What’s Going On In This Country

BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Santiago_0.jpgFirst an announcement: Enough with the rumors already, Rene’s mail room is not closing despite the renovations going on at the former Rene’s  bar/restaurant, which is becoming a casino.

The mail room is only moving  about 20 feet from its present location, can you go with that?

As compensation for this colossal inconvenience, the parking lot will be reconfigured with spots dedicated just for  mail picker uppers. 

The mail room is still open every day during daylight hours for letter pickup and drop-off, and Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10:00 – 4:00 for full service. Pass the word, people seem to be over wrought  over  this.

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Well, it’s about damn time.  The star crossed Boleo mine in Santa Rosalia half way up the Baja has finally produced some copper.  They just shipped the first 2,000 tons of copper since the troubled mine finally began production last January, after years of strife.

El Boleo is a copper-cobalt-zinc-manganese deposit. First exploited in 1885, the mine produced rich ore within a decade. By 1900 Santa Rosalia had become a world class copper producer, but deposits eventually petered out. The mine closed in 1954 and the smelter shut down in 1985. Now, the mine is being re worked with new technology. A Canadian firm took a shot at it, finally bailing out, and now the majority owner is a consortium of Korean companies led by Korea Resources. They finally got the thing started again last January. They hope to cash in for the next 23 years, taking 2,000 metric tons of cobalt, 25,000 tons of zinc sulfate, and 50,000 tons of copper. Copper, like gold, has recently shot up in value.

Santa Rosalia is a cool town, all built with wood, like no other town in all of Baja. The wood was brought down here when the mine was first worked, more than 100 years ago as ballast in the empty ships that returned from delivering copper. How that town has stood all these years is a miracle, as one careless match and poof! The whole town will go up in smoke.

There is a very cool wooden hotel that was built in the late 1800’s by a Frenchie. It’s still in service and is fun to stay in, (note the fire escapes before retiring)  It’s on the tippy top of the only hill, you can’t miss it. Up there, too, is a famous bakery, the best in Baja.

Soft drink tax takes the fizz out of soda industry. The cost of all sodas and other sugary drinks in Mexico increased by about 1 peso per liter, effective last January,  in the interest of so called national health. Since then, consumption has gone down. And, according to the National Association of Producers of Soft Drinks, so have jobs in the Mexican soft drink industry, whine, whine. The organization’s honcho claims 1,700 jobs have been eliminated, due to a 2.5 percent drop in sales.

Mexico is one of only a few countries in the world that have managed to pass such a tax. France has done it, and Chile is working on it and the Peoples’ Republic of Berkeley, California has slapped a 1% tax on pop, but we all know that town is full of goofy left wing zealots, if not downright commies.

New app watches gas stations. In response to increased, uh, anomalies found at gas stations in Mexico, three young guys from Yucatan developed the Zenzzer application that verifies how much gas you’re getting.

“We do not seek to discredit any gas station,” says Randy Cruz, marketer and creator of this application. “This is just a measuring instrument that serves to recommend to people which gas stations are doing things right.” According to data provided by the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO), 58 percent of the stations they checked in the first quarter of 2014 were found to be ripping us off. They are afraid to discredit? Screw that pussy footing around, these station owners are thieves. Is that discredit enough for you?

Randy says the Zenzzer app works with a sensor that is installed in the fuel tank and the application is connected to your phone via Bluetooth. “You can actually see in real time how the fuel is falling into the tank. Once the fill up is complete, you can  rate the service and supply a map with the best and worst stations,” he adds. Now, that’s the crux of it. You will be able to quickly determine which stations near you are ripping you off if you download the app, even if you don’t buy the sensor yourself. And why hasn’t PROFECO already done this? Thanks to this technology the stations can no longer bribe PEOFECO agents, because citizens are going to expose those stations. And we intend to print a list of them right here on these pages.

The project was assisted by an engineering student, and a student of engineering physics, both from the University of Yucatan. All three entrepreneurs are less than 30 years old.

The trio’s plan is to offer this service for free, and they are now looking for financing to launch Zenzzer next December. The sensor can be purchased on the company’s website.

More livers for Mexicans. Hold the onions. President, Peña Nieto made a deal to send our national health guys, (the IMSS system), to study how to transplant a liver. France is a global pioneer in this type of transplant surgery. The Frogs have also helped us treat heart attacks better. Our president and the president of France, Francois Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande, (just Nick to his friends),  agreed to achieve greater integration between the two nations. Translation: better pals. But we’re not taking any of his overload of Muslims off his hands! They can stay right where they are and shoot up that country.

Greek tragedy affects Mexico. The debt crisis in Greece may affect Mexico’s exports to that country, which is about $8 million.  Greece’s financial and political disaster, wherein the Greeks refuse to tighten their belts and continue to overspend like drunken sailors on shore leave, has global implications.

The main products Mexico exports to Greece include: octopus (13%); chickpea (12.9%); malt beer (12.9%); extracts, essences and concentrates of coffee (12.6%); and tequila (7.5%). Well, when they run out of tequila, maybe they will wake up, because they have crappy credit and we’re not going to extend any to them. It’s cash on the barrel head or nada.

We all know Bachoco.  We’ve seen their packages of chicken in all the grocery stores. They’re a big operation with a lotta, lotta, lotta chickens. Now they’ve acquired more. Although they mostly sell dead chickens, the national leader in the production and processing of chicken in Mexico announced this week the company is going to acquire the breeding bird assets of Morris Hatchery, a U.S. company in Georgia. That includes chickens and equipment with about one million laying hens. So, now Bachoco will be hawking eggs, too.

More tourists, please! Loreto is ready to welcome domestic and foreign tourists for the summer holidays. One of the 83 towns designated as a Pueblo Mágico, Loreto’s tourism service expects a major influx of tourists drawn by the natural attractions, not to mention fishing for dorado, sailfish and marlin, as well as trips to the islands, and clean beautiful beaches. Also not to mention is it’s hotter than hell there at this time of the year. Their tourist bureau is dressing up the season a whole lot. But, you can’t sell em if you don’t dress em up, so we’re passing along their press release. We’re here to help.

Helpful sailors. The Navy is implementing what they’re calling the Lifesaver Summer 2015 program through August 23 to provide additional security for tourists in Mulege. Various Naval units of surface, air and ground services and maritime patrol will monitor the beaches, and provide emergency rescue services. The program also establishes three aid stations to assist domestic and foreign vacationers. If you need help, the Navy has made these phone numbers available: (615)111-5059; (615)152-3352. The lines are open every day, all year.

Not that there has been any insecurity in Mulege. The boys are just trying to keep busy, what with very few Naval battles going on.

Customs changes. Mexico and United States customs officers will begin working together under one roof at three border crossings as a means to streamline import and export procedures. The initiative came about through the work of the high level economic dialogue established by Presidents Peña Nieto and Barack Obama. They will try customs pre-clearance, which means one single procedure will be used to authorize exports and imports.

The first border crossing to see the new system will be Laredo, Texas, which will be dedicated to the movement of electronics parts and components used by the automotive and aerospace industries. Then, next up will be Tijuana for the export of Mexican agricultural products, followed by Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua for the export of electronics and computer products.

The finance secretary observed that the current administration is investing more than $590 million in 33 projects designed to modernize Mexican customs. That figure is just half of what will be spent on the six year customs infrastructure modernization plan.

What these changes might mean for the “border lottery” — get a green light when you press the button and you’re good to go — is anybody’s guess.

Amazon is here. July 1 brought Mexico into online shopper’s Nirvana.  Amazon (www.amazon.com.mx) is available to Mexican residents, offering everything from electronics and household appliances to diapers.  There are several pages dedicated to the avocado; keepers, carriers, preppers. What more could anyone want? Many favorite U.S. items are also available. The Amazon Marketplace will also be available, offering items from 3rd-party retailers.

Mexican based competitors, (Linio and MercadoLibre), don’t see Amazon as a rival, but as a catalyst which will propel more people into online shopping.  According to a study by the Mexican Internet Association, online sales were up 34% in 2014. . Amazon encompasses 20% of all online shopping sales in the US.

Delivery times offered are the same as in the US: one-day express, 2-3 days, 3-5 day standard  but good luck with that here. We bought something from MercadoLibre and it took no less than six months and many phone calls to get it. ,