This last month Hurricane Katrina hit hard.
We have satellite coverage and spent hours
looking for Internet sites that had good coverage.
It reminded me of channel surfing on TV. I
found a Florida paper that consistently has
good hurricane coverage on all hurricanes,
plus some really good historical coverage.
You might want to bookmark the Sun Sentinel
Hurricane page : http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/weather/hurricane/.
I don't know how many of you had property
affected by Katrina, but we do know that Beau
and Kitty Speed who lived in Gautier, just
twenty miles outside of Biloxi ended up with
5 foot of water in their house. Many of you
know Beau and Kitty who have a house here
in Placer and may have even rented their house.
We wish them luck cleaning up the mess and
hope there aren't any others of you who had
property damaged by the storm.
Here on the Costa Maya, Katrina brought rain.
A couple of pinwheels spun around and dumped
a lot of rain - we experienced more wind and
rain from Katrina than we did from Emily.
The jungle has been transformed. You can still
see areas that were burned, but the drought
stricken trees have not only recovered, but
are starting to grow into the road at an alarming
pace. The potholes are growing in the road
and I'm ready for a little less rain. We do
have another month and a half to dry season,
so I'll have to be patient!
You can find this newsletter and archives
of past newsletters at this location: http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/PropertyOwners_Newsletter.html
Most of you probably have che chen (Metopium,
browneii) on your property (Chechem in Mayan).
Hopefully you haven't brushed up against this
member of the Anacardiaceae family of plants
that include poison ivy, sumac, mangoes and
cashews. This family of plants may be one
of the most common causes of contact dermatitis
in man. If you are sensitive to Mangos, it
may be an indication that you are VERY sensitive
to Chechen. NOT ALL PERSONS ARE. Some of you
may have had your property cleared and all
of the Chechen removed. Because we are a hotel,
we have removed all but a specimen or two
on the perimeter of the property, but if we
had a home here, I might have left some of
this beautiful tree. When you do have your
property cleared, look into leaving a tree
or two - they are indigenous to the area and
do have some benefits. Following are information
and identification tips - probably more than
you ever wanted to know, but once I started
researching I got carried away.
Che Chen Identification:
Identifying pictures : http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/Trees.htm
Looks very similar to a ficus tree, but has
berries on it part of the year.
Berries are brown to red depending on the
stage of development.
When cut or injured, chechen exudes a black
sap on the trunk, often giving it the name
of black poisonwood in Guatemala and Belize
Can reach heights of 50 ft.
Here is a link to Chechen wood used in flooring:
Interesting Facts about Che Chen:
Beautiful hardwood, also known as Caribbean
Rosewood. Its lumber name is Poison Wood or
Chechen and is 180% as hard as red oak. Once
it is dried out it is far less dangerous,
except the sawdust may cause irritation to
some sensitive individuals. When finished
it is often some of the most beautiful wood
and you will see it made into furniture and
Hardy - grows right up to the beach
Attracts toucans and fruit eating birds to
Grows tall - makes a great shade tree
Doesn't seem to bother dogs, in fact our dog
and other wild dogs seem to like to urinate
on the wood or under its leaves and go right
to it. When we trimmed ours up high so as
not to accidentally brush up against it, our
dog was not longer interested in it.
Iguanas eat new leaves and flowers.
Antidote: Chakah or Red Gumbolimbo Bark (Bursera
This Mayan antidote is generally 1666
feet tall and 1632 inches thick; its
trunk and branches are covered by a smooth,
coppery, peeling bark. The Chakah leaves are
green and oval shaped. The resin may be directly
applied to the affected skin. Experimental
studies have demonstrated the trees
anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
If you have this tree on your property, don't
mistake it for Chechen. Its flowers and fruits
are remedies for snake bite and diarrhea,
while the branches and leaves help treat skin
fungus, cold, fever and diarrhea. Its leaves
are used for ulcers, measles, infected gums,
asthma, bloody stools and pain (head, stomach,
toothaches). The Chakah bark is used for cleaning
wounds, spider bites, fever, nose bleeding,
and muscle pain and an infusion of the wood
decoction is said to help lose weight - When
I get picture of this I will include it.
Very toxic to some individuals, especially
the berries and sap from green wood. If you
are highly allergic to poison Ivy or sumac,
you will probably equally sensitive as they
are in the same family.
If you are around your property and they are
burning chechen, it can also cause a reaction
in your lungs. This is a very common way to
clear your land. What workers do is cut all
the che chen down let it dry and few days,
pour gasoline on it and then burn it. Unfortunately
this is really NOT a very good thing to do
as it usually burns things you would like
The result of getting Chechen on your skin
is similar to that of poison Ivy. Your skin
almost looks like you have a severe sun burn.
When I brushed up against it, it looked like
I had been burnt in the kitchen. I had some
on my wrist and back of the hand. After a
week it started to seep a yellow puss. The
seeping itched, but not severely. I was told
I wasn't too allergic. Sometimes it can take
up to 2 weeks before showing up so you may
not know when you actually came in contact
50% of the US population is highly sensitive
to the family of Anacardiaceae and 10-15%
seem to have a true immunity. (most of my
workers say that it doesn't bother them and
there seems to be some truth to that. People
that grow up with Mangos in the area (a less
serious species) seem to sometimes develop
Much of the information above comes from
http://BoDD.cf.ac.uk/, the Botanical Dermitology
FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONVERSION TOOL
If you would like to know what the current
currency conversion is for Pesos to dollars
try Oanda. I really like this conversion website
as it also lets you research into what the
hidden fees are for ATMs, charge cards and
banks. For example the website informed me
that my US bank doesn't charge an ATM fee
if I use their Mexican affiliate. I also found
that if I use my banks credit card that I
was paying a hidden surcharge.
I reported here a couple of months ago that
the United States had put new deadlines on
implementing passport rules. According to
USA today, Caribbean tourism officials had
complained that the measures would hurt the
vital industry since tourists to Mexico were
on a later time-frame. Similar rules were
proposed for Canada, Mexico and Bermuda, and
Caribbean officials also complained that Mexico
and Canada would have gain an edge because
Americans returning from those countries would
not have to show passports until Dec. 31,
2006. The U.S. government had set a tentative
Dec. 31 2005 deadline for the Caribbean, but
is now reconsidering the date, said State
Department spokesman Steve Pike. Americans
have needed only birth certificates or driver's
licenses for travel to and from the countries.
Although the US government still plans to
implement the rules for all countries by January
2008, no new dates have been set for specific
nations or regions, Pike said.
A possible extension "will enable us
to prepare for the change," said Lorraine
Ortiz, a spokeswoman for the Caribbean Hotel
Association, which had urged the US Department
of Homeland Security not to implement the
rules until January 2008. US visitors now
can enter 27 Caribbean countries without passports.
DOLPHIN PARK AT UVERO
Many of you have heard that there was going
to be a theme park in the area around Uvero.
I'm not sure this qualifies as a theme park,
but the Delfin company who built the dolphin
park at Xelha and Xcaret is currently building
one at Uvero. Whatever your feelings are about
caging wild dolphins, human-Flipper interactions
are popular at cruise ports in Mexico, the
Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean and now
the Costa Maya. Nearly 20 programs operate
in the Caribbean, and another dozen are being
planned, says Susan Sherwin of the World Society
for the Protection of Animals.
In a Harris opinion poll in March, 72% of
respondents said they would be interested
in swimming with dolphins in a "safe
and legal environment" at a park or zoo.
But now, due to wild-life conservationists,
some travel purveyors are cutting back on
dolphin programs. Costa Rica recently banned
swims with wild dolphins and prohibits dolphin
captivity except for temporary rehabilitation
the first Caribbean country to do so.
Though no firms there offer captive-dolphin
encounters, at least 25 operators advertise
swims with dolphins or whales
I contacted Delfin to find out when I could
book a tour with a dolphin at the Costa Maya
facility. I was told that it would be ready
in January, but they weren't taking bookings
INTERNATIONAL BEACH CLEANUP DAY
Garbage is truly a problem on our beaches
but because of the pristine beauty of the
Costa Maya it seems more tragic here. All
of you have seen the trash along the shore.
Sometimes it is worse than others. If you're
anything like former Nature Conservancy employee
Linda Maraniss, you are probably appalled
and saddened. 20 years ago in South Padre
Island, Texas she rounded up nearly 3,000
people, and the group removed 124 tons of
debris from the beach that year. This one
cleanupgrew into a worldwide effort -- the
International Coastal Cleanup (ICC).
Today, the ICC is held around every major
body of water in the world. Cumulatively,
more than 5.8 million volunteers in over 120
countries have picked up over 100 million
pounds of trash!
Marine debris can be an eyesore, no doubt.
But debris also presents much more serious
concerns that the ICC is helping to solve.
Consider these facts:
Human health hazards abound at our beaches
and need to be removed. For example, last
year's volunteers removed 13,441 syringes!
Some debris items contain dangerous chemicals
and become more likely to spill them over
Personal computers, for example, contain chromium,
mercury, and lead.
Marine debris can injure and kill wildlife.
For example, sea turtles mistake plastic bags
for jellyfish and ingest them--blocking their
digestive systems. And many creatures bear
scars or die from entanglement in fishing
line and other debris.
The 20th anniversary of International beach
cleanup is Sept. 17th. You can find out more
about this at the following link: http://www.coastalcleanup.org/welcome.cfm.
If you are anywhere around a beach, please
grab a garbage back and do your part.
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION AT THE COSTA
Sept. 16th is Independence day throughout
Mexico. On the night of Sept 15th at midnight
everyone gathers to do the independence shout
with fireworks and a big fiesta. Here in Mahahual
the festivities will begin around 10:00 PM
and continue on well into the wee hours.
RECYCLE CENTER MOVED TO NEW LOCATION
Due to complaints from parents, the recycle
center has moved to a new temporary location.
Thanks to the efforts of Orlando Iglesia,
he has agreed to house the recycle center
temporarily at the University of Quintana
Roo Extension center. This is located 2 km
south of Mahahual. The problem with this location
is that it not very accessible to very many
people. Now we are back at square one - looking
for a permanent home.
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR COSTA MAYA NEIGHBOR -
Kerry Vaughn is a new neighbor who just purchased
property in June. She would love to know more
about here neighbors. Learn more about Kerry
at this link. http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/PropertyOwners_spotlight.html
COSTA MAYA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (CANACO
Canaco Costa Maya is looking to be part of
the Committee that evaluates the zoning in
the Costa Maya. This organization is better
known as POET. There are several meetings
that will take place in the rear future to
change the current zoning. Any changes decided
upon won't take place for many months.
The chamber asks the support of anyone opening
a bank account to do so at BANAMEX. This will
help the installation of the ATM machine in
Mahahual town, which has yet to be implemented.
In support of English speaking property owners,
Banamex recently opened another branch in
the mall (that houses Chedraui), with an English
The chamber is working to create the Hotel
Association of Mahahual. Investors with a
hotel business should be part of this association.
If you would like more information please
contact Miguel Sosa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the first week of October we will have
our own small post office in the area of the
soccer field, with a mail box. Stamps can
be obtained there.
CANACO COSTA MAYA, welcomes Carola Troncoso
as the new treasury of the Chamber. We wish
her success in her new position
In an effort to bring more professionalism
into the tourist industry the chamber has
been instrumental in bringing one of the 3
primary instructors of the Tourism Federal
Secretariat, teaching our personnel to give
better service to customers. The 5 day intensive
course is paid 1/3 by the employees and 2/3
by the employers.
Until next time!