Another Dead Whale Found in Rosarito

A blue whale carcass, more than 60 feet long, was found yesterday beached near a cliff in Rosarito. This is the 5th whale found dead in northern Baja’s coastline this year.

Civil Protection office stated that they worked together with the Mexican army to move the carcass of the mammal and take it to a nearby beach to bury it.

They needed the extra help since the area where the whale was found, at K 38.5 of the Tijuana-Ensenada free road, was not easily accessible.

A researcher from Ensenadas’s Center for Scientific Research and Superior Studies (CICESE), Gisela Heckel, PhD,  stated last January that local whales have seen their food sources considerably impaired because of global warming, although she also said that it is relatively normal to see a few whales stranded on our beaches when weather phenomenons like “El Niño” hit our state.

 

SOURCE: Proceso, Javier Cruz Aguirre.

Creative Gastronomy Comes to Town

BY DANIELLE WILLIAMS

Tripping at Viaje is what I like to do on a mellow Sunday afternoon on the terrasse of the newer restaurant in town, VIAJE, COCINA DEL MUNDO.  Cool jazz from a 4-piece ensemble, a glass of Chardonnay, and having just polished off an order of enfrijoladas – a sort of chicken crepes in a luscious bean sauce redolent of pasillas chiles – takes me close to Nirvana, or maybe pig’s heaven with an ocean view.

Open with much fanfare in February, Viaje is located midtown Rosarito in the Quinta del Mar complex. You drive through the arch and it is a straight shot around the fountain.

The building had been a restaurant in a former incarnation some 15 years ago when it burned down.  In came Jerome Gombert, a talented and ambitious Frenchman with successful restaurant experience in San Diego (Vagabond in North Park).  He had the vision to turn the structure into the stunning establishment it has become. Assisted by designer Roderick Shade of Architectural Digest fame, he has created an airy, elegant, yet hip space. The design takes advantage of existing exposed structural elements: the cellar, the vintage tile and wide plank wood floor, and wall niches. It has two distinct areas: a refectory style room around an oyster bar with two dozen huge lanterns to offset the bare bone feeling; in sharp contrast you then proceed to an explosion of colors and textures for a 1001-nights feeling provided by kilometers of draped sari fabrics in the two cozy rooms adjoining the patio.

When alone, I sit at the bar for a chat with Jeser, the amiable bartender. As a bonus, it affords a full view of the open kitchen with pedigreed chef, Jonathan  Casas, and his team in action. Everything is prepared to order with mostly local ingredients: organic veggies from the Guadalupe Valley and seafood from Ensenada and San Quintin.

Viaje, meaning “travel” offers a culinary tour of the world with an eclectic selection of French, Peruvian, Moroccan, and Chinese preparations.  I have not tried it all, but the steak tartare is for me a near addiction: chopped to order fresh sirloin with assorted spices. Jonathan’s rendition of bouillabaisse, the French fish soup, is another favorite.  If you are fussy about your oysters, you’ll love these plump, sweet on the shell – the best anywhere.  My companions have raved about the various ceviches which  I have not tried yet, but looked like works of art.

Several times, the attendance was minimal making me think that Viaje has not yet appeared on everyone’s radar.  I have heard that some folks are intimidated by the exotic touch and fear high prices. In reality, the prices are reasonable and the place is unpretentious as is Jerome whose hospitality makes you feel at home. As of this writing, there is a happy hour from 5-7 on weekdays with music on Friday. Try it, enjoy it, and why not toss a coin in the fountain on your way out.

Rosarito Calendar of Events

Every Monday through Friday, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm; Pickleball at the Rosarito Pickleball Complex and Training Camp at Parque Reforma (west of Pabellon center – turn left at Oxxo). Three courts. $2 court fee per day. Bring water and folding chair. Facebook.com/ Rosarito Pickleball for all information.

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, 10 – 11 am, Chair Yoga at IMAC Rosarito, Salon 3 (behind Banamex). To register, send name and phone number to wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com.

Every Second Tuesday, 1 pm; The Baja Business Club Unlimited Meeting (BBCU) at Ruben’s Restaurant (k 43). Network with other local business professionals. Chuck Smith: Gorgeouswomenofbaja@gmail.com for more information.

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

Every Tuesday, 10 – 11 am; Chair Yoga with Erendira Abel at IMAC, Salon 3. eabel@bajaexpatservices.pro.

Every Wednesday, 10:30 am – 12 pm; Learn Spanish Naturally at IMAC Rosarito, at the Library. To register, send name and phone number to eabel@bajaexpatservices.pro.

Every Wednesday, 10:30 am – 12 pm; Speak Spanish Naturally with Erendira Abel at IMAC Library. eabel@bajaexpatservices.pro.

Every Wednesday, 10am – 12pm; Adult painting class at IMAC Rosarito in the main park. Bilingual instructor. 200 peso registration/ 300 pesos per month. IMACRosarito@gmail.com; Facebook/imacrosarito.

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 CEART Rosarito. Promotes reading and literacy in Rosarito. www.friendsofthelibrary.com.mx. 661-612-3659.

Every Third Wednesday of the Month (except December), Flying Samaritan’s General Meeting at Villas Del Mar (k 31.5). www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org;  Susansmithz@hotmail.com; 1-858-234-2360; 661-100-6066.

Every Third Wednesday (except December) 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Flying Samaritan’s Outrageous Bingo at Popotla Jr. Restaurant (across from El Nido – formerly California Fresh), 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.

Second and Fourth Wednesday, 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 Other Thursday 12 pm; Baja Wordsmiths Writing group meets at L’Estancia Restaurant (turn at the wooden water wheel). Bring something to write with. RSVP to Facebook.com/ Baja Wordsmiths for date.

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 Second Thursday. 10 am. Cruz Roja Volunteers, Rosarito Chapter General Meeting NOW at Beach Comber Rest. . 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 Friday, 12 – 2 pm; Adult painting class at IMAC Rosarito in the main park. Bilingual instructor. 200 pesos registration/ 300 pesos monthly. IMAC Rosarito@gmail.com; Facebook/imacrosarito.

Every Monday and Friday (that is NOT a Mexican holiday) 11 am – 1 pm; Free beginner and intermediate Spanish Classes at the Palacio Municpal, through the FRAO office. Contact Liz for information: 661-614-9600, ext. 1080, or email: frao@rosarito.gob.mx.

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 the Titanic Room of the Calafia Hotel. Good info for the English speaking community of charitable, community service and social organizations. www.unitedsocietyofbaja.org. 664-748-3949.

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.

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 day but one day at a time AA Grupo Gringo meets daily #16 Mar Mediterraneo (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.

September 6, Friday, 5 – 8 pm; First Friday House Party Hawaiian Style at the Rosarito Beach Parrot Head Club (located in Pikin Ziplines k 42). Live music, vendor space available. Contact Lori Chaffin at Facebook.com/ Baja Lori Chaffin.

September 7, Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; Bill’s Baja Garage and Art Sale at Puerte del Valle plaza. 8 tables available for vendors, $20 per table. Billwelsch@gmail.com; US: 1-760-554-4238; MX: 646-155-0029.

September 7, Saturday, 10 am; USBC Monthly meeting at Calafia Hotel. Guest speakers. Find out what’s happening in the community. www.unitedsocietyofbaja.org.

September 7, Saturday, 12 – 6 pm; Bright & Shiny, Bold & Beautiful, Ladies Day Out at Baja Glass and Art Gallery at Quintas Calafia Hotel (k 35.5). Shop for beautiful items and experience Luminess Airbrush make-up demonstration (as seen on TV). Facebook.com/ Baja Glass and Art Studio.

September 7, Saturday, 5 pm; Celebrate Abelardo Rodriguez Park’s 52nd anniversary with the historical presentation: “Abelardo Rodriguez Park: Historical Panorama of a Public and Cultural Space in Playas de Rosarito” by Aaron Garcia Acosta. Facebook.com/ IMAC Rosarito.

September 7, Saturday, 5 – 9 pm; Seniors Supporting Apoyando Abuelitos (Seniors) Annual Fundraiser Fiesta at Mata Ashta (San Antonio Del Mar). Food, music, raffles! Tickets: $30 through PayPal at foodforabuelitos@gmail.com. Reggie Corsaro: foodforabuelitos@gmail.com.

September 9, Monday, 11 am – 5 pm; Casting Call at Baja Studios! Needed are extras for two television shows filming between October 2019 and May 2020; Male and female, ages 6 – 70.  No appointment necessary. Facebook.com/ Agencia BarbarellaCasting

September 12, Thursday, 10 am; Cruz Roja Rosarito General Meeting at Quintas del Mar Hotel. Facebook.com/ Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos de Rosarito.

September 13 – 16, Friday – Monday, 10 am – 10 pm ; Festival of the Seven Oaxacan Moles at San Fernando Plaza (across from Smart & Final).  Four days of live entertainment, marimba, folkloric dancing, with costumes and moles representing the seven regions of Oaxaca. Free entrance. Facebook.com/ Union de Empresarios Oaxaquenos.

September 14, Saturday, 12 pm; Rosarito Beer Fest by the Beach at Abelardo Rodriguez Park/IMAC (behind Banamex). Food, entertainment, vendors, and 40 different craft beers of the region. Must be 18 years old. Tickets 300 pesos, available at www.boletop.com.mx  through Facebook.com/ Rosarito Beer fest by the beach.

September 15, Sunday, 6 – 9 pm; “Viva Mexico!” with Miguel de Hoyos and Alex Depue at Hotel La Mision (k 59). Tickets available at Hotel La Mision. 646-155-0333; Facebook.com/ Hotel La Mision.

September 20 & 21, Friday & Saturday; Pat’s Pub n Tub South of the Border Golf weekend at Vista Hermosa (formerly Bobby’s by the Sea). Must book by September 8. Baja Mar Golf Resort. Fiesta at Vista Hermosa Saturay night for all (even non-golfers).  Info, reservations and tickets: Isidro / Abel: 1-619-810-7666; Krista: 1-714-269-0920.

Casting Call! Extras Needed!

Monday, September 9th, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm at Baja Studios, Rosarito. Extras needed for two television shows filming between October 2019 and May 2020. The Barbarella Casting Agency is looking for men and women of all ages (6 – 70), all sizes, all “looks.” Especially needed: Men with hair and mustaches in full growth.

What to expect: Have your photo taken; have measurements taken for costumes, and provide your name and contact information. No appointment needed – Just show up.

Rosarito Calendar of Events

Every Monday through Friday, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm; Pickleball at the Rosarito Pickleball Complex and Training Camp at Parque Reforma (west of Pabellon center – turn left at Oxxo). Three courts. $2 court fee per day. Bring water and folding chair. Facebook.com/ Rosarito Pickleball for all information.

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, 10 – 11 am, Chair Yoga at IMAC Rosarito, Salon 3 (behind Banamex). To register, send name and phone number to wellnesshealingliving@gmail.com.

Every Second Tuesday, 1 pm; The Baja Business Club Unlimited Meeting (BBCU) at Ruben’s Restaurant (k 43). Network with other local business professionals. Chuck Smith: Gorgeouswomenofbaja@gmail.com for more information.

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

Every Tuesday, 10 – 11 am; Chair Yoga with Erendira Abel at IMAC, Salon 3. eabel@bajaexpatservices.pro.

Every Wednesday, 10:30 am – 12 pm; Learn Spanish Naturally at IMAC Rosarito, at the Library. To register, send name and phone number to eabel@bajaexpatservices.pro.

Every Wednesday, 10:30 am – 12 pm; Speak Spanish Naturally with Erendira Abel at IMAC Library. eabel@bajaexpatservices.pro.

Every Wednesday, 10am – 12pm; Adult painting class at IMAC Rosarito in the main park. Bilingual instructor. 200 peso registration/ 300 pesos per month. IMACRosarito@gmail.com; Facebook/imacrosarito.

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 CEART Rosarito. Promotes reading and literacy in Rosarito. www.friendsofthelibrary.com.mx. 661-612-3659.

Every Third Wednesday of the Month (except December), Flying Samaritan’s General Meeting at Villas Del Mar (k 31.5). www.flyingsamaritansrosarito.org;  Susansmithz@hotmail.com; 1-858-234-2360; 661-100-6066.

Every Third Wednesday (except December) 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Flying Samaritan’s Outrageous Bingo at Popotla Jr. Restaurant (across from El Nido – formerly California Fresh), 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.

Second and Fourth Wednesday, 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 Other Thursday 12 pm; Baja Wordsmiths Writing group meets at L’Estancia Restaurant (turn at the wooden water wheel). Bring something to write with. RSVP to Facebook.com/ Baja Wordsmiths for date.

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 Second Thursday. 10 am. Cruz Roja Volunteers, Rosarito Chapter General Meeting NOW at Beach Comber Rest. . 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 Friday, 12 – 2 pm; Adult painting class at IMAC Rosarito in the main park. Bilingual instructor. 200 pesos registration/ 300 pesos monthly. IMAC Rosarito@gmail.com; Facebook/imacrosarito.

Every Monday and Friday (that is NOT a Mexican holiday) 11 am – 1 pm; Free beginner and intermediate Spanish Classes at the Palacio Municpal, through the FRAO office. Contact Liz for information: 661-614-9600, ext. 1080, or email: frao@rosarito.gob.mx.

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 the Titanic Room of the Calafia Hotel. Good info for the English speaking community of charitable, community service and social organizations. www.unitedsocietyofbaja.org. 664-748-3949.

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.

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 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.

August 22, Thursday, 4 pm; Wine and Design at DeColores Studio (k 40 in Santini mall). Essential Oils & Glass painting. Learn how these oils enhance your life by creating two of your own facial scrubs, serums, or creams, and paint a jar to hold them. $5 deposit online secures your spot. $15 due in class. Facebook.com/ DeColores Mexico

August 24, Saturday, 7 – 11 pm; Noche Gitana 2019 at Hotel Festival Plaza. Horses and Dancing. Facebook.com/ Noche Gitana 2019; www.hotelfestivalplaza.com.

August 25, Sunday, 2 pm – closing; Jaime Verdugo’s Birthday celebration at Charly’s Place (k 37), Free buffet and live music. Facebook.com/ Charly’s Place.

August 25, Sunday, 12 – 7 pm; 30th Anniversary of the Fish and Seafood Festival at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Representatives of Rosarito fish and seafood restaurants represesnt4ed. Free entrance. Live music, folklorico, and raffles. 661-612-0700.

August 28, Wednesday, 6 pm; 7th Annual Sabor de Baja End of Summer and White Attire 2019 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel gardens. Pairs 25 of Baja’s best chefs with local wineries and craft beer producers. Tickets: Gold- $90 with 5:30 entrance; Silver: $70 with 6 pm entrance.  Live entertainment. Tickets available at PayPal with email sabordebaja@gmail.com, or at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. US: 1-866-ROSARITO; MX: 01-800-265-2322.

August 31 – September 1, Saturday & Sunday; 10th Anniversary of Rosarito Art Fest, at Puerto Nuevo Baja Hotel and Villas (k 45). Local artists, jewelers, craftspeople on display. Facebook.com/ Rosarito Art Fest 2019; RosaritoArtFest.expositores@gmail.com for information. Facebook/ RosaritoArtFest.

September 1, Sunday, 4 – 9 pm; Fandango! At the Jardin Crosthwaite in Santa Anita. Tickets $45 available at https://lamisionchildrensfund.org. All proceeds to purchase scholarships for BECA in La Mision. Raffles, auctions, food and more. Facebook.com/ Fandango 2019.

September 1, Sunday, 12 – 6 pm; Yo Amo Rosarito Kermes (Fair) at Parque Conchita Cantu in Col. Reforma. Dancing, Mariachi, food and more! Emcee: Tony Boy. Facebook.com/Yo Amo Rosarito.

As Summer Draws to a Close Think “Sabor!”

As summer starts to wind down – wait – did summer ever really show up this year? Well, August is on its way out and that means Rosarito says an official “good-bye” to summer, as we do every year, with the popular White Attire event, “Sabor de Baja.”

And folks, “white” means white. Eggshell MAY be tolerated, but men, khaki is not white. And ladies, some leeway may be given to straw hats if it means you won’t be passing out in the late afternoon sun and drenching yourself in merlot.

The 7th Annual Sabor de Baja will once again be held in the beautiful gardens of the Rosarito Beach Hotel on Wednesday, August 28th, starting at 6:00 pm. Sabor will feature 25 of Baja California’s preeminent chefs pairing their fares with Baja wineries and a few locally produced artisanal beers. Among featured bistros are Casa Plascencia, Raices, Viaje Oyster Bar, Sokuna, El Meson, and Silvestre. Tickets are still available online through PayPal at SaborDeBaja@gmail.com. All pre-ordered tickets may be picked up at the Will Call desk the night of the event.

Gracious hosts Bo Bendana and Dennis Sein originally created this event to promote Baja California’s budding gastronomy and wine industries and to promote northern Baja tourism. Sure enough, Gastronomes attend Sabor de Baja from all over Baja and several states of the US.

All attendees will receive a commemorative wine glass. Everyone will also receive a ballot for the selection of the evening’s People’s Choice Award. So as you are eating and drinking your way through the evening, make a note of your favorite pairing. It’s easy. All of the choices are written on the ballot and all you have to do is circle your selection and place your card in the ballot box.

There are two tiers of tickets on sale this year. VIP Gold tickets sell for $90 each, and holders of these are treated to early (5:30 pm) entry and reserved seating for the evening. Silver tickets are $70 and you take your chances with seating options. Now I don’t know about you, but I do most of my noshing while walking between food booths. This is NOT a family-friendly event, so all ticket holders must be at least 18 years of age. Live entertainment will be provided, with time for dancing a bit later in the evening.

A professional judging panel selected by chef Bo Bendana and her husband Dennis Sein will meet earlier in the day to evaluate all of the entrant’s food and wine or beer pairings. The Judge’s Panel will award the Best Wine and Best Beer awards, as well as the coveted Best of Sabor being awarded to the finest wine (or beer) and food pairing of the evening.

Remember, white attire is not a suggestion, so prepare your attire while summer fashions are still available. I will be attendance in a new white dress (as I do every year) because I had a run-in with a wicked glass of cabernet last year (as I do every year), and there was no removing those stains. My suggestion to you is to bring along a purse (or pocket) size spray of your favorite “wine erase” product. It’s that or your dress goes into a tie-dye vat for your next Woodstock remembrance party like mine did.

If you missed out and didn’t get your tickets in time, the next Sabor de Baja is already scheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2020, so mark your calendars now.

Que Pasa In Baja?

How long will the new state government last? Boy, has this been a toughie for our state. The standard governor term for each of the states in Mexico is 6 years and has not been changed for many years. This year, though, it was decided (before the elections), that the new government would only last 2 years in order to merge our next governor’s election with the federal midterms. The reason behind this change was supposed to be an economic one, as our state would be able to have fewer elections. This was seen as a good move, since our state had a whopping 5 different elections in the last 6 years, costing us millions of pesos.

The move was approved by Congress a couple years ago, but just a week ago (and after Jaime Bonilla from Morena was elected governor), the congress reversed that change and said that the government was going to last 5 years instead of 2, merging it with another election.

This was seen as preposterous by the federal congress, which said that the people had voted for a 2-year governor, which was now being converted into a 5-year term, and they deemed it anti-democratic. Local congress representatives were accused of receiving a million dollars each from Bonilla’s team in exchange for their vote in favor of extending his term, which is an entirely plausible assumption, considering representatives from all different political parties voted in favor of the move.

After much fighting between the state and federal congress, the actual governor has stepped in and said he won’t support the change, making it difficult but not impossible for the 5-year term to kick in.

Federal congress has gone so far as to saying that our state congress should be eliminated because of their anti-democratic spirit. All of the congress representatives that voted in favor are being threatened to be fired from their political parties.

We have yet to see how this turns out, as the state congressional term ends this month and a new one comes in, which could reverse the measure.

I’m doing my part, what about you? Hans Backoff, head of Monte Xanic winery and the current chief of the local wineries’ association Provino, stated that wine consumption in Baja has increased to 9 liters per capita, per year, although our national average is just 1 liter.

For comparison, the United States drinks 9 liters, Chile and Argentina drink 15 and 20 liters respectively.

Tijuana taxi companies pissed off. Taxis from Tijuana have threatened the city of Rosarito saying that they will stop taking tourists there, in retaliation of $400 USD fines imposed about 3 months ago for working there without the proper permits.

The fines are a result of Rosarito taxi companies pressuring the city to crack down on foreign transportation services, claiming that it’s unfair competition for them. For their part, Tijuana taxi companies say that they are not breaking any laws, because they don’t pick up tourists in Rosarito, they just take them there; also, other cities like Ensenada and Mexicali do not have any problems with this, because they deliver the tourists who will spend their valuable money in the destination they’re taken to.

Governor-elect promises cleaner beaches. Jaime Bonilla, our newly elected governor, has just signed an agreement with San Diego County that will allow them to work together in projects to clean local beaches.

San Diego’s port commissioner said that they can support the future government with 15 million dollars in 15 programs developed by them that will help put an end to beach contamination that originates in Mexico but affects San Diego county directly.

Beaches in Ensenada ready for tourism. The clean beaches committee in Ensenada stated that all the beaches in the city are suitable for swimming this year.

Officials from the local environmental agency said that contamination in local beaches are well below the norm, saying that samples were taken from La Mision, Playa Hermosa, Pacifica, Monalisa and La Joya, and all passed the test without any issues.

The city is encouraging the general public to avoid smoking on the beach, as in the 2018 international beach cleaning effort, the most common trash found in the sand was cigarette butts.

No more “chocolate cars.” Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it, but as of press time, the governor-elect Jaime Bonilla has stated several times now that he will fix the problem with illegal cars circulating here in Baja.

Nowadays is hard to see a legal car at any stop sign, especially in Ensenada, where some officials are saying that up to 90% of vehicles in the city are illegal (meaning they haven’t been imported or have current plates).

The problem has been left to grow worse for many years, as it will be a political blow to whoever decides to crack down on these cars. The only solution, which has been tried once before, seems to be making a special program to regularize illegal cars cheaply and after that start cracking down on the newly illegal vehicles. ,

Blues Against Hunger Super Jam

Unless you’ve been absent, or hiding under a rock, you all know about the weekly Sunday blues jams at Bobby’s By The Sea. Prepare for a huge blowout all day on August 3, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. At least eight groups will be joining Sweet Sixx and the Wild Pack for a day of blues music, all dedicated to fighting hunger in the Rosarito area by supporting Hearts of Baja children’s orphanages and people in the hills.

This talent comes from all over Baja as well as Alta California and Mexico  City. Martin Tramil, who participates in Tuesday blues jams in SoCal and the Tsunami Band of Punta Banda, will join composer/musician Miguel Korsa of México City, the principle guitarist of blues band Real de Catorce.

Ensenada’s Deja Blues Band plays in the style of Eric Clapton, B B King and Muddy Waters. San Felipe’s own “Rock Soul Band” of rock, blues and Latin music, is one of the most popular bands on the east side of the peninsula.

More known to Rosarito residents is Palaco Blues and the Trevolts, who recently played at Sunday blues events at Bobby’s by the Sea.  Palaco Blues,  with their “fusion of blues, funk and rock, reinforced with a harmonic sound” was a big hit in northern Baja. The Trevolts are a rock/blues band originating in Tijuana with a diverse repertoire. They were headliners of the FestiArte in Tijuana last month, and have played in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Pachuco Blues, featuring lead singer and guitarist Ismael Vidal, is always a Rosarito favorite, playing venues from Rosarito’s own restaurants and bars, such as Splash and The Shack, to the Tijuana Jazz and Blues Fest.

But headlining as they do tirelessly every week is Sweet Sixx and the Wild Pack; “two guitars having fun” featuring “blues, swing, and whatever else tickles their strings” playing old school classics, jazz and even some rockabilly. Weekly they invite musicians and locals to share the stage with them and jam. The August 3rd show will be a little more structured, and who knows what Sunday will bring? It’s always a whole lot of fun! In 2015 Sweet Sixx and the Wild Pack traveled with the Blues Against Hunger Society, and added a “Brewers and Blues Tour” in the western  United States and Baja.

Tickets are: $10 with the donation of one or more non-perishable food or toiletry items, and $15 without donation. But hey, make a donation! Bags of rice or beans, cans of food, feminine articles, soap, shampoo, everything is needed. They are aiming for 1000 pounds of donations that day. Join the Blues Against Hunger Society and get $5 off your ticket price AND a free T-shirt. Tickets are available through the Blues Against Hunger website. Online sales end on July 31st, so get a move on people!

And special VIP seating is available for those of you out there with heavy wallets — come on, you know who you are! A VIP table for eight is available for $300, which includes an eight-bottle bucket of beer or one bottle of wine or one bottle of champagne. This also includes table service for food and drink. VIP singles are available for $40, which includes all services and a bottle of beer.

Everybody else is self-serve for the day.

If you want to learn more about any of these groups they all have their own Facebook and “www” pages. The important sites to know however are www.bluesagainsthunger.org and www.heartsofbaja.com. Or contact Blues Against Hunger to become a volunteer for the day. It’s not too late. People are always signing up and dropping out for good reasons up until the day of the event. And your presence, whether it be in the audience or a volunteer is truly needed AND appreciated.

Helping Kids With the Blues Once Again

The Baja Blues Fest returns to Rosarito Beach this August 9th-11th at Rosarito Beach Hotel to benefit these charities: BECA, Los Angelitos Orphanage, Friends of the Library, and La Mision’s Children’s Fund.

BECA, Benefitting Education and Community Advancement, supports students in the La Mision area, raising funds with the La Mision Children’s fund, providing scholarships to the children there.

Friends of the Library promotes reading in schools and in the home, and supports all five Rosarito area libraries with books, craft supplies, a bookmobile, computers and technology.

Los Angelitos Orphanage is a children’s home that provides a secure home and family-style living conditions to 35 children, ages 1 -18.

La Mision Children’s Fund offers food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care  to those in extreme poverty.

The Blues Fest starts on Friday night with a meet-and-greet.

Gates open Saturday, August 10th, at 10:30 am. The first band, Tijuana’s JL Blues Project, starts at 11:15. Started in 2015, the JL Blues Project provides younger musicians a chance to play blues in front of a crowd. Founding performers have been playing for about 40 years.

At 12:15 pm, Stephanie Brown and the Surrealistics hit the stage.

The radiant Mercedes Moore and her band pair up with the spontaneous piano-playing of the smooth and sultry Taryn Donath at 1:30. The Mercedes Moore band has been described as “a dancer’s dream,” and who doesn’t love to dance?

After a short raffle giveaway, the Anthony Collins Band, aka the Fallbrook Kid, will hit the stage at 2:45 pm. Anthony, a young musical protégé,  plays in the styles of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

At 4:00 pm The Backwater Blues Band and Mike Schermer take the stage. They’ve been the Host Band of the Baja Blues Fest since 2012. Joining them is Deanna Bogart, who thrills the crowd with her “blusion” style of boogie woogie, blues, country, and jazz.

After another brief raffle session, Gino Matteo and the Jade Bennett Band offer a mixture of musical styles. Southern California’s Jade Bennet brings her own sound of dark, sultry, and smoky soul.

The final raffle offers the special strung junk guitar, created especially for the Baja Blues Fest by Steve Kinney.

The evening will culminate with a super performance by Tommy Castro and the Painkillers. This high-energy group from San Jose belts out soul, blues and rock, mixing Mexican and American styles from their hometown.

Sunday’s show features a more relaxing musical experience out in the garden, with the Sunday Jam. Musicians from all the groups and musical folk from around Rosarito all meet to jam on the Rosarito Beach Hotel’s back lawn.

A big “Thank You” goes out to this year’s volunteers. All essential positions are covered, but there is room for a few more vendors and sponsors.

Information may be found at www.BajaBluesFest.org. The Gringo Gazette is a proud sponsor of this event, and hopes that other local businesses will follow their example.

Different ticket options are available this year. A new VIP section guarantees under-the-canopy seating for Saturday, a T-shirt, concert poster, three waters and $5 in drink tickets, entrance to both the Friday night meet-and-greet, and the Sunday jam, all for $110. These tickets must be purchased in advance! Three-day General Admission is $75 per person, and the Friday meet-and-greet is $25. These, too, must be purchased in advance. There will be a finite number of people allowed into Friday night’s event due to seating safety restrictions. For the Saturday concert event, tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the gate. Sunday’s jam session is $15 whether purchased in advance or on-site, so bring your instrument/s of choice and join the musicians for a fun afternoon.

Over the years, the Baja Blues Fest has raised and donated over $91,000 – that’ US dollars folks – for charities that benefit the children of Rosarito. As a US 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, all donations made to this group are US tax-deductible. The complete break-down for distributions and yearly IRS forms are available at the Baja Blues Fest website. Talk about transparent!

Baja Blues Fest is a proud member of The Blues Foundation, whose mission it is to preserve the blues heritage, celebrate blues performers, and expand people’s awareness of the blues as a unique American art form.

There are still RBH room/blues fest ticket packages available by contacting the Rosarito Beach Hotel directly, A lot of those rooms look directly onto the stage area, so if you get a bit too much sun, you can take a short break and not miss a tune.  This year Baja Talk Time, with Diego Knight and myself, will circulate throughout the crowd, speaking with performers and spectators, taping a podcast or two. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Rosarito Offers Help to Expats with Disabilities

Mr. Manuel Salazar Martinez, authorized by the 8th Regiduria (Council) of the 7th Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) of Rosarito Beach, invites all expats with disabilities to be included with the City’s program, “Together for Inclusion without Distinction” and to become part of the 2019 Census for People with Disabilities in Rosarito. This includes all types of disabilities, whether or not they be visible, physical or psychological. This program includes any ambulatory debility, deafness, heart ailment, blindness, need for portable oxygen, and more. You will need to have a letter from a medical professional detailing your disability and be able to answer some basic questions about your health history. They will provide information about the cards issued by the DIF department. This card IS different from the Senior Citizens card (TARJETA INAPAM) issued by INAPAM.

A representative will even go to your home to help you with the registration process, so you don’t even have to drive all over City Hall trying to find a parking place.

To register, or for more information, contact Mr. Salazar via email at ahidalgo@rosarito.gob.mx, or phone him at 661-101-9065, or through Facebook at Manuel Salazar Regidor Inependiente. I suggest a phone call, as my emails went unanswered, perhaps because they were in English.

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