Thursday, December 9, 2010

A little Feliz Navidad, a lot of Merry Christmas

This is our year of firsts. The first time we drove the Baja, our first hurricane season (thankfully we dodged the hurricane bullet this year), our first summer (stunningly hot), our first Thanksgiving (which we were lucky enough to spend with our friends, Carol, Al, Sue and Tom) and our first Christmas holiday season, which is currently under way – in an understated Mexican kind of way.

It’s a different sort of holiday season for us with the only real sign of Christmas the appearance of a vendor selling Christmas lights on Salvatierra past El Pescador and a very small Christmas tree lot under a tent on the road into town. What has been very nice, though, is a total lack of the Christmas hysteria that pervades the holiday season north of the border. I stopped buying into the holiday shopping frenzy years ago, so the more relaxed and much less commercial feel to the holidays here in Loreto suits me just fine.

But I have to admit that it’s been hard to get into the holiday spirit with the temperatures hovering just under 80 degrees and the palm trees swaying in the breeze. Not that I’m complaining. The weather has been incredibly wonderful. But it does put a damper on the old holiday spirit when you’re wearing flip-flops and sweating like a pig while you put up the traditional Christmas tree. In our case that would be the traditionally fake Christmas tree I load up with lights and lots of ornaments (which always leave me feeling misty-eyed with memories of Christmases past) every year while tunelessly humming old standards like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” or that Burl Ives classic “Holly Jolly Christmas.” I’ve always loved Burl Ives’ rendition of that song, even though he always kind of gave me the creeps. Go figure.

To be honest, I had to force myself to put the tree up this year. I kept coming up with excuses not to do it, which is something I’ve never done before. I’ve always been one of those people who puts up the tree as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes are done. But not this year.

Maybe it was because of the weather or maybe because I knew I wouldn’t be with my family this holiday season. Whatever the reason, I was about to go treeless for the first time in my life when it occurred to me that George and I have to make new holiday traditions here in Mexico to add to the old tried and true traditions we brought with us from the States. Just like we brought (at my insistence) this oversized piece of fake evergreen nostalgia that I put the finishing touches on today. And it’s beautiful, even if does look more than a little out of place in our casa here in Mexico.

I’m already feeling more Christmassy and I expect that feeling will grow warmer and brighter as I take in the Christmas traditions here in Loreto. There’s the day of wrapping Christmas presents at the Internado School and the Christmas Carol Mexican Songs Contest for elementary and junior high kids outside the Mission. This Sunday is the Caritas Christmas bazaar – the same charitable organization that Drew McNabb wrote so poignantly about in his blog, Living Loreto, last week. Those events along with our own traditions – luminarias, green chile stew, posole and making gifts of cookies and candies - are sure to make this a Christmas season to remember.

This year we’ve got just a little bit of the new Feliz Navidad with a lot of the old Merry Christmas. But that ratio is sure to change over the coming years. And that will be a good thing.

Our morning constitutional

The advent of cooler temperatures this fall was a welcome change from the brutal temperatures we endured well into October and it made the prospect of long morning walks much more tempting. So now George and I usually start walking as soon as our morning dose of caffeine kicks in. Most days we try to remember to bring along our little point and shoot as our walks have gotten a lot more interesting with all the Paseo road work.

Crews are busy building a rock retaining wall on the west side of the Paseo right across from our casa. The work is going faster than we thought it would, but we do feel sorry for our neighbor, Tim, whose casa is only a few short feet from all that work.

He seems pretty OK with all the noise, but was initially concerned his house might fall into the street after bulldozers scraped away a good chunk of the embankment.

Our side of the Paseo was being compacted this morning which resulted in a whole lotta shakin' going on inside our casa! Looks like paving will start on our side very soon.

After all the activity in Agua Viva this morning, we were surprised to find it all quiet on the southern front down in Founder’s with only a very few workers finishing up curbs.

Rumor has it that paving will start very soon on the Avenida from the southern entrance east to the Paseo and spiffy, new round-about.

We were very surprised to see the recently renovated Inn pool drained and being worked on.

There was no sign of Inn manager Peter Maxwell, so we don’t know why the work is being done. We’ll post as soon as we find out!

All that Paseo work is interesting, but the best part of our morning walks is the opportunity to take in the beauty of this area. Even after all these months, the incredible panorama of the sea and the mountains never fails to take my breath away and remind me how very lucky we really are. At least for a short while I can forget the dust and the noise which is the current reality here in Agua Viva and comfort myself with the knowledge that this too shall pass...

This Great Blue Heron looked as though he was an official sentry of the golf course along the back nine.

While walking along the estuary, we spied these beautiful fish.

Another great day in Loreto Bay. And now it's time to go hit some little white balls!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Show road is better than no road

There are mutterings here in Loreto Bay that the improvements to the Paseo and south entrance road are mere window dressing. That what Homex is doing is just for show - a cosmetic face-lift to our roads, so to speak. And to that I can only say: Are you kidding me?!

It’s been years – long, dusty, bumpy, uncomfortable years – since anything good has been done to those roads and now that Homex is actually doing something (and footing the bill without asking us to chip in which is what most of us expected) they’re being criticized (by only a few, I hope) for not doing enough.

Hello? Do you live here or visit here regularly. The idea that we will have drivable roads free of dirt, gravel and potholes in the very near future is truly cause for celebration. We were eating dirt here even before Re:Play tore up parts of the Paseo before getting the boot almost two years ago.

Some have taken umbrage over the fact that Homex did not consult with our HOA before beginning the road work. The fact of the matter is they were only required to consult with the owner of the road – Fonatur – before proceeding. Sure, it would have been a nice gesture for Homex to have reached out to the HOA before the work began, or even after the work began, but they didn’t. So what? We’re still getting a new road with very nice new curbs. And that’s something I was beginning to think I’d never see in my lifetime.

I’m not sure why there are still some people who think Homex is our developer because they are not. Homex bought the Inn at Loreto Bay and the golf course and they are the developer for the second phase of Agua Viva. They also bought the Posadas and a few dozen lots in the first phase of Agua Viva, but they are not the developer for Founder’s or the first AV. Unfortunately, we’re still stuck with those unsavory shadow-people who front for Citigroup in the form of TSD and Alvarez & Marsal.

I’m sure it’s true that Homex decided to refinish our roads because it was in their best interest to do so. It would be awfully hard to sell in AV II with the rest of the development looking like little Baghdad. That decision may have been self-serving, but it certainly serves our interests too. So lighten up, sit back and prepare to enjoy a pothole free drive through lovely Loreto Bay!