Sunday, October 25, 2009

Slow News Week in Loreto, Mexico

This has been another bright and sunny week in Loreto. Hurricane Rick was downgraded to a tropical storm and missed Loreto completely. We had some wind but no rain, and it is back to perfect warm days with gentle breezes. The community pool is always so inviting and at this time of year still a wonderful 80 degrees.

They did take down the thermometer that always displays minus 30 degrees C. I guess the joke got old after a long hot summer?! Loreto Bay has now posted Pool Rules, which can be viewed on my property management site at www.bajaboss.com for those that live here.

I have had my head down and focused on team meetings with both my Baja BOSS Property Managers and our Dorado Properties Real Estate team that are arriving back to Loreto for the winter. So, not much to write about this week …

The main buzz in Loreto Bay was around the Community Pool where people made new friends and met their neighbors. There was an impromptu happy hour on Friday which was nice to chat in a relaxed setting. The men left earlier as hunger set in, but the girls (Lindsay, Jennifer, Lorna, and Lorene) just kept drinking and telling naughty jokes.

Happy Birthday to Patti McNulty! She is looking radiant with friends Dale and Loretta at her side. There was much laughter and it was still early when I left, so not sure what the late night plans were. It was a very nice crowd and everyone was positive enjoying the beginnings of our community forming.

The party was at the home of Mike and Sue Matthews on the poolside. They had it catered complete with Sangria and Mexican appetizers. Tables were set up outside and people mingled in and out of their home, which has undergone some very nice renovations. People passing by were all invited to join in and it was an easy going atmosphere.

Many homeowners are returning for longer stays now that it is approaching winter in many northern climates. It is good to see familiar faces and hearty hellos. A few of us ventured over to the INN for dinner. There was a large table of 12 people who were on an off road racing tour, which was great to see. It kept the one waiter and cook hopping, but as long as the cervezas were flowing, no one seemed to mind.

My friend Alfredo Rosas, formally the GM of INN is now the Sales & Marketing Manager of La Mision Hotel. He called to let me know they were having a Halloween party on October 31st. Unfortunately, I will not in Loreto this week but it should be a lot of fun. Check it out!

Where in the World is Nellie? Quien Sable?!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Loreto ... Lush Tropical Countryside

Who knew?! The recent concentration of rains has made this desert paradise more similar to Kauai, Hawaii than the normal comparison of Phoenix, Arizona.

This little town has seemed to awaken in the last week with last Sunday's flight bringing in more than 100 people. This is more seats on one flight than we have seen for many months. There are more cars in Loreto Bay and downtown, the restaurants are busier that we have seen since before the media craze of Swine Flu, and people are happy.

For those that have endured the heat and vast emptiness of the summer, we become euphoric and giddy when we see people we know. There is the irresistible urge to run up and hug them as though we were embracing long lost friends. In some ways, this is true. We appreciate the simple things such as passing time laughing at fish stories because we know what it is like to not have someone to share them with.

Sharing awesome experiences is another common pastime here. Although sometimes you must be ready, willing and available to go outside of your comfort zone. If you don’t leave the house, you won’t be around for the impulsive spontaneity of “let’s do it” ideas that crop up regularly.

There are so many things to do here; yet nothing at all. This depends upon one’s outlook and attitude. Not everyone must be a fisherman, golfer, hiker, or into water sports to be active. There are many people that enjoy leisurely walks at sunrise, getting together for Spanish lessons, or card games. You simply must leave the house and find like minded people. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes here.

This week we hiked Tabor Canyon which was spectacular. Take the highway south and when you get to the entrance of Pt. Escondido, take a right turn on the dirt road and go as far as you can. These are the photos taken in the mid afternoon, and I would recommend going in the morning. Wear good shoes and keep your hands free as there is a bit of navigating and rock climbing.

There were several small waterfalls, hundreds of baby frogs, but not another person when we were there. It takes a full day to get to the top, and some serious hikers will camp overnight and then come back the next day. I will not see this in my lifetime! However, even going into the canyon for an hour or two, you will see incredible beauty and it is well worth the effort of taking the path less traveled.

We came upon this waterfall and small lake that was well over 12 feet deep. In the middle of the afternoon, the water was far too cool and clear not to be tempted to jump in. Life doesn’t get any better!

Boys and their toys is why I love Baja! We took the road to Prima Aqua and I have never seen it so beautiful. Fields of mesquite and green trees that seem to have grown 4 feet in the last few weeks go as far as the eye can see.

The backdrop of the Sea of Cortez and Mountains are spectacular every direction you look. As we wandered along the arroyo, there is remaining water still running from the mountains creating life all around.

We saw baby cows, and hundreds of goats … I LOVE the goats! You can spend an entire day exploring and not see another person. There are several places to rent ATVs; you just need to ask around. La Mision Hotel has many different varieties for rent and you can see them parked along the malecon.

The rock formations are just as interesting as the different botanical varieties. Simply walking a little further, one finds the most wonderful spots such as this waterfall. This is a peaceful place to hang out and share the moment with friends.

The water is raging and it took a bit of effort for Mel to become part of the wall of water and stone. It doesn’t matter how old we get, we are never too old to play. Did I mention that life doesn’t get better than this?

Have a great week!
Miss Nellie

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Del Borracho in Loreto is Open for Business Again!

The highlight of my week was having lunch at Del Borracho Saloon located just off the main highway 5 minutes from downtown Loreto on the road to San Javier. Mike and Chole took the summer off to work on their guest cabins and marketing the Western Style Resort and we sure missed them! They have the best hamburgers, salads and soups north of La Paz! Great food, reasonable prices, friendly service, and a place where everyone knows your name! Drop by and see Mike’s newest Hedge Dragster ... before it takes off!

Many of you know my right hand person in business, Jeanny Pinedo. Over the past 3 years, Jeanny and I have lived and learned a lifetime of education about doing business in Mexico and specifically Loreto, Baja. We are still laughing, albeit much wiser. While I had a sabbatical this summer, Jeanny has been busy being a new mom and has a brand new baby girl named Lucile to keep little Pedro company. We had her Baby Shower at Del Borracho and there is not a better place for a party in a relaxed comfortable setting.

Jeanny is now doing business under her own company BCS Baja Consulting. She is sharing an office with my Accountant Adriana Drew, and their office is on H. de Independencia esq. Ignacio Allende near the Police Station. Adriana also owns the Stationery Store at Quatro Altos (4 stop corner at Independencia and Benito Jueves). It was great to see Yolanda who is looking great! She is the Director of DIF which is a government agency rehabilitating and helping those in need. Many of you helped out with contributions towards her home and I am pleased to say that it is “almost” finished and furnished. Yolanda and her family are enjoying it very much! Thanks!!

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now

Alan Lakein
Creator of Lakein’s Question: “What is the best use of my time right now?”

Congratulations to Bill and Julie Thompson on having the first custom home completed in Aqua Viva! Slightly more than a year ago, Bill and Julie took control of their fate and investment by hiring Finton Construction to build their custom home and Loreto dream. Now they have a beautiful reality that they can enjoy, even in the midst of organized chaos.

I was invited to view the home by Robin Donaldson. I commend Santa Barbara Architects Shubin & Donaldson on never giving up, continuing to promote, invest, and turn the Loreto Bay vision into solid quality homes for many custom owners. It has been five years that they have regularly come to Loreto, supported the local economy, and bought a Loreto Bay custom lot in 2005, to be a part of something great.

This is Finton Construction Mexico’s first completed home. Robin Donaldson, Russell Shubin, John Finton and Daniel Tontini are all equal partners in this construction company. Together they provide architects and builders with collectively well over 100 years custom home experience building in Loreto Bay. They are completely independent of any builders associated with Loreto Bay. They have their own construction crews and provide local training with US trained supervisors on the job to keep the highest quality standards.

The Thompson home was completed in thirteen months from start to finish, as promised by Finton. The 2600 sq. ft. home is simple in design with true courtyard living to bring the outdoors inside. It is open on two sides on the canal and designed to make the most of the views, yet maintaining privacy and practical living.

Having resided in Victoria, Seattle, Scottsdale and Loreto, I am not impressed easily. What I noticed immediately walking through the home was the quality of finishes and functionality that most people overlook. There is a 4000 gallon cistern that provides steady water pressurization. It is actually built in and properly plumbed to be esthetically pleasing and efficient.

The air conditioning units are Daikin which are recognized globally as top of the line … and again are built in and hidden from view behind these cabinet doors. All cabinet doors are well made and slide smoothly, with quality door handles that will not break or loosen within a few weeks. These extra touches are an indication of the quality that Finton maintains for its customers. Their contract price reflects their standards and is good value if you are looking for the very best.

I toured some of the other Finton homes under construction and was most impressed how clean and organized they were. Robin tells me that he has a night watchman on every home they have under construction for security. I have been through every home in Founders Neighborhood several times during construction and never have I seen one with so few flaws as the Finton homes.

The simple pleasure of appreciating the level door frame; smooth finished plaster; ceiling lights centered and all rough in plumbing and electrical is properly enclosed. This was a spontaneous tour, and still there was no garbage or debris anywhere on the site.

This custom home on the golf course has a grand rock wall that leads into a circular courtyard. They are using a special high end acrylic paint that is amazingly smooth to the touch, look and feel of the interior spaces. The circular fountain will showcase the backdrop of the mountain views beautifully.

We had more rain last week than during Hurricane Jimena. As a Property Manger, I appreciate the smooth clean finish of the membrane on this roof that goes up the walls so there is no water seepage between the joints. Anyways, the rain has made the mountains and surrounding areas more lush and green that I have seen for many years. There are many fat cows, horses and their babies feeding near the highway, so please slow down and enjoy the scenery.

Only Loreto Bay homeowners really know about the vision, lifestyle, and passion that evoked them to buy in the first place. It is easy to stand on the sidelines and offer comments, criticisms, and the ever abundant hindsight, if you never believed enough to buy here in the first place. It is not something that one can explain easily. Like many great things in life, you can not rationalize it. It is not for everyone, but the dream is still alive and well thanks to the sheer determination of many homeowners. We welcome everyone to our community.

Have a great week!
Miss Nellie

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It is raining in Loreto! Warm and Refreshing!

This has been a very busy week and so many things have been accomplished that my head is spinning. Yet, typical Loreto style, not much of this matters. It’s just another day in paradise and we enjoy the moment.

We had some beautiful weather earlier this week, and I was invited on a yacht to take photos of Loreto Bay from the water. You can see the many beach front homes taking shape and that is exciting. More people are now taking advantage of the downturn to build homes at realistic prices and without the many guidelines and burdens of dealing with Loreto Bay Company. We should see 4 more beachfront homes completed in 2009.

The INN is open to the public, but the operations are very sad. If you have very low expectations, then you will not be disappointed. There is a minimal staff, many of whom work from 6am to 11 pm for very little wages. They are short staffed since there are few visitors or guests at the moment. If they do happen to get a busy spell of 5 tables in the restaurant, do not be alarmed if you see the Head of Housekeeping or the Maintenance appear to be your waiter. Just smile, accept that they are trying to help, and tip generously!

The new airport is fully open and operational. My friend Jesus is the new airport manager and gave me a tour. He is very happy to be in Loreto and takes great pride that this will become an important part of the future of Loreto. This airport is much more beautiful than Cabo San Lucas, complete with areas for retail shops, car rental stations, and both domestic and international gates.

Pedro Lopez from Porto Bello Restaurant in Pt. Escondido has opened a new restaurant at the airport. It is beautiful and open 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 4 pm. This is a great place to meet friends for breakfast or lunch, or grab a quick panani sandwich to go for your flight. His menu is the same as Porto Bello and reasonable.

Pedro is getting much local support which is very important. It is a casual meeting place, elegant, and relaxing with a touch of class and fully air conditioned. There are a couple of couches that can seat groups of 8 comfortably for drinks or meeting friends before your flight. Please support Pedro and the airport, and tell him Nellie says Hi!

This week we had some magnificent thunder and lightening storms, which lowered the temperatures below 80 degrees. It was nice to see the rain and feel the tranquil ambiance that it brings. Everything seems to have been washed and clean. There is no dust flying about and it is very peaceful.

Our team was busy checking the houses, and we were amused about the many side gardens being flooded. So typical of Loreto Bay construction, which does no harm but doesn’t make a lot sense either. Luckily it only rains 8 days a year! There are many interesting things if one is only aware. I was checking this home where the side garden was under 6 inches of rain. It’s just water and will evaporate in a couple of days.

I saw out of the corner of my eye something large move very fast. On a closer look, I was surprised that it was a crab?! This is in a home behind a walled gate, on the other side of the paseo no where near the beach. How did it get here? Did the wind bring it over the wall… does it fly? Anyways, I left it alone and hopefully it will find its way back to where it belongs. Otherwise, we may have to go to the garden to pick crabs for dinner?

This is the season for bugs … the cockroaches grow to a couple of inches in size and actually fly! There are large spiders with spots that look like black widows, but they are not poisonous… however, you don’t want them laying hundreds of eggs in your home. There are crickets, ants, termites, and yes the infestation of mosquitoes, along with many other varieties of crawly things. The grasshoppers and butterflies will come soon. The absence of bats and dragonflies is noticeable as they feed on mosquitoes. Even with regular pest control spraying; it doesn’t seem to have much effect without Mother Nature’s predators.

The streets were deserted in Loreto Bay yesterday as most workers stayed home and took a rain day. However, it was good to see Security out in their rain gear patrolling the common areas. We see so few people in Nopolo these days that when we do, it’s always a cause to stop and greet each other with friendly smiles and take a moment to chat. Isn’t this why we all want to live here?

Have a great week!

Miss Nellie
centerpointe