Since it is August I am not even going to comment on the weather except to say when you’re on vacation at the beach, the humidity really doesn’t matter. And increasing wait times at the border, on any day of the week, makes me think that y’all would rather be down here anyway.
I have been driving a lot lately, so I have to start out with “rules of the road” – a few suggestions, bitches, warnings and observations:
1. Highway Intersections…The roundabout on the highway continues to be a dangerous intersection. It takes just a few seconds to follow the roundabout all the way around instead of cutting onto or off the highway. Cross traffic needs to be very careful looking for speeding highway vehicles, and highway vehicles need to slow down a bit especially when they see vehicles stopped on the roundabout. Just use common sense and caution. The intersection on the Coastal Highway where you go toward El Golfo de Santa Clara and Laguna Shores Resort or left (or right or straight) to Laguna del Mar is very confusing if you have not driven it before and dangerous if you have. Everyone (yes, including me) tries to avoid the annoying speed bumps by going around them, so you need to watch for this and slowdown in case the vehicle doesn’t get back into their lane. THROUGH HIGHWAY TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP. If you are turning left or right at the intersection (or going straight to Laguna del Mar) you DO STOP. The intersection is not clearly marked and what markings were there are fading so just use caution and watch for vehicles that don’t stop or that do when they’re not supposed to.
2. U.S./Mexico Border…Weekend traffic at the border is, once again, getting heavy, which can mean wait times of 1, 2, or more hours and weekday traffic has increased wait times as well. And it is much heavier on or following holiday or event weekends which you all already know. So last month I bitched about lane cutting and the Sonoyta cops making traffic form 2 or 3 lanes when we all have to merge into 1 as we approach the border. This makes a lot of people mad (yes, including me) who have been waiting their turn. I understand why the police do this but they really need a better system because one of these days people are going to get pissed and it’s going to get ugly. So far, we use our vehicles to block right-lane-riders, but we all know that the heat and humidity makes us crazy, which will make someone go nutso, especially when they’ve been waiting an hour or more in the heat. In the past petitions the RPTimes has printed and asked you to send in have been incredibly successful so I propose that we petition the Sonoyta Police and the Sonoyta Mayor and other city officials to either expand the one lane into two (with proper traffic controls) leading up to the border and/or stop splitting the traffic into 2 and 3 lanes. Let’s make the right hand shoulder for people selling their wares ONLY. Things get tight with 2 lanes of traffic and kids on foot trying to wash your windows or sell their goodies especially since a lot of us drive large SUV’s and trucks. It is just a matter of time until someone gets seriously injured.
Speaking of seriously injured…please know that YOU the driver is responsible for anyone in or on your vehicle. On the past few trips to the border I have noticed the evil “squeegee boys” hitching rides on the outside of vehicles usually standing on the running boards and hanging onto the mirrors or hitching a ride in the back of trucks, or on the bumper. These kids are telling drivers that they will get them to the head of the line and then lead them onto the right hand shoulder and go up as far as they can. If one of those kids falls off or out of your vehicle, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE, and your vehicle insurance will not be enough if the accident is fatal. You will be taken to jail. This is no joke. In fact my cousin and his friend had an incident last month where they gave a ride to some gringo kids in their mid-20s and one jumped out of the back of the truck (he was inebriated) on the dirt road to The Reef. The police happened to be right behind them and saw the entire thing. The kid jumped out – it was his fault and not an accident. He jumped out of the truck intentionally. The driver of the truck was taken to jail, his truck was impounded and the kid was taken to the clinic (he was AirEvac’d out from the border to a Phoenix hospital and ended up with head trauma and a broken collarbone and will, thankfully, heal). His insurance company was called but no one ever showed up (we are looking into this) so he spent 2 days in jail, hired an attorney, paid a large fine/bail and is still jumping through hoops and will not get his truck back until August. This is the short version but a warning to all of you to not let anyone ride on your vehicle or in the back of your truck because YOU and you alone will be at fault and responsible. If the kid had died there is no telling what would have happened. And this incident was with the police witnessing the event. It’s just not worth it. And back to the border…so, yeah, it is great to pass all of us up who have been waiting in line for hours, but know that if you let those kids ride on your vehicle and one falls off you will have saved zero time and will be in a world of you-know-what.
We are all eager to get out of the waiting line and onto open highway so the best way to avoid lines is not to travel at the same time as everyone else. If you have to, then use some common courtesy and if the cops make a traffic jam worse than merge, merge, merge. As you come up to the border (on the Sonoyta side) there are a couple of places you need to leave room for vehicles to exit: when you see the buildings on the right start watching for people wanting to get out of their parking spaces; and just as you’re about to cross over into the U.S. (the big open space before the chain link fence) leave that intersection clear so people needing to import can get across to park to go pay taxes and those that have already paid taxes can exit. At least leave enough room for a vehicle to squeeze through. They are not cutting into your lane so there is no reason to block them. Same goes for coming into Mexico. A lot of us leaving Mexico need to get to the post office, UETA, restaurant or gas station in Gringo Pass and you all pack in so tight that we have nowhere to get across. I know people cut through the gas station and try to get closer to the front but big deal, so you let one car in, it’s not going to kill you. Just let them in and wish a terrible hangover onto them. Now if they get the green light and you get the red then I say go for a stingray sting. Oh, that’s bad. Tom is cringing now.
One last thing about the border. Oh wait, two more things. After you have left space at that intersection and are crossing the line try to pick the furthest station to your right. A lot of you stay your course and pick one of the two left hand lanes in front of you but this just blocks everyone behind you and continued the traffic jam. Yes some lanes do move a little faster than others but you’re talking minutes and maybe on your next trip someone will be a courteous driver and save you a few minutes. Speaking of the U.S. border agents – cut them some slack. We know many of them and some have been there for many years and they really do try to do their best with what they have to work with. Right now it’s hot and they are dealing with a lot of traffic and people that do not have passports or are trying to smuggle stuff in or bad attitudes or whatever. We all have bad days so try to cut them some slack and have your documents ready, take off your sunglasses, roll down your back window and you will be on the highway in no time. And know that if you are bringing cash INTO the U.S. you are allowed $10,000 USD per person not per vehicle. Five people in your car lets you bring in $50k, but you DO need to declare anything over $10,000 USD. If you are carrying over that amount in your vehicle and split it up between the 5 people and do not declare and are inspected then it looks like you are smuggling and chances are your cash will be confiscated or at the least you will be detained and read the riot act. So I’ll say it like this – yes, you are allowed to bring $10,000 USD per person (or more) into the U.S. but you have to declare it (fill out a form). If you have more than $10,000 USD in one vehicle, split up between passengers or not, you still need to declare. I was asked to tell our readers that because apparently it has been happening at the U.S. border crossing in Lukeville.
Wow, I should have made that a separate article because I am out of room to tell you all of the exciting stuff that you missed last month and what’s coming up this month. Just kidding. A very cool happening that many may have seen on Facebook was the mama turtle laying her eggs on Sandy Beach in front of Puerta Privada (see photos). Turtles are serious business in Mexico and are protected as well as their eggs so authorities from PROFEPA (Procuraduria Federal de Proteccion al Ambiente in other words Mexico’s Federal Environmental Protection Agency) came out and roped off the area to protect the eggs until they hatch in about 45 days. The site is patrolled and roped and the eggs should hatch sometime in September. How cool is that?
Our very first wind generator site is coming along nicely with construction moving quickly. I am waiting for a solar panel project to start since we are sunny just about every day of the year. They can start one around my house so maybe my summer power bills will be a lot less.
Many people come to Rocky Point for dentistry work and cosmetic surgery at incredibly reduced prices and now you can come for laser eye surgery at Swann Optical. Very cool. Swann is even offering package deals that include lodging at Playa Bonita Resort. (See their ad in this issue – hard to miss!)
A number came across my phone the other day and I didn’t answer it because I hate the phone so I only answer numbers that I know and let the rest go to voicemail which is silly because only a few people have my number. Well, come to find out it was Barbara Iverson of Su Casa on Rodeo Drive calling me from a 690 number. What? Yep, apparently it is a cable number. She gets her phone, internet and television from the local cable company. Well it was news to me. Another phone related item I came across was how to dial an 855 number. Sandy said she will find out and update our information section. It took us years to be able to dial an 800 and then an 888 number so hopefully this is already figured out or in the works because I think it was my credit card that had the 855 number.
We met with Alonso Dominguez Ruiz, Administrador del Aerpuerto of our Mar de Cortes International Airport out by the Mayan Palace and his boss, Fernando Antillon, Director General regarding flights coming into Puerto Peñasco, which are not happening in the near future, but the work is on-going and we will let you know when we know anything new.
Blvd. Benito Juarez has opened south of Sam’s Club (yahoo) with wide concrete lanes and a brick stamped outside lane. Sandy wrote some lame joke about the red brick road but I will spare y’all. And half of Samuel Ocaña is open with a complete makeover and now the other half is closed for its beauty makeover. Samuel Ocaña is the first signal light as you enter town from the north. It is the westbound road that goes to all of the resorts on Sandy Beach in case you didn’t know. Speaking of Sandy Beach, Las Palmas is the very first resort to sport a Las Vegas-like neon sign announcing its location. Next time you’re out that way look up, it’s very cool. I’m sure more will follow.
Bits and Pieces…Boomerfest Days the “Forever Young Festival” set for the second week in October now has ticket prices showing on their website at www.boomerfestdays.com.
Rocky Point’s own champion boxer, “El Gallito” Estrada will defend his championship title against Giovani Segura in September. As of press time we did not know the location so check us next month or watch our Facebook Page for the location. Don’t want to miss this one!
Looks like we are getting Thai food back in Rocky Point with “El Patio Thai” due to open at the end of July in the Old Port. Again, watch our Facebook Page for updates. If you aren’t on Facebook, shame on you! You can always email us at email@example.com and Alicia will let you know the status of things. I would like to welcome Steve Franklin to our family of contributing writers. Steve has been photographing wildlife for 20 years and he enjoys taking photos of all sea life. His photos can be seen at Xochitl’s Café in Cholla Bay. I guess I will have to shorten my bio so Steve has room for his J. And just a warning to all of you, “Rumorsville” will be making a comeback either in this issue or the next so beware, no one is safe.
So much more to say but the music is cued and I must exit the stage but…We had a fantastic time at Casino Night at the Sonoran Sky in early July. I highly recommend you get your tickets as soon as they go on sale for next year. We started the night out at the 3rd Anniversary of Pane e Vino with a few bottles of great wine and an awesome dinner. And FYI, Dolce Vita has changed their hours to include breakfast so they now open at 8:00 AM. Sandy really should do an “Eats” column don’t you think? We also attended the luncheon with the new Federal Secretary of Tourism, Claudia Ruiz Massieu. A few details we may be able to squeeze into this edition so look for an article.
Have a great August and watch out for stingrays. (If you don’t know what the “Stingray Shuffle” is Google it because I know I have a couple articles archived somewhere on the net.)