Monday, July 30, 2007

On The Road Again ... Where In the World Am I??

This is the start of my first annual vacation and I will be taking three weeks away from Loreto. It seems like a long time, but it is necessary to keep perspective on what I am doing and why. Even along the roads less traveled there is much road work and bridges being built at a frenzied pace. There is no doubt the Mexican Government is preparing for major foreign investment in development projects in the not too distant future.

I started by driving down to La Paz and checking on the newest developments there. La Paz is a very nice business city with a population of 250,000 people. The south end has many new condos and Master Plan Communities, the new marina can accommodate ships as large as 220 ft. There are some very good values for investment in early vacation projects. It has a lot to offer, but I still think the scenery of Loreto is much prettier and the smaller town appeals to me.

Driving south along the East Cape I wanted to check out Los Barriles which is a small seaside community. It is still affordable and offers great scenery. Many of my friends are buying and developing in this area, and it is always interesting to see how this place will change in the next 10 years. Los Barriles is 1 ½ hours from La Paz Airport, and about 50 minutes from San Jose Del Cabo Airport, and fits the lifestyle for many that like to be secluded yet close enough to go to Cabo for the day.

A vacation in Baja would not be complete without a few days in Cabo to shop and party. There is a saying that “What happens in Cabo stays in Cabowhereas “What happens in Loreto … goes all around the world!” I had drinks with my friend Darryl at Margaritaville on the Marina. The drinks are definitely a good start to a helluva hangover. We ambled over to Nick San which has the best sushi restaurant in all of Baja. I highly recommend the black and white tuna … a total gastronomic experience.

On my Alaska Airlines flight back to Victoria, we were greeted by a shuttle bus at LAX to take us to the International Terminal. Apparently the International Terminal will be under construction for several years, and Alaska planes will land at their domestic terminal and passengers shuttled over to Immigration. Make sure you allow more time for this connection and wear good walking shoes. We did get milk and hot baked chocolate chip cookies on the LAX to Seattle flight which made us feel very satisfied and a little homey so no complaints here.

I took a trip with my daughter Carlie and her boyfriend Tom up island to show him the sights. I always make a stop at Goldstream Park to see the giant cedar trees and be among a forest that has been there for hundreds of years. Carlie looks like a pixie hidden in the base of this mammoth tree. The fresh air is intoxicating.

Tom is from Winnipeg and he was very excited about seeing the endless beaches of Parksville that go out for miles at a time during low tide. There are many vacation rentals and homes for sale in this area and it is a very pretty place for family outings in the summer. However, at 70 degrees in the middle of the day… I still prefer Loreto.

A trip up island would not be complete without stopping for the very best oysters in the entire world. This is Fanny Bay where the oysters are 3 inches in size and giant shells are shipped everywhere. Easily these are one of my favorite foods of all time.

Another of my favorite places is Coombs, where only a few years ago the local market had goats on the roof as its trademark. Now the food market is an international culinary dream … even for those not from Loreto. There are a dozen different varieties of smoked salmon, breads, desserts, ice creams, jams, dressings, candies, and every spice and food packaging imaginable from all over the world. What a goldmine for the business owners as well as the visitors!

We were driving down the highway and saw lamas, so I needed to back track and take their picture. On a closer look I realized they were Alpacas of Peru. Carlie asked what was the difference, and I replied that it was a big difference if you were a lama. Their wool is very long and normally their body shape is like a tent, but when they are shaved they look quite adorable.

It is good to be back in Victoria where the cool temperatures, amazingly clean streets, and abundant flowers are an everyday way of life. There are 400 gulf islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland, and it is truly a spectacular place to be on a boat or anywhere near the water.

I received this photo from my Calgary friends Drew and Cathy, FN49, who hosted two dozen Displaced Loretanos aka Calgarians last night. They served tacos and tapas with mucho cervezas and vino. Everyone caught up on their plans for their next trip to their second home. Thanks to all my friends for thinking of me and sharing some good northern hospitality!

This coming week I will be traveling to Seattle and Vancouver, both beautiful cities and should have more adventures and visits with our Loreto neighbors. Have a great week!

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