Sunday, June 24, 2007

Continental Airlines Flies NonStop Houston to Loreto!

This week Nellie’s Hotel was host to 5 pilots from Continental Airlines visiting Loreto on a recognizance mission to learn about their new destination and report back to Houston. Continental Airlines now flies nonstop from Houston, Texas to Loreto every Thursday and Sunday. They leave Houston at 11:10 am, with a 3 hour trip arriving in Loreto at 1:18 pm. The flight immediately turns around and leaves Loreto at 1:50 pm and arrives in Houston at 5:35 pm, which offers great connections to many east coast destinations. Right now the price is $198 return before taxes. Check it out!!!

The pilots went fishing and I personally cooked their grouper stuffed with shrimp in a white wine sauce and filets of Dorado sautéed with a tequila salsa. They rented a car and enjoyed the ride to San Javier one day and seemed to love just hanging out on the malecon drinking beer and watching the locals drive by for hours. It is a simple life here and they appreciated all Loreto had to offer.

My good friends Jeff and Maria were here with their 3 kids this week and enjoyed playing at the beach and just hanging out in this simple town. On the last night we went for dinner at Mita Gourmet in the town square. We were joined by another couple and their kids, whom they met at the INN and it started out as a great evening. We ordered lobster and it was large, juicy and delicious! Highly recommended!

Juan Carlos and Marta, the proprietors of Mita Gourmet work everyday except Christmas and have a large menu that is consistently good. In addition to the good customer service, reasonable prices, they also have Herzon playing music each night which makes a nice meal into a memorable evening.

Herzon doesn’t mind good singers getting up and enjoying a song or two. Jeff surprised us all by serenading his daughter Rachel with a beautiful lullaby. It made me want to offer karaoke or some entertainment at Nellie’s Bar as there must be a lot of talent among our neighbors.

When it came time to pay the food bill, the other couple threw in a 2000 Peso bill. It was so unusual that I had to take a photo because I have never seen one in my four years here. We left the money on the table and went over to Mike’s Bar. Juan Carlos called me a few minutes later and told me that the 2000 peso bill was out of circulation and now only had a value of 2 pesos.

I passed on the message to this man that we just met and didn’t think that it would be a problem. This was an innocent mistake. However, people surprise us and he got very angry when I mentioned it and started yelling and saying this is why people don’t buy in Mexico because they get scammed? I was really confused?? How could he be getting scammed when the restaurant offered to give him back his 2000 peso bill in exchange for the correct amount?

He got very defensive and said he did not want his money back. He was adamant he got the bill from American Express in LA and how could they make a mistake? Perhaps they had a new employee who did not know? It’s possible, but I would get the bill back and he could take it to American Express so he could get his $200 USD back for it. I could not understand what the big deal was?

I then said that I would cover the restaurant and wanted nothing from him. He was instantly angry and wanted to know why I would get involved. I live here, it is a small town, and we have to be responsible for those that we associate with. He was at my table and I needed to be responsible because $200 USD for a local restaurant is a lot of money to be shorted. He then accused me of being part of the scam and refused to talk to me anymore? The only thing I can suppose is that he either had too much to drink, or perhaps he knew the 2000 peso was not worth anything, and he was embarrassed to be caught trying to pass off a bill that has been publicly devalued and out of circulation since 1986.

Anyways, I got the bill back, gave it to his very nice wife and told her to take it back to American Express in LA and call it a day. Life is too short and valuable to let these things upset us or ruin a perfectly good day.

People ask me all the time what I do, and what businesses I am in. Basically, I say that the only things I don’t do are Property Management and Furniture. Well, now I find myself helping some friends get rid of excess furniture in Loreto.

There are 4 armoires, a table, buffet, and special front doors made especially for a custom home, among some smaller items. They are stored at a warehouse in Loreto and if you are interested, please email me at Nellie@Bajaboss.com and I will send you photos and the cost they paid. Make an offer, take it away… and it’s yours! Easy … 1, 2, 3. Good quality furniture, looking for a good home.

This sugarmold queen size headboard is very dramatic and the photo does not show how wonderful this would look in a faux painted room with rustic furniture.

The town of Loreto is finally starting to repave its streets … stay tuned next week on what is happening locally downtown! Have a great week!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

House Inspections, Cheerleaders, and Fishing ... It's a Wonderful Life in Loreto, Mexico!

It is hard to believe that it is almost one year since I accepted my Loreto Bay Casa FN62. It is a great home and I am very happy with how everything turned out. I am no construction expert and believe that I save myself much anxiety, time and frustration by letting the experts do what I know little about.

Many of you know Chris Smith as the Construction Manager of Village Homes, and Bill Doyle as the Commercial Construction Manager of Loreto Bay Company. Both Chris and Bill have branched out on their own, together with Kent Brodwolf to start THE CONSTRUCTION COACH providing consulting and inspection services. I have worked with both Chris and Bill and have known them for several years now. I value their experience, work ethics, knowledge of the construction and materials used for my Casa Chica. They showed up at the appointed time and spent all day doing my One Year Warranty Inspection. This included the structural inspection, as well as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

They started by flood testing all my exterior surface areas, so that I did not need to wait for a storm to see what happens! Bill moved around both the exterior and interior walls testing every inch of plaster to ensure nothing required immediate remediation. Chris was conducting signal tests on every electrical and data port in the home, many of which I have never used. They know what needs to meet code in Mexico, and what is realistic to expect from a home anywhere in North America. I get my full comprehensive report next week, along with a recommended maintenance program to ensure that the home stays looking as beautiful as it is today.

In addition to conducting One Year Warranty Inspections, they can provide regular progress reports while your home is under construction. What I am very happy about and feel is an invaluable service is they will ACCEPT the home on the buyers’ behalf when it is finally finished. I know many homes are now scheduled to be completed between August and December of 2007, and this is the time to start thinking how you are going to do all that is required to ACCEPT your home, which includes:

- establishing a punch list of deficiencies in the initial completion stages
- working with Loreto Bay to ensure that these deficiencies are satisfactorily completed and final acceptance is obtained
- Confidently signing the Certificate of Acceptance
- Coordinating furniture delivery by Touch of History, inspecting inventory and final cleanup
- Coordinating electronic delivery by Road 9, inspecting inventory and final cleanup.

This process normally takes 3 to 4 weeks to complete. Most home owners come down for 5 days at great personal expense because we are all busy people, then find themselves overwhelmed with the task at hand. THE CONSTRUCTION COACH rates are reasonable and I highly recommend their services. Many of my friends have used them as well, and other references are readily available. Their website is www.tccloreto.com Contact Laurie O’Reilly, their Office Manager at laurieo@tccloreto.com and tell them Nellie sent you!

Local News is that the municipal police were out in full force for Drivers Safety and Prevention of Accidents Week. The Loreto Municipal Transit recommendations for safe driving are as follows:

- Do not drive drunk
- Do not use cell phone when driving
- Do not drive with a baby in your arms
- Respect the street signs
- Do not speed in school zones
- Do not double park
- Keep your Driver’s License with you at all times
- Respect the 4 Way Stop
- Do not exceed the speed limit

There have always been standard driving laws here, but it appears they are now making a point to enforce them, which is great for all.

The celebrity news in Loreto this week was 20 Cardinal football cheerleaders were in town for the weekend. I heard this was a combination promotion for the Loreto Bay Sales Weekend, the kickoff of the Continental flight from Houston, Texas, and they were doing a photo shoot for next year’s calendar. There was a special event at the airport on Thursday, which I missed but apparently every man in town heard about! All day Friday the local men were walking into my office asking me where they could get a glimpse of these beautiful American girls. Unfortunately, I do not have the clout to get them to Nellie’s Place Bar … otherwise, I would have!

The Town of Loreto decided in its wisdom to tear up the dock ramp at the Marina almost coincidentally with the First Day of Fishing. Why would they do that?? Quien Sabe? It was 100 degrees today with 37% humidity so it feels like 109 degrees. A walk in the park compared to Phoenix where I lived for 3 years.

This is the perfect time to be on the water and the season to catch the giant Sailfish, Marlin, and Mahi Mahi/Dorado. The water is wonderfully warm and incredibly clear to snorkel or scuba dive.

Our favorite local captain is Chino Yee, who has over 30 years experience fishing in this area and is highly sought after for his knowledge and providing the utmost customer service. Chino has several boats, so let us know if you want us to book your Fishing Experience in advance of your arrival. This is the start of the busy season, so you do not want to be disappointed to arrive and find the best captains not available.

Today I finally got all my signs up and my building is pretty much finished! Dorado Properties Loreto now occupies the large office space with the lizard. Our four agents, Santos, Joel, Renato and Andres have been working very hard and we have 31 listings in just a month’s time! Go to www.DoradoProperties.com and search on Loreto – to see what we have available! We have new inventory every day, but just can’t get in on the website fast enough. Contact me at Nellie@DoradoLoreto.com if you are interested in something specific.

This is a photo of how the building looked just 6 short months ago! BajaBOSS now has two lawyers and one certified public accountant to assist with all your corporate, legal, tax, and immigration needs. We are now truly BOSS - a Business One Stop Solutions provider. Just about anything you need, we can either assist you or at least point you in the right direction. We are setting up systems to become corporate Registered and Records Office, which means that we house your legal and tax records at our office when Hacienda or other authorities need to review them. Baja BOSS takes care of your monthly tax filings and ensures that you are in full compliance with all documentation filings on time. Drop by and see us next time you are in Loreto!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Trip to Park City, Utah

I took a quick trip to Park City, Utah last week and it exceeded my expectations. For a relatively small town with a population of approximately 7500 people, I was impressed by the number of things to do and places to explore. It was no wonder that it captured the world’s attention with the 2002 Winter Olympics.

In order to drink liquor in Utah, one needed to be a member of a private club. Luckily for me, I received honorary Member status at the No Name Saloon, where I spent three nights researching whether there might be an opportunity to have a similar establishment in Loreto. Jesse is the owner on my left and Mark is the landlord on my right. They have lots of history of the area and saw it grow from a ghost town to the multi million dollar residences and Main Street it is now.

The No Name Saloon is a landmark in Park City and an absolute “must” to have a cold one and buffalo burger. My favorite was the delicious beer batter onion rings! You can purchase a “membership” for $4.00 as long as you are 21 years old and I was thrilled when they asked for my ID. I brought back countless T-shirts, some of which were too risqué for the likes of Loreto!

The Bar Wall is impressive and has a large counter to saddle up to and it really is a watering hole where everyone knows your name. It is filled with paraphernalia of old photos, bikes, and even a moose head that I am sure has seen and heard too many stories! Everyone is very friendly and many have known each other more than 20 years. Will we ever see a No Name Saloon in Loreto … Quien Sabe?

Jesse also owns Butcher’s Chop House and Bar, which has great food for everyone’s tastes and budget. I was fortunate enough to dine with the many of the characters that were a big part of making Park City what it is today. We laughed for several hours as they regaled stories of the things in the past and how good life is now. These guys knew everyone and had no trouble remembering when . . .

We also took a trip 30 minutes up to Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort where we had lunch and took the ski lift to the top. There were many mountain bikers that were timing their run down the mountain and trying to beat past records. Mr. Redford is well regarded for his environmental and economic contribution to the area, and the town comes alive in January for the Sundance Film Festival.

Real Estate is a good indication of the attraction and demand of any town, and the prices here are through the roof. Many heritage buildings that are 90 year old homes about 1500 sq. ft. in downtown are priced well over a Million Dollars. There are numerous homes like our friend’s here that I can not even imagine the value of? It is not only a spectacular home but has a 180 degree view of the towns and mountains. Makes me wonder how fast a little town like Loreto will grow in comparison.

Being back in Loreto, I could not notice how fast the bridge is coming together. They have connected the road to the bridge, and it should be finished by the time the rains come in August. An amazing feat in 8 to 10 months!

I was lucky enough this week to go hiking in the mountains of Loreto as well and discover some hidden pools and oasis of palm trees. It was quite a surprise as we have not had any rain for months, yet here was this incredibly beautiful spot just to the side of a road less traveled.

The natural slate type of rock with cactus and desert vegetation is a sharp contrast to the lush green mountains of Utah, but it is good to be home in Loreto. The temperature is a little cooler today at 88 degrees and feels very comfortable. The town is very quiet with few tourists, but hopefully that will change in the next few weeks as the fishermen will start to arrive. This was an action packed week full of adventures in case people worry that I work too much!

My friends Mike and Andrea at Del Borracho are having a big End of the Season Party on June 30. They have the great saloon type restaurant on the road to San Javier and have fabulous BBQ cookouts every Sunday. It is a great family type of restaurant and they will have live entertainment, music, and lots of fun as they will be closing for the summer until October 1st. Look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

My Favorite Things Including Loreto Bay Home Owners Weekend

There were many friends and neighbors in town this weekend. We gathered at the INN on Thursday evening under the bright full moon. It was great to see everyone and feel the vision of community and remember why we bought here again. Everyone is so very nice and friendly.

The new General Manager of the Hotel is Alfredo, who is shown on the left. The absence of staff from Loreto Bay Company was very evident and we were told that they would not be providing any representation at these events. I guess the owners are now on our own – even though most in attendance still do not have their completed homes yet. Oh Well.

Glen and Joyce Mickowski, FN300, are now here full time and have their 36’ and 50’ catamarans available to take visitors on day trips or overnight around the islands. I talked to some homeowners that took the Champaign breakfast cruise and they loved it. You can make reservations with Glen at rainiercats@yahoo.com

Lynn and Sharon, FN325, are shown here with Joel and Cheryl, FN113, and Rich and Jean, FN105. Rich and Jean have moved here permanently from Minnesota and watching their home being built and loving the life style. They are my best referral clients for the Living in Loreto package, as they got their FM3 immigration papers, electronic banking, shopping, and even drivers’ licenses done painlessly and hassle free.

Stuart and Sarah, FN18 (on the right) have also been here full time almost one year. Their 3 children are in the local schools and they have made many friends in Loreto. They too have been watching their home being built and enjoy meeting their new friends and neighbors.

On Friday night many people gathered at Nellie’s Place to meet before and after dinner and it was a great night for all. It always surprises me what a small world it is and how many things people find in common by just talking a little.

This was a week of parties and visitors. My friend Matt was celebrating his 50th birthday and had many friends fly in from California to celebrate with his neighbors from the Punto Nopolo condominiums. Here we are with his wife Deborah. It is the perfect setting for a party by the pool, on the golf course and estuary.

My favorite things in Loreto include Santa Lucia Bakery and Restaurant. They have moved right next door to our building and now have a great second floor view to enjoy early morning breakfasts and lunches. The food is very good and the staff always friendly. You can even get a good cappuccino! Remember they close Wednesdays.

Laurie Sanborn, FN122, and I went to the Saturday Market to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. You can find clothes, shoes, pots, dishes, and many miscellaneous items such as hangers, screwdrivers, and there are a few places with home made specialties that are delicious. Don’t be put off by the whole goats hanging and ready for roasting. It is part of the culture, just like buying meat out in the open or fresh pork rind.

Loreto is still a small town. Behind the donkeys crossing the highway in this photo is a large white truck filled with people all standing and being transported somewhere. There are noticeably more horses, goats and cattle along the sides of the road now, so please be very careful driving. When you see cars coming towards you with their hazard lights on, it means SLOW DOWN … you will find out why very soon.

Why did the donkeys cross the road? To graze on the greener pastures of course! They seem very happy and oblivious to the power poles, highway and cars speeding behind them.

I was following this horse on the highway on its way to Nopolo. It looked quite comfortable as the driver was driving 100 km down the road and it could feel the wind in its face. Not sure where it was going, but pretty sure it was not a Loreto Bay neighbor.

Fishing season is upon us. You can see the large sailfish in the back of this pickup truck and the driver doesn’t seem the least bit worried it will fall out. On the other side of the street you see Pedro riding the donkey pulled carriage. He charges 30 pesos or $3.00 for a ride along the malecon and I think a great way to spend 20 minutes and a few bucks to support the local community.

Everyone says that I work too much and don’t know how I manage to juggle all the things that I do. But have a look at my office, with its open windows on the water looking at Carmen Island, or sometimes I work from my other office, which is the 3rd palapa at the INN to write my blog. The waiters all know my name and drink, so writing to you each week is really my pleasure. Let me know when you are visiting so I will be sure to be at Nellie’s Place to share one of Sergio’s special drinks. Today he made me a mojito with a margarita twist! Yummy!
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