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hurricanes, earthquakes, customs duty, border changes, railway line...

November-December 2009
Founder of The Net announces retirement, death of Tony Reyes, closing of stores due to the depression, the space station sighting, winter electricity rates, ATM fraud, Puerto Penasco's new airport, tourist spending..

January 2010
Kitesurfing in the windy months, the South Campos land problems, strange fish at Bahia Santa Maria, moving the fisherman statue from the Malecon, rains of the week of 18 January.

February-March 2010

El Nino, drug cartel operations, the Chile earthquake, tightening of border crossing regulations, the Baja 250, tourism decline..

April 2010 - the Mexicali earthquake and its aftermath

May-June 2010 - more earthquake news, extensive reapirs to roads, Memorial Day, Vaquita, property ownership problems

July-August 2010 - Profeco and property title issues with delinquent developers, July 4th, summer heat, cheap housing, money regulations, road repairs in earthquake territory, the new legal system, future cable television service, new SENTRI lanes, International Space Station sightings, more earthquake news, chiles en nogada in San Felipe.

September 2010 - Mexicana airlines, restrictions on dollars, medical services in San Felipe, bicentennial celebrations, more earthquakes, opening of the shrimp season, completion of roadwork in earthquake zone, Baja 1000 route through San Felipe

October 2010 - stormy weather, Mexicali police, EDR Safe letter

November-Decembar 2010 - Calexico SENTRI lane, Baja 1000, the cold wave, the change in the Mexicali municipal government

January-March 2011 - The new delegado, more roadwork on the Mexicali road,the Malecon cleanup, dental care, the strengthening peso, attacks on elderly residents, the baja 250, Japanese tsunami, extreme tides, grunion run

April 2011- Mexicali traffic tickets, anniversary of the earthquake, the road construction project, Easter

May2011 - May Day, the road construction project, employment at the gold mine, real estate conditions, tourism recovering? a great Memorial day.

June-July 2011 - The loss of the ERIK and death of fishermen, Totoava statue Tony Reyes and Chichi Fernandez, the new party boat "Mi amor otra vez", plans for the road south

August 2011 - San Felipe in sleep mode, weekend tourism coming back, searing heat..

 

Regional Topics, the San Felipe Economy and more.....

...by Tony Colleraine

 
 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The 16th. Pan American Games, the largest multi-sport world event this year, are to be held in Guadalajara from 14-30 October and will bring more than 6,000 athletes and tens of thousands of spectators to Mexico’s second-largest city. The Parapan American Games, for athletes with physical disabilities, will follow from Nov. 12 to Nov. 20. Guadalajara was selected to host these important events in 2006, before the escalation of the war on the drug cartels.

International press and TV agencies will come to Mexico to cover the events, and it is likely that many will fan out across the country during the interval between the games to cover regional stories and get "local color" for their subscribers - and also to cover the Baja 1000 (17-20 November). Who knows, we might even get some interest in the San Felipe Shrimp Festival on the weekend of 4th. November, plus follow-ups on the sinking of the sportfishing boat Erik!

Undoubtedly, security for the games will be very tight but there is increasing concern that cartel-related violence in Guadalajara, or indeed anywhere in Mexico, will receive significant world-wide TV and press coverage and further harm the safe and friendly tourism image that Mexico is trying so hard to re-establish.

(Pan Am Games details ..>> Parapan games details ..>> Also worth noting, for major sporting events in North America this November: The America's Cup World Series is being held in San Diego bay, November 12-20.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last night on Public Television (PBS) a 1 hour special travelogue on Mexico was broadcast to the American people. In it, President Felipe Calderon and his family hosted the travel writer Peter Greenberg on a tour of several spectacular tourist regions of Mexico. The program presented Greenberg and the president climbing Mayan pyramids, horseback riding in Jalisco, scuba diving and petting the whales mating in the lagoons of Baja. Not only is the program worth watching for the spectacular views of some of Mexico's most incredible attractions, but it also paints a very human portrait of President Calderon and his ability to explain his nation's heritage to Americans. While the documentary has been criticised in Mexico as a waste of money, I think it sets a fine example of the type of activities that our world leaders need to be doing to refresh our understanding of their individual cultures. See more here...>>

Hurricane Hilary made the turn north last night as predicted. Fortunately, ahead of Hilary, the high altitude winds are now streaming in a different direction from the surface winds. This will have the effect of dragging the top of the hurricane in a different direction than the sea level eye is traveling. This shear will tear the storm apart in a few days and the system will dissipate in the Pacific this weekend as shown below. We could still get tropical moisture drifting over northern Baja and causing some thunderstorms in our mountains but any major rainfall in the San Felipe region now looks unlikely.

 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hurricane Hilary is now a well-developed, small, but intense hurricane. She is classified as "major", with sustained winds to 135 mph. The current track of the storm is almost due west and Hilary is expected to continue to move away from the Mexican mainland until next Tuesday evening.

All computer models now agree that she will make an abrupt turn to the north at that time and head for Baja California. The reason is that a strong low pressure system is moving from the Arctic down the Pacific coast of Canada and the USA. The two systems will be interacting by the middle of the week and the Arctic low will suck moisture from the hurricane and bring it over the Sea of Cortez and on into Arizona and New Mexico. There appears to be a good chance of rain next weekend in Northern Baja if these projections hold. For us, a major concern could be the conditions on the roads, particularly where new bridges are being constructed across the arroyos and over the Laguna Salada. Now is the time to clean the storm drains.

The 8 p.m. forecast map for the next 5 days is shown below.

 

September 22, 2011

I have avoided posting for the past couple of weeks on the theory that "no news is good news". The result has been a deluge of emails asking me what is going on. Reluctantly, I now pull my head out of the sand.

Late September is the season when San Felipe has the most probable chance of stormy weather. This year, the Pacific hurricane season has been very mild and no tropical storms have come our way - so far. However, you can see on the satellite pictures that a big system, hurricane Hilary, is now churning off the southwest coast of Mexico. Hilary is over very warm waters (about 85 F) and is moving parallel to the coast; rapid intensification is expected. Rainfall of 3-10 inches is forecast for Oaxaca and southern Guerrero.

If Hilary continues on the current trajectory, very little will happen to Baja California. However, some computer models are now predicting that the storm will re-curve to the east and enter the Sea of Cortez early next week. Stay tuned...

Because of a developing vacuum in the traditional media on information about the drug wars, citizens have turned to the anonymity of the internet to broadcast warnings of when gunfights were going on. As a result, Twitter, Facebook and similar social media have provided a forum to swap information and gossip. Now even these outlets have been chilled since the tortured bodies of a young man and woman were found strung up from a footbridge in Nuevo Laredo. Near them was a notice threatening: “This will happen to all the gossips on the internet”. It mentioned two websites: El Blog del Narco and Al Rojo Vivo as examples. (I would recommend that you do not visit these sites; you may find photos that you will find hard to forget.) It isn’t clear how the killers selected their victims, as such blogs usually allow anonymous comments. However, posters are likely to think twice before uploading information in future, even anonymously.


Social networks are also facing threats from the government after two people in the state of Veracruz were recently arrested on charges of terrorism after they spread apparently false rumors via Twitter that children were being kidnapped from local schools. The government subsequently dropped charges.

On the economic front, the outlook for improvement of the U.S. economy has been drastically reduced as a result of the latest pronouncement from the Federal Reserve that there is significant risk of the country moving back into recession. Even worse, our republican-controlled house is embarking on major cuts in spending for the year ahead. Private citizens are taking this proposed belt-tightening to heart and also cutting their spending. Since consumer spending accounts for almost 70% of the total growth in the US economy, this means that there is essentially no hope of avoiding further rough times ahead.

Meanwhile, in Mexico the peso is reacting to the drop in world markets and is amongst the currencies hurt by traders taking refuge in the dollar. Current exchange spot prices today show the peso at 14 to the dollar. It has dropped significantly in value since the beginning of August.

The third Saturday in September is designated as "Clean Beaches Day" and members of the three levels of government, the armed forces and the general public held a campaign to clean the beaches of our fair town. In under five hours, some 4 km of beaches were rescued from the clutches of the trash.

 

September 9th. 2011

Yesterday, a poorly trained technician replacing equipment at a major electricity distribution center in Yuma, Arizona, caused a short circuit on the main 500 kV power line between Phoenix and San Diego. This triggered a massive power shutdown of the entire San Diego Gas and Electricity system and also knocked all of the interconnected Baja California generators offline. The event occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and San Felipe lost all power at that time. Fortunately, the temperature in town was only around 105 F during the afternoon and we had the cooling sea breezes, but imagine the pain and suffering of people in Mexicali being left without airconditioning for the hottest part of the day. Power was fully restored in San Felipe by midnight.

There is word that the Mexican immigration service is now starting to check on businesses in San Felipe where non-citizens are thought to be working illegally. It is an irony to see this now happening to undocumented Americans living in Mexico. Here is the text of an announcement from the local immigration office in San Felipe that Kat translated to English:

"In the past few days, a group of Federal agents from the National Institute of Migration moved to the Port of San Felipe for the purpose of conducting inspections at various offices and businesses where it is known that foreigners work. These inspections are being conducted in order to verify the immigration status and determine whether these foreigners who reside in the Port (residents, workers or renters) have their documentation in order which allows them to work or reside in that place. It should be noted that the National Migration Institute has a Local Sub Delegado in San Felipe, and their offices are located near the "Glorieta" or turn around at Chetumal and Yellow Sea, No. 455 and the offices are open Monday through Friday from 8: 00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

The National Migration Institute reports that while the verification operations continue, they invite all those residents who do not have proper documentation to live or work in the Port of San Felipe, to voluntarily apply for their papers in order to obtain legal immigration status. You may go to the office and make your application, thus avoiding penalties or in the extreme, expulsion from the country. "

If you need to contact immigration to "regularize" your position, contact Lic. Gabriella Sahagun Matus at the local office ( 577-1083) or by email..>>

September 8th. 2011

The heat continues but the town is waking up. San Felipe is having a huge event, the Inaugural Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions.

Truck in desert heat

The roads are busy with trucks delivering the consumables the race teams and their followers need. If you walk into any convenience store you will have difficulty getting around the cases of beer and coke that are stacked everywhere. Events like this can bring a million dollars a day into the community. It can result in families staying on after the race for a few days of tranquility and fish tacos, it can bring real estate sales. The schedule of events is published on many websites..>> I will just put a summary below:

Inaugural Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions

  • Schedule of Events
  • Friday, September 9, 2011
  • 9am-10am--Express Racer Registration, Hacienda Don Jesus Hotel
  • 10am-5pm--Racer Registration, Hacienda Don Jesus Hotel
  • 9am-5pm--Media Registration, Hacienda Don Jesus Hotel
  • 10am-5pm--Contingency Row, Downtown on the Malecon
  • 10am-6pm--Tech Inspection, Downtown on the Malecon
  • 7pm--Mandatory Racer Meeting, El Cortez Hotel
  • Saturday, September 10, 2011
  • 6am-10am--Late Registration & Tech, Los Arcos Motel (Start line)
  • 6:30am-9pm--Media Center Open, Los Arcos Motel, Room 16
  • 12noon & 3pm--Posting of Unofficial Results, Los Arcos Motel
  • 8pm--Competition Review Board, Los Arcos Motel
  • Sunday, September 11, 2011
  • 10am--Awards Celebration, Plaza on the Malecon
  • Saturday, September 10, Race Schedule (Subject to Change)
  • (252.09-mile course)
  • START/FINISH LINE-
  • west side of Highway 5 (Southbound lanes) at the San Felipe Arches
  • (Vehicles start, one every 60 seconds)

It would actually pay most racers and visitors to stay until Tuesday 13 September and relax while the tension that is building for the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 bombings plays out. I would guess that the border crossings on Sunday 11 September are going to be very slow.

previous months news - - August 2011 - San Felipe in sleep mode, weekend tourism coming back, searing heat..


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