Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Wednesday, April 29

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Isla Mujeres now has 3 active cases and 1 recovered for a total of four.
On April 29th, Q. Roo reports 711 positive cases with 109 deaths, 211 under study, and 362 recovered. Cancun reports 531 cases with 74 deaths and 286 recovered.

.Santa Ana's fake legs were captured by US troops in the Mexican-American war & one was used as a baseball bat. The other is still on display as a trophy in an Illinois museum (where it was fictionally stolen in an episode of "King of the Hill").
He'd lost his left leg in the Pastry War, when France invaded Mexico over unpaid loans & an offended baker with the King's ear. Although Mexico was defeated, Santa Ana parlayed his loss into another presidency (his total was 11), and threw a state funeral for the leg.
Broken promises from the Pastry War led to France invading Mexico for a second time. Mexico lost that war & was ruled by the French empire for five and a half years, but first they kicked France's butt in Puebla. And that's why Americans will be drinking Mexican beer on Tuesday.

A Story About Cinco de Mayo, The Pastry War & Santa Ana's Lost Leg
Usually, historical accounts are chronological, but let's start with the familiar part of this story, "Cinco de Mayo", a popular holiday in the US, that receives little recognition in Mexico, except in Puebla.
May 5th is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla against the French in 1862. Although the outnumbered soldiers of Mexico won this battle, they lost the war against the French. The conflict began after Mexico was unable to pay debts owed to France, Spain & Great Britain, because it was broke after warring with the US (1846-48) & an internal Civil War (1858-61).
In late 1861, ~10,000 European soldiers invaded, landing in Veracruz. The other two countries quickly withdrew, but Napoleon III wanted to take control of Mexico while the US was too busy with its Civil War to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. Emperor Maximilian ruled over Mexico until 1867.
That wasn't the first time France invaded Mexico over unpaid debts. The "Pastry War" was caused by unpaid loans from the 1836 Texas Revolution, but it was sparked when Mexico's Congress rejected exaggerated demands for compensation by a French pastry chef. His bakery had been looted by Mexican soldiers ten years earlier, during the chaos following the country's independence from Spain. The baker took his complaint to the King of France, demands were made, and refused.
In late 1838, the French Navy blockaded Mexico's Gulf seaports from Yucatan to the Rio Grande, and then invaded, seizing Veracruz. Mexico declared war on France and ordered the conscription of all men who could bear arms. French marines captured most of the Mexican Navy. Santa Anna came out of retirement to rally a small army, who temporarily ousted the French, sending them back to their ships. Santa Ana's horse was shot from under him and doctors amputated his left leg.
The French promptly retook Veracruz, but withdrew a few months later, after the Mexican government agreed to pay 600,000 pesos. This was never paid, and was used as a justification for France's invasion a couple decades later, in 1861.
When the Pastry War began in late 1838, former President Santa Ana was in forced retirement at his Veracruz hacienda. He had returned to Mexico in disgrace after his humiliating surrender at the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, when he signed a treaty granting independence to the Republic of Texas in exchange for his return to Veracruz.
The loss of his left leg battling the French in the Pastry War earned him redemption in the eyes of his countrymen. When he became President again in 1842, he celebrated by exhuming his leg in Veracruz & having it brought to Mexico City in its own coach. It was given an elaborate state funeral, with cannons and poems, and buried under a monument. When he lost power in 1844, an angry mob dug it up and dragged it through the streets of Mexico City until nothing was left, chanting "Death to the Cripple", and he went into exile.
Although Santa Ana called himself the "Napoleon of the West", he could also be considered a "Comeback Kid", since he gained and lost control of the Mexican presidency a total of eleven times.
In 1846, the one-legged general was called back into service in the Mexican-American war. In 1847, during a battle outside Veracruz, Santa Ana was on a lunch break when he had to make a hasty escape from an attack by an infantry unit from Illinois. He escaped on a horse, leaving his prosthetic leg behind in his carriage, which was captured as a trophy. It now resides in the Illinois State Military Museum at the state's capitol (and has toured various county fairs). Both Mexico and Texas have made requests for the leg, which have been denied. A second, simpler "peg leg" was also captured by the soldiers, who reportedly used it as a baseball bat. It is displayed in another Illinois museum, after being rediscovered in the home of a former Illinois governor who served in the regiment.
During his exile in the 1850's, Santa Ana introduced chewing gum to the United States, which eventually had a tremendous impact on the economy of this region, but that's another story.
Written by Ronda Winn Roberts of Maravilla Caribe Bed & Beach & Isla Mujeres History
Photo credit-Lane Christiansen, Chicago Tribune. Trophy leg made of wood & cork. It was also featured in a "King of the Hill" cartoon in 1998.


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"Reverse Sunset" (looking east from MVC)
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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, Coco Jaguar, Manolitos, La Chatita, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery Chedraui & the 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.
Full moon rising over the Caribbean 
 Just after Sunset--May 7  7:46 (sets 7:15p)
May 8      8:51  
May 9      9:55
May 10   10:55
May 11    11:50

 Sunset  7:12-7:25pm (beginning vs end of month)
Sunrise  6:16--6:05am
Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC

Turtles begin mating and nesting in May. They can be observed mating offshore from Punta Sur during this month, and they nest along the eastern beaches. Tortugranja staff and volunteers gather the eggs and incubate them in the sand in a pen outside the facility. The Protection season officially begins May 15, but Tortugranja staff usually begin checking for nests at the beginning of the month. Three species nest annually in Isla Mujeres, Greens, Loggerheads, and Hawksbills, and very rarely, a Leatherback will attempt to nest, but generally the sand isn't sufficiently deep.

The season for swimming with the whale sharks normally begins on May 15th, which ends annually in mid-September. They congregate and feed on a 'buffet' of plankton and fish eggs from a type of tuna. Rays are also attracted to the feeding areas.  Photos by Tony Garcia

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks before dawn on May 5th, but can be seen during the early hours (starting ~3a nightly) from mid-April thru mid-May. The longest "windows" to see them as they near peaking are the wee hours Friday & Saturday nights, May 1st & 2nd (which are the mornings of Sat & Sun). They peak as the moon is approaching fullness. On May 5th it sets at 4:55a, so will be low on the western horizon, while the radiant point is in the east. You don't need to focus on the radiant, because you may miss the meteors that create the longest bright streaks flying across the sky. This shower is caused by debris from Halley's comet. 

During May, the climate changes 
 Although May is the hottest month in the neighboring state of Yucatan, here on the coast, the hottest months begin in June. In May the "Perceived Temperature" (thin line above the others) begins to rise, as the humidity increases and the rainy season begins as the month progresses. We've been in dry season since November-December, and late April & early May are when firefighters are busy across the Peninsula fighting brush fires. There are ~13+ hours of daylight in May & humidity increases from 92% to 99% as the month progresses. Water temperatures are 81-82 degrees. 

Source: Weather Spark
Source: Weather Spark

Source: Climates to Travel
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation. In CancĂșn, the chance of a wet day over the course of May is very rapidly increasing, starting the month at 14% and ending it at 36%.
For reference, the year's highest daily chance of a wet day is 52% on September 27, and its lowest chance is 12% on March 22.   Source: Weather Spark
Source: Weather Spark
Source: Weather Spark

Friday, May 1  Labor Day  Official Holiday with offices closed. 

May 3 Dia de la Cruz, a holiday celebrated by construction workers in Mexico, and is associated with St Helena (Elena in Spanish). Normally, crosses are placed atop construction projects, and crews take a break to pray and eat together, with food & drink supplied by the owner.

May 5  "Cinco de Mayo" Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla against the French in 1862.
May 10 Mother's Day

The Events section will resume when there are public events scheduled.

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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