Sunday, April 15, 2012

Community Palapa - the new "heart" of Loreto Bay

This past week there was an event here in Loreto Bay that combined the “grand opening” of a new amenity in the development, an opportunity for Homeowners to get together in numbers as this winter season is drawing to a close and an excellent excuse for a performance by Loreto Bay’s favorite band – Los Beach Dogs.

My home is located in the first cluster to be developed here in Loreto Bay, it was completed in late 2005 – among the first few homes to be finished in the development which now has over 550 completed homes.  Adjacent to my home is a large triangular area that is common property within the Condominium plan and originally it was the location of a Bocce Court, which was basically a regulation sized rectangle, edged with bricks and filled with clay.  Although it was used occasionally, raking and maintaining the playing surface was necessary for a proper game and as a result it fell into disuse most of the time and, since it was mainly surrounded by open sandy ground, on windy days it contributed to the dust that blows around.

Over the past couple of years each of the sub-regimes within the overall Condominium have taken responsibility for completing and upgrading the landscaping within their areas, with the result that one of the most striking and beautiful aspects of our community are these garden spaces and courtyards that surround our homes and border the pathways in between them.  After completing most of the landscaping within our sub-regime it was decided by our Sub Regime’s committee of Homeowner volunteers that the area occupied by the Bocce Court could be put to better use and beautified if the space was redesigned as a meeting place for the whole community.

Peter Boddy of PJB Studio ( contributed his design skills to the project and work commenced this Fall on the first phase, a decorative curved bench/wall at the north end of the area to separate it from the Golf Course’s 9th green and screen off several electrical utility boxes.  Next a large circular Palapa shade structure with a traditional palm thatched roof was constructed with a canterra tile floor inlaid with a 12’x 12’ checker board.  As well as a practical and beautiful floor, with the addition of sets of oversized checker and chess pieces, the Palapa will be the scene of giant board games played in the shade of this new structure.

The third phase and crowning glory of the newly developed space is a striking water feature consisting of a 12 foot diameter pool fed by a canterra water race that flows in two water falls from a massive rock wall that partially curves around a circular garden centered by a palo blanco shade tree.  The rest of the area has been paved in natural flagstone with several landscaped gardens and ties into the pathways that connect the homes.

This project, which has taken all winter to complete, had been conceived to add a new community meeting place, located as it is, in between the first (Founders) and second (Agua Viva) phases of the development, and so to celebrate the addition of this beautiful new amenity Associa, our Condominium Administrator, decided it would be the location of a “Season Farewell” Fiesta. 

From HOA funds beer, soft drinks and bottled water were provided, and Will & Cynthia from the Wine Cellar made wine available by the bottle and glass, assisted by Ulises, from the Fresh Market, who was serving glasses of his soon to be famous signature cocktail “The Loreto Bay Cooler”, which had been chosen at the recent Food & Wine Festival.  Jorge of Associa, our Condominium Administrator, had also made arrangements for a Hot Dog vendor from town to bring his food cart out to Loreto Bay and serve the “best Hot Dogs in Loreto”.  However, things did not quite go according to plan – there was a problem hitching the cart to his vehicle and, to make a long story short, the vendor only made it part of the way along the highway before the cart flipped and, with less than an hour before the party was supposed to start it became obvious that there weren’t going to Hot Dogs on the menu!

Being resourceful is one of the primary skills necessary to be an Administrator of a large condominium here in Mexico, and Jorge once again demonstrated his qualifications for the job by quickly formulating a “Plan B” for food.  An order was placed for Deli sandwiches from Baja Onsite, our local convenience store, as well as a stack of extra large pizzas from town, and, along with the appetizers, snacks and deserts that many of the Homeowners brought to share, no one went hungry! 

Over 150 Homeowners had rsvp’d to the event and by 6:00 there were probably over 200 in attendance when Boyd Kelly was introduced to the crowd as the sub-regime volunteer who was the main instigator of the project and he spoke briefly about how it had all come together, with the co-operation of many others, including members of the Master Regime Committee who approved the funding on behalf of the whole community.  With that, and a ribbon cutting ceremony completed, Los Beach Dogs took the stage, in their “large band” format including the “stray dog” Tony the drummer, and the party began!

Needless to say, the evening was a great success!  Friends and Neighbors mingled and danced – spread out around the flagstone patio surrounding the Palapa, socializing and enjoying the food, drinks and entertainment - using the space exactly as it had been conceived at the beginning of the project.  As the “high season” winds down, with many residents planning on heading north in the next month or so, it was a special opportunity for people to get together and spend a relaxing evening sharing in the sense of community that is the very best part of living here.

Now that this area has been properly launched, I look forward to seeing it being used on many occasions, planned and impromptu - a game of chess or checkers under the shade of the Palapa, a quiet sheltered place to read a book, or rest after a walk on the Golf Course – dare I say it, this would also be a perfect venue for a unique wedding ceremony!

And so, a new element has been added to our evolving community, and it brought us together for yet another memorable evening of good friends, having a good time, entertained by our own local musicians – setting the stage (Palapa?) for many more memorable times to come - it really doesn’t get any better when you are lucky enough to be “Living Loreto”!