Sunday, January 29, 2023

Isla Mujeres News & Events Sunday, January 29



    Tonight at 8p on the Town Square, a folkloric dance troupe from the state of Guerrero, "Iyolmasehuayotl" will perform two estampas* over the course of an hour. This presentation by 40 experienced dancers is part of the first Isla Mujeres Fair of Art & Culture for this year.
* In folkloric 'estampas', the performances include historical or traditional representations. 


The fair & folkloric dance presentation have been cancelled. 


     Yesterday, (Saturday) for World Day of Action Against Global Warming, personnel from ZOFEMAT, Public Services, and the Parks & Gardens departments, together with CONANP, carried out a general cleaning along the Eastern Coastal Road (Perimetral Oriente) in the mangroves and among the endemic plants, removing 1.5 tons of waste. The City thanks the members of the island community who joined in, raising awareness about the importance of taking action to combat global warming. 

    After Friday's rain, the children's parks were open again on Saturday, for their normal hours of 4p to 10p and the Mayor encouraged families to come out and enjoy these public spaces which are being improved.

Photos posted yesterday by Tony Garcia, the rest can be viewed here (FB LINK)


     More than 80 runners are competing in the nonstop 24-hour ultra-marathon which began at noon yesterday (Saturday) along the Caribbean Malecon. The event includes participants from foreign countries such as England, Nigeria and Guatemala. A strong Mexican contender is Islander Vladímir Estrella Blanco, who is hoping to qualify for the 2023 Taipei World Cup.


 Mayor Atenea Gomez Ricalde posted these pictures yesterday saying we woke up to this beauty after the rain....

    Rain fell heavily in the wee hours of Friday morning, and personnel with the municipal Civil Protection Department were out working to keep the drains clear downtown and in the colonias to reduce flooding and improve safety. After the rain stopped, personnel with the Public Services Department swept the streets to remove the leaves and litter.

        Here's the Security Alert issued by the US on Monday in response to recent aggressiveness by Cancun taxi drivers toward Uber drivers, who were granted permission to operate by the state government last week, after a long legal battle. 
The viral videos of conflicts and arrests have raised concerns locally as well, and in Cancun there is a plan by residents to boycott taxis on Friday, Jan. 27th. A supporter of the boycott wrote, "Enough of the abuse, if you want us to take a taxi, improve your service, train your drivers, do not abuse the rates and always take care of the passengers". 
Officials and tourism promoters returned from the annual FITUR convention in Madrid this week, where millions of pesos were spent promoting our state to more than 82,000 tourism professionals.


Tuesday, Jan 24....

     This is a statement by many Hotel & Tourism Associations of Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos and Tulum of their stance against recent aggressions by cabbies toward tourists boarding vehicles using digital platforms and the drivers of those vehicles, as well as the roadblocks by the cabbies.
It says they totally disapprove of these actions which detract from the image of this destination and harm all the hard work that has been done for the promotion of tourism, putting sources of employment at risk for residents. They specify that the problems are being caused by drivers with Cancun's taxi union "Andres Quintana Roo".
They request and demand that the appropriate authorities provide a prompt solution to these violent attacks and ensure free transit. It is imperative that the Rule of Law be applied legally and equally.


      Tuesday, Jan. 24 in Cancun.... The Cancun Police were giving rides from the Hotel Zone to the airport during 'lane closures' of Kukulcan Avenue, caused by angry taxistas. The caption said the street was reopened, but two hours later, they posted that Kukulcan was blocked by taxis again.There are many opinions in the comments about behaviors such as these by the cabbies in response to Uber drivers providing rides again, which was declared legal last week. Cancun residents organized a Taxi Boycott for Friday, Jan. 27.

Monday, Jan. 23 Caribbean coast....

Here's the Paypal LINK  which says: "Dr. Greta has been a medical resource on the Isla Mujeres for years. She serves many patients in the community at no cost or low cost. We want to provide the clinic with a new ECG machine and a HgbA1C machine. In addition, testing for diabetes, strep, covid, urinalysis, etc are expensive -yet needed. Please donate generously!!" 

 Road to Ruin....
     During the Presidential visit to our region earlier this week, AMLO said that a 21 km road will be built to the archeological zone of Ichkabal and Paamul II, to provide access for passengers of the Mayan train, from Bacalar. 
Ichkabal was once a large, important urban center of the Mayan Kaanu'l (Snake) dynasty and contains large structures, up to 46 meters high. It covers about 30 square kilometers (12 sq mi) and was named by the first researchers who arrived in 1995, brought by local guides. 
Work carried out in 2009 indicated it is older than Uxmal or Chichen Itza, with its origins in the Preclassic period. One article says its period of greatest social and political development was from 1000 BC to 320 AD. Another says its structures date from 300-400 BC up to 1500 AD. Although the Mayan "collapse" supposedly occurred around 900, when large cities were abandoned, archeologists have found indications that Ichkabal was inhabited for most of the very long history of the Mayan people.
One structure is 40 meters (130 ft/~11 stories) tall and 250 meters (820 ft) at its base, which is four times the size of the Temple of Kukucan at Chichen Itza. Since much of the large site is covered in jungle, more details are expected to be revealed as it is developed.
This is a ~4 minute video from October with a walk-thru by the journalists and archeologists, as well as aerial views. It says Ichkabal is now considered one of the largest and most important urban centers in its time. The INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) has been working for months with the goal of transforming it into a major attraction along the Mayan Train route. The archeologist explains this area was a ceremonial center, consisting of various monuments surrounded by residences. The structures were used as temples and centers of government, and possibly for astronomy. The captions say the central complex covers an area of seven hectares (17 acres), which is greater than the nearly five of Mexico City's Zocalo. Of the five temples, only one has been excavated. At 2:00, it shows one of huge stucco masks they found, which were reburied to preserve them. Next is one of the artificial water reserves constructed by the ancient Maya, which she says are true works of hydraulic engineering. She says their excavations are still in the early stages and may reveal many surprises, because this is one of the largest Mayan cities of the early periods. LINK:

This is a ~5 min video from 2010, by the INAH, with auto-captions in English, activated at the Settings icon (not the CC icon). It notes that in the 1930's archeologist Izardi Ramos reported two sites in this area and the INAH had to search for them in the jungle. LINK:



There's a unique 'stingless' bee in our region, whose honey has been cultivated by the Maya for centuries, and is respected for its medicinal properties. It's still vendors traveled to PDC to offer it, I'll put their link at the end. Here's some history about bees & honey in our region:
Bees in the Yucatan
From stingless Mayan bees... to fat European bees... to aggressive Africanized bees
"Honeybees" (Apis mellifera) aren't native to this hemisphere and were introduced to the New World by European settlers in the 16th century. In the Yucatan, cultivation of European honeybees began in the late 19th or early 20th century. The introduction and exploitation of these bees reportedly caused a 90% decrease in hives of the native stingless (Melipona beecheii) honey-producing bees.
In 1986, Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata) arrived to the Yucatan Peninsula. They quickly began interbreeding with and displacing the European bees, and are now well established throughout the region. The native stingless "Melipona" bees are a separate species and don't interbreed with the European and African "Apis" honeybees
One study found that when African bees first expand into a new location, within 5-10 years the African genes predominate and European genes decrease to less than 10 percent. This scientist stated: "The colonization of much of the Western Hemisphere by the African honeybee in the last 60 years is one of the most rapid and impressive biological invasions in recent history." African bees in the tropics swarm up to 16 times per year, compared to 3-6 times for wild European colonies.

Mayan Melipona Stingless Bees
The Yucatan peninsula is home to a unique type of stingless bees that have been cultivated by the Maya for thousands of years. In addition to being ingested as a sweetener and used as a medicine, Mayan honey and beeswax were used as currency, as offerings to deities, and to pay tribute (taxes). These stingless milipona bees are still kept in log-hives ("jabons"), but this ancient beekeeping tradition is dying out. Wild milipona bee populations have reportedly decreased by as much as 80% in recent years. However, beekeeping cooperatives have recently been established to preserve 'meliponicultura' and the state of Yucatan has a new program to assist these beekeepers.
Melipona bees only produce a liter or two of honey annually, compared to 50-70 liters by typical (Apis) honeybees. Their honey has exceptional antibacterial properties, and is used for treating wounds and eye infections, in addition to being ingested. It has a unique flavor and a thinner consistency than 'regular' honey. 
A two thousand year-old Mayan ceramic "jabon" (melipona beehive) in Guatemala was firmly dated from the late Pre-Classic period, 300 BC- AD 200. Illustrations in the 1100 year-old Madrid Mayan Codex show male & female deities harvesting honey and conducting various rituals associated with beekeeping. The Aztec Mendoza Codex includes drawings of towns giving jars of honey to the Aztecs as tribute, and the Aztec Florentine Codex mentions the stingless bees and their honey, as does the Matricula de Tributos (Indigenous Tax-Tribute Records)
The Spanish also demanded tax tributes of honey and wax, and in 1549, over 150 Mayan villages paid 3 tonnes of honey and 281 tonnes of wax to the Spanish. Early chroniclers reported seeing apiaries of 1000-2000 log-hives, with well made entrances and stone plugs (panuchos) on each end. During colonial times, wax & honey were exported to Europe.
On Isla Cozumel, archeologists found round structures that could have been apiaries and pairs of round coral and rock objects that may have been "panuchos", which are used to plug beehive-logs ("jabons"). At various sites throughout the region, apiculture artifacts, such as incense burners in the shape of beehives have been found. There are images of the "Descending God", who is believed to represent the Bee God "Ah Mucen Cab" on various Mayan temples. There is a depiction of this deity on a temple in Tulum. (Photo, from Wiki.)
Modern Honey Production
Mexico’s honey exports initially dropped by more than 50% when the Africanized bees arrived in the mid-80's, but production has since recovered considerably. In 1992, Mexico was the fourth largest honey producer world-wide, producing 60,000 tonnes of honey and 4200 tonnes of beeswax. Eighty percent of Mexico's beehives were kept by small farmers or households as a subsidiary or hobby crop.
In 2012, the state of Yucatan produced the most honey in Mexico, but by 2017 their production had decreased by 58%, (from >10,000 tons to 4350 tons). During that five year period, honey production in Quintana Roo increased by 41%, (from 2160 tons to 3045 tons). This is partially because honey produced in Quintana Roo has often been sold in Yucatan, and counted in their statistics.
Most of the beekeepers in Q Roo still work on a relatively small scale, with an average of 35 hives each. There are approximately 3400 beekeepers, and a total of 119,000 hives. The hives produce about 30 kilos each, and about half the honey is sold domestically and the other half is exported.Ninety-five percent of the honey is harvested in the first half of the year. (These statistics are several years old.)
Bee Families
There are ~20,000 species of bees in the world, divided into seven families. Of those seven families, only one, Apidae, contains honey-making bees. The most well-known of the honey-makers are in the genus Apis, aka “honeybees”, of whom all but one originated in southeast Asia.
Although they are less well-known, the stingless Melipona are by far the the largest group of honey-making bees, with over 500 species found throughout the tropics. There are 46 stingless species registered in all of Mexico, of which 16 are native to the Yucatan Peninsula Of these 16, six can be cultivated for their honey and wax, but due to their social characteristics, the "Melipona beecheii" are strongly preferred. Their name in Mayan is Xunán Kab (La Señora Bee).
     The other cultivatable Yucatecan Melipona species are: Tsets (Melipona yucatanica), Kantsac (Scaptotrigona pectoralis), Sacxic (Trigona nigra nigra), Us-cab (Plebeia frontalis) and Bo'ol (Nannotrigona perilampoides). There are also ancient beekeeping traditions in the highlands of Puebla, where tiny stingless melipona bees ("Scaptotrigona mexicana") are kept in small clay pots.
The Mayan Melipona beechii bees construct small 'honey pots' within their nests, unlike the combs of typical stinging honeybees. These stingless bees may be tended by women & children, and thought of as pets. Housewives say if there is fighting and discord in a home, the bees will leave. Generally, the hives are permanent, because once the queen has been fertilized, she can't fly. They are resistant to many of the parasites and diseases that affect the Apis honeybees.
A 'guardian bee' stations itself at the small opening, and meliponas defend themselves by biting, like ants. They are pickier than their European and African counterparts about which flowers they visit, which makes them vital to keeping our tropical forests healthy. There are plants that can only be pollinated by these bees.
Interestingly, Melipona beechii bees have migrated to Cuba where wild populations are thriving and they're now being cultivated. In 2017, the Cuban Society of Beekeepers changed its name to the Cuban Society of Beekeepers and Meliponiculturists.
 Here's the a link to beekeeper-vendors who bring their community's wares to the coast intermittently...


 LINK to Mexico National Weather Service (Spanish)
 LINK to satellite images for the Mexico National Weather Service
 LINK to GOES East Band 16 GIF (animation)
LINK to a private weather station on Isla Mujeres 

LINK to US National Hurricane Center

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