Costa Maya Newsletter
Newsletters > Oct 2006
Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa
Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other
points along the coast
Oct 11, 2006**************************
* Message board for Costa Maya Neighbors
* Chaya -- Cnidoscolus Chayamansa
* New development on the Costa Maya and surrounding area
* Learn Spanish on-line
* Hurricane prediction news
* Articles of Interest in the news
* Spotlight on your Neighbors
If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be looking forward to
the Chetumal opening of Sam's club in great anticipation -- even considering
spending the night so I can be there when it opens its doors at 7:00
AM in the morning -- I would have said you must be thinking of the
wrong woman! How this place makes people change their stripes! As
a rule, I hate shopping. But I hate the commute to Playa del Carmen
even more! Rather than anticipating a new movie or the opening of
a new restaurant -- its a warehouse shopping store that I would have
snubbed my nose at in favor or Costco. Hopefully they will carry US
grade beef -- sometimes you just want a good steak! I'm off to the
opening of Sam's club -- I'll let you know next month if it is as
good as the one in Playa -- which by the way has gotten better!
This is a slow month - September is the slowest of months so there
wasn't much happening in the area - the town of Mahahual really dies
in September on non-cruise ship days. Mexico celebrated its independence
day on Sept 16th. Chetumal and Bacalar had big celebrations. Since
we were closed, we were able to let all of our staff have the day
off and celebrate with their families. The weather in September was
unusually dry for the wet season and our cisterns all dried up. October
has been normal with at least 5 inches so far in Placer (according
to our unofficial rain gauge).
You can find this issue of the newsletter and archives of past e-newsletters
at this location:
MESSAGE BOARD FOR COSTA MAYA NEIGHBORS
The response to the Costa Maya Message Board was kind of slow last
month -- perhaps the subject matter of surveys wasn't a hot subject
unless you are in the midst of having it done and running into problems
(you might want to read the posts). I thought this month, in honor
of the opening of Sam's club in Chetumal, to start a conversation
about the best place to buy goods and services in Quintana Roo. If
you have a vendor or professional that you would like to spread the
word about, please take a moment and post their name. This can be
anything from a lawyer, Accountant, Doctor, architect, carpenter,
painter, massage therapist, realtor, vegetable stand, taco stand,
etc. -- let's support good work and good people by keeping them in
business. If you are looking for a certain service, post your search
as well. If you offer a service for the neighborhood, please feel
free to post it, but realize that the moderator (me) may remove it
if it reads like an advertisement and gets in the way of the neighborhood
feel of the forum. Someone has already started a discussion about
Goods and Services http://costamayalive.com/Forum/viewforum.php?f=11
Thanks in advance for supporting the neighborhood! Below are some
links to some of the topics that have some discussions started.
NOTE: Two months ago we had some problems on the Forum with Spammers.
I have now had to require registration to post to any forum. Its made
a difference, now there are only a few. Sorry for the inconvenience!
CHAYA -- Cnidoscolus Chayamansa
Its very likely that when you visit local restaurants for breakfast,
you will see "Huevos con Chaya" on the menu. For a long
time, I didn't know what it was, so I didn't order it. When I finally
did, it was a great "a-hah!" Cooked Chaya tasted very much
like cooked Swiss chard or Spinach. I then proceeded to look for it
in the markets. I didn't find it at a Supermarkets but it wasn't hard
to find in the farmer's markets. Ten pesos will buy you a very large
bag of Chaya.
The name comes from the Mayan chay. Other common names are tree spinach,
chaya col, kikilchay, and chaykeken. You probably won't find it in
the supermarkets in the US because it is toxic when raw. The toxicity
extends to the touch and to eating. Every local knows that you have
to cook it before using and handle with gloves. They contain a high
content of hydrocyanic acid. Doesn't sound to appetizing -- but it
is! One minute of boiling destroys most of the acid. My cooks boil
it for 15 minutes then store it in the fridge for a few days while
we use it in soups and eggs. I'm not sure what it does if you eat
it raw, but touching it causes you to itch. Wild Chaya seems to be
worse -- the aftereffects caused me to itch for several days when
I ran into some in some at the ruins of Uxmal where I casually brushed
one aside. When I have absentmindedly picked up Chaya by hand at the
market, the itch only lasts an hour and isn't too severe. It was enough
to refrain from eating it (not sure what it would do to your stomach
and lining of your esophagus!).
The Chaya bush is a large, leafy shrub reaching a height of about
6-8 feet. The dark green leaves are 6-8 inches across on a long slender
stem and look somewhat like a maple leaf only a little "hairy."
Chaya blooms frequently and both male and female flowers are at the
end of long flower stems. Both kinds of flowers are small. The white
male flowers are much more abundant. I don't know if you can eat the
It is fairly easy to grow Chaya at the beach, but it does take a
while to get started. I started mine from a cutting and just stuck
it in the sand. It took a while to get started. I had it under the
drip line of a palapa cover, but it likes lots of sun and dry conditions,
so it did better when I moved it into the sun. It took about a year
before I could harvest leaves. At any one time you can harvest about
60% of the leaves.
1) Use gloves during harvesting to protect the hands from spines.
2) Use entire leaves and a bit of the stem. Leaves are immersed and
simmered for 15 minutes and then served with oil or butter or in any
recipe that you might use cooked spinach. Here in Mexico is it with
potatoes, in soup or eggs; mixed with masa to make tamales de Chaya,
fried with masa to make tortillas with Chaya -- the list is endless.
They even wrap tamales in chaya for a different flavor.
Chaya is a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium, potassium and
iron, having more than spinach. A good Mayan Medicine includes Chaya
in his garden. Because it has such high nutritional value it is used
for everything from treating kidney stones to treating anemia and
malaria. Use ten leaves with one liter of water and drink as a tea.
The taste is very pleasant and the liter should be consumed over a
24 hour period and then repeated. I eat it preventatively and because
I really like it!
NEW DEVELOPMENT ON THE COSTA MAYA & SURROUNDING AREA
We all hope for the time that there is an alternative airport to
fly into. We've seen a little light in that area, or at least some
Reported on Reuters -- New airport for Cancun area? September
Mexican airport operator Asur has petitioned the Mexican government
to allow a new airport to be built in the Mayan Riviera, which is
the Playa del Carmen-Tulum corridor. Asur, also operates an airport
on Cozumel. Cancun is an important spot for Asur, with the existing
hub there accounting for more than 70 percent of its total passengers.
Asur is concerned that a rival company, or even the state government
of Quintana Roo, could attempt to construct an additional hub to serve
the hotspot. The company currently controls nine airports in Mexico,
including Villahermosa, Oaxaca, and Merida. Asur said it has asked
the transport ministry for the permit to build a new airport but has
not yet received a reply and could not guarantee the request would
We also heard from a "reliable source" that American Airlines
was going to be serving Chetumal early in 2007 and they were hiring
at the Chetumal airport! I looked at their website and Chetumal is
listed as a "code share" city. You can find flights to Chetumal,
but they all go through Mexico City and I could only find those going
through Dallas Fort Worth or San Antonio. That can mean a 13 hour
day for some of the flight times I saw. I'll keep checking. . .
I wonder if some mail to Asur and American Airlines might do some
LEARN SPANISH ON-LINE VIA BBC NETWORK
The BBC is a great place to polish up your Spanish. It primarily
teaches Castilian Spanish, but also specifies differences in Latin
American Spanish. The lessons are as polished as any I have seen on
line and they have a "test your level" which lets you know
where to start your lessons. Based on your first error, (for me it
was question 4) they make recommendations. I used the back arrow and
put the right answer in and continued forward. At question 9, I missed
again. At this point, I saw that the recommendations were different.
Clicking through to my recommendations, I found they had videos, audio
and transcripts. Some of the site has interactive lessons in Flash,
but some of site has videos and audio that require Real Player which
can be downloaded from the BBC website. You can purchase workbooks
that go along with the video or purchase CDs to view the series. There
are a few quizzes and games intermixed with the lessons, but I would
have liked to see more, since I seem to be able to maintain my studying
for longer periods that way. The good news, is this is most of the
material is free and you can learn a lot of Spanish basics just using
this website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/
HURRICANE PREDICTION NEWS
The National hurricane center has announced a new product that has
great impact on the ability to forecast storm damage. The new product
is a Surge forecaster and can be found at http://www.weather.gov/mdl/psurge/active.php.
Unfortunately it doesn't look it will show the Yucatan peninsula,
but perhaps it will expand the service later.
Also, based on information learned during Hurricane Dennis last year,
they are changing the way they forecast storm surge. Hurricane Dennis
cased a storm surge that flooded coastal areas nearly a couple of
hundred miles away. Researchers now say the surge was caused by a
"trapped wave" along Florida's gulf coast. Florida State
University scientists discovered the trapped wave was a bulge of high
water hundreds of miles long. This study has impacted the forecasting
by the NHC.
Also, we want to state that we are VERY grateful that there haven't
been any hurricanes come even close this year and appears that the
rest of the year will continue that way. That said, the beaches here
are full of trash because there haven't been any big storms to push
all the debris into the bushes or storm riptides that pull the debris
back out into sea. It is just sitting along the beaches waiting for
someone to pick up the trash. If you plan on visiting your property
-- plan on picking up a couple of garbage bags full of plastic to
help clean up the area. Every garbage bag full of trash means something
that won't wash in and out, just getting deposited again!
ARTICLES OF INTEREST IN THE NEWS
Recently we've seen some interesting articles you might want to read.
They are much too lengthy to include here, but I've added a quick
Invaders - editorial article that shares some interesting statistics
about Baby-boomers move to Mexico.
Bean Symposium Oct. 13-14, 2006. The symposium heals at the Cocoa
Beach Public Library features Sea Beans found at the Costa Maya and
is hosted by the author of "Tropical Sea Beans" Ed Perry
and includes speakers from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
report on a rosy financial forecast for Mexico, including a forecast
for a balanced budget after posting a deficit of 0.1 percent of gross
domestic product in 2005, the smallest in nine years. A new law published
this week requires the government to justify any deficits. Also in
the news is the clearance for Wal-Mart de Mexico SA to open a bank
in Mexico for loans and financial services to consumers and businesses.
Walmex announced in August that it applied for a license to operate
the banks out of its 826 stores and say they will charge lower fees
than other banks. Sept. 19th, 2006.
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR NEIGHBORS: the WORTHINGTONS
Many of you have probably heard of the Worthingtons. They are permanent
residences in Rio Indio and have already gained a wealth of experience
in the time they have been here waiting to start their building process.
You can read more about them and see photos of their house and horses
that they brought with them. You can read more about them here: http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/PropertyOwners_spotlight.html
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 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 and hear. THANKS!!!!!
Until Next month...
Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya