Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple Pleasures in Loreto, Mexico

Life doesn’t get much better than a quiet day in Loreto, where you can expect the unexpected. It’s been another bright and sunny week to enjoy the golf course and natural beauty that surrounds us. Taking time from work to hang out with friends is my favorite activity. No doubt this will be a reoccurring theme of my blog this summer.

I went fishing with Randolpho and his son Patrick with Capt. Chino. It was such an amazing day and Randolpho was really lucky … it’s all about luck and of course, Chino’s skill as a master captain. We saw hundreds of baby dolphins playing without a care; a pod of a 10 pilot whales, manta ray, flying fish, seals, sailfish jumping and most importantly, the big dorado. It is always amazing to watch as Chino sees a sailfish or dorado miles off in the distance, turns the boat in full circle, baits the hook and casts the line right to the fish. Then watch as they bite within seconds!

Norma has a new Spa located on the main road just before leaving town towards the highway. This was my first time and definitely will become a regular ritual to even further relax me. What a life I have!! Here the receptionist and me are below the large Loreto Spa sign, so you know what to look for. She is English speaking and it’s easy to make an appointment by calling 613 135 0455.

The BEST way to end a busy week such as I have, is to go with a friend to Norma’s Salon and have a pedicure. We brought chilled wine, sat in massage chairs, caught up on the week’s Loreto news, while we were pampered for an hour. Lulu was terrific and the massage chairs were an added bonus.

We had a tour of the Spa afterwards and were very impressed with what Loreto now offers. They offer the usual treatments of manicure, facials, massages, nice bathrooms with showers for men and women (separate of course). The equipment is new and they even have an Exfoliating Body Scrub and Vichy Shower Treatment Room. If you have never had this, it is a wonderful way to get rid of all dust and dirt that seems to permeate our skin living in Loreto, while offering a completely tranquilizing experience.

Soon to be open is a whirl pool room which can be reserved for private groups to relax after their treatments, or for couples to enjoy some romantic time alone. I think this is the birthday party place for grown ups with discriminating tastes. Celebrating a special event in Loreto? Call Norma’s and be ready to be pampered. Call me if you need friends!

Contrary to popular belief, I do work full time in managing a real estate company in Loreto. On Saturday morning, I took Ariel Klein and Drew McNabb on a realtor tour to view some spectacular beachfront property south of Loreto. Although Ariel and Drew specialize in Loreto Bay, it is always good to see the comparables and realize that $600,000 can buy you 4 acres with 400 ft of sandy beach next to the Villa Group Ensenada Blanca project. Feel free to contact arielk@loretobay.com or drew@doradoloreto.com for more information.

All work and no play make us very dull. Loreto is all about relationships and we often take the time to mix business with pleasure. We drove off the beaten track and ended up at Pt. Escondido and Puerto Bello Restaurant. We shared a Chef’s Salad and large pizza with pepperoni, sausage and olives. It was ample and delicious. The service was quick, but we slowed things down with a few cervezas. Prices were reasonable, and view outstanding. Highly recommended!

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay watching the crews clean the nearby yachts, we all of sudden heard Carlos Santana’s music full blast. The rhythm brings back good memories and a smile to my face. Pedro feels it too and comes over to dance with me. So spontaneously and naturally, we are doing the salsa in the middle of the day for no reason other than we can. That is Living La Vida Loca!

Have a great week!

Miss Nellie

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back in Beautiful Sunny Loreto

It was nice to be away, and even better to be back. Temperatures are in the mid to high 80’s, with 50% humidity which is great for the skin. The plane was half full, but I did not recognize too many people and there were few fishermen with coolers or reels.

What was immediately noticeable is how quiet the streets are downtown and in Loreto Bay. Walking several times from my home located near the 9th green to the INN this weekend, I did not come across another person. There are a few people in the Snack Shack for dinner, but mostly the place is deserted.

We blame much of this on the swine flu media craze, and there are still no concerns about this in Baja California Sur. People are still continuing to cancel their travel plans here and we are expecting a very quiet summer for tourism.

Coming from the lush greenery of Victoria to Loreto is a sharp contrast of tranquil beauty. The photos this week are taken at the INN at Loreto Bay today. There are a few homeowners in residence and the topic is usually how perfect this place is. The weather is wonderful, and it is safe, peaceful, and stunningly beautiful.

We sat under a palapa on the beach quietly visiting, reading, and just watching life as it should be. I am always amazed how much cooler it is by the water. Since I live and work here full time, I don’t always take time to smell the roses either. It really doesn’t get better than this!

Being away from Loreto, it is easy to put it to the back of our minds and forget about visiting. But remember why you bought here and come back soon to “live in the now”. Walk along the beach and watch the birds flying from dawn to dusk. Do some golfing on the 18 hole course and take in the beauty of the mountains course itself.


I know that as summer approaches, there are other family vacation destinations and the weather is good back home, but we all look forward to seeing you back in Loreto soon.

Have a great week!

Miss Nellie

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses in Victoria, BC

This has been a very relaxing week visiting friends and family. Temperatures range between mid 50’s to low 60’s degrees F. This is perfect weather for a nice brisk walk and stopping for coffee and pastries, which seem to tempt us at every corner.

I am in awe of the lush foliage every where and am happy to be sharing photos of ordinary roads and sights that one sees on a typical day if they are just aware. It is aptly named the “City of Gardens” because if you do not take pride in your landscaping and yard work, then you should own a condo!

Victoria is famous for its Butchart Gardens, Empress Hotel, and Parliament Buildings lit up nightly all year round. Another one of my favorite sites is the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and snow capped Olympic Mts. Victoria was ranked #16 of 100 Top World Destinations in the 2008 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards.

I have wandered aimlessly through the busy shopping malls, browsing and enjoying the simple luxuries of having a varied selection of endless colors, sizes, and sale prices. I found myself being tempted on numerous occasions, but then I realized where I live … and what would I do with most of these beautiful shoes and clothes in Loreto? not much?

I also have enjoyed many of the wonderful restaurants and different cultural foods available. This is halibut and salmon season, mussels and oysters are also popular. Fresh baked bread never tasted so good! There are so many great patisseries where the goods look as beautiful as they are delicious. This is truly a wonderful place to visit. Just make sure you bring your warm clothing and umbrella. It rains often but not for long. This is a wonderful excuse to make a fire and try some good cottage wines of the area.

One of my favorite foods is fresh Atlantic lobster, and the Victoria stores carry live lobsters and crabs for the most discriminating tastes. I was invited as a surprise guest to a Lobster Party and it was fun to see the shocked faces of friends seeing me out of the Loreto context. Of course, as a ritual I had to play with my food … at least this time I waited until they were already cooked!

In addition to the gardens, beaches, snow capped mountains, and forests of trees, you will see very special Totem Poles. These are an art form unique to the Northwest Coast of British Columbia and Washington State. The commission for a modern pole ranges in the tens of thousands of dollars; the time spent carving after initial designs are completed usually lasts about a year, so the commission essentially functions as the artist's primary means of income during the period. This beautiful and unique carving is located at my friend’s home in Oak Bay, which was once known as “living behind the tweed curtain”.

This is also a popular Cruise Ship Port of Call. In the last four days, there have been TEN cruise ships visit our fair city, bringing 23,000 visitors. This represents tremendous tourist dollars for those foreigners on their way to Alaska and wanting to take home a “little bit of Britain” or at least something Canadian, eh?

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, Princess Cruise Lines, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, all have ships docking this week, each carrying between 1440 and 3114 passengers. Although I have lived in Victoria most of my life, there are sights that continually amaze me, like these giant floating cities docked in our normally quiet sleepy harbor. It is best not to ever take these simple pleasures for granted.

Getting back to Loreto … this week I am showcasing our best priced Casa Bohemia FN167 at $429,000. It comes with $75,000 in furniture, electronics, house wares and artwork. The Bohemia was one of the most popular floor plans with 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, larger courtyard and several side gardens. This unit has never been lived in and shows well.

Adding on another rooftop pergola with curtains would expand the privacy and outdoor living area by another 500 sq. ft. or more. By taking advantage of the current market and status of unfinished construction in the area, you will be making a good investment for the future. Visit www.doradoloreto.com listing number 008-021 for more information.

Have a great week!

Miss Nellie

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day From Loreto To Victoria

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all women, regardless of whether they are mothers or daughters. Here’s a toast to all the women that nurture, care for, and take time from their own interests to encourage and support one another and all the men around us. These are photos from regular gardens around Victoria today. Enjoy!

This week I traveled from Loreto to Victoria, BC, without incident and very little hoopla about Swine Flu. Checking in at Loreto Airport, I was asked to complete a simple questionnaire about any symptoms of having temperatures in excess of 39 degrees Celsius (it’s hot okay), coughing (dirt and dust), sore limb joints (too much fishing, hiking or dancing), and irritable redness in the eyes (lack of sleep).

I imagined regular tourists being confused if they had symptoms of influenza or remnants of tequila nights? It was necessary to present my questionnaire to the airport doctor who took my temperature (in my ear) before giving me the okay to travel. It would be nice to always know that I wasn’t traveling with some infected carrier who was spreading a cold virus through the air ventilation system of airplanes!

LAX was the busiest that I have seen in a very long time. We landed at the same time as a couple of large flights from Cambodia, Korea, and other international destinations. The airport was amazingly efficient given the amount of people and bags that were moved through. As usual, I was impressed by simple things such as a large vending machine of expensive handheld electronics. Bored and have time on your hands? Simply swipe your credit card and choose your mode of distraction to twitter away the time. Yes, I am back to an instant gratification society based on credit and having our temptations fulfilled through flexible payment plans.

I am showing my age, as this is far too Star Trek for me! Ooops, that’s making a comeback now too. Haven’t we had enough of Capt Kirk for one lifetime without having to relive his youth and continuum of fighting Klingon warships for 5 decades! I admit being an avid fan of the banter between Kirk, Spock and Bones when I was a small child held captive in front on the TV babysitter, but I would like to think that my horizons have broadened. I guess the more things change, the more they remain the same. Our youth are still fascinated with travel and challenges of the dark side … To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before... How original, eh?

It is a cool 59 degrees in Victoria during the middle of the day. The air is fresh and the blossoms are starting to show their true colors. There is freshness in the air and everything feels like it has been rinsed off with rain. There is no dust and dirt to walk through and it is not necessary to look down as we can assume there is no uneven pavement or construction debris to trip us. Simple pleasures. It is a nice place to visit, but I admit that living in a small town like Loreto half the year still has much appeal.

Before the swine flu outbreak, Loreto was seeing a positive economic improvement, just like many other parts of the world. Tourism was stronger than 2008, and we had more sales in the first 4 months of this year than all of last year combined. Dorado Properties Loreto now has 30 resale listings in Loreto Bay. We encourage all our sellers to list at realistic prices in today’s market, and because of this we are seeing reasonable offers being made. It should be noted that there are over 400 Village Homes completed at Loreto Bay, and there are approximately 10% of them for sale. This is relatively low given that this is a second vacation home destination in these difficult times. Although we have a few people that must sell to meet other financial commitments, there are also those whose lifestyle has changed from when the purchased 4 or 5 years ago. All very normal and to be expected.

The home we feature this week is FN140 which is a 2 bdrm Casa Chica with extra large back garden. It shows well, and the garden adds another 300 sq. ft. of comfortable living space on the main level. It has just been reduced by $64,000 USD and now priced at $325,000 to sell.

This is less than 2004 pricing when you consider the upgrades, landscaping, full furniture package to Loreto Bay Rental Ready requirements. These include 3 TVs, central system phones in each bedroom and main living area; all artwork, house wares and linen package, including spa quality bath robes. The furniture package is valued at $50,000 alone.

You enter this Casa Chica home off a quiet paved lane, and yet it has easy access to the street to bring in groceries, water and beer. Centrally located and easy to find, this home offers many features and benefits to someone wanting the best investment value in Loreto today.

We will miss these great neighbors who are sad to give up their vision of community, but life is full of change. We can help those discover the benefits of living Loreto to make a positive change too. For more information, visit www.doradoloreto.com and view Listing Number 008-020. Email me at nellie@doradoloreto.com for more information.

Fishing season is upon us in Loreto, and there are signs that this will be another spectacular year. The yellow tail are abundant and running between 30 to 50 lbs. Even novices can catch these! So come on down, it is hot and humid, but nothing a few cervezas and afternoons lazing under the beach palapa listening to the gentle waves lulling you into a relaxed siesta won’t cure. www.bloodydecks.com/forums/ has some great blogging on fishing in Loreto.

We hope that people will not believe all they hear in the media, and realize that Loreto still remains the safe sleepy quiet haven it has for 300 years when the Jesuit Priests discovered heaven on earth. Tourism is down, all the local businesses are hurting, so be generous with your time and tips are appreciated more than usual. What goes around comes around, and we will remember your kindness more than anything else. Please Pay It Forward!

Have a great day, and hope to see you in Loreto!

Miss Nellie

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Swine Who? Everyday in Loreto is Another Day in Paradise!



One of the simple pleasures of living la vida loca is that I don’t miss the media hype and sensationalism of a slow news day. There are no fears in Loreto about being attacked by the angry H1N1 virus, no desperate search for face masks and no one avoiding the festivities of Loreto Days this weekend because they are afraid of public places.

On April 30, State Tourism Secretary Alberto Trevino declared that the State of Baja California Sur remains free of the swine flu virus. No confirmed cases neither have been registered nor suspected. The entity is virus free. NOTE: Baja California Sur is a different State than Baja California.

On May 1, Baja California’s Health Secretariat acknowledged that the state’s first four cases of swine flu, all of them in Mexicali the state capital. A spokesman said the patients have recovered and are in good health.

Please note that Mexicali is in the State of Baja California (which we consider Baja Norte) and a long way away from here. It is situated on the US – Mexico border with a population of 1.25 Million people. Come on folks, let’s put things into perspective. I feel safer in Loreto than Los Angeles for many reasons. The worst threat here is a cow jumping out onto the road when I am driving too fast … how bad is that?

I was astounded to learn that every year 36,000 people die in the United States as a result of standard influenza. Most of these fatalities are either in the very young or old, or otherwise medically compromised individuals. This was one of the initial concerns for H1N1 that seems to attack strong and healthy individuals in their prime. World Health Organization (WHO) is backing away from this concern now, as further studies have been made.

There was much panic last week created by media hype. As of today, it is not expected that any borders will be closed or that travel will be restricted to any region of Mexico or the world. It is true that Mexico closed many government offices, schools and businesses as of Friday May 1 through May 5. However, this is not terribly significant as the 1st and 4th are both national holidays and this will provide an extended weekend for many employees. Schools national wide are currently closed to May 6th … what a nice break for the upcoming Mother’s Day which is a revered holiday in Mexico.

Alaska Airlines has introduced some amazing seat sales for many of its destinations. You must book before May 14, and travel between May 15 and September 30, 2009. I may fly Seattle to San Francisco for $59 one way … just because I can! Flights to Loreto are still more expensive because it is not a high volume traffic run during the summer. However, flights from Seattle to Los Cabos are $290 return! If you have a large family or group, it almost pays to fly to Cabo and rent a car to enjoy the drive up for a longer stay.

So what is better than being in Loreto during the global economic meltdown; the threat of drug cartels 1161 kms away; and pandemic of influenza? A day on the water! REEL TROUBLE is back in business, just in time for fishing season. Tourism was down considerably last year and I fear that the same may happen this summer. However, we are forever hopeful that we may have quality business if not quantity.

Capt. Chino had a tough day touring Lynda Rutherford and all her girlfriends, including yours truly, on a 4 hour cruise around the Sea of Cortez. It was another incredible day in Loreto, 86 degrees and calm. The water was 73 degrees and perfect for playing in the water at Coronado Isle. We even ordered hundreds of dolphins to perform and wish Linda the very happiest of birthdays!

Have a great week, and no worries … we will all still be here when you return!

Miss Nellie
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