Sunday, March 30, 2008

Meet the Whales Video and Moments of Reflection

Over the past few weeks I have had many people come up to me and thank me for writing my blog. Everyone seems to know about it and the comments range from good entertainment, curiosity, even the most reliable source of information on Loreto. Where In The World Is Nellie has 500 visits each week, every week and readership continues to grow.

This is more than a little overwhelming since I am not publishing a newspaper, but rather a journal of my personal experiences. Life is not always as it seems, yet now I must be very careful that I do not express an opinion, or a trite comment, that can be taken out of context and used to support those few critics that want to create negative energy about me, local development, or this place. Yet, I refuse to be mediocre and give in to the temptation of writing about superficial happenings that would do nothing more than support egos and paint a two dimensional canvas of the vast life experiences here.

Since I began my businesses in Loreto in October 2006, I have felt in the middle of a thick jungle forest, where we hack through the bush trying to find the way. Each week is 6 steps forward and 4 or 5 back. On a good week, it is 11 steps forward and 8 back. We have made incredible strides and progress, but it is only through sheer determination, tenacity, and never taking a break long enough to interrupt the momentum of change. This has been a physically, mentally, and emotionally draining exercise just to seek the right path that will lead me and my team to the light. I am exhausted beyond definition and most of the adrenaline that I have been operating on for the past several months is just about spent.

God helps those that help themselves. I believe in the power of intention, karma, and that there is a higher spiritual power that I can not define but am sure has assigned me the dream team of Guardian Angels that watch over me. Over the last month, I have “put out there” what I need, what I want, and why. These desires are not tangible and nothing specific that I can ask of friends or colleagues, more they are wishes of clarity to understand my purpose and objectives.

If you read my early entries, you will know that I arrived in Loreto for the first time in November 2003, and within 15 minutes I knew without a doubt that this was my destiny and I had no choice but to be here. I still have no idea why? It could be to make a difference to the growth and development of the area; it could be to make a difference to one child; or it simply could be a stepping stone to take me somewhere else?

I have felt a very strong shift of energy surrounding me this week. Nothing much different happened, it was a regular week like most. Yet somehow, I feel that we moved 20 steps forward and none back. Almost as though I have come over the edge and am standing on a plateau in the sunlight. I am apprehensive as this is a unique sense of calm that has not been part of my life for the past several years. I am waiting to exhale, as I am holding my breath in anticipation for the moment when I am snapped back an abrupt 18 steps. Surely this will cause whiplash and injury if I let my guard down and am not prepared. So … I wait and watch to see what happens next. Quien Sabe

In the meantime, I share with you a beautiful video taken by my friend Jane Lurie of the whales. http://www.youtube.com/user/videolurie

Seeing these beasts of beauty simply greet us, without fear, intimidation or purpose is a humbling reminder that we are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme and that the only thing that truly matters is that we live each moment well enough to be able to support the next good day. Years of good days will leave a legacy to those that we encounter, just like the whales.

This is my blog, these are my thoughts. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Feliz Semana Santa – Happy Easter!

This week started off with Jane and Sharon (FN203) hosting a sit down dinner party for 18 friends and neighbors in their new home. Here we are with their friends Terry and Dan having the usual late night kitchen party. Their home is beautiful with lots of vibrant colors, elegant furniture, and courtyard fountain giving a tranquil ambience to the excited chatter and laughter inside.

Peter & Ariel (FN44) and Bill & Mia (FN311) were enjoying their meal in the courtyard and raving about what a great day they had on our boat REEL TROUBLE. Together with Rich & Jean, they set out on a 4 hour cruise and had an amazing time enjoying the water, islands, and wildlife. All of them were expounding the virtues of Captain Chino, particularly how well he speaks English, and how friendly and knowledgeable he is, as he maneuvered the waters to show them a different side of Loreto.

Nancy & Del (FN423), and Dee Wise (FN63) along with the hosts are sitting around the living room where we were treated to the international premier of Jane’s first video made and edited in Loreto, entitled “Jane, Sharon, Dan and Terry Meet the Gray Whales”. This was a beautiful 3 minute film clip that was truly touching to the soul and made all of us remember the moment when we too were greeted by these giant gentle creatures of nature.

Boyd & Camille (FN22), Rich & Jean (FN105) and Chuck & Marsha (AV61) were here too and we all had the pleasure of watching “Lost and Found in Mexico” a documentary by Caren Cross. It is a simple tale of how one woman came to visit and become totally engaged in the easy life offered by San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She had a nice life in the USA and was not unhappy, but somehow got lost … and found herself in all ways that matter in Mexico. All of us in the room could well relate to the story, although to put the explanations into words is difficult for those that have never experienced being Lost and Found to comprehend. We have enough characters in our neighborhood and this town to make quite a film also! Imagine the stories would be endless and so interesting to those that took the time to listen.

This is considered Holy Week in Mexico and the largest holiday after Christmas. The town is full of Mexicans traveling with their families, foreigners here for spring break, Holland America Cruise Ship visiting, and Nellie’s Place Hotel is full of interesting guests. In fact every hotel in town is 100% occupied and there are no rooms available anywhere. Every restaurant is full with reservations, and the market shelves are bare as people have stocked up on ice, soda, beer, snacks, and all things fun for a 3 day fiesta.

Ronnie Kovach was in Loreto filming for his Fox Sports Network show – Fishing Ventures shown at 9:30 am on Sunday mornings on FSN West. Ronnie and I were out with Harry, the owner of AVET Reels on Reel Trouble for 9 hours with Chino chasing the fish, and the camera crew capturing all the action on film. There were a couple of big ones that got away, but we managed to score some Yellow Tail Jurel and even a Sierra, which we believe was quite lost as they are not supposed to be here this time of year. If there are fish… Ronnie will find them!


Check out http://www.fishingexpeditions.com/html/viva_loreto.html for more information on Ronnie’s shows, fishing in Loreto, and stay tuned for more info on the Largest Panga Tournament in Baja to be held in Loreto September 18 to 21, 2008. This is put on by the Hotel Association of Loreto and there will be over $30,000 USD in cash prizes PLUS $10,000 in merchandize prizes. It will be Grand Slam for Dorado, Marlin/Sailfish, and Yellowfin Tuna. REEL TROUBLE will be the Tournament Boat and I will be sending out more information very soon.

The Baja Experience was formed by veteran racers Chris Lucas and Eric Place. Lucas and Place possess a vast amount of racing experience ranging all the way from Indy Cars to Trophy Trucks, and are now bringing their fun adventures to Loreto, Baja California Sur. Eric Place was here touring with a group for 4 days and it was a wild ride. Everywhere they go, people are interested and want to know more. Baja LOVES racing! Check out: www.thebajaexp.com for more information.

I always get a kick when I drive up to my office and see the sun glistening off the deep blue water and Carmen Island on my left and then I see these race trucks parked in front of my building. Every day is full of extremes and becoming Loreto-ized means accepting all for what it is. With everyone on vacation this week, I have been working from 5 am until 11 pm everyday and am totally exhausted. On one hand, I am entertaining celebrities and major clients, and on the other, I am schlepping ice and lunches for the boat and cleaning hotel rooms as we even have people camped on our conference room floor, just so they don’t have to sleep in their cars!

It is a Dog’s Life in Loreto. I always love to see these two stray dogs that have been living in Loreto Bay for years. They are fed and watered by the homeowners, petted by the construction workers, and free to roam and play all night long. They have no masters and the entire development is their home. Some would say that the dogs that sleep in comfort in their owner’s homes may have a better life, but they are leased, locked in behind doors, and sometimes left alone for hours. Quien Sabe … To Each His Own, even if you are a dog!

While I was on my way to the boat at 6:15 am, I had to stop and take these photos of the moon setting between the mountains before me, and the incredible sunrise behind me. This is another example of extreme beauty and differences that come together and collide as one in a place that many of us want to call home. I stop and smell the roses everyday, and then get on with life. There is so much of it here.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

THE BAJA EXPERIENCE in Loreto, Mexico

When I arrived at Del Borracho Restaurant early one morning to get fresh baked muffins for my staff, it was a surprise to see five of these trucks parked out front waiting for their guides. What a better place than the ambience of an Ole Western Saloon to have an orientation for the race of a lifetime?! This is why I love coming to Del Borracho … I never know who or what I will see. It is truly a watering hole for all from the local characters to the visiting VIPs, who come on horses or state-of-the-art race trucks. Quien Sabe!

Baja BOSS’s most exciting client is THE BAJA EXPERIENCE which is an off road racing tour company located in Loreto. We met this small tour group and they were walking on air in anticipation of getting behind the wheel of these 4000 pound, 250 horsepower racing machines. They flew in from California for a 4 day tour of the back roads of Baja desert and were ready for real action.

At the end of tour, I talked to Jay Vice of Sacramento (in the red shirt). Both Jay and John were ecstatic about the tour and said “It was worth every penny and more. A full “10” all the way with the trucks and staff.” They covered over 600 miles and the night driving was “out of this world”. They will tell all their friends and come back “time and time again” and are even considering renting these trucks to participate in the Baja 1000 this year. Loreto is attracting a lot of people who have acquired wealth and love to have fun! Check it out at www.TheBajaExp.com

By sharp contrast to the excitement and fast pace of Off-Road Racing, REEL TROUBLE toured many people past the islands of Danzante and Carmen which are south of Pt. Escondido in the hopes of spotting some blue whales and dolphins. Jim and Erica from Nashville were visiting Loreto for the first time with their daughters, Marissa and Christina. They booked the Island Tour through the INN at Loreto Bay and told me they had a fantastic time! For more information visit www.VeleroDelMar.com

Doug and Bonnie, Dan and Shelley are from British Columbia and were happy just to enjoy the warm beautiful day as we soaked up the beauty of the La Giganta Mountains and drank cold cervezas that were plentiful. As we continued cruising south the water was flat and calm and there was not another boat or movement on the horizon. Suddenly, Chino spotted something jump several miles ahead and picked up speed towards what he knew would be whales. Everyone on board was mighty impressed how Chino could see them so far away and sure enough as we got close, there were at least 10 to 12 large Blue Whales and we were in the middle of them. We cruised with them for what seemed like an hour and they came as close as 20 feet from the boat. Many were larger than our 34’ Luhrs and some must have been over 50 feet in length.

We came across a large pod of dolphins and hung out for about an hour, cruising with them while they played and entertained us. There must have been hundreds spread across miles of ocean as far as we could see. None of us could believe how large they were in comparison to the porpoises that we are accustomed to seeing in the Pacific Northwest. It was VERY cool and we were content even if we did not see any whales.

The giant Blue Whale is an animal that defies all superlatives. It is the biggest, heaviest, loudest and fastest growing animal on the planet. In fact, it is the largest animal that has ever lived on the face of the earth... by a long shot. Attaining lengths of 80-90 ft., weighing 150 to 200 tons, they dwarf any other animal that has ever lived. They grow so fast as calves that they can put on 200-300 lbs per day just feeding on its mother’s milk. By the time they are weaned, at 9mos to a year, they are already over 50 ft. long - larger than most other whales.

One of our new neighbors from last weekend, Steve and his wife from Southern California, took REEL TROUBLE and some new friends out for a Island Tour of Coronado, which is north of Loreto. They had a wonderful day seeing the sea lions and beautiful white sand beaches, as well as black slate and rock, all on one island. There were no whales or dolphins in this area on this day, but they had a great time enjoying the crystal clear waters of Coronado and the scenic view of the town of Loreto from the water.

The Governor of Baja California Sur was in Loreto last week at the new Hospital which is scheduled to open in the next month or so. The Governor was particularly complimentary and flattering about Loreto Bay and thanked them for their generous contribution. Michael Coyle of RePlay Inc. was introduced as the Loreto Bay representative and seen on national Mexican Television. The Governor’s half term speech was March 15, 2008, and having this new medical facility in Loreto is very important to his administration.

It was great to have dinner with Dan and Jeanne O’Shaugnessy of FN217 and Mike Bartlett of FN450. We had a terrific meal at Pachamamas Argentinean Restaurant, with spinach and beef empanada appetizers, caprices and roquefort salads, three of us had New York Steaks and Jeanne had pasta, 2 bottles of nice red wine, and the total bill was $40 per person, including generous tip!

Mike told me about a new ice cream store that I have not been to located on Calle Davis y Benito Juarez s/n, down the street from the Bancomer Bank, and across from the nursery school. Newcomers to Loreto are always amazed that there are no street addresses except cross streets and S/N (sin numero). Banamex was telling me that Mexico City head office has a very difficult time to approve applications as they can not believe people live at a residence without number.

We strolled into the immaculately clean ice cream store with a row of freezers and well lit with florescent lighting. They had a large assortment of flavoured fruit bars and a variety of different ice creams and sorbets. Waffle cones, sugar cones, or cups with different topping were available. It was all too much for me to comprehend where this all came from and how this delectable little store had managed to go under my radar? There were so many choices, but when I saw my absolute favourite Rocky Road … there were no other options! Wonderfully delicious! The friendly staff spoke good English, were very helpful and patient. Look for the Michocana sign above the storefront and visit soon!

Jose Luis and Beatrice really understand what the new Loreto community wants! They are in the third year of operating Dali Deli and it is wonderful to watch their expansion and success, poco y poco (little by little). Many of us make regular visits to shop for speciality cheeses, quality cuts of meat, and an assortment of spices and sauces unavailable anywhere else within 200 miles. I literally squealed with excitement when I saw Foie Gras (goose liver pate) resting innocuously on the shelf. I do not even think I can buy this easily in the USA … and here it is available in the Wild Wild West of Loreto. Visit Dali Deli for all your entertaining needs, and note that they will be closed March 21st and 22nd for Semana Santa. Their regular hours are Monday to Thursday 8 am to 5 pm.

Loreto appears to be growing up! What a wonderful life!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

English Speaking Lessons at University of Loreto, Mexico

This week started off with winds blowing from the Northwest up to 30 mph. Last Sunday was a beautiful relaxing warm day and I decided to take the afternoon off and bask in the sun. After getting settled on the lounge chair with sunscreen, cold cerveza and good book in hand, the wind came from nowhere. Within 10 minutes doors and windows of nearby homes were blowing open and shut, construction dust and dirt was flying everywhere at incredible force that it felt that I was being hailed upon. The palm trees were swaying their fury dance and you could barely see the ninth hole on the golf course for the cloud of dust rising above it.

Our sportsfishing yacht was anchored downtown in front of our building and when I drove to the office Monday I could not believe my eyes as the boat rode the waves with agility and grace as the wind and currents swirled around it. I was torn between hiding and watching as Captain Chino and crew tried for 30 minutes to get the panga close enough to REEL TROUBLE for him to jump onboard and move the boat to the safer waters of Pt. Escondido. The driver of the panga was an experienced captain accustomed to handling 130 ft. yachts and still after many attempts it was clear that it was too dangerous to get close enough for Chino to jump onto the boat. When you compare the length and width of REEL TROUBLE to the panga in this photo, one gets more appreciation for being secure when Mother Nature decides to change the weather at a moment’s notice. Our 34’ Luhrs yacht is extremely seaworthy and built for these waters and elements.

Ron and Vicky of FN369 chartered REEL TROUBLE for a 3 hour cruise. They wanted to take their friends John, Patty, and Gilbert on the water to see the islands and do a little fishing. It started out as a beautiful calm day as we headed out towards Carmen Island directly as the orange sun was rising behind the mountains. We saw a pod of dolphins along the way and slowed down so they could play with the boat.

Captain Chino and First Mate were very excited when they saw this swarm of birds. Where there are birds, there are fish! After scanning the horizon for fish on the surface, quickly baiting and throwing down lines, there were a few bites but these were “junk” fish, and not worthy of true fishermen! So, we continued on our search for the great yellow tail tuna. We came across a few pangas and stopped to put the lines out. The wind picked up again suddenly and no fish were biting anywhere. We decided to move on and continue all the way around the island rather than try running against the winds coming from the north. The pangas decided to follow us on the same route as it would be too dangerous for them to go against the strong currents. I can not imagine 3 hours on a panga in this weather and am so glad those days are over and we now have options!

We made it safely back to Pt. Escondido and put $500 USD of diesel in the boat. Singular charges a service fee of 22% to pull along side the dock so you can access the Pemex. This means that we had to pay $110 USD service fee JUST to buy the gas on the water. Governments certainly know how to tax the luxury market in every country … but I guess this is how they pay for the new marina they opened last year. Maintaining a boat is a lot of money anywhere, and that’s the reason we have our Velero Del Mar Membership Program. No Hassles, No Worries, and boat is always ready for you and other limited members. Ask for more information or visit www.velerodelmar.com or call me at 602 628 2920.

This week guests of Nellie’s Place Hotel were specialists from La Paz, who had come to teach and demonstrate how to safely handle and move reptiles, including snakes, scorpions and lizards. No need to worry, these are for clients who have purchased large uninhabited hectares of land where the wildlife have been free to roam undisturbed for centuries. It is important that they are concerned enough to educate their staff on identification and information, and how each of these animals relate to the environment in the circle of life.

Loreto is a desert similar to Phoenix. I must admit that I have seen more snakes and scorpions in Scottsdale than I have during the past 4 years in Loreto. It is rare to see these creatures in developed residential areas where there is activity and construction. Even the reptiles prefer to live where there is peace and quiet and less dust! You should be aware in the hot summer months when hiking in the mountains as they hide under rocks and bushes and get mad if you step on them or disturb their habitats.

UABCS-Loreto (University of Loreto) has maintained programs for the English speaking community. Starting with classes in beginning Spanish, it has expanded these programs to include multiple levels of Spanish, workshops, excursions, and lectures. Now the first students to enroll in the degree program are nearing graduation. To give some of those students practical experience in running an endeavor, much of the responsibility for the program in English has been given to a small group of them. Not only have they been involved in planning the offerings, they will teach, guide, and lead most of the activities. So much to learn!

Sam Salinas, Head of Campus, invites you to visit them or check out their website at www.uabcsloreto.com for more information on Spanish Classes, Educational Excursions including Snorkeling, Blue Whale Watching, Carmen Island Tour; Workshops for Latin Dance Lessons and Baja Cooking; as well as their Lecture Series on topics such as the Marine Park, Construction in Loreto, History of the Missions, Marine Life in the World’s Aquarium.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

PRD Political Party united in support of Loreto, Mexico


On February 3rd, 2008, all the cities of Mexico were having their municipal elections for their new Presidente, or more commonly known to us as the Mayor. Most of us were consuming beer and watching the Superbowl Game. However in Mexico, NO alcohol was allowed to be served or sold within 24 hours of the voting times. A few local Loreto drinking establishments had to get special licenses to serve the non-Mexicans since they could not vote. Here’s a photo of Alfredo Rosas, General Manager of the INN at Loreto Bay and the incumbent Presidente, Yuan Yee.


Yuan Yee of the PRD party won by a huge majority. PRD won 54.3% of the votes in Loreto, compared to 20.7% for the PAN party of the previous administration. In fact, the PRD is now in all districts throughout all of Baja California Sur and this is the same political party as the Governor of the State. Hopefully, good things will happen to this area now that the state and municipal authorities are all the same political party.


Presidente Yee will take office May 1st, 2008 for a one time term of 3 years. The Governor of the State and the President of Mexico is also a one time term for 6 years. Yolanda worked very hard for Yuan Yee’s campaign and it will be interesting to watch as he assembles his council and see how he accomplishes all his campaign promises. As soon as we can, I will have a meeting with him and report back to you on his thoughts and objectives.


Happy Birthday Cholie! Last Saturday, Mike and Cholie had a grand birthday rock ‘n roll party celebration at Del Borracho Saloon. There isn’t a person in Loreto that doesn’t love Mike & Cholie and appreciate all they have done for this community. Their good spirits, positive Can Do Attitude and great home cooking are well known.


Now their reputation for having great parties is also becoming legendary. It was another beautiful sunny day and the wind cooperated and did not blow. Del Borracho was open for regular breakfast on Saturday morning and then the partiers starting arriving at 2 pm and by 4 pm the place was packed both inside and out.


It was great to see so many people from different social, economic and diverse backgrounds chatting, dancing and getting to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere. There were many local Mexicans, long time ex-pat residents, new homeowners, and children were welcome too. There was a large group of Harley motorcyclists that rode up from Los Cabos and many of them joined the fun.


Mike and Cholie served food on the house and people patiently lined up for delicious heapings of ribs, chicken, pasta salad and coleslaw. A true Western BBQ like no other! It was the largest Receiving Line I have seen in Baja as everyone conveyed their feliz cumpleaƱos and best wishes to Cholie. Of course hugs and kisses were in order for the occasion.


They had two bands playing. The “backup” band made up of young local men were entertaining outside and getting everyone ready for the “main event” band playing inside. I admit that I do not know the band’s name, but they ROCK!! The band members are very talented and known by their “day lives” throughout the community. They have a great time and the dance floor was still packed when I left about 9 pm. Thanks again to Del Borracho Saloon. Mike and Cholie – you created another great memory!!


As to what is happening in business … BajaBOSS was visited this week by the Directors of Banorte Bank. Their Trust Services Team including the Director Adolfo Gonzalez Olhovich from Mexico City, Ernesto Fragoso MontaƱo, Sub-Director from Tijuana, and Jorge Pickett Hernandez, Fiduciario for Baja California Sur, wanted to meet us to discuss Banorte having a presence in Loreto for doing Trust Services. Many Banks now see the opportunity of Loreto and want to get in on the ground floor of new developments. It is important that they meet key players that will be instrumental to their successful integration of services for foreigners. Banorte has done over 9000 fideicomisos and we promised to try them out and see how they compare with the others.


The roads in Loreto are “almost” completed and it is nice to see an end to the large potholes and construction zone that we have lived through for almost a year. The stamped red concrete on the main streets is very attractive and once they are clean will be very impressive for locals and visitors alike. Many entrepreneurs are finding out that there is business in Loreto. Each week there is a new restaurant, taco stand or service being offered by Mexicans. There was a large trailer of carpets parked and about six guys were walking these rugs around town for sale. They had them displayed and they were very colorful. I felt that if they gave away vacuums, they would sell the carpets out in a few days!!


We still have a very strong interest from buyers for this area in all price ranges. Greg and Gina own the Bull River Guest Ranch in Cranbook, British Columbia and fell in love with Loreto and want to be part of this community. Hopefully, we will see them soon in Loreto and in the meantime check out www.bullriverguestranch.com and visit them if you are in that area. They got right into the lifestyle here by inviting neighbors, Gary & Cynthia Gant, Gary & Mary Mix, Doug & Ann Brown, and me for humongous cowboy steaks and lots of beer and wine. It was an all day party and very fun!

The US market has not had a significant impact on this area except that all Buyers want a “deal” and the sellers here are not in a position where they need to bargain much. DORADO LORETO PROPERTIES is pleased to announce 3 new listings at Loreto Bay. Check out our website to see what they are and how they compare to your home? www.doradoloreto.com

Many friends are coming to visit in the last 2 weeks of March. Let me know if you are coming to town, and maybe we can have a get together or go out on our boat www.VeleroDelMar.com See you in Loreto!
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