What's Going On In This Country?

December 26, 2016 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

 Window alert! Again. The police are now clamping down on people who have cars with windows tinted. (How many times must we tell you?) So far 191 cars have been pulled over for this infraction. The law says, "It is forbidden to use polarized or colored windows that impede visibility from inside or outside a vehicle, if it does not allow visibility of 35% or greater". The intent of the law is to “reduce the number of suspicious vehicles on the streets".

This campaign is being implemented throughout the state, due to the existence of vehicles with extremely dark windows that do not allow police to see what's going on inside. This law trumps any other state or federal law and in particular applies even if it is factory tinting. Please cooperate with the police in keeping them and everyone else safe.

More onerous news. the police are going after drunk drivers every weekend. The fine, should you be caught, is about $15 U.S., kept low so it doesn't bankrupt the locals into them losing their car and their livelihood.

Don't sneer at the fine, and please don't drive drunk because the life you save could be ours. And then who would explain this stuff to you?

15 Children Rescued 15 children who were pressed into work as Chicklet kids and beggars in Cabo have been rescued from their handlers.

The youngsters were told to wander the town, asking for money and selling Chicklets or those irritating whistles or some other silly trinket. It is not illegal in Mexico for children to beg, but it is illegal for adults to keep the money they make.

Nine women were arrested and the children taken to a shelter. The parents or “handlers” of these kids are now in prison and going through the slow court process to prove that they are innocent of child exploitation. The operation seems to have been successful, as you now see waaay fewer kids working at night on the marina and downtown areas.

Many times the peddlers who wander our town, both kids and adults, are brought over from the poorest areas of Mexico, mostly in the south and mostly indigenousness. The kids are often sold or rented to handlers who bring them here and give them the trinkets to sell. When they grow up with no education, and they are not so cute any more, they have no way to make a living. It's common for the girls to turn to prostitution and the boys to selling drugs. This makes the kid vendors a major problem.

But it is easily solved by you, the foreigner: Simply do not buy from them or give money to these children. This exploitation would stop in one day. It's entirely up to you.

We Are Loved. Maybe. San Jose, (not Cabo), seems to be especially prominent on travelers' radar these days.

The results of this year's Trip Advisor awards show we're tied for first place with Whistler, Canada and Jericoacoara, Brazil for the hearts and minds of travelers in the Western hemisphere. Jericoacora? Brazil? Who even goes to Brazil these days?

This same trip Advisor announcement is claiming last year's winner was Tulum, which is about 80 miles south of Cancun. Well, they are no threat this year as they have big problems with land ownership there, with the courts snatching hotels from foreigners and giving them to locals who claim they are the rightful owners.

And we all know how rigged the Trip Advisor system is. Who hasn't been asked by friends who own a business to send in a phony "review"?

That’s how little we respect Trip Advisor. C'mon, who among us hasn't gone to a business touted by Trip Advisor and been disappointed?

Two years of screwing around. The Riu hotel in Cabo San Lucas has finally opened its doors again, after sustaining severe damage from hurricane Odile in September 2014.

All the common areas of the hotel have been rebuilt and the all-inclusive property, first opened in 2004 looks sharp.

They have added 40 new junior suites with private swimming pool, as well as eight new jacuzzi suites, the most luxurious of the hotel’s rooms. After these changes, the hotel has a total of 692 rooms to offer. They have four restaurants and seven bars, and no fewer than six swimming pools.

The Riu is a rather low budget but very nice resort that appeals mainly to Canadians. Every summer they offer week long specials that make us think we can’t afford to stay home. But they run a tight door these days, and it’s pretty hard to get in to look around. Unless you conk a guest over the head and steal his wrist band.

Another hotel opens Then there’s the former Melia Cabo Real that’s finally open again, also after two years of dicking around. And they have changed their name to Melia Paradisus. The former lobby bar has been transformed and looks very inviting. That’s as far as they let us riff raff go.

New flight next summer. Alaska Airlines, who just loves Cabo, will add a new nonstop service between Sacramento (SMF) and San Jose Del Cabo (SJD) next June. Initial service will be once a week during the summer season. Sacramento last had nonstop service to Cabo in 2010.

In addition, passengers can make daily, round-trip connections via San Diego (SAN) on Alaska Airlines’ new nonstop service that begins next March 16. These new flights are available now at Alaskaair.com. 

Surf event announced The Baja Surf Stomp 3 will take place this February as part of the Surf Instrumental Music Festival that will happen in La Ventana, La Paz, and Todos Santos from the 22nd to the 24th of February.

On Wednesday, February 22, the event will be held at the Playa Central in La Ventana at 8:00 pm. Then on Thursday February 23 in La Paz, during the Carnival, beginning at 6:00 pm along the malecon.

For those closer to Todos Santos, La Morena restaurant will feature the following bands Friday the 24th: Los Grainders from Mexico City, The Mexican Weirdohs from La Paz, Los Astros from the State of Mexico and The Barracuda's from La Paz. The party has a cover charge of 50 pesos, which includes a cold beer. Music starts at 8:00 pm. La Morena is located in Calle Juarez, half a block from the Hotel California.

For more information look up on Facebook: Baja Surf Stomp Vol. III

Jewelry heist in Cabo marina. An undisclosed (yet) amount of diamonds, jewels and luxury brand watches were stolen last week from the Luxury Avenue store inside the Puerto Paraiso mall in Cabo San Lucas.

According to the police and footage from surveillance cameras, a herd of 8 to 10 men broke the glass doors of the store using sledgehammers and then broke the glass showcases, snatching an undetermined number of sparklie goodies.

The robbery took place between 3 and 4 in the morning and the police were late to the party for some as yet unexplained reason.

This caper went down just a few days after 40 Los Cabos, 60 La Paz, and 34 federal police were fired for flunking the confidence and doping exams. A coinky-dink?

At press time, there are no apprehensions or additional information from the Los Cabos police department, whose spokesperson would only say, “the investigation continues.”

Traffic alert! Very soon (wink, wink), the SCT (Mexico’s communication and transport agency) will begin to correct the entrance and exit to and from the bridge that takes us from Cabo to the international airport in San Jose.

That would be the bridge located at the top of the Leona Vicario street (the “down” street, at the intersection with Constituyentes avenue (known as “the hump”).

The area has become a traffic bottleneck due to bad planning and soon a new lane will be added to the existing lane on the exit coming from San Jose.

Early in the year, the city’s plan to for the SCT to work without causing more chaos will be announced. The improvements should be finished by September of October 2017. So said the government, and we believe them, oh sure. Why didn’t they do it right the first time? What, were the plans for this large interchange drawn out on the back of a napkin? Sigh. 

Corruption in our state. The delegation of the federal ministry of social development (Sedesol) discovered that at least six of its promotion officials were extorting money from the elderly who were seeking access to funds provided by the federal 65 years or older program.

These officials add to 433 others caught using the same tactics throughout Mexico. Some went so far as forging documents to enlist people in the program using fake names and IDs, and directing the funds to their personal bank accounts. All have been suspended without pay and are under investigation.

More police news Doesn’t break our heart. In addition to the 100 or so cops fired this past week, the chief of police in La Paz has “resigned”, and a former state prison warden in La Paz has been jailed, the latter charged with affiliations to organized crime.

Our Southern Baja state has the third highest number of qualified cops, something the governor has promised to change.

Illegal water taps turned off. Almost 300 illegal connections to the water supply grid were shut down this year, most of them in neighborhoods inhabited by squatters.

In addition, 4,800 water leaks were repaired, said municipal water chief Pene Nuñez. It was kind of a State of the Pipes speech.