Sunday, May 1, 2011

Seinfeld, Heat, Politics and The Kiss!

This might well be considered a “Seinfeld” Blog – a posting about nothing.  Well, not actually nothing, but not the usual focus on a specific subject, rather a collection of impression and events from the past week.  This week marks the beginning of the countdown to the end of my current stay here in Loreto.  In a month’s time I will be heading north again to spend the summer back in Canada, so with four weeks to go, I am beginning to think about the shift that is going to come.

In addition to seeing family and friends, one of the main reasons that I return to Canada for the summer is the weather – summers in the Baja are HOT – and as a direct result, there are many fewer ex-pats here during those months, which, of course impacts the business prospects for my selling Real Estate at that time of year.  In fact, that seasonal shift is well underway now, and has been for the past month already.  Although there is still a steady flow of Homeowners and Visitors arriving by air, the number of flights has been recently reduced from seven to four days a week.

Many of the Homeowners who stay here for the winter season have left already, some to file taxes earlier this month, others to comply with six month travel limits, and I regularly meet others who are getting ready to leave.  In fact, “when are you heading back” is a familiar conversation theme when we meet and chat with each other these days. 

Another popular topic for conversation is, like everywhere else, the weather, and it’s been getting hotter here earlier in the season than has been my experience in previous years.  This week, when I was driving my vehicle in the early afternoon, the usually accurate outside thermometer was registering 98 degrees F, or about 35 degrees C, a good 10 degrees warmer than it usually was just a week or two ago.  Now, I do recall that every year about this time the temperature does start to rise, but my Mexican friends, who have much more experience with the changing seasons here, are also commenting that it seems unusually warm for this early in the year.

Why should I be surprised with this sign of unusual weather these days – during a week that we have seen devastating Tornados in record numbers cut a swath through hundreds of miles of the south eastern US – weather all over is changing.  By contrast, back in western Canada they are having an unseasonably cold spring (it snowed again this past week) and the west coast has had record breaking amounts of rain.  Given the extreme weather that seems to becoming the norm elsewhere, this warming trend in the southern Baja is a relatively benign development – so far.

This past week has been unusual because of a number of other events as well.  Although I live a long way from ice and snow, I am still a Hockey fan, particularly at this time of year during the playoffs, even if my “Hometown” Flames failed to make it AGAIN this year.  So I have been watching a number of the first round series, mainly the Vancouver Canucks, who managed to squeeze into the second round this week, after an overtime win in the seventh and final game of their first series.

Added to that, Canada is in the final days of yet another Federal Election, which has gone from what began as a rather sleepy campaign a month ago, to what is developing into a potential sea-change shift of power that could have historic consequences.  Being a bit of a political “junkie”, I have been following these developments closely, monitoring daily news about shifting polls and the speculation about how these quickly developing trends could play out.

While I don’t want to turn this into political Blog, it is worth noting how my perspective is changed by viewing these developments from 4,000 km away.  I find the very real drama unfolding back in Canada to be a refreshing change from the US media’s coverage of the continuous games of political tag that have been dominating the news coming from there.  By comparison, Canada appears to be poised for a major shift in the balance of power between the two traditional governing parties, Conservatives and Liberals, with the further left New Democratic Party moving into a strong second place position for the first time in their 50 year history.

But, rather than seeing this development, which is counter to what my personal position was on the political spectrum, as something that could affect me in my day to day life, viewed from here in Mexico, it takes on the aspect more of political theatre – dare I say, reality television!  While I am interested in the day to day developments and the soon to unfold story (the election is this coming Monday May 2nd) it is now very much at “arms length”, tempered by the perspective that comes from distance.  What happens in Canada, while it does not necessarily STAY in Canada, has limited impact on events in the rest of the world, which is perhaps unfortunate, given the state of affairs elsewhere!

In addition to Hockey and Politics the other “big” event this week was, of course, the Royal Wedding.  While this was certainly a significant celebration, shared by an estimated 2 Billion viewers worldwide, I was struck by how little impact there was here among Mexicans.  While Canada’s historic ties to Great Britain and the country’s senior position in the Commonwealth guarantees a high profile and level of interest in the marriage of the future King, and therefore our Head of State, there are no such connections or traditions with Great Britain here.

Viewing the pomp and pageantry (which the English Monarchy does better than anyone, anywhere else in the world) from a small peaceful corner of the Baja Peninsula, brings into sharp focus the vast cultural and historic differences between my adopted home here, and where I spent most of my life.  And, in spite of the interest I have in these events half a world away, in the context of where I choose to live now, the high drama that developed about “The Dress” and “The Kiss” seemed even further away than the physical distance.

By comparison, the big event this week here in the Loreto area was “Loretofest” – the annual gathering of “Yachties” who come from all over the Sea of Cortez to converge on Puerto Escondido, the vast natural harbour 20 km south of here.  Dozens of boats, large and small, join the resident “live aboard” community, many of whom make this their year-round home.  We “landlubbers” who live in the area are welcomed to join in on the festivities, last night I enjoyed an open-air concert on the recently refurbished Harbour front, and the weekend has been scheduled with a variety of events and activities including seminars, casual sports, silent auction and communal meals.

 This opportunity to share a little of this transient sub-culture and it’s alternate lifestyle is a strong reminder that there are many versions and opportunities for finding a rewarding way of life here and enjoying the benefits, as well as the limitations of “Living Loreto”.