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.
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:
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
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..