Ensenada Opens Christmas Village With Ice Rink

From December 12 until January 6, the municipal government will install a Christmas Village in the civic square of the country. An ice rink, a stage for artistic and musical presentations, as well as a commercial pavilion, is what it will have. The cost for the skating rink will be 3 dollars for 20 minutes.

Cristina Nuza Ascolani, head of the Ensenada Celebrations Committee (COMIFE) was the one who announced the above, as well as that the village will be put together in collaboration with APM Producciones, a local event organizer company. The only thing that will be requested from people who wish to enjoy the Christmas Village is the donation of a toy for vulnerable children both in the urban area and the rural area of the municipality which will be given to them through the DIF.

It wasn’t clear if the ice rink will be of synthetic ice, like the ones installed in previous years, or if it was going to be real ice this time.

SOURCE: El Vigia

Pulling Together After the Fires

In October, fires ran rampant through areas of northern Baja. Several areas of Rosarito were hit hard. This article will focus on re-building operations that have come to my attention as of the first week of November. There may have been additional fires, and certainly more sources of relief that haven’t yet come to light. But here’s what we know as of this writing:

We’ve already heard numerous accounts of individual suffering due to the tragic fires, so we need not reiterate those tragedies. Our focus here is to shed light on sources of relief and recovery.

The two main fire areas were in Rosarito in the Ejido Morelos/ Santa Anita del Mar area, about three miles east of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, where 20 – 30 homes burned. The other primary location is in La Mision, where approximately 40 homes burned, many of which were owned by expats.

One big difference is that most of the less fortunate Mexican homeowners do not carry home insurance, so when the home and/or car is destroyed they are left with nothing. Most of them work for mere pesos to begin with, and In many cases the fires destroyed their means and implements of income, such as food preparation utensils or house-cleaning supplies.

Here are the Facebook organizations that have come to my attention as of the Gringo Gazette publication deadline:

KSitas – on Facebook and www.ksitas.org; a 501c3 non-profit organization. Funds may be donated to https://ksitas.org/bajacampaigns. 100% of the money donated will go to building supplies and labor for rebuilding homes.

Colectivo Surf Brew Company (above White Horse Liquors) and local artist Jaime Carbo spearheaded this group. An auction of some of Jaime’s artwork is scheduled to aid the rebuilding effort. The first house is nearly finished, at a cost of about $6000 (USD). Their website is an excellent source of relief efforts.

Facebook: Baja Fire Victims – Led by Jackie Alameda (Of Baja Blues Fest) and Lisa Marlott, their group is working to rebuild 30 homes. They’re appealing to the public for food items, toiletries, diapers, building materials, medical supplies, blankets and sleeping bags. www.gofundme.com/f/baja-fire-Victims is their website. For more Information please call: 1-858-790-2380.

Facebook: La Mision Fire Relief Fund – and https://openarmsmexico.org. Led by Daniel and Heidi Elizarraraz, Directors. You may donate at the website through PayPal or with a credit card. Checks may be sent to Open Arms, PO Box 6605, Chula Vista, CA 91909. All donations are tax-deductible. Phone: 1-619-882-9001 or 01152-646-255-0858. Check their website for information on how to donate.

Kumiai Fire Relief Drive – to help our indigenous “first people” in the hills. Needed are non-perishable food, water, clothes, blankets, toiletries, wood, pet feed and cash. Drop off points are at Kumeyaay Community College, Monday-Friday, 10 am – 4 pm and Saturday / Sunday 10 am – 2 pm. Manzanita Activity Center Monday – Friday 10 am – 2 pm, and Viejas Recreational Center, Monday – Friday 8 am – 8 pm. Contact Martha Rodriguez 760-445-7726 for information. Also Grace Sesma, 720-363-6034, and Brooke Baines, US 1-619-519-8264.

I must caution you about Go Fund Me pages where you are not personally knowledgeable of the person in charge. These may be used for good or for evil purposes. If you know the person or group hosting the page, by all means feel free to contribute, but tragedy attracts creeps who take advantage of the situation for their own personal enrichment. Make sure you know your money is being used for the purpose you intended.

There will certainly be more groups forthcoming. Please share through your social media, or by personal reference. Much help is needed. You may also take donations of clothing, household goods, etc. to the local Cruz Roja Thrift Stores in Rosarito and Primo Tapia, which help our community year-round.

Thank you so much for your support of the community.

Paellas Event to Benefit the Recent Fire Victims

In a recent press conference Rubén Barrau, presented us with the “Paellaton” event, organized by business groups CANACO and CANIRAC, in order to provide support to all those who were affected by the recent fires in the region.

This event will present an approximate of 27 restaurants that will be offering paella; with several bands brightening up the event. In addition, assistants will have the opportunity to participate in raffles for free nights at participant hotels.

The cost of the tickets will be $350 MXN (about $19 USD) which will include a plate of paella and a glass of wine, with all the proceeds going to those affected by the recent fires.

Tickets may be purchased the same day of the event at the box office, which will be held this Sunday, November 10, 2019 at the facilities of Riviera, Ensenada Social, Civic and Cultural Center starting at 12:00 pm.

Luis Tirado, president of the National Chamber of Restaurants and Seasoned Foods of Ensenada (CANIRAC), mentioned that some of the restaurants which will be present on the day of the event will be: Agua de Vid, Cantera, Casa Frida, La 4ta, La Cevichería, Mesón de Don Fernando, as well as several wineries and more.

Accountant Marco Estudillo, also an organizer of the event, said that they will be extra careful on the handling of the collected funds, making sure they get where they are needed the most, in the most transparent way possible. All proceeds will be clearly inventoried and channeled to both the firefighters and more than 30 families that lost everything to the fires.

Finally, Jorge Menchaca, president of the National Chamber of Commerce of Ensenada (CANACO), emphasized that the idea of replicating the Paellaton each year could be an alternative to solve community problems from inside the society itself.

Photo by: Alejandro Zepeda

Civil Protection Reveals the Total Damage Caused by the Fires

More than 21,000 acres were burned by the wildfires in different places around the Ensenada and Playas de Rosarito municipalities. Affecting mostly bushland and scrubland zones.

According to the civil protection office, the southern part of Rosarito was the most affected, mainly Santa Anita, Alisitos, El Morro, Villas San Pedro and La Mision, which left one dead person, as well as the loss of several livestock animals due to the strong Santa Ana winds.

Other affected areas in Rosarito were Morelos neighborhood, Lomas Altas I and II, El Aguajito, Huahuatay, and Constitución. The fires left a total of 41 burned houses in southern Rosarito and another 15 in the city. Meanwhile in Ensenada, a total of 53 houses were consumed by fire and unfortunately, two people died.

City official Julio Obregón Angulo, also reported that 76 persons were left homeless, so they are living temporally with their friends or family. He also commented that both civil protection and the firefighters remain alert under the possibility of more fires. In the meantime, they are asking the community for their support in being careful not to throw cigarettes butts, make bonfires or throw garbage outside of trash cans, they are also asking everyone to call 911 in case they watch any wildfires as soon as possible to stop them from spreading.

 

SOURCES: El VigiaEcos de Rosarito

Photo by: Alejandro Zepeda

Rewritten in English for the Gringo Gazette North by Alondra Arce

Fins Up! It’s 5:00 o’clock Somewhere

There is a new social club coming to Rosarito and Ensenada. Many of you may already qualify for membership even if you don’t know it. If you have a “laid back” attitude, you enjoy having fun with people who are a lot like you, and escaping to the beach is your lifetime goal (and let’s face it…we are HERE aren’t we?) then you just might be a Parrot Head.

No, I didn’t just insult your intelligence. Baja’s two newest Parrot Head Clubs (yes, there IS such a thing) are submitting their charter applications this November for inclusion into the Parrot Heads in Paradise Inc., which was created back in 1994.

Now, these clubs are not just another excuse to party. But as Chapters President Larry Norman explained to me, their tag line is “Party with a purpose.” And we can “party with a purpose while supporting our community and have fun doing it!” Over the last 16 years, Parrot Head Clubs have contributed $53.5 million to charitable organizations all over the world, and members have donated 4.2 million volunteer hours to their communities.

Larry described the Club’s Mission Statement is to “promote friendship and organized activities for people that share an affection for the tropical spirit of singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, and a desire to contribute to the betterment of our community and environment through a variety of volunteer efforts.” Just think, with all of the post-fire labor we all have been doing, those hours can be made part of our local Parrot Head charitable experience. The principle charities that will be supported by the Rosarito and Ensenada chapters are Hearts of Baja and Blues Against Hunger Society, which are charities near and dear to our hearts.

The first organizational meeting for the Ensenada chapter is 4 pm on November 12 at the Hotel Coral and Marina and in Rosarito November 14 at the Club at Number 18, Pikin Zip Line Park at 4 pm. Both meetings will be followed by a free three-hour concert by Mike Nash, one of Nashville’s top artists. Don’t worry if you miss the first meetings. The Parrot Head clubs will meet every month on the first Tuesday in Ensenada and first Thursday in Rosarito, with “It’s 5 o’clock” social hours to follow. Concerts will be performed every three months.

Mike Nash has played with Jimmy Buffet, Charlie Daniels, and Lynyrd Skynrd, to drop just a few names. He tours the United States, including Alaska, ever year in his motor home. Larry convinced him to come down to Baja as long as he was going to be in San Diego on his Stay Thirsty 2020 Winter Tour anyway.

I visited the Rosarito Chapter clubhouse, which is in Larry’s home and has been renovated into a club atmosphere complete with two indoor bars, comfy concert seating, fully stocked kitchen for food at the events, and (for sunnier weather) an outdoor bandstand with a beautiful ocean backdrop.

Membership is $20, and Larry hopes to have 40 Charter Members signed up during these first two meetings. But don’t worry if you miss the meetings as they will meet every month. Contact Larry at larrynormanctc@gmail.com or at US 1-619-554-2438 with any questions you have or to RSVP.  In time Larry would like to see more Parrot Head Clubs in Baja than in California (which has 6).

Some of you may still be asking “So why ‘Parrot Head?’” Originally it was said to be as “Dead Heads” followed the Grateful Dead, Buffet fans followed the message of Buffet’s music. For some reason unclear to me, these fans took to wearing stuffed parrots on their heads at concerts. So if this story has you humming “Margaritaville” right now, you just might be a Parrot Head.

Baja Burns!

Wildfires have been a common sight in Baja for years, but we had never seen something as extreme as what has been going on for the last couple days.

Severe heat and dry Santa Ana winds have caused dry vegetation to burn.

4 people have been reported dead, 2 in Tecate, 1 in Tijuana, and another one in Rosarito. Almost 100 houses have been lost to the fires, most of them yesterday, which was the day that had the worst Santa Ana winds condition.

About 50 families were evacuated from Real Del Mar, which was impressively affected by the fire.

Incredible enough, two persons were detained for causing fires that, in one case, resulted in one death. One was detained in Rosarito and another one in Tijuana.

For a couple of hours on Friday, both the toll road and the free road were closed because of the fires that were making driving there dangerous.

Authorities are recommending drinking lots of water to and of course avoid being near fires, sometimes it doesn’t look as bad until its too late.

Gordon Ramsey, Gino D’Acampo and Tom Holland Spotted In Baja

It looks like it has been a busy week for celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey and Gino D’Acampo, who were spotted by shoppers at Mercado Hidalgo in Tijuana.

Mercado Hidalgo is one of the few typical 100% Mexican “Mercados” in Baja, they offer a wide selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and almost everything you need to make a proper meal. The “Mercado” concept, which is very popular in mainland Mexico, offers products from several small businesses that most of the times are specialized in certain items. They are located in open spaces which make the consumer feel as if they were going to only one store instead of a couple dozen.

Chef Ramsey was seen getting stuff from the local shops and was later tagged by Tom Holland, who was fishing in Ensenada, in a picture of some pretty good looking lamb shanks plate.

 

 

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Curls for days

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Another Dead Whale Beaches, Now In Ensenada

Herbe Ortega, head of ZOFEMAT in Ensenada (The Marine Federal Zone office), reported that another whale corpse was found in the Loma Dorada beach.

The animal was almost 50 feet long and weighted about 20 tons.

Authorities from the environmental office are already working with CEMEX on getting the required tools to move and bury the animal.

This is going to be a lot easier than the one in Rosarito last week since that one was in a very hard to access location.

Ortega stated that the whale was already dead by the time it got to the beach so he recommended people to stay away from the corpse in order to avoid any kind of sickness.

Source: El Vigia

Love at First Bark

Kyle, left, 1 year old; Sarah, right, 3 years old. A love story from Los Adoptables, the magic kingdom where dogs and cats find happiness, a safe and healthy environment, and learn that humans make good pets!

Contact Los Adoptables for information about adopting Rock or any of his friends at the shelter. Call them at: (646) 187 8693, email info@losadoptables.org or visit their website www.losadoptables.org.

Ode to The Baja Queen

By Mark Tuniewicz

If you’ve lived in Baja California for a while, chances are you’ve met her, heard her name, or participated in one of her many activities:  Tillie.  Matilda “Tillie” Foster, who arrived in Ensenada in 1978, has a long and fascinating relationship with Baja California.  After building a home in the expat enclave of Punta Banda (45 minutes South of the city), she served in leadership roles with La Sociedad de Vecinos de Punta Banda, which included helping to raise funds for the local volunteer fire department.

Tillie is a gracious hostess, having worked with the Hotel San Nicholas & Casino for 25 years, retiring from there in 2014.  She has worked with diverse professional groups over the decades, including the Chefs de Cuisine of San Diego, the Cancer Association of BC and the Paella Mas Grande & Paella Competition in Ensenada.  In the early 1990’s, she organized the 1st International Baja Roundup for Alcoholics Anonymous, and volunteered to serve as a PR ambassador for the city at various travel shows in CA, NV, and AZ.

In March of 2019, my wife and I had a chance to experience Tillie’s work first hand when, at the age of 86, year, she again led a group on a guided tour to Guerrero Negro, where we stayed with the group for two days, during which we all enjoyed a life-changing whale-encounter experience!  Having a 50-foot whale and her calf approach your small panga and allowing you to pet them is a  life-changing experience!  This was Tillie’s 25th year leading “Tillie’s Whale of a Time,” and her relationships built over those decades permitted us access to all the best service providers and optimum dates.

Since 2000, Tillie has also served as the coordinator between Ensenada and the Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego, assisting with their regatta planning, now in its 52nd year.  She also is the Ensenada contact for Sharp Hospital (Chula Vista, CA) Global Patient Services, arranging for helpful medical seminars in our area. Beginning in 2004, she also organized the Ensenada chapter of the International Association of Red Hat Society, which hosted 3 international conventions during her leadership tenure.

Of course, Tillie’s contributions have been repeatedly recognized over the years.  Here are just a few examples:

2001:  Presented with the “Amigo de Baja California” recognition award, signed by then Gov. Alejandro Alcocer.

2003:  Received a Philanthropic award from the International Foundation of Ensenada, the Rotary Club Calafia, and CETYS University, for her contributions to a philanthropic culture in the City.

2011:  Named to the Baja Image Committee as representative of the American community in Ensenada, representing the City through radio interviews with Travel Talk Radio, etc.  In August of 2011, she received a recognition award from the Mayor of Ensenada for her contributions.

2012:   Recognition Award from The US Consulate General in Tijuana for helping the American expat community that resides and travels in Baja, and for serving as a “Warden” for our area.  Also, she received another award, this time from the Governor of BC Jose Guadalupe Osuna, for her role in promoting Baja California.

Tillie gathered with friends at a local restaurant for her birthday last month and enjoyed live music, food, and camaraderie, with each participant sharing their own personal “Tillie tale!”

While she may have slowed down a bit at age 87, Tillie continues to work at home as a representative of the American community.  Tillie says “I love Baja, and have adopted Mexico, her culture and her people as my 2nd country.   Baja is a wonderful place.”

Indeed.  A place made even more wonderful thanks to our own “Baja Queen.”  Happy Birthday, Tillie!

Mark Tuniewicz serves with Tillie Foster as a Citizen Liaison Volunteer, or “warden,” for Baja California in coordination with the US Consulate in Tijuana.  He resides in Ensenada.

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