Que Pasa in Baja?

April 18, 2016 Edition
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Reforesting Baja in high tech. Baja just started reforesting arid areas of the state with a device imported from the Netherlands called cocoon.  The gadget allows a baby tree to have enough water for its first six months of life, giving it enough time to grow and be stronger to resist droughts. The container-like device holds 22 liters of water and transports it little by little to the roots of the tree. After 3 years the thing completely bio-degrades. It’s made by the Dutch company Land Life and it has already been used in reforestation projects in the states of Mexico and Michoacan. So how do you think Johnny Appleseed’s trees made it through babyhood? Time for these trees to toughen up, we’d say, like apple trees.

Wine Festivities. A couple weeks ago the shellfish and new wine festival 2016 opened this year’s wine festivities season.  This festival brings together restaurants, shellfish purveyors , and of course wine stompers, in a great afternoon by the sea.

Although the official vendimia,  (grape harvest), celebrations don’t start until August, there are several great wine events before  that which are worth attending. The Flowering Vineyards May 14 at Bibayoff winery this yea, is a great event to take the whole family to, as they have several kids’ activities where the little buggers can participate while you get wasted at the wine booths. Well, that’s what I do. The wife drivers us all home.

For a full list of wine events visit Provino website at www.provinoac.org. Warning! Warning! It’s a Spanish only website.

Whale season ends. But we had a good one this year. Whale watching tour providers reported a 30% increase in tours this year compared to 2015. This meant about 3,000 more visitors.

Also this year, according to the president of the sport fishing association, they were able to show whales in virtually all tours.

In the short four hour tour that goes out from the docks in Ensenada, whale watchers are taken to the Punta Banda peninsula to watch dolphins and birds, and then they putt putt over to Todos Santos Island.

There is also a tour that will take you all the way south to Ojo de Liebre where whales go to have their babies. Hey! A little privacy there, please!

it’s the law Although is not always enforced in Baja California, the law states that any rent for a residential house must be quoted in Mexican pesos, and that if it’s stated in another currency it has to be paid in pesos at the exchange rate on the day of the signing of the contract.

A new law, that is still in congress, would extend this benefit to commercial and industrial spaces too.

Sal Fish almost got a street. Ensenada city council was deciding on the proposal by off road race car driver Robert Acer to change the name of part of the main boulevard to Baja 1000 because of the strong relation between the city and the famous off road race. The proposal was seen as controversial by citizens and authorities alike because they consider the main boulevard a historic street. The current name of the boulevard is Lazaro Cardenas, which pays homage to the Mexican president who yanked away all of Mexico’s oil wells from foreign companies and created PEMEX.

In the same proposal, the street to the side of the San Nicolas Hotel was proposed to be renamed  Sal Fish to pay tribute to the guy who brought us the great SCORE off road races and made the city’s name known internationally. But this proposal didn’t pass even the first stage since the people who owned property on the street where against it. The current street name is Tritones, you would think any name would be better than that but nooo…

In Mexico, when renaming a street, it is supposed to have the approval of at least 80% of the property owners on the street. That’s if they bother to ask because most of the time they don’t.

Lots of foreign kids enrolled in school. Holly guacamole! We need a Mexican Donald Trump, fast! The state school system just reported that almost 57,000 students enrolled in Baja were foreigners. That’s almost 10% of the total 600,000 students enrolled in basic education (considered to be from first to ninth grade in Mexico).  Scratch that, we may not need that Mexican Donald Trump after all. Turns out that most of these kids are actually from Mexican parents but they were born in the States and were brought back to Mexico, or they were born in the US but never actually lived there.

That’s a far cry from Los Angeles schools, where 54% of the kids in grade school are Mexicans, most of whom are taught in Spanish. The Gringo kids in school here? No English, no special classes, it’s sink or swim.

Bighorn sheep ran over. Earlier this week it was reported that a couple ran over a bighorn sheep on La Rumorosa on their way back from Mexicali. It looks like the sheep crossed the road without looking both ways was hit by the car and died instantly. That’s one way to hunt a $200,000 animal! That’s how much it could cost you in dollars to get a permit to hunt one of these beauties.

And what does my Gringa boss do with the precious critters? She throws her golf balls at them to clear them out of her way. Maybe she should try running them over with her golf cart. That seems to do them in and they won’t come back from that.

New art center inaugurated. The very anticipated Rosarito art center was just opened last week. With an investment by federal and state authorities of almost $7.5 million USD, the space is supposed to benefit about 100,000 citizens who will be taught several different disciplines like dancing, theater, arts, music, literature and others. What’s left? Well, I put that “others” in there just in case I left something out. Please hold those cards and letters, folks.

Political campaigns started. Local campaigns for mayors and diputados kicked off last Tuesday. This means you will see a lot of advertising for politicians around town. Elections are going to be held on June 6th but campaigns have to end on June 1st.

All municipalities of Baja are choosing new mayors but our state governor Kiko Vega still has another three years left.

People have long complained about the mess the campaigns leave behind, since most of the political parties nail several signs and posters on every street light or pole they can find,  but never bother to take them down, especially the losers.

Kiko visits Guadalupe Island. In what was reported as an historic visit, our state governor visited Guadalupe Island to talk with the islanders about their needs.

Guadalupe Island is famous for its great white shark cave dive excursions. There is a small community of fishermen who live there full time, and a military base as well. The island is strategic for the military since it stands at the limits between Mexican waters and International waters. Yup, we need to guard anyone from sneaking into Mexico, all right.

The governor talked with the islanders and promised to rebuild the roads and help them get better healthcare. The military offers a medical center for islanders and military personnel alike but since it’s on the other side of the island and there is no road to get there, people have to take a boat to the hospital.

Good news!  The cuota/libre interchange at Pabellon is nearly finished.

Bad news! Opening day of Carmageddon, AKA the renovation of the Machado bridge has begun.

But when the dust will settle there will be a wider bridge with two lanes in each direction, new loops and ramps, and new traffic patterns to (hopefully) manage Rosarito’s ever-increasing traffic. Maybe we won’t have to be making the series of illegal and dangerous left and U-turns. This is the bridge that goes over the highway to the municipal buildings, along the side of McDonalds.

This project will cost about $3.6 million dollars, and there are 32 additional civic projects slated to occur in coming months, some large, some small, costing the three levels of government some $30.3 million dollars. These projects include (big surprise) repaving portions of the main drag through Rosarito Beach.

Governor Vega stressed the Machado bridge project is a very important work, not just for residents, but for visitors and tourists who can’t figure out that stupid interchange. He also hoped the Machado project would “wake Rosarito from their sluggishness, thus giving a new vibrancy to the town.” Sluggish? Sluggish! Our governor is calling us sluggish? We do not like that one little bit, and we will be showing our displeasure at the next election, Sr. Kiko.