Regional Topics, the San Felipe Economy and more.....
... Tony Colleraine
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Winter weather is upon us and today it is raining in San Felipe. South of town, the amount of precipitation has been small but reports are coming in of gully-washers to the north. I am sure that the Mexicali road will be seeing very poor driving conditions at times. Let us hope that the construction zone at the south end of the Laguna Salada (km85-90) is prepared for a deluge from this latest low pressure system. It could become a mud bath there.
As I mention every year, very little business gets done from now till after the festival of 'El Dia de Reyes' (Three Kings Day), also known in much of the world as Epiphany, on 6th. January. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and commemorates the three wise men who traveled from afar, bearing gifts for the infant baby Jesus. In many parts of Mexico, gifts are exchanged on this date, not on Christmas day.
This is the time when I get a lot of demands because impatient Americans do not understand the system. Why is their paperwork not finished? Why does nobody answer the telephone or reply to email? What can I say - I also take it easy and only infrequently find time to attend to the deluge of email.
After Tres Reyes, business starts to pick up. Executives and bureaucrats plan their return from vacations and family visits, and by mid- to late-January Mexico is humming again. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy holiday season. Relax and enjoy it. We will talk soon!
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Sharp-eyed readers may have noticied a subtle change in the appearance of our web pages for the past couple of days. Over the past several months, Luis and Anita (who run San Felipe's premier website solutions company ..>) have been building a new site with a new theme. It is a really huge task to migrate a website the size of the San Felipe site to a new system and to test it. After all, there are pages of history built with Adobe PageMill (if anyone still remembers this early website building tool) going back to 1997. In fact there are well over 4000 pages and tens of thousands of pictures from the past that will provide some remarkable insights on a bygone era in San Felipe development for computer "archeologists" of the future. Stay tuned as we experiment and bear with us if any of your favorite features appear to be missing. Rome was not built in a day! Right now, we are back to the old way of doing things while we assess the comments and feedback from some of our testers.
Over the weekend, Doug Magee from Gonzaga reminded me that the US is introducing new regulations for absentee voters living abroad. Here are the highlighs:
Also over the weekend we saw the start of the Posadas for the Christmas season. Many people participate in the parades that leave the Arches each evening and proceed down Chetumal to the center of town and to the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadelupe.
There were also a number of people who contacted me about the acrid smell in the air and haze over the town that caused burning sensations in the eyes. The phenomenon was easily visible on Saturday and Sunday from our tidecamera.
Some people contend that it was connected to the burning of rubbish at the dump in the desert that started on Friday:
This is a necessary procedure to reduce the volume of trash and to stop any toxic pollutants from seeping into the groundwater if rain is expected. The burn on Friday was started when the winds were blowing south towards the airport but an unexpected shift in the winds may have brought some small part of the smoke out into the bay. The traces of rain we had on Sunday and Monday were enough to clear the air.
Saturday, December 10th, 2011
This is turning out to be the coldest December that I can remember in many years and it is showing in the cost of heating bills. The majority of people who visit this town or come looking for a place to retire do not appreciate how extreme the climate can be. The common perception is that you need nothing more than swimsuits and shorts for your visit - wrong! Fur coats would be more appropriate this week and a pair of Uggs is always a welcome accessory for the months of December through February if you plan to go out in the evening.
One thing that catches winter visitors off guard is that many hotel rooms do not have heat, so you should plan accordingly. Smuggling in a small electric space heater is definitely discouraged, with talk of the danger of starting a fire because of old wiring. In most cases, the real problem is the exorbitant cost of electricity. I find that an electric blanket is the ideal solution for the bed and I have had friends who came to visit who brought battery-powered gloves and socks. I will always remember one New Year's eve of eating in a local restaurant where most of the diners (including my party) were wearing hoodies to keep their ears warm.
A very popular way to heat the living room for many residents is to use a propane heater. Some of these (often used to heat garages and workshops) can put out a lot of heat quickly and the operating costs are around one sixth of that of a comparable electric space heater. The room can get quite stuffy after a while so it is always advisable to keep a window slightly open to let in some fresh air.
Incidentally, the sea water is now around 57 F so if you really want to get into the water I suggest a trip to the hot springs down in Puertecitos, a pleasant one hour drive south on good pavement. Just be sure to go around the time of high tide to avoid getting scalded (check the tide calendars on the weather page).
The tearing up of the sidewalks along the south end of the Malecon is proceeding and deep trenches are being dug to put the utilities underground. I am sure that AnitaNet will have some interesting photos of the work over the next couple of months.
Parades have now started in town as part of the Christmas season. The holy day honoring the Virgin of Guadelupe is almost upon us and this marks the end of the working year for many people. Do not expect any significant progress to occur on any paperwork you may have in the pipeline until after Epiphany. I plan to substantially cut back on my business activities till then.
previous months news - - November2011 - Work starts on the Malecon remodel, the Baja 1000, rain in November, the Shrimp Festival