Que Pasa In Cabo?

December 11, 2017

Playing Santa More than 12,000 gifts for needy families arrived in Cabo last week, thanks to the “Bring a gift in your suitcase!” cry the Solmar Foundation gave to its guests last month. That would be the Solmar resort on the Pacific side of Cabo, headed by Dinorah De Haro. Many of the donors went along to help deliver the gifts.

Bike paths coming soon A project spearheaded by Seth Vázquez, owner of the Jungle Bar, is taking shape. Three bike paths will be up and running in the near future, according to Vazquez. The two-wheel routes are part of the city’s projects to promote cycling and healthy habits.

The project is not state funded, but is being supported by a large group of Cabo citizens who want to make it happen. They will paint bicycle signs along the road from Cabo to San Jose, starting at Cabo’s downtown Amelia Wilkes plaza. The goal is to eventually create bike paths in downtown San Jose and going towards the Los Cabos mountain area as well.

Several government officials – at least the necessary ones – are all for the program and, despite the lack of funds, have agreed to give it the green light.

More tourist assistance CAT/TAC, the tourist assistance center, that new two story building on the Cabo marina between this rag’s locally famous worldwide headquarters and the dolphin center, is adding a new service for our tourists. And it’s a big one.

CAT/TAC now has a free ER, manned by doctors and nurses from the state health department. It is available for both foreign tourists and local foreign residents. Mexicans, you’re out of luck.

In other medical news… The Letty Coppel Foundation, which is backed by the Pueblo Bonito Group, has invested nearly $250,000 USD in a mobile medical unit that’s equipped to perform mammograms, Pap smears, and basic dental and medical treatments. The unit will go out to needy, rural areas of Los Cabos.

The foundation donated a similar unit to the city of Mazatlan, which gives medical attention to more than 3,600 people a year. The funding comes from time share owners of the Pueblo Bonito resort chain. A small donation is tacked onto their bill.

Scary thought Fearing the arrival of Uber in Los Cabos, the taxi cartel’s leader, Luis Gonzalez, met with the Los Cabos mayor and the city’s director of transport to find out if they can get additional permits and license plates.

Gonzalez claims that, due to the rapid growth of the area’s resorts, more cabs are needed. The mayor agreed to support their plea before the state’s transport agency, which has the final say on approving the permits.

We call this scary because we don’t need more taxis, as they basically serve the tourists areas and not the general population, and they habitually rip off the tourists. The taxi cartel is realizing Uber is a very real threat and they’re scared. So much so that they are working on bringing a new taxi app, Priver, to La Paz where Uber is already driving and thriving. Vehicles in the app would be driven by current and new taxi drivers from the same taxi unions. A thief by any other name is still a thief. Watch your wallet if this happens and you use them.

Where’d they go? The Palmilla has disappeared from the list of the best resorts in Mexico. You didn’t notice? Shame on you.

Back in 2003, Edward Steiner resigned as director of the Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort, after six years of managing it and getting it ranked as the best resort in Mexico and one of the best of the world. He was hired to run the One & Only Palmilla. Which, by the way, my boss thinks is the most ridiculous name on the planet.

At the time, Steiner said “In two years, the One & Only Palmilla will be the best in the country, and one of the best in the world.” In 2006, the resort was recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as “The Best Resort in Latin America” and Travel & Leisure named it the "Best Hotel in Mexico." By the end of 2011, the resort had been named the “Best Hotel in Mexico” seven times and was ranked number 17 in the world.

Suffering from cancer, Steiner passed away in early 2013. And now, almost six years later, the One & Only Palmilla’s reputation is in the dumpster. It didn’t even make Travel & Leisure’s top hotel list this year. Las Ventanas is ranked number 87, a far cry from the number 17 position the One & Only Palmilla used to hold.

Coinky dink? The hotel has inaugurated a new program of managing tips. All the tips are expected to be turned in by end of each shift. After a couple of weeks, they are divided into three parts, with one part going to the union, one third going to the hotel, and oh yes, one third of the tips are returned to the employee pool. Of course service stinks at the so called one and only Palmilla.

New firetrucks needed A week ago, another fire struck the palm tree forest in Todos Santos. The only working firetruck has no functioning headlamps and ran out of diesel just 300 yards from the fire. The firefighters had to fight the fire with shovels and water brought in buckets.

The department has three firetrucks, but one truck’s brakes are on the fritz, and the other one doesn’t have headlights or diesel. Oh, and the water truck has no battery and the ambulances have no fuel. Good grief.

The fire department lacks strong leadership, as it’s mostly volunteers and gets very little economic support from the La Paz government. (Todos Santos seat of government). Maybe some big-hearted citizens can help them? You don’t even need to give cash, just the diesel and the truck parts. You’ll be glad you gave if your hacienda ever goes up in smoke.

Concert series returns The Tropic of Cancer Concert Series is coming back to Todos Santos, January 11 to 21, and will be hosted by the rock n’ roll band Cordovas. The series brings local and national bands together for two weekends of music and art, and proceeds go to the local fire department. Let’s hope for high ticket sales, because the fire department obviously needs all the help they can get right now.

There are 23 bands and singers in the lineup, including Joan Osborne, Nortec Collective and La Santa Cecilia, a Mexican band that has been to Todos Santos before and always packs the house.

Single and multi-day tickets are available, as well as VIP packages. For additional information and tickets, look up: www.tropicofcancerconcertseries.mx/

That was quick? The new concrete that was poured along the malecon in La Paz had to be ripped up, as it started showing cracks here and there. The city forced the contractor to redo the job.

Of course, this will delay the completion date of the malecon project. But the head of the city’s urban planning agency insists the job will be finished by the end of this year. Uh huh, sure.

The project includes eliminating electric and telephone poles, and installing new sewe pipes and a sprinkler system to water the plants along the way, all underground.

Alcohol sales limited Sort of. The La Paz city government has decided to reduce the number of hours for alcohol sales. Previously, liquor licenses allowed bars and restaurants to stay open until midnight. They could pay for “overtime” which let them stay open later. Restaurants could get two additional hours, until 2:00 a.m., and bars got four additional hours, until 4:00 a.m.

With the new regulations, restaurants will now only get one hour of overtime and bars will get two. The new ordinance is aimed at reducing violent crimes in La Paz. Well, we’ll see how that goes. Most of the violent crime is drug related, not alcohol induced.