Sunday, May 27, 2007

Introducing New Dorado Properties Loreto Real Estate Sales Team …

We have been really busy this week building our real estate team and putting systems into place. I have many real estate agents, brokers, and investors as friends and they can appreciate the sheer adrenaline and apprehension of the early days starting out. My guys are so excited and are setting such high goals that I need to be very gentle about setting realistic expectations. That’s a switch… “me” being the voice of realism and lowering objectives.

The team is very diverse and all are local Loretanos who are involved in the community. Santos Saldaña is very familiar with the permitting process and the Municipal Office. He is a very hard worker and gets results! Plus I enjoy his sense of humor! His email is Santos@DoradoLoreto.com

Renato Arias came to me as my private Spanish Professor, 3 times a week. His command of the English language is very good. Renato will soon be certified as an Official Translator, and also spent several years as a Land Appraiser in Loreto. His knowledge of the values, areas, and proposal city plan is invaluable to the team. His email is Renny@DoradoLoreto.com

Joel Martinez is a very responsible man of good moral standards. I was impressed by how well he spoke English, but most of all what he wanted to do for the local community. His email is Joel@DoradoLoreto.com

Andrés Urias was my number two employee and I have been grooming him for a career in real estate for the last six months. He is very smart, learns quickly, and has an outgoing helpful personality. I met Andrés on the El Don Yacht several years ago and knew after talking to him for 10 minutes that he would become a shining star and one day I would want him to work with me. His email is Andres@DoradoLoreto.com

At Dorado Properties Loreto, we treat everyone with the utmost respect and ensure that we protect both the buyers and sellers rights in all cases. Our mandate is to have all legal information of rightful title before listing a property, and to clearly explain the many unknowns and challenges of buying property so that it becomes a straight forward business transaction, and not a cause of worry or risk. This will be continual education of the locals, foreigners, and competing companies. We are not visionaries, merely professional service providers. I look forward to hearing from you with your inquiries so that I can refer the agent that has the expertise that best fits your needs.

One of my friends Jo Lithgow, FN137, is on the Board of Directors for several "podcast" shows. I had never heard of these but it is similar to a radio interview on the internet. One of her podcasters from Florida called me a couple of weeks ago and I was interviewed for about 30 minutes about Loreto. It is indeed a small world when you think that I am being interviewed sitting in my car in Mexico for a Florida talk show that will be broadcast on the internet worldwide. Who would have thunk? If you want to hear one woman's perspective about living in a foreign country, you can check it out at www.boomeryak.com

Home Owners are starting to arrive again as school is finishing and people want to come check their home progress before the heat of summer arrives. My staff is insisting that it is too hot and the air conditioner should be on, but I prefer the fans and sea breeze. My three years in Scottsdale, Arizona were a great training ground for living in Loreto. I remember the months of 120 degree heat and the long nights when it seldom went below 100 degrees at midnight. When it dipped below 105 degrees it was a welcome relief of coolness. In Loreto, it seldom gets above 104 degrees, and there are plenty of opportunities to cool off in the water.

Mark Douglas of FN106 was my very first hotel guest back in December which seemed a lifetime ago. Mark brought his dad to stay this week, and they had a great time exploring the area and fishing for dorado. Mark really liked my “drive through window” where people constantly pause to ask a question or two. I love having the windows open and greeting people as they pass by.

My friends Colette Mestre of FN307 and Nancy Bruns of FN353 came and kidnapped me away from the office for a girls’ lunch out. I put up a resistance as I had too many things on the go as usual, but they would not accept “no”. I am so glad they did. We had a relaxing time and many laughs as we shared stories that I could never post on the blog.

A very good friend and business associate is Antonio Alegre. Sr. Alegre is both a lawyer and accountant and has been a professional in La Paz for many years. We have many of the same clients and friends, and consult Antonio often for specific expert advice when needed. The important thing I tell all my clients is… if you do not ask the “right question” you do not get the "right answer". It is so nice to work with people that do not expect us to always know the right question when we are somewhat confused.

Joseph and Natalie of AV19 were visiting this week with his twin brother Charles and his wife Diana. We had a great chat over cervezas watching the sun set on Carmen Island. Joseph brought me a contribution to Yolanda’s family for himself and our friends Dennis and Gail of AV 40. Here’s our photo with Yolanda to say hello to Dennis and Gail, as well as the other LA friends Scott and Karen of AV38.

My friend Denny sent me this photo of the crescent moon and Venus that I spoke about last week. What an awesome picture and to think that we are all looking at the same moon all over the world. It is like wishing upon the same shining star at the same time!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Human Whale S.O.S. Project Launches in Loreto, Mexico Uniting Thousands of Children from Baja to Alaska

My friend David Veniot, Vice President for Sustainability for Loreto Bay told me about their event on Friday May 18. Youth and celebrities launched an environmental ‘aerial art’ project involving eight coastal cities from Baja to Alaska calling attention to the mounting worldwide crisis facing whales and dolphins.

Here is the aerial photo of the human whale that was made with 1000 Loreto school children to form a giant baby Blue whale and “SOS” with their bodies. The kids attended an educational marine conservation presentation in the morning, cleaned up the arroyo and beach, and then formed the image of a blue whale with their bodies. The event was a huge success in terms of environmental education, community relations and relations with environmental organizations. It was the launch of an international campaign. The Mexican media covered the event, with both major TV networks TV Azteca and TelaVisa airing the video footage. John Quigley is the aerial artist. You can check out his other work at www.spectralq.com.

Nearly 10,000 children will participate as the Human Whale S.O.S. Project moves north to San Diego, Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Humboldt for Ocean Day May 22. On May 24 the project reaches Victoria, BC then heads to Anchorage, Alaska May 27 for the International Whaling Commission’s 59th annual meeting where there will be renewed attempts by whaling nations to increase commercial whaling.

My partner in Dorado Properties Loreto, John Anderson arranged the helicopter that flew in the photographer. I knew John was coming to meet with me to finalize details of our opening, but had no idea that he would be making such a grand entrance on the beach near Nellie’s Place Hotel. He met the Mayor and other dignitaries as he exited the whirly bird and then excused himself as he had a very important meeting with me. I live in a surreal world!

Back to Reality. This is the donkey that normally pulls a little covered wagon around town for sightseeing tours along the streets of Loreto. I missed the photo opportunity as it paraded past Nellie’s Place this week, however you will see it around town decorated with flowers and trotting happily along. I guess in this photo, the donkey it hitching a ride back to its place after a hard day’s work.

This is Wendy Rains, who is a regular hotel guest and a frequent sushi customer. Wendy lives in Todo Santos and specializes in Residential and Commercial Interior Design and Construction. She designed Casa Julieta of the Costa Loreto project. Check out the website of this beautiful woman at www.wendyrains.com We are kindred spirits as we both write about Living Vida La Loca in the Wild Wild West. She is in her third year of writing a monthly column for El Calendario in Todo Santos – Encounters of an Underground Milk Maid. Wendy interviews local characters who were raised and have lived their entire lives in Todo Santos. I can not wait for the book!

Felipe Silvaortega is one of my good friends and the publisher of the local Loreto News tabloid. These are local Loretanos with big dreams for free enterprise and keeping the needs of the community in the forefront of the incredible change and growth that is yet to come. Felipe is like so many others that love Loreto and recognizes the difference that one voice can make if it is made in the right tone in the right venue. My bartender Sergio tipped this bottle especially for Felipe’s night at Nellie’s.

It was another Loreto Bay Sales Weekend, which I heard was successful. It was great to see many friends at Nellie’s Place as they all came to try the sushi, which is now the talk of the town. Paul Poer and Don Weintraub are experts in the Hospitality Industry, and they both gave the sushi and ambiance of Nellie’s Place the “2 Thumbs Up” approval.

Baja BOSS is growing in leaps and bounds. We are pleased to announce that Liliana Telechea has joined us as our Office Manager. We are thrilled to have Liliana’s bubbly personality and organizational skills as our business grows daily. Many will know Liliana from Aero Mexico in Loreto, and she looks forward to again working with her friend Juanpablo, our Accountant Publico.

Also joining us from Alaska Airlines is Abril Higuera Cota, as an Executive Assistant. Abril has a full time project already and her outgoing marketing personality will be a huge compliment to our expanding Baja BOSS team. Please say hello to Abril and Liliana the next time you pass our offices on the malecon.

Money is rolling in slowly for Yolanda, and she is still in Guatemala. There are a few local companies, such as the Marbella (old Whales Inn) and Bayside Mechanical that have donated money for supplies to build Yolanda an extra room for her two bedroom casa with one bathroom that will soon accommodate 9 people. Thank you to all that have pledged money towards airfare/bus transportation for her family to get here.

There was an incredible crescent moon last night that looked like it was kissing Venus, they were so close together in a clear lit sky. Many times I feel everything is overwhelming and it is too much responsibility. There are many moments of loneliness and feeling outside my comfort zone. It is the end of another exhausting week and I feel that my life is in triple overdrive and we are only ramping up, so there is not much rest ahead. Many of the trials and tribulations in my day to day life, I can not post on the blog. I respect the privacy of others, and although the stories are remarkable, sad, and funny at the same time, I fear that they will be misconstrued and misunderstood, or taken out of context. As the ole saying goes “you had to be there”.

Then last night I received several very nice emails from the San Francisco Home Owners group. They had lunch at the Sausalito Yacht Club on May 19 that was generously and graciously paid for by homeowners in the group that shall remain anonymous for the blog. They sent me a photo to know that I was with them in spirit. Back row is Chuck Jackson (AV 60), Jane Lurie (FN 203), Nancy Brown (FN 423), (her daughter) Kim Keith (FN 423), Barry Sardis (AV 60. Front row is Denny Gagarin (FN 332), Marsha Jackson (AV 60), Sharon Dean (FN 203), Del Brown (FN 423), Lyn & George Blinkhorn (AV 128), Pat Reardon (AV 60). And kneeling is Brian Durnian (FN 332). This small gesture of virtually being included made me smile. They also gathered up money for Yolanda and will be sending it down with the next traveler. Thank You!

I look forward to having more of my friends around me in Loreto to share the everyday life.

Monday, May 14, 2007

FELIZ DIA DE LAS MADRES!! Happy Mothers Day!!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in Canada and I decided to take the entire day off and play by the beach at the INN of Loreto Bay. Lounging under a palapa, on the beach shore and pool, it was a day filled with nonstop laughter. Service was great as my friends that work at the Snack Shack ensured that we were never thirsty or had to wait for the killer margaritas to get warm. The temperature was 90 degrees and the day perfect. We hitched a ride on the electric Ambulance and just kept laughing all the way home.

Mothers’ Day in Mexico is always May 10 and considered a holiday for women. The celebration starts at midnight, where the custom is for 5 or 6 guys to pile into a car and go to each of their mother’s homes. Of course there is plenty of drinking and singing (or more correctly screaming) loudly from the street “Las Mananitas!!!” This is an annoying little song and after hearing it several times, it seems to go on forever. Of course each mother must wake up and come to the door or window to acknowledge this recognition of honor before the guys move onto the next house. Every residential street in downtown Loreto was filled with cars and singing until past 3 a.m. All I know is that after they finished, they headed down to the malecon, where there were police directing traffic, and it was a street party until 5 am. Since I was staying at the hotel, I felt serenaded all night long.

Although I had given all my women staff the day off, they all came in at 1 pm for a party celebration. Jeanny had made the ceviche and my favorite cream cheese log filled with smoked oysters. We had gifts for all the mothers, and celebrated together. Juanpablo is a single dad and was fully included as our host. The other men continued to work.

They ordered a beautiful Kahlua cake from Santa Lucia Bakery, which was delicious. All the staff contributed and bought me a Massage at Norma’s for my mother’s day present as they knew Carlie was not with me. They said I was working too hard and truly needed it. What a wonderful surprise and I am grateful for their thoughtfulness.

Felicitas is my Hotel Rooms Manager and the Employee of the Month for April. Our hotel averaged 80% occupancy for over 2 months and many times we turned away guests as all our rooms were full. Felicia handled all the operations with finesse and is always friendly. Juanpablo is very happy giving her a gift of dishes for Mothers’ Day.

Our team’s children are always welcome at our celebrations and seeing them so happy and content makes all we do worthwhile. Here are Pedro and Juan Carlos living large at the Bar. May is filled with days off school, starting with May 1st Labor Day. Since Mothers’ Day is May 10 and Teachers’ Day is May 15, the teachers decided not to have any school during the days in between. This causes havoc with working schedules and just part of why things seem to take longer to get done.

We have added two new employees to our Baja BOSS operations and now have ten people on staff since we opened our doors six months ago. We have Liliana and Abril joining us as Executive Assistants. Liliana was previously with Aero Mexico and Abril was with Alaska Airlines. Many of you will recognize them from the airport and we invite you to say hello the next time you drop by the office.

I want to thank all those that have pledged money towards Yolanda’s new family, and am pleased to announce that we raised $1400 USD last week. Yolanda traveled to La Paz last Monday and received all the Immigration papers necessary for her to bring back the 4 children from Guatemala. She came back to Loreto and worked for 2 days before leaving again by bus to San Jose del Cabo for her long flight to Guatemala. Yolanda called on Saturday to say she had arrived there and was safe. We are still collecting funds and are coordinating a group of people to see if we can add another room and possibly a bathroom in her small home. This will be the first Habitat for Humanity type of project and I look forward to participating.

Many of my Canadian friends were at Nellie’s Place for sushi this week. Dana the Architect for FN8, Heidi of FN219, and Carmen & Greg of FN58, as well as Deedrie and Jim, FN62, all contributed towards Yolanda’s fund. Their spontaneous generosity is heartfelt and much appreciated by all.

Jim and Deedrie are my partners in Casa Feliz, FN62, and this was Jim’s first visit to Loreto. He was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly loved it here. Deedrie and I, along with another friend Carver spontaneously bought the homesite in November 2003, and have never looked back.

Lynda Rutherford FN155 from Calgary was here with all her sisters for a girls’ week. They started at Nellie’s for margaritas and I knew they were going to have non stop laughter and fun in this magical place.

Ron and Wendy Bellerive are long time residents of Loreto and own the Loreto Storage Units located near the airport. I recently rented a very large storage unit that could fit a household of furniture, recreational equipment and they even have boat storage. It is clean, dry and secure. Feel free to contact them at Ron@LoretoStorage.net or on his cell phone at: 011 52 613 104 3630. Tell Ron that "Nellie sent you".

There are so many beautiful boats arriving in Loreto now, and my partners in Velero Del Mar, Scott Montell and Josh Swift, have decided to pull the trigger and purchase a 34’ Lures luxury fishing boat as our first offering in the Membership Program. The annual fee will be less than originally anticipated and I will be sending out information very soon. We are still only taking 15 members and already have several signed up. If you would like to receive more information, please email me at Nellie@BajaBoss.com

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A New Day Is Dawning in Loreto

Many of you may have guessed that I am intrigued by motor vehicles, and there are so many instances that make me smile. One of these moments was of an old pickup truck loaded with hay and supplies, with the dog precariously riding on the top as though he were King of The World. This is Loreto and why I appreciate the simple life here.

It was so nice to visit with my friends Peter and Shona, FN331 of Calgary. They appreciated being part of the ambiance of an emerging energy among the local people. Peter and Shona came to visit on their last night here and to be honest they were more than ready to leave and go home. However, after spending an evening at Nellie’s Place, they were back in positive spirits and felt good about Living La Vida Loca in Loreto again.

While they were here, my friend Miguel came to show his new line of canopy furniture and netting. Miguel speaks very little English but is anxious to learn, just as I am anxious to learn Spanish. It is wonderful to see the entrepreneur spirit of people that have a wonderful craft and proud of sharing it with others. Miguel makes beds for inside and outside, complete with mosquito proof netting. How wonderful would it be to sleep on the deck without fear of mosquitoes and other desert critters, under a beautiful cotton netting. I will be providing more pictures of Miguel’s furniture and netting because I love to promote anyone who truly believes in what they are doing and being part of the positive change of this little town of Loreto.

Each day I have another Mexican walk into my office wanting to share their wares. The other day Martha Martinez came from Cabo San Lucas to show me her recycled paper scrapbooks and journals. They are beautifully handcrafted and very reasonable in price. I know a few foreigners interested in opening Art Galleries or Retail Outlets and I promised to pass along her name in the hopes that they would carry her product.

Manual calls himself “The Washer of the Town” and came by the office to ask who owned the black Pathfinder. He was polite enough not to say that it looked like a Baja 1000 dirt vehicle and was an embarrassment even by local standards. Yes, I admitted it was my car and I live in Loreto Bay so that was my excuse. I gladly accepted his offer to wash it, however, I was unsure how he would achieve this without any hose or equipment. He had a sponge, a styrofoam cup and a bottle of soap. As I watched him wash and rinse the top of the car with cupfuls of water from his bucket, I appreciated everything he did so much more. He shined the tires, and made the car sparkle with little more than I usually have to wash dishes. I was happy to pay his 50 pesos plus tip, and told him to come back often. My staff thought I was crazy because I could have had the entire car professionally done including the inside for a little more, but hey… I said this guy wanted the work and I would support anyone who showed initiative.

This has been a trying week for Nellie’s Place Bar. We had many colorful experiences with our bartender Julio, and we are very sad that he is no longer part of our Baja BOSS family. However, we are happy to welcome Sergio who many of you may know from El Taste or Club Black and White. He is a responsible young man and very fastidious about cleanliness and customer service. Please say hello to Sergio when you come by and be sure to make him feel part of the extended Nellie’s family.

At BajaBOSS we celebrate our exciting experiences, such as film crews and the President of Mexico, but we also share our tragic emotions and sincerely help each other because it is the only thing we can do. Yolanda, our Tapas Cook, has had a very sad time this week. Her nephew was shot in Guatemala last week and he left behind his wife and 2 children. Yolanda is one of the kindest, most generous individuals that I have ever met, and she is compelled to go back to her origin country to rescue the remaining 4 children in the family. The adults can come later. Jenny has worked long hours with immigration and authorities to coordinate this effort, and BajaBOSS is fully supportive of Yolanda taking time off to travel to Guatemala and assisting with the travel expenses to bring the family back to Loreto for a better life. This is a picture of Yolanda with her son and his family here in Loreto. She has raised very good children and proud of them and her home.

Yolanda lives in a very modest home with 3 of her other children and one grandchild in two rooms. It is not big enough to accommodate another 4 people, but she says that does not matter. They must make it work. “Poco a Poco” or “Little by Little”. The important thing is that they get the children out of a poverty stricken war torn country. In Guatemala it is unsafe to leave the house, and they live with fear and have no hope of change. This is Yolanda with me and Andres of Baja BOSS in front of her home.

This kind of compassion and generosity is something that is seldom seen, and I too am compelled to be unselfish and a better person, when I have so much to give by comparison. I am asking my friends that know Yolanda, or enjoy Nellie’s Tapas Bar to pledge a $100 USD or more to raise the money so that this family can start a new life in Loreto. The goal is a total of $5000 USD, and very small in consideration of the enormous satisfaction that it gives back. I am putting up the money so that Yolanda can travel to Guatemala and bring her family back as soon as possible. I am starting many new businesses and feeling the pinch. However, I will find a way to make this work and if you can see it in your hearts to donate a little, I can guarantee all the money will be well administered. There are already many Mexican people that have donated services and time to make this happen because they know Yolanda and she is such a good person in the community. If you would like to make a pledge, please email me at Nellie@BajaBOSS.com We will find an easy way for you to make a contribution.

Miguel and Geri of AV910 are my friends and stayed at the hotel this weekend, and I am pleased to announce that they are the first to contribute to the fund for Yolanda’s family. We are very thankful for their generosity and appreciate their kind heart and spirit.

Thank you to all of that read my blog on a regular basis and for wanting to share in the New and Better Loreto that is coming. I hope to hear from many of my friends and have you join me in helping a truly deserving individual and her family.

P.S. Alaska and Delta Airlines are having major seat sales from LAX to Loreto, but you must book before May 17. Check it out ... $75 USD one way.
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