Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Weather Is For The Birds

It has been a very quiet week and I was wondering what to write about this morning as I lay in bed at 8 am. Then all of a sudden, the earth moved. I needed to look behind me to be sure I was alone. And Yes, I was. A few minutes later, it happened again and being from the west coast, I knew it was an earthquake. It lasted only a few seconds and felt like a big truck driving past the house. It was 5.3 in magnitude and 60 miles from Loreto. Nothing to worry about, but it always creates a little excitement in our normally passive lives. You can check it out for yourself at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2007zfa9.php
We have been having extremely strong winds this month. The weather has been bright and sunny with temperatures averaging about 68F during the day. However, we have had many days and nights with winds measuring 31 mph or 50 km/ph. At night the wind chill is very cold, and during the day there are times you can not see anything 100 meters in front of you because of the dust storm at Loreto Bay. I always said the worst thing about living here is the constant dust, and this month I am particularly crazy. Here is the weather link: http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/MMLT/2007/2/23/MonthlyHistory.html

Loreto is making amazing progress on the section of highway where the road was washed out from Hurricane John last fall. In the last month they have made a new road which has recently been paved, and moved in all the equipment for the new bridge. In this photo you can just see the section of the old road as it has now been completely dug up and covered with new rebar and equipment.

The road to San Javier has been paved for about 3 kms and the rumor is that the entire way will be paved soon. I think this will take some of the charm away from visiting the old Mission, but it should bring more tourists as the current dirt path can be a scary adventure in a car or taxi. There is also much road construction happening around town as Juarez Street in front of Bridgestone Tire is closed and the whole block torn up.

My Landlord, Hugo Quintero is very happy with all the improvements I have made to his building and brought me a painting that he had commissioned for Nellie´s Place Bar. It represents all the major soccer teams in Mexico drinking at the Bar, with a photo of Velero Del Mar Yacht in the background. It even has the BajaBOSS emblem amongst all the others. What a great gift and I can not wait to hang it for all to see.

Corona finally delivered on my two signs, so now people will actually know where Nellie´s Place is. The big sign that I was worried about last week actually looks pretty good and not quite the Vegas strip material that I had fears of. Representatives from Corona arrived from Mazatlan last week and were taking photos of the signs and very pleased with our advertising.

We will be renting my friend Glen Mickowski´s Segways from our office. The malecon is the perfect location to try out these new recreational scooters to see if you want to buy one to get around the Villages of Loreto Bay later on. We are renting them for $45 USD per hour, and will give discounts for LB Homeowners or Groups of 2 or more.

Many Calgarians are here this week to escape the snow and cold of their home town. I had dinner with Ken, Val and their daughter Carlee last week at Mita Gourmet in the town square. Juan Carlos and his wife Marta run a great restaurant, and the menu is extensive for times when I just do not know what I want to eat.

Happy 50th Birthday to Bill Doyle! (In the orange T-shirt next to me). Bill used to manage the Commercial Construction at Loreto Bay, and now is developing his own properties here in Loreto. His wife Laurie managed to have six of his long time friends fly in and surprise him. He had no idea and brought them up to our Bar to enjoy their first tequilas. It was obvious they were going to cram a lot of fun and visits down memory lane in three short days. Their laughter and good spirits were infectious!

Do not forget about our VIP suite is great for meetings and special occasions as well. At the rate of $150 USD per night, it is the best value in all of Nopolo or Loreto. It is where the action is, and within walking distance to all the best restaurants and bars in town. A great place to hold private meetings as well.

I am very tempted to move in myself permanently to get away from the dust and construction noise of Nopolo, but for now prefer to have some revenue and share it with my friends.

Let us see what next week brings in paradise. Have a good week.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!

We are excited to ring in the Year of the Fire Pig -- an event that happens only once every 600 years. This is the kind of year that brings greater opportunities for growth, expansion, prosperity and more. It is always better to be Lucky than Smart, so I am encouraging all to embrace this year and feel that it will reap many benefits and rewards based on hard work and challenging adventures. Okay, okay, I know I sound like a fortune cookie … but I can not help myself. A life time of subliminal messaging of my Chinese ancestry is now entwined with my Wild Wild West life in Loreto.

I was lucky enough to spend a day with my very good buddies and partners in Velero Del Mar Yacht Membership Program, Scott Montell and Josh Swift. We drove the 1 ½ hours out to Puerto Mateos on the west coast and were greeted by a festival of entertainment. There were many delicious food stalls with fresh fish, tortas, and souvenirs. After picking up a quick taco for the boat trip, which took 40 minutes as I am sure they had to go out and catch the fish first, we were finally on our way.

There were about 4 or 5 different boat rental places, all with good clean boats and life jackets, and the prices ranged from $15 to $20 USD per person for each hour. We were out for two hours and saw about a dozen whales, some with their babies. There were only four boats out so we were able to follow the whales and they were playing with the boat and came very close. We were not able to touch them as I am sure they were fed up with the novelty of getting close to the tourists. This was the first time in three years that we were able to take a few hours away from our hectic work schedule to see the whales and it was very humbling to be so close to these giants of nature.

There is a new paper in town called Loreto News. It is printed by a local Loreto group and will be distributed each month from Ensenada to La Paz. It is full color, in Spanish and English, and has maps of the town as well as important tourist and general information for everyone. I very much admire the entrepreneurial spirit and when these young men came to me with their idea, I decided to be their biggest advertiser by taking the entire back page for the next year. Not sure what I will be advertising yet, but no doubt that we will think of something.

We opened our Tapas Kitchen on Valentine´s Day and had a great response from people that saw our ad in the Loreto News and wanted to check it out. No one knows where Nellie´s Place is because I have been waiting on Corona for my sign for the past three months. I ordered 2 signs, one that was about 24 inches by 40 inches with a light that would hang against the balcony so you could see it driving down the road. Well, what they delivered must be 6x4 feet, double sided with light, so it is impossible to hang against the building. I was horrified, but Corona spent a lot of money and is taking full responsibility for it. Okay, let´s make lemonade out of lemons once again. We have not seen the other sign yet … so are anxiously awaiting that surprise!

I love being downtown Loreto as we get to meet so many people from all over the world. This is Karl and Cynthia from Delaware, and Ann from London, England, who were our first tapas clients. Even though the wind was blowing up a storm, they were very happy being in bright sunny skies.

Also visiting were Kathleen and Mike with their daughter Hope, and friend Marilyn, from Seattle, WA. Everyone really enjoyed the tapas and said there were very tasty and reasonably priced.

We had many local people as well as Loreto Bay Home Owners gathering at Nellie´s Place. El Nido Restaurant has changed its name to Domingo´s Restaurant, and here I am with Chuck and Marsha of AV60, and Lisa of AV908 with their friends Opal and Jules.

Tony and Anne of FN409 are guests at Nellie´s Place while they are checking on their Loreto Bay home. Unfortunately, very little has been done since they were here in November and they will be back again later this spring. The sunset from our building is spectacular and they make such a good looking couple.

Sometimes we get signals that we need to pay more attention. My 1998 Pathfinder has just clocked 150,000 miles and it has been very good to me. In the last eight months I have driven more than 14,000 miles on the Baja without so much as an oil change or tune up. Yes, I admit I am a girl when it comes to cars. So yesterday, it decided to just not start. The maintenance men from the INN were very helpful, as was Tony who spoke Spanish much better than me.

Okay, no problem, just another set back. Anne and I took full advantage of this by simply relaxing, having a beer and watching the men work. This has to be my favorite pastime! After an hour of trying different things, the car still would not start. This morning I thought I just might try it one more time, and sure enough it started without any problem. I was amazed, and promised that I would take it in for a full treatment Monday. Yes, we need to take care of ourselves and all things that help us get through our days, including people and equipment.

My good friend Glen Mickowski of FN300 is shown here with Ubaldo who owns one of my favorite restaurants, the Giggling Dolphin on Juarez, just up from the Malecon. It has a great reasonable menu and the food and service is reliably good. Glen will be living in Loreto full time and is working with a Mexican Company to be able to deliver goods from La Paz and Los Cabo to Loreto. If you need things delivered or want more information, feel free to contact him at email: rainiercats@yahoo.com

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Nellie´s VIP Hotel Suite Now Opens

This week’s theme is luxury. The most extensive renovation to our building was the VIP suite which was just 3 walls and a ceiling when I took over the building October 17. We had to build the bathroom with shower, lightening, A/C, glass wall of windows and doors for balcony, tiling, painting, furnishings and d├ęcor.

It is approximately 500 square feet, with private second floor waterfront balcony and new bathroom for $150 USD per night. This is approximately $100 less than anything comparable in Loreto, and keeps with our mandate to provide good value ensuring customer loyalty.

Our first guests were Bob and Rose Rourke of FN130, who stayed for 5 nights while they waited to accept their new Loreto Bay home. They had a wonderful time and told everyone how beautiful their room was. We were happy to have them enjoy their visit and especially our team’s hospitality.

I visited Rich and Jean Rajacich of FN105 who are here to check the progress of their construction. Their home is at plaster stage and already it is obvious that it will be amazing. They are shown here with their architectural team from the left, Steve with Loreto Bay Design, Giselli, Rich, Jean, Ken and Alma from the Custom Design Office.

They have retained Jamie to do their custom copulas, which are absolutely incredible. Each copula is unique. I am showcasing three photos here, but none are able to capture the sheer beauty of the work of art.

I am not sure how many custom homes are under construction, but I would guess that the number would be over 30, with many lining the beach. Rich and Jean expect to be in their home this summer and are very pleased with Eiffel Construction Company, who is also building Village Homes.

The house is designed to offer lots of outdoor living and bring the open spaces and views into the indoor areas. From the moment you walk in the front door you are greeted by a large courtyard and can see through the home to the ocean beyond.

The views are stunning through large picture windows. The high ceilings and numerous French doors will make this a show home like no other in Loreto. Rich and Jean were always so very positive and excited right from the beginning and every detail has been considered.

The roof deck includes built in benches for lounging and enjoying the 360 degrees of water and mountains. Even looking at all the surrounding homes under construction is a view in itself. Each way you turn there is something different and interesting to look at.

One of the main architectural firms for Loreto Bay Company is Shubin & Donaldson from California. They are providing services for many of the major amenities as well as designing custom homes in the area. Robin and Russell are great guys with a wealth of experience in Master Plan Communities. They are also home owners of FN446. Their website is http://www.shubinanddonaldson.com/ for more information.

John Dodd of FN143 knows about luxury and living the good life. He is now officially retired and spending much of his time living in Loreto with his wife, Leslie. He is a good customer of Nellie’s Bar, but was critical of our lack of single malt scotch. I am in total agreement and explained that is it impossible to get very good scotch in Loreto. The most we can hope for is Johnny Walker Black or Chivas. Being a successful entrepreneur, John suggested that I put out a call for homeowners coming down to bring me bottles of their favorite spirits. This could put me in the poor house as I know what good taste our neighbors have!

Finally, Loreto Bay had another successful sales event weekend, with another 21 neighbors and over $12 Million sold. Our little community continues to grow.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Real Estate Company in Loreto

I am pleased to announce that I am joining John Anderson to open DORADO PROPERTIES LORETO February 2007. John has successfully owned Dorado Properties LaPaz for the last several years and brings an experienced team of professionals, systems, contracts, and knowledge of Baja real estate and all its possible pitfalls to Dorado Properties Loreto.

Having been a ReMax Realtor in my past life and buying, renovating and renting properties in Canada, USA, and now Mexico for the past 27 years, it is a natural progression that I now own my own real estate company. Real Estate is my passion as it is secure, stable and seldom changes. It is reliable, provides strong Return On Investment if selected wisely, and fairly predictable.

Writing this I think I should choose my men more like I do real estate. Rather, I tend to date the way I play the stock market. Getting caught up in the glitz and hype, possible smoke and mirrors, and illusions of instant gratification with something that generally sounds too good to be true. Obviously I, like many, lost much through the DOT.COM era, and figure it is time to grow up.

There is much happening at Loreto Bay Company as they have started dredging the estuaries in Phase II Aqua Viva, working on the golf course and subcompacting homesites across from the old Convention Center.
After 3 years, LBC has finally been allowed to paint and start fixing up the derelict building that has become a landmark eyesore. Things are looking very good in Nopolo, where Loreto Bay Company is located and we all have made an excellent investment in our future. It is surprising that so many people are not aware Loreto Bay is a development project within Nopolo. Marketing is a powerful thing.

Even the Medical Center located below FN163 is coming along nicely. After watching it being built and, then torn down and rebuilt, more times than I can keep up with, it is now becoming a reality.


It will be important to have a facility in Nopolo that can handle the many homeowners coming down to live 3 to 6 months per year. Many people like Bradley and Cathy of AV110, come to visit again even though they bought in Aqua Viva and not expected to start construction until later this year. They are shown relaxing here with my daughter Carlie and Andres who works for me.

I am surprised at how many people come every 3 or 4 months to check on their construction. Everyone says that this is invaluable to the design of their home, and they get revitalized about Living In Loreto each time. Mike and Sue FN490, were guests of Nellie's Hotel for 9 days on one of their regular visits. They are shown here with fellow neighbors Tom and Patty of FN460. They were helping me taste test our tapa samplers for our new bar menu. We open our Tapas Kitchen February 14 on Valentines Day. If you are in town, drop by and say hello.

The full moon rising over the water is unbelievably beautiful every time I see it. Difficult to capture, but worth scheduling your time at Nellie's Bar to watch it when it happens. I had to stop by the side of the road to take this photo as I could not get to the water fast enough.

In the meantime, I am excited about all the activity in Loreto, and will be focusing my blog more on the new businesses opening in town and the newest development projects underway.
centerpointe