If it's not one thing, its another. Bad news is supposed to come in threes - but I think we are now on number four! Dean, the economy, the war at the border and now the swine flu. To let all of you know - there have been several confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) virus in Quintana Roo, but nothing serious and all family members and work acquaintances have been tested to avoid the spread of the disease. Mexico asked all non-essential businesses to close down for 7 days. . Can you imagine the US closing down for 7 days? Here it really happened! (You can read more stories in this editions of the newsletter)
Mexico deserves some kudos for its unpopular decision to stem the tide of the flu. It turns out that it may be "just the flu," but they have effectively shut down a country for a week. The gestation time for the flu is 2-6 days and it appears to be working as new cases are in the decline.
In the race to post stories, the information coming from the media read like a Steven King novel. It seldom matched the information on the WHO and CDC web sites. When Canada cancelled most of the flights to Mexico (followed by tourist cancellations) all you could do was sigh and pray, of course. Leaders of countries are under pressure to "do something" in light of impending disasters, but of greater concern is the over reaction of public officials to a normal flu outbreak. It's the "cry wolf" syndrome.
During all of this over-hype, I've had a research scientist here who has explained to me why everyone is fearful - albeit a little OVER zealous. In 1918, the Spanish flu which was also a H1N1 strain killed millions of people worldwide. The first thought was that this was had a similar potential. At this point it appears to be fairly non-serious, but the word "PANDEMIC" seems to strike fear in everyone.
So the million dollar question is: What do all of these disasters mean for the value of property and to business in the Costa Maya? Hopefully it is yet another blip and things will return to normal by next high season. It's going to be a tough year, especially for those still reeling from the expenses brought on by Hurricane Dean.
On a brighter note. . . . the beach and the weather has been spectacular lately... . Those brave souls who came to Mexico anyway are thrilled to have the Coast to themselves - and they deserve it! If you haven't checked the cost of flights to Mexico lately - you should. The cost of a flight from Cancun to Seattle was $345 yesterday on Continental, down $100 from the same time I had been looking just a few weeks ago.
PS As you will see below- this is going to be a tough year for the Costa Maya. If you don't already, instead of staying up in Playa del Carmen and Tulum - Try staying on the Costa Maya for a change!
MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSION: A-H1N1 flu - when will you be ready to come back to Mexico?
Let's be honest - this A-H1N1 virus has us all a little spooked! Has anyone canceled, postponed or decided not to come to Mexico because of it? I'm sure all of your relatives have tried to talk you out of it. What has been your thoughts and experiences?
FYI - as of today, there have been 3 cases reported in Quintana Roo. One in Chetumal, one in Felipe Carrillo Puerto and one in Cancun. There has been no spread of the virus as these were older cases that were finally confirmed. Family members have people in the places of work have been tested and no one else has the virus.
Turtle nesting season starts around May 1 and lasts through October. During that time frame, Turtles come to the shore and lay eggs. Several weeks late the baby turtles hatch. In beachfront communities all along the Florida coastline home owners are told to shut off the lights, pull blinds over the windows and put covers or red lenses over road lights betweem the hours of 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM.. Even the use of flashlights is discouraged without a red lense.
The light can disorient them and cause them to go in directions other than the sea or to a safe nesting area. The turtle will go toward the first light it sees and it's supposed to go to the horizon. The other day, two adult turtles were found dead in the San Jose area, apparently attempting to nest. No one can say if lights were a factor - but PLEASE turn your lights off at night. A secondary benefit is the beautiful Costa Maya sky.
News of the flu and its effects on the Costa Maya
Costa Maya (Majahual) Cruise Ship canceled until further notice
CANCUN, MX .- Quintana Roo Governor Felix Gonzalez Canto confirmed the temporary cancellation of the cruise ship arrivals to the island of Cozumel and the Port of Mahahual, while the Secretary of State for Tourism, Latif Sara Ruiz, announced that there have been cancellations of two medical conferences in Cancun and Canada and United States have had many groups cancel their travel this week to the Mexican Caribbean.
Discriminations of Mexicans throughout the world
The Mexican federal government described as discriminatory inadequate treatment given to Mexicans who are abroad, as a result of the flu epidemic. Mexican citizens in China have been unjustly sequestered merely because of their nationality. Plus many countries have cancelled imports from Mexico (the virus lives about two hours on a non-live surface.)
The head of the Foreign Ministry, Patricia Espinosa, reported at a press conference that the Mexican government turned to the World Trade Organization and the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, to take action and reverse the situation. He even said he would file a complaint with the UN for that cause.
In this situation Mexicans are being advised not to travel to countries that have adopted restrictive measures for passengers, to avoid being discriminated against. Mainly suggested not to go to China, where at least 71 Mexican citizens have been isolated in "unacceptable" conditions , although it gave no sign of having any illness.
Thanks to Mexico's actions when the flue was discovered, people have been saved not only this country but around the world. Therefore the "unjustified actions" from Argentina, Peru, China, Ecuador, Canada and Cuba which have suspended flights from this country.
The Mexican president thanked the U.S. for keeping the borders open and allowing the flow of people and goods during this difficult time.
All of Mexico's archaeological sites closed their doors from April 29 until further notice.
179 archaeological sites are affected, among the most visited are those of Chichén-Itzá in Yucatan, and Tulum in Quintana Roo Tulum.
El Centro INAH Quintana Roo explained in a statement that "in compliance with federal health regulations to control the epidemic of swine influenza, the National Institute of Anthropology and History informs the public that from April 29 and until further notice The 12 archeological sites open to the public in the State of Quintana Roo, like all of Mexico, will be closed. "
The reopening of the public visiting the archaeological sites of the country, will be announced as soon as the alert status has been exceeded.
UPDATE Friday May 8: The Ruins in Quintana Roo reopened on May 7th. These include Kohunlich, Dzibanche, San Felipe Fort, Kinichne, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Coba. It does not include the Tulum night show which is still closed.
Corozal Free Zone Closed
The Corazal Free Zone has been closed and will reopen on Wednesday May 6th. The casinos, bars and discotheques within the casinos will remain closed until Monday May 11.This is to minimize any danger of spreading the flu into Belize. Belize has had no confirmed cases.
mahahual and Costa maya news
Spay and Neuter Clinic needs help
The soonest we will be able to have a Spay and Neuter clinic is July. Hopefully we can pull this together. Some of the volunteers are heading back to their cold weather homes. The money raising activities will continue however.
Mahahual School Marathon:
The Children's Marathon held on April 25th was a lot of fun with 70 children attending. I've posted pictures below.
Pre-race warm-up led by Doctor Thane Bee
The race started at different points along the Malecon and ended at Tequila Beach.
After the race, the students entertained everyone with dancing (no this is not traditional Mayan Dancing)
Activities around Mahahual
Spanish Classes:Sundays at 1 p.m. at Corona House! Starting again on April 19th.
Circle of Faith Bible Studies:Corona House at 10 a.m. every Sunday
Despite the flu close-downs, the Governor's cup Fishing Tournament continued - after all, the Mahi Mahi were running. The dinners and breakfasts were cancelled, but the fishing continued. The usually boat "Boy toy" won the tournament. Whether or not you can understand Spanish, you might be interested in the You-tube video of the tournamet. If nothing else, for a chance to see the kind of fish caught out of Mahahual.
New Pharmacy in Mahahual
It was just a matter of time before there was a pharmacy in the beach section of Mahahual. One might question the timing of the opening - after the bulk of the Cruise ships are gone, but it is good to have another source to purchase medications. It is located North of the Tortillaria on the second street back from the beach.
MAYAN BEACH GARDEN NEWS
Another new house!
Last month I introduced Taj Majahual and Casa Guerin. Now, we are happy to introduce YUM BOTIC ("Thank you" in Mayan) which is a beautiful 3 bedroom house in Uvero. If you have property in Uvero or just want a lot of peace and quiet on a calm beach with no neighbors for almost a kilometer - this is the house for you. Rental web site coming soon with introductory pricing and photos. In the meantime, if you are interested contact firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS FROM XCALAK
Well that was SOME Semana Santa. So many people, we were talking to some who told us they went to Mahahual but there was nowhere to park and they were moved on. They moved on down to here as there was still a little space left. Its a great holiday and it's good to see all the family's enjoying the beaches.
. Just look what came on down from Playa del Carmen....... two double deckers, the kids loved it, they went round and round town music blaring, lights flashing every night for the whole week. It just seemed truly weird having them here in our quiet little pueblo with our sand road.
Chris, following our conversation last week about living here in town and my wish list. I had a Hooded Oriole feeding from the Hibiscus flowers by my back door this morning. I have put water out for the birds, and other critters, yes even those pesky crabs. It should be OK if I change it every day so I don't have a mosquito problem.
A friend from Canada, Toronto, is here for a short stay. He is the one with the lovely new house with the carved pillars. he arrived last Friday, on Saturday morning he is out back in his yard and just look what he came across. A little lost crocodile, he took photo's and left it alone. It's about a meter from nose to tip of tail, and obviously looking for water.
Who knows his/her story, but I later find out that it was seen on the road by his house on Friday. Saturday night after a great buffet supper at Rio Huatch we walk round to his door and, there is the little crocodile again. A cardboard box, a broom and he's swept in! Off to my house crossing the bridge on the way. Yes Ivan freed him and a splash meant he's in the water, hopefully on his way to the big lagoon. Quite enough adventures for a little Crocodile.Now stay out of trouble until your bigger, much bigger.
Children's Mural in Xcalak
The following is provided by Vickie Rosenzweig
There were over forty kids who participated in painting the wall. All of the names of the kids who painted are written on the wall below the rainbow. The kids had painted these images last year in an art project.
All of the paintings were photographed digitally and put on the computer. They were then printed to a 3x3 inch size. I bought a projector with some of the money I had earned last year via the sale of my cards. With this projector I projected the images on the a wall at home to the appropriate size for the wall in the park, and copied the image onto a large sheet of paper. These images were then copied onto the wall using carbon paper. The kids were then called in in groups to do their painting using the small 3x3 image as a reference for their original paintings.
Paula had started this project in the fall with the help of others who power-washed and painted the wall, and sealed it. She then completed her designs and paintings earlier. The paintings of the kids were then designed into the rest of the wall and painted by the end of March. We then sealed the wall with a sealer to protect it from the elements. Some of the paints and brushes were donated by various people in the town.
It was a great project and the kids had a wonderful time and as you can see by all the smiles, they are very proud of their work. We hope it will be a lasting memorial to the hope and happiness that our kids in Xcalak dedicated to this project. What a privilege to have such a fun time and work with them. Something they can be proud of and return many time over to show what they can do.
The email said "I think I know what it is". The "it" being the beautiful yellow flower from Bacalar. Thank you Denise for your help, it is indeed, this is what I found when I Googled. This plant is also known as: Candle Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Candletree, Candelabra Bush, Ringworm Tree (Senna Alata).
These Plants have handsome foliage and grow rapidly in full sun on a wide range of soils, and may reach a height of 10 feet with an equal spread. It is a tropical plant that becomes a huge specimens. They grow easily from seed, mine was flowering within 6 months. Large, bright yellow flowers resembling (surprise!) Candelabra's - you really have to see these to believe how beautiful they are! Grown as a specimen plant or as a hedge that will draw the attention of everyone that passes! You'll be amazed at their leaves (which are easily the size of a man's hand!) which fold up at night like a prayer plant!
These plants are best ignored rather than pampered for the most blooms! Do not provide supplemental water or fertilizer after they are established in your garden except in extreme drought conditions. (LIKE NOW!!!) Yes I know I promised not to complain ever again ..... but..........
Cassia's are host plants for the yellow sulphur butterfly caterpillars, it's a must-have in your butterfly garden!
Leaves or sap are used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm. They contain a fungicide, chrysophanic acid. Because of its anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions in the Philippines. The effectiveness of this plant against skin diseases is confirmed by modern scientific studies. In Africa the boiled leaves are used to treat high-blood pressure. In South America, besides skin diseases, it is also used to treat a wide range of ailments from stomach problems, fever, asthma to snake bite! One gardener in Florida wrote that it made a great windbreak during the hurricanes they had. I am going to try and grow it on the North side of the house as a hedge, wish me luck.
Should any of you want to grow this yourselves I have seeds, just ask.
Rio Huach - review written by Courtney Rodriguez
The Black Pearl Restaurant at the Rio Huach Hotel and Dive Center is an invaluable experience for Xcalak visitors in search of great food, atmosphere and camaraderie.
A specific highlight is the Saturday night Cuban buffet, which a group of us sampled on May 2nd. Among the salad, spicy meatballs, rice and bean dishes, an elaborate dish of grouper stood out. Hand speared that afternoon by Javier, the enthusiastic Cuban host of the Black Pearl, the tenderly cooked fish was a resounding success with all diners. The buffet was followed by a delicious chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert. At only 150.00 pesos, it is an incredible deal.
The fairly large dining room is closed in but offers views of the beach on which it is situated, with plenty of large open windows that let in the evening breeze. It is equipped with ping pong and pool tables, where hotel and restaurant guests as well as locals gather to play after dinner, and a bar in one corner.
Rio Huach owner Almando presides over the bar, greeting thirsty guests with charm and fastidiously crushing mint leaves by hand to offer up his favorite concoction, the mojito. The crisp cocktail is a welcome respite after a hot day under the Mexican sun, and well worth ordering only to see Almando’s face light up as he busies himself to prepare it for you.
Rio Huach is located approximately 15 km from Xcalak. Other featured buffets include International fare on Sunday nights, and Italian cuisineon Mondays, both at 150.00 pesos. Vegetarian options are also available.
The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims
that the information here is completely true. I am not a news reporter,
Spanish is not my native language, the newspapers are notorious for not
verifying information and this is not my primary business, but rather a
service to the neighborhood. If you find something untrue PLEASE let me
know and I will print a disclaimer. I try to verify the information but
even the newspaper prints up rumors, so I can only report what I read
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