Mexico Finishes 5th Overall at the 2007 Pan American Games

MP News Staff

The XV Pan American Games Rio 2007 held their closing ceremony today, with Mexico coming in fifth place overall with a total of 73 medals.

The Mexican delegation ended the games on a high note: just today, Laura Sánchez and Paola Espinosa took the gold in Synchronized Diving, and Michoacán’s Everardo Cristóbal added his gold medal with a win in the flatwater canoe C-1 500 meter competition (the day before he also won gold in the C-1 1000 meter race).

The medals breakdown was very impressive: 18 gold, 24 silver and 31 bronze, giving Mexico a hefty lead over countries such as Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

The event was not without its controversy for Mexico, however: on July 19, judges decided to rescind the country’s bronze medal for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics because Marisela Arizmendi Torres (MEX), enrolled as a delegation official, but participated as an athlete. As a result, Mexico lost the third place and bronze medal went to Canada.

The Closing Ceremony was held at Maracanã Stadium, a celebration for the athletes and their feats. The next edition of the Pan American Games will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2011, and several members of the organizing committee were present. Brazilian accordionists played a duet with Mexican mariachis, and the Mexican flag was hoisted in tribute to the 2011 Games, to be played in Guadalajara. Slowly, the Pan American flame was extinguished in a metal globe erected on the field.

Guadalajara will be the third Mexican city to host the Pan American Games and the first outside of the Federal District, which hosted the second and seventh games in 1955 and 1975, respectively.

Despite chilly weather, it was a gala ending to the hemisphere-wide event, which drew some 5,500 athletes from 42 countries, as well as 2,000 delegation members, 3,000 journalists and 15,000 volunteers.

The games lasted16 days and included the participation of 5,662 athletes from 42 countries in the Americas.

Cancun: New Adventure Package at Blue Bay Club & Spa

By Lola

If you’ve never stepped out onto the sugar-white sand of Cancun, now is your chance to do it—for less. Blue Bay Club & Spa, a 160-room all-inclusive (no peso conversions to worry about!), beachfront retreat, has recently announced its new Adventure Package.

Starting at at US$280 per person, per package, the Adventure Package gives you three nights’ all inclusive stay along with a tour to the gorgeous Isla Mujeres: the “Don Diego” boat ride includes snorkeling, a downtown visit around the island, a buffet lunch and domestic beverages (that means Mexican brand drinks). And that’s not all: sign up for the package and you’ll also get a Jungle Tour, a 30-minute Jet Ski ride and a bottle of wine upon arrival. Not bad!

One of two Blue Bay resorts in Cancun, the Blue Bay Club & Spa is kid-, couple- and single-friendly. Families will be happy to know there’s a colorftul Kid’s Club with indoor and outdoor games—even Spanish lessons! Grown ups can unwind at the full-service spa, poolside with a tropical drink or dancing away at the disco.

The Adventure Package is priced at US$340 per person valid for travel
from through August 19, 2007 and US$280 per person valid for travel from August 20 to December 20, 2007 at Blue Bay Club & Spa, Cancun. To book contact your preferred travel agent, call 1-800-BLUE BAY, email or visit

Mexico Gas Prices Have Their Ups and Downs

By Jeanine Lee Kitchel

With government owned Pemex the only show for in town for buying gas, you’re pretty much stuck with a one-cost price tag, everywhere. But at about 60 cents per liter, that breakdown brings gas here to roughly $2.45 USD per gallon, cheap by world standards.

A few months ago, Novedades/Cancun reported that even though gasolineras were committed to one price, some stations were going about corruption in a different way: by changing the weight on the pumps. So even though you thought you were paying the same price everywhere, at some Pemex stations you were getting a light tank of gas.

I did a personal study and located two gas stations in Cancun where my pesos went further for a full tank. One is closest to the airport, the other is near Sam’s Club. These non-corrupt stations usually have lines of taxis and local cars lined up as the locals seem to know where to go to get the best buy.

But now there’s a website that lets you know if the gasolinera nearest you is cheating or not. Check out: http:/

If you’re on vacation look for the station with lots of business, and don’t forget to tip the attendant. It’s the norm here.

A Oaxaca News Source

By David Simmonds 

That the internet has changed the way that we get our news is well documented. Major media sources are all in decline as people young and old turn to their computers to find out what’s happening in the world. The pathetic manner in which the lapdog mainstream, corporate media has performed for the past several years has ironically hastened their own demise. “Everyman” can now be a reporter, which has created an environment that offers a wide array of opinions and views on any given subject. Separating the reliable sources from the agenda-driven can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort.

A good example  I have found is a guy, Matt Plavnick, who is attending language school in Oaxaca for the next eight months. On his blog site you can follow the conflict between the rights activists and the government forces from the viewpoint of a gringo spectator. Matt presents a frequent,well-written snapshot from a bystander trying to make sense of what he is experiencing. If you are planning a trip to Oaxaca, or have been there in the past and have a concern for the what is taking place in the city, give Matt’s site a try. I think you’ll be better informed than from watching the 5:00 news or the once reliable newsprint publications.

Real Estate Advice

David Simmonds 

One thing I know for sure, whenever there is a lot of cash floating around, the scammers will be angling for a piece of your money. This is true in New York, Bejing and, yes, Mexico. The most notorious and well-publicized example was in the 1980’s at Punta Banda, on the beach a few miles south of Ensenada, in northern Baja. Naturally, the American press jumped all over the fact that Americans were being evicted from their homes, implying that buying in “lawless” Mexico is not wise. The facts proved to be much different than the hype.

As is often the case, many people jumped on something that looked too good to be true…without doing their homework. Most of the “victims” were aware that the property was in litigation when they purchased. They hadn’t done a proper title search. The ejido (farming cooperative), who claimed ownership, teamed with the developers, who hired Americans to market the property (Americans were selling to Americans…no Mexicans were on the sales team). The problem is that the ejido was not the legal owner. Eventually, the Mexican Supreme Court decided the case in favor of the true owners. The rule of law was followed. None of this would have happened had a title search been performed at the beginning. Stewart Title, Chicago Title and First American are just three of the legitimate companies that are now servicing Mexico.

There is another case unfolding today involving an alleged scheme centered in Cancun and an American who has been arrested in Florida. Some, it would seem, very savvy investors were hosed on their investment. The key, anywhere, is to do your homework and use all of the tools available when you are laying your money on the line. There are some excellent values in Mexico, but you need to follow the same precautions that you would anywhere.

If you need advice or help (here is the shameless plug…is there any other kind?) go here 

Book Review: Oasis of Stone…

MP News Staff 

Oasis of Stone: Visions of Baja California Sur

by Bruce Berger, photographs by Miguel de la Cueva

This ambitious and beautiful book would be a perfect addition to your coffee table, focusing on the southern Baja California peninsula, as seen through the masterful camera lens of Miguel de la Cuevas and the evocative prose of Mexico-lover Bruce Berger. The conservation message is melded perfectly as the book focuses on the unique geology of the less-traveled Baja peninsula, from the rugged coastline, through the moon-like deserts, into the mountain ecosystems. Man’s intrusion does not go unnoticed into this fragile world with a cautionary warning of what could happen if we do not take care of what nature has provided over millions of years. The book, however, can stand on its own if for nothing else than the beautiful photography. I highly recommend it for anyone who has an eye for beauty, and especially for those who are pro-environment. ISBN 0-916251-76-5, 208 pages, 160 color photos. Co-published by Sunbelt Publications and the La Paz-based environmental group Planeta Peninsula

Keep Your Cash – The Drive South Looks Better

By: Lisa Coleman

If you consider Tijuana a Mexican experience… think again. It’s a border town plain and simple, with all the crime and mess that goes along with it. However, to reach the new luxury developments and shiney beach communitites to the south, you have to pass through. The corrupt police know that too. The five mile stretch of highway leading out of town towards the beaches and boom has long been a target for Mexican officials in search of bribes and a quick buck. But times are a changing.

According to the L.A. Times, the Tijuana police are making a huge effort to prevent the “drive in” tourists from being unjustly pulled over and targeted. As the Real Estate market has begun to soar in the area, the locals have become aware of the importance of these projects. The goal is to make the border areas more inviting for buyers. They want to clean up the town while they’re at it, but it’s a start! Baby steps, right?

I think it’s a good plan…let’s see how it goes.