Que Pasa in Baja?

December 14, 2015 Edition
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Support for sport fishing. Our state government has made an effort this year to improve the sport fishing business in Baja, supporting local fishing charters with about $100,000 dollars of resources like fishing poles, GPS, life jackets  and other fishy stuff. The head of the state fishing office, Matias Arjona, said that this year the state government tried to give an extra push to the local fishing charter businesses because the El Niño phenomenon is creating ideal conditions for sports fishing since the sea water is getting warmer. He said that unusual species are now being captured here like a 328 pound marlin that was captured this year in our waters. Boy, was he lost.

Around 140 boats are involved in sport fishing in the northern Baja area with the majority of them being located in San Felipe, Bahia de Los Angeles, San Quintin and Ensenada. Quit your sniveling, Rosarito, you don’t even have a marina, and your only pier is a useless joke.  So there.

Tourism office wants more money. Don’t we all? The local tourism director in Ensenada, Amador Arteaga, said they are asking for more money for next year in order to promote the city better. He is asking for about $262,00 next year (is that too much to ask?) All they got this year was about $180,000 (really? Our beauty and recreational opportunities cannot be explained with sure a paltry amount of money).

Arteaga said that in 2008 the percentage of the municipal budget assigned for tourism was 0.41% of the total budget, and that it has gone down to 0.23% this year. The goal is to use most of the money to get about 100,000 more cruise shippers to come off the ships and to reactivate the “Return to Ensenada” program. This program was aimed at promoting the city to the cruise ship pilgrims so they would be more inclined to make a car trip to visit Ensenada on a future date.

Speaking of cruise shippers. A jewelry store in Ensenada just threw in the towel on us. Gave up on us, left us in disgust. Royal Jewelers, which has successful stores in Cabo, Alaska, and all over the Carribbean, says Ensenada doesn’t work for them. They cite the aggressive barkers on the boulevard in Ensenada. “The tourists are shell shocked after walking down the street”, says Ana Mostafo. “They feel the sales personnel in the stores are too pushy, coming out of their stores and actually berating the people who won’t come into their store”.

 Could be true, my Gringa boss won’t walk down the street anymore for that very reason.  By about the 10th aggressive store keeper who yells at her, she starts yelling back, and then it’s Katie bar the door. I feel for her safety… or the store keepers? Tough call!

She’s another Gringa who’s done with downtown Ensenada, and she’s an old Mexico hand, who makes her living down here!

A few months ago there was a movement among officials to stop this practice but it went nowhere, maybe because Mexicans don’t realize how bad our precious tourists are treated. I, for example, a Mexican, can walk down the same streets and be ignored.  I’ m sure the city officials are not molested, either, so how can they be expected to take this problem seriously?

Second access to Playas in TJ open. Our state governor, Kiko Vega, and other big honcho federal officials last week inaugurated the south access to Playas de Tijuana in a big ceremony.  Kiko said the project is an example of the excellent collaboration and team work between the three levels of government (municipal, state and federal) because they all worked on getting this done. ( Read: Sent dinero.)

The $22 million USD and 2.5 mile long road  will allow Playas citizens to have a more fluid access to and from Tijuana. This will surely go a long way in case of an emergency. And convenience. Before we all had to double back to north Playas to go south, because that was the only way out of the stilly town.

Baby blue whale corpse. A dead baby blue whale washed ashore on the beach in Ensenada. The 27 foot long baby was there for a couple of days until the Zofemat and the environmental agency staff dug a hole to bury the creature in the sand. Authorities haven’t been able to determine the cause of death but curious bystanders were alarmed because a couple of seagulls where also lying dead by the sides of the whale. Don’t mama seagulls teach their young not to put stuff in their mouth that they find on the ground? That’s motherhood 101.

Museum finally half open. After more than 8 years consolidating, the caracol (Spanish for snail) museum in Ensenada was finally opened this last week. With only three exhibitions open for now the museum still has a long way to go, but what you can see now is the Earth Room, Poles in danger, The Totoaba: A giant of the high gulf of California exhibits, and the photography exposition called Conservation Successes in Baja California. The entrance to the museum will set you back a little less than 4 bucks and they say you can finish your tour in less than 2 hours. Are you going to hand out in the smoky casino all day again, or are you going to go down to the new museum?

Fear the walking dead. The second season of the prequel to the famous The Walking Dead television series is set to be filmed in Rosarito Beach and our governor Kiko Vega is saying that this sole production is bringing us a direct economic benefit of about $35 million USD. The 15 episodes of the season will be filmed here in approximately 24 weeks.

Lots of people have been asking us about the flyers they are seeing looking for extras for a film production.  Although the casting company has been tight lipped on which show or film they are hiring for, we’re thinking it’s most likely this one. If you want to be a part of this or any other filming production here in Baja contact the Barbarella casting agency at their facebook page “Agencia BarbarellaCasting” for more information.

Good year for Rosarito. Silvano Abarca, mayor of Rosarito, stated that tourism has risen a whopping 18% in just one year (2014 vs 2015). “This historical advancement in tourism says a lot about what we have accomplished regarding the recovery of the trust that the tourist has on us, and this leaves us enthusiastically waiting for 2016 as we think it’s going to be even better”, said the mayor.

The mayor announced an investment of more than $6 million USD for a dry marina and a boat ramp south of Puerto Nuevo in order to help develop the diving industry now that the artificial reef has been opened. Also announced was the investment of more than $20 million dollars for the construction of a much needed hotel near the Baja convention center. Just how does anyone expect to fill a convention center without providing a place to stay? What were the builders of that facility thinking?

Fender guitars in Ensenada. The cultural center in Ensenada opened an exhibition of 35 fender electric guitars. All the guitars are property of the Fender Musical Instruments company in Ensenada and they show the evolution of the electric guitar through time. The exhibition will be open until the end of the year and its made as an homage to the late Leo Clarence Fender, founder of the Fender company.

The Fender factory has been in Ensenada for 28 years and it’s an important part of the local economy, providing jobs to many local people. It was one of the first world-renowned brands to set up shop in Ensenada, and many have followed after
that.