Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad! February it is and summer will be here before we know it. I swear time is passing at warp speed these days. I spent a fair amount of time in California last month so have some updates on our Coastal Hwy. and my big OOPS at the San Luis Rio Colorado Port of Entry to tell you about – never a dull moment in Mexico – love it! But first we must address the huevo issue…you are NOT allowed to bring raw eggs from Mexico into the U.S. If you are caught smuggling eggs you can be fined. If you declare that you are bringing uncooked eggs into the U.S. they will be taken from you and destroyed. I can’t believe this is even an issue, but y’all went crazy with the toilet paper so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising. The minimum wage in Mexico is peanuts and people literally live day to day so instead of taking items home with you support our local restaurants by going out to eat and support our neighborhood markets by purchasing items that are costly in the U.S. and take them back to your home or rental and cook up an awesome meal.
The whales are here! Did you know you can see a variety of whales – even humpback whales? I’m headed out this month with some local charters to see if I can catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. It is still hard for me to believe that this is right in our back yard – or rather front yard. Amazing! We had whale sharks last year – like a lot of sightings. So cool! I swam with them in La Paz and went out locally but didn’t see any while I was out – hopefully this year I’ll have better luck when they come back. But for now I’d like to see some fin whales and definitely a humpback. I am still planning to spend a week or so over on the Baja in Guerrero Negro to see the grey whales, eat Tony’s Tacos and lots of lobster and bother Tony Ballesteros and Spike so it will be a great February.
Rumor has it that Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador will be in town this month to have a look-see at our solar plant which is the largest in Latin America and is currently under construction. Also, the Only-Sonora program is supposed to be expanded to cover the entire State of Sonora which means you will no longer have to stop outside of Guaymas (Enpalme) to pay for a vehicle permit – you will be able to drive your vehicle throughout the State of Sonora – like you can drive all of the Baja.
A couple things around town which are causing some excitement are the increase in our property taxes and the smoking ban which took effect January 15th. You can see the details of the smoking ban on our “Social Media Page” in this edition as well as on our Facebook Page. It is a countrywide law that bans smoking in all public places and spaces including plazas, beaches, resorts, parks, RV Parks, churches, stadiums, restaurants, bars, etc. and limits smoking to private property. If you are a smoker (or vaper) and have concerns about where you can smoke/vape, you may want to check with your hotel, rental or park to see what their policies are. Ah, now onto property taxes…I won’t go into a lot of detail on this except to say that if you have not yet checked your 2023 property taxes, you may be in for a bit of a shock so you will want to take advantage of the city discounts through March. My personal property taxes for the office and my house went up 250% this year and people who own beachfront properties saw a much, much higher increase. I’m not complaining about my taxes because they were ridiculously low to begin with, but I can see how the sudden increase caught people by surprise especially if you are a newbie and don’t know that sometimes things change overnight in Mexico. So, the city has increased the incentives to pay your taxes by giving a discount of 20% if you pay this month and 15% if you pay in March. Hopefully the increase will help fix our streets and infrastructure. Oh yeah, our water bills also went up this year and OOMPAS is offering a 20% discount if you pay for 6 to 12 months by the end of March.
Coastal Hwy. update and my OOPS!
Spent some time in SoCal last month and was headed near the San Diego area so I decided to check out the Coastal Hwy. and cross at the San Luis Rio Colorado border. The Coastal Highway was definitely not as bad as I thought. Our city streets are absolutely atrocious so I figured Hwy. 3 would be an absolute nightmare. It wasn’t too bad – a lot better than driving from the windmills to my ranchito! Ugh!! There are definitely still some bad spots and huge potholes, but none seemed to sneak up on me. There was a section of road where the sand blew onto the highway making it a one-lane highway, but you could see it far in advance – not like last year when you come around a blind corner and have a giant sand dune in your lane. Eeeek! I’ve included a few photos to show the great condition of some parts of the road as well as the sand. Oh, the hwy. from El Golfo de Santa Clara to the military checkpoint was in pretty bad shape after all the rain so be careful of that stretch – the mud rushes down from the hills and completely covers the highway and this time it washed away huge chunks of the road as well. There are a couple blind curves in that first section where you find yourself with less than one-lane…another EEEEK! On a positive note, our Governor did announce that 50 million pesos has been allotted for the repair of the Coastal Hwy. from Puerto Peñasco to San Luis, so that’s great news! I love taking that highway so am looking forward to it being in tip-top shape!
Ah, onto my shenanigans in San Luis Rio Colorado. Okay, so I haven’t crossed at the San Luis border in a while and last time I was there the far-right lane was the SENTRI Lane and all of the other lanes, even though separated by a concrete median, were for regular traffic to the U.S. and the lanes kind of came together so you could choose another lane up to a point except the SENTRI lane of course. Now there are 3 lanes with the far right being a Ready Lane, the left (middle) being for regular traffic to the U.S. and the far left being a SENTRI Lane. Guess which one I got into? Yep, the SENTRI Lane. So here I am in the SENTRI Lane with no way to get over into the correct lane, so I got on my phone and scoured the internet to see what my punishment was going to be because I thought I had heard of not-so-nice things possibly happening if you used the SENTRI Lane illegally. I looked…and found…ewwww…stiff pentalties. But at this point I was all in with no means of escape and had to ride it out. I figured I can’t be the only one who has made this mistake so they would either let me through or make me cross back into Mexico and get into the correct lane – which was not reasonable since that entire border is concrete barriers. Guess I was not having the smartest day of my life 😊 The short story is that they did let me pass but sent me over to secondary and I ended up waiting in the office for about 20 minutes while they searched my vehicle. They could’ve issued me a $5,000 USD fine and taken my vehicle had I not paid the fine. So even though I got lucky, let this be a warning to everyone else. I believe our Lukeville border is set up with a designated SENTRI Lane, but with only one lane going through Sonoyta the lane is useless until they redo the Sonoyta Port of Entry. As soon as I see earth moving in Sonoyta I’m making that appointment for a SENTRI Lane pass!
The Events calendar will start filling up this month so expect a lot of fun stuff happening this year. We’re off to a slow start, but we’ll try to do a bang-up job keeping you informed of all the fun stuff going on. And you can help us by letting us know of any events you know going on. They may not make the paper since we publish monthly, but we can always get them up on our website and social media. And…we want your photos!! We are looking for a few great cover shots for the months of May, July, August, September and October as well as some fun shots to post to our social media pages and put in the paper. Grab your 15 minutes of fame!! If you have a great photo, fun photos – or anything you’d like to submit for cover consideration or for us to post on our social media send us the original to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to stage some fun shots too!
Hope everyone has a great month and we’ll see you at the beach!
- Great part of Coastal Hwy. last month. Smooth driving!
- Coastal Hwy. sand dunes making the 2-lane hwy. into a 1-laner. Cuidado!
- Salt Flats along the Coastal Hwy.
- 3rd building at Encantame Towers is making great progress.