Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A First - and Lasting Impression . . .

First of all let me wish all of my loyal readers a "Perfect 10 in 2010"! I trust that this New Year and New Decade will be a wonderful one for us all - I think we deserve it!

This week brings the fourth, and final Guest Blog of this Holiday Season. I have enjoyed the opportunity to listen to other peoples voices and perspectives about Loreto and this offering brings another unique view - the first impression! I have asked Dave, one of my Clients and the newest Homeowner in Loreto Bay, to write about the recent visit he made to Loreto with his partners. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did - next week I will be publishing my own text again.

The icy wind cut under my collar, biting into the soft flesh of my neck like an ice pick, cold and burning hot at the same time, yet somehow comforting. Yes, I was back in Portland and the temperature had dipped to 16 degrees F (-9 C) with no end in sight. As I drove out of town in the frozen early dawn I remembered the past week in Mexico and how the prospect of going back to Loreto made life worth living, almost anyway, well maybe, yes, definitely worth living. Ordinarily a trip up to our cabin in the Mt. Hood National Forest was something I looked forward to but this time I wasn't really into it. I had left town suddenly, to fly down to Loreto, Mexico with my business partner Steven, and our wives, Molly and Maria to remove the final contingencies on an offer we had made on the purchase of a Chica in the Founders Neighborhood of Loreto Bay. The unit, #241 was for sale and this was the final leg in a journey begun years earlier when Steven had received a promotional advertisement in the mail.

Our sudden departure from Portland to Loreto Bay had required that I make some choices. One of them was to not make a last minute trip up to the cabin to winterize it. The words that I spoke to my wife now haunted every mile I drove through the frosty morning. I pictured the scene in the kitchen of our cabin as we prepared to head back to Portland the prior week. My lovely wife was questioning my decision not to shut off the water and drain down the plumbing in case of cold temperatures while we were away, to which I replied, “There is no way we're gonna have cold weather in the next week.” - thus sealing my fate. Of course it was now 12 degrees at the cabin and the entire plumbing system was frozen rock solid. This made the plaster repair required at our new Chica seem like no big deal.

My first impression of Loreto was a mixture of excitement and loathing. Excitement, at the prospect of living in what I understood as a really unique community - and loathing, at the prospect of sitting through the sales pitch from the sales associate, Drew McNabb. I had briefly read his blog, 'Living Loreto' and frankly the guy seemed like a fruit cake, driving from Calgary to Loreto with a cat wasn't something I would do, ever. Within the first 60 minutes of meeting Drew, who was kind enough to come and collect us at the airport, I had forgotten all about his cat, this guy was the real deal and so was Loreto Bay. From his stylish pony tail to his running commentary of life in Mexico, Drew made us all feel at home and relaxed right out of the gate.

“Midnight on the bay
The lights are shining
And the sail boats sway
And that cool ocean breeze
Blowing down through the quays
I think I'll call it a day
Oh midnight on the bay
Sure feels good to me”

Neil Young

As I fought my way to consciousness I first heard them chirping away in the distance ushering in another day, or so I thought. My conscious mind filtered through the plethora of new sounds and smells in the predawn stillness before I drifted off back into sleep. Something just wasn't right but I didn't put it all together until later that evening, my second in Loreto, and then it hit me like a hot kiss on the end of a wet fist! I was walking along a winding path in Founders Neighborhood, the place was vacant of people and activity and I was beginning to get that creepy feeling again. Where were all the people who owned these beautiful homes? Was it just the season, was I here in between everyone's trips? It was creepy and yet it wasn't. The crickets were making a racket which distracted me from my thoughts and then it hit me. There were crickets and birds here and I had heard them from time to time but what my distracted mind had registered as crickets just now and earlier this morning as birds were neither. What I was hearing echoing though out the village were the plaintive cries of neglected smoke detectors, chirping in a vain attempt to notify their absent owners that their 9 volt batteries were low and in need of replacement! This time the creeping feeling came back full force, staggering me with the implications of what I was hearing.

As I regained my composure and began to make my way back to the rented Chica I came upon two figures sporting stylish head lamps, a fashion accessory I was unfamiliar with. Deb and Rob were building their dream house, a custom home near the water, a stone's throw to the North. They were out for a walk and we chatted about Loreto Bay. “We love it here.” was the upshot of our conversation and this is where everyone we talked to finally arrived. “We love it here.” Never mind the ordeal of building, the hurricanes, the economy, the fact that their investment currently was not worth anywhere near what they had put into it in today's real estate market! Everyone was in love with Loreto and yes, I guess, so was I. And everyone also offered this word of warning, “If you leave home for an evening walk, take a flashlight, it gets really dark in some areas and you can't see a thing.” That of course explained all the flashlights in the rented Chica! We were here during a full moon and even on the beach there was plenty of light to move around without too much trouble, but when we were out and about before moon rise it was pitch black. The stars were fabulous reminders of what we don't see when living in the city lights. We were informed by Rob that the new requirements in outdoor lighting were aimed at limiting the amount of light shot up into the air in the hopes of keeping the stars visible in the future. Standing on Deb and Rob's viewing tower deck which they had specified to remain without a cover was breathtaking. Rob had explained that 'We only use the tower in the morning for a cup of coffee or in the evening when it cools down so we wanted it open so you can see the stars', well I was seeing stars right now and they were not necessarily the ones above my head, I needed to sit down because this place was making me lightheaded.

Time has flown by too quickly and as we moved into the afternoon of our last full day here in Loreto, my business partner Steven and I decided to play golf. This was a big deal for me because I had, many years ago, decided to quit playing golf when I had quit taking LSD. Needless to say the thought of going out on a course that didn't have melting trees and liquid grass with iguanas in the rough seemed a little anti-climatic. The course is really incredible, and I finished with only 6 lost balls. There are canals that run through the nine holes around the hotel and the pelicans dive bombing into the water all around us as the herd of goats passed by high above on the rocky rim bleating and clanging their bells were good real world stand-ins for the iguanas. The views from the course are outstanding; the mountains, sea, and the Loreto Bay development are seen from all angles and perspectives.

The people we have run into here in Loreto Bay are great. Everyone is so friendly and full of information on what is happening with tips for cool things to do and places to go. We were in Loreto Bay for 6 days and met so many nice people who live in Loreto Bay and love it. The intrepid Drew, Dave and Diane, John, Rob and Helen, Peter and Ariel, Jill, Evan and Julie, Susan, Jon and Linda, and Mike and Linda just to name a few! We plan on returning soon to begin the furnishing phase of our journey and look forward to meeting even more new people and seeing again those we know will become old friends down the road.