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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

Party through Spring and Summer at the Luna Blue Bar

Posted by Tony & Cheri on May 3, 2010

With the end of spring and the start of summer, the calendar of events and happenings at the Luna Blue Hotel & Luna Blue Bar is beginning to fill up. Lots of parties and fun things are planned:

Luna Blue Bar Happenings for May 2010

On May 5 we will be celebrating America’s favorite Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, with 2 for 1 margaritas, fun giveaways and the traditional music of Mexico. The party starts at 7:00 pm.

On May 7 we are proud to host the Peanut Pet ShelterAnother Brick in the Wall” Party. The Pet Shelter is once again giving away a holiday for two here in Playa del Carmen. This includes FREE FLIGHTS…. FREE AIRPORT TRANSFERS…AND A WEEK STAY AT VILLA BALAM. CLICK HERE to find out how to buy a brick and help build the new pet shelter clinic (and become eligible for the fantastic thank you gift of a FREE trip to Playa del Carmen). The party starts at 7:00 pm with live music by Mike Grabow starting at 8:00 pm.

On May 9 our friend A’ndrea Houston is hosting “Another Playa Bar Crawl.” About 90 of A’ndrea’s closest friends will be cruising the bars of Playa that night (be afraid!) and will be starting the festivities at the Luna Blue Bar. The bar opens at 3:00 pm and the Bar Crawl kicks off around 8:30. There will be music and surprises and fun. What better way to start a party night in Playa than at the Luna Blue?

On May 11 we will be hosting our own InkFest 2010 party, celebrating the art of tattoos. Anyone with a tattoo on display (which means uncovered for viewing…regardless of where it is located!) will receive a free shot of tequila from our lovely Bikini Shot girl. There will also be a tattoo contest with prizes for the best, the sexiest, the biggest, the most tattoos etc. And of course we will have live music with Mike Grabow, drink specials and all the usual craziness of a Luna Blue party.

Luna Blue Bar Happenings for June 2010

On June 4 the Peanut Pet Shelter and many Playa peeps are having a “Yappy Hour Peep Meet and Party” starting at 7:00 pm. There will be 2×1 margaritas, Papa T’s famous burgers (with proceeds to the Peanut Pet Shelter), live music and plenty of fun. Stop by and meet the folks from the Pet Shelter and some of the peeps that you always wanted to see in person.

On June 10, Sadie Elizabeth Infante will arrive in Playa for the first time. 🙂

On June 11 we are starting a new tradition here at the Luna Blue with our “1st Annual Rainbow Celebration.” June 11 is the anniversary of the day Mexico banned discrimination based on, among other things, sexual orientation or preference. The Luna Blue will proudly display the rainbow flag, the international symbol for tolerance and gay pride. Come and join us in celebrating the value of everyone’s life and love.

Luna Blue Bar Happenings for May 2010

We will also be playing the live Radio Margaritaville satellite broadcast of Jimmy Buffett’s concerts on May 15, 17, 20 and 22, and June 17, 19 and 26. Get 2 x 1 margaritas and swing beneath our newly-expanded palm frond roof while listening to Jimmy in paradise.

And as usual, every Tuesday and Friday night you can hear the great Mike Grabow sing about where he wants to be as Lenny the Wonder Dog races through the crowd and girls in bikinis sip free margaritas.

If you are in Playa del Carmen, stop by the Luna Blue Bar. Paradise doesn’t get much better than this.

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Friends, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Puppies and Kittens and Cookies! Oh My!

Posted by Tony & Cheri on December 14, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Luna Blue

It’s a Holiday Party!

The Luna Blue Hotel and Bar is having a Holiday Party on Christmas Eve, and you are invited!

To celebrate the season we will have an Open House from 3 pm until 8 pm on December 24. We will be giving away FREE mulled wine, traditional Mexican Punch/Ponche (which you can spike with a free shot of rum if you wish) and homemade cookies we baked ourselves. And we’ll be playing selections from our vast music library of holiday tunes (which if played back to back last five days!).

We also will be giving away a couple of presents to all attending, for as long as supplies last, including a very special card featuring a holiday painting we commissioned from well known Caribbean artist Barry “Popeye” Launius. We put it on heavy stock paper so you can frame it if you wish. Just a little bit of “Christmas in Playa”…our gift to you.

And of course, what is Christmas Eve without furry little creatures to cuddle and play with? The Peanut Pet Shelter and Coco’s Cat Rescue will be bringing by some puppies and kittens for petting and adoption. Coco’s will also have shirts, hats, mugs, etc. for last minute gifts, and the Peanut Pet Shelter will be giving away some of their new coloring books!

You don’t have to buy anything (although the bar will be open for those who want a little extra Christmas cheer), and you don’t have to be a guest of ours. This party is open to everyone who lives in Playa, who is visiting Playa or who is passing through on Christmas Eve. Everyone is invited for some holiday spirit and a fuzzy snuggle. This is just our way of saying Happy Holidays to Playa del Carmen. Please join us if you are in town.

Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Friends, Living the Dream, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Halloween at the Luna Blue 2009

Posted by Tony & Cheri on October 20, 2009

It’s that time of year again….when untamed spirits roam the night, joining in wild, uncontrolled gatherings of reckless abandon beneath the full moon.

In other words, it’s time for the

LUNA BLUE BAR

HALLOWEEN FANTASY

COSTUME PARTY


Luna Blue Bar - Poster Halloween 2009

This year we have pulled out all the stops. Musician MIKE GRABOW will be returning to the Luna Blue Bar that night. Mike’s mellow music and easygoing style has long been a hit with visitors and locals alike and we are thrilled to have him back.

And while you are listening to Mike sing, why not take advantage of our 2 X 1 MARGARITAS? People say our bartender Jorge makes some of the best…and strongest…margaritas around.

We will also be grilling up Papa T’s famous “BOO BURGERS” that night. Cheeseburgers with all the trimmings and a little Cajun spice added to ward off evil spirits!

This night will also be a chance to buy a PEANUT PET SHELTER REFRIGERATOR MAGNET! On November 13 one lucky person will have his name drawn from all those who bought a magnet and be given the fabulous thank you gift of a week long stay in Playa Del Carmen…FREE. Airfare, meals, tours, transportation, and a stay at the award winning LUNA BLUE HOTEL will all be part of this wonderful gift. So make sure to pick up a magnet or three at the party. Anyone buying a magnet that night gets a FREE shot of tequila and a FREE copy of the poster pictured here!

And what’s a Halloween Party without COSTUME CONTESTS? We are having not one, not two, but three contests that night. There will be CASH prizes for the Best Guy’s Costume, for the Best Girl’s Costume and one more for the WICKEDEST Costume of the night (your own good taste is the only restriction)!

The bar opens at 3:00, the 2 X 1 drink specials start at 7:00, the music starts at 8:00, the COSTUME CONTESTS begin at 9:30 and the party goes until the witching hour of MIDNIGHT.

There will be even more surprises, giveaways and fun stuff so make sure and stop by the LUNA BLUE BAR HALLOWEEN FANTASY COSTUME PARTY. Saturday, October 31st. On Calle 26 between 5th and 10th Avenues. You only have to ask yourself…

How Wicked Do You Want to Be?

Posted in Events & Happenings, Friends, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

All Shook Up…Twenty Years Ago Today

Posted by Tony & Cheri on October 17, 2009

Twenty years ago today, the two of us stood in the middle of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the second largest earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area history. Here are our memories of that day.

~ Cheri ~
I can remember October 17, 1989 as clearly today as I did two decades ago. Twenty years ago today, at 5:04 pm, I had just left my job at a law firm in downtown Oakland, California. I was armed with my little portable TV and all my softball gear. The plan was to meet Tony for a drink at our favorite watering hole in downtown Oakland to watch the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s. Then I was going to go on to my late softball game in Oakland (with the TV in tow so as not to miss any of the Series), catching a ride back to San Francisco with my brother afterwards, and Tony was going to go home. This was the first ever World Series between the two Bay Area baseball teams, and we, like most everyone else, didn’t want to miss it, so Tony left work early to save us some bar stools.

Fallen debris crushes a carI first heard glass breaking. My eyes followed the sound, and I saw panes of glass crashing onto the ground and others falling from the fifth or sixth floor of the large brick building I had just walked past. I jumped into the street and off the sidewalk to get further away from the building and the falling glass. What was going on?!? I looked at the little deli across the street, and the small sign in the window was swaying violently from side to side. I knew then that not only was this an earthquake, but it was by far the biggest one I had ever felt. I looked back at the brick building and saw it actually slither like a snake, only vertically. I was sure it was about to come down. Bricks started falling onto the street. I looked quickly to see if there were any people would be hurt by the falling debris, but the streets were amazingly clear for 5 pm. No one seemed to be on their regular schedules that day because of the baseball game. A guy on the street nearby yelled, “Earthquake!” and ran to hold onto a utility pole. I ran over and held on with him. The street I was standing on rolled like a magic carpet, rising about three feet up before coming back down again. That’s a sight I had never seen before or since.

When the shaking stopped, I just stood there, stunned. There was broken glass and bricks everywhere, and portions of the streets were cracked. I figured I’d better go to the bar and meet Tony, since he was waiting for me. I had no idea the extent of the damage, but I knew it had been a big one.

I got to Roy’s, but Tony wasn’t there. Roy, the bartender, said that Tony had been there during the earthquake but had rushed back to San Francisco to pick up his son from school. I sat down next to Tony’s Jack Daniel’s, ordered a margarita, and turned on the little TV. At that point the electricity was out, so everyone crowded around the tiny screen to get a glimpse of the news. The first news I heard was that the Bay Bridge had collapsed! OMIGOD!! I had a vision of the bridge falling into the water that I just couldn’t shake. Since the Bay Bridge is the only direct way to get from Oakland to San Francisco, I figured eventually Tony would come back to the bar to figure out what to do next. This was before cell phones, so we had no way to reach each other. I sat down and waited with the other people at Roy’s, our eyes glued to the little TV for news of how strong the quake had been and what other damage there was. Was this “the big one?” Everyone was clearly shaken by the experience. I know I sure was.

~ Tony ~
Twenty years ago today I snuck out of work early. The San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s were playing in the World Series in San Francisco. Knowing that getting back into San Francisco across the Bay Bridge back was going to be impossible for a couple of hours, Cheri and I agreed to go to a local bar near where we worked to watch the game and wait out the traffic.

The collapsed Cypress Structure between Oakland and San FranciscoThe game was supposed to start around 5pm, and so I went down early to grab us a couple of seats at the bar in front of the TV. By the time I got to Roy’s, there were seven or eight people already there with the same idea. I sat down and ordered a Jack Daniel’s and began to watch the pregame show while waiting for Cheri. Suddenly the TV screens went blank. Everyone in the place assumed it was Roy’s TV and began to groan loudly and yell complaints. Then the quake hit us.

The bottles and glasses behind the bar suddenly came flying off. People were knocked off their feet and off their chairs as the floor seemed to tilt one way and then the next.

When you live in earthquake country, it becomes second nature how to react. You get into a reinforced doorway or under a table. Within a few seconds, all of us in the bar were scrambling to fill the small doorway that led into Roy’s from the street. We must have looked like a circus pyramid group climbing on top of each other to find space in the doorway. As I clung to the moving wall of Roy’s bar, I looked out onto a terrifying panorama. The buildings around us swayed to and fro, and with every movement sent bricks, concrete and glass crashing into the street and onto the parked cars. For a moment, I really thought that my life might end there. Then after a few second that literally seemed like an eternity (they always say that, and it’s true), the quake ended. There was an amazing stunned silence broken only by car alarms.

As we untangled ourselves from the doorway, my first thought was of my son, Chris, who was in day care back in San Francisco. I had no idea how great the damage was over there, whether he was in danger, or whether his mother would be able to find him and get to him. I told Roy to tell Cheri that I had left for San Francisco to find Chris. I jumped in the car but had only gone a few blocks when the car radio announced that a section of the Bay Bridge had collapsed. A few minutes later the radio also said that a large portion of the Cypress freeway (the freeway I would have taken to go home if I hadn’t stopped to watch the game) had also collapsed, crushing and pinning numerous cars beneath it. There was no way to get back across to San Francisco. I turned the car around, driving through rubble in the streets, and returned to Roy’s. When I walked in the door, I saw Cheri, pale and a little shaky, sipping a margarita at the bar.

~ Tony & Cheri ~
After exchanging stories of where we were and what happened during the quake, we agreed that our first priority was finding a phone and checking on Chris. None of the phones in the bar worked (remember, this was pre-cell phone), so we took off down the street. We each took a side of the street and began knocking on doors, stepping over broken glass and concrete as we went. We knocked on every door and asked at every storefront if they had a working phone we could use. Eventually someone said yes. Through some electronic miracle, we were able to connect across the Bay to San Francisco and find out that Chris was fine, there had been no damage to his school and that his mother had arrived there a few minutes after the quake. They were both safe and sound at home. We checked in with Cheri’s mom and other family members who lived in San Francisco and the East Bay and made sure they were all fine.

Earthquake damage in the Marina district of San FranciscoHaving found out that the family had survived, we went back to Roy’s for another drink. It seemed like the thing to do. Roy was still sweeping up glass and replacing bottles but took time to give us another round. We didn’t stay long as it was beginning to get dark and there was no electricity. We wanted to go back to San Francisco but didn’t know how to do it. The Bay Bridge was closed, so no traffic could cross it and BART, the underground railway, was closed in case the tunnel beneath the bay had been damaged. Probably the safest thing to do would have been to spend the night in Oakland somewhere, but we both just wanted to go home to San Francisco.

Part of the problem was that we couldn’t get good information. We decided we’d drive around and see if we could find any part of Oakland that still had electricity, so we could find out what was happening. We ended up in a small section of the city called Rockridge and to our relief and delight found the main street, College Avenue, had power. We went into a small restaurant called the Rockridge Café (which is still there and still serves great food) and found a table. We joined a lot of other “refugees” watching the news on the café’s TV. It was pretty scary. The videos of the collapsed freeway, the damage to the Bay Bridge and the fires that had broken out in the Marina district of San Francisco (where the damage was the worst) were horrifying. The city was badly damaged, and in a strange way it made us want to get home even more.

Eventually a news report said there was a way back into San Francisco. The northernmost bridge across the bay, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, was open. So was the Golden Gate Bridge. We could get home by driving over to Marin and then south across the Golden Gate into San Francisco. The only problem was that no one knew if the bridges were damaged or not. There were no lights on the bridges, and emergency teams were so busy in San Francisco that there was no one to inspect them for damage. People were being warned that they could use the bridges but at their own risk.

We talked about it for a few minutes and both felt the same way. We wanted to go home. It was worth the risk.

We drove slowly across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. There were a few other cars, all of us driving slowly, wondering if at any minute the bottom of the bridge would fall out beneath us. Luckily it didn’t. 🙂 Once across, we headed south over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fires in San Francisco after the earthquakeIf you’ve ever driven across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco, you know it’s a spectacular sight, even at night. The lights of the buildings lining the rolling hills make for a beautiful skyline. This night, we gazed in amazement at a San Francisco which was completely dark. No lights were to be seen. The hills looked like giant shadows against the night sky. As we headed across the bridge, Cheri commented that there was a huge fog bank on the bridge ahead of us. As we drove into it, we realized it wasn’t fog, it was smoke from the fires that had broken out from ruptured gas lines in San Francisco.

We drove slowly through the smoke and into the City. The streets were deserted, with electric buses stopped dead in the middle of intersections. There were no people or cars on the street except for the occasional police or emergency vehicle. The only lights we saw came from candles in people’s apartments and houses. It was sad and it was frightening, but at least we had gotten home safely.

The next day the City started its recovery. Everyone had a story. Friends who had been downtown had to walk several miles back to their homes in the surrounding areas. There were no buses, no BART, no way to get there other than to walk. In true San Francisco style, however, the pain of the hike was lessened as bars along the main streets, having no electricity to keep their beer cold, were handing out free drinks to passersby. Most of the City was without electricity for several days, and the downtown business area was virtually closed. The City was forced to slow down, and it gave all of us a chance to look around us and once again appreciate where we lived.

In the weeks that followed, life slowly began to return to normal. However, for several weeks there was no way to get to the East Bay and back again except by ferry boat. We would take a ferry in the morning, drift across the bay to our jobs in Oakland and return in the evening. It was a slower, much more inconvenient way of rush hour travel, but in the end we actually came to love it. We were almost disappointed when the Bay Bridge reopened and we could drive to work again.

Of course, as with the first great San Francisco earthquake, out of the ashes came new beauty. The ugly old freeway that had lined the waterfront had to be torn down. The empty warehouses and rotting piers gave way to palm lined boulevards, restaurants, stores and new apartments. The Embarcadero, the area along the waterfront, is now one of the prettiest and most vibrant sections of the City (and is now home to San Francisco’s new ballpark).

Our beautiful city by the baySan Francisco has had more than its fair share of tragedies–from the 1906 earthquake to Jonestown to the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake to the AIDS epidemic. The people of the Bay Area have had a lot of heartaches. They mourn and remember those who were lost in the Loma Prieta earthquake but also take pride in their rebuilding and survival.

San Francisco may sit on the shaky edge of the continent, but its inhabitants have long ago figured out that the pleasure is worth the pain. And they long ago realized it’s better to dance than to cry.

We may live in Mexico, but today our hearts are in San Francisco, which is still and always will be our home.

Posted in Friends, News & Politics, Weather | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Coco’s Cat Rescue Fundraiser at the Luna Blue Bar

Posted by Tony & Cheri on June 5, 2009

Update January 14, 2011. As of today the Luna Blue Hotel no longer supports Coco’s Cat Rescue. It has come to light that they along with others have acted in what we consider to be an unethical manner, attempting to undermine and destroy another local charity. We are saddened by this, as we believe all of the charities in Playa have a place and do good work in our community. We are therefore no longer supporting Coco’s Cat Rescue with our contributions, and we suggest our friends and followers of this blog take similar action. We hope in the future that they may learn to work more fully with the entire community.

We are sorry we haven’t blogged for a while…we have been traveling in southern California visiting our son and doing some very serious research on tourism (see photo below). 🙂

Now we’re back in Playa del Carmen, and tomorrow night–Saturday June 6, 2009–we will be hosting a fundraiser at the Luna Blue Bar for Coco’s Cat Rescue. Coco’s Cat Rescue is a relatively new organization here in Playa del Carmen dedicated to rescuing some of the many lost, abandoned and feral cats that live in the area. The good people at Coco’s Cat Rescue find adult feral cats, trap them, have them spayed or neutered with the assistance of local veterinarians and then release them. When kittens are found or captured, they are cared for by Coco’s until they can be adopted by someone who wants them. There are many, many stray cats in this area, so the work that Coco’s does is truly needed to control the feline population.

We know first hand the good work by the Coco’s Cat Rescue volunteers. The garden at the Luna Blue Hotel is not only home to our own cats Frankie & Osso (Bear, in English), but is an attraction to many of the feral cats, especially pregnant females who are looking for a quiet place to have a litter. Sadly, many of the adult cats are not strong enough to deliver healthy babies, and litters often don’t survive. But recently we discovered a mama and her five babies shortly after their birth and were able to feed mama and protect and tame the kittens until they were old enough to be weaned. Then Laura from Coco’s came and collected the kittens and made sure that they received food and medical care. She is taking care of them until someone comes along to adopt them. With their assistance, we’ve also trapped and neutred/spayed four other adult cats, including the mama of this litter.

Coco’s Cat Rescue is completely nonprofit and supported entirely by donations. Tomorrow, Saturday June 6 will be their first ever fundraiser, a party at the Luna Blue with music, food, drinks, kittens (for adoption or just cuddling) and best of all, a HUGE raffle of some amazing prizes, all donated by local businesses and generous supporters of Coco’s Cat Rescue.

Here are some of the great prizes a $50 peso raffle ticket might win:

  • Two trips on the Fat Cat catamaran (donated by Maureen)
  • Two Rio Secreto excursions (donated by Marissa)
  • $50 US gift certificate to Spa Itza (donated by Vanessa)
  • Three-night stay in a Tropical Hideaway room (a $270 US value) at the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden (donated by Tony & Cheri)
  • A $250 peso bar tab at the Luna Blue Bar (donated by Tony & Cheri)
  • Another $250 peso bar tab at the Luna Blue Bar (donated by Tony & Cheri)
  • A hand beaded necklace (donated by SPAY)
  • A second beaded necklace (donated by SPAY)
  • $50.00USD Barnes & Noble Gift Card to be used in any store or online (donated by Maureen)
  • $500 Peso Bar Tab at the Beer Bucket (donated by the Beer Bucket)
  • A Tote le Monde Duffel Bag (donated by Maureen)
  • Vintage (1948) Jomar Seed Pearl Lariat Style Necklace–60 inches…can be worn as a belt (donated by Maureen)
  • One night in a superior junior suite at La Tortuga from june 6th to dec.23rd, depending on availability (donated by Laura and Ana)
  • A $500 peso restaurant tab at El Bistro (donated by Laura and Ana)
  • Another $500 peso restaurant tab at El Bistro (donated by Laura and Ana)
  • Two Peanut Pet Shelter beer koozies (donated by Maureen)
  • Two free yoga classes at Yoga by the Way (donated by Ellen de Jonge)
  • Horseback riding for two people at Punto Venado (donated by Lisa)
  • Dinner for two at Babe’s Noodles & Bar (donated by Babes)
  • Gift certificate for breakfast or lunch for two people at Turtle Bay Café in Akumal (donated by Jen Smith)
  • One month of English classes at Harmon Hall in Playa del Carmen. The winner will have to pay for books, but the course has a value of 1600 pesos!!! (donated by Mark of Harmon Hall)
  • Two Catamaya catamaran sailing/snorkel trips (value $184 US!) (donated by Fabio of Catamaya)
  • One bottle of Gran Centenario Anejo Tequila, 695ml (donated by Libby of InTheRoo)
  • Lunch for two and day pass at Shangri La Caribe Hotel (donated by Shangri La Caribe)
  • $500 pesos gift certificate at Carboncitos restaurant (donated by Russell at Carboncito’s)
  • Two ATV rides with Yucatan Explorer(donated by Yucatan Explorer)
  • If you’re going to be in town, stop by tomorrow night, or stop by the Luna Blue Hotel or Bar on Calle 26 between 5th and 10th Avenues beforehand to buy tickets. If you’re not able to make it down to Playa, you can buy tickets online. Click here for information. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE PRESENT TO WIN!!! Unclaimed ticket numbers will be posted online here, and the organizers will arrange for pickup or delivery of any prizes won.

    Tomorrow night should be quite an event. Come hungry, as we will be selling Papa T’s famous Cheeseburgers in Playadise. The burgers and all the fixings have been donated by Rob & Michele of Buy Playa and Life’s a Beach blog, so 100% of the $50 peso sales price will go directly to Coco’s Cat Rescue.

    And in honor of the evening, the Luna Blue Bar will be offering a new coconut rum drink we call Coco’s Catini. Every Coco’s Catini will come with a souvenir kitty cat drink ornament, compliments of Coco’s supporter Vanessa. Thirty pesos from each drink sold will be donated to Coco’s.

    And starting around 9 pm, Playa’s own Bad Brad Ryan will be playing and singing for everyone’s enjoyment.

    In addition to the fundraiser, tomorrow evening is also a Tripadvisor member Meet-Up! If you are a regular member, poster or just reader of Tripadvisor’s Playa Del Carmen Forum, please stop by and say hello.

    On a personal note, it’s good to be home in Playa. And for those of you who are still asking (amazingly)…YES, Playa is still open. YES, the weather is beautiful. YES, it’s a great time of year to visit. And NO there is no danger (banditos, swine flu, drug cartels, pirates, etc.) It’s paradise down here. Hope to see you tomorrow night.

    And, as promised, here’s a picture of us in deep conversation with our business consultant back in the States.
    Cheri, Mickey Mouse & Tony at Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth

    Visit our new Facebook page and become a fan of Luna Blue Hotel & Bar!

    Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Friends, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

    A Letter to Jimmy Buffett

    Posted by Tony & Cheri on May 11, 2009

    Here’s an e-mail we sent to one of our favorite Caribbean troubadors, Jimmy Buffett. If you are not familiar with Mr. Buffett’s music or books go to the store right now and buy some of his CDs. After you listen for a while you will find yourself looking at maps and planning vacations on a tropical beach!

    Dear Jimmy,

    We need your help. More specifically, Mexico needs your help.

    As you probably know, Mexico’s economy has taken a pretty bad beating lately with the swine flu scare. Although the flu was concentrated several thousand miles away in Mexico City, the media blitz about how dangerous it was to travel to Mexico kept people away from all of Mexico including the beautiful Caribbean coast! As a result tourists are now simply too scared to visit us even though we never had a single case of flu here where we live in Playa Del Carmen.

    In a way the lack of crowds has been kind of nice for us locals since we have had the beaches and bars to ourselves for a while. But it is starting to affect folk’s lives. People are getting laid off and businesses are worried about whether they can stay open until the tourists return. From hotels to bars, fishing boats, restaurants, dive shops and more…everybody is beginning to hurt.

    We have been trying to think of something that would show travelers Jimmy Buffett, live at Jazz Fest, New Orleans 2008that it’s safe to come visit Mexico’s Mayan Riviera again. The solution we came up with is…YOU! We can talk ourselves blue in the face about how safe, and beautiful it is down here, but nobody will listen. However if JB says it’s ok to go then the tourists, and the parrotheads will return. We are sure of it.

    So we would ask a favor of you…come to Mexico! A little week-end mini-tour of Caribe Mexico is just what is needed to let people know all is fine south of the border. You could do a show at your own Margaritaville Café in Cancun, and another in the Margaritaville on Cozumel. And since you don’t have a café in Playa Del Carmen, we would like to offer you use of our own little Luna Blue Bar for a show. It’s small, but it’s your kind of funky tropical place with palm thatched roof, swings instead of stools around the bar, and Radio Margaritaville playing on the satellite radio.

    While we can’t pay your regular appearance fee, we can offer you a free room at our Luna Blue Hotel next to the bar. And we will pass the tip jar for you when you play. We’ll even throw in free drinks for you and the band.

    Please think about it. You could help some people out and get some time under Mexico’s tropical sun. And of course…you do owe us. After all, it was your books and music that inspired us to run away to the tropics in the first place. As we always say when folks ask how we ended up running a hotel and bar in the Caribbean…”Blame it on Buffett.”

    There are people who need help down in the Caribbean and we ask…”What would Jimmy Buffett do?”

    Best regards,

    Tony & Cheri Head, Owners
    Luna Blue Hotel & Bar

    Of course Jimmy Buffett is a big honkin’ superstar and probably won’t have the time to run down to Mexico in the middle of his summer tour. But we figured it never hurts to ask. And if you would like to encourage Mr. Buffett to consider a little trip to paradise just drop him a note at info@margaritaville.com. Tell him: “Jimmy…Mexico needs you!” and include a link to this blog. Who knows what could happen? 🙂

    Visit our new Facebook page and become a fan of Luna Blue Hotel & Bar!

    Posted in Friends, Living the Dream | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

    Getting Bombed for the Bomberos

    Posted by Tony & Cheri on March 21, 2009

    Beer & Shots set up at the starting lineOne nice thing about the expat community in Playa del Carmen is its willingness to help local charities make Playa a better place. While traditional volunteering is generally not allowed under the provisions of most expats’ visas, that doesn’t preclude them from stepping in and supporting fundraising efforts for various causes. Angel Notion and the Peanut Pet Shelter are two of the more popular and well-supported causes. But probably the most well-known and respected “charity” is the Bomberos, or the local Playa del Carmen firefighters.

    The Bomberos are led by a US expat, Comandante Brian Borjesson. After moving to Playa many years ago, Brian dedicated himself to creating one of Mexico’s finest firefighting teams. Through tireless dedication, he begged and borrowed equipment and funding and even created an annual weeklong firefighting “Academy.” Each spring, expert firefighters from the US come to Playa on a volunteer basis to train the firefighters here. In turn, the firefighters here help train other firefighters throughout Mexico. Everybody benefits.

    As there is never enough money to fund all of the important work the Bomberos do, they turn to regular fundraising. One of those fundraising events is the yearly Three Legged Bar Crawl Race, which the expats see not only as an opportunity to raise money for the firefighters, but to get falling down drunk with their friends. How much fun is that! The race is not all expats–some locals as well as the occasional tourist always show up to enter the race–but the teams are primarily made up of those who have come from other places and now call Playa their home.

    Teams of two collect donations from individual and local businesses in the weeks leading up to the race. There’s usually a fair amount of good-natured competitiveness in this effort, as the team who collects the most money earns a certain amount of bragging rights. Last year’s race was so competitive that the total earned (largely by two very competitive teams) was enough to buy TWO new Jaws of Life for the Bomberos.

    Dutch expats Soraya and Jessica doing their first shot of the raceThis year’s Three Legged Bar Crawl Race was held last night, and it was very well attended, as always. Participants and spectators assembled at the sponsoring bar, Bar Ranita, on Calle 10. Teams of two, some in costume, with their inner legs tied together, were sent out at staggered intervals with timekeepers noting the time (it was, after all, a race!). Starting and ending at Bar Ranita, each team was required to stop at six other bars (Babe’s Noodles & Bar, Manne’s Biergarten, Dirty Martini, Bad Boys on the Beach, Tequila Barrel and Zenzi) and have a shot of tequila or a bottle of beer at each bar before moving on to the next. Without knowing the exact figures, we believe that the fastest runners/drinkers finished the race this year in under 15 minutes! We doubt we could even run that fast to each of those bars, let alone have a drink at each one! A great time was had by all, and once again a lot of money was raised for the firefighters. With the tough economic times this year, it was more difficult to squeeze pesos of out people, but these dedicated teams still managed to do it.

    The Luna Blue Hotel & Bar was proud to sponsor three teams this year: Sara & Heather (playamayanews and caribesunrise); John & Libby (intheroo) and Chris & Keith (chrisbolister.com & the previous owner of Keith’s Bar). Word has it that Sara and Heather (dressed as the cheerleaders from the Nirvana music video “Smells Like Team Spirit”) finished second and collected the most money (yah girls!). John & Libby also raised a good amount of money from regular readers of their website. Chris & Keith….well lets just say it was a pretty big social event for those guys! We saw these two drinking beers before the race even began. Then, after officially starting with a drink at La Ranita, instead of running off like other contestants, they stayed awhile joking and laughing with friends, and then casually strolled off to the next bar. We never saw them finish; we’re not sure anybody did. 🙂

    We hung out at the starting spot, watching the teams excitingly gulping their first drink before hobbling out to the next bar. After all the teams left, we sauntered down the street to Babe’s to hang with our friend Michele (Life’s a Beach blog) who was the official race monitor at Babe’s, the next-to-the-last spot before the finish line. It was hilarious to see the difference in the people from their first shot to their seventh. One woman ran up, tied at the knee to her mom, and while grabbing a shot said, “Mom, this is Michele.” Mom, slamming her seventh shot of the evening, tried to focus her glassy eyes on Michele and said, “Hi.” It was a funny moment.

    Everybody had a good time, and lots of money was raised for the Bomberos. We salute all the organizers, participants and contributors and those who just showed up to cheer on the runners.

    Here are some shots from the race last night.

    The crowd before the race

    Our friend Mayte, always a huge Bomberos supporter

    Some Bomberos watching the race

    The barf buckets were much used and appreciated

    Starting the race with tequila shots

    Chris & Keith with the first beer of the race (but not the evening)

    On the home stretch

    These two won the race

    Part of the “Dutch Army,” Soraya & Jessica, heading towards the finish line

    One of our sponsored teams, Libby & John of intheroo.com

    The winners celebrating

    One of our other sponsored teams, Sara & Heather of playamayanews and caribesunrise at Babe’s just before their 7th shot of the night

    Local boys Rick, Andy and Max (Peanut Pet Shelter). The boys are drinking tequila and Max, who only has 3 legs, is drinking water as they all approach the finish line

    Comandante Brian handing out prizes and congratulating the winners

    Posted in Events & Happenings, Friends | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

    Our St. Patrick’s Day in Playa del Carmen

    Posted by Tony & Cheri on March 20, 2009

    The crowd at the Luna Blue bar
    Our Green Past
    We have always loved St. Patrick’s Day. For the many years we lived in San Francisco, we usually took the day off to celebrate with friends. There was always a St. Paddy’s Day party (or ten), as San Francisco has a huge Irish population. Over the years we celebrated at Harrington’s, Herrington’s, Pat O’Shea’s, Ireland’s 32, the Dubliner, The Plough & the Stars, Fiddler’s Green, Abbey Tavern, The Four Deuces and for the last couple of years, our favorite Irish bar, O’Reilly’s, owned by our friend Miles O’Reilly.

    The Irish in Mexico
    Here south of the border, things are a little different.  Mexico in fact has history with the Irish. An old friend of ours, legendary San Francisco bartender Mike McCourt (baby Mike in the book Angela’s Ashes, written by his brother Frank McCourt), explained to us once how in his youth he lived for a time in Mexico and was treated royally because of his Irish heritage. Mike was the one who told us about Los San Patricios, or “those of Saint Patrick.” It seems during the Mexican/American war of 1846, many young Irishmen came to fight on the side of Mexico against what they saw as American aggression. Some of them were American cavalrymen who deserted; others were simply Irish immigrants. It’s a fascinating part of history. Here’s a great site to learn more about it. In fact, we have discovered that many Mexican towns have monuments and plaques honoring the Irish who helped defend their country.  They even have a day set aside to honor Los San Patricios, which is September 12.

    Party Preparation
    However, Mexico does not celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. So we thought it was our duty as American expats of Irish descent (well, Tony, anyway) to celebrate St. Paddy’s day in style. So…we decided that we’d have our own St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Luna Blue Bar. Renata, our own little leprechaunWe wanted it to be one of the best St. Paddy’s day parties ever, so we put a lot of thought and work into it. Over the last several months, each time we would return to the US, we would spend some time shopping for decorations, prizes, giveaways…anything green, Irish or related to St. Patrick. We arranged for one of Playa’s favorite local musicians, Chris Bolister, to provide the music for our party. It seemed a natural fit as Chris’s mom is from Ireland, and he is well-versed in the old traditional songs (as well as a couple new outrageous ones whose lyrics can’t be published on a family blog).

    As March 17 approached, we kicked it into high gear. Tony designed a poster, and we had a bunch printed up. We took them around town ourselves, hanging them on lampposts and empty fences. We took the same poster and had it turned into a “lona,”  a giant poster on a plastic tarp, and hung it in front of the hotel.  At the same time we had another lona made for the party featuring a pretty girl in a leprechaun hat carrying green beer and proclaiming she was Irish and should be kissed. Oh, and did we mention she forgot to wear her shirt? 🙂

    We also asked our good friend Renata if she would be our special leprechaun for the party. Renata is one of the sweetest people in the world and happens to dance at a local mens club. She’s beautiful, Brazilian, and has a great sense of humor about it all. She appeared as our special guest at our Obama inaugural party in a stars & stripes bikini she had specially made for the event. She agreed that she would be at our St. Patrick’s Day party in a new green shamrock bikini to help with giveaways, prizes and to pose for photos.

    We put together a fun drink menu featuring things like the Irish Dream (Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey), the Irish Pecker (Jameson’s & a splash of lime) and a few other specialities. We ordered enough beer (we thought) for the crowd we expected. Then we sent out the word on the internet to locals and tourists alike. We gave “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons and other goofy green stuff to the staff. The day before and of the party we spent decorating the bar with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” signs, green tinsel shamrocks, and hundreds of green balloons. There were a lot of ballons to blow up, but we had help not only from Genaro and Jorge, but even from some of the guests in the hotel, including a groom-to-be (who is getting married today).  All we needed now were people to show up for the party. As it turned out, we had more than enough of those.

    The Party
    By the time the party officially started at 7pm, the bar was already filled to capacity and people were overflowing into the hotel courtyard, the garden and the street in front of the bar. One group of about 30 people from Ireland and England who were in town for a wedding, showed up and took over the entire center of the courtyard. They were delightful. We also had a group of lovely ladies who had just arrived from Peru; a group from Iowa who came dressed in shamrock-festooned clothing (Kiss Me I’m Iowish); a young couple who came with their faces painted green; several babies in strollers; a couple of dogs; lots and lots of Luna Blue Hotel guests; a number of local Mexicans; and just about every ex-pat in town. We were packed to the palapa, as our firend Michele said.

    Tony with the Dos Equis XX girlsThe great people at Superior beer company (our rep Rosa and her boss) brought us hundreds of little presents to give away. We had Dos Equis XX  lanyards to which we attached small green plastic shot glasses; Dos Equis XX  spring break t-shirts; Dos Equis XX  bottle opener/keychains; green beads; cigarette lighters and tote bags. To this we added our own flashing green headgear; Irish drinking gloves; Guinness coozies; and a bunch of other goodies. We had Renata (who everyone calls Ginger, but that’s another story) pass out many of the gifts. Needless to say, she was a huge hit. The beer company also sent over two young ladies clad in skintight black outfits, proclaiming them to be Dos Equis XX  beer girls. They were cute, friendly and not surprisingly, very popular.

    Chris Bolister performed his usual terrific musical set. The poor guy had literally just arrived in town a few hours before and was pretty beat. But he came through as always, mixing some traditional Irish ballads and drinking songs with other popular tunes and some of his own compositions. If you ever get a chance to see Chris, do it. He’s great. And if you’re in town, stop by the Luna Blue and pick up one of his CDs. Or see him live next Tuesday at the Luna Blue Bar.

    The Crisis
    Around 10pm, with the party in full swing, we congratulated ourselves on once again putting together a fun event. It was just about that time when our friend Rick, a Playa local who was at the bar trying to pick up girls with the help of his cute little dog, Lenny (hey, whatever works), came up to us and announced, “YOU’RE OUT OF BEER!!!” No greater words could have struck fear into our hearts.  After a moment of panic, we found out we weren’t completely out of beer, but we getting down to the bottom of the cooler.  We had to find a store that would sell us a lot of beer, fast. We asked our beer rep, Rosa, who was still at the party, if she knew where we could go. We might have been a little stressed. Rosa held up one hand to calm us, and with the other whipped out her cell phone. In a moment she had the beer company on the phone and was asking us how many cases we wanted. She gave our order and Cheri asked if it would be cold (frio). No problema. “Frio,” Rosa ordered into the phone. Fifteen minutes later up pulled a truck with our beer. Nobody had to go thirsty even for a minute. And the driver of the delivery van got the added bonus of being able to take photos of Renata in her green bikini with his cell phone camera. Rosa saved the evening!

    The party went to midnight when people happily disappeared into the night. Chris went to get some much-needed sleep; Jorge, Nicho and Mario began to clean up the mess; and we put a slightly tipsy leprechaun into a cab home. We finally got to bed around 2 am.

    Our Reward
    Tony & Cheri's Own Little Beach ClubSince we had worked so late and hard at the party, we decided to reward ourselves the next day with a trip to the beach. Having spent the night with so many people, we now wanted a little quiet time to ourselves. So instead of heading for one of our regular beach clubs, Mamita’s, Blucacao or La Playa, we loaded the van with our own brightly colored beach umbrellas, folding beach loungers, and a small cooler and headed down the coast. We went down to Tulum, stopping first for brunch at one of our favorite places, the Pollo Bronco restaurant. If you’re never been, next time you’re in Tulum check it out. They are a small storefront restaurant on the main highway which runs through the pueblo of Tulum. They have a limited menu, but what they have is delicious. They serve roast chicken (quarter, whole or half) served with coleslaw, rice and potatoes twice baked with cheese. Unbelievably good, especially when you’re really hungry.

    Then we headed to the beach. After stopping at a little store for ice, drinks and snacks, we drove down the beachfront road. The beach of Tulum stretches a long way, and there are many excellent beach clubs to be found. But since we wanted something more private, we drove until we found a part of the beach that was free of homes or clubs. Walking through an area of little sand dunes, we ended up on an undeveloped stretch of the Caribbean with our name on it. With no other people around, we set up “Tony & Cheri’s Own Beach Club.” We swam in the blue water, snoozed in the shade of our umbrella, read and listened to our tropical music playlist on the ipod. It was pretty much perfect.

    Now, we’re back to work. The hotel is full, and the bar, while not as packed as St. Paddy’s Day, continues to be popular.

    Next week we’ll take another day off. Maybe. But first we have to start planning for next Tuesday when Chris Bolister is back at the bar.

    Here are some more pictures of the Luna Blue Bar’s 2009 St. Paddy’s Day Party:

    One of our official posters

    Jimmy, Claudia & Heather (caribesunrise.com)

    The Dos Equis girls & Lenny

    Revelers

    Our wonderful beer reps & a friend

    Local Jez hitting on some pretty Luna Blue guests

    Jez & Renata

    Bartender Jorge trying to keep up with a demanding green crowd

    Claire & Carlos

    The beer delivery guy taking a picture of Renata with his phone

    Locals Rob (buyplaya.com) and John (intheroo.com)

    More pretty girls

    Chris Bolister with the Dox Equis XX girls

    Kevin & Dayna, Luna Blue guests and newlyweds to be (wedding today!!)

    Tony & Renata

    Locals Rob & Michele (buyplaya.com) in a St. Paddy’s Day liplock

    Can you get enough of the Dos Equis XX girls?

    Check out the cooll hats!!

    More gals in green

    Renata & Cheri

    Rob again, in a goofy beer hat

    Folks relaxing in the reception area

    Some of the large crazy wedding group from England & Ireland

    More folks chilling out

    Listening to music from the most comfortable spot in the garden

    Chris’s view of the mayhem

    Swinging

    More party girls

    Chris Bolister

    Everyone’s Irish!

    Heather (caribesunrise.com) & Laura (Coco Cat Rescue)

    More folks partying in the courtyard

    The view from 26th Street

    For some more pictures (and always great information about Playa and the surrounding area), check out our friend Michele’s blog, Life’s a Beach.

    Posted in Events & Happenings, Friends, The Hotel & Bar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

    Paintings For Pets: Art Show & Benefit at the Luna Blue Bar This Week

    Posted by Tony & Cheri on November 24, 2008

    Award winning artist Barry LauniusThe Luna Blue Hotel & Bar is proud to announce that tomorrow night and the next night, Monday and Tuesday November 24 & 25, we will be sponsoring “Paintings for Pets,” an Art Show & Benefit at the Luna Blue Bar, from 6-11 pm. Our friend and extraordinary artist Barry Launius, has brought a collection of his tropical watercolors and acrylics to display and sell, with the sole purpose of raising money for the Peanut Pet Shelter here in Playa del Carmen! This is an extraordinary generous gesture on Barry’s part. He and his wife Phyllis are also pet lovers, and according to Barry, this show is a memorial of sorts to their dog Rex, who they recently lost, as well as our own Huggybear, who we also lost a short time ago.

    Barry is an award winning artist of major talent whose works focus largely on the tropical paradise of the Riviera Maya. We love his art, and it is displayed prominently in the Luna Blue Hotel and Bar and throughout our home. This week’s art show is a rare opportunity to see many of Barry’s original pieces and pick up some early Christmas presents–while benefitting one of our favorite local charities.

    A local art framing shop, Paré, has offered a 15% discount on matting/framing any pieces purchased at the art show. We use Paré exclusively to frame all of the art we have purchased for the house and hotel, and they have always done an excellent job. They are located in central Playa del Carmen on Calle 12 between Avenida 15 and 20.

    During the Paintings for Pets events, we will be featuring 2×1 margaritas, and Tony will be cooking up his famous Cheeseburgers in Playadise (with proceeds also going to the pet shelter). Local musician Chris Bollister has hinted that he may drop by one or both nights for an acoustical guitar set. We’re hoping for a large turnout.

    The cost of the paintings will range from $30 US for watercolors to $350 for the very largest acrylics. Once you see Barry’s work, you’ll fall in love with it!

    If you’re in Playa, please drop by the tomorrow or Tuesday night 6-11 pm at the Luna Blue Bar. Calle 26 Norte between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. Hope to see you then!

    Here are a few of the paintings that will be up for grabs at the Paintings for Pets event:

    To view some others that will be for sale at the event, click here.

    Posted in Activities, Events & Happenings, Friends, The Hotel & Bar, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    Blog Action Day: Poverty from San Francisco to Mexico

    Posted by Tony & Cheri on October 15, 2008

    Today is Blog Action Day 2008, a day when thousands of bloggers all over the world post about a single topic to raise awareness, start discussions and in a small way change the world. This year’s topic is poverty.

    We feel we have a somewhat unique view of having seen different types of poverty in different types of places.

    We started our life together in San Francisco, one of the great cities of the world. Like most great cities, it has culture and business, affluence…and poverty. The poverty that we saw in San Francisco that touched our hearts was the abundance of homeless people. For a number of reasons, San Francisco has a large homeless population primarily made up of those with substance abuse addictions, physical limitations or mental illnesses. They live in doorways and alleys. They feed out of garbage cans and on leftovers found on the street. We wish we were describing stray animals, but we are describing human beings. In the middle of a giant metropolitan area, they are invisible and forgotten much of the time. The city of San Francisco, its charities and its churches have struggled for decades with this problem and have never found a workable solution. And we fear with the current economic downtrend it may get worse, as those on the bottom tend to get help last.

    We decided long ago that our small contribution would be as simple and direct as could be. We decided one Christmas Eve just to feed a few people. We bought some ham, turkey and bread and made sandwiches. We put them in bags with a box of juice, some cookies and chips and a napkin. It wasn’t a big deal; it was us and our son who was about 11 when we started (he’s 25 now). We went out that night and looked for homeless people to offer food to. We had about 40 bags. They were gone in about 10 minutes. Nobody shoved; nobody threatened us. We got a lot of thank yous and god bless yous. And at the end, people asked us, “is there any more?”

    We did it again the next year, making more bags this time. Through the years our little attempt at direct help grew and grew. It became Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Friends and family found out about it, and preparation day became a party. We started adding blankets and clothing to our distribution. Sometimes we’d give socks and gloves–whatever we could easily distribute and place in the hands of someone who needed it. Towards the end we were reaching over 300 people a night. And we always felt at the end of a night that it wasn’t enough.

    It wasn’t organized, incorporated or authorized by anybody. The people who got the food and clothing might in some people’s opinion not deserve it. They were junkies, drunks and crazies. But they were cold and hungry and happy for the help.

    We don’t talk about this because we did anything special. We didn’t. We were inspired by hearing about other people who did the same thing. Some did less; many did much more. What we took away from it is that you don’t have to wait for somebody else to solve the problem. Sometimes the problem is just too big to be solved. But you can still help. We and our friends and family didn’t try to eliminate poverty or homelessness. We just tried to feed some people and keep their feet warm for a night. We still believe that direct one-on-one action is the solution to many of the world’s problems.

    When we moved to Mexico, we saw a different kind of poverty. We saw not the poverty of the forgotten individual but the institutionalized poverty of the third world, where not being able to get health care or full-time employment or regular food is the norm, not the exception. This really came home to us when we joined with friends last year to help the small village of Mahahual after it had been devastated by Hurricane Dean.

    The problem with third world poverty is that the accomplishments of generations to gain some sort of consistent foothold in life can be wiped out in a second by disease or disaster. That’s what happened in Mahahual. Folks who had finally gotten a small piece of swampy land and built a home with a thatched roof, stick walls and meals regularly prepared over an outdoor fire lost even that when the big storm tore through. For reasons which are too complex to be deciphered here by us, economic; political; geographical and climate issues all combined in a way that kept Mahahual from being aided by organized assistance. Again, personal direct action became the key to survival for many people. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the Mahahual rescue project in which we joined with so many wonderful people. The point we raise now is again that sometimes you just have to help in any way you can by filling the hand of a person in need. It may not be a permanent solution. It may not offer them a job or set up a program or a plan. But sometimes people just need food, water, help or a smile to get them through one more day.

    However, we’re not advocating people turn their backs on charities or institutions. Just the opposite. The individual direct help that we talk about is a temporary stopgap. People still need greater assistance such as groups like the Red Cross and Salvation Army can give. And we urge people to make their contributions to those organizations not only in times of disaster and not only during the holidays, but as a function of their lives. And remember, the time you volunteer is just as valuable–even more valuable–than your monetary donation.

    Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus.  Click here to view it on Amazon.com.In closing we’d like to suggest people take a look at a program we think is very interesting and positive, being microlending. Microlending is the idea of loaning small amounts of money to people in developing countries to develop businesses by which to better their lives. Most people in the third world cannot get institutional loans. Either the money is not available, they have no collateral or they simply have no access to an institution that would make such a loan. We are not talking about millions of dollars here for a giant auto factory or beach resort. We are talking about loans of $200 or $300 to open a small store or restaurant, or a herd of cattle to start a ranch. Yes it can be risky to loan even small amounts of money to someone you’ve never met or a country that you’ve never seen, but it’s really not about the money. It’s really an investment in the people. If this kind of hands-across-the-border help appeals to you, we suggest you do a little research, starting with the book Banker to the Poor by Nobel Peace Price winner Muhammad Yunus. Also, you might want to check out Kiva.org. This organization allows individuals to easily make small loans to specific people across the world. Take a look at this website to see not only what other people need, but to have a clear how understanding how lucky the rest of us really are.

    Last but not least, we’d like to really thank our friend Michele, who blogs at Life’s a Beach, who let us know about Blog Action Day and who issued a challenge to other real estate professionals to aid the people in a small town in Belize. Kudos, Michele!

    Posted in Friends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »