Friday, December 6, 2019

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Friday, December 6

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From the City....

Audits of the three "Blue Flag" beaches 
   Audits which occur twice a year are taking place on the island's three beaches which have earned the "Blue Flag" designation, to ensure they continue to meet the 33 required criteria. The Playa Centro beach has had this award for four consecutive years, and is receiving its second audit for this year. North Beach and Playa Albatros are getting their first audits since receiving the designation.  The criteria include security, services, sustainable development, environmental management, and high quality of water and sand.
   During the audit of Playa Centro, lifeguards with Civil Protection conducted and open water rescue and first aid drill.

The new microbuses will be inaugurated on Monday at noon on the Town Square.
Previous news reports said they'll have a capacity for 25 passengers, AC & GPS, run every half hour from the north end of Guerrero west to Medina, South to Paseo Peces in La Gloria (where the hospital & Mundaca are), north on the Caribe coastal road and back to Medina by the Naval base, with a maximum of ten buses. There will be bus stops with shade and others just marked by a sign.

TVisla Mujeres    

Road closures today & tomorrow in Cancun during 35th International Rock 'n Roll Marathon
The event will take place this afternoon & all day Saturday with about 5000 athletes running various distances, affecting traffic in the center of the city as well as the hotel zone. This will cause a total of 69 road closures over the two days, with participation by 105 officers and 22 vehicles.
Events include 20 bands. Participants will run distances of 5, 10, 21, and 42 kilometers. Maps at link     

   Noti Isla Mujeres     

Burglary suspect arrested,  José G. P. R. of Isla Mujeres, ska "Charal" downtown after Marcelina F. C., 56, spoke to a uniformed officer accusing him of stealing items from her home which is located downtown. (photo of suspect surrounded by various new appliances in boxes). The Police Chief said it is important that victims follow thru by filing charges so that those responsible pay for their crimes and don't go free, which occurs when complaint reports aren't made with the Public Ministry.

VIDEO interview about Human Rights Day with the director of the local agency.

The Director of the Community Hospital gave assurances that their services will be available throughout the December holidays. VIDEO   

Ban on Fireworks & Advice   
After Monday's fire at a playground, which was apparently caused by unsupervised use of fireworks, on Tuesday personnel with the municipal Department of Civil Protection and the Firefighters began notifying merchants to abstain from selling firecrackers & all types of pyrotechnics, which are popular during the December and New Year's festivities.
    The notice was handed out in the colonias and downtown, warning that fines could be imposed and merchandise confiscated under this prohibition, which is based on a Federal law. It forbids the distribution, storage, transport, sale and purchase of fireworks or explosives. Routine or surprise inspections may be carried out by the municipal Department of Civil Protection
     It is noted these measures were implemented in the past, but this year they are expected to be enforced more rigorously.

      The State Department of Civil Protection sent a notice to the municipal agencies urging them to prohibit sales of pyrotechnics. It says that during the month of December, fireworks are the principal cause of incidents in Mexico, with hospitals registering a 300% increase in burn injuries caused by these products, which can be serious, as well as loss of limbs, hearing injuries, and irritation to eyes and airways. He noted that everyone knows where these products are sold clandestinely and warned parents about the lifelong consequences of their misuse.
     The State Civil Protection Agency recommends that only adults purchase or use fireworks, which should not be used by unsupervised minors, that users be aware of their functions from asking questions of the vendor, avoid putting fireworks in your pockets where they can ignite and cause serious injuries, and don't wear synthetic closing when using them, because this material adheres to the skin when burnt, causing more severe injuries.
      If a firework is malfunctioning, don't attempt to determine the problem, and don't light several at once. Don't put undetonated leftovers in the trash. Store fireworks in a clean dry place, out of the reach of children, away from sources of heat or fire, and don't store excessive amounts together. Have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and emergency phone numbers at hand. Share information with your neighbors about the high risk involved with these products.
(Additional Source: Comunicado 156. Coordinación Estatal de Protección Civil. 30 de noviembre 2019)

 Two stolen & plundered scooters
   At the end of this week, two bikes were found which had been abandoned by thieves in colonia Salina Chica. In the first case, a wheel was stolen and the motos was abandoned a few meters away. The second case occurred on Thursday morning, when the scooter had been pushed a few meters around the block, where it was abandoned after its mirrors were taken. The owner was unable to recover his vehicle from the location where it was left because the police arrived at the same time and moved it to the impound yard. IM Noticias says the owner will now be responsible for daily impound fees until they are able to release it. And that residents attribute this problem to drug abusers who sell the stolen goods to get high.

Hyperbaric Chamber    
It is expected that a new Hyperbaric Chamber will be obtained in 2020 because the current one has exceeded is normal useful term by seven years. It is used for the treatment of decompression illness among the lobster fishermen of Isla Mujeres, Cancun, and the Yucatan coast. This information was provided by  the municipal Director of Fishing, Polycarp Pastrana, who noted there have already been some problems with the chamber, whose performance is vital, since decompression can be fatal or have grave consequences. He said the municipal government has allegedly already carried out the necessary procedures with the state and federal governments.

From  Por Esto :

Mobility Institute removing "pirate" golf carts  

Imoveqroo va por carros de golf pirata

  During the winter holiday season, IMOVEQROO (The state Mobility Institute) will continue working to remove "pirate" golf carts from the island's streets, so they aren't operating as they have in previous seasons. The agency's Director of Supervision and Surveillance, Juan Barrera Diaz, said they will intensify these operations, noting this problem has been exposed by the rental agencies who provide this recreational transport.
   He said he can't discuss numbers because at this time they don't know exactly how extensive the problem is on the islands of Isla Mujeres and Holbox. It has been less than a year since these operations were initiated after IMOVEQROO began  (who took over this responsibility from the SINTRA agency.)
  On Wednesday, an operation took place on Rueda Medina Avenue stopping and checking documents of rental carts, carts with private plates, and taxis. This included requesting documents from golf cart with a capacity for 14 passengers for private use by a hotel that will open its doors in Sac Bajo on Saturday.
   The association for golf cart rental agencies has been complaining and claiming there are 400 pirate golf carts operating on the island. In response, IMOVEQROO has assigned staff to combat this problem, detaining more than a dozen vehicles which were operating irregularly. 
  Mr Barrera Diaz said he is aware of the high demand for the carts during high season, and that many individuals who own the vehicles for personal use are also renting them out, causing complaints from the rental agencies. The Hacienda (state treasury) has issued private plates for personal use in Isla Mujeres, which are only valid on the island.
   The rental agencies have requested that the government stop issuing private plates because of this risk of competition from them, because every year, a number of used carts are auctioned to the public, as the 25 rental agencies renew their fleets, according to "data collected".

Isla Mujeres says no to pyrotechnics  

Isla Mujeres dice no a la pirotecnia

  See information above. Por Esto also notes that there was an explosion of pyrotechnics a year ago in a private house in colonia Salina Chica near the Sports Center, and that fireworks ignited in the streets by children bother neighbors and pets, especially dogs. There have not bee reports of fireworks in the streets recently, and it is noted that in the past, it was often common by this point for minors to be playing pranks in the colonias to scare passersby. The general public is asked to cooperate and to complain about those who violate this regulation by contacting Civil Protection immediately or complaining about them via social media.
 It s noted that a children's playground was completely destroyed on Monday afternoon, when the synthetic ground cover caught fire from children using fireworks, and to avoid further occurrences like that one, no one will be given permission to sell these dangerous products.

Isla Mujeres news briefs    

Breves de Isla Mujeres

  There are concerns about the deterioration of the metal posts of some of the downtown streetlights due to rust, particularly among those that were installed along the southern part of Juarez Avenue about five years ago. The damage has occurred despite their fiberglass coverings and residents are worried that they could fall, and a neighbor noted that one pole behind the Naval base along Juarez is completely oxidized and its lamp is inches from the electrical wires.
   Members of the tourism services cooperative "Isla Blanca" volunteered their time to paint the curbs along Rueda Medina, as a social service to contribute to the good image of the island as high season is about to begin. They urged other residents to be committed to conserving the urban infrastructure that is provided by municipal authorities.


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Fine dining a few steps away at Da Luisa or try the neighborhood eateries a couple blocks farther. We provide a list of links & direction to over 20 eateries within ten minutes walk, including Mango Cafe,  Mike's Pizza, Brisas, Rosa Sirena, Manolitos, La Chatita, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery , Chedraui & local craft brewery.  Visit marinas, bars, & beach clubs that are minutes away by bike or on foot. Attend Yoga classes a couple villas away at Casa Ixchel. Fresh juice, produce & tortillas a few blocks away in the village, as well as a variety of other stores. It takes 20-30  minutes to walk downtown.
Full moon rising over the Caribbean 
December 12   6:46
December 13  7:42
December 14   8:42
December 15  9:44
December 16 10:46
December 17 11:48

Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC
 Sunset  ~6:04-6:16p (start-end/mo) 
Sunrise ~7:08-7:24a (start-end/mo)
December Events 
Provided by MaraVilla Caribe & Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events

Wednesday nights at 8:45p, the group "Isla en Bici" bike around the isle, meeting at Juarez &  Abasolo. Lights required, helmet recommended. LINK

Thursday afternoons ~3p-8p Artist Fair on the Paseo de la Triguena off the Town Square at the malecon by the food trucks. 

Thursday, Nov. 28 The Festival for the Town Saint, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception began
when the icon was removed from her niche. 
 The Cabalgata horse procession is Saturday, Dec. 7th at noon & Por Esto says it will travel from downtown to the colonias. That evening at 7pm is the vehicular caravan around the isle, and at 9pm is the Mass of the Mañanitas with Mariachi.
On her Day, Sunday, Dec. 8th are the Communions (10a) and the procession by the boats in the Bay (3p), with the closing Mass and return to her niche at 6p.
The first four photos are by Bruce, including the cabalgata as they passed by MVC Bed & Beach....offering him tequila. The last two are by Tony Garcia.

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7pm on the Town Square--Lighting of the Christmas lights & dance troupe performances!
The Guadalupe-Reyes holiday period begins with the celebrations for the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose day is Dec. 12 and continues thru Dia de los Reyes, Three Kings Day on January 6th.

Dec. 11 Singing of Las Mañanitas outside the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in colonia Salina Chica ~10p-midnight.

Guadalupe pilgrims
Dec. 12. Dia de Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. There is usually a run in the morning from the downtown church to Punta Sur to the Guadalupe Chapel, after the 7a Mass. There is usually a procession in the afternoon with children dressed up as Juan Diego, and shepherdesses, between the downtown church and the Guadalupe Chapel. Pilgrimages are made in honor of Guadalupe, sometimes carrying her statue on their back, which is blessed before they return to their homes.

Friday, Dec. 13-Geminid Meteor shower peaks and is considered one of the best & "most reliable", because the individual meteors are bright, and they come fast and furious. More than 100 per hour may be visible, although this year the fainter ones will be invisible because of the full moon.

The Posadas Navidenas take place Dec. 16-24 and usually include at least one event on the Town Square, featuring regional dances and probably costumes from different parts of Mexico. Schools, businesses, City departments, and individuals celebrate the season and comraderie at posada parties. "Posada" means "Inn" and the term commemorates Joseph and Mary seeking shelter for the birth of Jesus, but it's a general term for these seasonal parties. During this period, you'll see groups of children caroling and carrying a branch, singing "La Rama", which is a regional tradition & it's appropriate to reward them with coins.

Saturday, Dec. 21 Winter solstice is December 21

The Annual  "Elmo Christmas Golf Cart Caravan" is Saturday, Dec 21st,  meeting in front of MaraVilla Caribe Bed & Beach (in Bachilleres, in front of the dome, just north of Salina Chica on prolongacion Aeropuerto aka Jesus Martinez Ross) and Casa Ixchel at 5:30, facing south. The procession of decorated carts is led by characters in costume, Elmo, Mickey & Minnie & Santa, and the participants toss candy & toys as they wind south thru the colonias, and then head downtown. Both foreign & Mexican residents participate & everyone's invited...BYOCart & Candy/Toys 

Saturday, Dec. 21 Ursid meteor shower

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Noche Buena, many businesses may close early so employees can celebrate with their families.

Wednesday, Dec. 25 Christmas  Most tourist-oriented businesses will be open 

Saturday, Dec. 28   Dia de los Santos Innocentes A day of practical jokes, similar to "April Fool's Day"

NYE on Town Square by Eduard Joao
Tuesday, Dec. 31 New Year's Eve celebration on the Town Square with a band. Tables can be purchased in advance, and are usually put on sale after Christmas, but they sell out quickly & there's not a lot of advance warning before they are available. The last ferry is usually cancelled, and the first one or two on New Years Day. The celebration begins before midnight and continues until morning. It is traditional for many islanders to greet the dawn at Punta Sur, where the sun touches Mexico first. Some businesses may start late, or be short staffed until later in the day.

 In December, Ruben's charity (link) is very active collecting toy donations & putting together hampers for low income families, to be distributed on Three King's Day, January 6th.
Photo:Tony Garcia
Patron Saint of Isla Mujeres: "Conchita"

The icon of the Virgin that is honored during the Patron Saint festivities is one of three "sister" statues removed from the church of Boca Iglesia in 1890 by several fishermen. (Boca Iglesia was one of the first churches established in Mexico, and is in the municipality of Isla Mujeres.). It is thought that the statues were brought to the church by the Spanish in the mid to late 1700's. They were carved from wood, with hands and faces of porcelain. The other two are in Izamal, Yucatan and Kantunilkin, Quintana Roo. The ruins of the church are difficult to access thru the mangroves, by boat, and in recent years, access has been blocked by private property owners.

Día de Guadalupe...honoring the Patron Saint of Mexico
Dia de Guadalupe by Tony Garcia
According to accounts published in both Nahuatl and Spanish in the 1600s, the image of the Virgin Mary appeared to the indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, in the hills of Tepeyac in the outskirts of Mexico City on December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to the city from his village. (Later she also appeared to his sick uncle.) The young woman was surrounded by light & spoke in Nahuatl, telling Juan Diego that a church should be built in her honor at the top of Tepeyac hill, where there had once been an Aztec Temple to the goddess Tonantzin.
Artwork by Pam Haase
    But when Juan Diego told this to the Spanish archbishop, the priest didn’t believe him and told Juan Diego to go back to Tepeyac and ask the Virgin for a miracle. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather Castilian roses at the top of the hill. She helped arrange the flowers in Juan Diego’s tilmátli (a type of cloak), and he carried them back to Mexico City.
     When he arrived on December 12 and opened his tilmátli in front of the archbishop, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe had been imprinted on the cloak. It is still on display at the Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the most visited shrines in the world.  Written by Ronda Winn Roberts

Pinatas & Catholics: Changing Customs

Pinatas are an essential part of the Christmas posada celebrations, which take place Dec.16-24. "Posada" means inn, and these celebrations commemorate Mary & Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. The parties include refreshments, songs and prayers, (or may be less religious) and the breaking of a pinata, which traditionally has seven points, representing the seven deadly sins. Although much of the religious significance has been lost over the years, traditionally, breaking it symbolized the triumph of good over sin, and receiving rewards from God. Although blindfolds aren't usually used in Isla, they're said to symbolize blind faith, and the person providing guidance represents the guidance of the Church. Here, the pinata is usually suspended on a pulley so it can be hoisted up and down, while attendees sing the 'pinata song' and children take turns swinging at it.
The custom of breaking pinatas among Europeans is said to have come from the Chinese, via Marco Polo. In our region, the Maya had a game in which each player, blindfolded, hit a clay pot suspended by a rope, which contained valuable cacoa seeds.
When the Spanish arrived in the "New World", they found the Aztecs celebrated the origins of their God of war for 20 days in the month of panquetzaliztili, aka December. During these festivities, the Mexica priests hung banners and placed a clay pot, richly adorned with colored feathers, on a pole of the temple. When it was broken, small treasures fell as an offering at the feet of Hitzilopochtli. The Spanish Conquistadors made use of these Aztec traditions when converting them to Christianity, covering the clay pot with colored paper, and imposing new meanings and traditions.
The Spanish exchanged these December celebrations for events called "Misas (Masses) de Aguinaldo" in which passages & representations allusive to Christmas were read, and small gifts, called "aguinaldos", were given to attendees. Nowadays, this is the name of the end of year payments that are mandatory for workers in Mexico, (and the equivalent of two week's pay). Written by Ronda Winn Roberts 

Celebrating New Year's in Isla Mujeres
   To celebrate New Year's Eve, some families set up tables in the side streets with pinatas strung overhead, and dine on turkey stuffed with seasoned ground meat, while others crowd the Town Square for live music, dancing, and fireworks. Each neighborhood brings in the New Year with a bang, and the skies explode with color in all directions.
     During the NYE countdown, there is a tradition of eating twelve uvas de buenas suerte (grapes of good luck), each representing a month, with a toast of champagne or cider. The party on the town square continues all night long. At the other end of the isle, people gather at Punta Sur to greet the first rays of the sun at the eastern-most point in Mexico.  
     Other customs include cleaning your house on New Year's Eve & sweeping out bad luck. Wearing red underwear could bring you love in the New Year, or  your white undies may bring you peace, while yellow represents wealth. Those who hope to travel should grab an empty suitcase and carry it around the room or the block, and set it by the door. If you drop a shoe on New Year's morn and it lands "boca arriba" (face up)  you will enjoy good luck in the upcoming year. 
The old year is represented by a life sized character called El Viejo, The Old Man, who is later filled with fireworks and set ablaze. He may resemble a politician, and he is usually holding cigars & tequila. .
      Kids receive toys on Dia de los Reyes, January 6, when families, friends, and coworkers share rosca de reyes. King's cake, usually with hot chocolate. If you get the Baby Jesus,it means you'll be hosting a party & providing the tamales on Candlemas Day, Feb.2.

Sources for Weather Information:
LINK to Civil Protection Q Roo weather bulletin  (Spanish)
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

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