some other groups also had slaves.  By 1860, there were about four million slaves in the United States.  On April 16, 1862, Abraham Lincoln, who was the US president at the time, signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed more than 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia.  However, slavery did not officially end in the rest of the United States until after the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 until 1865.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution formally ended slavery in the US.  It was proposed on January 31, 1865, and ratified by 30 of the then 36 states in the same year.  However, it was only ratified in Mississippi in 1995.  Slavery and the racial divisions, upon which it was based, have had and continue to have huge implications for individuals and American society as a whole.

Emancipation Day in Washington DC marks the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act.  On January 4, 2005, legislation was signed to make Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District of Columbia.  Elsewhere in the United States, the emancipation of slaves is celebrated in Florida (May 20), Puerto Rico (March 22) and Texas (June 19).  There are also similar events in many countries in the Caribbean, including Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Many of these events occur during the first week of August as slavery was abolished in the British Empire on August 1, 1834.
           

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL

 Akumal ATM Service Fees Are Expensive
            Did you know that the service charges for the two ATM machines in Akumal (Pueblito and Super Chomak) are the most expensive in Mexico, if not the Americas.  Both ATMs charge 91.64 pesos per withdrawal, and the real kicker is that the machine at Super Chomak has a $2,000 peso limit, while it is $3,000 over at Pueblito.
 

Richard Mazzola’s Painting of the Month
            Richard Mazzola has his gallery, Ak-Nah Galeria, in Plaza Ukana, and back in February he had a very successful art show; see Richard’s Art Show.  As a result, The Akumalian is featuring one of Richard’s painting each month.

            This month’s painting is “The Holy Family”, and it is 14” x 20” oil on canvas.  This is Richard’s interpretation on the Doni Tondo or Doni Madonna, sometimes called The Holy Family, the only finished panel painting by the mature Michelangelo to survive.  Now in the Uffizi in Florence, Italy, and still in its original frame, the painting is in the form of a tondo, or round frame, which is frequently associated during the Renaissance with domestic ideas

Visit Richard’s Gallery for more info on Richard and his art work.

 
Progreso/Tampa Bay Ferry update
   
Tamara Magnusson tamarainprogreso@gmail.com reports on an update from Bruce Nierenberg, Chairman CEO, United Caribbean Lines, at bnierenberg@aol.com

“I appreciate that everyone who goes back and forth to the U.S. and Canada from the Yucatan will be very happy when we get the ferry started.  It has taken much longer than I had hoped it would as a result of many international things that are out of my control.  But I feel we are getting to the finish line and will be establishing the start date soon.

“The ferry will not start until 2014.  It is being targeted for a winter start hopefully by February.  If you all are planning to travel I would not delay any other travel arrangements in any way before these dates.

“I have put together a list of all the people who have contacted us answering our questionnaires etc.  That email list will be the first to know our specific plans when we announce them.  Tell the others that if they have not contacted us to send me (bnierenberg@aol.com )their email address, and I will add them to the list for the latest information and special rates when we start.  We also will have some special rates and deals for all of you that have been so patient.

“You and your friends who live in the Yucatan and Q.R. will be our most important customers, and be assured we will treat you all as special guests every time you sail with us.  We will have special rates for all of you that go frequently, and that will significantly reduce the cost of travel, and of course make it safer as well.”
 

Another One!  Tampa to Calica
  
Jorge Mario Chabolla Márquez, director of Calizas Industrializadas del Carmen, apparently has a proposed ferry service from Tampa, Florida to the Quintana Roo industrial port of Calica, just south of Playa del Carmen. It seems that this is also on hold for at least a year, if not longer.

Jorge Mario Chabolla Márquez said that Mexico's Dept. of Communications and Transportation is withholding necessary permits for development and enlargement of the port for reasons which are not clear.  He suggested that the Q.R. hotel industry may have objected to the creation of a major passenger port at Calica.  He plans to meet with federal regulators soon to get more information. Márquez expressed confidence that the project eventually will be approved, and he said that it will provide a major economic stimulus to the area.

Calica's existing port facility would have to be expanded and modernized to enable it to receive passengers and their vehicles.  Márquez said that Mexico's immigration authority (INM) also would need to open an office at the terminal.  But he emphasized that the port would serve merely for passenger reception, and not as a home port.  Márquez indicated that Mexican federal funds are available for the project.  He said that he had hoped to begin ferry service by the end of this year.

 If approved, there initially would two round-trip sailings a week between Tampa and Calica.


New Building on Entrance Road to Akumal
  
The Staff has yet to determine what this little building is going to house at the entrance to Akumal.  It is just across the driveway by Akumal Real Estate, between it an the Hekab Be Library.  Could it be a more permanent home for the Akumal Pirates?  An Akumal Information booth?  Another real estate office?  A fruit store.  A satellite for Costco?

Hekab Be Library Welcomes New Director
  
 The Hekab Be Library is pleased to welcome its new library director and teacher, Emilia May, who is a returning library veteran.  Emilia has been involved with Hekab Be since it began almost 14 years ago, and she has worked as a library assistant off and on over the years.  Emilia has most recently worked as a Montessori teacher, and will be bringing her pedagogical training and vast classroom experiences to work with the kids at Hekab Be.  We wish her a warm welcome back; we are thrilled she will be around again!

 
Kevin “Red Beard” McKee Celebrates 100th Trip

         On Wednesday, March 20th, Red Beard hosted Happy Hour at La Buena Vida to celebrate the completion of his 100th trip.

            In Kevin’s own words, “I didn't mean to leave anyone out.  It's a party for God sakes.  Trip number 100 is done (almost) on Tuesday afternoon.  Wednesday at Happy Hour 5-7 pm.  LBV, first 2 drinks are on me, don't pour them on me - just drink them.  It has been 15 years since I first drove to Akumal.  I was using directions from Gary & Kay Walton, now they call me for updates !! 100 trips is a lot for anybody, not to mention in only 182 months.  Toga is optional, some clothes required (by owner )” 
 

CHEMUYIL

    Recycling Program
    It has been reported that the local government (Municipality?) has a recycling program in Chemuyil.  The understanding is that once a month, the local residents can turn in recyclable materials (plastic, glass, metal, paper, cardboard, etc.) and get vouchers/coupons that can be used for food.  So, if you have any workers who live in Chemuyil, you should encourage them to sort and save the recyclable materials from your house/condo for this program.

     The Staff does not have any details other than this, but it sounds like a very good program.  It is working well for the workers at Casa Colibri.

This is similar to the program in Mexico City, where the 21m residents have far too much rubbish and not enough healthy food. Now they can swap one for the other.  A new monthly market run by the city government takes paper, glass, plastic and aluminum in return for tokens that can be swapped for locally grown food and plants.  Since it began in March 2012, the “Barter Market” in Chapultepec park has exchanged 140 tons of rubbish for 60 tons of produce.


TULUM

ZAMAS Hotel In Tulum, Mexico Announces International Chef & Mixologist Series
    
Susan Bohlken announces that ZAMAS Hotel and ¡Que Fresco! Restaurant are having their inaugural international chef and mixologist series, beginning in Spring 2013.  The series will bring renowned chefs and bar professionals from around the United States and Mexico to showcase international culinary talent and highlight the locally influenced cuisine of the Mayan town of Tulum.  The series started in March with Chef Mike Isabella, chef/owner of Graffiato and the upcoming Kapnos and G in Washington, DC.

Alicia Jenish, executive chef of The Grand Cafe in San Francisco will guest chef in May.

In July, Chef Telmo Faria, with beverage director Mike Barrow and owner Joe Hargrave from Tacolicious in the Bay Area, will prepare meals with Chef Donnie Masterton of The Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende.

Details on summer and fall chefs will be announced later this year, but upcoming participants will include Chef Adam Duyle of The Abbot’s Cellar and The Monk’s Kettle in November, and Mixologist Scott Baird of the Bon Vivants in early 2014.

 The culinary series provides celebrated chefs and bar professionals from the U.S. with a platform to share their expertise with the local talent of ZAMAS’ ¡Que Fresco! Restaurant, one of the first hotels and restaurants to open almost 20 years ago in Tulum, Mexico. Visiting chefs and mixologists plan special menu items inspired by their individual cooking and beverage styles with emphasis on local ingredients in Tulum.  This cross-cultural exchange will expose both ¡Que Fresco! staff, most of whom are Mayan, and restaurant guests to the many nuances, influences and techniques from visiting professionals.  Relying on fresh, indigenous ingredients, visiting chefs and mixologists will prepare specials from personal recipes after touring the produce market in Tulum and meeting with local fishermen and purveyors for fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

  March 20-23: Chef Mike Isabella of Graffiato in Washington, DC. Chef Isabella  prepared specials with local Mayan and tropical ingredients available in Tulum, but through the lens of his Italian-American upbringing.  Guests delighted in inspirations from Isabella’s popular Washington restaurant, Graffiato, including fresh pastas, seafood specials based on catches of the day, and pizzas from Que Fresco’s wood-burning oven, built years ago by a visiting Italian chef.

 May 4-8: Chef Alicia Jenish of the Grand Cafe in San Francisco will infuse her brasserie  style cooking with touches of Mexican and Caribbean cuisine.  As ZAMAS sits on a coconut plantation, she’s excited to use coconut water to braise pork ribs, which she plans on serving with fresh turmeric, cilantro and ginger.  The restaurant’s outdoor grill will be used for mussels, and local octopus will be braised for a flatbread finished off in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven.  Chef Jenish will also lead a class on how to make a classic steak tartare.

July 10-15: Chef Telmo Faria, with beverage director Mike Barrow and owner Joe Hargrave from Tacolicious, an entrepreneurial venture that started as a humble taco stand at San Francisco’s famed Ferry Building, come to Zamas in July.  The  restaurant now boasts three locations in the Bay Area, and the duo will bring their love for Mexican cuisine and craft cocktails to Tulum.  Chef Donnie Masterton of The Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, a friend of Faria and Hargrave, will join Tacolicious for the series.  Faria looks forward to using Que Fresco’s wood-burning oven to prepare pork ribs and skirt steak for tacos, and utilizing local ingredients like tamarindo, jicama, papaya, nopales and achiote.  Masterton will prep some of his signature dishes from The Restaurant.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

New Office Max Location
  
Office Max has moved to its new location between Sam’s Club/VIP and CFE sub-station just off MX307.  This is the location where everyone was hoping would be taken by Costco.
   

Plane Crashes by Sam’s Club
   
Late in March, a small-plane crashed on Highway 307, by Sam’s Club.  Mechanical failure was suspected for the crash. Neither the pilot nor a passenger heading for Cozumel were seriously injured.
 

 

LYRIDS METEOR SHOWER, APRIL 21 – 23

The predicted peak night for the Lyrid meteor shower is April 21-22, from late night April 22 until dawn April 23.  The main problem: there’s lots of moonlight.  Usually, the hour before dawn is best, regardless of your location on the globe.  The Lyrids are generally a modest shower, offering perhaps 10 to 20 meteors per hour in a dark, moonless sky.  What, no meteors? No problem. Use your time outdoors to check out the constellation Lyra the Harp.

The Lyrid meteors – April’s “shooting stars” – tend to be bright and often leave trails.  About 10-20 meteors per hour at peak can be expected.  Plus, the Lyrids are known for uncommon surges that can sometimes bring the rate up to 100 per hour.  Those rare outbursts are not easy to predict, but they’re one of the reasons the tantalizing Lyrids are worth checking out.  The radiant for this shower is in the constellation Lyra, which rises in the northeast at about 10 p.m.  Fortunately, this year, the new moon guarantees a dark sky in the late night and morning hours, the best time to watch the Lyrid shower.  As a general rule, the greatest number of Lyrid meteors fall in the dark hours before dawn.  The optimal night will probably be from late night April 21 until dawn April 22, though the night before or after (April 21/22 and April 22/23) may also offer a sprinkling of Lyrid meteors.  

The Lyrid Meteor Shower is named after the constellation Lyra, as the meteors appear to be falling from the constellation.  The debris that forms the Lyrid shower is dust from the comet C/1861 G1, known as Thatcher.  The swift and bright Lyrid meteors disintegrate after hitting our atmosphere at a moderate speed of 29.8 miles per second.
 

EARTH DAY, APRIL 22th 

Earth Day 2013, April 22, will mark the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day.

 As the 43rd Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, people are becoming frustrated with the failure of governments to take any steps toward protecting and preserving the environment.  The Earth Day 2013 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them toward quantifiable outcomes, using vehicles such as petitions, the Billion Acts of Green campaign, and events.

 By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

 I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

            I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."

 The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated and it is now observed each year by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries. Senator Gaylord Nelson, an environmental activist in the U.S. Senate, took a leading role in organizing the celebration, to demonstrate popular political support for an environmental agenda. He modeled it on the highly effective Vietnam War protests of the time.

 Check out the CEA web site at www.ceakumal.org and watch for the CEA Newsletter for up-to-date information on the Earth Day Programs CEA is organizing.
 

FULL MOON, APRIL 25th  

The Full Pink Moon is on Apr 25, 2013, 02:00pm AST.

The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring.  Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and -- among coastal Maya tribes -- the Full Fish Moon, when the barracuda swam inland to the cenotes to spawn.  This is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full Moon of the spring season. 
 

 

ARBOR DAY, APRIL 26th

Arbor Day (from the Latin feminine noun arbor, simply meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. 

The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska.  It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan.  Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture.  But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.

Morton (photo, right) felt that Nebraska's landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees.  He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and he urged his neighbors to follow suit.  Morton's real opportunity, though, arrived when he became a member of Nebraska's state board of agriculture.  He proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees.  Nebraska's first Arbor Day was an amazing success.  More than one million trees were planted.  A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton's birthday.

In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton's idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days.  Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate.  (State Arbor Days) At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.  Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries including Australia.  Variations are celebrated as 'Greening Week' of Japan, 'The New Year's Days of Trees' in Israel, 'The Tree-loving Week' of Korea, 'The Reforestation Week' of Yugoslavia, 'The Students' Afforestation Day' of Iceland and 'The National Festival of Tree Planting' in India.  Julius Sterling Morton would be proud.  Sometimes one good idea can make a real difference.

For the homeowner, Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the trees on your property and plan for the future.  Inspect your trees.  Note any broken branches or evidence of disease or insect infestation.  Think about how planting new trees might improve the look of your property or provide wind or heat protection.  Take a trip to your local nursery to see what's available and to get new ideas.  Walk around your neighborhood.  Are there any public areas where tree planting or tree maintenance might make a real difference to your community?  Talk with your neighbors.  Find out what their opinions are.  And, oh yes, plant a tree.

Mexico celebrates National Tree Day on the second Thursday of July; i.e. July 11.
 

EL DIA DEL NINO, APRIL 30th 

 Children's Day is recognized on various days in many places around the world, to honor children globally.  It was established in 1954 to protect children working long hours in dangerous circumstances and allow all children access to an education.

In Mexico, Children's Day is celebrated on April 30.  It is also known as "El Día Del Niño". On this day teachers in schools organize the day for their children.  Lessons are suspended for the day.  They organize games, music, and the children bring in their favorite foods to share with others. Some families also have a day out with their children.  There are special activities for the children in parks and sports centers. Sometimes, also, the children will be given presents by their families.  This is the day when children are really honored in Mexico.

 Mary Anderson at Tequilaville says, “We are starting to gear up for our Annual Kids day event, (April 30th)!  Last year we had over 200 children and parents!!!  We are asking for donations to help offset the cost.  You can make cash donations or we ask for little items to pass out to the children; buck or two!!!   No more.  We are also asking for volunteers for this event!!  Last year was a bit overwhelming for just our staff to get the children fed and drinks distributed.”   
 

NOW I HAVE HEARD EVERYTHING, I THINK

A new kind of streaming technology is set to make quite the splash in Allentown, Pa.

 Minor league baseball's Lehigh Valley IronPigs announced on Tuesday plans to bring a pee-controlled urinal video game system to their home field when the season begins next month.  Yes, that's right: a pee-controlled urinal video game system.  The technology, trumpeted by the team as a first in the sports world, comes via UK company Captive Media, and is a partnership with a local hospital system to promote men's prostate health at minor league baseball's most-frequented stadium.

But enough with the boring details. Let's get down to what's important: how this bit of cutting-edge tech actually works.

First, a male baseball fan walks into any of Coca-Cola Park's many men's rooms.  He swaggers up to his urinal of choice, noticing a video monitor mounted near eye level on the wall, above.  As he gets close, "the video console flips into gaming mode, using patented technology that detects both his presence and stream," according to the IronPigs' press release.  Then "algorithms" take over from there, letting "the user engage with the screen by aiming in different directions to test their agility and knowledge."

After wrapping up, urinators/users are presented with a final score and an online access code to look up where they rank against other fans at the game.  High scores will also be posted to Coca-Cola Park video boards.

So just how much fun can you have with a urinal gaming system?

  The IronPigs promise the season will bring a rotating cast of games, while a quick look at Captive Media's product site gives a little preview.  There's "Art Splash," in which players can choose from a palette of colors to paint in broad strokes.  There's a game in which users pee to race a speeding snowmobile while hitting cartoon penguins for bonus points.  There's also "Clever Dick," in which users are faced with trivia questions before peeing left or right to answer true/false questions.

Can pee-controlled urinal video gaming ever make the major leagues?  What about one for women? This could be the next "requirement" for up-scale rentals in Akumal.
                             

EVENTS

Once again, Robin’s “Best Shirt Award, was lead off “Event” of the month.  But, that was quickly followed by Nan Armstrong’s Toga Birthday Party at CEA on March 2nd

 

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