Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baja is for the Birds

I've recruited our new friend, Tom, to share his expertise in birds with Allison and add something of interest to her schoolwork. God knows, I'm not a good teacher, but I can sure scout out talent in others. Once I discovered Tom's passion for birdwatching, I was after him to share it with her. First, I arranged for she and one of her friends to follow him on a nature walk around the lake of the golf course. We followed a week later with trip to the Las Garzas estuary in Loreto. This time Robert and a neighbor joined us as Tom led us through the damp mudflats pointing out royal terns and reddish egrets, semi-palmated plovers and yellow-crowned night herons. I couldn't remember the names of any of them, and I'm not sure anyone else could; it takes practice I think. Tom has a website that comes in handy for identifying Baja's fowl:

I believe this little guy is a snowy egret, but then I could be wrong. Tom will let me know, I'm sure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's raining, I think

Look closely. Yes, those are raindrops. Very rare for Loreto. Unless there is a hurricane rain falls sparse and rare. I think it rained for 30 seconds.

You don't see it from the sky; the only proof is the faint, almost imperceptible wet drops it leaves on the sidewalk or, in this case, the saltillo tiles.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Loreto Bay Masters

Robert and friends put together a golf tournament they called, "The Loreto Bay Masters," inspired by the real thing they watched this past week. They made it a fundraiser for the community center and in the four days they (we, since I got recruited to help too) had to organize it, it turned out very well. Small, but successful, I think. We had five teams and a handful of sponsors to raise enough money to buy bookshelves for the clubhouse. With some planning and more time next year's "Masters" will be huge.The day was absolutely beautiful. Allison and I took a cart and followed everyone so I could get pictures. For the most part we followed Robert's team. One of the members is an avid birdwatcher so all the way he was pointing out birds for Allison to view through his binoculars. While the guys were trying for "birdies" she was searching out the Vermillion Flycatchers and Magnificent Frigates. In some sense she was still "at school." Two other kids who are always "at school" are the Fager boys. They helped out on their parents beverage cart. Evan and Julie operate a tiny general store in the village called, Baja Onsite. Still just pre-schoolers, they spend most of their days underfoot at the store. They will probably grow up to be tycoons in commerce with all the hands-on experience they're already getting.

Robert's team won the event and the green "Masters" jackets, which in this case were Mexican ponchos. I teased him that it was like giving a party and winning your own door prize. However, I don't imagine these men will ever wear these ponchos in public again. Whatever--the day was a lot of fun and we did raise a nice sum for the community center.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter in Loreto Bay

When is the last time you saw kids hunting easter eggs among palms and bougainvillea? It's something the Mexicans never see; the don't celebrate Easter the way we do, not with baskets full of candies and a stuffed bunny. This was the third time we've been here during Easter, thus our third time hosting an egg hunt. I have to pack several dozen plastic eggs whenever we come because you'd never find them in Loreto. Knowing we would be hosting the party at our new community center I brought an entire suitcase full of Easter paraphernalia. I wanted to dress the place up and create an event. There may not be a lot of children here, but at least to those that are, we'd offer something fun and familiar. If we corrupt a few Mexican children with our candy-laden, secular, consumer-driven traditions, oh well. Our experience has shown that they love it. The same participants keep showing up. I'm afraid they'll expect it from now on. One Mexican couple shared their difficulty explaining to their three little sons exactly what is an easter egg hunt. "Are the eggs big or little?" one boy asked. " Are they hidden in nests?" They had no conception whatsoever of plastic eggs. Stuffed with candy. And money. Hidden like treasure in the landscaping. Once properly explained, they were all for !Feliz Pascua!, American-style!

We held an Easter social at the new community center (#306.) Homeowners and invited guests brought baked goods and socialized for awhile before heading to the big egg hunt at the community pool. It wasn't a huge gathering, but we did have over a dozen children show up.

Robert slipped out early to hide the eggs at the pool. The rest of us paraded the kids over around 2:30 (about the same time the big earthquake hit the upper Baja, but we didn't feel or notice a thing.) The pool area was completely full of neighbors who did not seem to mind our intrusion. The kids just scrambled in and around the occupied chaise lounges in frantic search for their loot. Somewhere in the bushes lie an egg with a folded $100 bill. It's a tradition Robert has followed since he became the Easter Bunny in our clan and one that boosts attendance. This year the lucky discoverer was Evan and Julie's son, Bubbie. We don't think he even knows what $100 dollars is, but we're sure he'll be at next year's party.

For a look at the Loreto Bay 2010 Easter Party go to my Flickr page:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Finally, it's here.

Finally, a community center! This was something I've desired since the beginning phase of Loreto Bay: A place to meet and hold events. Thanks to homeowner Camille Kelly, we actually have a center in which to hold events. She convinced our HOA administrator to include it in the budget. Then she gathered donations for furnishings, found an employee to man the facility, organized a schedule, and has been serving as acting general manager until new administration takes over. She and her husband, Boyd, have taken on a lot of responsibility for the rest of us. I believe as people discover it they will share my excitement.

The space is in the commercial portion of Alta #306 on west side of the Paseo. It can be used in so many ways for so many interests. With the HOA budget and homeowner donations Camille has furnished it with a nice conversation area with bookshelves and upholstered sofas. A generous homeowner donated a large flat screen television. There are numerous folding tables that can be used for card games, parties or dining. Another homeowner donated numerous hard back books, mostly classics, that can be lent. She also has given several high-quality Persian rugs on long-term loan. Donors gave paperbacks, games, screens, plants. There is more needed, but we are off to a great start. In time the center will have a website. There people can go for information and schedules. Camille is working to acknowledge the donors and create ways to raise funds to further the center's growth and needs. In the meantime those of us here can enjoy what it does offer: a social space to host events or meetings, a comfy spot to read a great book, or listen to music or watch a little television.

My annual goats-on-the-golf-course posting

Another common sight: goats on the golf course.

Apparently, they serve a purpose, even if it is just keeping the sand traps clear of vegetation.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

My annual road-kill posting

Not an entirely uncommon sight on the highway near Loreto. I've always heard that in Mexico if you hit livestock you are responsible to pay its owner. Don't know if that's true, but it might explain these "hit-and-runs."