Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lots of Familiar Faces in Loreto

I was in Phoenix for the day and it was a whirlwind of activity, as I managed to organize my furniture move to Loreto, meet with my accountant Randy Wagner (who is knowledgeable about both USA and Mexico tax structures), went shopping for wine and the whole Mall experience that only Scottsdale can offer, as well as seeing my good friend Catherine Swinscoe.

Many of you remember Catherine as the Spa Director for Loreto Bay. Catherine’s passion for creating unique world class spas combined with her dedication to finding earth-friendly, sustainable solutions that meet the needs of developers, was integral to the early success of the project. Swinscoe Spa Consultants started in Canada and now Catherine has opened offices in Scottsdale AZ, that offers leading-edge planning and management services to full service spa and wellness facilities. Formerly Corporate Director of Spa Operations for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, she contributed to the operational development of Willow Stream Spas internationally. Some of her recent projects since leaving Loreto Bay include The Spa @ Sailing Hawks in Lake Havasu City, AZ; Rancho de Los Caballeros in Wickenburg, AZ, Deserving Thyme Lifespa in Vancouver, BC, and The Schools of Cosmetology in San Diego, CA. For more information on Swinscoe Spa Consultants, call Catherine at 480-544-5006.

LAX was a meeting place, as I ran into several home owners on their way to Loreto. It was nice to see familiar faces at the airport and share a taxi to the INN. My first night back I had dinner with Bob Johnston of FN41 and his son Kevin; and Tom Woodard of the Whales Inn and his daughter Brittany. It was really an enjoyable evening at the Mediterrano until the very end when we were leaving. There was a loud argument going on with one of the tourists and the restaurant over a bottle of wine for $720 USD. I had met this man on my last flight in first class from Loreto to LAX and knew a bit of his background and worth. I was worried that this was going to escalate into a fight or someone going to jail because of bad communication and too much testosterone. Luckily Tom speaks fluent Spanish and I begged him to intervene, which he tactfully negotiated. Both sides agreed to payment of 50% of this bottle and the remainder of the bill, and it ended up without incident. What had happened was that these people were drinking $100 bottles of wine and asked the waiter for their best… thinking that would be $200 in Loreto. The waiter failed to mention it was $720 USD. This was an error on both sides and a lesson learned. Never assume anything, even in Loreto!

Pachamamas is my favorite place for atmosphere, food and wine selection. No $100 bottles here! There was a party and much laugher coming from Ariel Klein FN44 and her Portland friends, Christine, Pam, Karen, Jane Lurie & Sharon Dean FN203, Susan Hill FN153, Dee Wise FN63, Janet Rubenstein FN162, and of course, Norma Butterfield of FN1. It really is great to feel a community forming as home owners share a meal, information, and help each other out.

Here’s Sue & Wayne Barritt and Ken & Val Stecyk of FN317 enjoying lunch at the INN. They were early buyers from Calgary and very pleased with their home. Also in town is Bob Bish of FN23, Grant and Joanne Potolicki FN166, Linda Rutherford FN155, and Helen Swanston FN102. Since I am now writing once a week, I forget to have my camera out and ready. Shame on me! If you want to be on my blog, just remind me when you see me. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors!

My friend Ingrid from Mexico City is in town. Ingrid is David Farca’s sister with Touch of History, and she is now taking a more active role in the shopping trips and general operations for them. This is a much welcome addition, as Ingrid is very thorough, detailed, and a good businesswoman.

Also new to Touch of History is Alberto Arce who will manage the operations in Loreto, and Claudia Hernandez who will be the administrator. Alberto is from Guadalajara and recently worked in San Diego, so he fully understands the needs and expectations of both cultures. Claudia was previously with the Whales Inn and knows how to get things done in Loreto. Touch of History now has 9 full time employees in Loreto and will soon start construction of their new warehouse facilities. They now have their office, soon to be showroom at FN305, and you can reach Alberto at alberto@touchofhistory.com Having had very candid conversations with all my friends at Touch of History, including David, I believe that this is what they need to finally meet and exceed customer expectations. It has been a difficult road for all of us, and they are no different trying to juggle with the unknown construction schedule of the past 2 years. But we are seeing a marked difference in all areas, and this will be another area of positive turnaround.

I have been very busy with my new building, and even though I thought things were taken care of before I left… nothing gets done when you are not on the ground. I’m 2 weeks behind my scheduling and I am getting very anxious as “time is money”. Not a concept that is really understood here. However, I am learning to accept this and enjoy each day. I am working hard finalizing the endless legal and accounting details necessary to comply with the rules as I am a foreigner. This is a nicer term that being a Legal Alien as I am in the USA. Very soon I will be a permanent resident here and it will truly be home.

I never made it to La Paz or Cabo this week, and it certainly wasn't for a lack of trying. The papers simply were not ready and the people I was visiting were so very busy. It seems that everyone these days is run off their feet. There is a buzz of activity in Baja California Sur, and I can't wait to find out more information on the new developments and let you know.

1 comment:

holyhel said...

Congrats! BIG TIME Nellie! How exciting for me and everyone to know our own personal inn-keeper. You make everything so fun! I would love to take a room about the 20th of Feb. til the end of March. The $50 room will be just great. Got availability? Book Me. I am at hswanston@sbcglobal.net Let me know. Your communication is fabulous! It won't be long before you are publishing the Loreto Gazette. You would be the best!

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