Que Pasa in Baja?

September 21, 2015
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

 Forbes visits Baja. The Mexican edition of Forbes magazine visited our cool state for four days, recently, digging up stories for the magazine. The tourism office took them around the state to see the main attractions we have to offer, like downtown Tijuana, the wine valley of Ensenada, a hot air balloon ride, and several art galleries and restaurants.

Geeze! They treat these people like they’re royalty and you would think they would throw a bone to this poor writer, but no!  We are dust on their shoes. We don’t even get so much as a bus ride, much less a balloon ride.

In other tourist news Our chief of tourism, Oscar Escobedo, announced that Baja has recorded the highest hotel occupancy rate since 2007 in each and every tourist city, and in the first semester of 2015 we already recorded a million more foreign visitors than last year.  And did Forbes bring us any of those people? No! And did the GG keep all those people informed and entertained? You bet we did!

Santiago and I are pretty tired of being chopped liver around here.

Binational Police Intelligence. Baja Public Security Chief  Daniel de la Rosa met with the directors of the LA CLEAR (Los Angeles Regional Criminal Information Clearinghouse) in order to establish intelligence systems to combat crime on both sides of the border.

De La Rosa said Baja has been cooperating extensively with U.S. authorities in the matter of bad Gringos and that 925 foreign criminals, who were trying to hide in Baja, have been captured since 2002.

Erick  Bundle, director of LA CLEAR, and De La Rosa agreed to work together in order to bring down organized crime of all kinds, especially drug cartels and groups dedicated to gun and people trafficking.

FYI Foreigners, (that’s you, Bunky,) wanted in the United States and found and detained here, go right back to the States on the next plane or car, with no court appearance and no extradition hearing. It’s all up to local authorities if they want to get rid of them, and they always do. They only allow Mexicans to fight extradition. Mexico doesn’t want your garbage.

Ensenada wins. Just last month in the annual Cerveza Mexico competition in Mexico City, the Wendlandt brewery from Ensenada won the Best Brewey in Mexico award. Besides that, brewers from Baja took home a total of 16 medals.

Jose Estrada, head of the Baja brewers association, said this only confirms that Baja is producing quality beer.

The Cerveza Mexico event was held at the World Trade Center of Mexico City, with around 150 participants from professional and amateur breweries.  All the beers are graded by international judges certified by the Beer Judge Certification Program. How do you apply for that job? We wouldn’t mind studying for that certicication. But they probably don’t take us chopped liver for students.

More tourism police. Ensenada just reinforced their tourism police with three new cops added. The local police chief said that in response to the growing number of tourists visiting Ensenada, more cops were needed. “We have heard a lot of complaints from business owners downtown regarding their concern about the number of people approaching nice tourist families pushing drugs,” our top cop said.

 Another common complaint is the pushy retail store clerks who come out on the street and accost passers by, imploring them to come in. the problem is it happens every 10 feet, and these guys won’t take no for an answer. By the time a tourist is half way down a block they’re sick of it, and get rude, causing the clueless, (are they really?) store hustlers to get rude right back. My feeling is they know they’re being dicks, they just do it to amuse themselves.  Same thing happens in Lobster Town.  It’s not good for tourism and nobody seems to care.

San Quintin wants a Guinness. A record that is, not the beer. At this year’s clam festival, San Quintin is trying to get a Guinness record for the biggest clam cocktail with a 1,100 pounder. It looks like these days the Guinness people are making up ever weirder categories,  so why not?

 The festival, called Almejazo 2015, will be held October 3rd at the Mision Inn hotel, will have lots of clams, music, wine and beer so if you are a clam lover and have a chance, head south and be a part of the record.

Water pipe  update. Water officials say they are working to get the water pipe from Tijuana to Ensenada working well again but that now they have only managed to get 11 gallons per second running through it. This water pipe project, which is seven months behind now, is supposed to bring about 80 gallons of water per second to Ensenada.

Lobster season begins. This past 16th of September gave start to the lobster season. Fisherman are happy this year because it is expected that lots of big lobsters are going to be available because of El Niño. This weather phenomenon warms up the waters and this improves the growth of the lobster. This makes other species like abalone unhappy but the lobsters love it. The head of the state fishing office, Matias Arjona, also said that at this moment lobster has reached an excellent price on international markets.

Surfers lost and found. Three American surfers travelling south of San Quintin were unaccounted for for a couple days giving a huge scare to their families back in the States. Social media was flooded with images of the surfers for a day or two but they were found safe and sound just a couple days later. It turns out their truck got stuck in the mud because of heavy rains in a deserted area with no cell phone reception but they managed to get to a nearby ranch where local people fed them and gave them shelter for a night and helped them  get their truck out of the mud.  Turns out they are fine and very thankful to the Mexican family that came to their rescue.

You made the right choice. If you retired in Ensenada that is. We recently made it on another one of those bull shit lists of best places to retire in Mexico, published in a finance blog called munknee.com. (We’re pretty sure the winner of those contests are the towns that give away free balloon rides to the so called reporters. )

But this one is being tossed around a lot on social media and it has almost 15,000 views at press time so it’s worth mentioning.  Ensenada made second place on the top 10 and the author starts by quoting John Vogel from BajaWine.info: “In Ensenada, you have everything that a major city could have but it’s still a small family town”.

We don’t have everything.  We don’t have water anymore, but hopefully this will be fixed in a couple months.

The article is definitely worth the read, shining a light on 10 other places that even if you don’t want to retire there are definitely worth visiting.