Sunday, March 3, 2013

Swimming Pools, Art and Hogs - a weekend in Loreto

As we approach the “high” season here in Loreto – the time before, during and after the Spring Break period in North America, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of visitors here over the past couple of weeks and an increase in the number of events in Loreto Bay and the town of Loreto.

This past weekend is a case in point.  After a busy week in the Office when I did more tours of homes than any week so far this Season, the HOA hosted an official opening party for the new Community Pool that was finished in Agua Viva (the second phase of the development) around the end of last year.  Prior to this pool being completed there was one Pool near the south end of the Founders Neighborhood, so the completion of this major amenity is an important development for the growing number of occupied homes in the north end of the Loreto Bay development.

While this new Pool is smaller than the original one, in an organic somewhat kidney-shape, it has been very nicely finished with several shade structures and some specimen plantings in the landscaping around its borders and the finishing touches are underway on a large decorative fountain at the entrance to the Pool area.  The surrounding Pool deck area has been well furnished with nicely upholstered metal lounge beds and some table and chair groupings, making it a welcoming and comfortable social and relaxation center for the residents in Agua Viva, as well as the Loreto Bay community as a whole.

Associa, the Homeowner’s Management company had set up several tables and ice-chests near the entrance to the pool area where they distributed draft beer and bottled water along with some light snacks, soon there was a good sized crowd assembled enjoying the refreshments and visiting among themselves.  The weather, however, was unseasonably cool – discouraging all but one brave soul from venturing into the actual pool itself, and sending part of the crowd further down the path to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun’s warmth.

While this Pool is the largest project undertaken last year, the first of the two year infrastructure completion project currently underway, work has already begun on the third and final Community Pool that will be completed about mid-way between the two existing ones at either end of the Development.  While these Pools are important additions to the amenities and enjoyment of the Community, they are also a tangible expression of the pride and confidence that all of us who own homes here feel about the community where we have chosen to live and what our vision is of its future.

But my evening was not yet finished, I left the Pool Party well underway and headed into town where I took in the opening reception of an Art Festival that had been organized by Rick and Jill (who I wrote about a few weeks ago “Have I got your attention yet?” January 2013  This Festival included several local artists along with a number of others who had been invited from the surrounding area.  The Festival was held in the beautiful surroundings of Rick and Jill’s small boutique Hotel with the ten artists setting up in different areas around the main building and the pool patio.  Wine and beer were available from a small poolside bar, catered by Cynthia and Will from the Wine Bar @ Nopolo along with some tasty snacks.  Although I was only there for about an hour or so, there was a good sized opening reception crowd in attendance, made up apparently of a combination of ex-pat and Mexican “townies” with a good representation of people from Loreto Bay as well.        

The next day I headed back into town and spent some more time browsing the variety of art available at the Festival which included paper mache sculpture, gourd art, acrylic, oil and water colors along with decorated ceramic tiles, among other media.  Of course, Rick had several areas dedicated to displaying his photographic art ranging from small matted prints to magnificent wall-sized framed feature pieces.  Speaking with several people involved, I gather that there was a steady flow of browsers and customers throughout the day, and many homes will be proudly displaying some new art accents as a result.

When I left the Art Festival I checked out the town square for early signs of the third big event of the weekend – a (mainly) Harley Davidson Motorcycle rally, which was visiting Loreto over the weekend.  There was a main stage being assembled in front of the City Hall, and a couple of BBQs loaded with sides of pork starting to slow cook, but only a handful of motorcycles were in evidence so far, although apparently most of the Hotels in town had been fully booked and I had noticed that there were numerous big bikes parked in front of many of them.
I carried on with my weekend “hunting & gathering” re-stocking my kitchen for the week and then, on my way back to Loreto Bay, I stopped at Del Baracho, the Saloon/Diner just off the highway for a hamburger and draft, while I checked out the patio band they had laid on for the Harley weekend.  When I finally got home, I just had time to put away my shopping and tidy up a bit before it was time to meet up with some neighbors to share a taxi back into town for the evening’s festivities!

Since I had been there earlier in the day, the Plaza had been transformed with dozens and dozens of immaculate motorcycles parked side by side on both sides of the approach street as well as a double row of more gleaming bikes the length of one side of the Plaza.  The square itself was packed with hundreds of people, many denim and leather clad Bikers, mixed in with even more Loretanos and ex-pats, there for the live music, food, beer, and above all else, people watching!

In addition to the BBQ pork I had seen being prepared earlier in the day, there were vendor carts selling hot dogs and snacks as well as a beer tent selling cans for 10 pesos (less than a dollar) – Bikers, Motorcycles, Rock & Roll and cheap beer, ya gotta love Mexico!  After checking out many of the beautiful bikes on display and enjoying the music with the lively crowd in the square, my friends and I made our way to a nearby bar where things were a bit quieter and we sat at the bar, had a few more beer and enjoyed another rock band of surprisingly young, but very talented locals.

After a while, as the bar filled up, we decided it was time to get something to eat so we made our way back to the Plaza and went to 1697, a favorite restaurant that opened Loreto Bay branch I wrote about earlier this season “El Cardon . . . “ December 2012,  We were welcomed by the Chef/Proprietor Kieran and ordered a selection of their delicious thin crust pizzas to share, and with the music from the Plaza filtering into the Dining Room we began to wind down the evening.

When our late night dinner was over we left the restaurant to find Oscar, our driver for the evening, waiting patiently for us outside the restaurant, and so we headed back to Loreto Bay.  On the drive home, reflecting on the busy day, and weekend I had enjoyed, I was struck by how the social life that now surrounds us has grown over the past number of years – so that some times there are almost more things going on than there is time to fit them all in – and that’s a good problem, when you are “Living Loreto”!