Que Pasa in Baja?

Lost your drone, Bunkie? A dron  recently crashed onto the parking lot of a mall located suspiciously close to the U.S. border. This drone was carrying around 7 pounds of crystal meth and when the little ‘copter that couldn’t  fell out of the sky,  anonymous tipsters dropped a dime. . Authorities think it was on its way to the U.S. to deliver its cargo but that it crashed because it was carrying too much drugs. . These  wanna be techie narcos should ask for a refund from the manufacturer of the $1,400  Spreading Wings 900 Hexacopter because the specs say it can carry up to 18 pound. Although in their defense it is normally used for carrying high end photo and video equipment, not drugs.

We’re Famous! Nissan chose a stretch of the Mexicali-San Felipe road for making a TV commercial.

The State Film Commission, (yes, we have one of those), tells us the economic impact to the state for this one commercial is $720,000. It took five days, 10 cars, five trucks, and 40 locals to pull it off.

In the last 12 years, there have been 797 productions generating 116,000 room nights, 11,000 well paying temporary jobs, and an estimated economic benefit of over $117 million.

Boulevard makeover. Ensenada’s main drag is getting a $2.8 million makeover. Work has already started in the south/north lane. The concrete is being  completely torn up.. Take your precautions. The job is estimated  to take around 6 months to finish and of course local business owners  are not happy campers.  They don’t like the construction guys  working only 8 hours a day. They are proposing round the clock shifts so the mayhem  will be finished by summer when they’re hoping to be hosting swarms of people.

. You can already see places like the Starbucks is  almost empty when it’s usually packed. With no parking and no easy access, it looks like it’s going to be a rough 6 months for them.  But it should be worth it, as the pictures of the plan  look very spiffy.

Museum Proposed. A Baja 1000 museum is proposed  for Ensenada, said Oscar Escobedo, our state tourism chief. He said conversations are already underway with Score International regarding the project. He tells us that due to the high number of tourists and local people who  are fans of  off-road racing, the museum has a very high chance of being successful.

Spiffy sandspit. The spit of sand in Punta Banda was just certified as the second cleanest beach in the entire Republic of Mexico by  Zofemat, (the people who  handle the Federal Zone, which included every beach in said Republic.  

In order to earn this award, the beaches need to be free of solid residues, (yikes, what exactly is that? Never mind, we don’t want a graphic description, glad it’s not on the beach.) Also, the water quality has to be good, the beach needs to be secure, and investment in infrastructure has to be made.

 Of course only the south part of the spit passed certification., You go near the other beaches and you risk your health! Well, at least we have one clean beach. Poco a poco. Little by little.

Mexico promoting vertical construction. Up to $2,000 is  going to be invested by the federal government  in individual condos in  an effort to promote  better use of land, and to  create affordable housing. The only catch is that the property must not cost more than $28,000 and that it be  outside of Mexico City. The capitol is very dense now and the city is trying to get people out of the city center and into their own homes in the suburbs.

We won a prize! Ensenada was just honored as a Food City by National Geographic. Published in the NatGeo book The World’s Best Cities and in the Top 10 Food Cities list, Ensenada made number 10 because of its famous fish tacos. Check out the complete list at: www.bit.ly/enstaco. The down side to this honor? Those famous fish tacos are offered in that tacky part of town on the warf, where overzealous employees practically throw their body in front of any car with California plates, in an attempt at selling their delicious tacos. The aggression almost makes it not worth it to eat there.

Rosarito trying to please. The city of Rosarito, represented by Gustavo Torres, is working with the state tourism office, in order to better train all the people involved with tourists. In one of the workshops,  more than 70 employees of local restaurants and bars learned the do’s and don’ts of the food industry. Torres said that last year more than 30 training sessions were made available to everyone involved with tourists, including the police force and taxi drivers and that this year they are trying to beat that number. Torres also said  results of the training are measured by  polling  tourists for their opinions.

Tourist projects for Baja. The state tourism office has announced  several projects aimed  towards development of tourism, most of which will be started   this year. Our state governor, Kiko Vega, said that 12% of Baja’s GDP comes from tourism related activities and that several opportunities within the sector can be capitalized on, and that the government is investing heavily to make this happen.

For Rosarito, the underwater park is already on its way, and Oscar Escobedo, chief of tourism in Baja, said that a marina may be coming soon, but he wouldn’t give any details.

Close to  Ensenada, one international hotel and three boutique hotels in the wine valley were announced.

In San Felipe, a marina, two golf courses, a hotel and an inner harbor were projected to start this year.

Our state tourism chief said he wants to make Baja the second adventure destination state in Mexico just after Chiapas. (Chiapas? Who goes to Chiapas? We’re way better, closer, nicer, and way prettier.) He said the great surfing in Ensenada and the superb hiking of La Rumorosa would go a long way towards this goal. Along with being nice and pretty.

People getting pissy. . Every day the disparity in the cost of gas between the border cities and the cities just a little further south is generating more anger in people living in Ensenada . Throwing gas on the fire, Local papers are publishing prices charged in different areas nearly every day.

People are feeling cheated in the cities that have the higher price. San Felipe, Ensenada and San Quintin are examples of this. They are prosperous cities with business people who feel they are working at a  disadvantage in competing against businesses in other cities because of the higher cost they must pay to transport their goods.

 In Ensenada the chamber of commerce  has started to collect signatures of unhappy gas purchasers and have y drafted a document asking congress to lower the cost of fuel  in the entire state of Baja, not just at  the border. This movement is  supported by owners of gas stations because they say they have lost around 30% of their business because of the high gas prices that they are required to charge. . Remember that just because they sell the gas pricier doesn’t mean they make more money, because the margin for profit is  set by the Mexican government at around  6.5% of the sales price.

The reason for the cheaper gas at the border is to keep Mexicans from driving into the United States to buy their gas. This year the price of gas in California has gone down by half, to just over two bucks a gallon. ,