Sunday, January 19, 2014

Small can be Beautiful . . . in Loreto

I have written frequently about "big" events (by Loreto standards) that have happened here over the past several months, so this week, for a change of pace, I am writing about a "small" event that took place last week.

In fact, the subject of this posting actually happens on a more or less monthly basis, and I wrote on the same subject back in October last year - this week marked another Full Moon Party on the Beach.  This time the event was organized by the Nopolo Property Association, made up of Homeowners in the community surrounding Loreto Bay, and it was held on the beach in front of a parcel of land at the north end of the bay, about half a mile north of the Loreto Bay community.

At this time of year the moon rises well before sunset and so it was already fairly high in the sky as dusk changed to dark after 6:00 pm, when I joined the couple of dozen other "Moonies" who had already assembled around a blazing bonfire.  It was a perfect evening, with gentle breakers washing the shore, little or no wind, and a milder evening than some we have had recently.  With plenty of driftwood washed up on the Beach, the bonfire was well supplied with fuel and provided most of the illumination and some comforting heat - if you sat close enough to feel it.

Al and his wife Kathy organized the evening, arranging access to the Beach through the normally fenced off property and providing a big pot of delicious home-made chili con carne served with grated cheese, chopped onion and herbs as a garnish, along with natcho chips and soda crackers.  Some of the others brought their own hotdogs for roasting on the fire and most people brought chairs and something to drink. 

There was music playing from a truck parked nearby, and there were several people taking pictures of the moonlight on the water and the bonfire on the beach.  While there were a few others there from Loreto Bay, most of the rest lived in the Nopolo community, with some more joining the party from town.  Conversation flowed easily between friends and acquaintances, catching up with each other after the Holidays, or exchanging news and/or gossip about local affairs affecting life in the community.

Several people I talked with during the evening speculated about the impact that Carlos Slim and his recent investment in Loreto Bay would have - with the general consensus being that when one of the richest men in the world (Sr. Slim is usually in the top three with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet) decides to make a major investment in the community where we live, it will be a GOOD thing!  I offered my bit of information about having seen the delivery of two tractor trailer loads of new mattresses to the Hotel across from my Offices about a month ago, while others talked about recent improvements in the condition and appearance of the Golf Course, both of which properties were among Slim's recent acquisitions.

Internet access was another topic of interest that affected a number of people around the bonfire that evening.  Since before Christmas, when the primary Internet Service Provider for Loreto Bay ceased their operations in the community, our access to the web and email has been has been in somewhat of a state of flux.   There are currently two wireless providers servicing the community, one of which has been operating here for several years, and the other is a new venture that began operations a couple of months ago, just weeks before the recently departed service provider who controlled the fiber optic cable that connected all Loreto Bay homes, closed up shop.

While I'm sure that everyone reading this Blog, wherever you are, has had occasional interruptions or problems with whatever Internet provider you may use (such problems are not uncommon for anyone connected to the "World Wide Web"), within this community of over 600 homes, when more than half of the houses permanently lose the internet connection they have been using for years, the impact is considerable!  Of course, the two remaining service providers here have been scrambling to add as many of the disconnected Homeowners as possible, but their physical and technical capacity to do so has had limits, and hence Internet access, connectivity, and speed are popular topics of conversation currently.

Some of us without access within our homes have had to rely on wifi hotspots within Loreto Bay, like the Community Center and several of the business establishments here, making do as best we can with what may be the only connections available.  I was fortunate to have been one of the "early adopters" of the newest wireless service a couple of weeks before the fiber optic provider that had been supplying me since my house was first completed, shut down their operation.  However, because of the departure of the hard-wired provider, I did lose the Internet in my Office, which poses another level of inconvenience, especially when so much of our day to day business now involves internet access for email and other services.

Coincidentally (?) at about the same time as we lost our hardwire access in the Office, I discovered a "new" wifi signal being broadcast from the Hotel across the street, that provides a fluctuating level of bandwidth, but usually it's enough for me to receive and send essential emails and get limited access to some websites.  This recent experience with limited internet access is similar to other shorter and temporary interruptions we have had here in the past, insofar as it reminds us again how dependent we have all become on the internet for so much of what has become essential to day to day life in the 21st century.

However, considering how Sr. Slim, through his various companies, owns and controls access to most of the internet and cellular communications throughout Mexico, I think it is reasonable to expect that when he is fully invested and operational here in Loreto Bay, we very well may have "state of the art" access and speed someday.  While obviously that is something that most of us here would welcome, I want to point out that for an ex-pat community like ours, internet access is, if anything, an even more essential link with the rest of the world than is the case for most people living in North America with variety of other resources. 

This is because the Internet  is often one of our only ways to stay in touch with family, friends, business
interests - you name it - in the rest of that world!  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I would bet that a large majority of the people who have moved here over the past 10 to 15 years would not have done so, if access to the Internet had not revolutionized the way the world connects.  Many of the people who are used to living in a "connected world" and have chosen to spend part of the year here in Mexico, probably would not have done so, were it not for the fact that they can stay in touch from here through the Internet.   

So one evening this week there was a small gathering of a couple of dozen friends and neighbors around a beach bonfire on the night of a full moon - some delicious food was shared, a few drinks were imbibed and it was an opportunity for some of us to chat about the day to day things that are important to us.  Nothing much happened, but everyone appeared to be having a good time and were enjoying themselves and each other's company - in other words, it was a small example of why we all appreciate "Living Loreto".