Sunday, February 24, 2008

Alto Egos Entertain in Loreto, Mexico

It is a sunny warm day in Loreto and the weather and wind have finally turned warm! It was a rocking party at Del Borracho last night which I will write about next week. I want to express many thanks to my guest blogger, Drew McNabb of FN49. I am taking the day off!

After being a loyal reader of Nellie’s blog for several years, it is now my turn to be a Guest Blogger and give Nellie a well-deserved week off and her audience a different perspective to the “Loreto Experience”.

My wife Cathy and I are spending our first winter in our Loreto home, after taking possession just over two years ago. One of the questions that we get asked often, by people who do not live here is: “what do you do with your time”? To which, both of us have much the same response: “what time, we seem to be busier here than we were working back in Calgary”! While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, we do seem to keep remarkably occupied with the day-to-day necessities of living life in Loreto. Whether it is managing the frequent service visits of the different trades coming to our house to do their part of keeping our house a “hogar”, or the seemingly simple tasks of “hunting and gathering” that it takes to keep food on the table, but which occupies several hours, several times a week.

Having said that, there are some “golden memories” that are the special times that stand out in the very enjoyable routine that is our new life here. Some of these are simple moments of natural beauty, like a sunrise or sunset, seeing a hummingbird bathing in our fountain, or impromptu social events with new friends and neighbours, like a shared meal, an unexpected outing. But sometimes there is a really special event, like what happened here last week and is the real subject of my guest blog.

Back in Calgary Cathy has two singing partners in a trio they call the “Alto Egos” ( It has long been a dream of hers to bring her partners Melinda Kondrat and Lisa Cuthill together here in Loreto to perform together. Last Wednesday night was that special day! Originally the idea had been to take over Nellie’s Place for the venue, but when Nellie closed it late last year, we were looking for an alternative. It was in fact Nellie who suggested holding the “gig” here in Nopolo, at the Inn and she provided the introduction to Jorge Obregon, the Groups Manager who immediately agreed to help organize the event at the upstairs lobby bar last Wednesday night.

After exchanging several e-mails and having a preliminary meeting at the venue, Cathy was very impressed with Jorge’s professionalism and attention to detail. We were even more impressed when we arrived the evening of the event to find traditional paper-bagged candles decorating the entrance to the bar area and the fully dressed tables decorated with cleverly designed oil lamp centre-pieces with shades decorated with stylized pictures of the trio. Now that’s attention to detail! On a practical note, special electrical extensions had been provided to power the equipment and extra lighting installed.

We had sent e-mails to everyone we could get addresses for who were in residence in Loreto, and the Hotel added a notice to the information channel on the in-room and residence TV service. We had also put several handbills up around town where “Gringos” typically visited and spread the news by Lynn Hamman’s very effective email bulletin board of news and events affecting the ex-pat community in and around Loreto. But as we made the final preparations for the evening, the biggest question remained, who and how many would come?

We did have a special added feature for the evening that was literally “out of this world”. As fate would have it, last Wednesday was the night of a full lunar eclipse, a “heavenly” sign if there ever was one! With the generous assistance of friend and neighbour, Kelli McDill, we had the use of the largest telescope in Nopolo and were able to provide dramatic views of the eclipse throughout the performance, truly celestial icing on the cake!

Our uncertainty about numbers was quickly calmed, as a couple of dozen friends and neighbours were seated before the first notes were sung. These early birds were quickly joined by several dozen more, and within the hour there were well over 100 enthusiastic fans dancing, enjoying attentive bar service and great snacks by the Inn staff and, of course, the talents of the evenings entertainers, The Alto Egos! As an added benefit to a great evening of entertainment, we offered those attending an opportunity to make a contribution to supporting the Internado (residential) School in Ligui, about 20 km south of Nopolo, where the need is great and few sources of fundraising exist in the remote area around the school. At the end of the evening we were overwhelmed with the generosity of those attending, collecting over 6,500 pesos which will go a long way to providing some much needed extras to the students of Ligui!

After three sets, the completed eclipse cycle and one of the biggest nights of entertainment in the Inn’s history, the trio said good night to their newest fans, amid promises of a future return date, when the stars align again, the evening wrapped up with much enthusiastic praise and compliments from the fans. And so ended one of our most memorable nights in Loreto, and hopefully a model for many future evenings of fun and entertainment by other Loreto Bay residents.

Two things are certain, after our first attempt at organizing “home-grown” entertainment here in Nopolo; there is a great appetite for music and a fun opportunity for neighbours to get together, and the management and staff of the Inn are ready and able to help stage a first class event at that facility in the heart of Loreto Bay. Watch Nellie’s blog for news about future events!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Introducing and

Last Sunday, the first surprise on my adventure was seeing my partner in Casa FN62 Eric Geisreiter boarding the flight from Victoria with me. Eric was on his way to San Miguel and we were sitting next to each other on the plane to Seattle quite by luck. It was great to catch up on what is happening since we both worked together at the Victoria ReMax Office.

I arrived at LAX in the early afternoon with no idea of what I was going to do for 2 days until my next flight to Loreto. I called my good friend Keith Petersen, who was previously a sales agent for Loreto Bay, and told him I was in town and wondered if he wanted company. He laughed when I said I was at LAX because he was in San Diego. No problem, I would rent a car and be down in a few hours. Surely, if I can drive 500 km to Cabo for sushi, I can drive a couple of hours to San Diego!

Sometimes the best plans are done spontaneously and on a whim. Keith and I had a terrific visit and it gave us much time to catch up on life over the past 2 years. He has a magnificent new home complete with heated pool, and it could not have been better timing for both of us in many ways. We looked at local real estate, shopped, wined and dined, and solved many of the world’s problems. Keith is a Loreto Bay homeowner and I am trying to convince him to come and spend more time here with me. Quien Sabe?!

Tuesday morning I drove from San Diego to LAX in 2.5 hours, which I thought was good time considering the morning traffic. The sight of smog hovering against the morning sunrise over Newport Beach and towards Los Angeles reminded me that this was a great place to visit, but I was thankful to live in Loreto when I saw all the smoke from this industrial area. Having had a full week off work I was getting anxious to be back in Loreto and see my friends and staff.

The last few days have just been a blur of real estate activity. With all the doom and gloom that one hears about the real estate market in the USA, it is keeping us very busy here. We have been run off our feet with several large investors who are all looking for a “deal”. When I ask what a “deal” is, they respond that they are prepared to spend upwards of a Million Dollars or more, but want a “deal”. In the last 3 days, I have had four new investor clients contact me about large parcels of properties. Incredible!

The big investors with money and the people with homes paid off and looking for reasonable second vacation/retirement homes are not affected by the current economic forecasts. They come from Spain, Mexico, USA and Canada. We have noticed a dip in buyer interest of properties in the $500,000 to $1.2 Million range, because those buyers are now looking at great “deals” in California and Arizona.

This is a great time for us to launch our new real estate website I was in Victoria working with Radarhill Technologies who I have been working with for over 8 years and am very pleased with their design and backend products. My vision for this site is to act as a portal for all people seeking information on the biggest travel secret … Loreto, BCS, Mexico. Have a look and give me your feedback as to things that you want to see, or ways you may want to contribute. There are still a few bugs and not all the information is loaded yet, but it is a good start. Keep checking back to see What’s New.

Also, for new beginnings, we are launching our new website for our Boat Charter business We are now completely legal and ready to do business for your marine experiences. This is a great time to come and see the whales, dolphins, and the yellowtail fishing is spectacular!! Make your reservations online or call us direct for more information on our Membership Program.

I was all booked and ready to travel to Sonoma Wine County, CA, next week to visit the San Francisco Home Owners’ regular get together. I have not been to Napa Valley for about 20 years and was really looking forward to a relaxing stay at Silverado Resort, tasting spectacular wines, dining on Dungeness crab, oysters and sourdough bread, and perhaps even doing one of my top 3 things before I die … going on a Hot Air Balloon ride. Unfortunately, the venue was changed to San Jose and the thought of staying at the Double Tree Inn was like bursting my bubble and turned a fun weekend among friends into a work party. Oh well … I will postpone my trip until the next get together and who knows, it will probably all work out for the best, as usual!

My real estate partner John Anderson and I will be doing several travel shows to major US and Canadian cities in the upcoming months, so we may be in your neighborhood! I will let you know because one of my favorite things to do is to organize an authentic Chinese dinner for friends and neighbors. Delicious food, relaxed company, and plenty of whisky … how can it not be a good time?

Already many changes have occurred in the last week to make me believe that this will be an exciting year as promised. I miss Nellie’s Place Bar because it was a great place for my friends to visit, but it is still wonderful to get your emails and to hear from you when you are coming to town. I am always looking for a reason to relax in the evenings over a glass of wine or nice meal… just let me know you are here!

Loreto Bay resident, Cathy Martin, and her singing partners Lisa Cuthill and Melinda Kondrat will be bringing their three part harmonies to the Inn at Loreto Bay this coming Wednesday, February 20th from 7-10 p.m. The ALTO EGOS will be performing in the upstairs bar under the auspices of the full lunar eclipse. No cover charge, but a donation to the San Javier Internado would be appreciated.

Have a great week and see you in Loreto!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where In The World Is Nellie? Quien Sabe!!

It was great to be back in Victoria this week, if only for a few days to soak up the Chinese New Year family festivities and feasts. A lot can be accomplished in just a few days when one sets their mind to it and I managed to complete a lot of personal business and spend a great deal of quality time with my parents and daughter.

It was a good trip down memory lane. Being back in the continuous grey skies and dismissal weather made me remember why I live in Loreto. Victoria can be a beautiful place and boasts one of the most temperate weather patterns in all of Canada. However, the barometer is constantly high which to me feels very oppressive and difficult to keep warm from the dampness. Weather is a huge topic of discussion and seems to affect everyone’s day to day lives on varying degrees of scale.

Give me the sunshine of Loreto where the topic of discussion is whether or not it is too windy to go fishing. Arriving at the airport on time at 5:25 am this morning, I had a sinking feeling when no one was at the Horizon Airlines ticket counter and there was a sign saying “Back at 6 am”. After desperately seeking the agent, I find out they had overbooked and there were no more seats. I was stuck here for 2 days since there was no way to make the LAX connection to Loreto until Tuesday. NOT ACCEPTABLE. How could this happen!! I had forgotten in all my years of business and personal travels - that you can go anyway in the world… but you can’t get off this freaken island!

When Time Suddenly Becomes Available, It Is Generally Wasted, and I do not have 2 days to waste in a place where I have accomplished all I came to do. After ranting, pacing and controlling my blood pressure for 10 minutes, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons. I asked the agent to get me to LAX as soon as possible and then I would see what doors would open to my next adventure. So, here I am at the Victoria airport at 6:30 am on Sunday morning, writing my blog because I have no idea where I will be this evening, but am pretty sure that it will not be boring. Tune in next week to find out Where In The World Is Nellie!

In the meantime, I am posting an entry written by Guest Blogger James Bie, who writes about one of our mutual friends and characters of Loreto. These are times that I truly appreciate having backup material when life happens and I am momentarily at a loss for words. Please feel free to share your Loreto experiences as one of my Guest Bloggers because it is much appreciated and matters to many. Thanks James!

I first saw Loreto six years ago from the deck of a cruise ship swinging into the bay from around Isla del Carmen. We spent a day in town, sampling the local food and drink, applauding the line of costumed school-girl dancers in front of the city hall, and just absorbing the scenery and atmosphere.

One day in this paradise by the sea was not enough. Six months later we came back and purchased our own bit of Loreto right on the malecon where we can watch the sun rise each morning over the island. Frequent visits to town since then have given us the opportunity to meet some of the town characters.

Like Jorge. His name is actually George Ghiselin but that fact has been lost during his 15+ years of permanent residence. The fruit of his talents, however, are visible all through the community. As president and chief executive officer of JorgeAviones, he builds airplanes. Boeing is not endangered by the competition because Jorge’s planes don’t fly. They’re too small to carry passengers or cargo. And they’re made out of beer cans.

Patrons of local bistros can see a Beechcraft Debonair (Tecate version) hanging from the ceiling. A Modelo Light Cessna Centurian is on display at Augie's Bar and Bait Shop. The Del Borracho Saloon and Stroker’s Reef show off a few more of Jorge’s creations.

The miniature flyers are so authentic looking – in spite of their brewery origin – that JorgeAviones has been featured in FLYING Magazine, the world’s leading aviation publication. They reproduced Jorge’s Tecate model of the Ford AT-4 trimotor that explorer Richard Byrd flew over the South Pole in 1929. If you go to Yahoo Search, the first item that pops up is “Beer Can Airplanes by Loreto Artisan.”

The simplest plane, his Giorgi XP-3 experimental-promotion model, takes about 10-12 hours to construct. More complex items like the sleek SR-71 Blackbird spy plane requires about 40 hours of labor. Because of his attention to detail, Jorge may slice up 15 or more cans so the various label designs produce an attractive exterior of the flyer. To complete the beverage theme, even the wheels of the models are made from beer bottle caps.

But for all the talent that Jorge has poured into more than 400 authentic and historic airplanes, my favorite is one of his latest creations. When Modelo recently began to distribute beer in cans that bore the emblem of my favorite baseball team, the San Diego Padres, Jorge assembled a classy XP-3 that is now proudly displayed on my desk at home.

James and his wife, Vicki, live in Southern California when not enjoying Living La Vida Loca in Loreto.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy – Happy Chinese New Year
2008 Promises to be a Whole New Rat Race!

The Rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and signifies new beginnings. This year starts February 7, 2008, and is Year One of a 60 year cycle and thus an appropriate time to start new ventures, especially groundbreakings. This includes new ideas, directions, and ways of doing things. Whether it is in your romantic life, in your career, when dealing with money issues, or working on your social relationships, the powerful, positive energy in 2008 makes this an ideal time for new beginnings.

It is a time to experiment and put plans into action, as there will be plenty of opportunities to achieve success. Something to consider is that which is begun now is likely to have long term consequences, so choose wisely to enrich your life. It is important to note that we need to rely on our hard work and ingenuity and not luck for this year. Or as my mother would say - Prepare for twelve months of Monday Mornings!

Although I am not particularly religious or superstitious, I know there are two truths … It Is Better To Be Lucky Than Smart; and secondly, The Harder I Work, the Luckier I am! I will be traveling to Victoria this week to celebrate the new year with my parents and daughter, and to finalize our new Dorado Properties Loreto web page. We look forward to launching it next week as part of our New Beginnings!

In the meantime, this week has been wonderfully busy with many new listings in Loreto, updating our BajaBOSS business plans, and making significant administration and system changes to our organization. Living in Loreto is definitely living an anomaly as we use the most high tech systems available and then go for lunch at Del Borracho where the horses are waiting patiently for their owners. It definitely keeps things in perspective!

It was such a busy week where I was pulled in many different directions and juggling too many priorities at one time. I was running an hour late for an appointment (yes, even though I live in Loreto… I still consider this late) and made a U-turn on the malecon one block from my office to see about listing a condo, when my front tire blew out. It was curious that my first reaction was “Oh No… thank goodness it happened here” rather than the normal swearing and bad day I would have had a few years ago. When I think about all the places that I have been driving, where there is NO cell coverage, NO shoulder to pull off, and NO ONE for miles, it is pretty damn fortunate that this happened one block from my office.

So, who do you call? There is no AA Roadside Assistance or the Mercedes Hot Line that I am used to. But hey, I am BajaBOSS and we are a team of Solution Providers. I call Brenda Calger and asked what to do. No problem she will call the “tire guy”. Who Knew? Brenda arrived in 10 minutes with Daniel and he had the car jacked up and replaced with a new tire in less than 30 minutes for 350 pesos! Daniel was terrific and works for the Llantera Madrazo Team and they can assist you with new tires, roadside assistance, and a host of other car related repairs. They are located on Benito Juarez and can be reached at 613 109 0156 – take note of this number!

Jim and Vicky Bie have a very nice 1500 sq. ft. condo on the second floor facing the waterfront and Carmen Island. It is surprisingly bright and large with vaulted ceilings, open floor plan, and nicely decorated. It comes with a large garage that is 12x50 ft and can hold a boat, car, and other storage items. We are working on a price for a turnkey product that includes furniture, linens and kitchen items for a complete package. This and many other new listings will be featured on our new website next week.

DORADO PROPERTIES LORETO will be able to list Loreto Bay Homes once homeowners have fulfilled their 90 day listing period with Loreto Bay Realty. I believe that I am the most knowledgeable person about the Loreto Bay homes, their vision, and the neighborhood community. Who else has invested, owns a home, and worked for the company for the first 3 years, that still lives the dream full time right here, right now? Here’s a photo of my partners Carver and Deedrie when we drank the Kool-Aid and bought our lines in the sand in November 2003.

We are extremely pleased to be able to showcase our first listing of a one bedroom Casa Chica located in the very first Founders Neighborhood where I live. FN57 is located next to the prestigious Posadas that are being built and in an area where many full time residents reside. It has huge rooftop deck with added pergola that is great for entertaining year round. FN57 will have protection from the strong afternoon sun and offers view corridors to the water, and the beach is only a 2 minute walk. Get into Founders Neighborhood today for only $289,000 USD. Bonus referral incentives are available on this listing! Email me at

For those that want a larger home still on the beach side, we are pleased to offer FN202 which is 2 bedroom Casa Bohemia with extra large courtyard. This beautiful home offers upgraded fireplace, pergola, ceiling beams, and is bright and sunny. Steps away from the main boulevard and beach, it is comfortable and completely private. All Loreto Bay homes come with all appliances and ready to move in. Take advantage of the slower market and pick this up for $580,000 USD.

DORADO PROPERTIES LORETO have many investment lots available from $50,000 to $5 Million USD. It is VERY important that you work with a reputable realtor as there are NO rules, regulations or legislation governing real estate sales in Mexico. All of Baja California is the Restricted Zone and much of it is still Ejido land, which means it is safe to buy but the transfer of title is more complex. This cleared level lot completely fenced in downtown Loreto with easy access to the highway is offered at $75,000 USD. We have terrific location properties of all types from Mulege to Aqua Verde and cover the area two hours north to two hours south of Loreto.

Another great opportunity is to invest is in a 15 acre beachfront community located in Zaragoza, which is 5 minutes south of downtown Loreto. This is being developed by an American company operating under a Mexican LLC. They are finalizing their subdivision plans and condominium regime and are offering a limited number of beachfront lots that will be larger than 6,000 sq. ft. for $450,000 USD. This property will be a mixture of custom beachfront homes, condominiums, community pools and clubhouse, large storage garages, parking, and gated community with all utilities and services provided. This is fully secured at the time of investment and one of the most integral businessmen that I know. Call or email me for more information as there are only a few at this price. The anticipated preconstruction pricing will be over $650,000 for similar lots.

What’s happening locally in Loreto? Many of us have missed Santa Lucia Bakery for their great bread and breakfasts. Good news is that the previous owners Maru, Gina, Jaime, and Gustavo have opened Los Mandiles Restaurant with a great similar menu, located next to Mediterrano on the malecon. Enjoy the outside patio overlooking the water or the cozy atmosphere inside. Both ways the food is great and very reasonable, and the service always friendly. They are open from 7 am to 7 pm every day and Closed Tuesdays. Tell them you saw it on Nellie’s Blog!

Neighbor Cathy Martin and her singing group, AltoEgos, will be entertaining at the INN at Loreto Bay on Wednesday, February 20, from 7 pm to 11 pm. This is a community event for us to get together, visit and be entertained. There is no admission fee and a No Host Bar will be available. If you are in Loreto during this time, please make sure you mark your calendars and we will see you there!