Ensenada Semana Santa


boliganeaster

The true meaning of Semana Santa(Holy Week) in Ensenada.

My Move to Mexico


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I have repeated “my move to mexico” story so many times, that I decided to make a movie about it.  Well, maybe not a full length drama flick with paparazzi hounding me for sneak previews.  Maybe a You Tube kwickee.  Or, how about a blog post?  Yeah, that’s it!  I’ll slog about my move from Denver to Baja…

TV Guide version: Exec flees US corporate world in search of new adventures in Latin America.

Preamble: Like Peter in Office Space, I did not really retire from my 22 year sales career in Denver.  I just stopped going.   After a couple of fun vacations in FL ,VA and my mind began to focus on my happiness instead of other distractions.  August 12, 2005 , was my last day of the corporate thing.  To celebrate, drove with my buddy north through WY, MT, ALB, Lake Louise and BC.  In the little berg of Ucluelet , on Vancouver Island, after my first whale sighting, it occurred to me that I needed to live on the ocean.  Still have the hunk of rock from Ucluelet, illegally harvested, undoubtedly ruining the ecosystem.  Also hopped a flight to France in October.  Casting call for my role: Woody Harrelson, Steve Martin?

Act 1:  Upon returning to Denver, it was time to finish my house remodel, sell the house and downsize.  After long days of carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, tiling and trying not to cut off any appendages, I started researching other cities and states to live.  What was the best climate, the best tax environment, the best economy for business(I was still planning on finding new work)?  The Texas coast caught my attention.  Cough.   Have you ever been to Galveston?  In August?  Cue Glen Campbell.

Act 2: My good friend “T” called and asked if I wanted to visit Panama.  January 2006. Richard Farnsworth, the Olympia beer commercial guy, will be cast in the VIP role of “T”.  Seems like a wise sage fit.  I had never visited any Latin American spot south of the border before this trip.  From the airport taxi to the Miami-like facade of Panama City to the rural hills & beaches of Chiriqui province, the idea of living outside of the U.S. became attractive.  Highlights of Panama:  4 hour tour of the big city and canal with a taxi driver, beautiful beaches of Chiriqui, losing a day due to my poor spanglish wrong bus to Boca del Toro(Caribbean side) instead of Volcan(Pacific) and the spaghetti dinner at a family’s home in Volcan.  Back to my spanglish, try “Murky-Olays” on your next attempt to communicate Wednesday(miercoles).  Hey!  She understood me plus got her to laugh.

Act 3:  My remodeling energy was now fueled by dreams of my ocean-view home in Latin America.  My evening internet searches found info on Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Columbia and Ecuador.  Learned early on that many “helpful expat sites” are just real estate pimps. May 2006: In addition to its climate, Baja California hit my radar.  Sold and donated lots of unused household items.  Downsize, downsize.  Craigslist selling was brisk.  One craigs buyer of my railroad ties: “Baja?  Who would live there?  It’s nothing but desert and rocks.”.  Love that quote.  Maybe Strother Martin or Jack Elam could play that old codger’s part.  Climate, climate, climate was my #1 driver for my new home search.  San Diego and the Baja California Pacific coast have a high of 70F and low of 55F 300 days per year.

14753eastlehigh80014 Act 4: After 8 weeks on the market, my house caught a contract.  August 12, 2006: Nortage Burning Party.  Anne Hathaway is cast in the role of BB, my Denver realtor.  The day after closing, I drove west visiting friends in Vail, SLC and San Diego.  Crossed the border to Tijuana with great anticipation of finding my next home.  Ensenada’s Hotel El Cid was my spot for 3 nights.  Endured 2 very weak realtors before heading south to San Quintin and the La Pinta hotel on the beach.  A spot on the bay of S.Q. caught my attention.   But, I had to move on south to spy La Paz.  94F and 90% hum.  Hmmm.  La Paz is a nice city, but, that steamy weather is not my deal.  On my drive back north, stayed in San Quintin to review that spot’s potential.  Added one more night in Ensenada, but, a realtor with potential was out of town.  Drove all the way back to Denver with a full bank account, but, homeless and disappointed.

 

Act 5: Ensenada realtor with potential calls(Kathy Bates gets this role) me in Denver and asks when I’m returning.  2 days later, I fly to San Diego, bus to Ensenada.  September 22, 2006. Sighted and purchased my ocean view lot, using the certified Mexican contract method of the back of a business card and a cocktail napkin at lunch.  I am not kidding.  Got a rental apartment near my lot so that I could supervise construction of my home.  Took a few months designing the house, interviewing builders and discovering resources in the Punta Banda/Ensenada area.  Lots of photos of construction in photos section, left side of this site.   Creatively “imported” my beds, couches and household items, thanks C.G.! Moved in September 19, 2007.  ’05 – ’07 were the most exciting 2 years of my life.  CHEERS!

pubdesign  pubgaragefloor

 

pubfront12  pubkitchen

Photos: My 1,100 sq ft main floor design(using Plan 3D), foundation cement pour(Chuy, el jefe de mi construccion, is in maroon jacket and white go-go booties), front facade/deck and the bar/kitchen.

Colonia Puerto Escondido Punta Banda

My little neighborhood, Colonia Puerto Escondido, is just south of Ensenada.  Google Earth: 31 43′ 14″N  116 41′ 35″ W

Photo by me.

Roll credits: Lewan & Associates Denver(BS, P&L, J, F, PB, N), J_A ranch, TGT, Keeper, DW,  P&J, Bonnie B, Wells Fargo, Danielle & Yourlanis,  SLC’s D & C, Coolest Bean, Cruizer, Plan 3D, Francisco, Armando, Chuy, Santiago, Nacho, Ysidro, Martin, CG+trailer, Betty Boop, BBITU and most of all, FS47, the best parents I could ever find.

 

Baja Bloody Mooney


bloodymarybacon

A Baja Bloody Mooney

Last night’s blood red moon eclipse was oohed and aahed by many spacestronimers in SoCal and Baja.  2AM?  I can only come up with 2 or 3 things I’m up for at that hour.

Given, the moon is one of those romantic things and a full moon glowing in red is a novelty.  C’mon you colorblind, fashion-challenged, straight guys:  What color describes last night’s moon?  ANYTHING, but red!

bloodmoon Pink?  Coral?  Desert rose?  Terra cotta shadow?  Cotton candy? Baby robin?   Rosebud whisper?   Cupid’s cheeks?  Mexican Pink Panther?  Bugs Bunny Bunz?  Flamingo?  Salmon?  Strawberry Mousse? Shrimp shell?  Chipotle mayo? Pink lemonade?  White Zin?  Lobster bisque?

Those last seven colors are moving in the right direction.  Which is away from a lipstick or paint swatch color to something edible and/or drinkable(we have never tried a flamingo recipe).

That brings us to something which really is RED, the Baja Bloody Mooney!  The Blood Moon eclipse of the Baja Bloody Mooney is actually a triad of eclipses.  Your thirst, hunger and hangover will all disappear within minutes of displacement of the drink from the glass into your system.

We did borrow one of the secret ingredients from the best bloody mary in Baja, a dill pickle and its juice, thanks Ashley!

Other than the bacon, an unusual part of the Baja Bloody Mooney recipe is the conspicuous missing ingredient.  We, the staff of mixologists at Ensenada Gringo, do not like the tree branches and leaves of a big honkin’ celery stalk fighting our sips of ecstasy.  We are celery fans, but, not for this drink.

All of that stuff that grows out of the glass in most eccentric bloodies?  We like them, but prefer them on a skewer, stick, sword.  This desgin provides the options of a) letting the chunky ingredients hang in the pool and meld with the liquid, b) Plop the little buggers into your mouth to chew between slurps or c) have fun feeding your partner by hand with the scrumptious snacks.

It’s a sensous sensation of sipping.

If you are a recipe weenie and need specific amounts and measures of these ingredients, please don’t let the screen door hit your cupid’s cheeks on the way out of here.

Baja Bloody Mooney recipe:

1. The rub:

Tajin clasico salsa en polvo con limon…throw generous amount on dish or bowl wide enough to accept rim of your glass.  Take a lime wedge and fully prime the glass rim circumference with its juice.  Twist glass upside down into dish/bowl of Tajin to liberally encrust the glass lip join point.

2. The tub:  

Crushed or finely cubed/chipped ice

Tomato/Veg cocktail/Bloody Mix…we prefer to spice ours as needed, but, you may prefer to buy the 3 alarm stuff

Tequila or Vodka  …thanks to Pablo on the tequila option.  Don’t use the pricey stuff as the other ingredients’ bombs of flavor will overwhelm your attempts to impress your guests of your knowledge of wasting a $50 bottle on them.

Horseradish…Beaver is our house brand(Thanks Brown Palace in Denver)

Worcestershire

Pickle juice

Lime juice

Srirachi sauce

Ground black pepper

We are shakers, not stirrers, and like to shake ours in a proper martini shaker, before pouring into the tub

3. The sub(on a skewer/stick/sword):

Crisp, medium-well bacon…we like the look of the bacon strip(s) on our skewer.  You may like to crush it into bits for a more chunky mooney.

Dill pickle speer

Chili pepper

Black olive

Shrimp, shell optional for roughage

Lime wedge

You can dangle the sub on the glass rim, but we prefer to submerge it for flavoring effect.  Sipping straw is optional.

Buen provecho y BURP!

Conchas y Vinos Nuevos


Bajadock: “Conchas y Vinos Nuevos” is my favorite fiesta of the year.   It is held at Hotel Coral’s back lot, is usually not crowded and the food presentations are beautiful, sensuous and delicious.  JUSTDOIT.  April 27.

by Huga D’Acosta

Although for many who read us egocentric sounds average, believe me it is not entirely unreasonable to say that Ensenada is emerging as the “capital of the ingredient” of our country.

This beautiful town is not only the country’s largest, but is also a unique place in the world for its biodiversity and landscape. From the rugged Pacific coast Aquarium Sea of Cortez, the Sierra Juárez of the Valley of the Candles, we find literally all framed by spectacular scenery environments. All that wealth is represented in generating ingredients here, now, a very important part of the cuisine of modern Mexico. Wine, aquaculture, mariculture and fisheries, as well as an organic and progressive agriculture, make outlines Ensenada as the capital of the ingredient.

Baja California is rich in itself fragile but not submissive place where each of the elements of their origin and space are at a vulnerable balance. The particularity of its components must be around, at home here, the sky above us, the earth that sustains us, the wind that refreshes us, the sun that enlightens us, the water that refreshes us.

In food, as in many human activities, reflecting the impact of geography and ecosystems. Product experiences, what we eat today is the engine of our feelings and arrive in time to influence our customs and the way of life.

For us the event “oceanographic gastronomy” is where we spread the marine wealth of our region. In the same room, in the same space, you can enjoy a communion that has been defined in a gastronomic character of this area. Today is unthinkable to travel on the marine ingredient of our shores without the guidance of the great host: Bajacalifornia wine.

To say that the shells are Baja California pyramids which are the center of our country, is not disproportionate.’s First cultures that developed on the peninsula of Baja California were strongly related to the different shells. Today we know that the number of “shell middens” I still find all over it, represented ceremonial events and temporary settlements of important Aboriginal who inhabited this area.

Today, thanks to the middens, we can redo a part of the history of this beautiful land and customs of those here were developed. In Baja California can be found at these archaeological sites of 13 thousand 500 years old.

Ensenada is an inseparable triad of valleys, mountains and coasts with constant winds that convey the personality and essence of their sites the clearest of the richness of our sea reflection is certainly their products.; fish, shellfish, shells, seaweed and countless living beings that we are still far from knowing. The variety is so wide that even when we refer to a particular category, its definition and spectrum can vary from culture to culture.

When we speak of shell, what we mean? L to classification as special products may have different interpretations depending on the culture to make mention. For the French, for example, if we refer to “shells” as the Mexicans do, we should refer to “fruit de mer” and not just the word “coquilles”.

In the case of Saxon culture, the name “shell food” encompasses not only oysters, mussels, clams, snails, but also crustaceans and other seafood.

In Baja California, as in many other activities in this rich and beautiful region, the exact definition that satisfies not only the classification of these various products but also respond to the dynamic food culture living area, which is in a beautiful process formation.

“Fruit of the Sea” is, in gastronomy, an edible marine invertebrate animals. This definition crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crab, barnacles, etc.), shellfish (mussels, clams, abalone, oysters, snails, squid, etc. and other marine animals such as some echinoderms (sea urchin) is usually included.

Mollusks (“mollusca” molluscum Latin meaning “soft”) are one of the major animal phyla. Are invertebrates, soft nude or body protected by a shell. Mollusks are the most numerous arthropods invertebrates after.

Ostres is a genus of marine bivalve molluscs of the order Ostreoida popularly known as oysters. Possess two dissimilar leaflets nearly circular and are regarded as one of the most valued edible shellfish. Includes several species and are able to produce beads in the course of time, which are formed from particles that settle on the forming oyster time a kind of precious stone.

Clam is the name commonly several bivalve molluscs which live buried in sand or mud from the banks of rivers and seas unknown. Teutid are a type of cephalopod molluscs better known as calamari (due to its “bone” limestone, known as pen or cane). They are marine and carnivorous animals.

I never imagined that the simplicity of our ingredients all the secrets, all the voices of mother earth For more information on the festival of shells and new wine, visit find. http://www.fiestasdelavendimia.com

Simple Pleasures of Home


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After visiting mom in Florida for four weeks, here are my top ten simple pleasures returning to my home in Baja:

10) Entering my doorway and seeing the dust and mess that I left before my flight east.  It may be a mess that will take bit of hustle to clean, but it’s MY mess!  It will be good to resume my spring evacuation of stuff not used in a year.  “Twelve months no use” is my general throw away rule, other than my ski equipment, snowshoes and my blow-up doll.

9) Finding a few biology experiments in my frig.  The cheese and a few veggies were growing legs in my absence.  Forgot about the onions in the bottom drawer.  StinkEE, wow!  Frig is now clean as Howard Hughes’ toilet seat.

8) See 9, allowing me to shop for all of the simple food I enjoy.  A clean frig makes the grocery list easy.  There is no wavering on “do I have that?” or “do I have space for that?”.  Get it all.  Loads of veggies for soups, sauces and tacos plus some meat, fish and accoutrements have me stocked for weeks.  What wine to pair with my Spam casserole?

7) Road construction.  The Carretera La Bufadora is a serious hard hat zone.   The dirt, bumps and ruts provide a minor inconvenience, but, I am amazed how quickly this project is progressing.  They could be finished up to the halfway point of this 13 mile road by end of 2014.  Though my car leaves its garage once weekly on average, my Pontiac Vibrator enjoys the road re-routes, hole slalom challenge and “to which side of the road are they directing me today” game.

6) My bed!  I purchased my bed in 1999.  It’s a king-sized water bed with foam baffles that make for light waves and perfect firmness.  Yep, I’m sportin’ a “Whole Lotta Love” Led Zeppelin model sleeper and likey a lot.  Slept way past dawn on my first sleep home.  First pee at 3AM had me baffled on directions, as the image of my Florida guest suite bathroom route disoriented me.

5) Return to regular workouts.  I had done well during January and February on my physical conditioning.  Only things I accomplished while away were a few light strength workouts and walking to the grocery store.  I’m easing back into weights, bodyweight training and bicycle intervals.  I will enjoy every day of pain.  HTFU!

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View north from my patio to downtown Ensenada

4) Weather.  Central Florida is beginning to gain some steam as spring progresses toward summer.  90F and 80% humidity in Orlando vs. 70F and 50% humidity here is a big difference.  My #1 reason for living in Baja California is the climate.  Doors and windows have been wide open to enjoy the 55F temp at night.

3) All of my appliances are working.  Water system, frig, stove, washer, dryer, water heater, microwave, telly and satellite internet are all operating.    After recent appliance replacements at mom’s home and my water drama at Thanksgiving,  simple  home luxuries are very much appreciated.  Only loss was a teapot that was beginning to die before my trip.

2) My monastery.  My couch, morning coffee, music, food, protein shakes, hikes, my usual adult beverage selections and routines are the simple pleasures that I do not take for granted.  My favorite comment from a neighbor: “You were gone?”.  I am happy to resume my esteemed local roles as dumb jock and monk. 

1) The views.   Thanks CW(top) and AD(bottom) for the sunset photos.  “If you are lucky enough to have an ocean view, you are lucky enough.”  This place is terrible.  Stay away.  Coyotes and snakes are hungry for you.  And there are Mexicans.  And crime.  Everywhere.  The streets are full of potholes and have no signs. You won’t like it one bit.  Stay in Detroit or Clevetown.

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What’s your favorite home pleasure after an extended time away?

Regrets At Death’s Door


Punta Banda

Bajadock:  Vacations to S. Florida, Virginia, British Columbia and Panama from May 2005 to January 2006 helped get me off the fast track and into the slow lane of happiness.  Thanks to Keeper, J&P and TGT for showing me alternative paths. 

 From someone very close to me, “I want to enjoy the little time I have left.”.  Estoy de acuerdo and I am thoroughly enjoying today’s simple pleasures.

Lifebuzz

After many years of feeling unfulfilled at her job, Bronnie Ware set out to find something that resonated with her soul. She ended up in palliative care where she spent many years helping those who were dying. Some time later, she compiled a list of the 5 most common regrets expressed by the people she cared for.

The list she collected gained huge popularity, and we are sharing it with you here today because it’s something all of us should keep in mind. Even though it can be hard to think about, this stuff is really important for your happiness right here and now!

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

facebooknumbers2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

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5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

 

 

Ensenada Water Shortage


The low water levels at Emilio López Zamora Dam are contributing to a water crisis in Ensenada that since January has forced water rationing. — David Maung

U-T San Diego, April 6, 2014

On the days her taps run dry, Minerva Altamirano makes do with a collection of buckets and pots filled with water. Others on her quiet block of well-tended row houses have installed tinacos, rooftop water tanks, or dip into 50-gallon bins, known as tambos.

Here in the sprawling hillside development of Villas del Prado and across Ensenada, residents have been learning to live with rationed water, as the port city of 400,000 residents confronts an unprecedented shortage.

Since January, most residents count on receiving water a fraction of the time; service to Altamirano’s area is scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Sometimes the water is clean, and sometimes it’s dirty,” said Altamirano, 63.

Ensenada resident Minerva Altamirano stores water in her back patio for the days when her taps are dry.— David Maung

The only municipality in Baja California that is not supplied by the Colorado River, Ensenada depends largely on aquifers for its supply, with a small portion provided by rainwater held behind the Emilio López Zamora Dam. But as a lack of rainfall and high temperatures emptied the reservoir and lowered the aquifers to dangerously low levels, authorities have been forced to implement a rationing plan.

The shortage has prompted an intensive search for new sources that run the
gamut from treated waste water to desalinated ocean water to importing water from the Colorado River. The state’s immediate solution is adding new wells.

“Come summer, if we remain the same, this is going to be a very severe crisis,” said Arturo Alvarado González, head of the state’s water agency in Ensenada, known as Cespe. An aging infrastructure makes the problem worse, with leaks and broken pipes that need frequent repair, he said. “It is very uncomfortable, and we understand that citizens are upset. … My answer is that we are working to resolve this.”

According to the agency, the rationing has lowered Ensenada’s per capita water consumption from 66 gallons a day to 43.

The shortages are not just affecting city residents, but raising alarm in adjacent agricultural areas such as the Valle de Guadalupe, a key state tourist attraction that produces 90 percent of Mexico’s wines. The valley has for years shared its underground water supply with Ensenada’s domestic users — and growers are increasingly worried about their diminishing supply being siphoned off for urban uses.

Yet tourists visiting the city might not even be aware of there is a problem, as any hotels and restaurants affected by rationing use their own water reserves for their guests, said Jean-Loup Bitterlin, owner of El Rey Sol Restaurant and the adjoining Posada Inn. “Everybody has a pila or water storage space,” Bitterlin said.

Those most affected are residents, such as Altamirano and her neighbor Daniel Ibarra Tribolet, 39, who was busy filling all available receptacles with water Wednesday — from kitchen pots to the washing machine.

“Supposedly we get water Mondays and Wednesdays, but sometimes it’s not there Monday, and there it is on Tuesday,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t even have enough to bathe.”

Baja California is an arid region, much like San Diego County, with Ensenada long the most hard-pressed for water among the state’s five municipalities. Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate and Rosarito Beach all are supplied by the Colorado River. Ensenada has rights to a small portion of the state’s allocation, but there is no pipeline to carry the water.

“We have a problem that we live in a desert and that has not been assumed as such,” said Joaquín Bohigas, an astronomer and member of Red Calidad de Vida, a network of organization for civic groups in Ensenada. “I think the same thing happens a bit in California, but here it’s more dramatic because it’s a dryer zone.”

Bohigas and other critics lay much of the blame for Ensenada’s current shortage on federal and state governments, saying they failed to prevent a crisis long in the making.

Ensenada’s water shortage has been known for years, as aquifer levels have suffered from saline intrusion and their levels have dropped. Proposed solutions have stagnated for a range of reasons — from a lack of funds to objections raised by environmental groups. Some critics say government authorities are largely responsible for not making Ensenada’s water issues a greater priority.

“There has been a lack of planning on the part of the state and federal governments to foresee the needs of the population,” said Wenceslao Martínez, president of the umbrella group known as the Business Coordinating Council. “There are many businesses that would like to locate in Ensenada, but we don’t have the ability to provide water,” said Martínez, who favors construction of a pipeline from Tecate to deliver Colorado River water to Ensenada.

While everyone agrees that Ensenada needs to increase its supply of drinking water, there is little leadership toward reaching a solution, said Rogelio Vázquez, a geophysicist who studies water at CICESE, a government-funded scientific research institution in Ensenada. He recommends desalination plants as the most viable future water source.

With changes in administrations both at the state and federal levels, many in authority are new to their jobs.

“I can talk about November on out,” said Enrique Ruelas, head of the State Water Commission, Baja California’s overall planning agency for water resources. Baja California’s governor, Francisco Vega de Lamadrid “is very much aware of the situation,” Ruelas said. “He has given instructions that there is no priority greater than the water supply.”

The Cespe serves some 110,000 municipal customers in the city of Ensenada, and about 90 percent of them are affected by the rationing measures, said Alvarado, the agency’s director. In its rationing plan, Cespe divided the city into five zones with different water delivery schedules — some are told to expect water four days a week, others three days, one zone every day for 12 hours. But the schedule can vary “according to climate, consumption or repairs to the systems,” reads a flyer.

The addition of four new wells is expected to end the need for rationing by late May, said Alvarado. An emergency declaration by the governor last month for Ensenada made available 27 million pesos in state funds — about $2 million — to open the wells.
photo“The desalination plant is insufficient; by the time it’s completed, we’ll need another desalination plant,” said Ensenada geophysicist Rogelio Vazquez. — David Maung

In August, construction is scheduled to begin on a desalination plant designed to convert seawater to drinking water at a rate of 5.7 million gallons a day. Built at a cost of $46 million and scheduled for completion in 2015, it would be first large-scale plant in the Baja California.

“The desalination plant is insufficient; by the time it’s completed, we’ll need another desalination plant,” said CICESE’s Vazquez.

Ensenada’s crisis is not simply one of quantity, but of quality, Vázquez said. His studies have show that salinity levels in the municipal water supply in the southern part of the city are often more than twice the federally recommended levels.

Mexico Distrusts Police


Fusion.net, Ted Hesson, March 27, 2014

Mexicans don’t trust law enforcement agencies, which creates a toxic environment for combating cartel violence, according to research released on Thursday.

Roughly 90 percent of Mexicans have little or no confidence in municipal police. Judges hardly fair better, with 82 percent of respondents expressing distrust. The numbers help explain the rise of vigilante groups in Mexico, which have taken the law into their own hands.

The statistics are part of an analysis of Mexico’s security situation published on Thursday by the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C., based think-tank.

Source: The Wilson Center

Violence in Mexico has risen to epidemic levels in recent years, as the Mexican government has struggled to reign in powerful drug cartels. An estimated 60,000 people died in drug-related violence between 2006 and 2012.

Source: Trans-Border Institute

A new phenomenon is on the rise in Mexico. In the southwestern state of Michoacan, local vigilantes have armed themselves and are combating the influence of criminal gangs without the help — or permission — of Mexican police.

One of the “self-defense” groups, as they refer to themselves, reached a
tentative cooperation agreement with the Mexican government in January, which legitimized their presence as a law enforcement body. Yet the deal is hardly set in stone. A prominent vigilante leader was arrested by Mexican police earlier this month, clouding the future of their arrangement.

The lack of faith in police officers is part of a vicious cycle fueled by an ineffective justice system.

According to one survey, six in ten Mexicans said the police did nothing when they reported a crime.

Source: The Wilson Center

Confidence in law enforcement also drops when police solicit bribes. A survey that looked at 26 countries in the Western Hemisphere found that Mexico had one of the higher rates of police asking for bribes and one of the lower rates of trust in law enforcement.

Source: The Wilson Center

Security isn’t solely the duty of police, however. Surveys of police in Ciudad Juárez and Guadalajara show that police view civilians as uncooperative.

Source: The Wilson Center

To improve Mexico’s security situation, it will take civil society working in concert with law enforcement agencies, according to Dan Sabet, a professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a contributor to the Wilson Center analysis.

“Unless there are police on every street corner, law enforcement agencies will depend on citizens to provide information and report crimes,” he writes. “Unfortunately, to date, distrust of the police along with other factors has produced a situation where only an estimated 12.8 percent of crimes are reported.”

Florida Fish Taco Find


lapalma2

After this week’s earlier fish taco fail, we were surprised to find a local newspaper article about La Palma and a Fish Taco FINDLa Palma is a new restaurant, opened in February 2104 by Raudel & Marisela.

To manage your expectations, this is a Tex Mex restaurant, which is what most Americans like.  The La Palma menu is full of the usual texmex suspects and adds seafood, steak dishes, vegetarian offerings and cajun entrees.  I might try the pork carnitas on my next visit.

lapalmataps

We were greeted and seated within 30 seconds of arrival on a busy Friday night.  Keeli, our server got us started with happy hour beverages.  Mich Ultra, Bud Light, Yuengling and XX are on tap.  The Dos Equis son dos dolares for happy hour, but the others, including my Yeungling, are only a buck!

The salsa was thick, chunky and full of fresh flavor to go with the warm and crispy chips.  My rule is that if a Mexican restaurant can’t deliver good chips and salsa, enjoy one beverage and leave.  We were also tempted to try the salsa picanta version, but I passed this evening.

Asked Keeli what she liked on the menu and she recommended the fajitas burrito.  She also like the chimichanga and my vacation hostess ordered the chicken chimi.  I had to have the fish tacos, because they are made with grilled mahi mahi.  Mahi mahi is mmmm one of my favorite fishies and is the star of the best fish tacos EVAR.

lapalmafishtacos

La Palma mahi tacos came as a 3some with rice and refritos.  My closeup photos shows approx 5 ounces of chunky mahi mmmm goodness with toms, lettuce and cheese.  On my next trip I will throw on the salsa picante for the real Mexican Fiesta.

lapalmabrownie

Keeli was attentive and friendly.  She also enticed my guest to try the dessert chocolate brownie, a large fudgy cake with a mountain of vanilla ice cream draped in chocolate sauce.  This is the “after” photo, so you will have to go to see the “before” version yourself.

lapalmaraudel

After our dinner, a pleasant young man stopped by and asked how we liked it.  I began to explain my Baja residency, including my map location via my guest’s Baja shirt.  Our spanish conversation caught everyone else off guard among this white as Casper the ghost clientele.  This guy just happened to be Raudel Torres, La Palma owner.  He gave us a souvenir menu and shared his story from Zacatecas to California to Louisiana to Florida.

lapalmafachada

La Palma is easy to find, approx 1/2 mile north of the Leesburg 27 and 441 split, east side of road.  Parking is easy and the newly added palm trees are your clue.  We give La Palma 4 out of 5 Palm trees and will return soon.

1690 Citrus Ave Leesburg, Fl 34748

352-321444    www.lapalmagrill.com

 

April San Diego Drug Tunnel


apriltunnels

Bajadock: From the tunnel of the month club, Otay Mesa’s warehouses seem to be booming with business.   The San Diego Tunnel Task Force has been busy beavers.

U-T San Diego, April 4, 10:12AM update

OTAY MESA — Federal authorities announced Friday the arrest of a 73-year-old Chula Vista woman in connection with an investigation into two newly-discovered smuggling tunnels at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The passageways, which were equipped with lighting and rail systems, connected warehouses in industrial areas in Otay Mesa with two separate entry points in warehouses in Tijuana, said Derek Benner, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego.

The first tunnel was discovered Tuesday inside a building on Via de la Amistad after a five-month long investigation by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, officials said.

It was about 600 yards long and was entered through a 70-foot shaft.

Benner said it was one of the longest straight-down drops the agency has seen. The tunnel was also uniquely constructed. “They were sealing the exit point and using material to cover it and make it look like painted concrete,” Benner said.

The builders had also installed a pulley system at the U.S. entrance to hoist up contraband.

The woman taken into custody was identified as Glennys Rodriguez. She oversaw the logistics at the warehouse, which was filled with toys, including plastic three-wheelers, and boxes of televisions, officials said.

She is being charged with conspiring to maintain a drug-involved premises and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.

The second tunnel, which was about 700 yards long, was discovered Thursday morning inside a warehouse on Marconi Drive about a block and a half away from the first tunnel. It contained a multi-tiered electric rail system and an array of ventilation equipment, officials said. The passageway included turns to the right and left, Benner said.

No drugs were seized in connection the tunnels, officials said.

Benner said smugglers have ceased to stockpile large amount of drugs in the tunnels like they had before.

“They’re being much more cautious in the way they operate,” Benner said.

Instead, they smuggle smaller amounts of contraband at a time and then wait several days before transporting it. That way there is less activity to observe, Benner said.

Authorities have seized more than 100 tons of narcotics associated with smuggling tunnels in San Diego in the last four years. At least 80 cross-border smuggling tunnels, most of them in California and Arizona, have been discovered by federal authorities since 2006.

Benner said close collaboration with Mexican authorities was key in the investigation. “A large part of our success is our ability to share real time information with partners in Mexico,” Benner said.

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