Que Pasa in Cabo?

April 4, 2016 Edition
BY: DAVID FLORES

The cost, boss. The Federal Police have posted billboards throughout the country informing the population on the cost of  fines for traffic infractions on federal highways. In our case that means the fourlane, the corridor, the highway from hell. We’re giving it to you in dollars, and because of the fluctuating exchange rate these are approximate. The fine is cast in stone in pesos, however.

 Car speeding:  $289

Truck speeding:   $412

Not using seat belts: $103

Using cell phone while driving:  $83

Driving under the influence $825.

Fines may be paid online, at http://www.ssp.gob.mx or at the federal police headquarters, located on the toll road to the international airport in San Jose.

Geeze, no wonder there’s so much bribery going on. There is no way the average Mexican can pay this, it would bankrupt the family. There is no way out but to try a bribe. City fines are way more fair, very cheap. Be careful with the Feds anyway, they are bad hombres.

Spring break madness. This past Semana Santa (Holy Week), Easter week to you, overlapped with spring break. It brought lots of tourist income to Los Cabos, “Like we had never seen before,” according to Ricardo Araoz, president of the Medano beach business owners’ association and owner of Mango Deck restaurant/bar in Cabo San Lucas’ most popular beach.

Spring Break coincides with Mexico’s Semana Santa holidays, when schools take a 2 week vacation, as well as most government offices. But this year also marked a significant change in Cabo’s life, according to several local residents. Drunk driving, drug consumption, sex trade and nudie exhibition on Medano beach were on the rise. A video posted on social media shows two apparently foreign female tourists naked and masturbating in front of local fishermen on Medano beach, a local family reported open drug consumption at one of the beach restaurants, and young women passing out on the sand, some who had to be picked up by paramedics and taken to the hospitals. That was possibly the costliest party of their young college years. Just how are they going to explain that to the parents?

The video has prompted several non-governmental organizations to band together in an effort to put a stop, or at leas a slowdown, to the partying. They fear they are losing their traditional family gathering over Semana Santa holidays to local and foreign exhibitionist drunks.

Expect the Medano beach restaurants to oppose any restrictions, as the popular beach is now world famous for the, “what happens in Cabo never happened” way of partying, and it surely brings a huge tourist money flow every year. Stay tuned.

Tourism becomes a priority. Finally, the Los Cabos city government has realized that our precious tourists are our most important source of income.  Mayor Arturo de la Rosa has tripled the budget to care for those precious tourists, attract more of them, and expand their visit to our more rural areas. Daniel Uribe, who runs the city’s department of tourism, is busy working to promote those rural areas, which include Santiago and Miraflores, quaint little pueblos that produce a variety of food products as well as furniture made with local wood. They also have very interesting and colorful fiestas at times of the year with significance.

Restaurants behave! The federal director of Profeco, Mexico’s consumer protection agency, was in town during Semana Santa, (surely on vacation), but took time to walk around and inspect the modus operandi of our local businesses. He discovered that some restaurants do not have menus with prices in pesos, which is mandatory, and some that had a legend at their doors stating, “We reserve the right of admission,” which is a no-no in Mexico. We all know that’s code for no Mexicans.

Yes, you can turn away someone who is visibly under the influence or who doesn’t fit the dress code, (which has to be stated visibly at the entrance), but you can’t specifically reserve the right of admission for any reason, whether is religious, sexual, or related to skin color.

Another no-no is that a restaurant or watering hole cannot “condition” your stay, as in setting a minimum consumption or, like many bars do down here, force you to buy a full bottle in order to get a table.

If you have faced any of these situations, file your complaint at www.profeco.gob.mx – there’s an English section for your convenience.

New mural  A couple of foreign artists, Jorit Agoch from Italy and Leticia Mandrágora from Spain, were in town last week as part of their world tour to embellish towns with their murals. While visiting Cabo, they painted a hyper-realist mural on a long wall of the Cabo San Lucas house of culture, located in downtown Cabo one block behind the now petite Aramburo supermarket.

The house of culture, which works as a community center, is open to the public seven days a week from 8:00 am, and you are welcome to visit it anytime. It was refurbished beautifully just this year. And do check out our new mural.

Can we be more famous than this? An unbelievable five of USA Today’s 10 Best Mexican beaches are to be found in our world famous Southern Baja. Four are in Los Cabos and two in La Paz.

In the top position is Balandra beach, just a little north of  La Paz. The pearl white sands of Balandra frame a turquoise lagoon bounded by rust colored hills. It is a beautiful natural setting and also home to the famous El Hongo, a mushroom shaped rock that has come to symbolize La Paz in the same way the arch does for Cabo San Lucas. (The mushroom broke several years ago and city officials glued it back together, see if you can find the seam. You can get right up there close and personal with the rock).

In fifth place was Cabo Pulmo Beach, often called “the jewel of the East Cape. Closely followed by the very famous Lovers beach in sixth place. What? Divorce beach on the back side to Lovers didn’t make it? Maybe because too many people have drowned there, that’s kind of a downer.

The wildly popular and usually crowded to mad house capacity, Medano Beach sneaked in at number eight.

And in tenth place was Tecolote beach just north of  La Paz. Geeze, that’s a surprise, as it’s not the best ocean bottom to walk into and the winds are often  ferocious. But it does  look out towards the island of Espíritu Santo three miles away, and that’s a pretty site, and there are some nice restaurants right on the beach and we get a kick out of the vestadores on the beach. Tiny changing rooms, where you can watch people changing from their knees down.

Holland America loves us. Holland America Line is strengthening its presence in Mexico for the 2016-2017 season by increasing the number of ships sent here. They are also sending their larger Vista-class ship.

From October this year through February 2017, the Westerdam will sail a series of 13 seven day cruises round trip from San Diego, including two special holiday departures in December. To kick off the season, the ship will depart from Vancouver, British Columbia, Oct. 18, 2016, on an 11 day itinerary. For the remainder of the season, Westerdam will sail a series of 13 seven day Mexican Riviera cruises.

It’s Open! Drai’s Enterprises, the folks who keep the party going at Drai’s Beach Club + Nightclub, the Indigo Lounge and Drai’s Afterhours in Las Vegas, have opened a Drai’s beach club in Cabo San Lucas. The club is located at the old Baja Cantina on the beach, now part of the Cachet Corazon on Cabo’s famed Medano Beach. The finishing touches are currently being added and it will be fully-operational this fall.

“Drai’s Beach represents an entirely new way to enjoy Mexico,” Drai’s founder Victor Drai gushed in a public relations releasee through the Drai’s publicity mill. “We’ll be blending the best of what we do in Vegas and Hollywood: Top tier music, concerts and entertainment - with the sophistication of an unmatched beachfront location and a curated food and beverage menu allowing us to create a seamless day-to-night celebration. At Drai’s Beach you’ll be able to live all of what Cabo has to offer in one place.” Yup, that’s press release babble.

Described as a “high end party oasis,” Drai’s Beach will feature luxury cabanas, a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, celebrity DJs, tableside VIP service and a Mexican Riviera-inspired fine dining menu. In other words, we’ve lost our reasonably priced and good eats restaurant Baja Cantina to some high end joint that’s going to be over the top snooty with over the top prices. Sigh. Well, they’re still going to have the out of control spring breakers passing out on their front yard. That might not make their Facebook page.

Have you seen the mainland of Mexico?  Aerocalafia, our local regional airline, launched a new flight to the city of Leon, in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico last week. León is known as the capitol of leather in Mexico, an up and coming modern city that manufactures most of the country’s leather shoes, jackets and the like. The flight is so new that their website doesn’t even show it yet. At least, at press time.  The flight is a comfy one, aboard a 50 passenger Embraer ERJ 145, built in Brazil. Wow, our little puddle jumper airline has really come a long way from their Cessna days. They fly out of the Cabo San Lucas airport, behind the city, way convenient for Cabenos.

Like groovy, man. Remember groovy?  The Groove Cruise Cabo is billing itself as the world’s longest running floating electronic music festival with 120 continuous hours of music. That’s five days, ten sunrises and 10 sunsets. And it’s setting sail for the freakiest of holidays, Halloween.  Groove Cruise will land overnight in Cabo San Lucas aboard the Norwegian Sun cruise ship. 120 hours of electronic music that close to the ocean could be trouble. I for one would be pitching myself overboard at about hour 50.

Todos Santos Music Fest. This year’s festival raised a chingo of money. Best one ever, even if the most exciting part of it was the grand finale where Peter Buck, who worked so hard to make it all happen, got up on stage and possibly in an altered state, made a mess of things, resulting in his hasty run for the border. It couldn’t have been more entertaining if it had been planned as part of the show.

The entire point of the fun fest is to raise money for local youth, through the good works of the Palapa Society. This year far exceeded prior years’ take, raising a little more than $63,000 U.S. The money is especially important this year, as they are initiating a high school building program.

289 tickets were sold, bringing many out of town guests to pack into hotels and restaurants. Also benefitting is the Palapa Society’s art program to the tune of $3,000, which went to the existing program, as well as sponsoring students for special workshops, and will be a major contribution toward the materials and equipment necessary to create the art center in the new Palapa Learning Center.

Food & Wine Festival!  This year’s GastroVino Fest will be held April 22-24 in Todos Santos. It’s is a wonderful celebration of the food and wines of Baja California, and you get to partake in plenty of both!

 La Bodega restaurant is the main organizer of the event, and the main festival is in the town plaza on Sunday, April 24, with wine-pairing dinners at various restaurants on the preceding nights. There are live music performances throughout the day.

It’s a great opportunity to get to know local chefs from Todos Santos and their food along with the wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe wine-growing region.  Large and small wineries such as Xecue, Shimul, Cavas Valmar, Cavas Maciel, Freixenet Querétaro y Vina Dona Dolores, Alximia, L.A. Cetto,MD, Vinart y Torres Alegre & Familia will participate.  

This year’s silent auction will benefit the local orphanage and the Todos Santos fire department. To date the auctions have raised $24,800 USD.

   For more information go to www.gastrovino.mx or call La Bodega at 612-152-0181.