Do we really need more signs?

At least in Ensenada, authorities and business leaders think so. The third ENSENADA “letters” sign was officially inaugurated in the cruise ships terminal, focused on more national motifs than regional, since it’s almost exclusively going to be seen by cruisers. The sign features the agave plant, charros and the Aztec calendar.

The first one was installed in Playa Hermosa, featuring local animals; the second one, featuring a cruise ship and the cranes in the port, was placed in the “Ventana al Mar” Malecon.

Each of these signs is costing around $7,500 USD and the original project planned for 8, some in the city, one in San Quintin and other ones in the Guadalupe Valley.

The money is coming from a trust managed by local business people, called FIDEM, funded by the state government, through giving back 5% of all payroll taxes that businesses paid during the year.

There is one more sign at the entrance of Ensenada, but that one was placed in there by our tourism officials with federal funds, as they have done in most tourist cities in Mexico.

Fish Report

Tijuana Bull Ring

Local action has been slow recently — not many bonito or bass, and just a fair number of little rock fish. Out west in the flats, however, the skipjack fishing has been great.

Coronado Islands

After a month or so of very little action, the 10- to 15-pound yellowtail are back on the bite.

The word we have is that yellowtail were seen on the rockfish area just to the NE of North Island and were taking the 6x jr., 6x and 7x yoyo iron, fished on 40- to 50-pound monofilament. Scrambled egg and blue/white were working well also.

Along with the yellowtail, a bunch of 4- to 6-pound bonito were seen spread out along the weather side of North Island.

Offshore

Captain Louie Prieto shows off one of the better-quality sheepshead caught on a recent outing.
Captain Louie Prieto shows off one of the better-quality sheepshead caught on a recent outing.

Below the 425 / Upper Hidden & Hidden Bank

This zone continues to be the best bet for yellowfin, with the most productive area being below 32.06, down in the Upper Hidden Bank area.

There is a temp break running east/west at that number. Temps are below 68°F, and to the north of it as well as 68°F to 69°F to the south.

The yellowfin, skipjack, yellowtail and dorado have nearly all been kelps now with not a lot of open-water jig stops happening.

The average-size yellowfin has been small, mainly from 6- to 10-pounds, with a few up around 20-pounds. The skippies were in the 5- to 8-pound range. The yellowtail have been little rats, from 1- to 3-pounds and the dorado have been small as well, from 5- to 10-pounds.

Lower 9 / Coronado Canyon / 425 / Upper Hidden / Hidden Bank

A couple of boats went exploring and checked out this area today. They didn’t find a lot of fish — in fact, most of the area was a barren desert, but they did find a couple of kelps which produced good numbers of yellowfin and skipjack along with a sample of rat yellowtail.

295 / 238 / 450 / 1140 Finger / Lower 500

Still the location where the biggest scores of yellowfin were coming from, but with a catch: 95% are on kelp paddies.

Easy limits of 6- to 35-pound yellowfin, along with some skipjack, yellowtail and a lone dorado were caught recently.

Most of the area is a desert now as well, with lots of dead water; but be sure and check out any kelp or any dolphin you run into, because these could be holding yellowfin.

Ensenada

Captain Louie Prieto checked in, reporting that for the last couple of weeks, yellowtail fishing has been spotty, but the big bonito and bottom fish have been biting full speed. Water was 63°F to 66°F inside the bay and has been flat and calm most days.

Several high spots at Bahia Salsipuedes were producing sand bass to 7-pounds, reds and chuckleheads to 5-pounds and one nice 23-pound sheepshead on a large root beer colored scampi tipped with squid. Best action was in 120- to 150-feet of water for all the bottom fish. There were several nice bonito on blue and white salas 6x jr. between Punta Pescadero and the Gas Plant. No birds were working anywhere in the bay, but when bait was found on the meter, the bonito have been found as well. Also, lots of bonito are reported a couple of miles inside of the southern end of Todos Santos Island. None of the deeper “go to” spots seem to be holding any yellowtail yet. Only a matter of time until they show. Live bait is not available until probably April, so bring squid.

San Quintin

Only a few groups recently. Troy Hutton, plus some amigos from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., found excellent action fishing aboard Captain Kelly Catian’s 25-foot Parker Offshore III, scoring a mix of yellowtail, big red rock cod and lingcod.

Bahia de Los Angeles

Currently, in a November tease mode with nice weather and only moderate breezes in the afternoons, most if not all the yellowtail action was dropper loop stuff, fishing at depths of 200-feet or so around the Islands. Cabrilla, grouper and pargo was also in the mix closer to shore. So far, north winds have not cranked up to full winter mode.

Mary Moreno, CR Rosarito President; Contractor, Luis Boroquez; Maricella Maciel, Hospital Representative; and Board members Terry D’Angona and Jerry Allen.

Cruz Roja Rosarito Thrift Store Expands

The sign in the store reads “Come in – we are awesome.” And they are — the Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos of Rosarito at the Rosarito thrift Store want you to know that they are going through a bit of an expansion in the next few weeks, but are still open for business!

In October, the Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos presented a check to Servicio Boroquez to start work immediately on a new storage room . With the Cruz Roja Hospital’s blessing, about 100 square feet of storage space will be added to the west side of the existing thrift store. The new space will be used to house items being stored for special events, such as the Dama’s Christmas Bazaar, and the Annual Cruz Roja Fashion Show.

By moving the “special items,” more space will become available for the volunteers to process donations of housewares, clothing, and books, and to place them in the shop for sale quickly. The Thrift Store runs on minimal overhead so that more of the money gets to the hospital, which responds to more than 300 emergencies monthly.

The expansion was introduced to the members at the monthly general meeting, and was met with full support. The Thrift Store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm. Annual membership is a mere $20 per person, and the benefits include a 10% discount on Cruz Roja hospital services, and a 50% discount on ambulance trips to the US border. General meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 10 am at Popotla Restaurant. If you have large items, you may even call for a pick up: 661-623-3455.

Rosarito Calendar Of Events

Every Monday through Thursday, 9am – 12pm; Pickleball at Punta Azul Tennis Center. Cos: $1 court fee per person per day. Organized by Robert Canaan. BYO paddle and ball. Information: Facebook.com/ Rosarito Pickleball

Every Sunday 4 pm. Cultural Sundays in the park. Local Mexican and American dancers and musicians.  At the IMAC in Abelardo L. Rodriguez park, west of Banamex. Facebook IMAC Rosarito. Free.

Every Sunday 2 – 4 pm at the IMAC Central Park (behind the Banamex on Juarez) Dancing for seniors. Salsa and merengue (among others) tunes designed to not throw out a hip. www.facebook.com/IMAC Rosarito

Second Sunday of every month, Pet sterilization by the Baja Spay and Neuter Foundation at the Centro de Diagnostico Clinico Vetrinario, ave. Queretaro #2331-3, Col Cacho, Tijuana. 200 pesos, 661-124-3619, or Robin at www.BajaSpayNeuter.org.

Last Sunday of every month, Jewish Chavurah. Gordon Kane – gordonmkane@gmail.com.

Every Monday, 10:45 am, duplicate bridge at Baja Gold Bridge Club, KM 42 at the Rosarito Beach Christian Church. bajagoldcoastbridgeclub@gmail.com.

Every Tuesday – Rotary Club meets at Rosarito Beach Hotel. 664-376-2620.

Every Tuesday 10am to 11am.  Chair Yoga – Rosarito Wellness, Healing, Living at IMAC Park, room 1 in Rosarito (behind Banamex). Improve Balance & Coordination.  Receive all the benefits of yoga in a gentle, Healing, Meditative yoga class where a chair is used for support and balance. Bring water, small towel and comfortable clothing. Instructor: Erendira Abel, Certified Holistic Health Specialist. $5 per class, paid at beginning of month. For registration and location:  (661) 614-6036 Mexico or (619) 632-2965 US. Email: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com

Every Tuesday. 9:00 am. Board Meeting for Yo Amo Rosarito at Ortega’s Buffet. See what events are under consideration or volunteer to help plan and run upcoming events.

Every Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:00 am; Tai Chi classes with certified instructor Eugenio Encinas at Galeria Fausto Polanco Rosarito. 350 pesos per month. Alyce: 664-368-6733; Alberto: 661-125-9191.

Every Second Wednesday (except December). 10 am. Friends of the Library meeting at main library of IMAC building next to Abelardo Rodríguez Park. Promotes reading and literacy in Rosarito. www.friendsofthelibrary.com.mx. 661-612-3659.

Second and FourthWednesday, 1 pm; Cruz Roja Primo Tapia Bingo at El Pescador Restaurant. 6 games/ 2 cards for $5. Reduced price menu; Jamesphausmann@gmail.com; 1-623-217-9795.

Every Second Wednesday OR the Wednesday prior to the Second Saturday (except December); Flying Samaritan’s General Meeting at Rene’s Casino (k28) at 1:30. Come early and enjoy lunch! www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org; Susan Smith @ susansmithz@hotmail.com; US: 1-858-240-2360; MX: 661-100-6066.

Every Third Wednesday, 10 am, Meeting of Rosarito Sister Cities at City Hall, Fojadores Room, 2nd floor. Information and RSVP: FRAO@Rosarito.gob.mx.

Every Third Wednesday (except December) 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Flying Samaritan’s Outrageous Bingo at Popotla Jr. Restaurant (across from El Nino), Food and Drink specials; free parking behind restaurant; Six games, 4 cards for $10; Karen: kajomc@yahoo.coojm; (US) 1-818-515-0067l (MX) 664-609-3419.

Every Last Wednesday, 11:30 am, Wellness Wednesday Workshop “Intentionally Aging Gracefully” with Erendira Abel at IMAC a Abelard Rodriguez Park (behind Banamex). $6, and pre-registration is required. Info: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com; (US) 1-619-737-2453, (MX) 661-614-6036.

Every Thursday. 8:30 am. Local Board of Realtors (APIR) meets at Oceana Grill. Good place for buyers or sellers to find a Realtor

Every Thursday, 10:30 am, Learn Spanish “Naturally” with Erendira Abel at Rosarito Beach Christian Church. $5, and pre-registration is required. Info: wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com; (US) 1-619-737-2453, (MX) 661-614-6036.

Every Second Thursday. 10 am. Cruz Roja Volunteers, Rosarito Chapter General Meeting at Popotla Restaurant. www.cruzrojarosarito.org.mx; President: Mary Moreno, miqueridomx@yahoo.com.

Every Third Thursday. 10 am. General Meeting for FRAO, Foreign Residents Assistance Office. Open to the public. Calafia Hotel.  Speaker’s presentation. FRAO@Rosarito.gob.mx.

Every Fourth Thursday of the month, 12 pm, Baja Babes, the Rosarito Chapter of the Red Hat Society for ladies over 50 monthly luncheon. Each month a different restaurant. margit@prodigy.net.mx.

Every Friday. 4pm.  Spanish class main library, by IMAC, in Abelardo Rodriguez park behind BanaMex. Free but donation appreciated.

Every Saturday, 10:00 am at IMAC Central park. Chess for all ages. www.facebook.com/IMAC Rosarito.

 Every First Saturday. 10 am. United Society of Baja California (USBC) general meeting at Casa Blanca Restaurant, Rosarito Beach Hotel. Good info for the English speaking community of charitable, community service and social organizations. www.unitedsocietyofbaja.org. 661-614-1113.

Every First Saturday. Noon-sundown. Open Studio Art Walk, a free tour of galleries in Rosarito Beach Hotel commercial center. Meet artists at work in their studios. pacothepainter@hotmail.com

Every Third Saturday. 1pm. USBC, United Society of Baja California, monthly potluck dinner, at La Maroma sports bar, across from Burger King. Different theme every month. Usually live entertainment. Free. Membership $20 per year.

Every day but one day at a time AA Grupo Gringo meets daily #16 Mar Meditteraneo (two blocks behind Del Mar Beach Club). Saturday, 3:00; Sunday, Monday, Thursday: 10:00 am; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 6:00 pm.  Additional meetings in Cantamar (just south of the footbridge) Tuesday and Friday, 10:00 am.  661-614-1678.

November 16, Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; 11th Biennial Baja California Photo Contest and Exhibit at CEART Rosarito. For rules and information of submitting photos, go to Facebook.com/ CEART Playas de Rosarito. 661-100-6338.

November 21, Wednesday, 6:30 pm; Author Karla Contreras presents her novel, “Dios Quiere Hablarte” at CEART Rosarito. Free. 661-100-6338. Facebook.com/ CEART Playas de Rosarito.

November 22, Thursday; Thanksgiving Dinner at Bobby’s By The Sea (k 43); 3 seatings: 2:00 – 4:30 pm, 5:00 – 7:30 pm, or 8:00 – 10:00 pm. $14.95 includes turkey, all the sides, pumpkin pie, and welcome champagne. Reservations required! www.bobbysatk43.com; 661-114-6278.

November 22, Thursday, 3:00 AND 4:00 pm; Thanksgiving Dinner at Popotla Restaurant. $14.50 includes Turkey, all the sides, and pumpkin pie. Reservations required. 661-612-1505.

November 22, Thursday, 2 – 4 pm; Thanksgiving Potluck at Magana’s Tacos, Primo Tapia. Turkey will be provided. You bring a side to share. Facebook.com/ Maganas Restaurant Bar.

November 24, Saturday, 9 am – 4:30 pm; “Encuentro de Industrias Culturas y Creativas 2018” at CEART Rosarito. Featuring Paolo Mercado Espinoza and Arturo Sastre Blanco. $400 pesos. Facebook.com/ Encuentro de Industrias Culturales y Creativas.

November 25, Sunday, 11 am – 2 pm; Battle the Bartender Bloody Mary Contest at Magana’s Tacos. Information: 01-646-155-0586. Facebook.com/ Maganas Restaurant Bar.

November 27, Tuesday, 8:30 am – 12 pm; 3rd Annual Feminine Culture Conference at CEART Rosarito. Subjects include personal safey and security, domestic violence, and more. Information: mcfrosarito@gmail.com or 661-850-5957.

December 2, Sunday, 2 – 6pm; Dance Party at Tempest Trading, (k 40.5). Free. DJ playing rock & roll, disco, blues, and more. Facebook.com/ Tempest Trading Baja.

December 5, Wednesday, 1 pm; Flying Samaritan’s Annual White Elephant Gift Exchange Luncheon. Bring a $20+ gift to swap. Donation of $15 includes luncheon. RSVP: susansmithz@hotmail.com; 661-100-6066 (MX); 1-858-240-2360 (US).

Mexican Land Trusts, Big IRS implications

I was intrigued by a recent presentation by a Mexican bank on the subject of Fideicomisos (land trusts). By way of a quick primer, ownership of real property in the “restricted zone” (100 km from borders, 50 km from shore) by a foreigner must be done through a Fideicomiso.

As it turns out, Mexican banks have a monopoly on this Fideicomiso business. The bank’s role is to hold the title to property on your behalf. One can direct the disposition of the property; sell, give away, or otherwise encumber the property. ‘Fidos’ are good estate planning vehicles from the Mexican perspective. At death, the property is transferred via the trust, perhaps a more efficient mechanism than Mexican probate.

Some banks appear to be pulling out of the “fido” market. When I asked why, I was told there is increased emphasis on anti-money laundering compliance by bank regulators, which to me means there may be a new spotlight on this market segment.

One of the reasons I attended was to see how much awareness there was on the part of bank officials on the federal income tax aspects of Fidos.  None. Zilge-ola. That means you, the person who may need to enter into a fido to own property, must pay special attention, because the bank won’t tell you.

Here’s the rub. What may work from a Mexican perspective may be sheer disaster from a U.S. tax perspective. Properly structured fidos (meaning they meet IRS requirements) are deemed to be “disregarded entities,” and the IRS will not bother you. When they are not, they become IRS ‘radioactive’. They become reportable foreign trusts. Every time there is an IRS reportable ‘anything’ you have better had done it right from the beginning.

“Good” fidos have only one property in them.  At the presentation it seemed like it was common to add more than one property per fido. Again, ok from the Mexican point of view, but runs afoul of IRS ‘safe harbors’. In fact, bank officials later confirmed they gladly would add properties to an existing fideicomiso, for a fee.

Another trait of “good” fidos:  They do nothing but hold title to property. Be wary of the bank doing other things for the property; managing it, paying taxes or other things. The IRS does not like that.

Food for thought:  New owner, new trust, or just substitute the name? Does one inherit the federal tax troubles of the last fido owner?

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 tax@orlandogotay.com or Facebook: GotayTaxLawyer.  This is just a most general outline. It is informational only and not meant as legal advice.

Growing Pains

We Ensenadenses are experiencing a metamorphosis the pulse and pace of which are increasing exponentially.

Even as we traverse the same streets and boulevards en route to our usual places of work or worship, of play or passion, we notice that seemingly in the blink of an eye, a new monolith rises from the rocky soil, a skeleton of steel shrouded in concrete and adorned with neon. And within minutes of its birth, it becomes alive with the energy of people who have found a need to enter and explore it, to patronize it, even though it didn’t even exist seemingly moments ago.

As one who has lived here only seven years, I find the growth exhilarating. During my relatively brief presence here, I have commented on the recent efforts by our mayor to improve the infrastructure of the city.

For that praise (especially regarding the major street repaving projects) I have received some sharp criticism.

Perhaps because I referred to those areas of the city over which I traverse regularly, finding many of the once-devastated avenues so plagued with potholes as to represent a danger to the undercarriage of my car, now properly repaired and delineated.

I was excoriated by several people who own homes here and pay taxes and whose neighborhood streets still look like downtown Saigon during the Nixon administration.

Forgive me. I am forever the optimist.

But even I am beginning to wonder if this tidal wave of new construction can continue without some tipping point of reality to cause the boom to bust.

Why?

Because even with a brand-new desalination plant now fully operational, we still experience water shut-offs, although admittedly less frequent and shorter in duration.

Even with a new fleet of garbage trucks from Los Angeles roaming the streets, the problem of litter is still appalling. One reader sent me a photo of medical waste spilling out from an open dumpster on 14th Street at Ruiz.

And even with the massive effort to repair the minefields that comprise our network of roads, there are still so many left to upgrade that the prospect of complete success seems daunting, if not quite completely impossible.

But again, I am forever the optimist. During one of my deliveries, I entered the Baja Pharmacy on Calle Blancarte, next door to the Casa Del Sol Hotel. I noticed a small black-and-white photo on the counter, depicting the storefronts on La Primera (“The Avenue,” or 1st Street, the shopping mecca for the tourists from the cruise ships), taken decades ago.

I asked Jose Ibarra, the proprietor, about the photo.

“Where was that picture taken?” I asked.

“Right across the street,” he replied, pointing to the new La Primera Restaurant on the adjacent corner. “I’ve been here for over 50 years, in this same spot, and I’ve watched all these new businesses crop up, and seen the skyline of the city change over the years.”

That says it all, folks. Build it and the people will come. If it doesn’t work, we’ll find a way to fix it.

The people are coming, there is no doubt about it. The influx of population seems always to be one step ahead of the infrastructure, and the people may bitch about it but they won’t leave, because the truth of the matter is that regardless of its problems, Ensenada’s enchantment far exceeds its challenges.

Otherwise, why would Jose have stayed all these years?

I can’t imagine how amazing it must be for anyone of any age who was born and raised here to remember the place of their childhood and compare it to the city as it is now.

It’s a beautiful city and we all want it to work.

I guess we’ll just have to cooperate with each other; we can figure it out as we go.

Mongolian Grill Changes Owners

On October 2nd a couple with a local and international family history bought the building and took ownership of the Mongolian Grill. Their family ties go back deep in the history of Southern California, in Mexican history and in the history of the city of Rosarito in particular.  Julio and Juliana Ramirez are the proud new owners of the Mongolian Grill.

Julio’s grandfather was a true charro.  He rode his horse sporting a sombrero carrying a pistol on his hip. Most people were wary of him because he was a tough character. He wandered into this area from Jalisco with his family, who have now lived in Rosarito for generations. When Julio was seven years old his grandfather gave him the house that he lives in today. It is located west of Ortega’s restaurant down by the beach. At that time the only establishments in Rosarito were the Hotel Rosarito and the El Nido restaurant. His grandmother’s side of the family includes members of the Kumeyaay tribe. The tribe’s traditional lands occupy both sides of the border from Temecula to as far south as Ensenada and east to Tecate. Today the tribe owns and operates the Pala Casino.

Juliana’s great grandfather was the Vice President of Mexico under the dictator Porifio Diaz.  His name was Ramon Corral Verdugo. Corral had a very illustrious political career in the State of Sonora, holding many offices including Governor of the Federal District. From that office he became Secretary of the Interior and Vice-President of the Republic from 1904 to 1911.  In his later years he moved to Paris where he was treated for cancer. Unfortunately after the operation his cancer was deemed incurable. Since he could no longer serve Mexico he decided to submit his resignation. He signed his resignation letter in Paris on May 10. 1911.

Julio and Juliana are both dual citizens: United States and Mexico.  Julio worked for many years at a subsidiary of General Dynamics which built ships in San Diego.  He was a welder.  He was good at it and made great money while Juliana raised their daughter at home.  But being a welder was not his dream job. Both of them always wanted to own a restaurant.  They had often come down to eat at the Mongolian Grill and loved the food.  When they discovered that Lee and Chris wanted to sell and travel the world they jumped at the chance to fulfill their dream.

The Ramirez’s say they are not going to change the menu, which they love, in any drastic way. But they may introduce a couple of new items. They want to improve the appearance of the restaurant to make it more homey and welcoming. They want to add booths for privacy on the left side and are upgrading the chairs and other tables for better customer comfort.  They are seeking a permit to add a patio out front and to make the entrance more handicapped friendly.  They hope their customers will stay awhile enjoying the food and company, not just eat and run.  Both Julio and Juliana are very warm and easy to talk to. So drop in to the Mongolian Grill and enjoy their famous bowls of meats and vegetables. You can choose your food yourself, packing the bowl down to overflowing. Then the chef cooks your food on a large flat top grill, mongolian style. Fantastic!  Try their pizzas as well: they are absolutely delicious

The Mongolian Grill is in front of the La Jolla towers, 3114 Carretera Libre at Km 29.5. Call 661-100-6244.

 

Dealing With An Emergency Here If You Don’t Speak Spanish

Expat911 is a smart phone app that was designed by expats for expats.  It is a service that covers you for all types of emergencies when at home, on the road or out for a night on the town.  It utilizes GPS location services which allow the operators to target your exact location.  Many of us may have the capability to say our home address to Mexico’s Spanish speaking 911 operators, but what happens when we are in an unfamiliar area?  How can you explain where you are when you have no idea what the names of the streets are in the area during your emergency?  Also, how will you explain in detail about the type of emergency you are having?

Expat911 is an app that works on Android and iPhone devices.  Within the app you have a profile with information that will speed up the process when reporting an emergency.  You have a basic medical profile which has your blood type, allergies and sicknesses.  There is also a contact area where users can add 1 US/Canada contact and 2 Mexico contacts.  Expat911 will notify these contacts after your emergency has been reported to Mexico’s 911 on your behalf.  This way your family back home will know about your situation and so will the people that you trust here in Mexico.  The Mexico contacts can be neighbors or local doctors that speak English.  Many times our neighbors can come to our aid while we are awaiting the emergency services to arrive.  The Mexico contacts can also be used for our insurance agents or medical air evacuation plans that we may have in place.

So how does Expat911 work during an emergency?  You only have to click on one of the 3 emergency buttons.  There is a button for Police, Ambulance and Fire.  Within seconds an English speaking operator will call your phone and verify the emergency.  If you do not pick up, then they will assume that this is a serious emergency and report to Mexico’s 911 on your behalf.  If you answer, they will verify some quick details about your emergency and then call Mexico’s 911 to report the emergency.  Once the emergency has been reported, they will then confirm this with the user.  At this time they will stay on the phone with you if you request them to, or they will start calling your emergency contacts.  So it is very simple to use during an emergency and all you have to do is click a button.  They will take care of the rest.  They also record all calls so that there is a record of the emergency being reported to Mexico’s 911 and the call with the user as well.

Expat911 does have a cost to use their service.  It is important to understand that this is a 3rd party service who worked directly with Mexico’s C4 and C5 offices around the country.  C4 and C5 are the agencies that handle all 911 calls in Mexico.  Expat911 has a direct line of communication with all local C4 and C5 offices nationwide.  It is also important to realize the value of this service.  An alarm in our home has a cost of 1,000’s of pesos to install.  Then we pay an average of 250 pesos per month to have the service in case our alarm goes off.  So the yearly fee of an alarm in Mexico is 3,000 pesos on average.  This alarm system will only cover your home and you while you are at home.  There is no translation services included with your alarm company and you are only covered for police emergencies.  This is why we see the huge value in Expat911 which has a cost of $ 99.00 per year.  That cost is under 2,000 pesos per year and will cover you everywhere within Mexico.  Plus Expat911 has the added benefits of being 100% English spoken and contacting your friends and loved ones during your emergency.

Expat911 has recently implemented a couples plan.  The first user pays the full amount upon registration.  They will then contact Expat911 to ask for a coupon code which will be used on their spouse or family members.  The user will be provided with a 50% off coupon code for any other family members that wish to use the service.  So it is not just limited to your spouse and can also be used for you children, brothers and sisters who may also be living here in Mexico with you.  All additional accounts have a fee of $ 49.50 which is 50% of the original rate.

Expat911 is already serving a large number of expats in Mexico.  They have active users in 11 states and are growing daily.  It is a great service for those of us who have not been able to develop a strong command of the Spanish language.  It is also great for those of us who do speak Spanish well enough, but might worry about the stress during an emergency hampering our ability to speak another language.  It is also a great aid when we are traveling to an area that is unfamiliar to us.

If you are interested in using this service, we highly recommend reaching out to the company.  You can visit their website here:  https://www.expat911.mx/ref/baja/  If you have any questions about the registration process or require assistance, then you can email them directly at info@expat911.mx.  You can also request a call from them by sending an email and setting up a time to speak with a representative.

Rosarito Starts Implementing “Panic Buttons”

Rosarito’ s Mayor Mirna Rincon, started the implementation of “Panic Buttons” in different points of the city, specifically where neighbor committees meet.

Rincon stated that this is being done in an effort to inhibit criminal activity in the area.

This device will connect directly to the C-4 and the public security office as soon as the button is pressed.

Neighbors will have this tool available, that uses wireless internet to communicate directly with the C-4 public security center and the local public security office.

“Rosarito Beach is the first municipality in the state that has this technology available, the equipment also has an antenna built-in that allows the community to connect to it through Wi-Fi in order to use WhatsApp to alert neighbors of suspicious or criminal activity”, said Rincon.

Adrian Hernandez, head of Rosarito’ s Public Security office, said that in its first phase, they will install 10 devices, the first of which was installed in the Marbella area.

“Through this device we will reinforce the Proximity Police program, which is looking to improve closeness between police and community, reinforcing trust through an immediate response from the police in the case of any contingency”, stated Hernandez.

What To Do With All That Fish

Terry Byrns, a weekend marshal at Bajamar found bonita and yellow tail off Ensenada. He caught this bad boy trolling deep swimming rapalas along the 90 feet of water from Bajamar to La Mission. He and his fellow marshals Edgar, Angel and Ivan, have taught us all how to build a smoker from an old fridge.

The preservation of fish has been an integral part of every seafaring culture. Over the course of thousands of years of drying, salting, and smoking fish the technique has developed to a point where once common food has become a delicacy.

A smoker is an oven/BBQ type of thing for cooking at low temperatures in a controlled, smoky environment. There are a lot of different types of smokers, from small electric units to large fancy store bought smokers big enough to feed an army, literally.

Terry Byrns fishes a lot so he made his own smoker out of an early 1950s refrigerator. The old ones are all metal inside and out and are able to handle the temperatures that the new refrigerators could not because of the plastic interiors.  A refrigerator even comes with multiple shelves for a nice distribution of the meat.

Terry modified his refrigerator with adjustable air intake and adjustable air exhaust; the intake air comes in the bottom and the exhaust goes out the top. By closing or opening these he can control the temperature. Terry likes to use Kingsford charcoal briquettes as his heat source, then distributes chunks of hickory and mesquite he gets at Home Depot which he soaks overnight. He puts three or four chunks about the size of a baseball on top of the hot charcoal. These will smolder and create smoke inside the smoker and season the meat with that aroma. Terry believes Kingsford gives the best consistency and lasts the longest.

Fattier fish absorbs smoke better than leaner fish, but he smokes whatever he can catch. While any fish will be delicious cooked in the smoker, Terry tells us that going with tuna, salmon, sea bass, or sailfish is best for tender, moist smoked fish.

Cold smoking requires temperatures below 80 degrees F for several days. Hot smoking, however, can be done at temperatures of up to 250 degrees and only takes a few hours.

It is best to start with a saltwater brine. The way Terry does it, the brining process is quick so don’t worry about having to start out the day before. Plan on the fish being in the brine for about 15 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness. Also, plan on 1 quart of brine per pound of fish. The brine of course, makes the difference in flavor. Some people call a brine a “cure” when smoking fish. Whatever you call it, it imparts a lot of good flavor. This process eliminates moisture from the fish, adds flavor, and helps in the preserving process.

The typical brine has three elements – sugar, salt and water. The liquid can be water, soy sauce or a dry, white wine. Mix together the sugar, salt, soy sauce, water, wine, onion and garlic powders. Pepper and Tabasco sauce are good too. Martha Stewart probably doesn’t brine, but it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a recipe from Google.

Hot smoking can be done in any grill or smoker, is easier and quicker than cold smoking, which may require more specialized equipment and a lot more patience. What you get is equally smoky, but isn’t dried or preserved in the same way. This does mean that hot smoked fish has a short shelf life and needs to be refrigerated or frozen.

On a final note, not only does fish make a great meal or appetizer, it also makes a great ingredient in other food. Try blending the smoked meat with some cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and you suddenly have a great spread for crackers. Many recipes call for smoked fish, from soups to salads to main courses.

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