Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thunder, Lightening, and finally Rain in Loreto!

What a wonderful gray day. This morning was the usual hot humid 95 degrees, but as the afternoon approached there were more dark clouds gathering in the sky.
All of a sudden around 3 pm there were rumblings of constant thunder and all were looking to the skies to see if we would really get some serious rain. The winds were whistling through the houses and blowing about the debris, plastic, and anything else not easily weighted down.
The dust was blowing so hard everything was gray and gritty, and the palm trees appeared to be dancing a hula as they swayed in the wind. Lightening came in short streaks, and then all of a sudden the rain came pouring down. Now if you have ever been in London England or the West Coast of Canada, this would seem like a trickle on a summer’s day. However, for Loreto, it was an absolute down pour. The workers all lined up for their buses early at 4:30 and traffic ceased to and from town.

It was a great day to curl up with a good book, which fortunately, I have learned to keep an abundance of. I went outside to take a few pictures and the workers on the ground thought for sure I was crazy to brave the elements. It was warm rain, soft and silky. Not harsh or cold, and the wind was gentle. I had to wait for several minutes for a car to pass along the road so I could demonstrate the height of the water. It was at the high point about 8 inches on the road, but disappeared within a few hours.

My house was fairly dry, with only a little water coming through the copula which I would expect. My neighbors were not quite so lucky, as they had water coming in their garden areas soaking their living, dining and bedrooms on the main level. It is so important that these houses are lived in to experience what happens on a day to day basis.

It is now night and much of the excess water has been evaporated or drained into the golf course or ground. The night sky is full of stars once again, and there is a fresh scent in the air similar to tea leaves.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

More full time residents in Loreto

We have another brave family that is going to live here full time, for a while anyways. This is Stuart, Sarah, and their children, Lizzie, Carlie and Clayton. They are shown here with their architects, the Lew Brothers from Mexico City, Bernardo and Jose, who are working on several of Loreto Bay custom homes. If you would like to contact Stuart and Sarah about their experiences, or get together on your visit, please contact them through the www.myloretobay.com home owner website.

Stuart and Sarah will be watching their custom home being built on Lot FN18 and focusing on experiences with their children. Their children started school and on the second day told Sarah that they “love it here”. What a joy to be with people that take the leap of faith down an unknown road with the knowledge that there lies a more full and balanced life. This is the main reason I love the Baja, and particularly Loreto. It is full of mavericks, adventurers, and opportunists, that don’t believe they are doing anything unusual. Seeking new horizons is just a part of who they are. This includes the construction laborers, architects and other professionals from mainland Mexico. Going to the Baja is as difficult to comprehend for many Mexicans as it would be for a Canadian to move from Vancouver to Chibougamau, Quebec. Why would you do that?? It’s freakin cold, remote, population of 10,000 and they speak French!

Another couple who are focusing and investing in Loreto is Bill and Madeline Kerns. They have bought a few homes in Loreto Bay and introduced the project to many of their friends. They were down here inspecting FN311 and FN313, while they watch their custom home being built. I went for dinner with Bill and Madeline and thoroughly enjoyed their energy and entrepreneurial experiences. Bill is a developer in Reno, NV, and has Lake Almanor Resorts. They have invited me up several times, but work has always gotten in the way. My goal is to visit next year and enjoy the quiet and splendor that is shown on their website: www.lakealmanorresorts.com Check it out, and tell them Nellie sent you!

I tell Bill and Madeline that I hope to slow down here in Loreto, and they don’t believe me for a minute. They can see the glint in my eye when I start talking business, and they know I am one of “them”. Even on vacation, Bill is making his way to the Inn at Loreto Bay to get access to wireless so he can be connected and check back at the office. Ases es la vida – It Is What It Is or That’s Life!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Businesses in Loreto

The entrepreneur spirit is alive and growing in this little town of Loreto. I got the biggest kick out of the little boys selling frozen popsicles from their cart for 5 pesos. His smile was worth the big tip and I wonder how successful he will be before he’s ten years old! He and his little brother are braving these hot humid days pushing their full cart around the different contractors’ sites. It was only 98 degrees today, but with 60% humidity … it feels like 120 degrees. Yes, I finally admit that this is HOT!! I think twice just going out to my courtyard to walk up the stairs in my Casa Chica, let alone be out all day long. Feels too much like freakin Arizona!

There are lots of Mexicans selling orange juice, tamales, and other snacks from their cars. They show up around 1 pm and there is a silent message that ripples through the site as workers make their way towards their favorite vendors and wait patiently in line. The canteens are popular as well and most offer shade and benches to enjoy the meal. I was very impressed with Eiffel Construction’s new lunch area for their workers. Seeing the new white tents erected, I wondered who was getting married? They have made temporary tables out of bricks and boards until the real ones arrive, but it’s a cool, clean place to gather for their workers.

Rumor has it that we will soon have the first coffee shop opened in Lot 47 Founders Neighborhood. They only recently started construction while most of the Village homes in this area have been completed and now occupied. It is going up very quickly and my guess is that it will be operational early next year.

Some of you may remember Rosie from the Camino Hotel, or helping Alfredo Cristo with your Power of Attorneys at the Selection Day Event. Rosie has always dreamed of owning a boutique selling clothing, jewelry and other crafts. Her new store is in the main square beside the Posada del Flores and she and the workers are busy fixing it up to be ready to open next month. Rosie is always full of energy and fun, and I’m sure her store will be as well.

There’s a new Japanese / Chinese restaurant in town that serves sushi, sashimi, and fried rice, among exotic things. I have heard that the Sushi chef is from Cabo and knows his way with a knife, but the Chinese food is not too authentic. The two times I have tried to go it has been closed, so this is not a personal recommendation. This is as near to cosmopolitan as Loreto gets. Now all we need is a Starbucks! I heard there is a place in town that you can get coffee beans roasted and I’m on the hunt for that as we speak.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

3 hour Loreto Cruise on the El Don

I was fortunate to be invited to join some of the Mexican families on a 3 hour cruise aboard the El Don. This was organized by Walter, Rodolfo and Gabriela of Owner Services and included many people from Accounting and other local departments. Here’s Jose from IT with his family; and Gabriela with her extended family.
Being on the water is the best place to be anytime for everyone. We came loaded with drinks and bags of chips, guacamole and spicy tuna dip, chicken, and other goodies.

Everyone had their turn at the bow being “King of the World” and the kids were full of energy and laughter.

We saw a school of dolphins racing with the boat, and jumping around us. No matter how many times I see them, there are always squeals of delight when they jump 20 feet from the boat.

Janet’s dream is to own and operate a panga boat and this is the first step towards her reality.Walter aspires to something a little larger, complete with crew. All I want is a yacht with padded bow mattress to enjoy the sun and the sea breeze!

We stopped at Danzante Island and tried to see the shape of dancers that was its namesake. I was glad that I wasn't the only one who admitted to not being able to see it. Although, there were many other figures that were obvious along the way. As we cruised along, we stopped at another island and many jumped in with the kids to play in the water. After my tequila night at Donella’s, I preferred to sit quietly and ponder the beauty surrounding me and contemplate the meaning of life, accompanied by a few more beers.

We headed back at sunset, which was spectacular as there were lots of dark clouds in the sky. The light glistening off the mountains and oceans were almost blinding, yet we all snapped away with our cameras, never tiring of the same old shots!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mexican House Party!

I was invited to the home of Donella and Brad from Loreto Bay Construction. They have recently acquired a 9 unit motel on a great piece of property in downtown Loreto. They are slowly renovating each of the rooms with care and attention to detail. I can tell that it will not take them long to realize their investment and make this a fun profitable business, as well as their happy home.

Friday night always sounds good for an impromptu party and they said to come around 7’ish. This really means 8’ish, but since I’m not Mexican and neither are Donella or Brad, I figured 7:30 was reasonable. People started rolling in about 9 or 9:30 with their drinks and bags of chips. It’s very relaxed and greeting each and every person is very important to the culture here.

Everyone was waiting for Cesar to arrive as he’s the Master BBQ Chef. You will notice that he has two beers going; one for him and one for the grill. This is one of the secret ingredients. Watching him prepare the grill and cook the meat was an art form.

It was a great time and everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Looking around there were many small groups of people doing different things. The ladies were crowded around the table chopping and mixing while making jokes. The boys were challenging one another at the foosball table, with Brad holding tight to his reign as Champion. As you can see from this photo, Brad and Roch show little humility when winning yet another game!

Not to be outdone, the ladies have their match as well. Donella is the perfect hostess always making sure everyone is happy and having a good time. After many tequila shooters, the ladies were all crazy dancing sharing their sexy moves with one another. It was similar to a dirty dancing aerobics class with gales of laughter. No photos allowed! Meanwhile, the men were completely oblivious and caught up in their own conversations and never once paid any attention to the levity of the ladies. This in itself is so refreshing and different from the parties I normally go to. Even though we danced and laughed hysterically for over an hour, we were invisible and no man disturbed our space.

People kept arriving until midnight. They would come, drink, laugh and then leave. Simple and uncomplicated. It was 1:30 am when I finally left the twenty or so partiers still engrossed in conversations. What a terrific party! Thanks Donella and Brad!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Party Time at Lot 300 Loreto Bay!

Mick and Joyce had their house warming party a few days ago. They have a Casa Alta which means the main living area is the second floor, with a third floor bedroom and patio area. They have views of the mountain and golf course on their large back deck, as well as a small patio out front to watch the world go by on the Paseo de Mision. Best of both worlds and lots of privacy.

It’s really wonderful to see these houses transformed into homes with furniture, lighting and personal touches. Mick and Joyce upgraded to granite counter tops and travertine floors, so their kitchen is a delight to be in. We were standing in line patiently waiting for a fresh brewed espresso from their Italian coffee machine. It’s a beautiful home and you can tell that all the pieces were carefully thought out and made to measure. Joyce had some great blue wine glasses with silver stems, and hand crafted ceramics from Tlaquepaque. Mike is the new Commercial Construction Manager, with his wife Becky. There was Janet, Hector, Donella and Mario brought his wife and beautiful little girls. Alberto and Pati from the Posada del Flores came, but took an hour to find the home as there are no numbers on the houses. I hope this gets rectified soon because no one has a clue where to start to find you. This is great if you want to be lost in Loreto, but for most of us, we come here to be found. Alberto was asking everyone where the gray haired man “Kenny Rogers” lives. This is how things happen, and then stick!
Mick was master of the rotisserie grilling chicken, beef and pork roasts all at once. Joyce made a delicious potato salad that brought back memories of the good ole days BBQ before we decided that carbs were bad. Janet brought the best ceviche that Mike has ever tasted! I made my soon-becoming-famous beet salad with roasted peppers. Mario brought a tres leche cake, which was melt in your mouth yummy! Mick and Alberto’s favorite was the New York style cheesecake direct from Super Ley in Constitution. It was a feast among friends.

Mario’s daughter gave Becky her little stuffed dog and this was her reaction. There is a lesson here … be careful what you offer in kindness. Becky was here for about one day and met one of the home owners for all of 5 minutes. The home owner was leaving for a month and said they didn’t know what to do with their dog. So, Becky being of generous heart and loving animals and kids offered to take care of the new puppy for a few weeks. Well, as it turns out, the home owner contacted Mike’s boss and said they were not coming back until 2007. No word to Becky, no thanks, no money, no nothing?! So, what’s a girl to do? As Becky says, “it’s not the dog’s fault”. But she will think two or three times before making an offhanded kind gesture to help your fellow neighbor.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

No 4 Legged Animals this time to La Paz!

I drove to La Paz yesterday for a meeting. Four hours each way is a long day, but it is never uneventful. Always amazed at the lack of safety issues here, especially when I was following this flatbed of people up the long winding mountainous roads. This truck was going well over 100 km/ph. The riders in the back didn’t seem at all nervous and were having a great time watching me try to take their picture while driving with one hand and one eye on the road. This picture demonstrates just how narrow the road is, and the truck seems a foot from the edge of the cliff. It may be slightly more, but not by much!

I did get stopped at the entrance to one of the smaller towns along the way. It is common for different organizations and fundraisers to stand in the middle of the highway with large cans wrapped in white paper. This is the collection tin, and I’m never sure what the cause is, but when I drop a few coins in worth 10 pesos, they seem very happy and grateful. This is pittance compared to the raffle tickets and candy that I usually buy from the kids in the neighborhood in the USA for $10 to $15. These boys were standing in the middle of a highway in 95 degree temperature. Their uniforms were clean and pressed, and although you can drive on without contributing… why would we? I paid my “toll” and continued on only to realize they had another station set up at the other end of town to get you in case you had any remorse about not contributing the first time. What the heck, I went crazy and gave them another 10 pesos. This is good karma.

Although you have the option to stop at these fund raisers, it is never a good idea not to stop when they carry guns. There is a military stop before La Paz. These guys are young and speak very little English. I just smile sweetly, and show them my FM3. It explains who I am, what I am doing here, and for how long. This saves a lot of aggravation on both sides. They let me “paso”.

I went to Office Depot in La Paz, and it’s a nerd’s paradise. Everything you want including a business copy center. When I paid for my goods, I was asked if I wanted a “factura”. This is an official receipt. If you don’t need it for your records, then they will give you a discount. They showed me my total on the register, then the discount. Of course, I was too confused to acknowledge what the discount was … because I never got a receipt! Oh well, next time.

Driving back through the military station 4 hours later, I was stopped again by the same young officer. This time, I had to pull over while they searched my car, including under my hood. They again wanted my FM3 and vehicle registration. They were very pleasant and it took 4 guys to conduct the search. I’m not sure this is because I was wearing shorts, or I somehow fit some notorious terrorist profile. They had the good graces to put their rifles down before they came near the car.

Continuing on my journey, I was speeding down a straight stretch of road and saw a police car so I slowed down well in advance. The policeman waved me over to the shoulder. Asked me if I spoke any Spanish. A little “poco”. Again, I pull out the FM3 and he seemed satisfied. Asks me if I’m single or married? Nice to know men are men all over the world! Waves me on, no “problema”.

I was tempted to ask to take pictures of the military men and policeman, but figured that would be bad form. I’ll wait until my Spanish is better.

Drove through the mountains about 8:30 pm and it was very dark with a few animals grazing by the side of the road. Going slow is the only way, but it’s scary with the hot shots passing you at 120 km/ph not being able to see what may be in the road ahead.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Most Patient Loreto Bay Home Owner of the Month!

Lynn and Sharon Feenaughty brought Lot 325 on the second launch of February 2004, because they fell in love with the vision. Now, where have I heard this before?? Waiting very patiently for over two years, their house was finally ready. They sold their home in Phoenix after 25 years, and moved here full time a few weeks ago.

Their furniture was enroute and it could take a few weeks. They slept on an airbed in a house with no other furniture or bedroom lights. Although the Road 9 staff on the ground attempted to get them telephone and internet for the last two weeks, they were not successful. So not only did they have no form of communication, they had no knowledge of Spanish and were unaccustomed to the peso.

Yet, through all this, they were patient and laughing. They had each other and what a better place to while away the days than bobbing about in the Sea, while intermittently cooling off under a playpa by the beach.

Last Sunday night about 7 pm, the whole place was deserted. No workers, homeowners, or staff in sight. We were going out for dinner when I happened to see a big truck seemingly lost and out of place. I thought …”that must be the Fennaughtys’ furniture”. I went up to the truck and sure enough they could not find the street address given for Lot 325. I knew how excited Lynn and Sharon were going to be … and we told the truck driver to follow us and we would take them there!! We banged on their door to advise them their furniture had arrived and there were squeals of joy from everyone. Even the Mexican truck driver and his partner were laughing.

We went back to check on them after dinner and what a mess! This is a good advertisement on why to hire Touch of History! There were boxes everywhere, and Sharon kept asking “why did I bring all this stuff”. But they were happy and you could tell that the house would soon be a home loaded with memories.

It was extremely frustrating for Lynn to not be able to communicate with the movers as they knew no English and it was obvious that the Mexicans were not experienced movers used to maneuvering furniture around corners. However they finished at 12:30 am, and hopefully Lynn and Sharon will live Happily Ever After.

Lot 325 is located across from the custom golf course lots, and when we walked back to the car, it was complete blackness. The construction zone is dangerous enough in the daytime and visitors are required (rightly so) to wear a hard hat and closed toed shoes. But at night home owners literally can’t see where the buildings are in the courtyard, and you take baby steps to avoid falling, tripping, crashing into scaffolding, or worse. I never realized how awful it was to be living on the other side of the road. But I guess they have learned to take the longer route and follow the edge of houses where they have the night sky for light.

Here’s a picture of Janet in pitch darkness because I was using my camera flash so that we could find our exit. I thought it was very funny that she happened to be carrying a lamp while stumbling around in the dark. A little twisted, but you will come to learn to laugh lots living in Founders Neighborhood.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Northern Baja Real Estate Opportunities

My friends John Newton of FN46 and Tracy Collingridge of FN494 arrived today for the weekend. They are both fellow Canucks from Victoria. John brought at the same time I did in November 2003, at the very first Sales Event. He has one of the few Village Homes with a pool.
We hung out at John’s home drinking beer until it got too hot, then headed down to the beach. The water is the best place to be anytime! Another hot and sunny day!Later, John impressed us with his cooking skills and he makes a wicked martini. It’s my first martini since I’ve been here. Not really a Mexican summer drink ... but very delicious. Can’t have just one … but then who cares, I’m only 3 houses away! Even a little tipsy, I’m aware not to go near the nonexistent railing where I could plummet to the gravel below. We swapped stories, laughed and had a great day visiting until the wee hours. They love it here and I am happy they will be back often.
I mentioned Tracy before when Nik and I visited her at Rosarito. She is working at the Mirada. It is located only 30 minutes from San Diego on a promontory of land overlooking the Pacific and the Coronado Islands, Mirada is North Baja’s first condo/hotel luxury resort.
Here's pictures from their development Showroom. All one, two and three-bedroom residences enjoy breathtaking views with a focus on outdoor/indoor living. Owners at Mirada will be offered all the comforts of a personal residence combined with the services and amenities of a 4 star luxury hotel including: spa, owners lounge, infinity edge pool, restaurants, conference facilities, fitness center, tennis courts, tropical landscaping with water features, and breath taking ocean views. Additional key features:
* 17 acres of pristine oceanfront property, 1/4 mile of diverse coastal oceanfront
* 1st phase of a 3 phased development
* Fully managed luxury resort
* First condo-hotel in Northern Baja
* Spacious, open floor plans emphasis on indoor/outdoor living
* Every suite has unobstructed ocean views
* Fully furnished and fully equipped
* Concierge services
* US Developer Irongate (currently developing Trump Tower in Waikiki)
* Penthouses are homes in the sky with private plunge pools and rooftop decks
When Tracy told me that the higher floors could see San Diego across the water, I was immediately sold and gave her my refundable check for $5000 USD to get into the Priority Opportunity Program. I think this is a great investment for Californians that don’t want to constantly fly further south to enjoy the beauty of the Baja.

If you would like more information, please email me at nelliehutchison@hotmail.com and I’ll put you in contact directly with Tracy for the utmost best service.
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