Wow! What a year this is turning out to be! The good news is, the Rocky Point Times is back in print. The bad news is that it is still too early to tell if the COVID stuff is going to abate enough to fully open up our town for the ‘season’, or if we are going to have to adapt to restrictions on entry and exit as we have for the past six months.
Border crossing issues still pop up, with the most recent wrinkle being an x-ray machine being utilized on the U.S. side of the border. It takes between three to five minutes to pass through the x-ray machine. Translated, that means longer lines on the weekends heading back to Arizona, so be prepared.
At least the Malecon is open. It’s just that there isn’t much traffic, or at least there wasn’t in early September when this column is being written. Hopefully, things will change once the temperatures fall and we get a better understanding of what is expected of both residents and touristas.
My friends and neighbors who live in Peñasco are doing what they always do, making lemonade out of the lemons COVID-19 has handed them. They still go to work, and prospect for more, whenever and wherever they can find it. From the guys who want to wash your car or windshield, to the street buskers doing their juggling and balancing acts, to the constructores doing odd jobs, everyone is doing what they need to do to get by, as always.
Out on the playas (Las Conchas, Encanto, Dorada and Miramar) the mercurial weather has taken its toll and helped provide work for many handymen in town. In August, for the second time in under a year, a monster storm blew through, knocking out power to the beach communities, the Mayan Palace and points east. The storm surge wiped out sea walls and damaged some homes in Las Conchas and kept the ‘beach road’ inundated for a few days.
The power poles were snapped like toothpicks, and were strewn along Dorada/Miramar the entry road like so many pick-up-sticks (remember them?? Shows you how old I am…). Anyway, as before, CFE was on the job, like white on rice, and got the power back on in under two days. Remarkable when you consider the damage done. They told us the entire grid would be completely repaired in two weeks. I’m betting that they beat that deadline by a wide margin.
Most beach denizens know to expect the unexpected and have back-up generators, or kept their solar power systems in operation, for just such an event. The interruption was minimal, but the timing was awful. The summer heat and humidity are tough to sleep with when you don’t have fans or air conditioning. More than a few local hotels got clients from the beaches looking for a cool night’s sleep. So, I guess it is an ‘ill wind’ that doesn’t blow some good, somewhere.
You know that it’s a popular myth among the Norteños that everything down south of the border is done ‘mañana’ style. That is simply not true when it comes to things like infrastructure, or at sea search and rescue, or COVID-19 containment. Peñasco’s Mayor, Kiko Munro, has done a masterful job of not only containing the virus, but in keeping our town moving along, albeit a bit slower than most of us would like. Face it, no one likes to be told that they cannot open their business or go where they want to go, but neither does anyone want the local medical facilities overwhelmed, leaving people who need help with longer wait times and poor access to health care.
While many ‘out of town’ people felt that the mayor’s actions were severe, many expats that live in Peñasco full time (or at least most of the time) marvel at, and appreciate, the mayor’s steady hand at not only dealing with the virus, but in moving the town forward economically. In any case, after adjustments had been made, the town moved on in a manner that was as close to normal as I can remember. Frankly, not having so much traffic on weekends was sort of a blessing.
Since you are reading this in October, and my crystal ball is a bit cloudy, I guess you’ll have to take stock of what is actually happening to understand where the town is at this point in time. It is my sincere hope that, as your peruse this paper, you find everything is back open and our vibrant community is, once again, everyone’s favorite playground.