Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sports, Politics and Paving - a week in Loreto

Even though, living here on the Baja Peninsula, we are “off the beaten track” we can still participate in many of the cultural traditions from where we used to call home – like last weekend’s Superbowl. Not being a serious NFL fan, this is often the only American Football game I may see each year, but for me, like many other people I know, this game is an event that overshadows the mere sporting aspect and takes on a celebratory significance.

Therefore, I was happy to be invited to a party hosted by several good friends who invited 40 or 50 of their friends to share the festivities together. Our hosts have rented a large custom home adjacent to, but not a part of the Loreto Bay development, for office space for their new construction contracting business ( ) and that is where we gathered for the party. In the large open courtyard area in the center of the building there was a BBQ and propane fired deep fryer with a table of drinks and a cooler with two beer kegs buried in ice – all the ingredients for a good time!

Two large flat panel TVs were set up, one in the main courtyard area and the other in a smaller room, both of
 which opened onto the outdoor pool which was surrounded by a patio arranged with chairs and tables in the sun. Pregame, this patio was a popular spot, with many guests enjoying the return of the warm sunny weather after a week or so of unseasonably cool and windy days that we had experienced.

When all of the preliminaries to the actual game had finally been completed on the broadcast, most people moved into view of one or other TV as the action began. I had chosen the smaller room as it seemed to be where the “serious” fans had collected and there was less cross-talk conversation going on during the play. Well before halftime delicious smells started coming from the cooking area of the courtyard as hamburgers and hot dogs started to come off the BBQ grill, and whole chickens were deep fried in minutes and then carved into delicious portions. In another room there were fresh salads, condiments, chips and salsa and delicious fresh baked bread, still hot from the oven – yumm!

Of course, this was not the only Super Party taking place last weekend – many of the local hotels and restaurants were having special events as well. However, as it happened, this year the game coincided with the local and state election which was also being held on Sunday and, due to the law governing election day, Mexican Nationals were prohibited from buying liquor and “Gringos” (even though we are ineligible to vote) were limited to four drinks in restaurants. So, the “commercial festivities” were somewhat more sober than would have likely been the case had the election not been on the same day.

Although I am normally somewhat of a political “junkie”, as a guest in this country and a non-participant in the local politics, I feel it is appropriate to only make a few general observations. First of all, I have known for some time that Loreto is a very political town – witness the fact that voter turnout for this most recent election was 76%, which was 10% higher than in Cabo or La Paz the two largest voting constituencies in the state of Baja Sur – compare those figures with the anaemic voting rates in most North American jurisdictions!

The Governor elect is Marcos Cararrubias of the PAN party, which is the same party as the current and past Presidents of the Federal Government, Felipe Calderon and Vincente Fox. Previously the Governor’s post was held by one of the opposition parties so it will be interesting to see what the impact may be of this shift toward the Federal majority party for the future in this state. I also understand that the new Governor is from a small town not far from Loreto, so he will also be very familiar with the local issues here, which may auger well for us during his term in Office.

The Mayor, or Presidente’s race was very contentious locally, with three candidates finishing very closely, but the eventual winner was Jorge Avilés of the PRI party which is another political change from the affiliation of the current Mayor (whose unlikely name is Yuan Yee Cunningham). Yuan Yee’s term of office has had it’s controversies and so, again, it will be interesting to see what the consequences will be of this change in the local power structure.

The other major event of this week was the resumption of the paving project that I first mentioned here over two months ago (Giving Thanks – for a road – maybe! Nov. ’10). As you may recall, at that time there was a great deal of excitement when work began paving the main (and only) road through our development. Since the work was being paid for by the new Developer Homex, who is continuing development on the north side of what is now Loreto Bay and, incidentally, also owns the Inn at the other end of the same road from their future development – hence the incentive to repave the road.

Well, picking up the narrative from the earlier Blog, work continued at an impressive pace for the next few weeks until they stopped prior to Christmas for the traditional Holiday break, which down here can be a couple of weeks. So after the New Year we Residents of Loreto Bay watched optimistically for the road work to resume – and we watched – and watched – and all through the month of January no further work was done.

But we took some comfort in the fact that all the heavy equipment was still here and so we were optimistic that eventually work would resume – maybe! Well, good things come to those who wait (I don’t think the origins of that phrase are Mexican, but they could be!) and so it was with great rejoicing that greeted the resumption of the road work last weekend, and it has continued apace all last week, including, (be still my pounding heart) the stretch of road at my end of the development.

But before you get too carried away with shared enthusiasm, there is still about half of the work in the first phase to complete and almost as much again in the second phase so this project will be ongoing for weeks or even months to come. But, for now, I love the smell of hot asphalt in the morning!

So for a week that began with a sporting extravaganza, included a hotly contested local election and marked the continuation of the biggest infrastructure project in our community’s short history, it’s been a pretty good week, but, after all there are “No Bad Days” when you are Living Loreto!

Post Script: 

For any of my readers who are in the general vicinity of Calgary, you may be interested to know that I will be there to participate in a promotional trade show called the Mexico Living Expo on March 5 & 6 at the Stampede Grounds.  I will be exhibiting on behalf of Dorado Properties, the Real Estate Broker that I work for and I will be promoting the amazing resale properties we have currently listed in Loreto Bay. 

I invite any loyal Living Loreto readers to drop by and say hello, there will be many other exhibitors and seminars about various aspects of the lifestyle that is available in Mexico for foreigners.  You can get more information at and register online for free admission to the Expo.  I hope to see you there!