Que Pasa in Baja?

BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Surprise at the airport. Two lion cubs were found in a box in the cargo area of the Tijuana Airport.  Airport police heard strange roars from the boxes, and when they opened them, found two real live  lions. They  were addressed to go to Cancun. At press time, the federal police were checking the paperwork.

Reminds us of the time the boss was sneaking her cat from Cabo to Phoenix. She didn’t want to pay the $100 cat fee. But the Phoenix officials pulled a surprise check on her luggage and swiftly put her stuff through the Xray tunnel. The conveyor belt suddenly screeched to a halt and the cop asked if there was a live cat in there. The boss didn’t know what to say, so she said, “There was a live cat. Don’t know about that now. “ Ever since then Santiago has been a little off in the head, if you ask me.

Tuna fishing legal.  Authorities have finally lifted the ban on sport fishing for blue fin tuna, after proof was submitted by the sport fishing association that killing these fish didn’t represent a real danger to the population of critters, and in fact it brought a lot of economic benefits to the area. Used to be blue fin tuna was marked as a catch and release species only but sport fishermen said that wouldn’t work because tuna gets so beaten up when they catch it, it’s useless to release them to die at sea.

Baja becoming an international destination. Baja has taken on a new role as an international tourist destination. Several international media outlets have visited the state in order to write articles about what we offer here.  Just this last month a team from National Geographic – Russia, visited us to write an article about us. Also, people from the French version of GQ magazine swung by to write a six page feature article on us.

In the coming months, more than 26 media outlets from countries such as the USA, France, Argentina, Chile and Colombia are scheduled to arrive to cook up articles on us.

 Everybody look sharp, look smiley, and be helpful.

The President visits Baja. On June 1st, president Peña made a quick visit to Ensenada for the national Navy day ceremony. The president congratulated the navy for the work they have done in Mexican waters and there was a ceremony for the sailors who died in service to the republic.

Kiko Vega, our state governor, thanked the president for visiting and he talked about the joint investments the federal and state governments are making on infrastructure.  He talked about the expansion of the Ensenada port to increase its capacity threefold, the project to modernize the El Sauzal port just a few miles north of Ensenada, and the creation of a train route that will huff and chuff between Ensenada and Tecate.  All this is focused on having more logistic advantages, leading to economic advantages for us all. 

The president was greeted by about 500 protestors picketing over a variety of issues, including teachers protesting their pay, people demanding  that Peña  resign, people picketing about the increase in sales tax, people fussing about the 43 student protestors  killed in Guerrero,  and a few more miscellaneous  gripes and whines. Whatever happened to voting? Less than half the population bothered to vote in midterms last week, but you sure wouldn’t know it from all the picketing around here.

Foodie alert!  We just got a new award, this time given by the international FoodieHub.tv website.  La Cocina de Doña Esthela in the wine valley was presented with the “Tastiest Breakfast in the World” award for their Machaca and eggs dish. This restaurant is a modest place, with big portions of food and fair prices. I wouldn’t say this is the best breakfast in the entire world, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. It’s good to see that not only the fine dining restaurants get recognition, but the down home cooking gets noticed too.

San Quintin figured out. Finally the government, the private companies, and the field workers in San Quintin have reached an agreement. The field workers have been protesting low wages and no bennies. They finally agreed on a $10 to $12 USD per day salary, depending on the type of work, with a two week end of year bonus. And, the land owners have to contribute to their social security and health benefits.

Castaway found in TJ Isaac Aufman McNeal, 71, was found on a beach in Tijuana five days after disappearing while fishing from his boat off the coast of California.  Turns out his motor crapped out on him and the currents blew him down to Mexico. The old man of the sea was pretty thirsty by the time he washed up on our shores, but otherwise in pretty good shape.

Baja 500 a success. There were some headaches that threatened the Baja 500 even getting started, but it did go off.

The San Quintin farmer protests looked like they were going to get in the way.  And some land owners upped the ante on payments  they were demanding to race through their property. Then a key organizer got very sick.

But the race must go on, and it did.

There were no major accidents, but like always there were some dummies who were run over by the race cars and some crashes were also recorded, but hey, it’s a race after all!

Hotel occupancy over that weekend was 4% higher compared to last year. Even our very own state secretary of tourism, Oscar Escobedo, said that he had to stay in a private house on Saturday because he was unable to find a room. Hotels where almost maxed out with 98% occupancy on Friday and 100% on Saturday. Adding to this, around 5,000 tourists arrived on board two cruise ships over the weekend. We don’t want to hear any more whining from our merchants, and, hey, why don’t you spend some of that dinero on an ad in the GG? We know you can afford it now.

Selling electricity to U.S. The Intergen and the IEnova companies, a subsidiarie of the San Diego based Sempra Energy, built a wind energy farm in the Sierra de Juarez region of Ensenada. The companies jointly invested $300 million USD to build the farm, which already has 47 wind turbines producing electricity. The investment was made after they secured a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric to buy all the energy produced in Mexico for the next 20 years, which shouldn’t be hard since SDG&E is owned by Sempra Energy too.

Carlos Loyola, chief of external affairs for IEnova, said this was the first cross-border wind energy project between the US and Mexico. The park generates 155 megawatts that are exported to the southern California region. The park has the potential to be connected to the Mexican power grid too, but we’re guessing that won’t happen unless they secure a contract with CFE, the Mexican government owned electricity agency.

Update on Baja discount card. Last issue I wrote about the discount card you can get in the tourist office. These cards are great, giving you discounts all over Baja. After receiving an email from Cash Taylor, one of our readers, saying that he was denied the card in the tourist office, I called Marco Padilla, coordinator of tourist affairs, at the tourism office and he said the card is intended for residents of Baja and that Americans living here qualify to get it but proof of residency may be required and that means having a permanent residency card which I know most of you don’t have.  Sorry guys!

Geeze,  and we complain that they ask us Mexicans for an American electricity bill when we want to get credit in the States! We all just jump through hoops all over the place, all the time. Same shit, different country.