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January 1, 2014  Issue 133

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index   2011 Index   2012 Index   2013 Index  2014 Index

 

LETTER FROM “THE STAFF”

2013 is now history, and the tourists are returning to Akumal and the Riviera Maya in greater numbers, and home/condo sales have started to pick up.  Every business in Akumal reports this to be the best December/Christmas ever! 

The month and the New Year kick right off with Robin’s Best Shirt Award on January 4th at the Lol Ha Beach Bar; see y’all there.   One of the contestants assures The Staff that he is a "sure winner".  You gotta see this.

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
 

IMPORTANT JANUARY FACTS 

Capricorn - December 22 - January 19

Aquarius - January 20 - February 18

January Birthstone: Garnet
  
Garnet is a beautiful stone that comes in quite the range of colors.  Large garnet gems, while not approaching diamonds or rubies in price, can make your wallet take a deep breath.  The red garnet is the one used for the January Birthstone.

 January Birthday Flower: Carnation
    
The carnation, scientifically known as Dianthus caryophyllus, is a historically rich and meaningful flower choice.  With its scientific name dianthus roughly translating to "flower of love" or "flower of the gods", depending on the source, this flower is one that has been revered for centuries.  One of the world's oldest cultivated flowers, the carnation is appreciated for its ruffled appearance, clove-like scent, and extended blooming period.
 

JANUARY BIRTHDAYS 

Birthdays and Anniversaries
1          Kelly Colladarci
3          Arlene Pargot
3          Thierry VanderElst
3          Paul Rasmussen
4          Bob & Diane Mather Anniversary
6          Don Papa
7          Bill & Oteka Brab Anniversary
8          Diane Mather
8          David Richards
9          Nance Walker
9          Annette Bartsch
9          Dawn Shubert
12        Neil Humphreys
13        Mike & Lydia Pontius Anniversary
14        Cami Mazzola
14        Tobias Zimmermann
16        Neri, Lucia Crespi´s partner at Lamanai Gallery
17        Tricia Haynes
17        Larry Allen
19        Marieke White
21        Dan Freeman
22        Cheryl Ragan
25        El Moreland
25        Linda Tate
25        Kate Turner
26        Myrna Bush
26        Maribel Bianchi
26        Salvador Company
27        Lisa Combs
29        Tom Baxter
30        Richard & Arlene Pargot Anniversary

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

 Missed December Birthdays 

            Nada, that we know of.
 

ENERGY BILL ENDS PEMEX OIL MONOPOLY, DEC. 20th 

Pena Nieto Signs Energy Bill, Ends Pemex Oil Monopoly

 On December 20th, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a bill that ends Petroleos Mexicanos’s 75-year production monopoly and will allow for companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. to develop crude in Mexico.  The changes to the constitution proposed in the bill become law after they are published in the national gazette.  The measure was passed by both houses of congress the week before and by a majority of state legislatures earlier that week.

The nation’s most significant economic reform since the North American Free Trade Agreement will allow companies to develop unexplored fields the government says will increase oil production to as much as 4 million barrels per day by 2025.  Pena Nieto’s challenge next year will be to quickly implement the law by shepherding secondary legislation through congress and ensuring oil field bidding processes move swiftly and effectively, according to Citigroup Inc.’s Banamex.

Pena Nieto signed the energy bill in the courtyard of the National Palace that houses the headquarters of Mexico’s Finance Ministry.  He was joined on stage by members of his cabinet. Loudspeakers played Christmas music including "Jingle Bells" and ""Silent Night" as a crowd of about 300 invited guests and journalists filed in for the event.

Standard and Poor’s raised Mexico’s rating to BBB+ from BBB, forecasting that the energy overhaul will attract private investment and spur major growth within the next few years.

The overhaul could bring an additional $20 billion in foreign direct investment as soon as 2015 and further strengthen the peso as the market absorbs the news, according to Carlos Capistran, chief Mexico economist at Bank of America Corp.  S&P forecasts gross domestic product growth of 3 percent next year and 3.5 percent in 2015, compared with 1.2 percent in 2013.

Pena Nieto shepherded through at least 10 constitutional amendments in his first year in office, including changes enforcing annual teacher evaluations and curbing the market power of dominant telecommunications companies, such as Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil.  He also signed measures to encourage banks to lend more, and added taxes on dog food, soda pop, and high-calorie snacks in an attempt to reduce the government’s dependence on oil revenue.
 

QUADRANTIDS METEOR SHOWER, JAN 3rd

In 2014, the Quadrantids will peak on January 3.  A new Moon on January 1, 2014 will create ideal viewing conditions for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Quadrantids is the first major meteor shower of the year.  It is usually active between the end of December and the second week of January, and peaks around January 2 or January 3.  However, unlike other meteor showers that tend to stay at their peak for about two days, the peak period of the Quadrantis is only for a few hours.

The shower owes its name to the now defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis.  The constellation was left off a list of constellations drawn out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, but because the shower had already been named after Quadrans Muralis, its name was not changed.  The Quadrantids is also sometimes called Bootids after the modern constellation, Boötes.

The Quadrantids are associated with an asteroid - the 2003 EH1. The asteroid takes about 5.5 years to orbit around the Sun.

Quadrantid facts
    
The now-extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis the Mural Quadrant originally sat between the right foot of Hercules, the left hand of Boötes, and Draco.  It represented the mural quadrant of French astronomer Jérome Lalande (1732–1807).  Lalande used his quadrant to chart some 50,000 stars while at the College de France. French globe-maker J. Fortin introduced Quadrans Muralis as a constellation in his atlas of 1795.

The Quadrantid meteor shower originated from a near-Earth asteroid named 2003 EH1.  Although astronomers classify 2003 EH1 as an asteroid, most believe it to be a dead comet.  Observers first recognized the Quadrantids as an annual meteor shower in 1839. 
 

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT METEORS

·       To be visible, a meteor must be within about 120 miles (200 kilometers) of an observer.

·       Meteors become visible at an average height of 55 miles (90 km). Nearly all burn up before they reach an altitude of 50 miles (80 km).

·       The typical bright meteor is produced by a particle with a mass less than 1 gram and is no larger than a pea.

·       The hourly rate on a “non-shower” night is approximately 6 meteors per hour.

·       A meteoroid enters the atmosphere at velocities between 50,000 and 165,000 mph (81,000 and 265,000 km/h).

·        

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD JAN 4th

Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.

This month is the start of the 8th year of the Robin’s Best Shirt event, and this makes it a “Gotta be there” event that cannot be missed.  It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar. 

This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and his sister, Mary, is ready to once again be the judge and jury as she selects the “Best Shirt” for January.  One of the new criteria seems to be that the design on the front panels of the shirt need to line up

The December competition was won by Tom Baxter.  The photos for the Event are located at December Best Shirt Award.

 

COMINGS AND GOINGS 

            Comings:

·  Bill & Oteka Brab were here with the grandkids in early Dec. for a short visit.

·       Ken & Mary Margaret Goldstein are back for the season.

·       Jim & Kathy Farrell have returned.

·       Thomas & Sydney Reagan were spotted around town before Christmas.

·       Phoebe Barrett has been around and about, keeping a low profile since October.

·       Terry & Lisa Turner were in South Akumal for a short stay.

·       Larry & Shari Jackson were back at Seven Seas for a very short visit.

·       Zoe Pargot was here visiting her parents, Richard & Arlene.

·       Scott Pargot and the kids were here with Richard & Arlene over Christmas.

·       Rick Tompkins and Lynn Chase are back in Aventuras Akumal until end of March.

·       Wendell & Lynda Day have returned.

·       Ryan & Natalie Wolfe are back for Christmas & New Year’s Eve.

·       Bud & Alice Blatner are back in Casa Zama. Alice’s daughter, Melissa, was here.

·       David, Nancy & Charlie Poor arrive on Jan. 1 and plan to be in town until mid-March.

·       Many South Akumal homeowners will be here for the HOA Meeting on Jan. 25th

·       Bruce & Ellen Eanet arrive on January 14th.

·       David Richards is coming down on January 18th.

 Goings:

   Who knows?
 

THREE KINGS DAY, JANUARY 6th

Three Kings Day, also known as The Epiphany, is celebrated on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas.  It is often viewed as the last day of the Christmas season (the end of the 12 days of Christmas).

Epiphany (Greek for "to manifest" or "to show"), is a Christian feast day which celebrates the "shining forth" or revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ.  Western Christians commemorate the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus on this day, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles.  Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, his manifestation as the Son of God to the world.  It is also called Theophany ("manifestation of God"), especially by Eastern Christians.

LOS REYES MAGOS - The Christmas season continues unabated in Mexico through Epiphany, which is called Día de los Reyes (Three Kings Day).  Echoing the arrival in Bethlehem of Wise Men bearing gifts for the baby Jesus, children throughout Mexico anxiously await waking up January 6 to find toys and gifts left by the Reyes Magos (Magi).  In some regions it is customary to leave out shoes where treasures may be deposited by the visiting Wise Men.

In the days preceding Día de los Reyes, children write letters to the Magi requesting a toy or gift that they would like.  On the night of January 5th, the figures of the Wise Men are placed in the nativity scene.  Traditionally children would leave out their shoes with a bit of hay in them to feed the animals of the Magi (they are often shown with a camel).  When the children would wake up in the morning their gifts appeared in place of the hay.  Nowadays, like Santa Claus, the Kings tend to place their gifts under the Christmas tree.

 A special treat served one this day is the Rosca de Reyes--a crown-shaped sweet bread decorated with jewel-like candied fruits.  Tiny figures of babies are hidden in the dough before baking.  There is much excitement as each partaker cuts his or her own slice, for whoever gets a piece containing a baby is obliged to host another party on or before Candlemas (Día de la Candelaria), February 2, when Mexico's holiday season finally comes to an end.
 

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, JAN. 6th  

 The 2014 VIZIO BCS National Championship will take place at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium on Monday, January 6, 2014 between the No. 1 and No. 2 BCS-ranked teams.

After weeks of conjecture and debate about strength of schedule, the matchup for the VIZIO BCS National Championship turned out to be an obvious one.

No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn top the final BCS standings and will play for the national title Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

The regular season had set up the possibility for a controversial BCS title game with one-loss Auburn on the outside looking in at unbeaten but less-tested Florida State and Ohio State, but Michigan State took the Buckeyes out of the conversation by winning the Big Ten championship game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Auburn moved up to the second spot in the standings by outscoring Missouri 59-42 in the SEC championship game.

Now the title game is set: Florida State, the nation's only undefeated team, will face 12-1 Auburn, champion of the conference that has won the past seven national championships.
 

AUSTRALIAN OPEN, JANUARY 13 – 26 

The 2014 Australian Open is a tennis tournament that will take place in Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, from 13 to 26 January 2014.   It will be the 102nd edition of the Australian Open, and the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.  The tournament will consist of events for professional players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. Junior and wheelchair players will compete in singles and doubles tournaments.  Novak Djokovic is the three-time defending champion in the men's singles, whereas Victoria Azarenka enters the women's singles event attempting to win the title for the third straight year.
 

FULL MOON JANUARY 16th 

The Full Wolf Moon is on Sunday, January 16th at 04:52:24am AST.

Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the jaguar packs howled hungrily outside Mayan villages.  Thus, the name for January's full Moon.  Sometimes, it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule.  Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Full Moon in February.
  

NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, JAN. 19th

            The National Football League conference championship games will be January 19.  It is too early to set the teams, locations, and TV coverage.

            The first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl will be held on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
 

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL

 Sales Tax (VAT) Increases
            On January 1st, the sales tax (Value Added Tax) increases from 11% to 16%, so be prepared to pay 5% more for almost all consumer products and services, groceries and medicines excepted.  For example, if you have a 400-peso bill with an 11 percent tax, you pay a 44-peso (roughly $3.39 USD) tax now.  After January 1 you pay 16 %, or 64 pesos (roughly $4.93 USD) or $1.44 more.

 

New Pemex Station
    
The Pemex station just outside the Akumal Pueblo is still ‘proximente’, but the Pemex station just south of the entrance road to Aktun Chen is now OPEN for business..

 

Que Onda
     Mariebel reports that she has returned from visiting her mother in Europe, and Que Onda is back open and wonderful.  Maribel says, “We have the Italian corner, same as before, and the Mexican corner, where 3 days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - are tacos al pastor, from 1pm to 9.30pm.

“On Monday to Thursday, it is "tortas" from 10am to 4 pm.

“The Italian restaurant has pastas, sea food, and more open 5pm to 10pm.

“NEW!!!!  We will have an exceptional chef from Italy giving cooking classes and & some degustation of real , freshly revisited Italian cuisine with the chances to see him at work while drinking good wine.”

 

Property Taxes
   
The Tulum Municipality is still offering discounts through the end of February on the payments of property taxes.  The discount will be 10% in January and 5% in February.

  

TULUM

 Zamas Celebrates 20
   
On December 17th, Zamas celebrated its 20th anniversary, and that kicked-off 4 days & 20 specials by Guest Chef Adam Brick.  Belated Congratulations.
  

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BIRTHDAY, JAN 20th  

The Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., often called Martin Luther King Day, is a United States holiday marking the birth date of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King's birthday, January 15.  It is the only United States federal holiday commemorating an African American, and one of only four to commemorate an individual person.

             Martin Luther King Day was founded as a holiday promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations.  After King's death in 1968, Rep. John Conyers introduced a bill in Congress to make King's birthday a national holiday, highlighting King's activism on behalf of trade unionists.  Unions did most of the promotion for the holiday throughout the 1970s.  In 1976, trade unionists helped to elect Jimmy Carter, who endorsed the King Day bill.  After that endorsement, union influence in the King holiday campaign declined, and the King Center turned to support from the corporate community and the general public.  The success of this strategy was cemented when musician Stevie Wonder released the single "Happy Birthday" to popularize the campaign in 1980 and hosted the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981.  6 million signatures were collected for a petition to Congress to pass the law, termed by a 2006 The Nation article as "...the largest petition in favor of an issue in US history."

            Opposition to the bill was led by Senator Jesse Helms, who questioned whether King was important enough to receive such an honor.  He was also critical of King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accused King of having Communist connections.

President Ronald Reagan was also opposed to the holiday.  He relented in his opposition only after Congress passed the King Day Bill with an overwhelming, veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate).

At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King.  It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.

On January 17, 2000, for the first time, Martin Luther King Day was officially observed in all 50 U.S. states.  The day is marked by demonstrations for peace, social justice and racial and class equality, as well as a national day of volunteer community service. 
 

CARNATION DAY JANUARY 29th   

The carnation was originally called dianthus by the Greek botanist Theopharastus.  The carnation has been cultivated over 2,000 years.

            The name carnation has two possible origins.  One thought is that the name comes from "coronation" or "corone" since it was used in Greek ceremonial crowns.  Another thought is the name is derived from the Greek carnis meaning flesh, which was the original flower color.

Carnations in general mean fascination, love and good luck.  A white carnation stands for innocence, devotion and pure love.
  

EVENTS

There were many events in December, but Robin’s “Best Shirt Award”, was the only one recorded by The Akumalian.  Just way too much going on.

 

 

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