Cozumel Air Show 2016

Airshows celebrate freedom.  Families gather thrilled by flying acrobats sharing precise daring feats.  We applaud excellence and courage and are in awe of the pilots for the risks they take.  We put them on pedestals marveling at their bravery and their moment to moment choices.

Melissa Pemberton - Cozumel Airshow 2016
Melissa Pemberton – Cozumel Airshow 2016

A young American pilot, Melissa Pemberton, just 31 years old, participating in airshows since she was 19 talked about becoming one with her airplane to dazzle us with with dramatic sky loops that pull our attention away from smart phones for an afternoon.  She spoke of being so totally present in the moment, I wondered if she was Buddhist as I have heard Tibetan monks speak in the same way.

Gary Ward flew five hours straight from Augusta, Georgia first time he came to Cozumel
Gary Ward flew five hours straight from Augusta, Georgia first time he came to Cozumel

Another American pilot, Gary Ward from Augusta, Georgia challenged our ideas of what an airplane can do when it appeared that he changed his acrobatic plane into a helicopter with the way he stepped it down to land on the beautiful runway in the Mexican jungle on the island of Cozumel.  When asked later about the move, he answered as if it were no big deal, probably owing to the hours and hours of practice necessary for any master to make things look so simple and easy.

Mario Mena from Guatemala
Mario Mena from Guatemala

Guatemalan pilot Mario Mena thrilled us with both high and low flying acrobatics.  Back on the ground he graced us with a beautiful victory smile as he prepared to go before the appreciative crowd in the celebratory drive down the runway after the flight.  An hour later, things changed.

Airshow Cozumel-1-7Mario’s flying partner Juan Miguel Garcia Salas also from Guatemala seemed to take extra time on the runway before he took off.  Was he studying his notes as he prepared to dazzle us? Was he building anticipation?  Getting centered? Did he doubt something? We don’t know and never will.

Pilot Juan Miguel Garcia Salas about to take off
Pilot Juan Miguel Garcia Salas about to take off

Our expectations mounted until he finally allowed the show smoke to engulf his orange and yellow plane and released the brake.  Cruising down the runway, he made a most dramatic and impressive takeoff.  At 90 degrees from the runway into the air surrounded by the theatrical smoke, the artistry was phenomenal. Three minutes later, however, he was dead.

Cozumel firefighters on the scene
Cozumel firefighters on the scene

His plane crashed in the jungle next to the runway. No smoke, no fire… just a loud thud.  Police, firemen, ambulances rushed to the scene in seconds.  They valiantly chopped into the jungle with axes and machetes but it was too late for Juan Miguel.  It appeared that the impact killed him instantly.

Sad and yet… this young man seemed so happy on the last day of his life.  An hour earlier he was congratulating his flying compadre, Mario, on a job well done, talking with fellow pilots and enjoying the gorgeous Cozumel sunshine and ocean breezes.  And he was doing what he loved.  It looks like Death might have just surprised him.Airshow Cozumel-1-6

Copyright 2016. Donna Marie Carey.  All rights reserved. This may be shared electronically as long as all information and photos as well as author and web page information is kept intact.


New Danger: Flying Monkeys in Mexico

Monkey yoga?
Monkey yoga?

Monday morning… monkeys on the roof of my apartment building…  is this a dream?  I surprised the four of them… lounging, grooming each other, languishing in the sun… when I came up to the roof with my Nikon.

At first, they eyed me suspiciously and moved to the edge of the terracotta roof.   Two of them retired into the tree.  The other two, however, looked like they were doing monkey yoga.

Then, one began to move to the street side.  I hurried over the flat part of the roof to find two of them watching traffic go by.  At least that is what it looked like as I began to take more photos.  Just then, the automatic focus on my camera jammed causing me to go manual.

Walking across the roof
Walking across the roof

Actually, I discovered that the monkeys were planning their strategy for a successful leap into the fully fruited Alamo tree out front of Flamingos/Paparazzi Pizza on Highway 307, Puerto Aventuras, just south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico.

Watching the cars go by?
Watching the cars go by?

In a flash, however, one of the monkeys turned and started coming directly toward me.  He got to the edge of the roof, put his head down as if he wanted to head butt me.  I kept on taking photos, some blurry, some clear as I was busy adjusting the manual focus on the lens as fast as I could with a rapidly approaching target.

Does he want to head butt me?
Does he want to head butt me?

Just like brave paparazzi, I kept on clicking and the monkey retreated, joined tails with his brother and sat back down.  Then, the second monkey jumped up and turned my way.  I guess he was going to show his brother how to do things right!  With strong, determined movements that made him appear as if he was a huge spider, he came directly toward me, made menacing faces and loud noises, rose up on two feet in attack mode, showed his teeth and…

Now I know why they call them spider monkeys.  Look at this...
Now I know why they call them spider monkeys. Look at this…

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Then, stopped, turned around and went back down the roof to his brother.  It was actually rather funny but I did not laugh.

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He did his best to scare me.  But I just kept clicking and fooling with the manual focus.  I thought to run, but knew he could outrun me. I did not resist but did not surrender either.  And I did not feel any fear.

The monkey must have thought…  “We really have a crazy one here.  I better get back to my brother and the fruit tree.”

He turned and I slowly slipped out back to the roof door.

The Alamo tree is full of fruit this time of year in front of Paparazzi Pizza on the lower floor of the apartment building on the Carreterra. The waiters tell me the monkeys come by every day to eat, sometimes more than once.  They jump from the roof into the tree, eat their fill of fruit and then walk back into Puerto Aventuras, an upscale-gated community in the heart of the Riviera Maya that is home to three hotels, numerous condominiums and houses, a golf course, marina, beach and four monkeys.


That’s a monkey for you!


Copyright 2013.  Donna Marie Carey.  All Rights Reserved.

No part of this post may be reproduced without express written permission from the author.

The Orange Dress

We had such a full night
The night before
That I decided to wait
To see you once again

Enjoying the art of waiting
Staying present in the moment yet anticipating
Listening to the sounds
The waves, the gulls, passing footsteps in the sand

I watched my breath
And floated in the pure lands
While a lone sandpiper ran quickly, then stopped
Ran quickly, then stopped

The distinct day forms
Began to blur into a dusky pinkness
The first stars twinkled
Even the sound of the sea softened

And my waiting softened too
No longer sharp anticipation
More like a smooth and natural glide into
The next phase of something big

Settling in and waiting
Would tonight be as big?
Would it be as passionate?
Would the kisses be as sweet?

And then as day was turning into night
A flash from your direction
A golden sentinel of light announcing your arrival
Your door slowly opened

And there you stood
Magnificent and Beautiful
In your new Orange party dress.
Perfect for the night after…
The Full Moon

Copyright July 2013. Donna Marie Carey. All rights reserved.

Golden Moon

Eight beautiful women walked down the beach
Dressed mostly in white,
The Caribbean breezes brushed the hair from our faces.

Some with burning incense were making figure eights in the air
Others chiming bells and cymbals
And me with a little metal Himalayan bowl making sweet sounds

We walked on the hard sand in the light surf
Silently chanting our personal mantras
Until we stopped, nestled into the sand and watched the sky

Shyly, she showed her light behind a cloud
And a little more boldly she began to emerge
In silence, we watched her show

Until finally, in her full splendor
The golden july moon shone upon us.
In silence, we absorbed her blessings.

And then she began to throw golden buttery kisses to me.
I thrilled in the ecstasy of this holy moment and thought of you
And I asked her to throw you a few golden buttery kisses too.

Did you get them?

A poem from Sonam Donnala

Copyright July 2013. Donna Marie Carey. All rights reserved.

An Open Letter to my Friends in Akumal

July 13, 2013

Dear Friends from Akumal,

I write today because I feel we share the Heart of the Riviera Maya…   Akumal the left ventricle and Puerto Aventuras the right…  if you take the point of view of looking from the ocean to the land.  I know recently there has been a lot of discussion about the ecology and economy on our coast as a result of increased tourism.   Not only do we share the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth but we also share the responsibility of sustaining it, maintaining it and possibly improving it.

Economic growth has blessed us with many opportunities and various problems in the last 15 years I am aware of.  And now, we are standing at a crossroads.  Is it time to apply solutions to the problems based on time worn ideas that may have been successful in the past?  Or is it time to step back, take a breath and look to a regenerative solution?  A paradigm shift?

A regenerative solution starts with the individual – each one of us individually.  Forget the old patterns of trade-offs and ideas to minimize harm.  Instead I am encouraging what could be considered a radical idea; that is, it may be the time to establish a NEW VISION with both long term and short term goals based on today’s reality.  And that reality includes increased tourism and increased use of our natural resources.

Regeneration is inclusive.  It is about including people in the establishment of a new vision.  It is not about minimizing the opposition or justifying top down decision making.  And regeneration is not about defining outcomes beforehand.  It is more about setting a general agreed upon coherent vision.

A paradigm shift is about recognizing a NEW TRUTH.

Many of you know that I have traveled to Bhutan many times, usually about once a year.  For those of you who want to know more about Bhutan, I invite you to check out my blog at  However, for purposes of this letter, I would like to share a little about Bhutan.

Bhutan is a small Himalayan country about the size of Switzerland and has established itself as one of the most progressive thinking countries in Asia.  The fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, established Gross National Happiness as the measurement of success for his little country back in 1974.  Since that time, the idea has been embodied by a generation of Bhutanese and is even measured by the government annually as an aid in determining the the direction and focus of its programs.

Gross National Happiness is based upon four pillars – sustainable and equitable socio-economic development,  conservation of the environment, preservation and promotion of culture and good governance.    Perhaps this is an idea whose time has come for Akumal, Puerto Aventuras and other communities in the heart of the Mayan Riviera.

Perhaps, the good people of Akumal can gather together – the oldtimers and the newbies – to determine what the new vision for the town based upon a balance of good economy, care for the environment, preservation of the culture while being led by an enlightened leadership that not only values short term gains but also long term goals.  After all, leaders are a reflection of the people they lead.

Perhaps, Akumal, well known worldwide for its commitment to conservation can lead the heart of the Mayan Riviera or for that matter, the whole coast in establishing a NEW VISION, a NEW META  based on the realities of 2013.

Victor Hugo once said, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”  Perhaps the time is now for Akumal to stand up and lead us all with a new balanced idea of how to live well is this old new Mayan world.

How do we thrive while living on the Mayan Riviera balancing economic growth with preserving the environment?  This is the nut we must all crack sooner or later.  What do you think, dear friends from Akumal?  Are you up to  tackling this seemingly difficult task?  The moment is hot.  The moment is now.

Sincerely and with a lot of love,


Puerto Aventuras, A City of Light

This was originally published in December 2010.


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Puerto Aventuras,  a City of Light.


Our little town, now 22 years old, has developed into quite the community.   As Victor Hugo once remarked, “There is nothing more powerful than an Idea whose time has come.”   And now, the time has come to express how fortunate we are to be in Puerto Aventuras.


From the initial vision and architectural drawings, a vibrant community has emerged, peopled with diverse and interesting characters from around the globe.  In the early days, I am told, that Puerto was mainly comprised of architects and engineers.  Now, a microcosm of the western world, many people from different nations call Puerto their home…  or their second home.


Why is this?  Is it the beautiful location on the side of the Caribbean Sea?  Is it the safety and security of a gated private town?  Is it the tranquility in the midst of a bustling Riviera Maya coast?  Maybe all of these reasons and some more private ones have attracted us here.


Some of you will remember years ago that I opened a small Reiki Center where we practiced Tibetan Yoga, Reiki, Meditation, Massage, Acupuncture and other Alternative Healing Modalities.  During this time, many interesting people passed through Puerto on their way to other destinations and I had the privilege to visit with many of them.


One day, about twelve years ago, a couple of Mayan healers came to visit me and asked me to close the door to the Reiki Center so that we could speak in private.  They showed me some ancient relics and symbols and then asked if I would accompany them to the end of the beach where the canal separated the beach from the Caleta.  There, Maria shared her vision with me as we looked down the beach to the fledgling town.  She said that “Puerto Aventuras is a City of Light.”


As Maria began to speak about her vision of Puerto Aventuras, I could feel a great sense of love.  Her husband, Carlos, was eager to move here from Puerto Morelos but Maria was firm.  She said no.   It wasn’t for them to live here.  So they asked me to pass on this information to interested people at the right time.  And now, I believe “this is an idea whose time has come.”


So what is a City of Light?  Most people feel something different here in Puerto and can’t quite say what it is.  It feels uplifting, relaxing and good.  After my first visit, I kept recalling that great feeling.  I had to come back to experience it again and again until I finally chose to live in this energy full time.  Do you know what I mean by that feeling?  …that Puerto feeling?


Whatever, our reason for being here and whatever  our theories about the energy of Puerto and this coast, I know I am grateful for the original visionaries – the architects, engineers and the holy people who all saw the City of Light in its embryo form.  Now it is up to us to determine how we live in it!


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Donna Carey is a Reiki Master, Sound Healer and Wedding Officiant who has made her home in Puerto Aventuras since 1998.    You can reach her at  or                                                                                                                       stop by Paparazzi Pizza or the  Marisqueria Flamingos, Puerto Aventuras.                                                                          Copyright Donna Marie Carey  2010.

Woman That I AM


by Donna Marie Carey

I haven’t let the little girl go
Oh no… no, no
She dances inside
And often comes out to play.
So what makes me the woman that I am?

I can light up a room when I walk in
Not only with my smile but also the touch of my eyes

Am I the prettiest? No way
Am I the smartest? Nope
Am I the sexiest? Not a chance
And yet, men and women are drawn to the woman that I am.

What is this mystery, this power of the woman that I am?
I am open-hearted, generous and nurturing
And in a flash can turn into a cabrona if I encounter a bully at prey

I don’t hold back my love but share it like a reverse shadow that lights up my path and those I touch

I have some good, good friends, you know, the kind you can call at 3 in the morning to ask for help
But I don’t make that call until I have done everything… everything I can… to help myself
Is that a quality or a fault?

Both… for the woman that I am.

I am loyal. I am wise. I listen between the lines with my heart, eyes and hands
I love myself, I care for myself,
I appreciate my beauty, my wisdom, my power, my mystery and even my bitchy side

I am courageous enough to rearrange the furniture of my life and give away my favorite clothes
To make room for the unknown, the unknowable, the unlovable and the loved

I laugh at myself and life too, woman that I am.

I was born under a lucky star and…
Even though life is not always easy…the way I choose to dance it,
I know, as a woman, the woman that I am.

MY choice: how I live
MY choice: who I love
MY choice: what to include in
MY choice: what to keep out

I AM a poet, a mystic, a dancer, a lover of life
I AM sensitive and sensual, fiery and fierce, fun and funny
I appreciate the truth and also a well-spun tale.

I can hold your little girl hand if you are afraid or sad
Or hug you to keep you warm and safe
Or laugh with you and dance to celebrate a new love…   or a big full moon…   woman that I am.

And… and now… the best part of all of this is…
The most beautiful secret I now reveal…
It is this… just this…

I am having a grand… and I mean a really grand…

with God!!

And I know how to share…
Woman that I am.

Written on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Puerto Aventuras, Mexico for Casey’s Becoming a Woman Ceremony.

and soon after it was copyrighted!!