The Black Bandit of Yucatan Birds

By Dave McBride

Whenever one travels in the Riviera Maya, one will inevitably meet a native whose mission is to (with guile and aggression) turn a tourist encounter to personal profit. Sometimes the light-fingered grifter is a time-share agent. Sometimes it is a Great-tailed Grackle.

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The Great-tailed Grackle (aka Mexican Grackle) is the larger cousin of the gang of Boat-tailed Grackles in my Florida backyard, who flock together to put on a morning zoo show just before dawn, talking over each other with more raucous chatter than a Fox News expert panel.

The Mayan natives call the grackle X’kau, or the Mexican Crow, although it is not a member of the crow family. These onyx opportunists disperse at dawn to commute to work either as lone bandits or in an organized gang of marauders. Native to wetlands and forests, in recent years they have discovered the tourist towns and resorts of the Yucatan far easier places to make a living, swooping and swiping the tater tot right off the breakfast tray on your hotel balcony.

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One will fix its steely yellow eyes on the remains of your taco till your attention is distracted and its amigos strike. You know the stare the raptors in the Jurassic movies focus on their victims? That’s the grackle stare. Their predation is why resorts seldom set up buffets outdoors. But their commitment to the pack-hunting brotherhood is falsehearted and fleeting because of the grackle’s fundamental selfishness. A gang member will fly to the brother who scored a prize as if intending to share a chest bump, and instead snatch the tortilla fragment out of the sucker’s mouth. Their memories are so short both return to being BFFs planning a new raid within thirty seconds.

A Mexican fable alleges that in the creation the Zanate (another name for the grackle) had no voice. So it stole sevens songs from the sea turtle, expressing the passions of love and hate, fear and courage, joy and sadness and anger. It is said all of these emotions can be heard in the chorus of grackle noise when they gather to gossip like tweens at an American-Girl-themed sleepover.

Many consider them bothersome pests and plain, compared to their colorful avian amigos. But the males reflect a satiny purple and green iridescence in their inky-black feathers and they demonstrate an engaging cunning and cleverness. It’s my observation they cackle cheerfully at the audacity of their own escapades and high five their cohorts with congratulatory whistles and snickers. I like this bird and enjoy its fellowship despite its annoying supremacy in any battle of wits.

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Veteran Newsman Dave McBride is an award-winning news radio reporter, anchor and program director and creator of fan-favorite Dave’s Raves. Dave has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing for Radio/Large Market and the 2010 and 2011 Murrow for continuing news coverage. He was awarded the New York Festivals World Gold Medal for Best Writing for Radio. In his first year in Florida he received the Florida AP award for Best Long Light Feature in both first and second place. Dave is currently based in South Florida.

SECRETS AKUMAL RIVIERA MAYA

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I have a Secret … well lots of them. And no, it is not that I am happy it is back to school time! OK … maybe a little. It’s actually Secret’s Resorts & Spas. The newest resort is opening this fall – WELCOME SECRETS AKUMAL RIVIERA MAYA.

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya opens November 1, 2015 and it makes the perfect vacation if you are looking for an adult escape! The resort is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya along those beautiful white sand beaches and calm, clear waters of Akumal.

The resort is one hour south of the Cancun airport and will open with 434 elegant suites, many with stunning ocean views.

This brand new resort offers adults a charming, picturesque vacation, complete with an exceptional Unlimited-Luxury® experience.

UNLIMITED-LUXURY® AMENITIES:

Welcome cocktail and cool towel

Full breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks each day

Unlimited premium alcoholic beverages

Complimentary mini-bar refreshed daily

24-hour room and concierge services

Pool and beach wait service

Non-motorized water sports

Open-air theatre

Fitness center

Complimentary greens fees at nearby Riviera Maya Golf Club

Internet access

Expansive oceanfront infinity pool and outdoor Jacuzzi

All taxes and gratuities

So if the kids are heading back to school (or already there), or if you are looking for a romantic couples vacation, girls getaway or relaxing time at the spa; make sure you look to the new Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya. We all deserve a little “me” time and this is the perfect place.

For more details click here –> http://applev.ac/1Sk7Bao

 

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Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders film in Mexico!

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Apple Vacations and Iberostar Hotels and Resorts were delighted to host the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders and staff this month for the making of their 2015/2016 swimsuit calendar.

Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar provided a picture perfect backdrop. Palm trees, crystal blue water, white sandy beaches and the beauty of Mexico  shined throughout the shoot.

When not filming, the cheerleaders also participated in games and events with the resort guests.  We can’t wait to see the completed calendar. Meanwhile, here are some sneak peaks of the shoot and some behind the scenes photos.

Go Eagles!

Say Hello to Summer with Dreams Tulum & Apple Vacations

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

OK parents…it’s final exam time…then field day…then IT is coming…the inevitable last day of school! I am actually looking forward to it! I’m planning our summer fun, including our summer family vacation!

Like many, I have narrowed down a week and am deciding on location. Last year we went on a great vacation to Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa with friends and family. We were going for a little bit longer of a stay, so we decided to venture down further in the Riviera Maya corridor to Tulum.

I stayed at Dreams Tulum many years ago, when it first opened, and wow — it’s great and perfect for groups and families!

Dreams Tulum does not require wristbands, dining reservations or towel cards, like other AMResorts. I’ve mentioned before how that makes life easier when travelling with a family. You don’t have to be on a dining schedule or worry about losing extra items.

Here are some of my favorite things about the resort:

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Family Vacation to Now Resorts & Spas

Now Jade Resort & Spa

Now Jade Resort & Spa

Many families are in the process of booking their summer getaways and are deciding where to go. Over the next few weeks we will feature some of our favorite family vacation resorts, to help you make your decision.

One of my favorite resorts my family visits over and over is Now Jade Riviera Cancun (if you read the blog often, you may already know this). My family loves Mexico for the white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, history, culture and charm. I am a creature of habit and we tend to go back to Mexico often.

As I write this, I’m dreaming of sitting under a palapa with my toes in the sand.

Here are my top 5 reasons why Now Jade Riviera Cancun makes a great family vacation (which you can’t necessarily find in a brochure or on a website):

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WJRZ New Jersey Broadcast Live in Riviera Maya

Matt Knight and Debbie DuHaime broadcasted from Grand Palladium Colonial Resort and Spa

Matt Knight and Debbie DuHaime broadcast from Grand Palladium Colonial Resort and Spa

Apple Vacations partnered with 100.1 WJRZ for a live broadcast in Riviera Maya from May 18-22! Matt Knight and Debbie DuHaime broadcasted from Grand Palladium Colonial Resort and Spa and promoted the resort and its amenities throughout the week.

Five lucky listeners won a trip of their own to Grand Palladium Colonial! A big thanks to Palladium and Amstar for making the trip possible.

Listen to hear the Morning Show’s interview with Amstar Rep, James McGraw!

Thank you For Pete’s Sake from Apple Vacations!

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Eck Family at Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

Many times in my job, people will thank me for a fabulous vacation.

People thank me if they won a trip or if it was a group I was involved in. Or they just thank me for great customer service or making sure every aspect of their Apple Vacation went smoothly from start to finish. This week I had another thank you arrive via phone, email and in person, which was lovely.

But, in this case, I want to thank THEM.

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