Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving in Loreto

I want to thank Jane Lurie for being my guest blogger last week. It is interesting to hear other’s prospective and adventures in Baja and I welcome everyone that would like to share a story to submit it to me with photos. I would like to have a guest blogger every 4 to 6 weeks to keep things fresh. Tell us about your favorite get away, shops, drive down the Baja, or general tips about living in Loreto.

It was so relaxing not having any work responsibilities and getting away from Loreto for a while. Bob Pendock and I made good use of our time in the Boardroom at LAX, while we sat back and enjoyed leather couches, carpets and decent wines in a totally dust free zone. Such simple pleasures! We met Pat and Carole from Portland Oregon, who had just purchased a home downtown Loreto. When I introduced myself, they already knew of me and it was as if we were good friends already. Loreto is such a great place!

There were many homeowners in town this week, and plenty of gatherings at different venues. I am enclosing photos of friends and neighbors getting together at Colette’s home for a large Thanksgiving gathering and of the Home Owners Party put on by Loreto Bay.

Thanksgiving is time to stop the frenzied pace we live, enjoy our friends and family with good food and wine. I can not believe all that my team has accomplished in one short year. Less than one year ago, we were still in massive renovation mode and planning how we were going to make BajaBOSS a household name in Loreto!

We have achieved great success and now it is time to take the bull by the horns and carve out our destiny in this obscure little place called Loreto. The last year I threw many balls into the air and was having fun juggling them all. Now, the audience has changed with the sub prime market and it is time for the tough to get going. Playtime is over and it has been a wild ride.

If you are not moving forward, then you are going backwards because it is impossible to remain in the same position. Many times in life we make endless excuses and throw obstacles in our path as to why we can not or should not make changes. I remember someone telling me that “People do not change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” I had to stop and think about this quite a bit, but it is so true. Our society, peer pressure, upbringing and achieving what we feel is expected of us is engrained into our life decisions and everyday subconscious choices.

Going back to the place I grew up reminded me of how far I have come and how many times I have thrown the dice to take a gamble on the unknown future instead of the one that I was raised to follow. I am not unique or courageous; I simply fear the predictable more than I do the unknown. “God save me from mediocrity!” There are many times in my life I have been in situations where it is unbearable to “stay the same” and therefore I have little fear of change.

My life is far from perfect and I have trying times with all the things that everyone does. Many times over the past few months I thought of taking the safe predictable road and coasting, or simply existing for a while. My friends all rallied around and counseled me that I would not last 3 months being in a gilded cage.

I have been extremely lucky to have had some awesome mentors in my life that believe in me. The qualities that they had first and foremost were their leadership abilities, integrity, compassion, and respect for others. The fact that they were highly successful in their personal and/or professional lives was secondary to what I learned from them.

I have made some tough decisions this week so that we can get focused and be ready to hit the ground running mid January. Business in Mexico and particularly Loreto starts to shut down by December 7 and does not start back up again until after January 7. I will be in Loreto and working during the holidays and look forward to visiting with all my friends.

Dorado Properties Loreto and BajaBOSS have exceeded my expectations in terms of building relationships, obtaining new clients, and the caliber of work we are now doing. These will be my primary focuses for next year and I am so excited about what we can achieve that I can barely stand it. Our success will be exponentially greater than it was this first year.

I made the decision to close Nellie’s Place Bar as it is too much for me to be available every night. There is too much drinking, late night partying, and it takes longer to recover with age. I will run it until November 30 as I believe we have the San Francisco Bay Loreto Home Owners Association visiting that night and I welcome everyone to join us. After December 1, it will be available to rent by the day for $150 USD which includes cleaning. We have a liquor license, so just bring your food and we can even order the beer at wholesale for your own private parties. My bartender Sergio wants the chance to run the bar and I will give him the opportunity. However, it is his business and I want no involvement or hassle derived from it being on my premises. We shall see how it works out. Quien Sabe!

Slowly over the next 6 months I will be renting some of my hotel rooms as offices. They are nicely decorated, have private bathrooms, air conditioning and wireless internet. It is a great space for consultants, architects, accountants, and other independent business people that want a nice office with full support services. I think we will always keep some hotel rooms as I truly enjoy running that part of my business for friends and clients.

Our 34’ Luhrs Sports Fishing boat is now available for Charters. It comfortably holds 6 people, includes lunch, beer and soft drinks. A full day of 7 hours is $800 USD and a 3 hour tour is $600. Discounts are available from now until January 31st, 2008, so email me at Nellie@BajaBOSS.com or come and see me to inquire as to dates. We can put people together to share the experience and costs during the upcoming holidays.

The newest announcement is that there is now English speaking AA meetings in Loreto Bay each week. With all the temptation and celebrating going on, it is comforting to know that there is a safe haven for those that seek it. Please contact Camille at 613 118 3918 or email camillek59@gmail.com for more information.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change;
the courage to change the things that I can;
and the Wisdom to know the difference.


This is a good theme for all of us. See you in Loreto!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Have you ever thought of sharing your Loreto experiences?
Be A Guest Blogger at Nellie's!


Where in the World is Nellie this week? She is taking some personal, family time away from the energy vortex that is her life in Loreto and away from her computer. So this week I am your guest blogger. My name is Jane Lurie. I am from Oakland, California. My partner, Sharon, and I are homeowners in the Founder's neighborhood at Loreto Bay.

Last month, 2 1/2 years after walking around a stretch of sand, which was divided up into lots by some string, and deciding to buy into the dream of Loreto Bay, we took possession of a beautiful home.

Nellie asked me to write about accepting our home and arranging to have our furniture trucked down to Loreto. I got to thinking about the whole experience of buying the lot, the extended period of construction, the logistics of getting the required paperwork to be able to move our furniture...and all I could think of was spiritual practice and meditation. For me the goal of a spiritual practice is to develop an inner calm, steadiness. No matter what is happening in the world around you, you are able to tap in to that inner calm and not be affected by life's challenges. The work you do to get to that state is called sadhana. Well, the whole process that we have been through these past 2 1/2 years, with its great highs and lows, has been a form of sadhana. Here's the lesson that we've learned...when we look back on all the moments of panic, worry, depression...and we see the beautiful home that we've just accepted, we see what a waste of energy any time spent in negativity was...everything went much more smoothly during the times when we communicated clearly, kept the faith and stayed cheerful and hopeful. And when we were in that state we felt very connected to our original dream for our Casa de Suenos and to the goals of our spiritual path.

We are very lucky that our friends and Loreto Bay neighbors, Anne Fletcher and Tony Perez met a man who has moved many truckloads of furniture to Mexico, and especially to Cabo and La Paz. Our furniture ended up sharing space in the same truck as theirs. Jesus and his helper did a wonderful job of packing our "stuff" into his truck, so that it all looked safe and secure. Anne and Tony should already have their furniture by the time you are reading this blog. The actual packing was the easiest part of the process. My advice to anyone who needs to get an FM3 and/or a menaje de casa (a list of the furniture you want to take across the border)...do not wait until the last minute, allow plenty of time for the whole process. Have a meditation or contemplation or prayer practice already established. Build muscles on your sense of humor.

We belong to a wonderful, very active group of Loreto Bay homeowners in the San Francisco Bay area. Here is a report from our last gathering by Pat Reardon, one of the founding members of the group:

"The San Francisco Bay Area Loreto Bay Owners group met on Saturday November 10th at the Mexquite Grill in Redwood City, California. The group was 27 strong and we had a great time. Jane and Sharon honored us by popping in for a few minutes to say hi in between packing for their movers. Their moving truck was arriving that afternoon to transport their furnishings to Loreto. We missed Anne and Tony who were already on their way to Loreto to take possession of their Casa.

It was also great to meet our Nopolo neighbors Emmanuel and Jannele from Casa Brazil who will be our neighbors in Agua Viva. Barry and I will be close enough to run across the street in case we need to borrow a cup of Tequila!

Many of us will be at the homeowner’s weekend in late November. We hope that our next meeting will be sometime in the early spring at Kaz and Sandi’s winery in the Napa Valley."


Here are photos of some members of our growing group, at the Sausalito Yacht Club and at Mita's restaurant in Loreto. For any Loreto neighbors living in the San Franscisco Bay area that would like to join our group, please contact loretobay@logtown.com

Well it's been a pleasure visiting with you all. I am going to end with a photo of us in the courtyard of our new Bohemia with Laina, our account manager, to whom we will be forever grateful for her support this past year. This has been an incredible journey and we know that it's actually just beginning.

Nellie will be back next week. See you in Loreto!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

This week we saw many more people arriving to stay in Loreto for longer periods of time, and that is always welcome by the local businesses, including ours! It is my birthday today and like any other sole proprietor; I am taking a few minutes out to catch up on my work, like writing the blog.

My friend and partner in Velero Del Mar, the Yacht Membership Club, Josh Swift was in town. He gave me this card and I was thrilled. This is the first card I have received in a year!! There is another business for someone. There is no stationery, card, or new book store in town! I thought the Crisis Clinic on fire falling off the cliff was particularly appropriate of my life, and yet another birthday.

My staff celebrated by getting cake with enough candles to burn down the building, and my Accountant Juanpablo had the extinguisher ready just in case I went up in flames unexpectedly. Personally, I wonder what he knows about my tax situation that I don’t know to explain why his mind is so deviated?

The staff were very happy and had presents and songs for me. They at least had enough respect and good graces not to shove my face into the cake as is the tradition here. My friend Tom Woodard, who has an office in my building also came to join the party and make fun of how old I was.

I had a great day! It started out with a boat cruise with my friends Alan Axelrod and Mike Bartlett. Alan has just completed the Best Loreto Guide Book which is very comprehensive and focuses specifically on Loreto. It is a wonderful source of information and you can order online at www.bestguideloreto.com We will also have some for sale in our offices for $24.95 next time you drop by.

Then it was off to La Picazon for an open outdoors party. My friends from Loreto Bay were there in full force. Even though many of them now live here full time, or at least several months, they haven’t quite got the grasp of Loreto time yet. When we have a party at 2 pm, they actually arrive on time! They had a good time poking fun at me, as I was the ultimate BOSS and ordering people to take photos and get plates for the cake. My excuse is that I have been here longer than they have, and although I am on Loreto time… I am not on Loreto speed!

My downtown and Punta Nopolo friends came too. They bought a bottle of tequila and there were shot glasses all around. The delicious Kailua cake came from Santa Lucia Bakery next door to my office and was a “party in your mouth”. What was particularly tantalizing was that there was Kailua in the cake AND in the icing. It was yummy and beautiful too.

Also were many friends who have lived in Loreto for many years. Many have just arrived for the fall and look forward to much camaraderie and good times ahead. It is a very small town. One of the other realtors said to her boss that she drove by and Dorado Properties was closed. He replied that it was because it was my birthday. Makes perfect sense that it is as natural as another Mexican holiday!

My friends Alex and Liesje from British Columbia also joined us. They own and operate the Glacier House Resort in Revelstoke, BC, which is a 4 start mountain retreat. To get away and play in the snow, check out their website at www.glacierhouse.com They love what they are doing, but also dream of living la vida la loco in Loreto soon.

It would not be a complete birthday without my own cucaracha and my bartender Sergio was making sure that I did not get away without getting all fired up. I watched as he poured tequila, Kailua, and brandy into a shot glass and then lit it on fire. I drank it in one gulp through a straw while the fire was still burning. Now, I know I was on fire!

This was a great day among friends. Life is good. Thank you to all that have sent their good wishes, emails, and calls. I look forward to celebrating many more fun times with all of you. See you in Loreto!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Here are photos from this week, Halloween and Del Barracho’s 1st Anniversary Party. Enjoy!

This week my body finally gave up and screamed with fever and pain. Too much stress, work, entertaining, multi tasking, visitors, dancing and tequila! Too much excessive Mexican vacation mentality combined with big city work ethic. Add to this all the normal reflections and emotional awakening of another mid life birthday coming up, and it was too much for me on all levels.

So I did what I normally do and went to the Farmacia to self medicate with as much of different drugs that I know have worked in the past. To relieve the pain and fever, to help sleep, antibiotics and various other remedies that promise better health. Take a different concoction ever 2 hours when I am conscious and crawl back into bed. This lasted 4 days, and then my friend Brenda dragged me to see the doctor to get a vitamin shot.

I have never been to a doctor in Loreto. We stopped first at the Clinic where there was a line up of about 8 young women with children and a few men. The procedure as explained to me was to register at the reception to see the doctor. Then wait your turn. Once the doctor saw you and made his diagnosis, he would write a prescription or ticket for the shot. Then you went back to wait in the line to see the receptionist, who filled your prescription and you paid for it. Once you paid you would take a seat and wait. Then the nurse would come and give you the shot! Why is everything so freaking complicated!! Never mind. I said it was safer to be sick than run the risk of having an aneurism waiting and watching this painful process in slow motion. It is a public clinic and I should not complain, but I also had a choice to seek out the doctors’ office.

So we crawled in the car and went to the doctor’s office only to find he wasn’t in. He was at the Clinic!! Geesh Louise!!

There are four doctors in Loreto and sometimes they are all out of town at once. I have heard they are very good and serve a population of 15,000 so no one begrudges them taking time away, but surely there is enough incentive for more qualified practitioners to come to the area? How will they possibly fill the new hospital with staff?

This is Loreto, and somehow we all manage to get the care, treatments and tests we need. It does help to keep your sense of humor, have plenty of cash on hand, and be prepared to be ready to travel to Constitution or La Paz if need be.

I remember as a young child growing up in Victoria, my mother’s first stop in times of illness was to go to Chinatown and see the Herbalist. She would wait in line after all the others to explain her particular ailment and he would quickly make a very specific calculated concoction from the wall of jars behind him. He would weigh precise portions of dried herbs, plants and sometimes animal parts and then tenderly wrap them in a folded paper packet. The contents would soon be made into a strong broth that would smell up the entire house with unpleasant scents and we would be forced to drink it. Why did medicine always have to be so bitter and taste so foul? The older siblings were allowed to put a few tablespoons of whisky in the broth for medicinal purposes, and this is where I learned to drink at an early age.

When I had a fever, my mother would take a boiled egg and put a silver quarter in the middle of the yolk. Wrap it in a handkerchief and dip it in Hennessy Brandy, then rub my back, chest, and face with this device to bring out the fever. When my fever was high, the silver quarter would turn black as night, but as I got better the coin only slightly turned color. This home remedy is no longer used because there are no more silver coins in distribution and now we just eat the egg for protein and drink the brandy for medicinal purposes. Are we seeing a pattern here?

My mother would be very firm and had little patience with my squirming and complaining, but she still took the time to worry about me when I was sick. It is the Chinese culture to always worry about things outside our control, about our future and unknowns, about our past and how our indiscretions will be viewed by our ancestors, about what people think and say, and pretty much everything else. It is the damned if you do, damned if you don’t syndrome, but above all else … be gracious, be respectful, and never let them see you vulnerable.

Being sick allows us the opportunity and license to be melancholy and this week I have taken full advantage of that. It is okay not to be phenomenal every day. I need to be kinder to myself and accept that some times it is okay to just be selfish instead of trying to worry about others all the time. The older we get, the more women become their Mothers. OMG!!

My good deed this week was when this young man of 18 years came into my office yesterday afternoon asking if his mother had made him a hotel reservation. I said no, but we did have rooms for $50 if he needed one. He said he would check a few others and maybe come back. Sure no problem. He did come back and politely asked if he could leave his bags while he went to the ATM since we do not take credit cards and he only had $30 US on him. Sure no problem. I tell him to go to CafĂ© Ole where he can get a good cheap meal and take his time coming back. He comes back and looks down trodden. The ATMs at the Bank are out of money. Yes, this happens a lot on a long weekend in Loreto. When the ATMs are out of money, there’s not a thing you can do except to wait until the banks open on Monday. I ask him what is his story?

He tells me he is from California and has been on a school trip camping and kayaking for the last several weeks. He and a buddy got caught drinking on their first night into town and they were both expelled from the trip and dumped in Loreto with no money or way home. How is this possible? And what was their crime? The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, and boys will be boys. Yes, rules must be followed and discipline can be enforced, but you do not leave 18 year olds stranded in a foreign country with no money and no way home? It was a good thing that the tour was no longer in Loreto or they would have had a piece of me!! Fortunately, for this boy, his parents came to his rescue and bought him an airplane ticket home for the next day. I asked him what he was going to do, and he said he had his sleeping bag and he could find a place to sleep outside somewhere. I looked at his expensive duffel bags of gear and his sad face, and said No Way. He would stay at the hotel. I told him of the ATM at the Pescador Grocery Store and if he could get money to pay me, great. If not, then not to worry about it. It was only one night. If he needed a ride to the airport, then I would take him myself as well because he did not have the $20 for the cab ride. He could not believe his luck and his face lit up.

Sure enough he was able to get money from the 3rd ATM and promptly paid me. He asked if he could pay for the phone to call his mother and I said of course, without taking money. His mother called me an Angel and was ever so thankful. For what? A simple random act of kindness that I would pray someone would do for my daughter if she were in need.

What shocked me most was that the other boy’s parents were so mad that he was caught drinking and expelled, that they told him he was on his own, apparently to teach him a lesson? Unfortunately, this other boy had already left Loreto and was on a bus to Ensenada where he would try to walk across the border and then find his way home to the East coast of the USA. What lesson did his parents think they were teaching him? How to steal? How to be scared, alone, and lost in a foreign country, and possibly see the worst side of people at bus stations, border crossings, and Tijuana? Do they really think that he will thank them for this lesson or rebel further against their teachings?

This young man that stayed at Nellie’s Hotel will think twice before doing something silly again because he knows how lucky he was to have people that were there and cared. Perhaps he will even pass along another Random Act of Kindness and make someone’s path a little brighter. It was my privilege to be here and make a small difference in his life, and put his mother’s mind at ease for another night.

Next Saturday, November 10, I will be celebrating my birthday at La Picazon Restaurant around 2 pm. Anyone who wants to wish me a happy birthday or join the party is invited! Come by boat, car, or dirt bike, and hopefully they will be open!!
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