The Akumalian

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

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September 2013  Issue 129

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Well, it looks like we got through August with no real storms, let alone hurricanes.  The only thing was a tropical depression called Invest 92L.

The low season officially is here, as defined by the Mexican kids going back to school and the closing of Lol Ha Restaurant.

September is busy as usual, what with Labor Day in the U.S. and Independence Day in Mexico, to say nothing of Robin’s “Best Shirt Award”, the U.S. Open, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, and the Autumnal Equinox.  Come on down!

Do not forget the other local publications, Sac-Be - The Costal Source for Travel in the Riviera Maya, the Pelican Free Press, and the CEA Newsletter

TWO OTHER THINGS: Last month we made an effort to update the Telephone Book and Birthdays/Anniversaries, and we got a total of four (4) responses, and half of those were addressing non-problems – they did not even check the listings??  Just remember GIGO.  Respond to

 The Staff also asked for your help with the distribution list for The Akumalian.  Over time, people change their e-mail address, but they do not delete (unsubscribe) from The Akumalian’s distribution list.  The Staff requests/implores you to go to the Subscribe Box in the top left hand corner and unsubscribe all your older e-mail addresses.  Just type in the old address and check unsubscribe.  It would be GREATLY appreciated.  It is possible that one or two addresses were deleted, but there still are over 200 bad e-mail addresses in the distribution list.  PLEASE REMOVE/UNSUBSCRIBE YOUR OLD E-MAIL ADDRESSES!


Well, we are going into September, and all we have had to worry about so far is Invest 92L, which brought a lot of rain over the August 14 - 15 period.  It also brought a capsized boat into Akumal Bay (see What's New Around Town), and that turned out to be an excellent subject for the rumor mill.

Invest 92L aside, September brings the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and NOAA is still predicting that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season will remain above average with 13-19 named storms. 

So far, 2013 has not recorded a hurricane in the Atlantic basin.  The majority of the storms have had a difficult times strengthening into a 74-mile-per-hour storm.  But a specific condition, which now appears to be ending, probably helped prevent Atlantic hurricanes earlier this summer. For late July and early August, an intense surge of dry, Saharan dust spread westward from Africa, bringing conditions highly unfavorable for tropical cyclone development.  The dust is now expected to die down, and hurricane conditions are likely to become more favorable as we enter the peak of the hurricane season, which occurs from mid-August to early October.

Bottom line: NOAA is still predicting that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season will remain above average with 13-19 named storms; there have been five named storms so far this season.

Here are two Mexico sites worth checking periodically: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional and CENAM.


In Latin, septem means "seven" and septimus means "seventh"; September was in fact the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 153 BC.

Virgo - August 24 – September 23
Libra - September 23 - October 23

 September Birthstone: Sapphire
Sapphire is the modern September birthstone and is a variety of the mineral species corundum.  Sapphires occur in all colors of the rainbow with the exception of red, which is ruby.  The name corundum comes from the ancient Sanskrit "kuruvindam", while the name "Sapphire" comes from the Persian word "safir", meaning "beloved of Saturn", (or Greek sapphiros).

 September Birthday Flower: Aster
The September birthday flower is the aster, which is often used to accent different types of mixed flower arrangements.  In addition to representing daintiness, asters are also known as a symbol of love.




Birthdays and Anniversaries

2          Cristina Sebe 
2          Leandro Kantun  (CEA)
3          Gary Clements
4          Sharon Winkel
5          Claudia Tolenterio
7          Scott Brown
10        Cheryl McClendon
12        Frank Hatch
12        Steve & Sharon Wandler Anniversary
14        Marry Henderson
14        Gabi Orvananos
14        Karl Shubert
16        Jen Smith
16        Shari Stern
16        Jackie Power
17        Kathleen Cole
18        Denny & Diane Mahan Anniversary (20th)
18        Dave & Laura Bush Wolfe Anniversary
20        Kiley Elizabeth Lopez Sheffield
22        Mauricio Bautista (CEA)
23        Valerie Nejame
24        Lauren Haynes
25        Macon Gravlee 
25        Rudy Perez
25        Janet Thurber
27        Ryan Fredette
27        Robert Fredette
30        Richard Pargot
30        David Daniell

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

 Missed August Birthdays and Anniversaries



The 2013 US Open will be a tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts.  It will be the 133rd edition of the US Open and the final fourth Grand Slam event of the year.  It will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and run from 26 August to 9 September.

Andy Murray and Serena Williams are defending champions in singles events.

The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hardcourt tennis tournament, which is the modern iteration of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, for which men's singles was first contested in 1881.  Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year; the other three are the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.  The main tournament consists of five event championships: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles, with additional tournaments for senior, junior, and wheelchair players.  Since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York City.  


The 23rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen on Thursday, September 12, 2013.  TICKETS are available exclusively from the Harvard Box Office.

The name is a play on the word ignoble ("characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness") and the name "Nobel" after Alfred Nobel.  The official pronunciation used during the ceremony is /ˌɪɡnoʊˈbɛl/ "ig-no-bell".  It is not pronounced like the word "ignoble" (/ɪɡˈnoʊbəl/).

The Ig Nobel Prizes, which are handed out annually at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre by actual Nobel Prize laureates, were founded in 1990 in order to recognize scientific research that "first makes you laugh, then makes you think."  Conducted under the auspices of the scientific humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research," the awards are intended to "celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology."

 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.

Improbable research is research that makes people laugh and then think.  Improbable Research is the name of the organization that collects (and sometimes conduct) improbable research.  They publish a magazine called the Annals of Improbable Research, and they administer the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Their goal is to make people laugh, then make them think.  They also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not — in science and everywhere else?

The theme of this year's ceremony (though not necessarily of the individual prizes) is: FORCE.  In addition to the awarding of the 2013 Ig Nobel Prizes, the ceremony will include a variety of momentously inconsequential events.  Among them:

·       Pre-Pre-Ceremony Concert (in the lobby, 5:00-5:30 pm) by the Boston Squeezebox Ensemble

·       Pre-Ceremony Mega-Micro Concert (in the theater, 5:40-5:55 pm), "Show of Force", by electric-harp dynamo Deborah Henson-Conant, founder & curator of the Burnt Food Museum

·       Two grand Paper Airplane Deluges, one at ceremony's beginning, the other at the midpoint

·       The 24/7 LECTURES, in which several of the world's top thinkers will each explain her or his subject twice:
FIRST: a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS
AND THEN: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS

o   Beatrice Golomb (Professor of Medicine, UCSD). Topic: CHOCOLATE

o   Dudley Herschbach (Nobel Laureate, Chemistry): TORQUE

o   Melissa Franklin (Professor of Physics, Harvard). Topic: FORCE

o   and one or two others TBA

·       World premiere of "THE BLONSKY DEVICE",  a mini-opera inspired by the work of 1999 Ig Nobel Prize winners George and Charlotte Blonsky

o   with an all-star biomedical orchestra, "The Forces of Nature", composed of Harvard and MIT physicians and researchers.

o   with a special appearance by the Blonskys' nearest living relatives, Gale and Don Sturtevant

o   with a special on-minute lecture, "The Biomechanical Forces Involved in Human Childbirth", by Daniel Lieberman (co-winner of the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for physics, for explaining why pregnant women don't tip over)

·       Returning Ig Nobel Prize winners:

o   TBA

·       Gala Introduction of the Audience Delegations

·       All speeches will be brief, and thus especially delightful, with assistance from 8-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo.

·       The V-Chip Monitor, Prominent New York Attorney William J. Maloney, will guard against offensive words, sounds, thoughts, or imaginings.

·       The Traditional "Welcome, Welcome" Speech

·       The Traditional "Goodbye, Goodbye" Speech

·       Other wondrous things

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the onethat heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but, 'That's funny..." —Isaac Asimov

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." —Sherlock Holmes


Kazue Schober was back in town to fly back to Brussels with Beniko.
Donny & Cheryl Hall were here in August, according to their Facebook page.
Sam & Sharon Goby were back at Playa Caribe.
John & Sharon Winkel have also returned to Playa Caribe.
Ron & Shari Stern were back at La Bahia for a short spell.
Wendell Day has returned.
Richard & Yijie Zhuo Dooley were back at Playa Caribe.
Mary Henderson has returned from her successful trip to Philadelphia, as has Dan Freeman.
Jamie and Yolanda are back, ready to continue construction.
Terry Turner, Michael Schwartz, and Hollis Hines were back in South Akumal for the long Labor Day weekend.
John & Rosemary Johnson are back in their Mi Casa del Mar condo.
Mike & Cathy Cook are also here.
Bill & Cheryl McCendon were spotted around town.


 It seemed like the week of August 19 was somewhat of an exodus week, especially on Tuesday & Wednesday, as many people bailed out for various reasons, especially ‘back to school’.
Ryan Fredette checks into his Univ. of Mass. Dartmouth dorm on September 3nd to start sophomore year.  



Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday of September; i.e. September 2nd .

The origins of the American Labor Day can be traced back to the Knights of Labor in the United States and a parade organized by them on September 5, 1882 in New York City.  They were inspired by an annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada.  In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event.  Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association favored a May 1 holiday.  With the event of Chicago's Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots - May 1st is also the high holy day of communism or Marxism.  Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s.  The September date has remained unchanged, even though the government was encouraged to adopt May 1 as Labor Day, the date celebrated by the majority of the world.  Moving the holiday, in addition to breaking with tradition, could have been viewed as aligning the U.S. labor movements with internationalist sympathies.

Labor Day is generally regarded simply as a day of rest and, unlike May Day, political demonstrations are rare.  Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events.  Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.  Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for surfing parties before returning to school. 


Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days ofTishri.  In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year."  Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.  This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.

There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions."  Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday.  The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar).  The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.

The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet.  One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue.  A total of 100 notes are sounded each day.  There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts 10 seconds minimum.  The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance.  The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat.

 No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah.  Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded.  In fact, there is a special prayer book called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.

Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year.


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 recently, first time winners seem to have had the edge.

The August competition drew a huge number of contestants, and there was a real good selection of competing shirts, making it very difficult for the judges.  However, Don Eischen was a very clear winner from the very colorful field.  See the photos at August Best Shirt for more photos.


The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport and the hardest to win.  Only four countries – the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland – have experienced the euphoria of winning the “Auld Mug,” and only seven cities have hosted the competition before San Francisco.

Remember when the America’s Cup featured 12 meter yachts like these?

The 34th edition of the America’s Cup marks a transformation for the oldest trophy in international sport as new boats, cutting-edge technology, and a close-to-shore venue mean that this summer’s America’s Cup will be unlike anything that’s preceded it. 

The 2013 America’s Cup is features notable firsts:

  • First time racing is inshore not offshore
  • First time all teams are racing wing sail catamarans
  • First time the AC72 “50 mph flying boats” foil above the water
  • First time there is a new pathway series for youth sailors, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
  • First time the America’s Cup has been held in the United States since 1995

 The Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, is the regatta that determines which challenger races the defender in the America’s Cup Finals.  Scheduled July 7-August 30, Emirates Team New Zealand defeated Luna Rossa Challenge of Italy, 7 -1 and will go on to meet the defending Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup Finals.

 Now, they have the ASC72.  Powered by a towering wing sail, the AC72 has been designed to capture the imagination of a new generation of sailors.  Capable of top speeds in excess of twice the windspeed, the AC72 is thrilling fans as it challenges the very best sailors in the world, pushing them to their limits.  Additionally, in keeping with the goal of revolutionizing the media coverage of the racing, the AC72 has provisions for on board television cameras as well as surround sound and crew microphones, and this makes for very TV exciting viewing.  Dimensions:

  • Hull Length    22 m (72.2 ft)
  • Maximum Beam         14 m (45.9 ft)
  • Mast Height    40 m (131.2 ft)
  • Maximum Draft         4.40 m (14.4 ft)



National Grandparents Day has more than one origin. Some people consider it to have been first proposed by Michael Goldgar in the 1970s after he visited his aunt in an Atlanta nursing home, Spending $11,000 of his own money in lobbying efforts to have the day officially recognized, he made 17 trips to Washington DC over a seven-year span to meet with legislators.

Others consider Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, a housewife in West Virginia, to have been the main driver for the day of observance.  Throughout the 1970s McQuade worked hard to educate the people about the important contributions senior citizens made and the contributions that they would be willing to make if asked.  She also urged people to adopt a grandparent, not for one day a year and not for material giving, but for a lifetime of experience.

In any event, National Grandparents Day was finally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.  Marian McQuade received a phone call from the White House to advise her of this event.  Many people believe that National Grandparents Day was inspired by her efforts.  A presidential proclamation on September 6, 1979, made this day official – it designated Sunday, September 9, 1979, (being the “first Sunday of September following Labor Day”) as National Grandparents Day.

Each year the President is requested to issue a proclamation to: designate the first Sunday in September after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day; and to call on people, groups and organizations to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Ryan Fredette’s grandparents will be celebrating without him in Akumal, but they will be there with him in Massachusetts for his 20th birthday, later in the month.



 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.

            The size is 2.5 by 4, and the medium is oil paint (the jaguar and tree branch) on photography.  The original has been sold, but Richard can make reproductions of any size.

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

  New Pharmacy
             As reported earlier, Akumal Real Estate has vacated is ground floor location just across from the entrance to the parking lot, and it has been replaced by a reasonably sized Farmacia with various sundry goods.  More competition for Super Chomak and Pueblita, which are very, very close, and this has the advantage of being the first one you see as you come into town, but the disadvantage is the lack of immediate free parking.

New Taco Place
            Believe it or not, Akumal has another taco establishment, and it is squeezed into a small space right beside the new Farmacia mentioned above; you can see it in the right side of the photo above.  It is called El Comal de Akumal, and it also has smoothies and boasts “Cheapest in town.”

New Pemex Station
            The Pemex station just outside the Akumal Pueblo is still ‘proximente’, but a Pemex station is going in just south of the entrance road to Aktun Chen.  This has been a work-in-progress for what seems like ages and ages, but it does seem like it might be ready by Christmas, unlike some house we know that have also been under construction for ages, and ages, and ages.

Entrance to Dreams Akumal
            It is reported that Carlos Ortiz is building a 400-room boutique Dreams Akumal Hotel between Akumal Beach Resort and Hotel Akumal Caribe (or there abouts) and the entrance road from the highway has been established for the construction vehicles.  The sign out by the highway mentions Remodelacion y Ampliacion del Hotel ABR.  This is unusual from most other hotels that have built along the Riviera Maya in that a huge gate/entrance was not the first thing built.

Capsized Boat In Akumal Bay
            After the stormy Wednesday and Thursday (August 14 & 15) a capsized boat was discovered in Akumal Bay.  Stories abound on just what happened and who the boat belongs to, and all kinds or rumors swirled around the beach bar that Friday evening.  The Akumalian sent out its I-Team to get the “rest of the story”, and that can be seen at This Trip Is Different.  This Trip Is Personal.”

Lol Ha Restaurant
Laura reports, “We close August 31st for the low season, and I will have a Mini Lolha Dinner Menu available at the Beach Bar nightly to 9:30pm.

We do not have any shows as of the 15th of August, and for September, we are having an Enchilada Festival at the Beach bar.”

Turtle Bay Café
Bart reports:
“Open for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Every Day
College and Pro Football Viewing will take place
at the bar
Happy Hour remains the same until October.”

La Lunita
     Annette says, "We will probably close for two weeks between Sept. 17 - Oct. 17 (when the hotel is closed), yet, we have not decided the dates, there is also a possibility of not closing at all."   
FLASH1 - may be closed 4 weeks in conjunction with hotel remodeling
FLASH2 - August 30th was Tony's last night at La Lunita.


2013 Turtle Update
 Biol. Mariano Suárez Calleros, CEA Coordinador Programa de Tortugas Marinas, reports "We just passed our record number of 803 nests from last year, now we have 806 (188 loggerhead and 618 green) nests and one month to go, so this is the best year ever regarding to number of nests and hatchlings (7,247 loggerhead and 2,917 green to date) in Akumal.  At the end of the season the hatchling count will be around 80,000!  Conservation efforts are working.


Mexico has known many heroes through her long and eventful history.  Perhaps none have captured the imagination and stirred the hearts to the degree that Los Niños Héroes (Heroic Children) have.  In 1847, six brave young men fought valiantly for their country during the Mexican-American War. Tragically, they died defending her honor.  Ranging in age from just 13 to 19 years of age, these military cadets are remembered today with reverence and national pride.  A great monument erected in their honor, Los Niños Héroes Monument, stands proudly at the entrance to Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.  This historical memorial is visited by thousands of Mexican citizens and foreign travelers each year.

 The Mexican-American War was in its final chapters when the Battle of Chapultepec took place.  The date was September 13, 1847 and American forces were quickly advancing on Chapultepec Castle.  General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who was in charge of forces in Mexico City, recognized the strategic advantage that Chapultepec Hill held.  Geographically, its value was enormous as it position protected Mexico City on its west side from invaders.

Unfortunately, there were not enough resources available for its defense.  Rising some 200 feet above the surrounding landscape, the site was naturally fortified.  However, American forces greatly outnumbered their Mexican counterparts, both in manpower and gunpowder.  Many prominent Americans, including Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams considered the war unjust and questioned the rationale for the invasion.

In the years preceding the war, Chapultepec Castle had been utilized as Mexico’s military training academy.  As a result, when the war broke out, there were dozens of teenage cadets in attendance.  General Nicolos Bravo commanded the forces stationed at Chapultepec Hill, and when it became apparent that the American forces were triumphing, he ordered his men, including the cadets, to retreat to safety.

Six young men, however, refused to relinquish their posts and bravely met the superior forces of the Americans.  They died that September day, defending their country.  Their sacrifice has been forever etched into Mexicos history.

President Harry S. Truman visited the Los Ninos Heroes monument in 1947, just months prior to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Chapultepec.  A moment of reverential silence was observed by the President as a sign of respect for the young cadets.  When Truman was asked by reporters why he stopped to see the monument, his reply was “Brave men don’t belong to any one country.  I respect bravery wherever I see it.


Yom Kippur 2013 begins at sunset on September 13th, 2013 and ends on the evening of the September 14th.  Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement.  It is a major fast day that is meant to be devoted to communal and personal repentance for sins committed over the course of the previous year.  Because of the nature of Yom Kippur it is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar.

Before Yom Kippur, many Jews perform kaparot to symbolically rid themselves of all their sins.  On Yom Kippur itself, Jews are commanded to fast as a symbol of atonement.  Other restrictions on Yom Kippur include bathing, wearing perfume, wearing shoes with leather soles, and having sexual relations.  The day is filled with prayer, beginning with Kol Nidrei in the evening, and ending with Neilah.


The stage for the upheaval and dissatisfaction that gave rise to Mexican independence was set by political and economic changes in Europe and its American colonies of the late 18th and 19th centuries.  The French revolution and Napoleonic wars diverted attention of Spain from its colonies leaving a vacuum and increasing dissatisfaction and desire for local government.  The forced removal of Ferdinand VII from the Spanish thrown and his replacement by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, presented opportunity for Mexican intelligentsia to promote independence in the name of the legitimate Spanish king. 

 From its inception the colonial government of New Spain was dominated by Spanish born Peninsulares or Guachapins, who held most leadership positions in the church and government, in contrast to Mexican-born Criollos (Creoles) who were the ten to one majority.  Neither the Peninsulares nor upper class Criollos desired to involve the masses of native Indians and mestizos in government or moves for local control. 

In 1808, the Peninsulares learned of Viceroy Jose de Iturrigaray’s intent to form a junta with Creole factions, a move that he thought might make him King of an independent Mexican kingdom.  In an armed attack on the palace, Peninsulares arrested Iturrigaray and replaced him with puppet Pedro Garibay after which they carried out bloody reprisals against Criollos, who were suspected of disloyalty.  Although reform movements paused, political and economic instability in Europe continued as well as hardship and unrest in the Americas.

One liberal organization that was forced underground was the Literary Club of Queretaro which formed for intellectual discussion, but in practice became a planning organization for revolution.  Independence- and reform-oriented thinkers also began to consider enlisting the native Indian, mestizo and lower class masses in wresting control from the Peninsulares and in armed independence movements.  Queretaro was an important agricultural region that had suffered extensively by economic stalemate and failure.  An active member of the group was Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a well-educated liberal priest who questioned policies of the church including clerical celibacy, banning certain literature, infallibility of the pope and the virgin birth of Christ.  Hidalgo became the curator of Dolores in 1803 with primarily an Indian congregation whose languages he spoke and to whom he administered practical skills of life, as much as religious doctrine.  In Queretaro, Hidalgo met Capt. Ignacio Allende, a revolutionary thinker in the Spanish army.  In spring 1810, Allende and Hidalgo planned an uprising for December of the year that leaked out to Spanish authorities and their arrest was ordered.

In September 1810, Father Hidalgo was forced to prematurely distribute the Grito de Delores to his parishoners and nearby residents which was an appeal for social and economic reform.  With little organization and no training, essentially a mob of thousands of primarily Indians and mestizos overwhelmed royal forces in Guanajuato, and proceeded to murder and loot Peninsulares, Criollos and other "whites" in their path.  The force continued to Mexico City and defeated royalist on the outskirts, but did not enter and occupy the city, after which the ragged revolutionary army returned home.

Hidalgo and his Creole officers were later able to assemble an army of 80,000 by payment with looted Peninsulare gold and assets.  Viceroy Francisco Javier Venegas, and his soon to be successor, Gen. Felix Maria Calleja del Rey, responded to the insurgency with a vengeance, and in January 1811 Hidalgo suffered a serious defeat outside Guadalajara where rebel forces were routed at Calderon Bridge.  Bloody retaliation followed by mass executions of suspected rebel sympathizers by Spanish crown forces under Viceroy Calleja del Rey.  Hidalgo and associates turned toward the northern provinces Nuevo Santander, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Texas for refuge, where local sympathy for the rebellion and independence continued. 

 Royalist forces in Nuevo Santander refused to fight against the insurgents as well as troops under Governor Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante in Coahuila.  As the royalist forces moved north to crush resistance, it was only in Coahuila and Texas that revolutionary events continued.  On 21 March 1811, a periodic rebel turned loyalist, Ignacio Elizondo, ambushed Ignacio Allende, Father Hidalgo and associates at the Wells of Bajan on the road to Monclova in Coahuila.  Hidalgo and associates were captured and executed in Chihuahua.

At the core of Mexican patriotism is Hidalgo's Grito de Dolores.  Every year, on the night of September 15-16, the President of the Republic "reenacts" the Grito on a balcony of the National Palace as the climax of the Independence Day celebrations.  To do this with historical accuracy is well-nigh impossible, for no one knows precisely what Hidalgo said.  The three principal contemporary reports fail to agree.  Sotelo's account, the most confused and least authoritative, stated that the Grito was a short speech, made from the window of the priest's house, to the first group of followers who assembled before dawn.  


The Full Harvest Moon is on September 18, 02:19 am AST, and it is always the full Moon occurring nearest to the Autumnal Equinox.  The Harvest Moon usually comes in September, but (on average) about every three or four years it will fall in early October.  At the peak of the harvest, Maya can work into the night by the light of this moon.  Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the Yucatan, and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much Central America. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice — the chief Mayan staples — are now ready for gathering.


The full moon of August 20 was a Blue Moon, even though it was not the second full moon of the month.  “Why is that?” I hear you ask.

August's full moon qualified as a Blue Moon because it was the third full moon in a season with four (most seasons have only three).  Historically, there have been two different definitions of a Blue Moon.

Technically, a Blue Moon is the third full moon in a four-full-moon season.  However, a 1946 article in "Sky & Telescope" magazine mistakenly defined it as the second full moon in a single month (since most months have only one full moon), and the definition stuck.  Because August had just this one full moon, it didn't meet the mistaken, though commonly used, definition, though it did qualify as a technical Blue Moon.

The moon is moving away from us.  Each year, the moon steals some of Earth's rotational energy, and uses it to propel itself about 3.8 centimeters higher in its orbit.  Researchers say that when it formed, the moon was about 14,000 miles from Earth.  It's now more than 280,000 miles away.


The September equinox 2013 is on September 22, at 2:44pm AST.

In the language of science, an equinox is either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect.  For the rest of us, it's one of two times a year when the sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are of approximately equal length.

At the autumnal equinox, the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

The vernal equinox, also known as “the first point of Aries,” is the point at which the sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north.  This occurs about March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the date of either equinox, the sun is above the equator, and night and day are of approximately equal length; the word equinox is often used to refer to either of these dates.

The equinoxes are not fixed points on the celestial sphere but move westward along the ecliptic, passing through all the constellations of the zodiac in 26,000 years.  This motion is called the precession of the equinoxes.  The vernal equinox is a reference point in the equatorial coordinate system.

The Autumnal Equinox signals the end of the summer months and the beginning of winter.  At this time of year, days have been shortening since the Summer Solstice some three months earlier, and the Equinox is the point where nights reach the same length as days.  After this point, the Sun will shine lower and lower on the horizon until the Winter Solstice in about three months' time.


Ancient stone masons built and aligned the Kukulkan pyramid centuries ago to project the sun's rays into a diamond-back rattlesnake of light and shadow.  On the morning and evenings of Equinox on September 22 and 23, thousands flock to Chichen Itza to view the same dramatic display.

In the fall the appearance is visible from mid August through mid October.

For optimum viewing of the serpent of light, be near the great courtyard which faces the western facet of the Kukulkan Pyramid beginning at about four in the afternoon.  The best viewing of the sight is from five days before until five days after Equinox.  Needless to say, accommodations fill up fast!  On the actual day of Equinox, people stake out their vantage point early in the day, as a great sea of humanity begins to deluge one of the great wonders of the world!


Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival celebrating beer held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.  Running from late September to the first weekend in October, it is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world's largest fair, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.  To the locals, it is not called Oktoberfest, but "die Wiesn", after the colloquial name of the fairgrounds themselves.  The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810.  Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the original Munich event.

The Oktoberfest is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich's center.  Large quantities of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed, with almost 7 million liters served during the 16 day festival in 2007.  Visitors may also enjoy a wide variety of traditional food such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezeln (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkohl/Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian  delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

With € 9.85 the price for the most expensive "Maß" Oktoberfest beer is 35 cent higher in comparison to last year.

Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810.  The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event.  The fields were named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's meadow") in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n".

Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria.  The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.

The festival was eventually prolonged and moved ahead to September to allow for better weather conditions.  Today, the last day of the festival is the first Sunday in October.  In 2006, the Oktoberfest extended two extra days because the first Tuesday, October 3, was a national holiday.  Over the past 200 years, Oktoberfest was canceled 24 times due to cholera epidemics and war.

FYI - the German airline Condor has direct flights from Cancun to/from Frankfurt, Germany, and from there it is an easy connection to Munich on Lufthansa.


Boston-by-way-of-Brazil super model Gisele Bundchen - also known as Mrs. Tom Brady - tops Forbes' World's Highest-Paid Models of 2013 list with a cool $42 million.  The number is an estimate for Bundchen's work from June 2012-2013 and includes paychecks from her endless advertising, endorsement, and editorial gigs.  This is the seventh year in a row that Bunchen has topped the list and 33-year-old towers over the other listmakers, including Miranda Kerr with $7.2 million, Adrianna Lima, $6 million, and Kate Moss, $5.7 million, in spots 2-4 respectively.

Some of this year's most-buzzed and commercialized models, including Kate Upton, Karlie Kloss, and Cara Delevingne, were notably absent from the list

Bundchen also snagged two other spots on Forbes' annual lists this year, including No. 95 on the 100 Most Influential Women of 2013, and an unranked slot on the World's Most Powerful Couples list with main squeeze Tom Brady.


There probably were some other Akumal "Events" in August besides the "Best Shirt Award", but The Staff did not have them covered.


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