Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Beginnings on Loreto Malecon

I am very excited as I have just negotiated to take over this building on the malecon in Loreto. It will be the beautiful office and headquarters for my new commercial ventures to be launched in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

It is located on the site where the original Loreto Isles was over a year ago right on the malecon. There is a huge newly renovated office suite in front with opening glass windows, so we can feel the sea breeze across the street. There is ample parking in front and it is easy to find.

The lizard is for good luck and reminds me to stay quiet and slow down at times … but not too often otherwise I will be eaten alive!

The most amazing part of this space is the rooftop deck overlooking the Islands and the incredible views. It is hard to believe that the second floor view would be that much different from the main level! BUT IT IS!!

I’m busy organizing all my legal and accounting work now, which takes tremendous patience and a clear mind. Luckily for me, I had the experience of relocating from Canada to the USA, where I had to understand the differences in immigration, banking, taxes, and corporate structure. So moving to Mexico, is another step … much the same questions, only different answers. However, in Mexico, asking the right question is more than half the battle.

More information to come next week as things unfold. I hope to have the office up and running by November 1st. See you in Loreto!

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's Time For A Change - WHALES INN Now Closed

I apologize to all my regular readers that check in daily that I have not written for a few days. I have been celebrating with friends on various closures and new beginnings. There is energy in the atmosphere that makes me believe we are onto a very good cycle of fortune. I have always believed it is better to be lucky than smart. Although I don’t plan my life around astrology, I CHING, tarot, or other forms of forecasting destiny, I do very much believe that what goes around - comes around. The last several years have been very trying and difficult for many of my friends and associates, in all aspects of their lives. But, I really believe that we are on an upswing as it seems everyone’s luck is changing for the better almost overnight. Whatever it is, I’ll take some!

The Big News is the WHALES INN is officially now going to be demolished and rebuilt into luxury condominiums. I met Tom Woodard over a year ago when this was little more than an idea and saw him persevere through the many obstacles of developing in Mexico.

Tom is a true maverick, with immense integrity and foresight. I am privileged to call him a good friend and I have absolutely no doubt of the incredible success that he will bring not only to his investors, but to the area and all of us here as well.

The opportunities are enormous for people of the right spirit and talent. I have decided to be brave and take another challenge. There are definitely some personal sacrifices and risks but I know there will be less regrets than if I took the road well traveled and returned to the USA or Canada.

I will be starting a number of businesses over the next couple of months and look forward to sharing them with you. Unfortunately, Naughty Nellie’s Bar will not be one of them until we have more home owners living here. But it is still an option and I look forward to having it as much as my friends look forward to being patrons.

In the meantime I will continue to write the blog as I find it an enjoyable creative outlet. I promise to showcase entrepreneurs, new businesses and developments in the area, if you promise to keep coming back and sharing my adventures. I will endeavor to have at the very least, a new posting for you every Monday on “What Is Happening In Loreto”.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Still Pretty Quiet in Founders Neighborhood

It’s like a ghost town in Founders Neighborhood with only three homes occupied full time by owners. This would be me, Lynn and Sharon Feenaughty, and Janet Rubenstein. There are a dozen or so rented to contractors and staff, but they keep mostly to themselves. Supposedly more owners will be returning in October and there will be much more activity with the first sales event of the season on October 7th weekend. This will be nice as the home owners really enjoy getting together and swapping stories.

Lynn, Sharon, and me, went for dinner tonight with Rich and Jean of FN105 and Sheila of FN208 who were down to check on construction progress. We had a nice time talking about the most common catch phrase used here: “Quien Sabe” or “Who Knows”. When you spend time in Loreto, you will find yourself asking several times a day “Why did they do that?" and the answer will always be “Quien Sabe”. Be prepared because it will happen without you realizing it! Here’s a picture of truck stuck on the road and it was truly puzzling how it came to be like that for no apparent reason??

Colette Mestre of FN307 moved in a few days ago. Since this was the 55th home or so to be turned over, it went like clockwork. By the third day, she was unpacked and set up with her own furniture. I’m sure this had a lot to do with Colette’s great organizational skills but Loreto Bay and the all the vendors are getting the kinks worked out in the endless details of a home close out.

There are few signs of Hurricane John left, and the roads have almost been fully repaired. An unsuspecting visitor will have no idea that this was the section of road washed out by the river of water flowing from the mountains during the storm. See if you notice it when you come back for a visit.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Road Trip – Destination Unknown

One of the best things about living on the Baja is that there is so much undiscovered territory. With this perfect weather, hectares of uninhabited areas, and miles and miles of oceans and mountains, it’s impossible for an adventurous person to be bored. Add to this that it takes only minutes of planning and within a few short hours; you remember what life is all about.

My friend was in that “too bored to be lazy” mode, so I packed a few bottles of chilled wine, beer, chocolate, blanket, towels, sunscreen and snorkel gear into his car and we headed out of Loreto. The biggest decision was whether to go north or south, so we made an executive decision and headed south. Driving about 30 minutes enjoying the scenery, we see one of many unmarked dirt roads. This was our invitation to explore and hoped it would take us to the coast. Within minutes we came to this private rocky beach and felt as though we were the only people on earth. It was blissfully deserted. We snorkeled, explored, and soaked up the sun, all the while listening to the gentle lapping of the waves and entertained by the constant flying fish for hours.

Don’t ask me for directions because these hidden treasures are so easy to find if you are aware. Just take a ride along the coast, or a hike in the mountains and you may find your own special place. Take some good food and good company, and life doesn’t get any better.

This is the magic that the new developers see and want to maintain. More and more large projects, commercial ventures, and growth in this area will happen. All things will exponentially increase, both good and bad. However, I am optimistic that the people who come here are opportunists for creating a better place and lifestyle, and not just concerned about the almighty dollar. They have already made that, and realize there is still so much more to achieve.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

CNN reports Storm Lane Will Miss Baja

Early this morning, word spread very quickly that Storm Lane is now a category 3 and moving at 125 mph towards Mazatlan. Fortunately, it missed Mazatlan and still making its way north. Latest reports are that it will unlikely affect Baja California.

There is much relief, although Loreto was prepared. Hurricane John taught a lot of valuable lessons for those that live here. Stock up on water, food, cash, batten down the hatches and secure all cracks and crevices as best as possible.

The construction crew took the warning very seriously this time. They have done a phenomenal job of wrapping up all the copulas, stock piling sand bags, putting up barriers to exterior garden gates and wrapping interior doors with plastic. A lot of effort was made by all into preparing for the worst, as we all hoped for the best.

It’s a bright sunny day in Loreto today at 90 degrees, with 55% humidity. This is perfect weather.

I can not believe how green everything is. There seems to be forests of trees along the road that I never knew were there. The mountains are all covered with green and I feel more like I am in Ireland than Loreto.

It’s a beautiful sight to see and well worth the inconvenience of Hurricane John’s visit.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Good To Be Back In Loreto

I managed to have a very hectic visit to Victoria. My home was previously rented, which is always an experience. The same way that I am extra fussy about where and how I live, I can also appreciate that renters, no matter their social or economic background, are generally less fastidious about something they do not own. It was a considerable effort to make sure that everything was clean, well stocked, and organized to my precise standards. I also made the time to visit many friends that I haven’t seen for the past 2 years, and caught up on life as I used to know it.

My daughter Carlie is doing great and I am so proud of her independent spirit, common sense, and positive attitude. She is my best friend and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This is a double edged sword as most parents will attest. She is visiting Loreto for Christmas and I will be very proud to introduce her to my new life and friends.

Speaking of Christmas, it’s hard to believe that the stores are already selling decorations and the holidays will soon be upon us. I know many home owners will be accepting their homes and planning family gatherings in Loreto this year. Please let me know if you will be down there for the holidays, and perhaps I will organize a party or two to celebrate our new beginnings.

The Alaska LAX flight was full of tourists. Many visit Loreto regularly for fishing and holidays, and there were many that were visiting for the first time. I didn’t recognize anyone but I’m sure I’ll make new friends before they leave.

Visiting Victoria was wonderful but reaffirmed that Loreto is now where I call home. Stepping off the plane in 95 degree heat and feeling the breeze was very calming. Even waiting endlessly as my bags were last to be unloaded in the cramped airport was reassuring that nothing changes too quickly.

After doing a cursory inspection of my home and finding it in good shape, I went to the INN and sat in the pool with my friends Nik and Janet. Tough to beat sitting in a swim up bar with your friends where people are so relaxed that even Lilly the dog can join in.

The current buzz on the ground is the anticipated visit from Storm Lane. This time, I will be on the ground to bring you reports live, up close and personal. These storms are common this time of year, but for a sleepy little town with a virtual worldwide community, it brings a lot of excitement.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Famous Buildings in Victoria

The BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria were constructed in 1893 by a young 25 year old creative architect, Francis Rattenbury in honor of celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Even back then they dealt with construction over runs and controversy as the construction costs ballooned to just under 1 Million Dollars opposed to the $600,000 budgeted.

The Jewel of the Pacific. Cresting the Inner Harbour, the Empress Hotel was built in the Edwardian style and recently restored to its original grandeur. The Empress was originally designed by Francis Rattenbury, and opened in 1908.

Robert Dunsmuir died in 1889, just months before his majestic Craigdarroch Castle was completed. Although he arrived on Vancouver Island a poor coal miner, he built an empire and became the wealthiest and most influential man in British Columbia.

Robert’s son, James Dunsmuir commissioned Samuel Maclure, a Victorian architect, to design the "Castle", and Messrs. Brett and Hall, landscape artists of Boston, Massachusetts, to plan “Hatley Park. James is quoted as saying: "Money doesn't matter, just build what I want."

As the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians, Government House continues the long-standing tradition of honouring the contributions of our fellow British Columbians. The House contains the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the representative of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada. This glass gazebo and gardens are open to the public all year long.
Designed by architects Francis M. Rattenbury and Samuel Maclure Government House was completed in 1903, until it was razed by fire in April 1957. With the exception of the porte cochère, the House and contents were totally destroyed. Reconstruction was completed two years later.

Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and the second oldest in North American (after San Francisco's). During the Gold Rush, it was much larger, as half of Victoria's population was Chinese. The Gate of Harmonious Interest was built in 1981 as a gift from Suzhou, Victoria's sister city in China.

Last but not least, is David Butterfield’s Shoal Point Development across the water on Fisherman’s Wharf. Shoal Point is a high-density mixed-use commercial/residential building, with all features that point towards further systemic energy efficiencies.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lazily Sunday in Victoria

It was a beautiful day for a drive around the city. I was lucky to take all these pictures and more within just a few hours. I thought today I would showcase the activity on the water, since that is always the best place to be, no matter where you live.

The Inner Harbour is always a hub of constant activity. There are ferries to the USA, water taxis to take you across the inlets, whale watching zodiacs, sailing boats, power boats, and yes … even airplanes that take you to the mainland.

How often do you see a power boat and airplane drag racing on the water? Yes, it’s just one of the sights and sounds that you get used to in this little city like no other.

Vancouver Island is the largest island off the west coast of North America. It is tucked against the mainland coast of British Columbia and the north shore of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. It stretches 500 km (320 miles) southeast to northwest with an area of 3,175,000 hectares and 2,150 miles of coastline. However, most of the northern island is remote and uninhabited.

Greater Victoria covers an area of 540 square kilometers and has a population of approximately 350,000 (2001). There are more than 48 parks totaling in excess of 7,600 hectares.

Kayaking is also a great sport, although you definitely need wet suits as the water is brutally cold most of the year.

Victoria is the capital of the Province of British Columbia and primarily a government and tourism city. It is also the headquarters of Canada’s Pacific naval fleet.

Mount Baker (10,778 feet) is an ice-clad volcano in the North Cascades of Washington State. It is clearly visible throughout the year and always stunning.

Before moving to Scottsdale, I had a home on Willows Beach. I would wake up each morning to the sunrises over Mount Baker, the Oak Bay Marina with the Olypmic Mountains in the background.

Of course, the beach with all its driftwood was just steps away. I look forward to the future on the Baja and see what is next!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stepping Out In Style with Loreto Neighbors

It was great to visit with my Loreto neighbors in Victoria. I really appreciate fast cars and was having lots of laughs from the minute I saw my ride. I joined John Newton of FN46 for drinks and dinner with his crew on Friday night. We went bar hopping, which meant that we walked to our favorite places of choice for drinks and snacks, and then moved on. Not something done in Scottsdale or Loreto.

I savored every morsel of the classic martinis, full bodied wines, fresh caesar salad and oysters as though I were lost on Survivor for the last 2 months. There are really good restaurants in Victoria for every craving and appetite, and we definitely indulged in the finest available.

Saturday I was invited to the home of Goetz and Guderun Wochinger of FN416. They have an absolutely stunning home on the water, with gardens that could rival the most manicured estates in this blooming city.

I did not know what was more beautiful, the home; the gardens; the vista 180 degree view; or the path down to the private rocky beach below? What do you think?

We had lunch at McMorran’s in Cordova Bay which is almost an institution. I don’t know how long it has been there but I’m sure it is at least sixty years. Sitting by the big picture windows you can almost feel the salt air and hear the seagulls and ducks on the beach below.

After lunch we went back to their home. Guderun had especially made me an apple cake, served with proper cappuccino or espresso. I felt like a celebrity sitting in their home enjoying the view, the food and warm hospitality. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Linda Angelo from Calgary and of FN35 was in town on business and I met her at the Westin Hotel at Bear Mountain for drinks. I had not been up to the top of this golf course for about 2 years and was shocked at all the development. The Westin is a beautiful hotel and feels very much like a Lodge in the mountains.

This is a picture of the living room in the hotel, which comes with a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and 3 closets. Linda said she had more closets in this hotel room that in her Loreto home. Sad but true. Linda and I were laughing as it seems that we see our Loreto neighbors more than the ones that we have lived next to in our home towns for years. Again, sad but true.