Sunday, December 10, 2006

Where In The World Am I???

Life is a dance. Some days are a slow dance, while other days are a salsa. This week I have been doing the flamenco nonstop. All the days are melding together and I can not remember sleeping or eating. In the same way that we do not think about breathing … I do not think about all the things that I need to do to stay alive … we Just Do It!

I have my personal belongings in 4 locations and honestly do not know where I live? And this is only in Loreto … let’s not talk about Phoenix and Victoria. I have a room at my hotel for convenience since I am here from 8 am to midnight each day. Although this sounds like a good idea, it makes sleeping an extension of work. My partners have arrived in Lot 62 and are enjoying use of our new home. I arranged to share Lot 333 with friends for the next year so that I have a place to go when my partners are in Lot 62. However, Lot 333 is unfurnished and the thought of setting up and “camping” again is more than I can handle right now. My friend Janet is letting me use her home Lot 162 while she is away in Santa Fe. I can not describe the comfort of knowing that I am going to an organized beautiful home each night to sleep. This is the sanctuary away from my “Chaos, Panic and Disorder” life.

Normally I don’t want to bore you with mundane details, but I thought it may be interesting to know what a regular week is like for me. These are all photos from my Grand Opening this weekend.

Sunday, Dec. 3. I head over to the INN in the morning to say goodbye to my friends that are leaving. I chase down the new Commercial Space Manager for Loreto Bay so that we can commence discussions on what spaces may be available and the terms. I need to know all the options in Nopolo and Loreto in order that I can best advise my Baja BOSS (Business One Stop Solutions) clients.

After trying to chase down Immigration for 3 days to certify my FM3, I finally am able to get an appointment at 1 pm. They were terrific and I was finished by 2 pm. I get in my car and head straight for La Paz because I have a meeting with Hacienda (Mexican IRS) at 8:30 am Monday. Four hours later I arrive in La Paz and it is dark, which means highway driving is not recommended. But what’s the use of sitting around for several hours with nothing to do?? So, I drive another two hours to Los Cabos in the hopes of getting to Costco before they close. I arrive at 8 pm and manage to completely fill my SUV in 40 minutes. I check into the hotel and write my weekly blog update. Did I eat today?? Can’t remember?? I really miss drive-through fast food!!

Monday, Dec. 4. Up at 6 am so that I can be ready and drive the 2 hours to La Paz. It doesn’t feel like I slept at all. I get to Hacienda with all my paperwork and translator beside me. They are very helpful and after 2 hours, I was told that I could come back at 4:30 to pick up my RFC. This is my corporate tax number which entitles me to legally do business in Mexico. One last step was to go over to the next department and be photographed, fingerprinted and have my electronic signature scanned, as well as setting up my profile so that I could access Hacienda anytime via the internet. I was thinking that although this sounds very good for me, it really feels that I am joining the Borg Collective in Star Trek. Wonderful… this is easy! However, there’s always a catch. Since the Hacienda servers only synchronize at midnight, I need to stay overnight and come back in the morning so that my RFC shows up on the computer. Oh well… what’s one more night in La Paz?

My immigration status is temporary pending registration of the RFC and with the Economic Commission as a foreign investor. This can only be done in La Paz, where there is very little English spoken. So I head over to the Economic Commission and manage to become totally confused as to what it is I am supposed to do. I need to go to the freaken bank to pay the 1600 pesos fee, come back with the receipt and typical complicated foreign registrations form in triplicate and then wait 3 months for the paperwork. Now I understand why the banks are always so busy, because many bills must be paid through this manual process. I give up, declare total denial and vow to try this again another day. I go straight to the hotel … crash for an hour, and get up and shop for my hotel and bar, until the stores close at 9 pm. Another day that I am too tired to eat.

Tuesday, Dec. 5. Go to Hacienda in the morning and things look great. They manage to find my file, we start the electronic registration process. After 40 minutes we are almost done and then BLAM the power goes out. All is lost. We wait and the generator power comes back on in 15 minutes, but there is still no connection to the server in Mexico. I have not learned how to swear yet in Spanish but no matter … English is perfectly acceptable in situations like this. I must come back next week and try again. I came to do 5 things, and accomplished 2. The glass is not quite half full. Drove back to Loreto, had dinner and a quiet night with friends. I remember eating today.

Wednesday, Dec. 6. An early day at the office with lots to catch up on. It appears that very little was done while I was away. Big Surprise. The workers start showing up at 9:30 since they know the Boss is back. I manage my command post firing questions about the endless details to my staff of seven, and the numerous vendors and contractors that are providing services. This is in addition to planning our grand opening for Nellie’s Bar for Friday and Saturday. It is cold and windy and I have no idea where my warm clothes are. Fatigue is setting in and I force myself to sleep for 8 hours.

Thursday, Dec. 7. A good day. Feeling rested and relaxed, and everyone was working hard on their newly appointed tasks. I officially hand over all receipts and funding to my new Accountant Juanpablo. The tradesmen look very disappointed when I tell them that BancoNellie is now closed and they must now ask Juanpablo for money. He is a true accountant and tries to be very funny about the prices they are charging me and wanting all tax receipts. Even in Spanish I can see he has the same affect and humor with the workers as my Canadian and USA accountants. Some things are just universal.

My first hotel guests arrived today!! Mark Douglas of FN106 and his son Michael checked in at 4 pm and were very happy with their modest rooms. I had checked the rooms at 2 pm to make sure all was in order. When I get back at 4:30 my staff are panic stricken because no one remembered to order gas and thus there was no hot water! No worries, we took the propane from the outdoor heater which would suffice for one night and ordered gas delivery for 9 am the next morning. Mark and Michael told me they had a great 3 night stay with us, and the beds were very comfortable. They were really excited that I included wireless internet at no additional charge, and loved being where the action was at my Bar.

Friday, Dec. 8. They have expanded the Bancomer Bank and I think it is faster now to do banking. At least the wait is only 30 minutes usually versus the 2 hours. We had a good turnout for our party. It was interesting that the local gringos came early in the hopes of a happy hour. I politely say that my cervezas are 20 pesos and a good glass of wine is 40 pesos… how much happier do you want to be? I am not competing with Augies and encourage them to stay there. My Loreto Bay friends come around 7 pm with good wishes and support. My Mexican friends come around 10 pm and then the party gets going. We have cards and board games, and it’s a friendly casual place to come and gather with friends. I loved that people were mingling and meeting others just as if it was my living room. We had last call at 11 pm and finished about midnight. Another 16 hour day, but I was feeling good. A group of us went over to Mike’s Bar to hear the guitar player and before you knew it, it was 3 am. I know I did not eat today, but had more than sufficient carbohydrates in the red wine.

Saturday, Dec. 9. I dragged myself to the office at 9:30 am so that I could meet the painter to check the colors. I never assume anything and it’s a good thing that I was there. The painter and his crew show up at 10 am, but they are chatting and in no hurry. It’s 1 pm before they have a wall painted so I can view the color. It was pink. OMG I hate pink!! Now we have to fix it and get new supplies before the store closes at 2:30 for the rest of the weekend. This is because the painter promised me he would work all day Sunday to finish. No worries, all is fine.

I have lunch with a friend who came by in the hopes of talking to me about a job. Ken Faust from LBC Custom Homes calls me on my cell and says he “needs to talk to me right away”. My first thoughts are … What have I done?? He came over to the restaurant and wants to bring 25 people over for a party tonight with food. No problem … I tell him I will provide the food if they drink lots. I don’t have a kitchen yet, and the only deli in town closes at 1 pm on Saturdays. So, I scramble around town trying to find something that we can make without a stove. I don’t even have utensils or mixing bowls yet, so I must go buy those too. Luckily my housekeeper makes awesome guacamole and salsa, and I found some nice cheese, crackers and grapes. Good for any crowd. I was a wreck by 4 pm and only getting in my staff’s way.

It was a great night … Nellie’s Bar had front row seats for the Baja 500 parade of cars as well as the full moon rising over the water. We had a great mix of people and many local Mexicans with their friends enjoying the ambiance. This is a Spanish tapas bar in Mexico run by a Canadian Chinese. Pretty much as far away as you can get to a gringo bar! What a great evening.

Sunday, Dec. 10. Today I’m taking the day off … well sort of. I was up at 8 am and did three loads of laundry since my washer and dryer are not hooked up yet at the hotel. Made breakfast and enjoyed my coffee sitting on the roof deck in the sun. This is life! Just catching up on my blog now and then have plans to spend the rest of the day playing with friends. Later this week… hotel photos – hopefully?!

Just another week in paradise. Asis es la vida

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