Costa Maya /Mahahual Blog
For those who Live, Love and Vaction on the Costa Maya and Mahahual
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Othon P. Blanco Property Taxes On-Line

If you live in the Municipio of Othon P. Blanco - you can look up your taxes and see what is in arrears with your catastral number. You can see if taxes have been paid and what you owe...

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Jats'a Ja' 2013

Jats'a Ja' 2013 Festivities and Schedule

Every year since 2007 when Hurricane Dean almost destroyed Mahahual, the Puebla has celebrated its rebirth from the hurricane with the festival of Jats'a Ja'.  Jats'a Ja' is a Mayan word that means the moisture that enters a house when it rains.  You can only understand the need for a special work like that if you have been in a tropical rainstorm in a Mayan Style house. 

While Jats'a Ja' 2013 has come and gone, I've included the schedule for so that you can plan to attend 2014. Jats'a Ja is the celebration of Mahahual's rise from Hurricane Dean. Yearly it has been scheduled during the 3rd weekend of August, to coincide with the date of Dean, but in 2014 it will probably be scheduled in May or June. The theme for 2013 was highly geared towards Ecology and included an all day workshop on recycling, permaculture, meditation and Yoga. Children's activities included recycling workshops, sand castles, volleyball tournament and new this year, a bicycle decorating and parade. Also new this year was a recycled art contest and Mahahual "Adventure Games," both of which will probably become regular events.

Schedule:

16 de August, Friday

8:00 AM Safari de Pez Leon (Lion Fish tournament)

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM entries accepted for Recycling Contest "Trash to Treasure". More below.

6:30 PM Opening ceremonies

7:00 Nautical procession

8:30 Mayan Ceremony and blessing of the sea

10:00 Bonfire and Ritual Music in front of National Beach Club

11:00 Disco at Tequila Beach

17 of August, Saturday

8:00 AM Futbol (soccer) teams sign up at Solomar Restaurant (most of the day)

8:30 AM Recycled art and Yoga workshops at National Beach Club (most of the day with scheduled workshops starting at 11:00 and extending to 8:00 PM)

9:00-11:00 AM Mahahual Adventure Games, 3 person teams obstacle course. Starts at the fisherman's pier

11:00 AM- 7:00 PM Beach Volleyball Tournament at Playa de Bachilleres

All day -  Recycling Art Contest at Yaya Beach

2:00 - 4:00 PM Gastronomica at Plaza Martillo

6:00 PM Bicycle decorating contest and parade

10:00 PM live music and dancing at Plaza Martillo

Jatsa'-Ja poster

18 of August, Sunday

8:00 AM - Super Sprint ( swim, bicycle) teams and individual

8:00 AM Futbol finals

8:00 AM Sand Sculptures - National Beach club

All day: Recycling art contest at YaYa Beach

5:00 PM : Closing Ceremonies, winners announced

Recycled dresses
Two extremely different recycled art dresses

Nautical Procession
Nautical procession at dusk

Adventure Games
NEW event - Adventure games
Adventure Games for Kids
Adventure games for kids
Adventure games repeling off Matan Ka'an
Repelling off the rooftop of Matan Ka'an Hotel as part of the Adventure Games
Recycled Art Dance
Opening Ceremonies included a dance in recycled art costumes. The artwork for the outfits was done by temporary citizens of Mahahual who coincidentally won 1st place in the recycled art contest

Gastronimica
Gastronomica 2013 where the Italian restaurants went all out and put on a great display.

Children's Recycled Art workshop
Children's Recycled art workshop at National Beach club.

Fond Remembrances

Hi Costa Maya Neighbors

When you live in an area for a long time, you see people coming and going. Some come to Mahahual and find it isn't for them. Others are like yo-yo's coming and going with the seasons and we grab them with pleasure each year when they return. Many plan to stay permanently but because they can't make a go of it, leave for good. ...

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Hurricane Ernesto in Mahahual


August 8th came as a bit of surprise to Mahahual. All the reports said that category 1 Ernesto was going to be light, with seas of only 1-2 feet high. In reality, the seas were 1-2 meters high, meaning parts of Mahahual, which are only about 5 feet high were basically underwater. The good news was that Ernesto didn't really have a lot of power in the wind and most of the damage ...

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STUFF HAPPENS. . . and then came Ernesto

To those who have emailed me wondering if I am still writing a newsletter, I can only say as an explanation. . . "Stuff happens" and of course it is never what one expects. In the last Newsletter I mentioned I was happy because I was going on a vacation and that I had some Hotel sitters to help me out. Because Murphy's law is alive and well, 8 bottles of 100% deet later, they've moved on to "Hotel-sit" somewhere without Tabanos.

I think my life is a lot like the pueblo of Mahahual - good STUFF happens and then something gets in the way. Perhaps it is to keep us humble or to remind us that if something CAN happen it will. In Mahahual's case it was Ernesto.


First there were several fishing tournaments early in the summer, and everyone was looking forward to the Summer High season where Mexicans flow to the beach to get away from the heat in the center of the country. But on Aug. 8th, Category 1 Hurricane Ernesto touched down and primarily was a big inconvenience. During Ernesto I was in the United States attending my nieces wedding causing me great anxiety because I couldn't find any real news in the absence of Internet and Phone coverage. Even though most of the damage was to federal zone palapas on the beach, completely irresponsible reporting by the local newspapers showed pictures of a home still standing but that had been destroyed by Hurricane Dean. It was a miserable trip and reminded me of why I vowed never to leave the Costa Maya during Hurricane Season. You can read more about Ernesto and view pictures in the body of the web site version of the newsletter.

Surprisingly, they didn't cancel Jats'a Ja, but attendance was a bit low. Those of us who went were treated to a variety of dancers, musicians and competitions.


That event was followed by a nice, but low attended Independence day celebration on September 16th and an equally slow September with only 4 cruise ships for the month. While the short term tourist traffic has clearly been affected by the perception of cyclone damage - the newspaper is reporting that there are 20 fewer cruise scheduled this year for the Costa Maya Pier. What does all this mean for the future of Mahahual? Not much, apparently. While Senior Frogs and Hard Rock Cafe closed their doors, advance hotel rentals seem to be on par with other years and homes are renting a bit better than last year. Everyone is reporting that Christmas is about full. We do have a few openings if you get a last minute urge to come to Mahahual. In the mean time, the Mahahual businesses have vowed to focus on Non-Cruise ship business (DUH!). In the background, charity work continues and good things are flowing into Mahahual. More Hotels are being built and people are buying Casitas with the idea of retiring a short walk from the beach. This is exactly what Mahahual needs - something to support the town's restaurants and businesses on non-cruise ship days. However, Mahahual continues to close down at night. Last Friday night Kim and I went out with some friends and only found No-och' Kay open (thank you Heimi).

If you find yourself in Town on the 25th of November - make sure an plan on stopping by the Charity event at Fernando's 100% Agave. This Fundraiser has been traditionally held at Marilyn Marshals, but this year a more central location has been selected to get everyone involved. I hope to see you there!.

Your Costa Maya Neighbor,

Marcia

Ahorita, Manana and Time Disparity in Mexico

Once again the Costa Maya gratefully slipped by with only minimal damage after Storms Karl, Paola and Richard touched the area. Paola and Richard only brought a few waves and some windwhile we watched thunderous black clouds in the distance. Karl did some damage,however. The worst affect to many of us was the fact that the internet towerblew over and as of the writing of this newsletter many homes north and south ofMahahual still don't have service.

Now the reasons we don't have it arecomplex - but Jesus--not the one we worship on Sundays-- but the internet Jesus,kept telling us we would have it in the "afternoon," or "MANANA" until finallywe got the sense we would have to search for a different alternative. Whichbrings me to AHORITA and MANANA. If you are here in Mexico, it is pointless torest your hopes on something happening MANANA - because in reality - MANANAmeans "just not today." It is best to find out which MANANA they are referringto. Once you learn that - you can be relieved of a little stress. But even morecomplex is the meaning of the word AHORITA.

If you look up AHORA in aSpanish - English dictionary you will find the meaning to be "now." Look alittle further and you will see the word AHORITA. The translation says "rightnow." But "NOW" in Mexican culture seems to have a surreal meaning and attentionneeds to be given to which "NOW" you are referring to. When someone says AHORITAto you, they don't really mean "right now" they mean "in a little minute" or"when I get finished with what I am doing," or even worse - "when I get aroundto it." I had a guest from Mexico city - a young entrepreneur who had traveledextensively and who described to me that AHORITA is one of the problems stoppingMexico from being a 1st world country. It frustrates everyone the amount of timeit takes to get anything done here. So what do you say if you want somethingdone "right now, this very minute" and you don't want to wait?

AHORAMISMO - literally, the same now. Say it with a smile and it might happen. Ifnot, maybe MANANA.

A friend of mine from Bolivia  sent me the following:

". . .I struggle with their real meaning since I came to Mexico several years ago. What I learned is that here if you want something done you need to stay on top. You need to request it several times to send the message you are not just saying. Asking once means you are not serious and you do not need it anyway.

More sayings that basically means the same. . .: "
Sayings Literal translation Meaning
Ahora Now In the future
Ahorita Right now In the near future
Ahora mismo Right now Faster than ahorita
Luego After, next After I finish what I'm doing ………
Luego, luego After, next Next of no time……….
Ya, ya Right away I will start right away but finish sometime in the future
En chinga f** fast I will start right away but finish sometime in the future
De volada Flying In a little while
Manana Tomorrow Not today
Pronto Pronto, soon Soon in the future
En ocho dias In 8 days Ask me again in a week

 I'd love to hear from anyone that has some insights into this phenomena of time disparity in Mexico.

Carnival Mahahual 2010 - review

 
 Mahahual's 2nd Carnival held the 26th and 27th of February was actuallymy first!  Despite lots of waiting around and delays, the paradestarted started about 6:30 - about bug eating time.  As the crowdsstood around Barudi's, waiting for the main float to arrive, Aroma'sand Barudi's did a brisk business selling beer.
   
   Lots of beautiful girls and costumes - like any carnival! After the parade, the show went on until 11:00 PM after which the band played most of the night.
 
 And of course the guys have to get into it too!

Bus from Belize only running on weekdays

If you ever plan to take the bus from Belize or other parts of Latin America into Mexico, please note the following.  According to the Reporter, a Belizean newspaper, Buses, cargo containers and trucks  are no longer allowed to enter Mexico during the weekends as all vehicles must be screened by gamma rays, a new security procedure to prevent contraband, human trafficking, arms and drugs.  This would impact travelers between Belize and Mexico who want to travel on weekends via bus. 

The reason?  No screening can occur over the weekend since the office is closed.  This is part of a modernization project  to protect the borders of  Mexico.  Only private vehicles and foot  traffic will be able to cross the border.  Actually, this has been a regulation that has been in place since 2006 and equally restricts Mexican buses from entering as well, but it was only on January 30 of 2010 that it was implemented at all border crossings. 

On weekdays, the gama testing office is only open between the hours of  9am and 7pm.  The solution would be to open the offices on weekends.  I don't know about offices along the US border, but as of January 30 2010, the offices are closed at the Belizian crossing.

The solution?  Get off the bus at the border and walk across the border.  Taxi's will be waiting. 

Security Meeting Feb. 3, 2010

The Alcaldia, or Mayor of Mahahual hosted a meeting of foreigners living in and around Mahahual.  Most owned property and some  had been at one time or another victims of some sort of theft along the beach.  Needless to say it was well attended.  If nothing else, it was an opportunity to meet other neighbors. 

The most important thing that came out of the meeting was that if you don't report it, as far as the police are concerned, the theft didn't happen.  Further more, without a report, you cannot reclaim your property.  Most recently thefts have primarily been of solar panels and computer equipment.  The process is that you must report the incident to the Ministario Publico or District Attorney , and then it will get into a queue and be investigated.  Therein lies the problem for most people who insist that incidents are never investigated.  The queue happens to include All of Opon P. Blanco, the biggest Municipio in Mexico - 150 pueblos or towns, of which Mahahual is one of them.  Still, a report is essential for insurance purposes and recovery of your items, if for example, the items are later found in a storage facility.

If you happen to see a crime being reported, you can call '066' and  they will come and investigate immediately.  If, for example you discover something stolen just moments after the occurrence, they can set up road blocks.  HOWEVER, and this is a big however for some people, the phone is manned by Spanish speakers only.  Learning some emergency words would be very beneficial, such as 'Ayuda' the word for 'Help.' Alternately, non-Spanish speakers can to to the Alcandia's office (Mayor) and talking to one of the two English speaking staff members, Cesar or Maria who will help them navigate the system.


Office of the Alcaldia de Mahahual located on Mahahual highway

If you see an occurrence  happening to a neighbor's property and want to make an anonymous call, you can do so by calling '089.'  Still, most reports are after the fact and are not very satisfactory.  It could take days to get the police to come out, only continual reminders and promptings can help get their attention.  However true the statement, It was not too comforting when the group of home owners were told "Remember that you are living in Mexico."

PREVENTION:
Since after the fact investigation by the police is poor, prevention seems to be the best recourse.  Some tips were given to the group:
  • If you are going to hire someone from Mexico, make sure they don't have a record.  They should have a report from the police stating this information.
  • Employees should have official ID with their picture.
  • Report incidents or suspected offenders in the area immediately. The Police do have a database of past offenders in Chetumal (however, do not report someone without cause - laws are similar as to those in the USA and Canada)
  • Protect your property.  
  • Hire a care taker
  • Have dogs on the premises - fenced is better so they stay on the property
  • All doors should have good locks
  • Bars on windows
  • Gates
  • Exterior lights left on all night long are not necessarily a good thing. Don't be a target by advertising everything you own by turning exterior lights on all night long.  It is far easier to spot someone with a flashlight.   It is better to have timed lights that go on and off randomly. 
The police do not have the money to patrol the entire coast.  Gas is expensive and it is not in their budget.  Further more, they don't have sufficient vehicles.  Suggestions were made to get ATVs and have them patrol the coast.  The City could apply for a couple more police, but home owners would pay for the ATV and gas.  The idea has merit and they promised to look into the idea. 
 


Mahahual upcoming events and schedules 31-Jan-2010

The meeting of the Mahahual Businesses had several noteworthy announcements.  It also brought to light the problem of traffic in the town.  This was the major point of discussion at the meeting.  As more and more businesses spring up on the South end of Mahahual it becomes ever more difficult to get through town to access those businesses.  Add the traffic from the cruise ships and traffic jams occur on a regular basis.  A committee was formed to study this problem and come up with some solutions. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • A new Museum is planned for Mahahual - Museo Maya.  The plan for this museum will be coming on the end of February and will be located close to the Soccer field, but I didn't catch the exact location.  
  • The Turtle museum is also being restored.  This is the round building that is located on property that SEMARNAT gave/loaned to the town several years ago.  With very little funds, it was almost restored but Hurricane Dean ripped off the roof.  This property is just North of Super Carolinas
  • Meeting for foreigners in Chetumal  Feb. 21at the Convention center.  Sponsored by the Municipality.
TOURNAMENTS AND FESTIVAL DATES
  • Carnival - this year, carnival in Mahahual is scheduled to occur on 26, 27 and 28 of February
  • Governor's cup - April 30th, May 1st and 2nd.  This is the annual fishing tournament that brings in hundreds of fisherman to fish for Marlin, Mahi Mahi and other trophy fish. This year a children's fishing tournament will be added to the event.
  • Copa de Plata - This fishing tournament is scheduled for June 10, 11, and 12 of June
  • Toyota/Coca Cola Tournament - date yet to be announced.  
  • Jats'a-Ja' (pronounced HAHT-sa-HAH) is scheduled for August 13, 14, and 15 or the week before the anniversary of Hurricane Dean.

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