Weekly Scenic Road Crack Report

Bajadock: Baja news cycle is stuck on potholes, border tunnels, highway landslides, murders and political corruption.  Whatever happened to the Corona beach commercials and hot babes in bikinis promoting Tecate?

Flag dude reminds me of the Lifelock ads: “I’m just a highway landslide monitor, not a highway landslide fixer. Lunch?”


ENSENADA BC, MARCH 16, 2017 (AFN) .- Researchers at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (Cicese), established a comparative basis with data taken every 15 days, to know the speed of fractures located in The scenic highway Tijuana-Ensenada and found five new cracks in kilometers 92 and 95, which does not mean that there is a risk, said Luis Mendoza Garcilazo, a researcher in the department of seismology.

He acknowledged that the infrastructure works that are carried out in the area as a preventive measure, are run by a nationally recognized companies and, certainly, are well thought out and well designed, he said.

“They are within the plan to improve safety, they are retaining walls, filtering galleries, I hope the nature does not win the work,” he said.

Fortunately, he said, gliding is a slow phenomenon. The kilometer 93 was already several years down.

Mendoza Garcilazo mentioned that the fault zone is well instrumented with piezometers, inclinometers, among other constant measuring instruments.

The researcher pointed out that the tasks of observation and measurement performed in the area and keeping an eye on the movements of that artery are “in case we can help or give some warning, especially the companies that are working.”

Corrective works in process

It should be mentioned that it was recently reported that corrective and preventive works carried out at different points on the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Highway, at the Salsipuedes Bay, will cost over one billion pesos.

The works will conclude in 2018 and are performed in the detected faults along 13 kilometers where, since 2014, constant studies and monitoring are carried out.

There are 125 control points, 33 piezometers and 16 observation tubes to measure the water and the pressure of the same.

Mantou Gastro Pub

Duck tamal at Mantou Gastropub. Photo: AGringoInMexico.com

sandiegored  by W. Scott Koenig

ENSENADA.-“Mantou” are a type of Chinese steamed bun and a carb staple of northern China, where wheat is more readily available than the rice grown and consumed in the south. It’s believed that the Mongols introduced the meat-filled version to the region during the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century.

While affable Mantou Gastropub owner and chef Omar Armas may lack the surly demeanor and tableside manner of the typical Mongol, he should be given no less credit as a global culinary explorer who brought mantou – the dish and its namesake restaurant – from northern China to Baja California in early 2016.

Chef Armas’ globetrotting began after a year at the Tijuana Culinary Arts School. “I left my home in Baja California to study in Florence. That’s where my interest in cooking really began,” he explained during a recent visit. “The Italians really put a lot of love into their pastas. That’s why it’s the number one comfort food in the world.”

Armas discovered mantou steamed buns while cooking in northern China via the Mayan Riviera. “One of my first jobs was as a cook at the Banyan Tree Hotels in Playa del Carmen. In 2008, tourism dried up due to the global recession, so I accepted a colleague’s offer to work with him in the restaurant of a new hotel in Macau.”

Driven in part by a feeling of isolation – Armas confessed that it was difficult for any immigrant to make friends in provincial northern China – the chef headed west and began a circulation in restaurants throughout Europe and the Americas. During this period, he worked with Quiquie Dacosta in Spain, Alex Atala in Brazil, and David Chang in New York.

Winemaker Lourdes Martinez Ojeda & chef Omar Armas. Photo: AGringoInMexico.com

The menu at Mantou, which Armas refers to as “eclectic cuisine and fun comfort food”, is a reflection of the chef’s time spent in these international kitchens. “We call the cuisine eclectic, as it’s influenced by many cultures. Chinese, Mexican, French. Everything we serve is made fresh and by hand in-house.”

Four types of mantou are on offer at the restaurant. The steamed buns are filled with locally sourced ingredients, such as grilled octopus in cilantro vinaigrette and smoked pork belly in chipotle mayonnaise. The dense, naturally sweet and succulent pork belly is cured for 24 hours and then smoked in-house.

Smoked pork belly mantou (steamed bun). Photo: AGringoInMexico.com

Though small plates also span the globe, many of the offerings stick close to home. You can taste the influence of Armas’ time spent in Mexico City with Enrique Olvera at Pujol, and enjoy his take on some local Baja California classics. The savory Ceviche Mantou is served in a molcajete and features lightly smoked local yellowtail, redolent of the sea with a slight, favorable hint of mesquite smoke.

Ceviche Mantou. Photo: AGringoInMexico.com

The taco of flor de calabaza (squash blossom) with nopal tatemado (burnt cactus paddle) finished with aioli, pickled onion, and chili morita is a revelation. A central Mexican delicacy is lightly fried in Baja California style beer batter and thoughtfully arranged with the other ingredients on a house-made tortilla, creating a singularly satisfying dish.

Taco of flor de calabaza and grilled nopal. Photo: AGringoInMexico.com

Armas’ first love, Italy, is represented on the menu by three classic tagliatelle pasta dishes, served with local proteins from both sea and farm. Though not currently on the menu, it was Armas’ duck carpaccio that won first place for chef and restaurant at the 2016 Sabor de Baja culinary competition.

The chef really gets excited about one entree in particular, the 18-ounce New York strip. “It took a year to find beef that I’d feel good serving,” he disclosed. “I finally found it close to home in Mexicali. I went to the ranch, tried it, and it was beautiful.” The very tender steak is grilled with tomato, thyme, and garlic and served with frites and three very good sauces in which to dip meat and potato: a 3-day bone marrow reduction, a broth and raw butter blend, and Mantou’s house-made ketchup.

The 18oz. grilled New York strip. Photo: AGringoInMexico.com

Pairing wines with Mantou’s dishes introduces another influence and taste — France. Mantou is one of the first Baja California restaurants to offer young wines from Bodegas Henri Lurton, the esteemed Bordeaux winemaker who recently began production in nearby Valle San Vicente. The connection here is Armas’ fiancée, Lourdes Martinez Ojeda, who worked with Lurton to bring modern French winemaking techniques to Baja California’s wine country.

Both food and wine can be enjoyed on Mantou’s spacious, rustic patio, or in their smaller dining room. The restaurant is located about 20 yards back from Avenida Adolfo López Mateos, providing ample parking and a tranquil dining experience. Reservations are recommended, but not required.

Mantou is located on Avenida Adolfo López Mateos #2030-A, Colonia Granados, Ensenada, Baja California. +52 646-206-0391. www.facebook.com/Mantoupub

We were invited by chef Omar Armas to visit Mantou Gastro Pub, and enjoyed complimentary food and wine as the guests of our generous hosts. No compensation was received for writing this article, and all opinions are those of the author — who would happily spend his own pesos at Mantou in the future.

San Diego-based culture, food and travel journalist W. Scott Koenig has explored Mexico and Baja California for over two decades. He founded AGringoInMexico.com in 2012 to report on south of the border destinations, food, culture and adventure. The website has since become an invaluable source of information on the burgeoning food and culture scene in Baja California, as well as the wider scene throughout Mexico. Visit Scott’s websites and social media via the links, below.

A Gringo in Mexico, FoodieHub, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.

CBP Inspects Phones


When Buffalo, New York couple Akram Shibly and Kelly McCormick returned to the U.S. from a trip to Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers held them for two hours, took their cellphones and demanded their passwords.

“It just felt like a gross violation of our rights,” said Shibly, a 23-year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York. But he and McCormick complied, and their phones were searched.

Three days later, they returned from another trip to Canada and were stopped again by CBP.

“One of the officers calls out to me and says, ‘Hey, give me your phone,'” recalled Shibly. “And I said, ‘No, because I already went through this.'”

The officer asked a second time..

Within seconds, he was surrounded: one man held his legs, another squeezed his throat from behind. A third reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone. McCormick watched her boyfriend’s face turn red as the officer’s chokehold tightened.

Then they asked McCormick for her phone.

“I was not about to get tackled,” she said. She handed it over.

Shibly and McCormick’s experience is not unique. In 25 cases examined by NBC News, American citizens said that CBP officers at airports and border crossings demanded that they hand over their phones and their passwords, or unlock them.

The travelers came from across the nation, and were both naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned.

What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim, like Shibly, whose parents are from Syria.

American citizens Akram Shibly, left, and Kelly McCormick had their phones searched as they reentered the U.S. at Niagara Falls, New York on two separate trips in January 2017. They say Shibly was put in a chokehold when he refused to hand over his phone on the second crossing. Michael Adamucci / for NBC News

Data provided by the Department of Homeland Security shows that searches of cellphones by border agents has exploded, growing fivefold in just one year, from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016.

According to DHS officials, 2017 will be a blockbuster year. Five-thousand devices were searched in February alone, more than in all of 2015.

“That’s shocking,” said Mary Ellen Callahan, former chief privacy officer at the Department of Homeland Security. She wrote the rules and restrictions on how CBP should conduct electronic searches back in 2009. “That [increase] was clearly a conscious strategy, that’s not happenstance.”

“This really puts at risk both the security and liberty of the American people,” said Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. “Law abiding Americans are being caught up in this digital dragnet.”

“This is just going to grow and grow and grow,” said Senator Wyden. “There’s tremendous potential for abuse here.”

What Changed?

What CBP agents call “detaining” cellphones didn’t start after Donald Trump’s election. The practice began a decade ago, late in the George W. Bush administration, but was highly focused on specific individuals.

The more aggressive tactics of the past two years, two senior intelligence officials told NBC News, were sparked by a string of domestic incidents in 2015 and 2016 in which the watch list system and the FBI failed to stop American citizens from conducting attacks. The searches also reflect new abilities to extract contact lists, travel patterns and other data from phones very quickly.

DHS has published more than two dozen reports detailing its extensive technological capability to forensically extract data from mobile devices, regardless of password protection on most Apple and Android phones. The reports document its proven ability to access deleted call logs, videos, photos, and emails to name a few, in addition to the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram apps..

But the officials caution that rhetoric about a Muslim registry and ban during the presidential campaign also seems to have emboldened federal agents to act more forcefully.

“The shackles are off,” said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project. “We see individual officers and perhaps supervisors as well pushing those limits, exceeding their authority and violating people’s rights.”

And multiple sources told NBC News that law enforcement and the Intelligence Community are exploiting a loophole to collect intelligence.

Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement needs at least reasonable suspicion if they want to search people or their possessions within the United States. But not at border crossings, and not at airport terminals.

“The Fourth Amendment, even for U.S. citizens, doesn’t apply at the border,” said Callahan. “That’s under case law that goes back 150 years.”

The ACLU’s Handeyside noted that while the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement doesn’t apply at the border, its “general reasonableness” requirement still does, and is supposed to protect against unreasonable searches and seizures. “That may seem nuanced, but it’s a critical distinction, said Handeyside. “We don’t surrender our constitutional rights at the border.”

Customs and Border officers can search travelers without any level of suspicion. They have the legal authority to go through any object crossing the border within 100 miles, including smartphones and laptops. They have the right to take devices away from travelers for five days without providing justification. In the absence of probable cause, however, they have to give the devices back.

CBP also searches people on behalf of other federal law enforcement agencies, sending its findings back to partners in the DEA, FBI, Treasury and the National Counterterrorism Center, among others.

Callahan thinks that CBP’s spike in searches means it is exploiting the loophole “in order to get information they otherwise might hot have been able to.”

On January 31, an engineer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was pulled into additional screening upon his return to the U.S. after a two-week vacation in Chile. Despite being cleared by the Global Entry program, Sidd Bikkannavar received an “X” on his customs form. He is not Muslim, and he is not from any of the seven countries named in President Trump’s original “travel ban” executive order. Half his family comes from India but he was born and raised in California.

Bikkannavar was brought into a closed room and told to hand over his phone and passcode. He paid particular notice to the form CBP handed him which explained it had the right to copy the contents of the phone, and that the penalty for refusal was “detention.”

“I didn’t know if that meant detention of the phone or me and I didn’t want to find out,” said Bikkannavar. He tried to refuse but the officer repeatedly demanded the PIN. Eventually he acquiesced.

“Once they had that, they had everything,” Bikkannavar said. That access allowed CBP officers to review the backend of his social media accounts, work emails, call and text history, photos and other apps. He had expected security might physically search any travelers for potential weapons but accessing his digital data felt different. “Your whole digital life is on your phone.”

The officers disappeared with his phone and PIN. They returned 30 minutes later and let him go home.

Sidd Bikkannavar poses for a portrait in 2014. Takashi Akaishi

CBP also regularly searches people leaving the country.

On February 9, Haisam Elsharkawi was stopped by security while trying to board his flight out of Los Angeles International Airport. He said that six Customs officers told him he was randomly selected. They demanded access to his phone and when he refused, Elsharkawi said they handcuffed him, locked him in the airport’s lower level and asked questions including how he became a citizen. Elsharkawi thought he knew his rights and demanded access to legal counsel.

“They said if I need a lawyer, then I must be guilty of something,” said Elsharkawi, and Egyptian-born Muslim and naturalized U.S. citizen. After four hours of questioning in detention, he unlocked his smartphone and, after a search, was eventually released. Elsharkawi said he intends to sue the Department of Homeland Security.

The current policy has not been updated since 2009. Jayson Ahern, who served in CBP under both Bush and Obama, signed off on the current policy. He said the electronic searches are supposed to be based on specific, articulable facts that raise security concerns. They are not meant to be random or routine or applied liberally to border crossers. “That’s reckless and that’s how you would lose the authority, never mind the policy.”

The Customs & Border Patrol policy manual says that electronic devices fall under the same extended search doctrine that allows them to scan bags in the typical security line.

“As the threat landscape changes, so does CBP,” a spokesperson told NBC News.

Since the policy was written in 2009, legal advocates argue, several court cases have set new precedents that could make some CBP electronic searches illegal.

Several former DHS officials pointed to a 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Riley v California that determined law enforcement needed a warrant to search electronic devices when a person is being arrested. The court ruled unanimously, and Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion.

“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life,'” wrote Roberts. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”

Because that case happened outside of the border context, however, CBP lawyers have repeatedly asserted in court that the ruling does not apply to border searches.

For now a Department of Justice internal bulletin has instructed that, unless border officers have a search warrant, they need to take protective measures to limit intrusions, and make sure their searches do not access travelers’ digital cloud data. The ‘cloud’ is all content not directly stored on a device, which includes anything requiring internet to access, like email and social media.

Former DHS officials who helped design and implement the search policy said they agreed with that guidance.

Wyden Pushes to Change the Policy

On February 20, Sen. Wyden wrote to DHS Secretary John Kelly demanding details on electronic search-practices used on U.S. citizens, and referred to the extent of electronic searches as government “overreach”. As of publication, he had yet to receive an answer.

Now Sen. Wyden says that as early as next week he plans to propose a bill that would require CBP to at least obtain a warrant to search electronics of U.S. citizens, and explicitly prevent officers from demanding passwords.

“The old rules … seem to be on the way to being tossed in the garbage can,” said Senator Wyden. “I think it is time to update the law.”

Akram Shibly at home in Buffalo, Sunday March, 12, 2017. Michael Adamucci / for NBC News

Asked about the Shibly case, a CBP spokesperson declined to comment, but said the Homeland Security Inspector General is investigating. The spokesperson said the agency can’t comment on open investigations or particular travelers, but that it “firmly denies any accusations of racially profiling travelers based on nationality, race, sex, religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs.”

Explaining the sharp increase in electronic searches, a department spokesperson told NBC News: “CBP has adapted and adjusted to align with current threat information, which is based on intelligence.” A spokesman also noted that searches of citizens leaving the U.S. protect against the theft of American industrial and national security secrets.

After repeated communications, the Department of Homeland Security never responded to NBC News’ requests for comments. Nonetheless, the Homeland Security Inspector General is currently auditing CBP’s electronic search practices.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also has filed two dozen complaints against CBP this year for issues profiling Muslim Americans. CAIR and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are considering legal action against the government for what they consider to be unconstitutional searches at the border.

Rats Infest City Hall



In the Municipal Palace building there is an infestation of rats whose waste has become a source of infection for workers.

Mayor Marco Novelo Osuna, confirmed to Ensenada.net, that employees of central offices complained because there are traces of rodents in booksellers, desks and corners of the public good.  Supposedly from the council room they took out two rats, assured the annoying workers.

Distressed, the munícipe, mentioned that they will have fumigated from the parking lot, in the basement, to the fourth floor.

The building of the town hall is going through the worst moment of neglect because in recent years there was no investment for maintenance which caused the appearance of these animals.

The municipal president warned that they will clean up the pipes but that this work will be accompanied by a hygiene campaign by workers who usually store food at desks or leave trash cans overflowing.

“We are cleaning everything, I started with the bathrooms, the records were a cochinero, there we have about 15 thousand dollars invested barely,” he estimated during a tour of the rooms on the first floor.

It still does not have a quote of how much the restoration of the municipal palace will cost but anticipated that only repairing the ceiling will leave in about 700 thousand pesos, and from there it will start with office structures as well as painting.

Yesterday Monday none of the two elevators worked so he requested the presence of technicians from a private company to carry out the repair of the rails.


Ensenada 1926, 1967, 1998


foto por Edgar Lima

Ensenada Beer Fest

More than 120 breweries throughout the country, as well as more than 100 styles of artisan drink, which are already a reference in Baja California, will be part of what can be enjoyed in the seventh Edition of the Festival Beer Fest Ensenada.

Paco Talamante Frías, organizer of the event, mentioned that the purpose of the event is to promote and promote the Beer Fest Ensenada beer culture, to be held on March 18 in the gardens of the Riviera Cultural Center.

He explained that on 15, 16 and 17 March there will be presentations by invited speakers, experts in the subject, as well as local gastronomy, music and malt-based beverage competition.

Growing Industry

The artisan beer producer also highlighted the growth of artisanal beer in Baja California, a state he said is spearheading all over Mexico, behind Nuevo León, Jalisco, Colima and Mexico City, he said.

“Generating brewing culture is the idea of ​​the festival, that the people of BC knew that there are brewers, now we have a variety of tasting rooms, regulations, laws and people are following the movement,” he said.

He referred to the beginnings of the festival that in its first edition counted on the participation of 27 “amateur” brewers, all from Baja California, today said they are 120 from all over the country including Hermosillo, Guadalajara, Monterrey, San José del Cabo, Texcoco and Mexico City.

“The authorities turn us to see (the brewers) for the economic spill, we bring: Tourism, work, 140 direct jobs to Ensenada and reactivate the industry in other branches of the economic chain,” he reported.

Improve quality

The owner of Cannería Cervecería also spoke about the quality of the product, he said “We competed directly with the San Diego beers, at the beginning was to try to imitate them, now it is to compete with them, we are on par”.

Finally, Paco Talamante noted that the Beer Fest Cove is one of the largest in the country but the only one that has been preserved independently, dates in which an economic spill of 9 million pesos and 100% hotel occupancy is estimated.

In the press conference were present the organizers Paco Talamante Frías and Hector Ferreira Ramírez: José Eduardo Arce, president of the Brewers Association, and Marco Padilla, representing the delegate of the Ministry of Tourism in the state Héctor Rosas Rodea.

In numbers:
120 brewers
100 beer styles
40 judges in the competition
25 gastronomy stands
100% hotel occupancy
100% independent festival
9mdp is estimated the economic spill
6 thousand attendees / Staff included (approximately)


Scenic Road Faults

Bajadock: My Thursday 9 March tour of the Scenic Road observed the odd plastic rumble strips at k95 both southbound and northbound.  Why? There are plenty of workers and construction equipment throughout the Salsipuedes area.  Reduction to one lane is from k91 – k87.

One other surprise is the rumble pavement strip on hwy1, northbound, at the new and under construction toll booth at Popotla/Blvd2000.  The road has been moved so that the rumbles, formerly a border warning for the right lane, now wake you up as they pass through the middle of the road.

And watch the potholes, as you exit the Ensenada toll booth southbound.  Crunch.  Ouch.


The corrective and preventive works that are executed in different points of the Highway Tijuana-Ensenada, at the height of the Bay of Salsipuedes, will have a cost in excess of one billion pesos.

The work, some with advances of more than 45 percent, will conclude in 2018, according to data provided by the delegate of Roads and Federal Bridges (Capufe), Rosa María Castañeda Guadiana.

The federal official recalled that eight faults were located along 13 kilometers where, since 2014, constant studies and monitoring are done, especially after the landslide in 2013, at kilometer 93.

He explained that the studies that are carried out are geophysics, geology, and topography, mainly, as well as special tests of monitoring.

Likewise, he said, alternative solutions are executed based on the studies carried out.
Castañeda Guadiana reported that the monitoring is done on a monthly basis, or according to the needs that are presented by conditions.

The delegate of Capufe explained that there is knowledge of the vertical and horizontal movements that come to register.

For this, there are 125 control points, 33 piezometers and 16 observation tubes to measure the water and the pressure of the same.

He detailed that in areas of fault, such as kilometers 88-89, works were determined as berms, pedraplén and drainage gallery.

The works, which will conclude in August of this year, will cost 180 million pesos.

Regarding kilometer 95-96, he mentioned that there are works of stacks, stabilizing trenches, berms, and drainage gallery.

The works, whose investment will amount to 280 million pesos, show an increase of 10 percent, and will conclude in September 2018.

The works in kilometer 90 will be berms and pedraplén; The advance is 26 percent; Will conclude in October 2017 and will require resources for 180 million pesos.

At kilometer 94, work was considered piles, stabilizing trenches, berms, drainage gallery.
250 million pesos will be invested, and will conclude in March 2018; The advance is 10 percent.

Fault zone
95 to 96
93 + 500

Amazon Prime Mexico

Bajadock: 2 day delivery throughout Mexico?  I gotta see this.  If you thought Uber was a disrupter in Mexico, Amazon could be gigantesco.  Thx to reporter Juan for this alert.


MEXICO CITY– Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday launched Amazon Prime in Mexico, raising its profile in a country where at least a half-dozen companies are competing for market share.

Mexico is the 13th country where Amazon is offering the premium membership service. For an annual fee of 449 pesos, or about $23, Mexican Prime members will have access to free, one-day delivery in four of Mexico’s largest cities — Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla and Querétaro — and free, two-day shipping in the rest of the country.

The move also makes millions of products from Amazon’s U.S. distribution centers available to Mexican shoppers with free shipping that will take about a week to reach them, with no minimum order price. Amazon Prime also includes free, streaming video service in Mexico similar to the one Amazon offers to Prime members in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Luis Correa, Amazon’s Mexico country head, said logistics have been a key focus since it set up here 20 months ago. Amazon operates two large fulfillment centers north of Mexico City and is planning to open a third in the country this year.

Amazon entered Mexico when online retailers are competing for market share. This week, Argentine e-retailer MercadoLibre Inc., Amazon’s biggest competitor in Mexico and often described as Latin America’s eBay.com, said it would invest more than $100 million in Mexico to expand free shipping, payment processing, purchase protection and a points-based rewards program.

Ignacio Caride, MercardoLibre’s Mexico country head, said his company has responded to Amazon’s expansion by offering free shipping options on roughly 80% of items listed starting this year. MercadoLibre ships about half a million items a month, and charges about $2.50 to the seller to cover about half of the cost to ship small items.

“We’re willing to lose money in Mexico in order to win the battle with Amazon,” Mr. Caride said.

While still the largest player in Mexico, MercadoLibre has been losing market share over the last six years. In 2011, the company accounted for 21.2% of all online sales in the country, according to Euromonitor, but that share had fallen to 9.5% by 2016.

Linio, the online retailer launched by German startup investor Rocket Internet SE, was the second-largest Mexican e-commerce site in 2016, with 5.8% market share, followed by Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., each with 5.5%, according to Euromonitor.

Some Mexican e-commerce sites are trying to find a toehold by offering alternative payment options. Amazon allows Mexican customers to make purchases using only debit or credit cards — a small but growing segment — or gift cards available at convenience stores. MercadoLibre in 2012 launched MercadoPago, a service that allows customers to pay for purchases in cash at Oxxo convenience stores.

Linio, which offers free shipping on all items to subscribers to a Prime-like service called Linio Plus, has focused on payment options.

“Our strategy is to spend as little as possible on logistics. The key is, where we see growth, is in payment methods for the Mexican consumer,” said Nicolás Ariza, director of operations for Linio in Mexico.

Free shipping is “a big convincing factor for shoppers,” said David Bernardo, a professor who studies e-commerce at the Tecnológico de Monterrey university. “Once it becomes the market standard, everyone is going to start doing it.”

Greg Greeley, Amazon’s vice president for Prime, said free shipping will likely result in losses for Amazon in Mexico for some time, and that the company is trying to minimize costs by fulfilling orders for the site’s most popular items, which include videogames and DVDs, from Mexican distribution centers.

Amazon’s overtures are directed at consumers like Elke Vaughan, a 34-year-old bank associate from Mexico City who says she sometimes spends $500 a month to buy cosmetics and clothes from Amazon.com, but has her purchases shipped to her grandmother in San Antonio and retrieves them on family visits.

“There’s a lot of stuff that they just don’t ship to Mexico,” Ms. Vaughan said. “Or if I have some luck and I find something they do ship, it’s usually too expensive to ship it here.”

Write to Robbie Whelan at robbie.whelan@wsj.com

Plastic Bag Ban in Ensenada

ENSENADA BC MARCH 7, 2017 (AFN) .- The Cabildo unanimously approved an opinion related to the ban on the delivery of plastic bags other than fast biodegradation.

Councilor Jorge Emilio Martínez Villardaga, who presented the proposal, mentioned that, from now on, establishments and businesses will have a grace period of 180 days to comply with this provision.

“After this period, the gift of these in the various commercial establishments will be prohibited. With the adoption of this measure we would stop producing annually the equivalent of 9 times the weight of 423 patrols that are with us in Ensenada, “said the mayor.

Martínez Villardaga noted that, with this action, Ensenada becomes one of the most avant-garde in the world in terms of inhibiting plastic waste in favor of the environment.

He commented that in 2002 there were 5 billion plastic bags in the world, and today more than 500 billion plastic bags are consumed globally. “As a consequence 1 million birds and more than 100 thousand marine animals die each year as a result of contamination by plastic bags.
The overuse of polyethylene plastic bags has a negative environmental impact because they degrade between 100 to 400 years, “he noted.

He indicated that some particles that emit plastic bags when they disintegrate are toxic; The unrecycled bags become trash, a part of them ending up in the pipeline causing flooding.
The approved proposal consists of:

1. Include the activity of use, facilitation and gift, by commercial establishments in the text of article 40, which regulates the management of solid waste such as polyethylene plastic bags.

2. Include the activity of utilization, facilitation and gift, in the text of article 41, which empowers the administrative unit to apply this new provision in its field of competence.

3. The prohibition of the provision of polyethylene plastic bags (which degrade between 100 and 400 years) by the commercial, commercial or service centers, on the other hand, allow the gift of reusable bags (cloth bags) or Those made with materials of early biodegradation, the above by means of the creation of article 43.

By tying the regulation of this activity with the Environmental Protection Act for the State of Baja California, article 141 and in compliance with the state and federal provisions:

General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Wastes.

Law of Prevention and Integral Management of Waste of the State of Baja California.

Pemex Fair Pump Map

Bajadock: seems like one of these Pemex evaluations/apps is published every few months.  Problem is that so few Pemex gasoline stations are evaluated.  But, I’m a fan of the power of social networking bringing sunshine to business and government issues.
yucalandia.com   Public Service Announcement:

Want to know whether your favorite PEMEX station is delivering the amount of gasoline or LP you are paying for? …  Check out this map …. e.g.  zoom in ~keeping Merida in the center of the page ~ to see the status of your favorite PEMEX franchise.http://noticieros.televisa.com/especiales/las-gasolineras-mexico-y-litros-litro/?platform=hootsuite

Specifically Check the color of dot for your favorite stations:  Passed (Green), Refused to participate (Yellow), Failed (Red) , or Not Participated (purple) … in simple testing to check whether the Litros of Gasoline (or kg of propane) displayed by the station pumps match the actual amounts delivered.
AMARILLO: se negaron
MORADO: no los han verificado
ROJO: los sancionaron
VERDE: pasaron
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