Que Pasa in Baja?

March 7, 2016 Edition
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

ollie_profile2.jpgBoosting medical tourism. In an effort to be better prepared to receive medical tourists, the state government, through the Economic Development office, has begun a campaign to supply local doctors with computers, English classes for them, and the staff, improve their branding and provide consulting on how to build their businesses. The aid to each doctor is topped at about $1,500 USD and they are required to contribute at least 10% of the amount they need.

Jesus del Palacio, head of the state economic development office, said the program objective is to leave a better impression on our precious tourists.

Sculptures removed. You may have seen some sculptures on the sidewalk in random places Ensenada: such as Emiliano Zapata’s head and human hearts. These 35 sculptures were installed by an art collective called “646” which was trying to make an urban gallery” as they were calling it.  Well as it turns out the collective didn’t get the needed permits for their gallery so the city in its infinite stupidity removed all the sculptures from around town. City officials said that nobody can be above the law and although they didn’t have anything personal against the art, it was just not permitted, and anyway, it blocked the sidewalks.

Hunting season is over. You just missed your chance to kill bugs bunny, environmental authorities have closed down hunting season.

Thelma Castañeda, head of the environmental protection office in Baja, said that during this season 492 new hunting licenses were issued and about 3,974 hunting tags, these tags are required to be placed on the animal that you kill and you need one per animal (there are different tags for every species of animals).

About $100,000 USD was collected from licenses and tags but the real money for the state comes from the lodging of the 1,200 hunters that pour into the area that authorities said spent about $3.6 million USD. Most of the hunters here in Baja come from the U.S. with only about 33% of the hunters being Mexican nationals.

Japan gives us another daycare. The Japanese government through their embassy donated more than $75,000 USD to build a much needed daycare south of Ensenada. Akira Yamada, Japanese ambassador in Mexico, explained that the project aims to help working mothers by giving them a safe place to leave their children while they work.

This is the second daycare that Japan has donated in Ensenada. “This is testimony of 400 years of friendly relations between Mexico and Japan” said Yamada.

Ensenada mayor Gilberto Hirata, is of Japanese heritage and is an active member of the Japanese Association of Ensenada, it looks like this is working out well for the city since Ensenada has tightened its relations with Japan during his government.

New hotel for Rosarito. Oscar Escobedo, head of the state tourism office, inaugurated the construction of the new City Express hotel in Rosarito. This is the 7th investment the country-wide hotel chain has made in Baja and they still have another three in their plans. About $8 million is being invested in building the 113 room hotel which will be located in the Pabellon Rosarito mall.

“Projects like this have a multiplier effect on our economy, because they encourage the opening of new businesses in town, like restaurants and services, to tend for the hotel guests”, said Escobedo.

Watch out for the flu. From October until now cases of influenza have been spreading all over Mexico this season with around 98 deaths caused by it, There have been a total of 2,818 confirmed cases countrywide. Dr. Jose Luis Sandoval, head of the ER at the National Institute of Respiratory illnesses, said the increase was e due to the delayed cold season. Whatever that has to do with it.

Uber hunted down in Ensenada. Fines amounting almost $400 are being given to anyone who is discovered providing public transportation services without a license for it. In other words, Uber.

Jose Felipe Romero, head of the transportation office of Ensenada, said they only stop vehicles when they have a previous report for it, but some Uber drivers have complained that this is not true and that they get pulled over if they are detected.

Uber, in order to counteract the measure, has been offering to pay for the fines and towing expenses when their drivers get pulled over.

Authorities say Uber is encouraging breaking the law by providing public transportation services with vehicles that are registered for personal use. Users of the service complain that legit public transportation gives bad service and it’s too expensive while Uber offers a much better cost/benefit relation. Well, this is better than in Mexico City where pissed off cab drivers are burning Uber cars.

Road construction continues. The second stage of the “Nodo PEMEX” project, in the northern part of Rosarito just begun two weeks ago with an investment of $3.6 million. The nodo PEMEX connects the toll road to the free road near the mall and of course the street that goes to the PEMEX refinery.

The project has caused major inconveniences to get onto the toll road from that part of town because of crappy signage. Now it’s going to be the other way around and the way into town from the toll road is going to be closed. Your new access to town from the toll road will be about half a mile south so heads up.

This project began construction last May and is expected to be finished by the end of October this year. Course we all know about expectations.