Sunday, November 17, 2013

Milestone Weekend in Loreto Bay

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my life took on a new direction 10 years ago this weekend.  That was when I came to Loreto for the second time, on a charter flight from Canada with a plane load of passengers, who were mainly made up of other prospective Buyers along with staff from the Developer who was launching the first sales event of what would become Loreto Bay.

More about that weekend later, but as I mentioned this was my second visit to Loreto – the first time had been several years earlier when my Travel Agent in Canada suggested an all-inclusive holiday at a newly re-opened resort in the Baja as a last minute alternative to my first choices of destinations in the Caribbean.  Knowing nothing at the time about the Baja, let alone a little place called Loreto, my decision to spend the week between Christmas and New Years here was entirely due to the fact that I had left booking the holiday too late and Loreto was one of the few options available for a beach holiday on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

The Hotel, which was only adequate at best, was located at the north end of the crescent beach that is now Loreto Bay, and was called Diamond Eden at that time, later renamed Whales Inn, before it was eventually torn down several years ago. I remember that the weather was good (not a high hurdle compared to a Canadian winter), the beach and Sea of Cortez were perfect for relaxing, and I was intrigued by the area around the Hotel (which I later found out was called Nopolo) with its miles of streets, sidewalks, street lights and palm trees – but only a handful of finished homes.  I also enjoyed a couple of visits and meals in the town of Loreto, 15 km north of the Hotel, but my overall impression of the way that the Mountains met the Sea, the dry climate and sun-filled days, left what became a fond and lasting memory.

Lasting, that is, until a Saturday morning years later, when as I was reading the Calgary newspaper over breakfast, and an attractive display ad caught my attention.  Skimming the ad the word Loreto jumped off the page and I started reading the copy again more carefully, as I recalled memories of my trip there years earlier.  At first, as I read, it was just the coincidence of seeing an advertisement about a rather obscure place I had been to before - but that changed as I read more about the proposed Development to be called the Villages of Loreto Bay.

Jump forward, and two weeks later I was on that charter flight to the first sales event – one of very few of the passengers who had been to Loreto before.  Based on that earlier visit, I was already “sold” on the location, and over the following few days, as I learned about the vision for the development and met many of the people who were eventually to become friends and neighbors, I was satisfied that this place felt right and decided to purchase the “chalk on sand” that would become the place I now call home.

 Ten years later (where does the time go?) here I am, and that vacation spot in the sun has become my home - and this weekend Nellie (my friend and employer at Loreto Bay Homes) organized an anniversary celebration at the Hotel for about 140 friends and clients.  The setting was appropriate as it was at this Hotel that we all stayed as prospective Buyers on the sales event weekends when we came to Loreto to buy our homes here.  While not much has changed in the Hotel itself over the years, a now thriving community has grown up around it and we gathered there again, many of whom were with me on that first weekend ten years ago.

After a welcoming margarita (bringing back more fond memories of our first visit here) people mingled and visited, now among friends and neighbors – no doubt in many cases reminiscing about some of the trials and tribulations we have all shared in the adventure that has been the experience of building and owning a home here in Mexico.  Nellie made a short speech welcoming everyone to the celebration she had organized, saying a few words about what had brought us all together in this place, and her own involvement in building the community, first working for the Developer and then running her own businesses here.

                                                               Then there was a short, but impressive, fashion show featuring ladies garments and accessories, most of them being modeled by Homeowners, all supplied from Agnes Boutique, Loreto Bay’s own clothing and décor shop.  After the fashions the buffet lines opened and we helped ourselves to salads and rice accompanied by chicken, shrimp and beef skewers, followed by a flan desert.  The cash bar was a popular destination and kept the party fueled with wines and beer, in addition to the bottle of Tequila that was on every table which came in handy for the frequent and enthusiastic toasts during the evening.  Entertainment was provided by Herzon and his Café Talega band, a “super group” of local musicians who get together and make great music.    

But this party was not the only event on the tenth anniversary weekend.  I have mentioned in
earlier posts that our beautiful new Community Lap Pool was completed this Fall and Associa, the administrator of our condominium regime, had planned an official opening of this new facility with a relay race among Homeowners on Saturday morning.  Four teams were selected at random by skill levels from among those individuals who wanted to participate, and the competition began at 9:00 am sharp.  Not being much of a swimmer myself (I tend to sink more than float) I was there to observe the start of the event and noticed more than a few of my fellow party-goers as participants – showing impressive fortitude, at least at the beginning of the three hour marathon!     

As the morning passed the decision was made to shorten the time limit to two and a half hours, still a daunting challenge, and as the time ticked down the pressure grew among the teams, shortening the number of laps individuals did until they were doing single 50 meter lengths as the pace picked up.  In the end, one team finished with considerably more laps, the next two were very close and the final team was not far behind – and everyone got a medal!

The celebrations continued later that afternoon when Associa, hosted a Homeowners street party on a section of the Paseo near the south entrance to Loreto Bay.  When I arrived, mesquite fires had been started in two large barbecues and two draft beer kegs were cooling on ice for the hundreds of guests who were congregating as the sun set.  At one end of the blocked off street a stage had been set up for the bands that would entertain during the evening and soon the opening act, a local Loretano band, started to play classic rock and roll.

Soon the delicious aroma of grilling carne de res, marinated thin flank steak, began to waft over the growing crowd.  Once the meat had been seared it was chopped and shredded and then tortillas that had been warmed on the grill were filled with a generous portion of savory beef, garnished with a fresh salsa of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and herbs and perfect street taco was ready to be devoured!  Soon people had formed into a line that snaked past the grills where they loaded up on the tasty food and cold drinks.

As well as selling wine by the glass on the sidewalk at the outdoor party, the Wine Bar was also open and attracted a somewhat quieter crowd, some of whom were looking for a break from the big festivities going on just down the street. 

For those of us who were among the first to buy into the vision that became Loreto Bay, this weekend had a special significance, marking an anniversary that would have been difficult for many of us to have imagined ten years ago.  But what was abundantly clear was that we now share that vision with a community of hundreds of like minded people, and with them we have built a special place that, in spite of the many changes from the original concept, has become something that now exceeds the dreams we started with.  Taking time to appreciate how far we have come, and looking forward with enthusiasm to what lies ahead, that is the best way to celebrate when you are “Living Loreto”!