THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN, THE PERFECT HOST FOR THE UN CLIMATE SUMMIT EXCHANGE

Cancun, Quintana Roo, November 29, 2010. – Few places in the world are filled with such beauty and attractions like the Mexican Caribbean. In this region there is ancient culture, first class hotels and infrastructure and signature hospitality that can only be found in the Mayan region, which is sure to meet even the most demanding tastes. Aside from offering a variety of destinations for every kind of traveler, the state of Quintana Roo offers natural wonders, archeological jewels, and other attractions not found anywhere else in the world.
The endless amounts of unique experiences and special places in the Mexican Caribbean start in the internationally famous resort town of Cancun, a traditional place for beach lovers with its soft white sand and turquoise sea. In addition to its beaches, the sophisticated nightlife, numerous world class spas and golf courses designed by sports personalities, the destination now offers a new attraction to visitors: the world’s largest underwater museum. The collection of 400 sculptures created by artist Jason deCaires is inspired by the history of man, from the Mayan civilizations to the present, through historical moments as the conquest, independence and revolution. Underwater Museum (MUSA) will be officially inaugurated on November 27 in the National Park that shares the sea of Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
Following the tour around Mexican Caribbean we find Isla Mujeres, a place wrapped in dreams and the whimsical magic of a small fishing village. Among the unique activities offered in this charming island is the encounter with diverse natural species. Visitors can experience the thrill of swimming with nurse sharks, seals and dolphins, always under the strictest safety standards. The whale shark is another species that chooses Isla Mujeres and Holbox as their home during the summer months. Swimming with these harmless giants is an unforgettable experience for visitors.

For bird lovers, Isla Contoy is a nature reserve that allows visitors to enjoy bird watching. And to continue the marine show, a visit to Cozumel is essential. This island surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world features the famous statue of The Christ, which is a delight of divers. In addition to world class scuba diving, Cozumel offers attractions that visitors can not be missed, such as “El Caracol”, a Mayan relic built by our ancestors to warn of hurricanes, or Chankanaab park, a nature reserve park located within the reef, where you can also swim with manatees.

South of Cancun is Puerto Morelos, a beautiful fishing village where you can feel the tranquility of the sea, the cool water from the cenotes and the pleasures of fantastic gastronomy by renowned Chefs who have chosen Puerto Morelos as their retirement spot.
In the cosmopolitan Riviera Maya, which brings in its famous beaches to tourists from all parts of the world, one can experience activities that combine culture with adventure and excursions. You can visit Mayan communities combined with visits to cenotes, zip lines and rappelling, or Xcaret park itself, with its underground rivers and fantastic evening show. The Riviera Maya is also home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico: Tulum, protected from the sea by a natural cliff, lives up to its old name maya “Zama” which means “Sunrise” and shows visitors impressive rising and setting sun on the horizon of the sea.
Further south is the Grand Costa Maya, lush green area which houses archaeological sites Kohunlich, Dzibanché and Kinichná. Tourists also enjoy a visit to Bacalar, classified as magical town for its charm, and the lake of the same name, which by their shades of blue is also known as “Lake of the 7 colors.” Just a few meters away is the Blue Sinkhole, perfect for diving enthusiasts because of its intense blue color and 300 feet of depth.
Finally, there is no better place to learn the identity of a state as its capital, Chetumal. The city that faces east, has among its attractions with two important museums: the Museum of Mayan Culture, comprised of 8 sections that comprise the worldview of the ancient Indian culture, and the Museum of the City of Chetumal, which tells the story of the city from its early beginning up until today. The tourist corridor of Bay Boulevard, is 3 miles of decorated sculptures by international artists, and is also one of the famous landmarks representing the city.
From Cancun to the Zona Maya (Mayan Zone), there are hundreds of different activities that will change the lives of their visitors upon experiencing. Whether its swimming with whale sharks or helping hundreds of baby turtles, unforgettable experiences await travelers to the region, welcomed by the people of the state of Quintana Roo which are eager to share the friendly and hospitable demeanors that characterizes them as the best hosts.

2nd Annual Riviera Maya Food Festival Exceeds All Expectations

Taste of Playa 2010 welcomes over seven thousand guests
to the largest culinary festival in the Mexican Caribbean.

November 26, 2010 – Playa del Carmen, Mexico – On Sunday, November 21, 2010, 43 of the Riviera Maya’s most talented chefs, restaurateurs, beverage purveyors and specialty food merchants gathered in the Parque Fundadores, just steps from the beaches of Playa del Carmen, to present their signature dishes and culinary creations to over 7000 local residents and visitors to the popular Mexican Caribbean city.

“The event far exceeded our expectations this year!” reported event Chairperson Nicola Inwood. “The small businesses who made up the participants in both the restaurant and marketplace areas truly reflected the international influences that make up the modern Riviera Maya.” The local restaurants, bars and food retailers represented this year offered truly world class dishes for food lovers from across the globe who came to enjoy the Caribbean sun and experience the best of traditional Mexican and international cuisine.

The Travel Channel’s Mark DeCarlo was the celebrity host of this culinary festival and worked through the crowd talking with guests, meeting the participants and sponsors and signing copies of his new book, “A Fork on the Road, 400 Cities One Stomach”. A popular new attraction for the Taste of Playa 2010 event was the cooking demonstration area. Throughout the day, Mr. DeCarlo hosted a series of informative and humorous demonstrations of regional dishes with Chefs from the region. These presentations attracted quite a crowd and added a new level of fun to an already exciting day.

The members of the Volunteer Executive Committee are pleased to be able to make a significant charitable contribution to the Rotary Club of Playa del Carmen, the beneficiary of this year’s event proceeds and are already making plans for 2011. Following the overwhelming success of this year’s event, Corporate Sponsors have been eager to commit their support and restaurants that were unable to secure a spot for this year have started to sign on early for Taste of Playa 2011.

Taste of Playa is a community-focused culinary event that celebrates the creativity and diverse cultural influences of chefs throughout the Riviera Maya. Taste of Playa 2010 will take place on November 21, 2010, in Playa del Carmen’s Parque Fundadores. The event is open to the public, with tickets and all-inclusive VIP passes available for sale on the official event website http://www.tasteofplaya.com. Proceeds from the event will go to a food education program initiated by the Rotary Club in Playa del Carmen that will directly benefit the children and families of the Riviera Maya.

Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico

Now Showing in Los Angeles

By Marita Adair

The  Olmec have arrived. Again. Three thousand five hundred years after their debut as a civilization, another  exquisite exhibition, Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico is front and center at the new Resnik Pavilion of the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA) through Jan. 9, 2010. It’s been 15 years since the last pull-out-all-the-stops Olmec exhibit at Princeton University, “The Olmec: World Ritual and Rulership.” Since then the Olmec began revealing even more of their significant secrets.

This exhibition brings together not only the newest revealed secrets in the freshest scholarly research of this ever-changing subject, the Olmec who flourished 1400-400 B.C., but direct from Mexico, more than one of the famous colossal basalt stone Olmec portrait heads weighing between 7 and 10 tons each. Among the rarest objects is a carved wooden human bust buried in a spring-fed bog three thousand years ago. When it and 39 other wood busts were plucked from the muck in the 1980s, the news made headlines. Then came the carefully supervised, agonizingly slow, drying process. And now we can learn why they didn’t rot.

In all, the carefully assembled  exhibition showcases “more than 100 monuments, sculptures, adornments, masks, and vessels, many of which have never traveled beyond Mexico’s borders.” http://www.lacma.org/art/ExhibOlmec.aspx

Olmec hands created this magnificence with the rudimentary tools of  chert, water, and sand.

And we, through the brawny strength of modern transport, reap the visual benefits.

When a multiton Olmec head is moved anywhere, the question always arises about how the Olmec tussled these enormous pieces even an inch, much less from stone quarry and carving to placement, without knowledge of the wheel. It’s an ongoing puzzlement. But these days they are transported by multiwheeled flatbed trucks preceded by carefully orchestrated wrapping, crating, and lifting by crane.  The LACMA site provides a film of this process. http://tinyurl.com/396qksy beginning at the open-air Parque Museo La Venta (La Venta Museum Park) in Villahermosa, to the LACMA exhibition where children are gathered around the featured sculpture. It’s not one of the portrait heads, but we get the idea. And just in case we wondered how tricky it might be to put this exhibition in place once it arrived at LACMA, see behind-the-scenes installation photos at http://lacma.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/giant-heads-check/ Among those photos is a sneak-peek of one of the wooden human busts once submerged in mud.

And we,  through the highly evolved modern printing process, reap the benefit of up-to-this-moment knowledge of the Olmec in the exhibition catalog published by Yale University Press. http://tinyurl.com/25dybo5

I jest, of course. Not to trivialize the value and history of the printing process, but creating a catalog of this significance (or any catalog of a major exhibition for that matter) involves a tad more than printing. There’s a major assemblage of knowledge (specialized scholarship, sweaty, dirty digging, evaluation, and discussion), government and institutional cooperation, gathering and writing text, procuring permissions, and attention to detail. Oh yes, an editor, a publisher, layout artist, and a major pile of cash.

In the end, the birth process complete, from exhibition to catalog, the latest news of the Olmec is ours for the devouring  from the comfort of our lounge chairs, and/or at the exhibition itself.

From Los Angeles the exhibition travels to the de Young Museum in San Francisco, for display Feb. 19-May 8, 2011.

The exhibition is organized by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, LACMA, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

National Conservation Week

by Ron Mader

November 22 – 28 is National Conservation Week , an event hosted by CONANP, in which people are invited to carry out a conservation action from their own field of excellence. It’s a call to action to spread a message of conservation.

SNC 2010

Planeta.com will be updating our Mexico eco features, including our guide to Mexico Parks and the preview of the 2011 Sustainable Nature Tourism Symposium.

Your Turn – Add photos of Mexico’s spectacular national parks and city parks in the Flickr Groups World Parks and City Parks. Photos of regional eco travel and responsible travel are invited to help us re-imagine North American ecotourism.

Anita Brenner’s Journals Published Two Volumes Rich in Detail and Illustration

Susanna Glusker and Anita Brenner

by Marita Adair

Avant-Garde Art and Artists in Mexico: Anita Brenner’s Journals of the Roaring Twenties (University of Texas Press, 2010) had it’s first public outing in San Antonio last week.

Edited and compiled by her daughter, Susannah Glusker, the splendidly illustrated work in two volumes, includes the years 1925 to 1930 when Mexico, fresh from Revolution, experienced a torrent of renewed appreciation of its history, culture, art and artists. Anita Brenner, then age 20 to 25, and intelligent beyond her years, became embraced early by the inner circle of that brilliant renaissance. The diary she kept swirls with the names of Mexico’s literati of the time, their gatherings, and her daily life and work as translator and writer. The book finishes in the 1940s as this renaissance matures and changes along with Brenner’s ever broadening world.

Glusker’s two other books inviting the world into her mother’s life and times include: Anita Brenner: A Mind of her Own (University of Texas Press, 1998) and Anita Brenner: Vision of an Age (Editorial RM, 2005) authored  with Carlos Monsivais. Avid students of Mexico recognize Anita Brenner’s name from her groundbreaking books Idols Behind Altars (1929) written when she was 24, The Wind That Swept Mexico (1943 ) at 38, her guidebook Your Mexican Holiday 1932) published at 27, and her magazine Mexico this Month (1955-1971). Her voluminous literary output also includes books for children illustrated by renowned artists in Mexico.

Without doing the numbers it’s easy to overlook the full scope of Anita Brenner’s powerful drive to learn, experience, and accomplish. Such focus. Despite being cut off financially when, instead of finishing college in the U.S. as her father wanted, at 18 she hied to her beloved Mexico in time for  induction into Mexico’s cultural renaissance that changed her life. Besides those early accomplishments mentioned above, at 25 she won a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1930-1932, to study Aztec art in Europe and Mexico, while also marrying. At 29,  two years after finishing the Guggenheim, she completed a Ph. D  in Anthropology  from Columbia University,without first earning a bachelor or master’s degree. She spent 17 years in New York before returning to Mexico to live and work.

When I literally crossed paths with Glusker, just  before she spoke about the book at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico in San Antonio, I had come to hear her talk about the new book. In that brief moment of quiet, before she was swarmed by San Antonio relatives and well wishers, I inched in a burning question. “Through the journals, did you learn things about your mother that you never knew?” She answered part then, and part during her talk that followed. Her mother was known by many people in many different ways. Michael Mehl, who introduced Glusker to the audience, worded the thought as “universal ownership of Anita.”

In our evening with Glusker she described the beginning process of reading her mother’s journals as part curiosity and part invasion of privacy.  The voyeur in me is overjoyed that curiosity won..

While she  wove a picture of Brenner, and the people who frequented their home, and/or who were mentioned in the journals, photographs appeared on a central screen, flanked by  two screens displaying photographic portraits of Brenner by Edward Weston and Tina Modotti..

Famous names populated Brenner’s world:  Dr. Atl, Francisco Goitia, Jose Clemente Orozco, Jean Charlot, Frida Kahlo, David Siquieros, Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Carlos Merida and others including  “the fat man” Diego Rivera. When the portrait painted by Diego Rivera of Peter, Glusker’s brother, appeared, she quipped “I found reasons to escape being painted by the fat man,” mentioning his unpleasant body odor. Such are the memories from a child’s point of view. So undazzled by fame.

Near the end of her presentation Glusker  said, “I must confess, the most interesting part of her  life was her personal life.”

When question time I asked if there were questions she wished she’d asked her mother. Someone else mentioned her relationship with her mother. Like so many of us, she described their life as busy, stretched between overseeing the farm in Aguascalientes, Brenner’s writing obligations, and Glusker raising her own family. Then she reflected, “We don’t make time to talk to our parents when we can.” Later, in reference to her relationship with her mother, she added, “I didn’t have unresolved issues when she died; we were friends.”

And finally almost in answer to the unasked question “Do we  ever really know our parents,” appearing on the screen was the famed Edward Weston photo of  Anita Brenner’s nude backside bent into a pear shape (one of several similar poses taken the same day). The Brenner who Glusker knew was “prudish” and had written that she believed sex would destroy her creativity. An idea held by Brenner, age 20 in 1925, when the photo was taken. “This is the mother I didn’t know.” she said of the photograph. She recounted that her mother barely mentions the day in  her journal. Weston’s journal, however, describes the event in detail. He was shaving. She wasn’t expected. It was inconvenient, etc. But when he saw the pose, his artistic eye seized the moment..

Susannah Joel Glusker teaches Mexican Women of Note and Mexican Art of the Early Twentieth Century at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

Anita Brenner’s papers are held at the University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas. A full description of the Brenner archives can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/27yzqv8

Charles C. Kolb provides a  thoughtful review  of Glusker’s A Mind of Her Own at: http://tinyurl.com/2376ryf

Rosewood San Miguel de Allende Approved for $88 Million Line of Credit

Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, a community that encompasses a 67-room resort and the Artesana Rosewood Residences, is the recipient of an $88 million loan from Mexico’s largest bank, Banamex. It is the single largest loan in real estate in San Miguel de Allende, and in the history of the state of Guanajuato.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico –(PR.com)– Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, a community that encompasses a 67-room resort and the Artesana Rosewood Residences, is the recipient of an $88 million loan from Mexico’s largest bank, Banamex. It is the single largest loan in real estate in San Miguel de Allende, and in the history of the state of Guanajuato.

“The sheer size of the Banamex loan is significant,” said Richard York, director of sales for Artesana Rosewood Residences. “But what’s more significant is that it was granted to us at a time when more than 180 real estate development projects in Mexico were being shut down. It is a great vote of confidence from Banamex that speaks volumes about the caliber of our project.”

Not only has the Rosewood development invested in San Miguel de Allende real estate, but it also has invested in the local community. It is the largest single venture in San Miguel since the post-World War II era and employees 300 to 900 construction workers daily. The Rosewood San Miguel de Allende resort also partnered with local Via Orgánica, an organization supported by the municipality, to grow organic vegetables and herbs onsite that will supply the hotel restaurants. Guests will have the opportunity to visit these plantations and learn about the organic process. Via Orgánica is an organization that works to minimize environmental pollution and elevate education on nutrition.

Artesana Rosewood Residences is nearing completion on the first phase of construction with 29 custom homes and the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende resort opening in early 2011.
About Artesana Rosewood Residences®

Artesana Rosewood Residences is a $250 million project in the heart of the historic downtown of San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico. In addition to the residences, the Artesana Rosewood community also includes the 67-room, exclusive Rosewood San Miguel de Allende® resort where Artesana residents have access to a world-class spa and fitness center, 24-hour concierge services, an array of exquisite dining venues, and more. Artesana Rosewood Residences integrate the past and present of San Miguel de Allende into its design while still offering exclusive modern-day conveniences. Homes replicate the Spanish Colonial architecture found in San Miguel de Allende’s centro and the community reflects the timeless way of life in a town known for being an UNESCO World Heritage Site with centuries-old art and tradition. For more, visit http://www.artesanasanmiguel.com/.

1,800-year-old tunnel found at Mexico’s Teotihuacan archeological site

By Marita Adair

A robot went exploring  under the Temple of the Plumed Serpent.at the pre-Hispanic Teotihuacan  archaeological site outside Mexico City.  Instituto Nacional de Archeologia Historica (INAH) officials announced last week. It rolled into a tunnel where mankind has not trod for 1,800 years.

Looking more like a miniature moon buggy, it slipped, through a small hole in an entrance that had been sealed off with rubble almost to the ceiling all those years ago. During its outing  the four-wheeled robot snapped photos of  at least three chambers just begging to be explored. This is the first time a robot has been used for archeological purposes in Mexico. Ground penetrating radar revealed the existence of the tunnel.

Teotihuacan, so magnificent to see even today, roughly 1,900 years after its founding, continues to deliver new information, new discoveries, and more for us see and ponder. Perhaps as many as  250,000 people lived there. Its influence spread at least as far as Guatemala where a Teotihuacan-type city, Kaminaljuyu, flourished,  and to cultures all along its path. Teothihuacan-style pottery has been found as far south as Peru.It’s known that some of those cultures established neighborhoods at Teotihuacan.

Discovery of this tunnel and chambers promises to reveal something  about those early years. Perhaps even some idea of what the Teothihuacan people looked like. Despite decades of exploration, we still don’t know for sure who the founders were or what they looked like. http://tinyurl.com/2vv6pom