Que Pasa in Baja?

January 9, 2017
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Good news in tourism. We did very good tourism wise during 2016, according to our state tourism office. Oscar Escobedo, head of the office said that during 2016 they invested more than 5 million USD promoting the state nationally and internationally and this translated into making Baja the second most visited state between Mexican nationals.

About 25.3 million people visited us this past year with the wine valley in Ensenada being the most attractive spot for tourists, about 58% of these visitors were foreigners.

Ensenada also became the number one visited port in the Mexican pacific with 262 cruise ships visiting and about 535,000 people disembarking from the ships. That’s about 17% more than 2015. Escobedo also stated that the tourism office is expecting a 25% increase in cruise ships arriving for this year.

A lot of this is thanks to you tourist or Baja resident that decided to come down here and are telling all your wonderful friends about what a wonderful time you have here. Thanks for helping us out, we could not have done it without you!

Last call to kill. Step right up, you wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity. Tourism authorities announced the hunting season ends soon so you will have to hurry if you’re into this sort of thing. It’s open season on Tweetie until the second Sunday of February. You can also shoot Wylie Coyote and Peter Rabbit but why would you?

About 4,300 permits were issued this year, about 500 more than last year, and there are still a few left so hurry up!

Of course you can’t just get out your gun and start shooting the place up you need a hunting permit which is easy to get. For more information about hunting in Baja for Rosarito residents call the Rosarito Gun Club at 661 6130139 or email them at clubdetiro_rosarito@yahoo.com. Tip: The club can also tell you how you can legally own a firearm in Mexico.

It’s whale season again! The whales are already migrating south, don’t miss the opportunity to watch them specially if you haven’t done so before. Local tour operators offer whale watching trips around our coast from around 4 hours to the full 2 day or more experience where they take you all the way down to Guerrero Negro to see the newly born baby whales. Don’t forget to take your Dramamine before boarding that boat or you will be surely feeding the fish on the open sea. The cost for the 4-hour trip goes for about 20 bucks per person and departs from the malecon in Ensenada. You can visit www.discoverbajacalifornia.com, or call the tourism office at (646) 172-5444 or (646) 172-5372.

No more chiclets kids. Tourism authorities have outlined a program with a series of actions aimed to remove beggar kids (better known as chiclets kids) from the tourist areas.

The first part of the program is to determine if these kids are actually sons or daughters of the street peddlers selling trinkets around town or if they are “rented” kids. This may seem like a shocker to you but it’s a common practice all over Mexico, where low-income families rent out their kids to handlers who put them to work in the streets begins for money specially from tourists.

This problem would end abruptly if we just stopped giving money to the kids, think about it when you see one of these kids, you are not helping them when you give them money you are just putting more of these kids in the streets because it’s more profitable for their handlers. Remember that most of the time they don’t even get to keep the money.

Water prices also spiking. We can’t say we didn’t see this one coming! Just before the year was ending our state congress announced that they had updated the law that governs water around here with the most notorious changes being an increase in price of about 20% on your water bill and an easier way for private companies to be responsible for certain parts of the public water service process.

People quickly protested because the measure was widely seen as an indication of the water being privatized and handed over to private companies. Quickly the local directors of the water office responded that the water service wasn’t being privatized and that just certain parts of the process where being licensed to companies although they didn’t say which.

Our local government had already started involving private companies in the water process since the desalt plant project started in Ensenada. In this project the city hired a Spanish company to build and run the desalt plant with their own money in exchange for a contract that forced the water company to buy all the water they produced for a few years.

What happened to the streets around here? With the rainy weather that we had the last couple of weeks our streets went to hell! They weren’t in very good shape to begin with but after the rain now you have to be careful not to hit a pothole every 10 feet.

In Ensenada several accidents have already been reported because of the shape of the streets but the worst one was definitely just a day before Christmas when a hapless driver was on the transpeninsular highway in Maneadero when the road sank beneath him. The rain had taken most of the dirt beneath the road and the pavement gave way because of the weight of the car. Fortunately, the driver only suffered minor injuries on his face but his car was pretty banged up.

Be careful out there if you are out driving on the rain, the streets in our state are just not planned for that much rain, most of all are built with low quality materials that just wash away with just a few days of rain.

Spay and neuter campaigns. State health office authorities are organizing a campaign to spay and neuter pets. The campaign focuses on the lower income parts of the state where people tend to have more dogs and most of the time outside where they easily reproduce generating problems for the whole community.

Head of the state health office, Guillermo Trejo, said that the procedures are free of any charge and that they can be done for critters as young as 3 months old.