Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bowling in Loreto

Before I begin this weeks Blog, I promised a homeowner/neighbor of mine that I would post the following links to several channels available on the Road9 service here in Loreto Bay:



AXN (May have to change from Argentina to Mexico for area you are in.)


For those of you who are not Homeowners here, the significance of this information may be lost. But if you try to watch our local Video feed from the sole supplier to the development, a company called Road9, you will appreciate that these links means that you can go the broadcaster's website and download a guide to upcoming programing. You see, although we can get about 40 channels and some of them have good content, we have no timetable with the Video feed so most of the time we have no idea when things are on what channel. Sounds like a simple thing, perhaps, but until you try to live with it you can't appreciate how frustrating that can become.

Public service completed, now back to the Blog:

Last Sunday was an iconic day in the cultural calendar for a large part of North America – Superbowl! With the large ex-pat population in places like Loreto it was celebrated here as well, all be it in a somewhat lower key manner than common north of the border.

But earlier in the day there was another event, that while modest by comparison, held potentially greater significance for our growing community here in Loreto Bay. Last week I wrote about the opening of the new Community Center, and on this past Sunday the committee setting up the facility held the first of three Open Houses to introduce the space to Home Owners, many of whom are here for the Condominium Sub-Regime Annual Meetings being held this month.

Different than these condo meetings, which are also being held in the center, the Open Houses are an opportunity for the people who live here, or are currently visiting, to meet new or old friends and neighbours (from all over the development, not just in their sub-regime) and begin the community building process in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. People were invited to drop in between 2:00 and 4:00 pm, BYOB, and snacks would be provided. The timing of this was planned so as not to interfere with “the Big Game” and by mid-afternoon there were about two dozen people in attendance.

Mingling and visiting was the main order of business, and some of the talk focused on future plans for the space. I noticed that the bookshelves, that had been bare a week earlier, were filling up with donated books and discs, puzzles and games. There was a donation box near the entrance that contained an impressive pile of bills, mainly 500 peso notes, which had been collected from those in attendance. There was another donation, represented by a handwritten note, which represented the generous pledge of a 52” flat panel TV monitor from a Home Owner to the Center, making for a very impressive total as a show of support for the future of the space.

Heidi, one of the committee members, welcomed those in attendance, spoke briefly about the plans for activities in the future, and acknowledged the people who had taken the initiative to get the Center off the ground. After expressing appreciation for the substantial donations that had been received that day she made an appeal for continued support, in cash or in kind, as we were starting from bare walls and needed everything from coffee cups to toilet paper – or the funds to buy them.

At the end of the afternoon as this get-together wrapped up, people broke into groups and many headed off to enjoy the football game that was about to begin. I met up with some Home Owners who were going into town to watch the game at La Mission Hotel in town. Parking was unusually tight on the Malacon in front of the Hotel, but we found a spot in the next block and as we walked through the impressive Lobby area we heard the strains of the National Anthem coming from above, perfect timing! We made our way upstairs to the mezzanine, where the bar and dining room had been rearranged with a total of 8 large screen TVs. After paying 335 pesos ($25 US) and receiving a wristband we found a couple of tables near one of the screens and settled in for the game.

The wristband gave us choice of a dark or light beer, in unlimited quantities, and a
series of snacks like chips, popcorn, natchos and salsa that were replenished frequently. The mezzanine area continued to fill up as the first quarter began and
soon there were about 100 partiers focused on the screens scattered around the room. There were even TV monitors outside on the large patios overlooking the Malacon and shoreline across the street, providing a wonderful place to get away from the crowd and get some fresh air, without missing a moment of the game.

After the halftime show (Roger Daltry looked remarkably youthful, considering he has to be pushing 60!) I made my way out to another patio area, overlooking the large courtyard pool that the hotel wraps around, and found a complimentary buffet line with fresh French fries and a grill cooking hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings. After helping myself to a plate of food, I made my way back to our table and spread the word about where to find the “eats”.

Later on, during the game, I wandered around the room taking some of the pictures you see here and saying hello to friends and neighbours, all of whom appeared to be having a good time! As I was doing so, the thought occurred to me that if I was back in Calgary (where I have lived for 40 years) watching this game in a bar I probably wouldn’t have known anyone in the bar, other than the people who I had come with. However here in Loreto, 4,000 km from Calgary, two thirds of the way down the Baja peninsula, I knew people at almost every table, at least to nod hello to, and that is one of the things I love about living here!

So last week we entered a new phase of community building, with Home Owners affirming relationships and making new acquaintances with their neighbours – generously donating to help build resources for the new heart of the community, and sharing the positive energy with other people who love living here. This week I also participated in a sport/entertainment ritual, shared with over a hundred people, many of whom I knew, in a beautiful setting on the waterfront of a 300 year old town hidden away on the Baja peninsula. Sharing good times with good people – and feeling that this is where I belong – that is one of the best parts of “Living Loreto”!