The Akumalian

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

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October 2013  Issue 130

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Thankfully, September 2013 is history.  Akumal and the Caribbean have dodged all the Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, and for most of the month, we received “too much” rain. 

And, Ryan Fredette celebrated his 20th 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.


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.



Birthdays and Anniversaries
3          Cathy Perez
4          Stefanie Fredette
5          George & Josie Pritchard Anniversary
8          Maureen Miller
9          Pat Reagan
10        Gary Phillips
11        Hollis Hines
11        Lynne Fanshier
12        Jonathan Cook
13        Kazue Hayashi
14        Denny Mahan
14        Jonathan & Melody Cook Anniversary
17        Alison Keegan
17        Nancy Poor    
19        Verana Titze
20        Jerry Cain
21        George Plamondon
23        Mia Presley DeAngelis
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 August Birthdays / Anniversary
29        Charley Lerner & Caryl Rosen Anniversary
30        Charley Lerner



 The 23rd 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony happened on Thursday, September 12, 2013.  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 2013 prizes:

 MEDICINE PRIZE: for assessing the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice.

 PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.

 JOINT PRIZE IN BIOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY: for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the Milky Way.

 SAFETY ENGINEERING PRIZE: The late Gustano Pizzo for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers — the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane's specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.

 PHYSICS PRIZE: for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.

 CHEMISTRY PRIZE: for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realized.

 ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE: for parboiling a dead shrew, and then swallowing the shrew without chewing, and then carefully examining everything excreted during subsequent days — all so they could see which bones would dissolve inside the human digestive system, and which bones would not.

 PEACE PRIZE: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, AND to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

 PROBABILITY PRIZE: for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

 PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: for the medical techniques described in their report "Surgical Management of an Epidemic of Penile Amputations in Siam" — techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.

 You can view the 23rd 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony here.


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 quiet, with most of the activity that has come from Africa heading up into the Atlantic. 

However, there was Invest 95L - pictured below - the week of September 16, and that dumped a lot of rain on Akumal and the Riviera Maya.

  And now, Invest 97-L looms just over the horizon.  The broad area of low pressure south of Jamaica has changed little in organization. Thunderstorm activity is sparse due to the presence of dry air over the western Caribbean. Slow development is still possible as it moves northwestward toward the Gulf of Mexico by later this week. 97-L should stay weak due to increasing winds aloft but may enhance rainfall over the northern Gulf coast this weekend.


“How wet has it been?”, I hear you ask?  Only Tabasco and Chiapas had more rain than Quintana Roo through this period; 48.9 and 48.6 inches respectively.

Source data from Servicio Meteorológico Nacional.


 This year, on October 4, 2013 we celebrate the fifthteenth 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.

As is well known by now throughout the world Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963.  That image went on to become the most recognizable symbol of good will and good cheer on the planet.

 As the years passed Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition of the marketplace.  Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day®. He thought that we, all of us, should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.  The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion.  Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each year, neither should we.  He declared that the first Friday in October each year would henceforth be World Smile Day. Ever since that first World Smile Day held in 1999, it has continued every year in Smiley's hometown of Worcester, MA and around the world.


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 Dan Freeman.  The photos are located at September Best Shirt Award.


            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”. 

Katie & Joel Datica were spotted at La Lunita early in September.
Carol & Charlie from Chicago were at their new unit on Half Moon Bay.
Mike & Vino McGetrick were spotted at the beach bar one night.
Larry & Karen Kantor were here with their friend Lou.
Richard & Cami Mazzola return around October 15.
Steve & Sharon Wandler return towards the end of the month.
Bob & Sherwood Anders are back in town for a full year.
Lydia Pontius will be here later in the month to work on a documentary with Gynna, Lionfish Hunter.

David & Nancy Poor have returned to Philly.
Dan & Dave are heading to Philly later this month.
      Richard & Arlene Pargot head back to NJ later this month.
Denny & Diane Mahan went to Paris, France for their 20th anniversary. 


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 12 in the US.


The 2013 Sea Turtle Festival will run from the 17 to 20 of October.

 17 - Xcacel
18 - Casa de la Cultura, Tulum
19 - Playa Pescadores, Tulum
20 - Akumal (5pm - 8pm)

 We don't have all details yet, but this is the general program.  Watch the CEA web site for more information.


The Full Hunter's Moon is on Saturday, October 19, 12:37pm 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 raccoons though.


    The 109th Major League Baseball World Series is scheduled to start on Wednesday, October 23, and it will end on October 31st, if seven games are required.  The American League champion will have home field advantage for the series, based on their win in the All-Star Game at Citi Field in Queens, New York, on July 16.

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.


On October 26, 2013, Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen Seaside will host their first annual Charity Golf Tournament, The Rotary Seaside Classic, at the Grand Coral Golf Course.  The tournament, beginning at 8:00am, will be a “Texas Scramble" with a Gala Prize ceremony and luncheon following.  Proceeds from the events will benefit Seaside Rotary Chapter ongoing programs and initiatives.

In its short existence, "Seaside" has partnered with and supported KKiS - Keeping Kids in School, Casa Yoliguani, a facility for young unwed mothers and mothers-to-be, and Christmas Dreams, an organization that provides Christmas gifts for children who would otherwise do without.  The club has also worked together with the local Municipal government to spruce up a local park and recreation space.

 The tournament organizing committee is making available a variety of sponsorship opportunities. Individuals and local businesses are encouraged to support this charitable event with monetary donations and by providing prizes for the longest putt, longest drive, straightest drive and closest to the pin contests.  Sponsors will receive maximum publicity throughout the Riviera Maya in print publications, social media and of course at the tournament.  This is sure to be an exciting event with excellent attendance providing excellent exposure for participating businesses. 

All Golfers must be registered and paid no later than October 24th.  The fees are:

•           $1,500 pesos/ Golfer
•           $1,200 pesos/ Federacion Mexicano de Golf (FMG) Member
•           20% Discount for Foursomes

 Included in the registration fee are the registration for the event, lunch after the event, and a raffle ticket. 

Each member of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams will receive a trophy.  Prizes include week-long VIP passes to the OHL Classic, greens fees at Grand Coral, stays at Valentin Imperial Resort, 5,000 pesos in cash, among many others.  Prizes will also be awarded for special contests like "closest ball to the pin", "longest drive", "straightest drive", "longest putt" and a special opportunity of chance, we call "Beat the Pro".  There will also be a raffle at the luncheon and awards ceremony with lots of prizes, like bar tabs and restaurant gift certificates for local establishments.

For further information and to register as a player, visit the event website  .


In Akumal and Europe, DST ends on Sunday, October 27.  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 3 – 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.  


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

 Bruce Nierenberg, Chairman CEO United Caribbean Lines, tells The Akumalian, “United Caribbean is hoping for a summer 2014 launch.”

 All we can do is wait and see.



 Sign at Entrance to North Akumal
            Things are always changing, and now there is another new sign at the beginning of the road going into North Akumal.

 Wall at End of Parking Lot
            This may part of the following story, but it has not been confirmed yet.  However, the space behind the Buena Vida welcome booth at the entrance to Akumal is being walled in on three sides.

A Strip Mall Is to Be Built On Parking Lot
This is an interesting one.  The rumor on the street is that the parking lot on the Akumal entrance road is going to be developed into a strip-mall anchored by OXXO.

Que Onda
       Signage at Que Onda says that the restaurant is closed from September 4th until October 10th, so I guess that means it will reopen October 11th.  The sign says that the hotel remains open.

ATMs at Super Market El Pueblito
            There now are three (3) ATMs at El Publito.  There is one outside that dispenses US dollars.  There are two inside that dispense pesos, and the older one still charges something like 96 pesos per withdrawal, while the newer one charges $33.30 pesos; both have a maximum of $3,000 pesos per withdrawal.  Across the street at Super Chomak, I believe the charge is the 96.6 pesos, but the limit per withdrawal is only $2,000 pesos.


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.


Robin’s “Best Shirt Award” was the only one in September.


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