Saturday Margarita Celebration · the photography of QT Luong

Ensenada, Baja California, August 23.- The Riviera of Ensenada invites the public to celebrate the 68th anniversary of Margarita.

Lamadrid Mario Garcia, director of The Riviera, reported that this event will take place on Saturday August 27 from 13:00 in the gardens of the symbolic building is free admission.

He made an invitation to all restaurants and bars to enroll in the contest of margaritas, it is divided into the Free and Classic categories and graded presentation, taste, cleanliness and originality.

He said the registration fee is a thousand pesos and includes tents, table, chairs and access to electricity.

Prizes will be trophies and plaques of recognition for first, second and third place in each category and certificate of recognition for all participants.

He said the Margarita, iconic drink The Riviera was created in 1948 at the renowned Bar Andaluz and has been popularized around the world, so that his invention is of great pride for ensenadenses.

He noted that for more information, interested persons may contact the phone 176-43-10 and 176-43-33 or offices located on Boulevard Costero and Rotary Club from 8:00 to 16:00.

Casa Magnolia Restaurant

foto por Casa Magnolia

VIP guests arrived Monday for Ensenada invasion this week.  Where to enjoy some good food and a good scene?  Casa Magnolia won the debate.

Casa Magnolia also has some history:


In the 1920s the house was built and transported pre-assembled in the United States to this city by Mr. Juan Abackumoff . Installed at Av . Gastelum where it remained until the day January 20, 2013 , was moved to this place by Lic . Jesus Alberto Ayala Urias and family , a gesture that prevented the demolition of this beautiful house that houses our restaurant.

Aaron and team greeted us with menus and chips with a medium spicy salsa verde.  Shades on the west facing windows were rolled down to ease the heat and bright sunshine.

Sad news was that they only had Pacifico Light, not Pacifico regular.  But, Negra Modelo provided a terrific refreshment.

casamagsopacam     casamagcaes

As mentioned in a previous review, Casa Magnolia’s menu is a thick and extensive book.   Was surprised to learn that entrees included a choice of soup of the day(cream of shrimp) or a small caesar salad.  Soup was excellent in texture and flavor, salads were crisp and colorful as a perfect size for a starter.


Chicken breast cooked with rosemary and portobello, risotto and vegetables in white wine and butter.


Chicken breast  stuffed with spinach , shrimp and cream cheese with sour sweet tamarind sauce accompanied by mashed potatoes and vegetables with herbs


Ceviche especial is shrimp, fish and octopus with special salsa

Casa Magnolia provides a comfortable & panoramic setting, friendly service and food that has been prepared and seasoned with care.   The restaurant is located on Costero Blvd, south side of city, just as your approach the municipal beach.  Breakfast(7am), lunch and dinner are served.


Our score is 4 out of 5 magnolia flower petals for Casa Magnolia, a very solid dining experience.    646-176-6592

Unique Baja Species

foto por Bajadock, vita de Punta Banda, sur a Santo Tomas

10 Plant and Animal Species Only Found in Baja

The Baja California peninsula is like no place else on earth, a fact reflected in the peninsula’s distinctive and often unique flora and fauna.

Much of the fascinating diversity in Baja California Sur is due to what is called island endemism, a process by which plants and animals develop independently in specific isolated environments. The unique island endemism of the Galapagos, for example, famously helped to inspire Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Coastal islands off Baja California Sur like Magdalena and Espiritu Santo are hotbeds for endemic species, which have necessarily evolved over time in order to survive in their geographically circumscribed environments.

10 Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

A recognized subspecies of the white-tailed antelope squirrel (pictured above) found in Baja California and the southwestern United States, Ammospermophilus insularis can only be found on Isla Espiritu Santo near Baja Sur’s capital city of La Paz.

But the peninsular mainland – “almost an island” in Bruce Berger’s felicitous phrase – boasts its own collection of strange and wonderful creatures, with many specifically adapted to the central or southern sierras, or to low-lying desert areas. Some are indigenous but not endemic, meaning they can also be found in other regions. Others are sui generis, found only in Baja.

Here are 10 of our “only in Baja” favorites.

Creeping Devil (Stenocereus eruca)

This creepy member of the Cactaceae family is certainly distinctive, not only for its caterpillar like appearance, but its ability to move. Large colonies of the columnar succulents can be found on the central Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, where they invariably seem engaged in some sort of slow-speed migration. The cacti grow at one end while the other end dies, and during the course of this ongoing process travel up to two feet a year on average. As if that weren’t weird enough, Creeping Devils are also able to clone themselves.

Belding’s Yellowthroat (Geothlypis beldingi)

Although habitat loss is an ongoing problem, the estuary and bird sanctuary in San Jose del Cabo remains one of the best places to see this yellow throated warbler named for California naturalist Lyman Belding. It is easily identifiable by its song – deeper and louder than that of the common yellowthroat – as well as its coloring. Males of this species endemic to the Capes Region differ from females by having a black mask across their face. Females have an olive rather than yellow crown.

Black Jackrabbit of Espiritu Santo (Lepus insularis)

Yes, its conservation status is listed as “near threatened,” but that’s largely because of the limited range of this intriguing species. The black jackrabbit lives only on one island, Espiritu Santo north of La Paz, an uninhabited, protected biosphere reserve with a thriving habitat that also includes an endemic antelope squirrel. The black jackrabbit has few if any natural predators, and visitors to the island can occasionally glimpse these famous residents hopping amid native grasses and shrubs.

10 Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

Named for Janos Xantus, a Hungarian naturalist who spent several years in Cabo San Lucas during the latter half of the 19th century collecting specimens for the Smithsonian Institution, this small colorful hummingbird remains a perennially popular target for birdwatchers in Baja California Sur. Image courtesy of Marlin Harms.

Isla Santa Catalina Rattlesnake (Crotalus catalinensis)

Several varieties of rattlesnake live in Baja, but only one lacks the characteristic feature from which the name is derived:  the so-called rattleless rattlesnake of Santa Catalina Island. Actually there are vestigial bands, just not enough for the telltale sound which warns of its presence. It was once thought that this species evolved in order to silently hunt birds, but it is currently thought to be a specific adaptation to a lack of traditional predators. Its diet is now primarily mouse and lizard based, and probably always was. A positive note for visitors to the Islands ofLoreto is that this venomous pit viper is small – about two feet in length – and rarely hides. It can usually be found in arroyos on the western side of the island, occasionally climbing onto low-lying bush branches during the hot summer months.

Baja Blue Rock Lizard (Petrosaurus thalassinus)

There are two subspecies of this beautiful blue iguana: one that lives in the mountain ranges – Sierra de la Laguna and Sierra La Trinidad – in the southernmost part of the Baja California peninsula; and another that inhabits offshore islands near La Paz like Espiritu Santo and Partida. Adults reach nearly a foot and a half in length, and feed on insects, leaves, seeds and smaller lizards. Males become even more colorful during the breeding season, which takes place during spring. Life expectancy is about 20 years.

10Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

Watch your step on Isla Santa Catalina. A unique local rattlesnake, Crotalus catalinensis, has evolved sans threatening rattle.

Isla Magdalena Spiny Cactus (Echinocereus barthelowanus)

Perhaps best known as a Gray Whale breeding ground, Magdalena Bay is also one of the most phenomenal fishing spots on the planet. Two offshore islands protecting this natural paradise, Magdalena and Margarita, are also home to some of the world’s most interesting species of cactus, several of which are endemic. Echinocereus barthelowanus is among the least known, and looks somewhat like a star cluster shooting off a thousand rays of light. The spines are long, voluminous, piercing and wisely avoided at all times.

Espiritu Santo Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus insularis)

No, this rodent doesn’t have antlers. It’s an adorable subspecies of the common white-tailed antelope squirrel found only on Isla Espiritu Santo. Small, diurnal and prone to burrowing – burrows provide both a home and protection against extreme temperatures – Ammospermophilus insularis varies his diet according to the seasons, largely subsisting on plants, seeds, fruits, insects and small lizards. The squirrels breed during the spring, with a month-long gestation period typically producing litters of 5 to 14 babies.

10 Plants and Animals Found Only in Baja

Dubbed Stenocereus eruca, the latter name in honor of the caterpillar it resembles, this creeping cactus found on Baja California’s central Pacific Coast is capable of “traveling” about two feet per year. Image courtesy of Pamla J. Eisenberg.

Baja Elephant Tree (Pachycormus discolor)

This gray-barked tree with branches as thick as elephant trunks is most commonly found in the central Sierra de la Giganta, although subspecies can be found on Pacific Coast islands like Cedros, Magdalena and Margarita. It matures up to 30 feet in height – impressive when not contrasted with a towering 60’ Cardon cactus – grows seasonal clusters of small leaves, and blooms brilliant pink flowers from late spring until early autumn. It should not be confused with Bursera microphylla, a native but not endemic Baja “Elephant Tree.”

Xantus’s Hummingbird (Basilinna xantusii)

This small 3 to 4 gram hummingbird is an extraordinarily prized sighting for visiting birdwatchers. Named for a Hungarian naturalist named Janos Xantus who spent several years during the latter half of the 19th century recording tide levels and collecting specimens near Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Basilinna xantusii is endemic to Baja California Sur, but has been known to wander as far north as British Columbia. It feeds on flower nectar and is most commonly seen around breeding habitats in the Capes Region, and on the islands of Cerralvo and San Jose. Genders may be differentiated by throat color:  iridescent green for males, cinnamon for females.

Isla San Marcos Barefoot Gecko (Coleonyx switaki gypsicolus)

Banded geckos are common to much of the southwestern U.S., Mexico and parts of Central America. One fantastically colored subspecies, however, lives only on a 5.6 mile long island off the Baja Sur coast near Santa Rosalia. That would be the rare Barefoot Gecko of Isla San Marcos, a tiny 3 to 4 inch lizard that feasts on spiders and insects. They feed at night and typically remain hidden during the day, seeking cover under rocks or in deep crevices. They often emit a squeak when threatened, and can distract predators by “dropping” their tail, which subsequently grows back.

Baja Beer Shortage


Bajadock: That’s a whole lotta Tecate

A truck loaded with beer overturned yesterday morning on the Transpeninsular Highway , fortunately no one was injured , only loss of the load. The Federal Police said that the heavy unit was ” lying ” on his right side on one side of the asphalt at kilometer 80 + 500 meters from the junction to Eréndira . The corporation reported not injured , only material damage estimated at an amount in excess of 40 thousand pesos truck. The accident occurred Reportedly When the driver lost Control of the heavy unit , determined to the police . The data Indicated morning around 4:45 hours yesterday When the truck was traveling with North – South orientation . During the morning , Carried out the work Authorities to put on the truck STI wheels , while employees of the distributor Withdrew the charge.


San Diego Sea Level Rise Map



Many San Diego properties would have a lot more ‘ocean’ in their ‘oceanfront’ if climate predictions come true.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps track of various climate scenarios, and maps what areas would be affected.

Current estimates suggest that in 2100, the sea could rise by six feet

This is just part of what could happen:

  • Coronado’s Naval Air station would become its own island
  • Mission Bay would become much larger, subsuming many homes and resorts
  • The San Diego river estuary would become more brackish, affecting wildlife
  • Shelter Island would become cut off from the mainland
  • Harbor Drive would become just a regular harbor
  • Half of the San Diego Convention Center would be flooded
  • Silver Strand would become much more of a strand
  • Border Field State Park would be flooded
  • Dog beach in Ocean Beach would be gone

Additionally,Zillow estimates that 1 percent of the city’s total housing stock would be underwater.

Nationally, about 1.9 million homes would be destroyed, worth $882 billion. While California would be hit hard, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia would have it significantly worse.

To explore other sea level rise scenarios, check out NOAA’s interactivemap.

Tijuana Nude Art


‘Give me enough rebar and an oxyacetylene torch and I’ll line the border with giant nude Amazons.’ – Armando Muñoz Garcia

In 1987 a scruffy part-time art student approached Tijuana city officials with a simple plan: He wanted to build a humongous naked woman in the middle of the city to mark the 1989 Tijuana centennial. Unsurprisingly, they declined the offer.

The refusal did little to dissuade artist Armando Garcia. Armando simply relocated the work to his neighborhood, an overlooked ghetto of Tijuana, and began building. Though discouraged by his professors and with little support from his classmates, the art student kept building and in 1991 he had completed his vision. Standing more than five stories tall, rising from hovels and a trash dump, stands 18 tons of fully nude woman, her arm upraised with a pinky pointing to the sky. A sly gesture noting location of Tijuana on a map of Mexico.

The huge woman, officially named “Tijuana III Millennium” by Garcia but known locally as “La Mona” or “the doll,” is a perky nude, based on one of Garcia’s ex-girlfriends. In recent years as the sculpture has begun to age and Garcia’s ex-girlfriend has started coming around demanding a make-over.

For Garcia the giant nude is more than just his claim to fame. It was, for a long time, his home. Garcia lived inside the woman with his wife. Their bedroom is in the woman’s breasts, the study is in her head, the kitchen in her stomach, and the bathrooms are anatomically appropriately located in her behind.

Garcia has since moved to a new house, this one also in the shape of a giant woman but only from the waist up. He currently still uses La Mona as a work space.

Garcia’s Mermaid House in Puerto Nuevo:

Electric Moments Without Electricity


My rural neighborhood loses power 3-4 times per year and usually for about a 4hour period.  Occasionally, we have a longer outage like yesterday’s 7 hour blackout, losing power to a fire on the electric lines running out to La Bufadora and a handful of smaller neighborhoods along that road.

What to do for those of us that are too lazy and/or stubborn to buy a gas generator?

Have a gathering of people for happy and dinner.  Thanks to my kind friends, L, N, T and J, for hosting the lively chatter at dusk and food preparation filling the air with aromas and our bellies with delights.

A dinner gathering without Facebook and interweb drama is a fun event.


An almost stolen vehicle, broken hearts, travel, mended hearts, distinguishing figs from turds, lost relatives, new family members, cats, dogs, extremely gay names for cats, surgeries, movies, new friends, how to open garage door openers without electricity, border crossing directions, sunset, dinner table jewelry(news to me…check out the napkins), a nearly full moon, cherry tomatoes exploding with flavor, pepper mill masquerading as marital aid(red thingy in photo),  squashies and spuds bathed in herbies and a new chicken recipe were part of the discussion.

One political reference and no religious references mentioned.  Laughter was the theme.

Watched the electric company’s trucks fixing the power poles and lines downed this afternoon under that full moon with no wind or waves.  This was a quiet, peaceful night.  Stars were shining, but, slightly washed out be moon.

I am one lucky gringo.



Baja Fire Season


foto por Udo Winkler


Yesterday afternoon, the heat motivated me to scan the horizon for smoke, as it occurred to me that I had not noticed any fires in the area this year.  2 hours later, this small fire broke out on Punta Banda at approx K13 of Carretera La Bufadora.

Fire cause?  That close to the road, a cigarette tossed out of a car window leads our early polling.

Great news is that were no homes within harms way with prevailing winds off the Todos Santos Islands and our volunteer firefighters controlled the fire quickly.


foto por Bobby Garza

This power pole did not do so well.  Power went out at 3:55PM.


foto por Bajadock…this is my weak photo from my patio looking down at CFE trucks at toasted power pole at approx 5:20PM.


foto por Bobby Garza

At dusk, CFE crews were doing their work.  Did not read how many poles had to be replaced.  Guessing at 2 or 3 new power poles were installed.

This expert predicted a 9PM electricity fix for the Punta Banda peninsula.  HAH, I was 2 hours off.  Approx 10:45 pm had lights, frig, internet back humming.  7 hour outage?  Not bad here in Gringolandia.

No, I’m not buying a backup generator.  Will post our fun neighborhood non-electric gathering tomorrow.




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Tijuana Rosarito Water Outage

Pablo Lizardi, 7, stands by a large water tank that his aunt Petra Lizardi, 48, keeps on the porch of her house in Tijuana’s Colonia Francisco Villa. The family will use water from the tank when their running water is suspended during the repair of a major aqueduct.
Pablo Lizardi, 7, stands by a large water tank that his aunt Petra Lizardi, 48, keeps on the porch of her house in Tijuana’s Colonia Francisco Villa. The family will use water from the tank when their running water is suspended during the repair of a major aqueduct.


— Some 600,000 residents of Tijuana and Rosarito Beach can expect to see their water deliveries shut off as soon as next weekend as a major aqueduct undergoes repairs.

The shutdown, which could last from two to five days, will affect just less than one-third of the area’s 1.8 million water users living in 332colonias, or neighborhoods, across the western and southern parts of Tijuana and northern Rosarito Beach, according to the Baja California Public Service Commission, or CESPT.

“We are sending out notice in advance, so that people know not to perform tasks that consume a lot of water, such as using washing machines,” during the service suspension, said Miguel Lemus, general manager of the CESPT, which serves both Tijuana and Rosarito Beach.


An announcement on the timing could be forthcoming as early as next week, and the agency is asking users to stay updated through its Facebook page, “Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana.”

Lemus said workers would begin operations on a Friday, and work around the clock in order to cause the least possible disruption.

Like San Diego, Tijuana gets most of its water supply — 95 percent — from the Colorado River, delivered through a large aqueduct that runs across the state. Ninety-nine percent of the region’s residents today have running water, Lemus said, funneled to different areas through seven pipelines supplied by the El Florido Water Treatment Plant in eastern Tijuana.

Unlike San Diego, Tijuana’s pipelines are not interconnected, so that maintenance work often requires shutting off service. “San Diego planned its water system,” Lemus said, while in Tijuana the utility was forced to play catch-up, and build aqueducts to serve new residential areas that sprang up without government planning.

The water shutdown is necessary because CESPT needs to replace a 510-foot-long stretch of one of its aqueducts that is now now 30 years old and has sprung some leaks. The replacement 48-inch-wide pipe has already been laid, but it cannot be connected until the contractor receives some critical parts that are on order, Lemus said.

“They were supposed to arrive last Tuesday; now we’re hoping for next week,” he said. “It doesn’t depend on us or the contractor, but on the supplier.”

Problems with getting the parts have led to repeated postponements in recent weeks, and given residents plenty of time to get prepared. The prospect has generated a measure of anxiety, and in Rosarito Beach, one store has experienced a rush of customers wanting to buy water tanks and barrels, according the newspaper Frontera. Lemus said several hardware stores have reported a spike in demand for spare parts to fix underground water storage systems.

The operation will result in a water cut-off for some of Tijuana’s upscale neighborhoods near the Xolos stadium and twin towers known as Las Torres. Also affected would be Playas de Tijuana, the downtown areas of Rosarito Beach and much of its coastline, and scores of more modest neighborhoods, from Laureles Canyon near the U.S. border fence to the older hillside colonias of Altamira and Francisco Villa.

CESPT does not anticipate major problems: Hotels and condominiums typically hold reserves in large water tanks, while many residences have underground cisterns. Residents of poorer neighborhoods store water in large buckets known as tambos, or small tanks in their yards and rooftops.

As the sun went down Friday in Colonia Francisco Villa, resident Patricia Becerra, 58, said she wasn’t worried. She’ll save water inside a large barrel in her front yard, and keep plastic gallon containers filled with water. Down the hill, Petra Lizardi, 48, plans to turn to a large water tank on the porch of the house her father built 45 years ago.

“Most people have two or three tambos,” Lizardi said, “so they’re not that affected.”

Across town along the city’s busy Bulevar Agua Caliente, at the Las Torres complex that includes the city’s 22-story Grand Hotel and an adjoining 18-story office tower, maintenance director Alma Trujillo said she is prepared.

The complex has storage capacity for more than 237,000 gallons of water, she said, and taps and showers will keep running under a service shutdown, she said. Staff will defer any non-essential cleaning processes that consume water, such as washing curtains, but the pool will remain filled, restaurants open, and “guests won’t even notice,” she said.

The CESPT is urging residents of areas not affected by the service suspension to refrain from hoarding water. A spike in demand in other areas of the city could delay the utility’s ability to replenish the pipeline once the repairs are completed, he said.

“For us, this is a fairly common project,” Lemus said. A similar repair affecting large numbers of residents took place last year in eastern Tijuana, “but there’s been a lot more noise with this one because it affects wealthier areas.”


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