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Gringo Gazette

Happy Birthday, Caesar’s Salad!

The overall, all-time favorite Caesar’s Salad turns 100 years old this year, having been created in Tijuana by Italian chef Caesar Cardini at his Alhambra Cafe. That’s an incredible feat for a dish that uses only a few ingredients: Romaine lettuce, egg yolk, garlic, anchovies, olive oil, Worcestershire, apple vinegar, Mexican lime (limón), croutons and parmesan cheese.

Cardini was an Italian immigrant who moved to Mexico during the prohibition era in the early 1900s. He founded the Alhambra Cafe in Tijuana, which later turned into Caesar’s Restaurant, which still exists to date. There are several versions of how he created the world-famous salad, which is considered a delicacy throughout the world.

One version says that some patrons arrived late at his cafe and he had to come up with something from the leftovers in his fridge. 

Another version states that he was given the recipe by the mother of one of his also Italian cooks. 

Caesar Cardini was immortalized early this month with a statue outside his restaurant, currently owned by celebrity Chef Javier Plascencia, who also owns the Jazamango restaurant in Todos Santos and Animalón in San Jose del Cabo.

Here’s What to Expect When Adopting a Dog in Mexico

BY MONICA BELOT

Life is better when you have a dog with you. Here’s how to make that happen while in Mexico. 

In many Mexican cities, a weekend walk through the park will bring you face-to-face with a sight guaranteed to pull at the heartstrings of even the grumpiest of grinches. Pets up for adoption flank the walking paths, meowing, yapping, and napping alongside their brothers and sisters. Several older dogs wear signs saying, “Adopt me!” in Spanish. The presence of these hopeful pets in public spaces is a concerted effort by the multitude of rescue organizations in Mexico to match an increasing number of homeless pups with loving owners. 

Indeed, many travelers to Mexico have returned home with a canine buddy after falling in love with a friendly stray during a trip. Among them is British actress and activist Emma Watson, who recently shared her positive experience adopting her puppy Sofia from Mexico, calling the pup “an angel, not a dog.” 

Why you should adopt a dog from Mexico. The Wild at Heart Foundation of Mexico estimates over 23 million stray dogs roam the country. In Mexico City alone, authorities have reported capturing and euthanizing a heartbreaking 20,000 dogs per month. Additionally, the lack of comprehensive anti-cruelty laws in the country allows for commonplace neglect and violence towards dogs.

Data from the State of Pet Homelessness Project reveals over 96,000 pups seeking refuge in shelters across Mexico. With one of the highest numbers of homeless animals globally, Mexico significantly surpasses figures in many other nations. Adopting a dog helps save canine lives and enrich our own, too.

Mexi-Canine Friends for Everyone. These distressing numbers are not the only reason to consider adopting a pup from Mexico. The sheer number of adoptable dogs in the country allows for a vast variety tailored to one’s lifestyle, needs, and preferences. Options include hairless breeds for those with allergies, high-energy dogs for active families, or calmer temperaments for more laid-back owners.

Due to the abundance of dogs, Mexico is also home to a diverse range of breeds and mixes less commonly found elsewhere. Adopting a dog from Mexico often allows owners to find a truly unique companion with distinct characteristics.

What It’s Like: Adopting Atlas. My own experience adopting my puppy Atlas from a Mexican rescue has provided useful insights. I’ve learned firsthand that raising a puppy is challenging but rewarding work. It’s a significant responsibility, so ensure you’re well-prepared. Street dogs, in particular, may need time to adjust, but with sufficient love and stability, they can become irreplaceable, adoring family members.

After attending puppy adoption events and browsing Instagram accounts of Mexican rescues, my partner and I came across an Instagram post from @adopta.mx featuring an irresistible Silver Lab mix pup (then called Luke). We instantly fell in love and reached out to the organization to ask about the next steps. They had us complete an application and conduct a brief interview where we demonstrated our preparedness and commitment to raising a puppy. We were approved within a few days.

The Pick-Up. In our case, since we lived in Mexico City, we were able to grab an Uber and head to a small residential town about 45 minutes outside of the city. When we received our pup, he was tiny, skinny, and shaking. He peed on my lap during the ride home. 

The following weeks were an anxious whirlwind as first-time puppy parents. We fretted over every detail, wondering if we were providing the proper care. Atlas suffered bouts of diarrhea, nipped incessantly (as puppies do), and swallowed anything on the floor he could fit in his mouth. In one particularly harrowing incident, I rushed him to the vet in a panic after finding one of my candy-colored earplugs in his stool. Despite our worries and with our vet’s guidance, Atlas has grown into a healthy, friendly, and feisty little guy. 

The Basics of Adopting a Dog from Mexico – Step by Step: While there may be some variations, the general process for adopting a dog from Mexico is similar across most rescues. 

Finding Your Furry Companion: The process typically begins by finding a credible rescue organization through online searches, social media, or word-of-mouth recommendations. Adoptist, Adopta.mx, Alamos Dog Foundation, Pets. Yuri, and Caravana Canina are good starting points. Thoroughly vetting the rescue is crucial and reputable organizations should have details on the animal’s medical history and behavior and be able to guide you through the adoption and travel process. If adopting while abroad, select a rescue experienced with sending pets to your country, as they can assist with all the required paperwork, vetting, crates, airport protocols, and customs procedures.

If you’re searching for a pet while outside of Mexico and are unable to meet the pet in advance, be sure to gather as much information as possible to carefully vet whether the dog is the right fit for your family. Ask the rescue for additional details like videos, information on the parents, and behavioral notes. 

In cases where you find and fall in love with a stray dog while in Mexico, the requirements differ slightly but adopting is still fairly straightforward. Take the stray to a local veterinarian to have its health assessed and begin the vaccination process. If possible, try partnering with a local rescue to assist with the process or temporarily care for the animal until it can travel to its new home.

Interviews and Paperwork: Many rescues will require you to fill out a form with questions about yourself and the dog’s future home to ensure it is being placed in a safe environment. They’ll assess if you’re a good fit by asking about previous pet ownership, your preparedness for the responsibility of a dog, reasons for adopting, and your commitment to keeping the pet for life. Other common questions include whether you can provide a comfortable sleeping area and if you are financially stable to care for a dog. Many rescues also request a future commitment to spaying/neutering if the dog is not already sterilized. Some organizations conduct phone or video call interviews, offering an opportunity to ask your questions and demonstrate your readiness to adopt. 

Vaccinations and Checkup Requirements: Most countries mandate a rabies vaccine and health certificate from a veterinarian before entering. Be sure to give yourself enough time to get any vaccines if needed. The health certificate required is typical, like a canine’s yearly “physical”. Oftentimes, the veterinarian will give you something called a “carnet” or a passport-like book with a record of the dog’s vaccinations. Be sure to have the original and make an extra copy.

If traveling to the U.S., you’ll need a certificate showing the rabies vaccine was given within 12 months but over 30 days before the flight. Once you show this document, your dog will also need to pass a physical exam.

Bringing Your Dog Home

If adopting a puppy, aim for them to be at least 4 months old to ensure they’ve completed their initial round of vaccinations. Driving is the easiest to avoid the complexity of air travel, but if flying, book the most direct route possible to minimize stress for your canine companion. For most airlines, small dogs may fly in-cabin if their total weight with the carrier is under 20 lbs. Otherwise, they’ll ride in a specially allocated cargo space. Be sure to check your airline’s pet policies and your country’s regulations regarding quarantines (which are rare, but sometimes happen).

If you’re adopting a dog from outside of Mexico and cannot pick it up yourself, work with the rescue to arrange a “flight angel” escort. Many rescues have volunteers who assist by accompanying animals on their journey to the new home. You’ll be responsible for covering the airline’s pet fee, any applicable import taxes, and meeting the volunteer escort at your arrival airport to welcome your new furry family member.

Enjoy and Love: Finally, be sure to enjoy your new canine companion. Let us know about your experience adopting a dog from Mexico in the comments below!

Monica Belot is a writer, researcher, strategist and adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she teaches in the Strategic Design & Management Program. Splitting her time between NYC and Mexico City, where she resides with her naughty silver labrador puppy Atlas, Monica writes about topics spanning everything from the human experience to travel and design research. Follow her varied scribbles on Medium at https://medium.com/@monicabelot.

This article was originally published in MexicoNewsDaily.com and is reprinted with permission.

What Mexico Has Taught Me

BY THE UNKNOWN GRINGO

I Just Wanted Breakfast.
I had noticed this place before. It was right next to a now long-gone mezcal store that I used to go to a lot. Right on the beach but a longer bicycle ride than I wanted to take. So I caught a city bus three blocks from my hotel for 13 pesos, about 70 cents currently. I’ve been going there now for years.

I like the city buses. Cheap and you usually don’t have to wait very long. Maybe 10-15 minutes max. They are all small, retired rural-country buses from the U.S. since they were only meant to seat about twenty. In Mexico they can hold a WHOLE LOT MORE. (They usually still have signs in English inside telling you what to do in an emergency.)  A full bus in Mexico can be an experience that might challenge you but I find it interesting in how people treat one another. The men are often quite gallant.  Children and seniors are treated with consideration. The buses going north in the morning towards El Sauzal will always have a lot of students who are going to the cluster of universities around the Punta Morro Hotel. When they get off, the bus is often close to empty.

When it gets close to the restaurant, Terra Noble, I tell the driver to stop at the City Express Plus building that is next to it. It is 12 stories tall and I assume all the drivers recognize it versus my small restaurant. If you are approaching from El Sauzal to the north then point out the 20 stories tall Viento building since that blocks City Express visually going south. Both of these monsters were not there when I first started going to Terra Noble. To get off any city bus you just ask the driver to stop. I hunch down close to him and point as well. You do not have to get off at a bus stop with a sign and bench. Magic!!

Walk towards the restaurant and look for cats before you enter. My favorite is Bellota. That means acorn in Spanish. She is a total lover and might flop on her side so you can rub her belly. She often follows me in but I walk straight through the restaurant to the outside tables just above the beach. As I do this I will ask for coffee, with milk, no sugar. I already know what I want to eat; the omelette Mexicano.  The guacamole that comes with this is excellent. I seat myself… and look.

The ocean is right there. I have seen dolphins right in front of me, jumping and swimming. This last time I saw a flight of 14 pelicans in a tight formation. Of course there will be squawking sea gulls and sometimes an elegant white crane going by. The coffee cup gets refilled while I wait for the food. I’m in heaven. The omelette comes and gets devoured. I do have to ask for salt. There’s more than one table but I almost always have the ocean to myself. I pay the check and then the real adventure begins.

I go down a small bluff to the beach and hike north. It’s a rock beach. If the tide is low you can try walking on the exposed sand, but I prefer the rocks. They are about the size of a clenched fist or bigger. You will slip and slide. An unusually high tide might get you pushed up against the short bluff but I’ve never had a problem. I walk the rocks carefully to find pieces of boats, thick plastic or fiber ropes, fishing nets, rubber boots and shoes, sea shells, driftwood, dead pelicans, plus lots of interesting things that I have taken home over the years on my motorcycle. It isn’t easy packing stuff on a motorcycle so that means I must really like what I take. Walk carefully on those rocks to avoid a twisted ankle. It’s worth it. Finders Keepers.

A few hundred yards up the beach there’s a stairway built into the bluff that easily gets you off the beach. It’s at the Ramona Beach Trailer Park. And they have cats and dogs there. At the office and those of their customers. A bonus for me. For years two hound dogs there have greeted me with their distinctive howls. 

The coast highway is right there. Get out your 13 pesos and flag down the next southbound city bus. You don’t have to have exact change for the driver but I wouldn’t give him anything larger than a twenty peso note or coin. The bus will either go down the coast / Costero road to the McDonald’s / Three Heads Park intersection and then turn left towards the downtown bus station or will head inland / downtown / Centro from the big intersection just below the universities / Punta Morro. If you take that bus it will end up at the bus station across from the Soriana on 6th between Gastelum and Miramar.  The coast bus gets me closer to my hotel but the downtown bus only makes me walk another three blocks. I would rather take the first bus that comes along in front of Ramona Beach and save time waiting since there are lots more Centro buses versus Costero buses.

Terra Noble opens at 8:30 and closes at 5:30. I have never eaten from their dinner menu. I have never eaten anything but the omelette Mexicano because I like it so much. Maybe I’m the Village Idiot. They are starting to build a website and I was told you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. They are closed on Mondays. 

I just wanted breakfast but I also got an interesting bus ride, cats, an ocean view, a beach hike, more cats, dogs, and another bus ride. Even the Village Idiot knows when he’s found a good thing.

This last time I built a shrine to my deceased family on that beach. I can’t imagine it will survive the waves for long and maybe that’s the point. None of us are here forever. And some of us aren’t even here for a long time. We should work hard to be here for a GOOD time. Time is the most precious commodity on Earth.

Remax Baja Realty Expands to Todos Santos, Baja Sur

Remax Hidden Paradise Arrives in Todos Santos to Revolutionize the Local Real Estate Market

The magic of Todos Santos merges with the experience of Remax in the newly inaugurated Remax Hidden Paradise office. Located in the heart of our Pueblo Mágico, the agency promises to become a benchmark for those looking to buy or rent properties in the region.

With a team of highly trained professionals and extensive knowledge of the local market, Remax Hidden Paradise offers comprehensive services to meet the needs of its clients. Whether you dream of a beachfront villa in Los Cabos, a refuge in the Todos Santos desert, or an investment in the growing La Paz market, this new office will provide you with the necessary advice and support at every stage of the process.

“Mariela Frias, said, “We are excited to bring the Remax brand to Todos Santos and contribute to the development of this unique community. Our goal is to offer a service of excellence, based on trust, transparency, and commitment to our clients.”

The opening of Remax Hidden Paradise marks a milestone in the real estate market of Baja California Sur, expanding the options and opportunities for those looking to settle or invest in this privileged region.

For more information, visit the Remax Hidden Paradise office in front of Banorte, or call +619-632-70-45.

Rosarito Takes Center Stage with First Opera Encounter

BY ARCHER INGRAM

Gear up, opera lovers and curious bystanders! The city of Playas de Rosarito in Baja California is gearing up to host its first-ever Opera Encounter in Rosarito (ENOR), set to transform the State Center for the Arts into the opera hub of the region from July 27 to August 3. This inaugural event is not just a series of performances; it’s a cultural movement aimed at making opera accessible and enjoyable for all.

The Baja California Secretary of Culture is spearheading this initiative, with a packed schedule that includes masterclasses, rehearsal sessions, insightful lectures, and riveting recitals. The event will gather a mix of experienced maestros, professional singers, and up-and-coming talents, all dedicated to providing a unique artistic experience that cultivates a deeper appreciation for this majestic art form.

According to Marco Antonio Nuño Sánchez, the coordinator of CEART Playas de Rosarito, the essence of ENOR is to foster artistic development, broaden the opera’s appeal to new audiences, and strengthen the cultural community. “By creating spaces for opera, we aim to not only entertain but also educate and inspire connections among local, national, and international artists,” Nuño Sánchez remarked.

This sentiment is echoed by Javier Carrillo, the artistic coordinator of ENOR Rosarito, who emphasized the festival’s role in breaking down the elitist barriers often associated with opera. “ENOR is designed to integrate opera culture in a natural and accessible setting for everyone. This week-long event focuses on unveiling the behind-the-scenes of opera production, from singer preparation to the complexities of staging an opera,” Carrillo explained.

One of the highlights of the Opera Encounter is the grand concert “Il baccio di Tosca,” scheduled for July 31. This performance will commemorate the centennial of Giacomo Puccini’s passing by bringing to life scenes from his iconic opera “Tosca.” The event will feature renowned opera stars Maria Katzarava as Floria Tosca, César Sánchez as Mario Cavaradossi, and Carlos Conde as Il Barone Scarpia. They will be accompanied by the Ghukasyan String Orchestra with Andrés Sarre at the piano, under the skilled direction of Armando Pesqueira, coordinator of the State Music System of Baja California.

As ENOR draws to a close, the festival will segue into the twelfth edition of the “Opera by the Sea Festival,” which will take place at the CEART Rosarito arts esplanade. This event is free to the public, further emphasizing the initiative’s goal to make cultural events accessible to a broader audience.

Local businesses and tourism operators are also set to benefit from the influx of visitors and cultural aficionados expected to attend the festival. This aligns with the broader vision of the organizers to not only enrich the cultural landscape but also stimulate the local economy through high-quality artistic events.

For those interested in experiencing this operatic extravaganza, further details about the program and ticket information can be found on the websites and social media pages of the Baja California Secretary of Culture and CEART Playas de Rosarito. This is a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of opera right in the heart of Baja California.

Celebrate the Harvest in This Year Fiestas de la Vendimia

BY LEONARDO QUINTERO

From July 31 to August 18, 2024, Ensenada, Baja California, will once again be the epicenter of Mexican wine culture with the XXXIV Fiestas de la Vendimia. Organized by Provino, which encompasses 84 wineries, this festival aims to promote Mexican wine, attracting an expected 120,000 attendees and generating an economic impact of 800 million pesos.

This year’s theme focuses on sustainability in agronomy, highlighting the industry’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. As Provino celebrates its 24th anniversary, the festivities will feature over 30 events throughout the year, offering something for everyone.

Wine enthusiasts can indulge in tasting tours priced at 1,350 pesos, experiencing the rich flavors of local wines. Additionally, events like the one at Viña de Liceaga will showcase local talent such as the group “La Gran Familia” from Mexicali. For 1,450 pesos, guests can enjoy wine tastings paired with delicious paella.

Safety is a top priority, with the business sector collaborating to ensure a secure environment for all attendees. Despite the expected influx of cars, the event has a history of incident-free celebrations, a tradition they intend to uphold for many years to come.

Join the celebration of Mexican wine at Fiestas de la Vendimia and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Ensenada’s Valle de Guadalupe.

July 15, 2024 Edition

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A Stark Warning of Water Cuts: A Water Watch Editorial

BY MARTINA DOBESH

It seems an act of sheer folly to write about staying vigilant in our water usage after two relatively wet winters here in Baja California. It would seem the populus has fallen under a spell which suggests there is no longer a water issue in our future. But finally, a trickle of information was buried in the May 6th issue of this paper in the Que Pasa in Baja?, entitled “Baja California Faces Severe Colorado River Water Cuts.” It was only a matter of time for the alarm about water to be raised once again. The concern about water and the lack of it was never resolved; it just went underground with the rain of the last wet winters.

The Permanent Forum on Binational Waters issued the stark warning. “The upcoming cut in Colorado River water allocation to Mexico in 2024 will exceed the annual water usage of all Baja California cities reliant on this source.” This will mean about a 33% cut. It went on to say that the 2024 reductions of Baja’s primary water source have been severe, “the most severe will be in 2025, when a new administration is in charge.” This refers to the US elections in November. The 1944 Treaty protecting Colorado River water to Baja will expire in 2026. Yet the push for “progress” is in full gear around the state.
In the January 15th Gringo Gazette front page article sighted that the new governor, Marina Pila, attended the World Economic Forum in Switzerland where she stated that her primary goal was to showcase Baja California as “an ideal investment destination.” There was a long list of issues to be addressed such as economic development, security and sustainability. Last year the new governor announced her pet mega project for the wine country.  An “artificial town” with the theme of a medieval Italian village as a residential community and tourist complex with shops and lodging. 

The June 3rd paper had headlines of a “premier entertainment hub, boasting a capacity of 10,000 people for top-tier events,” including 300 bathrooms. How they can claim to be “eco-friendly” is absurd. June 14th Gringo Gazette was filled with articles promising happy tourist paradise and more jobs. One such is set to “Transform Ensenada’s Port Area,” and a ferry service from Ensenada to San Diego is expected in the next five months. Claiming to “boost” Baja’s image is touted as the “Punta Piedra’s New Misión Project.” It will feature 70 residences with “advanced technology and water-saving systems.” All of this is in alignment with the government’s blessings to have Baja California “attracting capital to the state.” It should be asked who is promising abundant water flowing for the generations of investors?  

Since I began investigating this issue over the last two decades it has become obvious to me that people’s minds tend to default to the idea that building desal plants will be our savior. Always after receiving these disturbing water facts there is always a casual wave of the hand, “Well, build a desal plant.” And sure enough, the July 1st front-page article by Archer Ingram, Rosarito’s New Desalination Plant Gets Green Light. I was amused by the subtitle, “if its ever completed” which is probably close to the truth. Ingram did a good job giving us all the ins and outs of the politics and costs of building it to a tune of half a billion dollars. But not addressed was the cost of operation and increased prices to the users. It wasn’t stated how long it would take to build the plant after all the talking stops. Given the timely nature of Rosarito’s water needs for development it is an important question. Will there be enough water to build it? This one plant would not furnish Rosarito’s growing needs and the impact on the ocean is a very real issue.

Oliver Quintero, Publisher of the Gringo Gazette, stated the land had already been purchased years ago for the first failed project which ended in litigation, the site is in Ejido Mazatlán, right next to the CFE thermoelectrical plant.

Water cuts are here. Water is our most precious thing we have. We waste a lot of it. Learning to conserve is wise for any future planning. To check out the water facts and history go to the Gringo Gazette webpage, ggnorth.com. Scroll down to August 16 and 30, 2021 where the Water Watch series begins.  Be sure and check out the YouTube channel Mojo Adventures for current boots-on-the-ground updates on the Colorado River as we head into 2026.

Editor’s Note: Martina is a freelance writer and journalist. She is the creator of the Water Watch series as a community service. She is the author of Dust in My Sandals, Tales from a Baja Traveler. See our ad and dive into her true adventures and wonders of Baja California.

July 1, 2024 Edition

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San Diego Zoo Experts Support Ecotourism Park in Ensenada

A team of experts from the San Diego Zoo, including veterinarians and biologists, recently visited the PaiPai Ecotourism Park in Ensenada to share their knowledge and implement improvements in animal care. Edgar Pérez Ortiz, the park’s director, highlighted that this collaboration aimed to enhance animal welfare through an exchange of expertise and experience.

The team consisted of 22 specialists from U.S. zoos, with 16 from the San Diego Zoo and 4 biologists from UABC. Together, they worked to apply innovative practices in animal care, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between conservation institutions.

At PaiPai’s farm, over 50 rescued animals, including goats, pigs, rabbits, ducks, roosters, and hens, received attention. The lion habitat saw significant improvements with new substrates and climbing areas, promoting natural behaviors.

The visit included various activities focused on environmental enrichment and animal health. Experts shared advanced techniques for managing and maintaining suitable habitats for the park’s diverse species.

“PaiPai is home to around 600 animals, including lions, tigers, jaguars, primates, birds, reptiles, small mammals, farm animals, and birds of prey like the Virginian Owl,” said Pérez Ortiz. The staff includes 28 zookeepers and 3 veterinarians.

In the stables, horses, ponies, donkeys, llamas, and some goats received hoof trimming and habitat enhancements. Water and air quality analyses were conducted to ensure a more comfortable environment.

Pérez Ortiz stated that the collaboration helped identify areas for improvement and develop long-term strategies benefiting both animals and the environment. “The San Diego Zoo’s expertise was invaluable in elevating care standards at PaiPai Ecotourism Park,” he affirmed.