Que Pasa in Baja?

Teachers on strike. More than 2,000 state teachers have been on strike, intermittently demanding salary payments from the state government for temporary teachers and for the ones that have recently retired but have not received their pensions.

The strike is affecting state-sponsored public education only; private schools and federal schools are having classes normally. The teachers’ union says that they are trying to affect the current school year as little as they can, but that they can’t continue letting the local government get away with not paying them as they should.

Whale shark season begins. Did you think you had to go all the way down to La Paz to swim with whale sharks? No! You can do it right here in our dear northern Baja! Authorities said that the season to visit this gentle giant has just begun and will be active until November.

Bahía de Los Angeles and San Luis Gonzaga is where you want to go to experience this unforgettable activity. You can see them from the boat or even swim with them as long as you don’t get closer than 6 feet from them.

Authorities said that they have trained 45 tourist services providers on the best practices to maximize the experience for tourists and to disturb the animals as little as possible.

Hot air balloons in distress! In an incredible chain of events, a hot air balloon company that services the wine valley had their aircraft fall from the sky two days in a row.

Although at press time authorities hadn’t suspended the service, the head of the Civil Protection Office, Jaime Nieto, said that they investigated the cause of the accidents and found that the pilot was at fault because he was not experienced enough.

No one was hurt in any of the accidents but the second one was pretty scary as the balloon fell against CFE electricity cables, leaving a big chunk of the Valley without electricity for a couple hours.

The FBI does Baja. Local cybercrime state police agents went up to San Diego for a crash course with the FBI regarding strategies against crime in emerging technologies, said Daniel de la Rosa, head of Public Security for Baja.

The training course was focused on teaching our agents how to analyze social media and the internet in order to identify criminals that are selling drugs, guns or sexual exploitation online.

One of its main focuses was to give agents the tools to be able to fight child pornography and pedophilia.

Haitians in Baja. Migration authorities are saying that only about 3,400 Haitians stayed in Tijuana and they are offering an option for them to become permanent residents here.

The Haitian ambassador, Guy Lamothe, said that Mexico is offering residency to Haitians here, but that they must submit their paperwork before September 30th, or face deportation.

Jose Luis Hernandez, from the Mexican Foreign Affairs office, said that their first concern is to get the information out there to let Haitians know that they have the option to become legal residents here.

“If they want to stay here they must abide by the law and regularize their situation or they can also choose to go back to Haiti if they want to, they just need their official ID card from Haiti for that”, said Hernandez. “The most important thing for us is to let them know they have options”.

Green Light on the Off-Road Museum. The Ensenada business council has officially asked the State Government to build the Off-Road Museum in the city’s main boulevard, right where the state tourism office is located, next to CEARTE.

Oscar Escobedo, head of the state tourism office, said before that he was leaving the final decision to build the museum in Ensenada to the local business council.

This has been a controversial issue for many citizens as the sport isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and some feel that the land should be used for something different that could be enjoyed by the population in general.

The fact is that Ensenada lacks tourism attractions, and this will definitely be an important one that represents a fundamental part of the city’s tourism industry.

The museum is not going to be built or operated by the state, but as a joint venture between a private company and the government.

This is the way lots of public projects have been done lately since the government doesn’t have any cash to spare. Some examples are the desalination plant, the airport, street city lighting and now the museum.

New foodie destination. The state government is trying to promote San Quintin as new gourmet destination, mirroring the wine valley.

San Quintin has been long recognized for its quality produce and seafood, but never as a full gastronomic destination, which is what they’re trying to do right now.

Tourism authorities are starting the promotion with a $15,000 USD investment, to be  used to bring a couple of famous chefs and national media to the area to start reporting what’s going on there.

Don’t wait until San Quintin explodes as a tourist destination! Head down south and visit it before it loses its magical small-town vibe.

Ensenada’s own Hippo named. “Kumi” was the name chosen by local citizens for the Hippo that was born 5 months ago in the Jersey Zoo, located in the wine valley.

Tourism and zoo authorities “baptized” the little hippo that weighs just about 110 pounds and is developing just fine.

Kumi is the first hippo born in Baja that has managed to survive; that’s a big accomplishment for the local zoo, since Hippos need lots of special care in their first months.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Kumi; the Zoo is in the Wine Valley and has more than 170 animals. Among the species they keep there are bears, tigers, jaguars, camels, kangaroos, wolves and lots of other species. Zoo admission is only about $2 bucks, or $6 if you want full access to the pools, paddle boats, and train. For information on how to get there visit www.zoologicojersey.com.mx.

Heads up! 911 for emergencies. Starting July 1st, the only official emergency number for Baja is 911; the old 066 disappears, so cross it out of your phone book (who has one of those now?)

Cristian Colosio, from the state security office, said that in 2015 the decision was made to make 911 the official emergency number, but that 066 still worked while people got used to the new one.

Interesting fact: In Baja 55% of emergency calls are not completed because people hang up in the middle of the call and 10% are prank calls.

Colosio is asking the community to avoid making prank calls to the emergency line, but as always, the problem won’t disappear until they put a couple of those jokers in jail for a few days. Then others will see that you really can’t mess around with 911!

Author: Oliver Quintero

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