Ixtapa’s Baby Turtle Release

baby turtles_by happydog on flickr

When the rainy season comes to Ixtapa in June, I look forward to nights of listening to the raindrops on my window.  But most of all, I love the rainy season, because this is the time when turtles come to our beaches and lay their eggs.  The best part of turtles nesting for me is from August till the end of December, when we all can be part of one of the most emotional events – release of baby turtles to the ocean.

In Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo we are very fortunate to have one of the preferred lands on the Pacific coast for the sea turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs.  Our beaches are home mostly to the Olive Ridley turtles, but also to Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles.

 Dedicated organizations, trained volunteers, and several employees from hotel industry all around the area, carefully “rescue” the eggs and place them in corrals where the incubation is monitored.  Turtles come out of their eggs after 40-50 days.

However, the preservationists don’t stop there!  After hatching, the turtles are kept well fed and cared for in seawater tanks.  Two to three weeks later the turtles are released into the ocean.  With this, the endangered hatchlings are able to grow a bit more, protecting them from natural predators.  Through this process, the specialized organizations in Ixtapa-Zihatanejo count more than 75,000 baby turtle released every year!

 If you are planning a vacation between August and December, I suggest a trip to Ixtapa to partake in a turtle release.  Your Capella Ixtapa Personal Assistant can arrange participation in a release.  Speaking from experience it is truly a special experience.  Hopefully this year we can cheer on the turtles together!

Tortugas Bebés De Ixtapa

baby turtles_by happydog on flickr

Cuando en junio llega la temporada de lluvias a Ixtapa, espero con ansias las noches cuando escucho las gotas de lluvia en mi ventana. Pero mas que nada, me encanta la temporada de lluvias, ya que es la temporada en la cual vienen las tortugas a desovar en nuestras playas. Para mi la mejor parte de la temporada de desove de tortugas es de agosto a final de diciembre, cuando todos podemos ser parte de uno de los momentos más emotivos – liberar las tortugas bebés al océano.

En Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo tenemos la suerte de tener unas de las playas favoritas de desove para tortugas a lo largo del Océano Pacífico. Nuestras playas son hogar mayormente de tortugas del tipo “Golfinas”, aunque también encontramos Laud y Carey.

Organizaciones especializadas, voluntarios entrenados, y muchos empleados de la industria del hospedaje en el área, cuidadosamente “rescatan” los huevos y los colocan en pequeños corrales donde se monitorea su incubación. Las tortugas salen de los huevos después de 40 a 50 días.

Sin embargo, la preservación no termina aquí! Después de salir del cascarón las tortugas son cuidadas y alimentadas en tanques con agua marina. Después de 2 a 3 semanas son liberadas al océano. Con esto, las frágiles crías son capaces de crecer un poco más, protegiéndose así mejor de los depredadores naturales. A través de este proceso, las organizaciones de protección en Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo cuantifican en más de 75,000 tortugas que liberan cada año!

 Si estás planeando unas vacaciones entre Agosto y Diciembre, te sugiero un tour para tomar parte de una “liberación de tortugas”. Tu Personal Assistant de Capella Ixtapa puede arreglar tu participación en la liberación. Es una experiencia muy especial. Ojalá este año podamos celebrar a las tortugas juntos!

Singapore’s Place in the Sea

capella at night1

Capella Singapore’s restaurant Cassia offers not only delicious meals, but also a bit of a historical reminder of one of Singapore’s distinguishing characteristics.  Named after the fragrant cinnamon spice, Cassia is reminiscent of the ancient spice routes between India and China that passed through Singapore in the early settlement days.  It is these spice routes that have helped to define Singapore identity even today.

True to the notion that everyone has different strengths, Singapore while being small with not many natural resources has one rather unique trait; a strategic location at the tip of the Southeast Asian peninsula.  It is no surprise that during the British colonial period in the early 19th century, Singapore fast became a bustling entrepôt trading center in Asia with many commodities such as silk and spices as well as raw materials passing through its harbors.

Here on our little island of Sentosa, up on a knoll where Capella Singapore is comfortably perched, we are endowed with a truly magnificent view of the South China Sea.  On evenings, looking out over the glistening waters of our cascading pools, I often see numerous dancing lights in the horizon coming from the ships and containers passing through our port.  A beautiful sight it is indeed, especially because it makes the deep night sky come alive.  It almost looks like the very same silk that once changed hands amongst traders now lives forever amongst the stars and sea.  And the ships that sail into the horizon are like shimmering sequins delicately sewn across the silk.

Perhaps it is being up on a hill that gives me this unique perspective and opportunity for retrospection.  Perhaps it is the lush green landscape which I am surrounded by that provides the perfect setting.  Indeed, while I watch the ships in the distance, I cannot help but reflect on Singapore’s history and be deep and innately thankful.  Thankful that our bustling port is indeed the cornerstone of our prosperous and vibrant country.

Nevertheless, regardless of our rich history, it definitely is a unique sight to behold.  Many a time guests have confided about how much they adore the view and it would be in a sense incomplete without those boats in the background.  I am often told that while in the midst of soaking up the tranquility of the resort, seeing those boats in the distance still reminds them that this is Singapore and that the lively cosmopolitan experience is a mere stone’s throw away.

The Secret of Bamboo

Bamboo1

As I was showing some guests around Auriga Spa this morning, they were pleasantly surprised and intrigued at the beautiful lush bamboo gardens attached to each of our treatment rooms.  I have to agree that it is quite an elegant sight to see those slender stately stems reach high and tip over ever so slightly, almost like a graceful ballerina.

Quintessentially Asian, beyond be aesthetically pleasing, bamboo plays a large role in Buddhism.  Ancient Buddhist teachings instruct believers not to do anything cruel to animals.  Therefore most forms of food such as meat, eggs and fish were not encouraged in the diet.  However, people still needed nutritious options, thus, the tender bamboo shoot became a good alternative.  The bamboo shoot is nourishing and eating it will not violate the Buddhist cannon.  Even today, the bamboo is used in many traditional Asian dishes.

Besides its culinary benefits, Bamboo also plays a very important role in traditional Chinese culture, bearing many symbolic meanings and is often used as an object lesson for a person’s behavior.

Given its tall upright stature, tenacity and hollow heart, the bamboo is often associated with integrity and elegance, even though it may not be physically strong.  Ancient Chinese poets wrote many metaphoric poems praising the bamboo, and referring to how people should be like a bamboo plant and expressing their understanding of what is a real gentleman should be like.

Bamboo in itself is said to be able to bring with it a very peaceful and wise energy.  The Chinese believe that it teaches the ultimate wisdom: how to be flexible and hollow (open) on the inside, so that the spirit can freely flow and heal your being.

The next time you visit Capella Singapore, do take some time to visit Auriga Spa for a relaxing treatment and remember to enjoy a moment in the bamboo gardens. Who knows, you just might pick up a few life lessons from it.

La Versátil Flor De Jamaica

pink-hibiscus-flower-by-bterrycompton-on-flickr

Una de las cosas que me encantan de Ixtapa es su clima tropical. Aquí, ¡es verano los 365 días del año! Por ende, siempre tenemos disponible abundancia de plantas, flores y frutos. Uno de los ejemplos más espectaculares de esto es la flor de Jamaica.

 

La flor de Jamaica es conocida también como Hibiscus. Se dice que esta planta arribó a Acapulco, México, en los barcos provenientes de India como parte de los productos comercializados entre la Nueva España y Asia. En México, la Jamaica crece como un arbusto, alcanzando alturas de hasta 3 metros, con hermosas flores rosas, rojas o amarillas. Las flores son utilizadas en una variedad de formas; una de las más comunes es para preparar té. Este té se ha vuelto popular en el mundo a través del tiempo. De hecho, era considerado un té de la realeza con los faraones Egipcios.

En México, la preparación más popular es el agua de Jamaica. No sólo tiene un sabor exquisito (¡me encanta lo refrescante que es!), sino también es rica en vitamina C y minerales. También usamos la Jamaica en mermeladas y como conserva y en salsas para acompañar platos de carne (¡los cuales son mis favoritos después del agua de Jamaica!). Aquí en Capella Ixtapa, la flor de Jamaica es crucial en muchos de nuestros tratamientos en el spa. Claramente, ¡esta es una planta versátil!

 

 

Y mientras ha tenido un rol importante en muchas culturas, me gustaría decir que en México hemos encontrado algunos de los mejores usos. Y tu has disfrutado alguna de las formas de preparar Jamaica que hemos mencionado arriba?

 

(In English)

The Versatile Jamaica Flower

pink-hibiscus-flower-by-bterrycompton-on-flickr

One of the things that I love about Ixtapa is its tropical climate.  Here, it is summer year round!   As a result, we always have an abundance of plants, flowers and fruits available.  One of the most spectacular examples of this is the Jamaica plant.

 

 

You may know the Jamaica plant as the hibiscus.  It is said that this plant arrived to Acapulco, Mexico, on the ships coming from India as part of the trade of products between the New Spain and Asia. In Mexico, hibiscus grows as a bush, reaching heights up to 3 meters, with beautiful red, pink or yellow flowers. The flowers are used in a variety of forms; one of the most common is the tea preparation.  This tea has become popular throughout the world and throughout the ages.  In fact, it was considered a royal tea among the Egyptian pharaohs.

In Mexico, our most popular preparation is known as “El agua de Jamaica” or Jamaica water.  Not only does it taste great (I love how refreshing it is!), but it is also rich in vitamin C and minerals.  We also use the hibiscus for jams and as a preserve to accompany meat dishes (which next to the Jamaica water is my favorite!).  Here at Capella Ixtapa, the Jamaica flower is also central to many of our spa treatments.  Clearly, this is a versatile plant!

 

 

And while the Hibiscus has played a role in many cultures, I would like to argue that in Mexico we have found some of the best utilizations.  Have you enjoyed any of the above hibiscus preparations?

 

(En Español)