Depending on how you look at it, the new Season started over a month ago as Homeowners began to return and the numbers have continued to grow week after week until now there are probably several hundred Residents and Visitors in Loreto Bay. I say probably, because, as I have written before, it is difficult to give a reasonable estimate of our population at any given time, due to the fact that we are spread out across the Founders Neighborhood and Agua Viva and with miles of pathways and many clusters of houses. However, one useful measure of the number of people here is the parking situation, and that would indicate that we are now approaching an average occupancy level for mid-season - earlier than usual this year.
Certainly a contributing factor to our current population level is the fact that this is the time of year that each of the dozen sub regimes holds its Annual General Meeting and many Homeowners make an effort to either arrange their arrival for the Season so they are here for their meeting, or if they still only visiting their home a couple of times a year, make this time of year one of those visits. And, because so many people are here now, this is also the time that our Condominium Management makes plans for events that kick off the new Season.
Last year at this time was the Inaugural Swim Off relay race which marked the official opening of our new Lap Pool which I wrote about in the post: http://livingloreto.blogspot.mx/2013/11/milestone-weekend-in-loreto-bay.html. That event was so popular among both the swimmers and their cheering sections, that Associa sponsored the 2nd annual Swim Off which was planned for last Saturday morning. As your intrepid reporter, I arrived at the Lap Pool before the 8:30 am official start time and saw that preparations had been made with colorful custom made Loreto Bay traditional Mexican pennants strung overhead across the lanes of the pool and a DJ was playing pop music on a poolside PA system for the first people to arrive. Gradually over the next hour or so the crowd grew, about evenly split between swimmers and those who would cheer them on.
Eventually, the four teams of about eight to ten swimmers had assembled, ranging in age from under 10 years to, shall we say, 70+ (?) years and the relay began, with one swimmer at a time from each team swimming 4 x 25 meter laps, with each lap recorded by a lane judge. After the build up to and initial excitement of the start, the action quickly settled down to a steady routine of laps that varied greatly in speed and style, depending on the relative age and ability of the swimmer in each lane. Meanwhile the resting swimmers and their supporters kept the level of encouragement high throughout the 2 hour event which ended with the winning team having swum over 6,500 meters, followed remarkably closely by most of the other teams.
But the Welcome Home festivities were not over yet - in fact the "main event" was still to come! Saturday evening there was one of the largest community parties I have ever attended here in Loreto Bay. Organized by Associa and funded from our Condominium budget, Homeowners were invited to gather on a vacant Beachfront lot near the Lap Pool for a Season starting party with free Paella and Beer and the first performance of the "large band" version of Los Beach Dogs, featuring the original four members; Rich, Steve, George and Tony with Adolfo and Ruben, joined by the "young dogs" that often play with them now.
As regular readers of these Blogs know, I have written about numerous Beach Dog performances over the years, and have commented before about the development and evolution of our favorite home-grown entertainers, but I will remember this 2014 Welcome Home concert as the "high water" mark - the combination of the venue on the Beach, the professional stage and PA set up, the crowd of over 300 happy Homeowners, and the occasion celebrating the beginning of another Season - all came together to make for a memorable evening.
When the Paella was ready to serve from the 6' diameter pan it was prepared in, a "conga line" of hungry Homeowners snaked their way through the crowd to receive a steaming helping of the savory rice dish, meanwhile on the opposite side of the party area there was a more modest set-up for serving a smaller vegetarian version of the same dish. There were also two beer dispensaries located on the perimeter, with members of our popular Security Staff serving up a steady stream of draft to keep the party lubricated and the dancers dancing the night away.
Circulating among the crowd, mingling with friends, neighbors and acquaintances, enjoying the music, the food, and the ambiance, and surrounded by the beautiful architecture of our Community bordering the crescent beach that we take our name from, I found myself reflecting on how far we have come in the past five years. Five years ago, when the world was an uncertain place and we were all feeling vulnerable, many of us were unsure if Loreto Bay would continue - and if we could be part of it. Contrast that to the substantially completed Community, the garden like surroundings, the recently finished amenities, the growing number of services and commercial establishments - and most importantly, the steadily increasing numbers of us who are spending more time here and contributing to the positive heading we are now on.
Welcome Home, a familiar phrase, one that rolls easily off the tongue - and yet in our case, it sums up the recent history which has forged clusters of raw new houses into a solid, thriving Community that is so much more than the component parts - and the reason that most of us are now "Living Loreto"!