Greetings from Cabo. Pat and I drove the Baja and arrived Cabo Friday, 23 Sept. I thought I would bring you up to date, this is the time of year that you plan your return. For those driving, let me summarize the trip. As you know the Baja highway is under reconstruction, major in some areas. If I knew the conditions I would have driven mainland and crossed by ferry at La Paz. The first obstacle pops up south of Ensenada, about 5 miles of treachery, ending at St Tomas wine country. This is major, they have totally cut up that really nice drive through the mountains there, no signage, no flag people and no direction. Daytime it is a crapshoot, nightime a nightmare. It appears that the workers leave and you must find your own way through a mirade of dirt, dust and mud. Three more unmarked detours exist on the north Baja, some scary, some terrorizing. Not recommended in anything short of off road with lots of headlights. After Guerro Negro it gets better for awhile.
However, the trip between Todos Santos and Cabo is recommended only for the adventurous few who have a death wish. The first 10 miles from Todos Santos is like a dream, 4 lane with markers, cats eyes in the road and plenty of bridges. The next 30 miles is totally torn up with detours, ditches, surprises, and traffic travelling in the other direction believing they are in the Baja 500. Buses and trucks are making it through so it is drivable, but fairly rememberable in the area of I don't want to do it again. I would recommend the long way through Los Barriles and San Jose, the extra 2 hours will be added to your life many times. In fact, I think the best bet is ferry to La Paz, hwy 1 to Cabo. I had a heavy load in my Volvo, built in Sweden for just such roads, had to replace two rear shocks and one tire. When I arrived in Cabo, I took up drinking again. Pass this on to anyone crazy enough to drive the Baja. I do not have Jaque's Squamish email, hope someone does, he is in for a surprise. I drove the Baja 12 times, this will be the last time for awhile. Thanks and good luck, Dennis Juanita G. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Courtesy of www.ventanaview.com Road report for Monday September 26, 2011. Tijuana to Guerrero Negro. This will be my fourth year of driving from Vancouver to La Paz and the Baja portion is the worst I’ve seen it. After picking up my FMM card at the San Ysidro border crossing (7 am) I checked the GPS which said 3 PM arrival at Guerro Negro. It was three hours off. There are four sections of the road which are being worked on - north of Santo Tomas, north and south of Catavina and north of Guerro Negro. Each section is 5 to 10 km in length and involves a detour off the road as they are ripping up the old pavement and putting new down and the paving machine is not keeping up with the ripping machine. If you have anything valuable in your vehicle, like kids or kidneys, you’ll take these sections in low gear.
I stopped for a late breakfast at La Mision restaurant in Vicente Guerrero (north of San Quentin). West side of highway. Highly recommended. I’m on my way to La Paz so tomorrow I’ll post the road report for the rest of the trip. Warren
The Baja Good Life Club is very excited to announce our new relationship with West Coast Insurance to provide our Club Members the following features on their Mexico Homeowner’s Insurance policies:
The new club members homeowner’s policies available through the Mexico experts at West Coast Insurance have a US Style Policy Structure. Meaning, it is very similar to a US homeowner’s policy in terms of how it reads and covers your home in Mexico. Some of the highlights include easy to understand deductibles, replacement cost and broad open peril coverage for your home and personal belongings. Also, hard to find coverage like earthquake, wind, flood, & hurricane are also available.
In the event that you rent out your home or condo, we also include Renter’s Liability coverage at no additional charge.
It is also important to note that our insurance promise is backed by ACE Seguros SA de CV, which is part of The ACE Group. The Ace Group is A Rated according to AM Best. ACE is one of the world's leading global property and casualty insurance organizations. ACE has a physical presence in 53 countries and commercial and individual customers in more than 170 countries.
West Coast Insurance Services insure hundreds of homes throughout the Baja Peninsula and Mexico and are intimately familiar with the ins and outs and unique risk you face as Mexico homeowners. Coupled with ACE’s Mexico Homeowners policy, the West Coast Insurance team can help you around the pitfalls and ensure your policy fits your needs and protects you properly.
If you have any insurance questions, please contact us at (818) 788-5353. Be sure to have your club member number available. If you are unsure of your club member number, log in to the site, and your member number is on your profile page. If you need additional support, contact the BGL Club at email@example.com, or call 1-877-LUVMEX1 (877-588-6391.
Introducing The Baja California Culinary Fest, October 5th-9th
Street Gourmet L.A. Bill Esparza sends over the thrilling news that Baja California is hosting its first unified food and restaurant festival this October to highlight the chefs and food scene of our attached Mexican state, being held over five days in five different Baja cities: Tijuana, MexiCali, Ensenada, Tecate, and Rosarito. So what's in store and which of our locals will participate?
Seeking to highlight Baja's scope of chefs, restaurants, and food and wine producers, the event will include a hunting trip with chef Miguel Angel Guerrero, themed dinners, a margarita and jazz festival, a seaside lobster celebration, and varied cooking classes featuring the participants.
Influential Baja chefs like Javier Plascencia and Benito Molina will be joined by Playa and Rivera's John Sedlar and Julian Cox, Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix of Descarga and Harvard and Stone, as well as T.V.'s Marcela Valladolid, San Diego's Jason Nibb, and D.F. toques like Lula Martín del Campo and Pablo San Román, among the many great culinary guests coming to launch the festival.
To start planning, visit The Baja Culinary Fest's website and check it out on Facebook.
Ophelia Becomes Tropical Storm September 28, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT By Brian K. Sullivan and Alex Morales| Source: Bloomberg
Ophelia regained tropical storm status and is forecast to reach hurricane strength on a track that may take it east of Bermuda this weekend, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Ophelia’s winds are 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, up from 35 mph earlier today, according to an advisory at 5 p.m. New York time. The system is about 180 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, moving north-northwest at 7 mph.
“Gradual strengthening is expected during the next couple of days,” the center said.
The storm’s top winds are forecast to reach 75 mph in three days, which would make it a Category 1 hurricane on the five- step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the center. Ophelia became a tropical storm in the Atlantic Sept. 20 and weakened to a remnant low over the weekend before regaining strength.
In addition to Ophelia, forecasters are monitoring Tropical Storm Philippe, which is about 1,040 miles west of Cape Verde with 40-mph winds. Once its winds drop below 39 mph, it will become a tropical depression.
In the Pacific, Hurricane Hilary may drop to tropical storm status overnight and dissipate by the end of the week, the center said. The storm is 640 miles west-southwest of Baja California with winds of 80 mph and is moving at 8 mph.
“Surf, swells generated by Hilary are affecting portions of the coast of southern Baja California,” the hurricane center said. “These swells are likely causing life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
--With assistance from Yee Kai Pin in Singapore. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Bill Banker
To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at firstname.lastname@example.org; Alex Morales in London at email@example.com.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at firstname.lastname@example.org; Reed Landberg at email@example.com. --------------------------------------------------------------
ByKristina Pydynowski,Senior Meteorologist
Sep 21, 2011; 7:24 PM ET
Unlike newly-formed Tropical Storm Ophelia, Tropical Storm Hilary just offshore of Mexico is expected to gain hurricane strength and pose a greater danger to land in the upcoming days.
Both the Atlantic and the eastern Pacific oceans came alive tropically Wednesday night with the formation of Ophelia and Tropical Depression Nine-E, which strengthened into Tropical Storm HilaryWednesday morning.
Ophelia developed over the open waters of the central Atlantic, halfway between the western coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles. Nine-E took shape much closer to land, less than 200 miles south of Mexico's southern coast.
While Ophelia will have a tough time intensifying, the warm waters of the eastern Pacific and a lack of wind shear (strong winds high in the atmosphere) should allow HIlary to strengthen into a hurricane through Friday.
According to the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, Hilary is expected to move out to sea this weekend.
However, according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, a trough of low pressure in the northern Pacific will move closer to the west coast of North America next week.
"Depending on how far south and east that trough progresses will determine if the system boomerangs back to the east, closer to the coast of Mexico later next week," Sosnowski said.
However, the system may pass close enough to graze Mexico's southern coast, including Acapulco, with gusty and drenching bands of rain later this week.
Surf along the coast will also turn extremely rough and dangerous for swimmers.
MORE ABOUT THE TURTLE: The olive ridley is a small surviving sea turtle, with an adult carapace length averaging 60 to 70 cm. The heart-shaped carapace is characterized by four pairs of pore-bearing inframarginal scutes on the bridge, two pairs of prefrontals, up to nine lateral scutes per side. Olive ridleys are unique in that they can have a variable and asymmetrical lateral scute count ranging from five to nine plates on each side, with six to eight being most commonly observed. Each side of the carapace has 12-14 marginals. The carapace is flattened dorsally and highest anterior to the bridge. It has a medium–sized, broad head that appears triangular in planar view. The head has concave sides, most obvious on the upper part of the short snout. It has paddle-like forelimbs, each having two anterior claws. The upperparts are grayish green to olive in color, but sometimes appear reddish due to algae growing on the carapace . The bridge and hingeless plastron of an adult varies from greenish white (younger) to a creamy yellow on older specimens .
Hatchlings are dark gray with a pale yolk scar, but appear all black when wet . Carapace length ranges from 37-50mm . A thin white line borders the carapace, as well as the trailing edge of the fore and hind flippers.Both hatchlings and juveniles have serrated posterior marginals, which become smooth with age. Juveniles also have three dorsal keels; the central longitudinal keel gives younger turtles a serrated profile, which remains until sexual maturity is reached. Olive ridleys rarely weigh over 50 kilograms.
Biggest concern area is around Santo Tomas, north and south. They are changing the road, grading and not marking anything. It is particularly dangerous at night as there are no markers and very steep drop offs. Exercise GREAT CAUTION. K 40-50 is really bad. K 122-133 before Catavinia is bad. K 202 - 206 is bad. Something around K 74.. -? take care.
The year was 2000, I was in the middle of a six-week long roadtrip on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. While the trip was surfing oriented, it wasn't exclusively a surfing trip, especially when the only "highway" running the length of the peninsula, Mexico Federal Highway 1, also known as the Carretera Transpeninsular, meandered along the calm coastal waters of the Gulf of California, on the eastern (inland-facing) side of the Baja peninsula. On those calm days when looking for waves was not even on the itinerary, the trip was a chance to soak up the rich cultural and ecological bounty not usually explored by tourists on a week-long vacation in Cabo.
It was on one of those eastern sojourns near the very tip of the peninsula when, after a several hour jaunt through the hot and dusty interior of Baja California Sur, we stumbled upon a humble coastal village with a small market, a tiny palapa restaurant and plenty of good spots to camp for a night or two. The tiny village of Cabo Pulmo was more than a welcomed sight, it was paradise found. But unlike the other small villages we had come across on the Sea of Cortez, this one did not have dozens of pangas loaded with fishing nets pulled up on the shore, or, for that matter, any tell-tale signs that it was a fishing village. That's because it wasn't a fishing village. Cabo Pulmo, we soon found out, was the home of Mexico's only national marine reserve. And while there were, in fact, a handful of pangas, they were all loaded with divers and scuba gear, flying the familiar "diver down" flag.
Designated by the Mexican government in 1995, the waters offshore from Cabo Pulmo were designated theCabo Pulmo National Marine Park, to protect a coral reef that, while teeming with marine life, was also home to fewer species and less marine biodiversity than it had been just a few decades earlier. The cause? Unsustainable and unregulated sport and commercial fishing in the area of the East Cape.
Against all odds, the informal and under-funded marine park has been heralded as a success. Right around the time I visited the relatively new park in 2000, marine ecologist visited the area on an expedition to study local fish populations. Sala returned nearly ten years later and was floored by what he saw. Sala writes:
"In 2009 we went back to Cabo Pulmo to monitor the fish populations. We jumped in the water, expecting fishes to be more abundant after 10 years of protection. But we could not believe what we saw–thousands upon thousands of large fishes such as snappers, groupers, trevally, and manta rays. They were so abundant that we could not see each other if we were fifteen meters apart. We saw more sharks in one dive at Cabo Pulmo than in 10 years of diving throughout the Gulf of California!"
According to Sala's research, the amount of fish at Cabo Pulmo increased 460% in ten years, "to a level similar to remote pristine coral reefs that have never been fished."
By comparison, all other sites in the Gulf of California that Sala and company visited in 2009 were as degraded as they were ten years earlier.
Conservation doesn't always have to be big and flashy to be successful.
World Heritage Biosphere Reserve from Gulf Program on Vimeo.
Please visit the website: http://ecopolitology.org/2011/09/19/big-time-marine-conservation-success-in-small-time-mexico/
This is peak viewing season for great white sharks in the pristine waters around Guadalupe Island west of Baja California, which allow for intimately close encounters with the world's most notorious predators, from within steel cages designed to keep divers safe.
They witness first-hand how stealthy and cautious white sharks are, contrary to a once-popular belief that they're the seaborne version of vicious attack dogs.
However, white sharks do show aggression toward one another to gain or express dominance, and the speedy dash to the surface, captured on video from below the surface, is a show of dominance (pay attention at the 1:00 mark).
Said Mike Lever, who runs the Nautilus Explorer, from which the video was captured: "That is the first time in all our years of shark diving that we have caught a breaching shark on video. It's something that our divers see perhaps two or three times per year. Average that out over 17 trips and it's pretty darn rare." And pretty darn spectacular.
The 2nd International Mariachi Festival and Folklorico Dance
September 28 - October 2 2011 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel is The 2nd International Mariachi Festival and Folklorico Dance, where 100% of money raised will benefit to the "Club for children of Rosarito."
Wednesday 28 to Friday September 30: Workshops music and folkloric ballet taught by world-renowned teachers. Space is limited, reserve your spot now!
Friday, September 30: Opening ceremony and presentation of workshops.
Saturday Oct 1 & Sunday October 2 from 10am to 4pm: Competence between Mexico vs. U.S.: Mariachi and Ballet Folklorico. More than $ 110,000.00 mn in stock! Space is limited Register your group! Take part in the Idol Mariachi Competition
Saturday October 1th at 6pm: Extravagant concert in the gardens of the Hotel Rosarito Beach
The Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas
Beto Jimenez and his spectacular group
Ballet Folklorico Ixtlazihuatl
Cost: individual tickets $10usd to Complete package (5 days including workshop) $100usd Special rates for children under 12 years.
For more information: www.clubnn.org; firstname.lastname@example.org or call (661) 850 1773.
Room information: MEX. 661 612 1126 or email@example.com
A show that you won’t want to miss. It’s called The Royal Tour: Mexico, and it will air on PBS on September 22 (September 23 in Mexico). Please check your local listings for the exact time.
In this series, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón and travel news journalist, Peter Greenberg, explore the amazing and adventurous side of Mexico. Here is a link to the announcement and the official trailer:
Working tirelessly for over forty years as an artisan who refused to compromise the integrity of his work, Jose Guadalupe Posada became Mexico's most beloved national artist. Renewing and preserving the art of engraving, Posada became a constant inspiration to Mexican artists of the twentieth century, including the world-famous Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco.
While some of his subjects may require some explanation for non-Mexican viewers, the prints of this popular artist never fail to arouse immediate and lasting admiration all over the world for the brilliancy of their craftsmanship, composition and graphic techniques, and for their amazing source of imagination. His work symbolizes that life is transitory, and we should celebrate every day!
The most imaginative and celebrated facet of his creations is the Calaveras, the Spanish word for skull, and, by extension, skeleton. In the case of our design for the September 2011 event, it continues the tradition of Posada by illustrating every conceivable activity in human existenceÐin this case the sport of bicycling.
Most of the art that is inspired by Posada is sold around All Souls Day on November 2, The Day of the Dead in Mexico. At this holiday, it is traditional to sell figurines, toys, cakes, candy, etc. in the form of skeletons. Posada used his Calaveras prints as social reportage, cultural manifestos and social satire.
SHOOTING AT SAN YSIDRO BORDER
Source: San Diego Written by Susan Shroder
Sept. 22, 2011..Updated 9:25 p.m.
Authorities investigate an officer-involved shooting at the San Ysidro border crossing Thursday afternoon. The shooting occurred in the area where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers process pedestrians crossing into the United States from Mexico, federal officials said. - Earnie Grafton
A pedestrian trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border was shot by two Customs officers Thursday evening after he pulled a gun that was later determined to be a fake, San Diego police said.
The man suffered wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening and was taken to a hospital, said police homicide Lt. Kevin Rooney. The man identified himself and said he was 47 years old, but officers had not yet been able to confirm the name or where the man lived, Rooney said.
The shooting at the San Ysidro Port of Entry created a panic in the busy area, said Enrique Guzman, 62, of Tijuana, who said he was working nearby as a baggage handler and saw the shooting. He said people hit the ground after hearing the shots.
Keenan Machado, 27, of Encinitas, was in line when the shooting occurred. He was returning from a dentist appointment in Tijuana.
"It was scary. I've never seen anyone get shot before," he said.
The incident was reported about 5:10 p.m. when the man was in the front of the line at the pedestrian crossing. He was approaching a crossing gate when he was contacted by a Customs officer who was processing border crossers. The officer said the man appeared nervous, and for reasons not yet known, tried to run north. When he fled, two other Customs officers grabbed and detained him, Rooney said.
The man pulled out what appeared to be a metal gun from his waistband and raised it in the air and pulled the trigger, and the gun made a sound as if a shot had been fired, Rooney said. The lieutenant called it a "replica gun" that looks like a semiautomatic weapon.
The two Customs officers then fired at the man, who fell to the ground, Rooney said.
He declined to say where on the body the man had been shot or how many shots were fired. Rooney said one of the Customs officers suffered a minor injury in the scuffle to detain the man.
At the time of the shooting, the pedestrian line stretched about 100 feet, Rooney said.
The pedestrian crossing was closed 35 to 40 minutes as the incident was investigated, said Frank Jaramillo, San Ysidro port director.
It was the second major incident at the port in about a week. On Sept. 14, a construction canopy collapsed on cars, and 11 people were taken to hospitals.
Arizona Governor to Attend Border Meeting in Mexico
PHOENIX -- A year after canceling a scheduled meeting in Arizona
because of a boycott, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to attend this
year's meeting in Mexico of governors of U.S. and Mexican border
Brewer's office says in an announcement Friday that she will attend
the Sept. 28-29 conference to be held in Ensenada, Baja California.
Topics of discussion are to include economic development, border
security and international ports of entry.
Brewer last year canceled a scheduled meeting of border governors in
Arizona because Mexican governors planned to boycott the gathering to
protest an Arizona illegal immigration law.
Mexican governors then attended a meeting held in New Mexico by
then-Gov. Bill Richardson. Brewer did not attend that meeting.
Loreto’s biggest privately-organized charity, mostly gringos but with Mexican participation, is the Optimist Club. Its charitable focus is on kids, and especially on keeping them in school. Every year at the start of the school year it presents small scholarships intended to cover uniforms and school supplies, to deserving high school and middle school students at several different schools.
Pictured is one of those recent presentations, which I was privileged to make on 29 August although it required a lot of preliminary standing around in 95 degree heat. The schools make quite a production of it, typically at the start-of-the-day assembly after the Mexican colors are presented and the national anthem is sung or pledge of allegiance read. Roy Place (in the blue shirt) heads this committee, and Jaime Cayuela works with him, providing bilingual support where needed. I was along for the ride. Well worth it.
TIJUANA, Mexico, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Police in Baja California said they arrested an alleged member of the Sinaloa drug cartel and seized 519 pounds of cocaine worth $19.3 million.
The cocaine belonged to the Sinaloa cartel and the seizure in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday marked "one of the biggest blows" against any criminal organization in Baja California, Mexican police said in a statement.
Police said investigations by their intelligence unit led them to a house on Tijuana's east side allegedly used by Sinaloan cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to store cocaine.
A raid on the house yielded 213 packages containing cocaine, weapons, ammunition and a Chevrolet van, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Officers arrested Jesus Hernandez Valenzuela, 48, who told investigators he worked for the Sinaloa cartel, the police statement said.
By Gil Sperry Published by Baja Times Yes, you’re reasonably certain that mariachi and ballet folklórico are Mexico’s major cultural contributions to the world of music and dance. However, perhaps you’re not really certain about the evolution of these two glorious art forms. When the Franciscan padres from Spain first met the indigenous indios of Mexico in 1519, the lingua franca was music. You will experience first-hand the excitement felt by the local populace, whose instruments were limited to the drums, gourds, rattles, reeds carved from tree branches, and seashells, when they heard a Spanish guitar for the very first time. Go towww.rosaritobeachmariachifolkloricofestival.com The dance of Spain came next and this will be beautifully performed by the amazing Flamenco Arana. The music had also evolved and you will hear what the citizens of Veracruz experienced in the 17th century with the son jarocho, when Chucumite, featuring pre-mariachi instruments…two arpa jalisciences, the jarana, and the requinto… takes the next step. Ballet Folklórico Ixtlazihuatl will show you how Spain’s flamenco evolved into Mexico’s folklórico before mariachi, Mexico’s macho music at the time, emerged full-blown, with violins, trumpets, guitar and its two unique voicings , the vihuela and the guitarrón, onto the world’s music stage. Ranchera singers broke the gender barrier first and we have one of the finest, Olga Flores from Tucson, AZ, who will be ably supported by her Friends, playing a combination of jarocho and mariachi instruments as they accompany her on their mellifluent journey. Then Grammy Award-winner Beto Jiménez Maeda takes center stage with his all-male group, Mariachi Espectacular, playing selections from their new best-selling CD, Puro Tradición. It all comes full circle when the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas conclude the evening’s festivities with a performance featuring the world’s premier all-female ensemble and many of the hits from their seven best selling CDs, including Cielito Lindo Huasteco from their latest effort, Orale. They will be joined by niña cantante-actress-model, Genesis Codina, before concluding the evening with a face-off against the Espectacular guys on the Spanish classic, Ojitos Traidores. The festivities actually kick-off on Saturday, September 17th (at Noon and again at 6:00 PM) with the premiere showings of the First Festival Film, accompanied by the award-winning short film, Rediscovering Rosarito, in the Salon Mexicano at the Rosarito Beach Hotel . The young film makers, Michelle Hinojo Oceguera and Samuel Paredes Valdespino, will be on hand to answer your questions. The $3 donation to the Club de Ninos y Ninas Seccion Rosarito gains you admittance PLUS free popcorn and soda. There will be another showing at 6:00 PM on Thursday, September 29th, for festival attendees and anyone who missed the September 17th date. If there is anything that wasn’t covered in these events, please speak right up and let us know. No need to be afraid!
Often when you get off the main highway in a city, town or village you can experience narrow roads which can be a challenge driving a large RV. Add parked vehicles on either side, jaywalking pedestrians, barking dogs and running children it really gets exciting! In addition you may find very unique road
signage, including stop signs. Signage can be placed in unexpected locations, such as: on the side of buildings, back from the corner, together with other signs, etc. A keen eye for these is always essential. In Constitution and La Paz the Police know where all the hidden signs are! Although the village has a large new entrance the town is virtually impassable for a large RV. A Truck & Camper or Class B can often find the streets very tight. RVers are advised to find a spot in the many campgrounds, beaches or RV parks and return with the towed or without the trailer.
What should we know about highway driving?
Much of Mex 1 can be narrow and without a shoulder, however for the most part this highway is very good and always undergoing improvement, with wider lanes and paved shoulders. As you drive, you will get used to it. Take your time, its part of the adventure. We recommend you travel 80 km per hour maximum. Hwy 19 between La Paz, Todos Santos and Cabo San Lucas is fantastic and should be almost completed this year. The ongoing upgrading construction efforts on Baja include new bridges where Vados (creek beds) and Arroyos (rivers beds) were once the norm. Although there is not a lot of traffic once you are a few hours south of the US border , it is the only highway. Truck traffic can be somewhat intimidating however the Mexican commercial drivers are very considerate with tourists and will let you pass safely whenever possible and vice-versa.
The do’s and don’ts about passing and turning are vital to know.
On the highway, when it is OK for passing, the vehicle in front of you will put on their left turn signal – this is giving you the all clear to pass. When a vehicle actually wants to make a left turn, 4-way flashers are used. Again, this is used for highway driving only. The key to driving safely on these narrow roads with big rigs is sharing the road and speed. Big rigs need extra room, particularly on the corners, just slow down, leave room and stay in your lane, use your common sense. The only time we have lost a mirror is when another RV (A Class Motorhome with California Plates) passed us on a corner!
Other driving safety tips.
Rain is not very common on Baja, however when it rains occasionally during the winter in the north, or September and early October (Hurricane season) in the south; the roads are often a mess! Again, common sense should always prevail. Be sure to take it slow, you never know what’s under all that water – rocks, mud, no pavement, etc. A local may take this opportunity to pass. Your next stop may be a car wash! Speed limits are in kilometres per hour, this is familiar for Canadians. Entering and leaving towns you will encounter “TOPES”. These are speed bumps. Take care, these can be very big! Often they are painted, often you are warned with signs. Often not ALWAYS! From time to time you may see people in the middle of the street collecting money for charities, slow down. We give them loose change – any amount will do, they are always thankful for any donations.
No Night Driving!This is a rule that should be strictly followed on Baja. This is an extremely dangerous practice and it is not because of Banditos! Animals come to the roads at night for the warmth and greenery on the edge. Outside of town there are no street lights, it is really dark. Remember these are roads you are not familiar with. Also it is not uncommon for locals to drive after drinking.
Have you heard of the Green Angels? This is Mexico’s Roadside Assistance who patrol Mex 1 on a regular basis. We know breakdowns do happen! The Government operated Green Angels travel the entire length of Baja twice a day, once in the morning then again in the afternoon. The Mexican government maintains a large fleet of these green vehicles across Mexico’s major highways on the lookout for travelers and tourists alike that have broken down. In many ways this is very similar to the service offered by BCAA or AAA. They normally travel in pairs and on the Baja speak some English. They are in radio communication with their base and can call for a tow. The service is free except any supplies you might use. In the event you use their service please provide a tip! They possess remarkable mechanical skills and ability and have likely seen everything you can imagine. In the event you break down don’t be surprised if a local Mexican also stops to help – they (or their Uncle or Brother) are very resourceful people and those working with autos are very competent mechanics!
What about Fuel? PEMEX is the gas station of choice for both gas and diesel as they are the only company (government owned) selling these products. This is a cash transaction (pesos or US dollars); however receipts are available on request. Normally this is a full serve experience and we recommend you do not leave your vehicle when the attendant is filling. Paying in US $ means you are paying more. Stand with him and chat him up, this is a good time to practice your Spanish. To ensure your pump starts at zero have a locking gas cap. Pumps measure fuel in litres (makes it easy for Canadians) and reads in pesos. Tipping the attendant is common, particularly if they wash your windshield. Although most of these precautions regarding purchasing fuel have come from our experiences on the mainland, this is a good routine to follow.
ENSENADA, Mexico — The Log Newspaper - The Mexican navy publishes monthly notices to mariners, available on semar.gob.mx under publications and “Avisos de los Marinos,” just as the U.S. Coast Guard publishes its “Notice to Mariners.” They both cite changes that boaters should be aware of, to ensure their safety.
Right now, boaters entering Ensenada Harbor should be aware that the dredge vessel "Baja California", with assist tugs and barges, will be operating within and near the entrance channel and breakwaters for at least the next 75 days.
By their design, dredges are usually unable to move out of boaters’ way — so, boaters are advised to pay attention to the dredge location and any buoyed pipes and other equipment near it. Give the dredge and assist vessels plenty of working room.
Two new yellow buoys are floating along the east side of the harbor channel, as reported by George Glick, a boater berthed at Cruiseport Village Marina. Glick suggested that boaters should pass both yellow buoys to starboard before turning right toward the entrance to that marina.
In June, two additional red buoys were anchored in the harbor, according to “Avisos de los Marinos,” marking a new construction zone. The area south of the cruise ship mole will be developed, according to Las Noticias newspaper, now that the last sunken debris from S.S. Catalina was hauled away this spring. The four new buoys mark the new construction field. More construction is planned north of the cruise ship mole starting in 2012.
Also reported in “Avisos,” the racon or radio beacon atop the western San Benito Island is out of service. The light is working well, but there’s no racon signal on radar, which formerly painted the Morse Code “B” or dah dit dit dit. The notice did not say if or when that racon will be put back in service.
This article first appeared in the September 2011 issue of The Log Newspaper. All or parts of the information contained in this article might be outdated
SARASOTA, Fla., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX Dave Kyle had suffered from heartburn for years. When he started to have difficulty swallowing food and began to lose weight, he saw his family doctor. After medical testing, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. His prognosis was grim, and conventional treatments offered little chance of recovery. Extensive research brought Kyle to Baja California, Mexico for a new treatment that targets only cancer cells and does not have side effects. According to TMD Limited, a medical tourism company, Kyle became one of half a million Americans annually who seek treatment outside of the United States.
The esophagus is a hollow tube in the throat about 10 inches long. When a person swallows, the muscular walls of the esophagus contract to push food from the mouth into the stomach. Glands in the esophageal lining produce mucus, keeping the passage way moist and making swallowing easier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there will be 16,980 new cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed this year in the US, and 14,710 deaths. Symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation of food, difficulty swallowing food or liquids, weight loss, chest pain unrelated to eating and sometimes vomiting blood.
Esophageal cancer strikes mostly men over fifty. There are two main kinds of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell is linked to smoking and alcohol or smokeless tobacco use. This cancer begins in the squamous cells that line the esophagus, usually in the upper or middle esophagus. Barrett's esophagus, a complication of gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD, increases the risk of adenocarcinoma, the most common type. Obesity is another risk factor for this disease.
Kyle's oncologist first ordered a barium swallow x-ray, then a chest MRI and thoracic CT scan to determine which type of cancer he had. Then he used a procedure called esophagogastro duodenoscopy to obtain a biopsy.
Treatment is the same for both types of esophageal cancer. If there is no spread, doctors recommend surgery, sometimes preceded by chemotherapy and radiation to make the surgery easier to perform. If there is metastasis, only palliative care is offered. Esophageal cancer spreads to the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, brain and bones. Kyle's cancer had already begun to spread when he was diagnosed.
Kyle's oncologist explained that an open esophagectomy is major surgery. The cancerous tissue is removed, and the esophagus is rebuilt from tissue from part of the stomach or large intestines. During this surgery, patients are at risk for fatal blood clots, heart attacks or stroke during surgery and breathing problems. Patients stay in ICU about 3 days, and then about 2 weeks in the hospital. If caught at an early stage, some people can recover and eventually eat normally again. Newer procedures include laparoscopic or robotic surgery to remove the esophagus.
After meeting with the oncologist, Kyle and his wife researched the surgical procedures, risks and complications and cancer statistics, and came to the conclusion that the odds were not in their favor with conventional treatment. They did not know what to do, but they knew they did not want this surgery.
As they told their friends and family about Kyle's diagnosis, they were surprised at how many people suggested they look outside the US for treatment. It seemed everyone knew someone who had been treated in Mexico. So they Googled Mexican cancer clinics and found a wealth of information.
"One treatment that caught my eye was SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy, which uses sound and light to kill cancer cells," Kyle said. "I knew about photo dynamic therapy - that has been used in the USA for decades, but it uses a chemotherapy agent as the sensitizer. SonoPhoto uses natural chlorophyll, so there are no side effects, and it works quickly."
Antonio Jimenez, M.D. and founder of Hope4Cancer Institute in Baja, Mexico, is the world's leading expert in SonoPhoto Dynamic Therapy (SPDT). "This treatment targets only cancer cells," Jimenez explained. "At our clinic, we usually see a size reduction of 25-30% in tumors during the first 2 weeks of treatment. We combine SPDT with medical hyperthermia, natural IV therapies, vaccines, nutrition and detoxification. SPDT is especially effective in esophageal, breast, ovarian, prostate, bladder and lung cancers."
SPDT is used in China, the UK and Mexico and is approved for use throughout Europe. "This is not an alternative treatment," Jimenez says. "This is mainstream medicine which differs only from conventional therapy in that it has not yet been recognized in some countries such as the USA. However, in the 25 countries of the EU - population 370 million - every registered and licensed physician is allowed to use the sensitizer system under certain highly defined guidelines."
After contacting Dr. Jimenez, Kyle and his wife eventually went to Hope4Cancer for treatment. "The clinic was small - they have 8 doctors and they only take 10 patients at a time, so we got lots of attention," Kyle said. "They did medical tests - sonograms, ultrasounds, labs - when we got there, and again before we left. There was a significant improvement right away, and we continued treatment for a total of 3 months. I am eating normally again, gaining weight and feel good."
Kyle's wife JoAnn agreed. "I thought the best part was the classes and counseling that helped us recognize the importance of nutrition and how diet affects our health. We walked on the beach every day for exercise, and since there is no smoking allowed at the clinic, Dave had to quit cold turkey. It some ways, his diagnosis was a blessing. We are both going to pursue a healthy lifestyle and do all we can to stay healthy. They gave us the tools to do that."
Marla Manhart is a health write and patient advocate. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org