Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shangri-la: A Remote Beautiful Imaginary Place Where Life Approaches Perfection

It has finally warmed up the last couple of days with temperatures reaching 71F during the day and the wind has stopped blowing continuously. Everyone is smiling and in a good mood. The tourists are out in t-shirts and shorts again.

I have now officially moved into the Owner´s Suite in the hotel and I have forgotten the pain of months of camping and living out of suitcases, in just a few short days. I sleep in complete privacy on the third floor and wake up each morning to the sunrises over Carmen Island. What an incredible way to start each morning.

I take the time to leisurely get ready, have my morning coffee on the sun deck and wave to the people walking along the malecon enjoying the same glorious day. My exercise comprises of walking around the large private deck soaking up the 180 degree views.

I have taken all these photos from my 3rd floor deck and realized how few places there were like this. So, I came up with another business idea.

I will make my balcony available for private parties of 10 to 15 people. This is the perfect location for birthdays, anniversaries, any group gatherings during the afternoon or evenings.

As long as you buy drinks and tapas from Nellie´s Bar there will be no charge for this gorgeous private venue. Book early, because everyone loves the idea and we will be full of regulars as the weather gets warmer.

There are not a lot of people around these days, and the planes are less than half full. Even the Grey Whales are not making their appearances on the Pacific Coast yet. However, I notice many birds feeding and doing air shows for guests at Nellie´s Place.

New people are dropping in to say hello everyday, and it is especially nice to see Loreto Bay home owners. Here is Mike and Karen Richards FN 490, who came for a short visit to check on their Nopolo home.

We had a girls´ night while we tried to warm up from the wind with tequilas and red wine chasers. This picture is us celebrating Nellie´s Place being mentioned in the January Gringo Gazette. Any publicity is good publicity and the small write up was very positive.

Dee Wise of FN63 had a birthday party for her friend Diane, and it was celebrated among friends. Dee found a wonderful bakery that made delicious coconut cake which she served with chocolate ice cream. Delicious!

The hotel is full this week, and everything is working fine. Knock Wood. Here are my hotel guests, Mike and Sue Matthews FN463, Raymond Liang FN21, and Aniko Sherry FN363, with their friends, at one of our favorite restaurants, Giggling Dolphin, next to the Dive Shop on Jueves Street.

This week I am taking my office staff on a road trip to La Paz and Cabo for training of my new business, opening in February. Nellie´s Bar is closed Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter, but drop by and say hello to Yaser, our Bar Manager and check out what is happening.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What Kind of Mickey Mouse Place Is This?

I am not sure why Alaska Airlines uses the Mickey Mouse plane for Loreto flights, but it seems fitting. Mickey starred in his screen debut, Steamboat Willie, over 75 years ago, as an irreverent rodent that woos Minnie Mouse by making music on the bodies of various farm animals. Yep, sounds like a few too many tequilas to me.

Mickey is a symbol of American optimism, resourcefulness and energy, an icon of corporate imperialism. It is unanimous to all that visit here that Loreto will be a booming place and this is the time to get in on the ground floor. There are many Daffy and Goofy ideas, but if timing is right and implementation is thorough, then success is the only option.

There was snow in Victoria last week and being totally unprepared, I thought I would never be warm again. I was counting the hours until I would be home in Loreto. Please remind me of this when I am fed up with the dust and construction noise living in my Loreto Bay home.

Victoria was uneventful but very restful and I was spoiled with several home cooked meals a day by my mother. Felt like a bear before hibernation, filling up before crawling into a cave to escape winter.

No cows or goats in the streets of Victoria, but there was this Mini Cooper Red Bull that was a little unusual. I am told that Red Bull and Vodka is “the” drink among young people these days. I can imagine the instant rush that this concoction brings, but I will stay with my sipping scotch … less calories.

This was our first week operating BajaBOSS and we were very busy. Our first residential clients are building a home in Nopolo outside of Loreto Bay. They were referred to me by a LBC homeowner and have been battling the frustrations of getting settled in Mexico. We managed to sort out the deficiencies of their Mexican Corporation, immigration, banking, and setting up payment for utilities, all in about 10 hours. They are very pleased and I look forward to sharing their referral once we complete the work.

We have two commercial clients, who wish to set up businesses in Nopolo, and I am find the diversity and challenge of their needs are exciting and stimulating. There are so many variables and questions about immigration, taxation and legal liability that both my lawyer and accountant are now in their element.

I am now responsible for paying my 2007 property taxes on Lot 62 Villages of Loreto Bay. Having to attend at the Municipal Office and search the records for my tax bill was an effort in frustration since my Spanish is still very limited. Not having the Clave Catastral Number made it more difficult, but they soon found my file.

They told me that my taxes have not been paid for 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007, and gave me the amount due. These taxes were based upon the value of the land only and the amount due was very small. The Municipal Office advised me that if I pay all the taxes due, I would be subject to an “infraction” or fine because I know that there is a house on the land, and a new inspection and tax rate should be in affect. I am checking with Loreto Bay to make sure my taxes have been paid for 2004, 2005, 2006, and that they have reported a completed home on Lot 62 so that I can go ahead an pay the 2007 taxes in time to claim my 30% discount. I do not know how many more times I will need to go back to LBC or the Municipality, but I will get to the bottom of this and let you know.

It has been miserably cold in Loreto for the past 10 days with the wind blowing and everyone bundled up in multi layers of clothing. Today the sun came out and people seemed to have an extra bounce to their step and smiling from ear to ear. The wind is still cool, but there is hope that warm sunny days will soon be here again.

We have many hotel guests arriving next Thursday and I look forward to entertaining my friends at Nellie’s Bar on hot lazy days. Next week we are getting the kitchen and recipes finalized for the Tapas Bar and should be serving food by early February.

There is lots to do and many new friends to meet. Please drop by say hello when you are in the neighborhood. See you in Loreto!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Memories - Past, Present and Future

I am in a reflective mood and sharing my personal photo memories of Loreto with you. I no longer make New Year's Resolutions, but I do ponder destiny and my purpose with the beginning of each new year.

Merriam-Webster defines mem·o·ry as
1 a : the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms b : the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience as evidenced by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition
2 a : commemorative remembrance b : the fact or condition of being remembered
3 a : a particular act of recall or recollection b : an image or impression of one that is remembered c : the time within which past events can be or are remembered
4 a : a device (as a chip) or a component of a device in which information especially for a computer can be inserted and stored and from which it may be extracted when wanted; especially : RAM b : capacity for storing information <512 megabytes of memory>
5 : a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition -- used especially of a material (as metal or plastic)

It is interesting to me how much memories affect our everyday lives and future potential for happiness. Yet, we give them little more credence than things that should be put in a closet and only to be considered during times of unusual crisis or happy events. Our memories, whether real or exaggerated, often shape our fears, ambitions, and how we trust and interact with others. Have you ever been surprised that a child of 10 years will remember exact details of a birthday party at the age of 2? Whether those memories were of loving family or abandonment will shape their expectations and outlook on life and society in general. How many of us do not remember when our last vacation was? Is this because it has become trivial or is it that we choose to dismiss the event as unimportant? This is a study in itself and not for me to pontificate further.

I often joke that "I drink lots to kill off brain cells so that I can create more storage for memory" similar to a computer's RAM. There are so many details to remember in the present form that often we don't get a chance to reflect on past memories that will help shape our future. I am in Victoria now where I grew up and have enough memories to fill 10 novels. One day I may become a writer and share the incredible highs and lows of my life, but for now I quietly reflect on my experiences and the people who made a difference to my path in life... both good and bad. There were plenty of both in the extreme and because of them, I have the strength and stamina to walk away from the inherent duty and obligation that binds me, in order to create a new life in Mexico.

I have met with many good friends in Victoria this week that have stood by me through the years and who truly wish that I find the happiness that they feel I deserve. Victoria is a beautiful city filled with many good people. However, my life painting here is complete. Loreto offers me a brand new canvass, to create a legacy image that I can be proud of and share with others in the hope that it will provide some inspiration to all those that want it. Every experience is unique and relative to the individual and none of us can compare or judge one another. But to have the ability to accept and embrace each other's strengths and quirks is truly a gift of compassion and I find that the people of Loreto, both locals and foreigners have this innate desire.

This week has been filled with memories of the past, hundreds of "to do items" for the present, and thinking about where I want all of this to lead for the future. They have all become entwined into one large muddled mess. All I know is that I have stepped onto the conveyor belt of life and there is no way off. I can stop walking, but that will not change my path only delay the inevitable. I can run ahead but again, I will get there in good time by pacing myself. I hope that others will join me and make the journey worthwhile and interesting. There are numerous exits along the way but I am here for the long haul and it will be a good time.

I can not wait to get back to Loreto where there are blue skies every day and people wave to strangers in the street. Simple things amuse me like this mini electric ambulance that patrols the construction site at Loreto Bay. It actually had the words "Ambulance" written backwards on the front, and you will notice the little stretcher and red cross on the cart.

Entertaining friends in my home is one of my favorite passtimes and I look forward to doing it more often. Cooking is very relaxing and rewarding for me, and whereever I do it, there will be good food and wine, as well as great company. My kitchen in the office/bar should be ready when I get back next week, and I am thinking of having a special dinner at least once a month where my friends and I can share our culinary talents with those that appreciate a good home cooked meal.

We opened the bar and hotel on schedule, and tomorrow we are officially launching Baja BOSS. My staff have been working very hard on research, processes, and requirements for all your legal documentation and household needs to live and do business in Loreto. Our starting package is $300 USD per person, or $500 USD per couple which includes one hour with me to discuss your requirements and set your agenda. You will then get 10 hours with a driver/translator to accompany you to complete your immigration, banking, licencing, bill paying requirements. After the agenda is set and before you go out, you will be given a list of all the documentation you will require to effectively complete your transactions. We set realistic expectations and this is an efficient and stress free way to get "Legal in Loreto".

Another request that we keep getting is from people that are absentee home owners and not in the rental program. They would like someone to have their home cleaned and ready with standard groceries prior to their arrival. We are entertaining this idea, but do not want to interfere with the services offered by Loreto Bay Company. If you wish this or other related services, please send me an email at and we will deal with these on an individual basis for the time being.

I also now have a Skype telephone number for all those with free computer calling in the USA. You can call me on your computer or regular phone at "bajabossloreto" or (858) 866 9308 which is my Skype number.

In the meantime, I look forward to lounging in the sun with cerveza in hand and hanging with good friends. Here's to making new memories and a fantastic 2007.

Miss Nellie

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year!!! Feliz Ano Nuevo!!!

January 1st, 2007 Began with lots of fun and laughter among my friends at Nellie’s Bar. People came dressed up and ready to ring in the New Year with me and I was very appreciative. All day the wind was blowing hard and I was very worried about the cold. Then about 8 pm it started to slow down, and by 10 pm the wind had pretty much stopped altogether. I do have an army of guardian angels watching over me.

Vicki Rucshner (FN369) was a regular in the bar all week since she was also a hotel guest. Vicki is shown here with a very special drink concoction named the “Vicki Special” in her honor. Yaser will not tell us what is in it, and although it is a cold coffee type drink … it does warm the innards!

Also staying at the hotel this week was Dee Wise (FN63) shown at the left. Her wonderful collie dog named Laddie was a big hit everywhere he went and welcome at my place anytime.

It was a typical “kitchen” crowd with many people standing and hovering over the food and bar areas … no one wanting to sit and miss any of the action.

In my almost finished VIP suite are shown from the left Geoff and Linda Ford (FN43), Linda and Dave Rutherford (FN155), Sharon Feenaughty (FN325), Shona and Peter Edwards (FN331), and George Deakin (FN326)

We have Brenda and Wayne Crosbie (FN124) with their friends Scott and Tina from Calgary. They definitely won the prize for the best color coordinated couples and loved the Champaign.

My friend Jan Alpers (FN400) and I were trying to be runner-ups for the Miss 2007 title, but someone forgot to tell us there was no such Loreto pageant. Ahhh… there’s another business idea for next year?!

This is my good friend John Newton (FN46) from Victoria. You can always tell the Canadians because they are out in shorts and T-Shirts when the rest of us are wearing three sweaters.

Here I am with John's daughter Tracy. She was the prettiest girl at the party and all my male staff wanted to know when I was going to hire her. I said anytime she wanted to spend time in Mexico, there would always be a place for her at Nellie's!

Teresa from the Loreto Village Home Coordinators came with her finance Jose Francisco. A very good looking couple … it was obvious there was Italian heritage in both of them! Both Teresa and Jose Francisco could be seen on their cell phones working during the night. Life at Team Loreto Bay never stops … I can’t say I miss it.

Two of my favorite single young men in Loreto are Andres who works for me and his friend J.D. (with the hat). They are bilingual, polite, respectful, and fun! If you let your daughters over age 18 out with these guys, they will be safe and well looked after.

Close to midnight we handed out many bottles of Champaign and had guests open them simultaneously. I did the unofficial countdown, which was a first for me. Balancing on a plastic chair with my trusted Blackberry in one hand for the time, and streamers in the other … I never realized how difficult it was to count backwards from 30 seconds after consuming multiple different drinks. I managed to get to midnight with the help of all my friends cheering me on.

All my staff joined in the festivities. From the left is Yolanda, my Tapas Cook; Andres Urias who will be in charge of Customer Service behind me, Felicita is my Rooms Manager. Last but not least is Andres, my night watchman. He loyally braves the cold each night from 7 pm to 7 am to watch over my hotel guests and office. It is a very safe area and I don’t believe a night watchman is really necessary, but he started when the building was under renovation and there were many people coming and going. Andres really loves his job and he is so cute and helpful, that I have to keep him on!

I am travelling to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada this week to spend time with my family. I am excited about seeing them, but find myself missing Loreto even before I left the airport. Funny how life changes when we are too busy to notice.

I wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year filled with laughter, friends and good health.