The Rosarito Flying Samaritans Need Your Help

No sooner had the Flying Samaritans of Rosarito celebrated their successful first Oktoberfest sell-out, tragedy struck. On the night of October 13 or 14, thieves broke into the Flying Samaritans clinic pharmacy, possibly in search of narcotics, and ran amok. The Flying Samaritans clinic does not stock or offer narcotics or opioids at any time. But apparently the burglars didn’t know that.

However, the perpetrators did steal three computers, medical items (i.e. anything not nailed down) and diabetic supplies. They also pretty much tore up the place. The Flying Samaritans offers the only diabetic care available to many Rosaritenses.

The good news is that community members have already donated four computers to the clinic. But funds are desperately needed to make repairs to the clinic, and to replace diabetes medications, medical supplies, and to purchase a security camera system with motion detectors and lights.

Cash donations may be made through PayPal at For more information on how you may donate, or just help out, contact President of the Flying Samaritans, Susan Smith at; MX phone: 661-100-6066; US phone 1-858-240-2360.

The Flying Samaritans may even be able to utilize your talented hands to help with the institution’s repairs. And remember, the Saturday clinics can always use more volunteers. Thank you very much, fellow Rosaritenses, for your support!

The Big Chalupa

Whenever something major happens in life, the taxman is never far behind.  Buying property is one of those “somethings”.  It’s slightly more special when outside the U.S.  Here’s a non-exclusive primer on some U.S. tax aspects you may wish to consider when purchasing a dwelling for your use in Mexico.

If you rely on home equity loans or second mortgages to fund Mexico home purchases, know the new tax law curtailed deductibility of those. But the IRS clarifies the law: independent of what the loan is called, it could be deductible if used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer’s home securing the loan.  If your Mexico home is not loan security, the interest is not deductible.

Mexican mortgages: your interest could be deductible. We just lost the foreign property tax “predial” personal deduction for individuals. Now, predial is only deductible if the property is used for a business or for the production of income– rent.

Those who purchase and later rent out must depreciate (it’s an allowance for wear and tear) the property and take annual deductions for it (later “paying it back” when the property is sold).  The new law changed the time period for foreign residential property from 40 to 30 years, leading to higher deductions. Don’t forget to depreciate if you must.

Documenting your purchase price is a critical.  U.S. taxes are paid in dollars; make sure you document the Peso exchange rate.  As back home, improvements call for an adjustment of “basis” in the property. It should be documented during the life of the property. You would be amazed at how many people try to reconstruct these numbers, years after the fact.  Did you inherit the property instead of buying it?  Get it appraised.  You may need to report the inheritance if it came from a non-U.S. person. It may not be taxable, but reportable.

If your Mexico property meets the test as your “principal residence” the federal gain on its eventual sale can be excluded from your tax, just like a U.S. home. The same limits and rules apply.

If you are wiring money from the U.S. to buy, remember Foreign Bank Account Reports.  And do yourself a huge favor: unless you have a really, really, very good reason, stay away from setting up foreign corporations to hold real estate. A well-structured fideicomiso (land trust) would be a far better way to go.

Now, welcome! Enjoy your Chalupa!


Orlando Gotay is a California licensed tax attorney (with a Master of Laws in Taxation) admitted to practice before the IRS, the U.S. Tax Court and other taxing agencies.  His love of things Mexican has led him to devote part of his practice to federal and state tax matters of U.S. expats in Mexico.  He can be reached at or Facebook: GotayTaxLawyer.  This is just a most general outline. It is informational only and not meant as legal advice.

Dia de Muertos

Dia de muertos or day of the dead is a famous Mexican tradition. It is a day to honor the dead, but it is also a day to make fun of death. You have seen it in many movies, but most of the big screen depictions I’ve seen picture it wrong (I haven’t seen Coco by the way). Today we’ll give you the real story. First we will start with its origins:

Before the Spaniards came to Mexico, the day of the dead was already being celebrated. There are historical registries of this tradition in the cultures of the Mexica, Maya, Purépecha and Totonaca ethnic groups. The ritual of celebrating the life of the deceased has always been part of Mexico. In the pre-Hispanic world it was a common occurrence to keep the skulls as trophies and exhibit them in the rituals that celebrate death and rebirth.

The cult of death: When somebody died festivities were organized to guide his soul through its journey across the underworld. The body would be buried rolled up in a “Petate” and personal objects along with his favorite food would be placed in his tomb in case he got hungry.

The most important aspect of this celebration is the ofrenda or offering. On this day it is believed that the souls of the dead come back to be with their loved ones, that is the reason of the offerings. Some of the ancient beliefs link this offering to the four elements: Water, air, earth and fire: Earth is represented by the fruits in the offering. This are usually pumpkins, tejocotes, tangerines, sugar cane and oranges. Water is placed in a jar to calm the thirst during the journey. Fire is present trough the candles, there are usually four candles that represent the cardinal points to guide the soul. Wind is in the copal and incense burned and it is believed to mark the way for the deceased to follow.

Altars are placed with the offerings to celebrate the deceased’s loved ones. These altars are usually set up at home and  decorated with zempasúchil  flowers surrounding a picture of the defunct person all this on top of a white mantle. You can almost always find colored paper cut in ingenious designs decorating the altar.   And don’t forget one of the most famous and enjoyable offerings “pan de muerto” or bread of the dead which comes in a plethora of presentations and flavors. And last but not least the kids’ favored offering: Skulls made of sugar, often with the name of the person being remembered.

There are different variations on the celebration of this day according to the geographic location. In some places the number of steps in the altar represent the levels of the underworld the soul has to go through. There can be up to seven steps but most common is to have only two that represent heaven and earth.

In the present the date of this celebration is officially on November the 2nd  but the original tradition also has the first of November as the day to honor the dead children. The Catholic church calls this day the saints innocents day.  In some places the offering starts on October 28 until the official date. The Aztecs used to dedicate a whole month to this holiday but it all changed with the arrival of the Spaniards.

People often go to the cemetery with family and friends and spend the day there eating, drinking around the graves. They clean up the tombs and decorate it with candles and even spend the night there. Often there is live music in the cemetery making this a complete celebration.

There are many fun other traditions linked to this holiday. One of them is the calaveras: These are verses that depict a person as if they were already dead mostly in a satirical way. The verses date back to the Virreinal age, starting as a satire of the long dedications the rich people used to put on their loved ones’ graves. Later it became more of a way to do social critique up to the point the government censored them. After a while fun drawings of skeletons were added to the calaveras. The most famous artist in this venue was Jose Guadalupe Posada, He is the original designer of the Catrina character, whom you’ll recognize as the elegant rich lady skeleton you find in Mexican artesania.

The calaveras today are less political and more a fun way to express the feelings towards someone, whether it’s love, hate or critique. Often they are used as gifts to that person.

In November 2003 the UNESCO recognized The dia de muertos holiday as a cultural heritage masterpiece of humanity.

Cempasuchil Signals the Days of the Dead

If you’ve been driving round town lately, you may have noticed the budding flower stands popping up everywhere, offering bright orange flowers in pots and by the bunch. It is the season of the cempashuchil.

The cempashuchil is the ceremonial flower of the ofrendas, or Day of the Dead altars, from October, through November 3. Also known as marigolds or flor de Muertos (flowers of the dead), this blossom is the traditional flower to decorate not only altars, but gravesites throughout Mexico. Even though the marigold blooms in white, yellow, and orange, the orange is the traditional color chosen for this holiday, and one of Mexico’s most important traditions.

The flowers sold in Rosarito, Tecate, Mexicali, and all over Baja are grown right here in Rosarito, at the El Carrizal Ranch in Rosarito Canyon; started by one of Baja’s first families, the Machados.

Only a mere 300 yards from the Rosarito Beach Hotel as the crow flies, the El Carrizal Ranch, owned by Machado descendant, Jorge Luis Hinojo Gonzalez is one of the oldest farms in the Rosarito area. This region was, at one time, the border between the United States and Mexico. In actuality, the US/Mexico border has been “relocated” several times throughout history. It’s kind of nice that the border has moved, and there is not a wall running across Benito Juarez Boulevard.

Rancho El Carrizal is open to the public as well as wholesalers, so feel free to run up and see the b eautiful fields before they are all harvested for the season.  But be careful when visiting the marigold fields; there are bees… lots and lots of bees.

Directions: go east and under the cuota on Calle de la Palma, from the Festival Plaza Hotel. Turn south, continuing past the Oxxo and gas station onto a dirt road (Calle Alta Tension). Turn right at the bend in the road, and follow the signage reading “Ruta Eco Turistica Canyon” to the gate of El Carrizal, and the signs that read: “El Carrizo Cempasuchil” and “Verita flor de cempashuchil  Mayoreo y Machado.”

Whether you have a traditional Day of the Dead altar at the house, or want to cheer up a gravesite, or just want to have something pretty on your coffee table, pick up some marigolds in town, or at the ranch, and enjoy.

Wow! Did You See That Giant In Ensenada?

The largest cruise ship in the Norwegian line dropped anchor in Ensenada’s bay for the first time on Saturday, October 6. It did look big, from wherever you viewed it.

the Norwegian Bliss will set sail from the Port of Los Angeles for a few week long voyages to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, before squeezing through the Panama Canal to ply the Caribbean route for the winter season.

This past summer it sailed between Seattle Washington and Alaska. It had to wait for low tied to go under the Lions Gate bridge on arrival in Vancouver British Columbia.

The newly built Bliss is Norwegian’s largest cruise ship, and has an onboard go-kart race course, a water park, Broadway theater shows, and a very cool sounding laser tag arena. Some people don’t like such big cruise ships, so there is a separate upscale section, called The Haven that offers quieter, more luxurious accommodations. Away from the unwashed masses, one would presume. Well, we presume.

The big boat can take up to 4,900 passengers, mostly in 170 square foot balcony rooms, but there are 2206 rooms total, in 42 categories on 11 decks. Altogether there are 20 decks It takes about 1700 crew to keep it all organized. Top speed is about 26 miles an hour, and the $920 million ship gets about 3,000 gallons an hour.  That’s 3000 gallons to move the ship 26 miles down the road. Sounds expensive, but with 4000 passengers, that’s only about three quarters of a gallon per person per hour.

What’s Going On In This Country?

Pipeline taps. Petroleum theft, committed by gangs of thieves known as huachicoleros, costs Pemex US $1.6 billion a year, and is just getting worse. Officials blame this trend on Pemex workers in cahoots, and because people living nearby protect and often join in the effort. They view the robbery as   getting back at Pemex for rising gasoline prices.

Good idea for tires. The seventh annual used tire collection drive in Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, collected 46 tons of old tossed around tires from streets, homes and businesses.

Known as Llantatón, the event was run by the local Sustainable Development Secretariat (SDS) and the Japanese tire maker Bridgestone. Yup, believe it or not, Bridgestone had always been a Jap company. It’s the English version of the word in Japanese for bridge stone. What??

The problem is, rainwater collects in used tires left around, becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The collection drive was designed to remove the hazard. They also kept the tires from reaching rivers, ravines, streets or open-air dumps.

In the seven-year history of the tire collection marathon it has rounded up 446 tons — an estimated 46,000 tires, which have been used as an alternative fuel in the cement industry or reused as furniture parts or an asphalt ingredient.

Raising The Price Of No Water City officials in La Paz are warning about raising the price of water delivered to their 104,000 homes, 70,000 of whom don’t even have a meter. Well, that’s alright, since La Paz doesn’t have water.

Although a lot of their watery  is pretty spotty, the official price of this “non delivery” is about 40 cents US for about 270 gallons. The average in Mexico for that much water is about $1.60.

Mayor Ruben Munoz explains, “We would like to start with the tariff update program, but first the administration needs to improve the quality of the service and once we have made the service more efficient, then I will propose the increase in tariffs.”

This effort was halted by top Democrats in Congress and so far dismissed by the Mexican government. Well, it might work better than a wall.

Thousands of Central Americans travel through Mexico to reach the U.S. and either cross the border illegally or legally. In any case, the Trump administration doesn’t want them and is willing to pay the Mexican government to deal with it. Although Mexico says they want no part of this plan, it would be just like Mexican officials to take the money anyway. And why not? $20 million bucks doesn’t grow on cactus.

Put that call on hold. In a crackdown on extortion calls, almost 3,000 cell phones have been taken away from prisoners in seven prisons. “Suspicious” telephone equipment was found among 20,000 inmates, and they are linked to 6,926 chips.

In order to establish a cell phone as “suspicious”, the telephone companies took into account factors such as whether these devices presented an “atypical number of outgoing calls” or that they worked with several chips. The 3,000 phones made 3.7 million calls last year.

The authors of this report urged prison authorities to design a program that reduces the number of cell phones in prisons. It was also suggested that prisons block all outgoing calls.

Prisoners rent the phones by the day from other prisoners, and then sit on their bunks and dial for dollars all day long. They call random numbers and threaten people with bodily harm or kidnapping if they don’t pay. Some people are tricked into paying.

Trump hires Mexicans. The Trump administration is moving ahead with a plan to pay Mexico $20 million to deport migrants from Central America and prevent them from reaching the U.S., even after the plan had been cancelled.

Those pesky laws. The Senate is trying to establish penalties of between one and three years in prison for those who promote, apply or fund therapies that claim to cure homosexuality. It also proposes to suspend the professional practice of physicians who promote or apply these practices.

The United Nations withdrew homosexuality from the list of diseases in the 1990s and advocated eradicating these supposed therapies as being “a painful and cruel practice”.

Lotta scofflaws. Four out of every 10 electricity customers in Mexico City don’t pay their bills, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). That’s 1.15 million customers. CFE is not amused.

That accounts for 41.4% of the 2.77 million electricity customers in Mexico City. The number of defaulters increased by 282% between January 2012 and August 2018. Contrary to what might be expected, the increasing number of people not paying for their power consumption is not a product of any dramatic increase in electricity rates. CFE data shows that prices have gone up by just 3.5% in Mexico City over the past six years, less than half the average 7.75% hike across the country.

Other states with high numbers of people who don’t pay their electricity bills include México state and Tabasco. Not in this state, you will notice, as around here CFE is quick to cut the cord. You will be in the dark within days after ignoring a CFE bill. And if the bill gets blown off your door knob before you get home from work, break out the candles. In Mexico City, México state and Tabasco as well as Chiapas and Veracruz, a large number of customers who refuse to pay their bills are claiming “civil resistance” against the public utility, a movement that first began in 1995.

To make CFE’s problems worse, President-elect López Obrador said in July that his government will cancel the debts owed to the CFE, but stressed that the “clean slate” applied from July 1 of this year.

Between this January and July, the CFE cut off more than 3.2 million residential customers across Mexico for failing to pay their bills.

Drink beer. More than four million Mexico City residents will have no running water for up to five days at the end of this month due to maintenance of the capital’s main water system, and people are already wringing their hands over this. The Mexico City government advised residents to prepare by stocking up on water before it begins, adding that water tankers will be used to supply hospitals, schools, prisons and other public places. Everyone else is on their own.

Buncha whiners. We here in Northern Baja go that long without water, and don’t even get any warning. Supposedly the local water agency warns us on their website or facebook when a particular neighborhood is going to go dry, but don’t count on any accuracy there. Nor do we ever know when the water is going to come back on. Don’t see us whining like the Mexico City folks.

A Farewell to Nelson Denniston

There will be a Celebration of Life potluck for longtime Rosarito resident Nelson Michael Denniston on Saturday, October 27, 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the home of Judy Westphal in Mision Viejo.

Nelson passed away after a brief illness on September 7. Born February 13, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, Nelson served in the United States Army and saw action in the Korean War. Nelson was married for 52 years to wife, Adele (who preceded him in death). The couple lived in Long Island, NY, and moved to Orange County, California in 1965. Nelson is survived by his sister Ellen, his two children, daughter Vanessa, and son, Rosarito resident Wayne, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Nelson built DC-9s and DC-10s for McDonald Douglas before supervising the manufacture of computer chips in the OC. Nelson also worked closely with the Orange County Repertory Company before retiring to Rosarito with Adele in 2005.

While in Rosarito, Nelson kept busy in the community by serving as a volunteer and Board member of many of Rosarito’s charities, including the United Society of Baja California, Flying Samaritans, and Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos. He was also a monthly attendee of the FRAO breakfast meetings. I never saw this man without a smile and a cheerful word for me… for everybody. So please come to the potluck with a smile and a cheerful Nelson story to share.

Potluck information: The main dish and dessert will be provided. Please bring a side dish of eight servings to share. A no host bar will feature coffee, soda, beer and wine. Advance RSVP is required. Please contact Jim Henshaw at, cell phone 664-748-3949, by October 22.  Directions: KM 50 on  the free road, south of the sand dunes; 49994 Calle San Juan Capistrano in Mision Viejo, south arch. For additional information, please contact Judy Westphal at

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Denniston family at this sorrowful time.

The Case Of The Vanishing Vaquita

The rest of the world has suddenly caught up with the sad story that has been followed in Baja California for many years and it has taken the shy little vaquita porpoise to become the most endangered marine animal in the world to bring it to everyone’s attention. You may well ask how in today’s modern world of wisdom and conservation awareness, we are now accountable for the rapid demise of this unassuming porpoise. It’s a story that began back in 1958 when the vaquita was first recorded as a species in the Journal of Mammalogy.

At only around 5 feet long and weighing less than 100 pounds, the Vaquita is the smallest of the porpoise family. They reproduce only once every two years or so, produce one calf normally at the beginning of spring and are found only in the Sea of Cortez. The name means “little cow” in Spanish and they are also nicknamed “panda of the sea”, due to their chubby frame and black-ringed eyes. So far, so cute but here the story takes a darker turn into one of greed and the criminal underworld.

As far back as the 1980’s the vaquita began to ring alarm bells in the conservation world as they realised that 7-15% of the population was becoming unintentionally entangled and drowning in gillnets used by fisherman to trawl for shrimp and finfish and later the prized totoaba, every year. In 1985 the vaquita was listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and a year later listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

When the first official population count was made in 1997 it was estimated that there were less than 600 left and for the next eight years continual lobbying of the Mexican government by the likes of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), founded by a global group of scientists in the same year, won a small victory – a vaquita refuge was established in 2005 but gillnet fishing wasn’t totally banned until 2015 with compensation offered to fisherman and associated fishing industries as a sweetener for the loss of income.  As the vaquita only reproduces every two years that was never going to be a long enough recovery period.

Although fishing for totoaba (they too are unsurprisingly on the endangered species list) has always gone on – it exploded into big business back in 2011 when the Chinese market turned to Mexican waters to supply the ever-growing demand on the Chinese black market for the swim bladders (or maws) of the totoaba. The maws are used in a soup and alleged to contain medicinal properties for blood circulation, joint pain and improved skin complexion amongst other attributes.  They are a symbol of wealth and have on occasions been used as a source of investment or traded as currency and in some Chinese homes are framed and hung on the wall.  Selling on the Chinese black market for around 20,000 USD per kilogram, it is no surprise that they have become known as the “cocaine of the sea” and of course where there is easy wealth to be made, regardless of the law or the consequences, there will always be those waiting to swoop in for the spoils.

Even with a ban in place and financial compensation, the lure of cash that could be made illegally fishing totoaba versus legal fishing was just too great for some and so gillnets continued to be used, the vaquita continued to die, and a chain of people continued to make money. Since 2015 the vaquita population has continued its rapid decline to just 59 in 2016, 30 in 2017 and now there are only a dozen left.

In 2017 vaquita CPR was born, a collaboration between the Mexican government and a group of international experts and scientists, to rescue and relocate remaining vaquitas to an ocean sanctuary with the additional hope of a breeding programme to increase their numbers. They managed to capture two vaquitas – a young female who had to be quickly released due to signs of great stress and a more mature female who initially appeared to be less ruffled by her situation.  All was going well until she arrived at the state-of-the-art floating sea enclosure where she proceeded to swim into the nets and show deep signs of distress eventually leading to her death which scientists believe was caused by heart failure. Broken-hearted by the results, the group realised they could not risk any more deaths and the project was abandoned.

In the same year, A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexico’s telecommunications billionaire – Carlos Slim, met with President Enrique Pena Nieto to pledge their respective foundations support to the plight of the vaquita. In November 2017, Sea Shepherd – the international ocean conservation organization, put Project Milagro IV in place. Milagro means “miracle” in Spanish and right now that is exactly what the little vaquita porpoise needs. With two ships patrolling the vaquita refuge they are removing gillnets, patrolling for poachers and taking partial blame for the U.S. ban on seafood harvested by gillnets in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California.

A lot of people are putting their hearts and souls into saving the Vaquita but there are many more ominous twists to this tale and you can read more of this story in the poignant but sometimes disturbing “Vaquita – Science, Politics and Crime in the Sea of Cortez” by Brooke Bessesen which came out last week or wait until next year for Terra Mater Factual Studios, the movie and TV production arm of Red Bull to release their documentary – “Vaquita: Sea of Ghosts”.

The documentary begins with the meeting between Leonardo DiCaprio and Pena Nieto in May 2017 and follows the increasingly violent conflict between the Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime gangs on one side and the Mexican government, U.S. Navy, FBI, Sea Shepherd and other wildlife activist groups on the other. Scriptwriters are no doubt hurriedly adding the latest instalment following the arrest on Thursday 13th September of an alleged drug cartel hitman with strong links to the Sinaloa cartels known as “El Parra” who was hauled in with accusations of trafficking the critically endangered totoaba fish amongst other serious charges and subsequently if not surprisingly released again a week later.

So, will the vaquita be saved? That remains in the hands of the gods, but we would be wise to remember that 14 known breeds of our wildlife have already become extinct in the 21st century, mostly due to our destruction of their habitats or hunting and do we really want the vaquita to be the 15th in our legacy?

Writer Brooke Bessesen hit the spot when she said, “I learned that conservation is a messy business”.

More Than Another Brick in the Wall

Only an invisible line separates the United States from Mexico, and the two countries have lived harmoniously for decades. Recently, the mayor of San Diego declared that the southernmost counties of that city, together with all of northern Baja, are codependent upon each other economically, socially and creatively; he dubbed the region “CaliMex.”

One individual who personifies that union in the most joyous fashion is Enrique Chiu, a resident of Tijuana, originally from Guadalajara; he’s the artist whose work decorates that otherwise hideous tin wall that is supposed to separate our two cultures.

Enrique recently had his work on display at one of Ensenada’s premiere cultural and civic centers, the notoriously famous Riviera. An admirer of his work gave me his contact information, which I pursued with vigorous anticipation.

Enrique painting on the border wall in Playas de Tijuana. Photo by: Noemi Ramirez
Enrique painting on the border wall in Playas de Tijuana.
Photo by: Noemi Ramirez

The man is an artist whose work is so positive and energetic that neither one of the governments dividing our two nations has ever tried to suppress him in any way. His work is nonpartisan, and celebrates the gift of life with colors bright and joyful, with messages that unify disparate cultures and express with uplifting energy the passion and cohesion that unite human beings in a manner that supersedes the spoken language.

Enrique told me that he became interested in art at a very early age. He grew up in Guadalajara, a city rich in culture, a metropolis blessed by museums, a rich history and              an optimistic attitude toward the future.

He traveled to the United States, where he continued to study art, music  and history. Always, during his travels, he expressed his impressions in paintings that caught the spirit of individualism while opening the door to human dignity and respect. His love for life is so contagious that his followers are numbered in the hundreds, if not thousands; his work attracts and energizes children as well as adults. His images are expressions of joie de vivre, “the joy of life,” and to see his work is to feel the happiness and hopefulness of humanity at its best.

From Long Beach, California, to Guadalajara, Mexico, Enrique has opened workshops for children, and encourages everyone, regardless of age, to express him or herself with vigorous and joyous respect and gratitude for the life we have been granted on this magnificent planet.

Enrique Chiu
Enrique Chiu

I was teasing him about his Mexican first name and his Chinese surname, and he responded with the good nature that one would expect from an artist whose life is his work, and whose work brings joy and unity to the human family: he said “I am an artist, altruistic, social and committed to things that can make changes in society.”

He went on further to tell me that he is a Mexican with Chinese and Spanish grandparents. How fortunate are we to have such a unique individual living among us; how beautiful and unifying is his art.

Next time you travel north to the United States, remember that although political differences will always challenge us, art will always unite us. Beauty, passion and joy are gifts that human beings treasure and revere.

Those treasures that we share will allow us to forgive our differences.

When you see Enrique’s art on any one of the panels he has decorated, remember that the man is expressing himself in a manner of peaceful coexistence and a presence of mind that encourages the future of our species in the simplest, purest and most innocent manner; that simplicity and innocence has driven artists throughout human history to create works in whose shadows we shall forever stand in awe.

Enrique Chiu’s love of humanity flows from within his heart to the panels on which he designs his art. Those panels are reminders that although our differences may be many, our similarities are our common bond.

Hearts of Baja Christmas Toy Drive

As the weather cools, thoughts turn to Christmas. C’mon. By now you’ve realized the days are growing shorter, and the stores are filled with Christmas ornaments AND Halloween candy at the same time.

Many children will not be experiencing a very merry Christmas this year. You can help to guarantee they are not forgotten. Hearts of Baja Children’s Network is announcing their “1000 Dolls and Balls” drive to ensure all local children have something to open on Christmas Day. Now, you can donate any new unwrapped toy to the cause (it doesn’t have to be a ball or a doll). Nor does it have to be a toy. Also needed are all sizes of shoes and clothing, as well as blankets. Sure, “throws” are acceptable, but more children can fit under a blanket than under a throw. You can even help out families by donating non-perishable food items.

No time to shop? You may donate money using PayPal, MasterCard or Visa at the Hearts of Baja website, Simple. Just do it. Feeling generous? Sign up for a monthly donation of $5 or more. You won’t even feel it; just one less Big Mac each month.

All items may be conveniently dropped off at Click-On Mail Room, Surf Brewing, Charly’s Taqueria, Bobby’s by the Sea, Gary’s La Fonda, La Paloma, Café Conrado, Plan B, or the Judith Douglas Spa. I’m sure readers of the Gringo Gazette live pretty close to one of these fine establishments, or have a handy computer on which to donate funds.

Hearts of Baja, partnering with Baja Outreach and Angel and Rosy Lopez, can now reach additional homes and farms in the hills, not previously served. The more happy kids, the better.

Hearts of Baja Children’s Network thanks you very much, in advance, for your generosity. For more information, or to donate, please visit:, or Hearts of Baja Children’s Network on Facebook.

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