Sunday, March 31, 2013

Loreto Food & Wine Festival 2013

As I have mentioned recently in these pages, this past weekend was the second annual Loreto Food and Wine Festival.  The inaugural event last year was a very successful two day celebration with a street party on the Saturday and a golf tournament on the Sunday.  Due to the success of the event, the original goal of purchasing a much needed piece of medical equipment for the hospital in town was more than accomplished, and with the additional funds left over the organizers was able to assist a number of other worthy causes in town.

Following this initial success, the organizers realized that to maximize the benefits of future such events, an umbrella structure was required and the Amigos de Loreto was created, which I profiled here several weeks ago ( ).  During the past year, in addition to administering the distribution of the funds from last year’s Festival and creating a conduit for ongoing charitable donations from the expanding ex-pat community, the small group of volunteers that form the core of the “Amigos” organization had a big “sophomore” challenge facing them – meeting, and hopefully exceeding, the high expectations that were set by the success of the first Festival.

One way they set about meeting that challenge was to expand to a three day event, from the initial two days of last year, with the addition of a kick-off dinner at the Hotel on the Friday dubbed “White Night” with the simple, but effective theme of wearing something white.  There were 200 tickets available for the sit-down dinner menu which featured wine pairings from several different Baja wineries.  Homex had generously offered the Hotel’s large pool patio area for the event and the four course meal was supplied and prepared by members of the Loreto Restaurant Association.

I had been asked to play a small role conducting the live auction later on in the evening and so I arrived a little before the scheduled start time to familiarize myself with the set-up and go over last minute details with several of the organizers.  The Hotel patio was an impressive sight with large round tables for 10 attractively laid with white linens and table centers filling an area in front of a temporary stage platform where the Khnemua Jazz Ensemble, a 4 piece blues/jazz combo from Cabo that would be playing through the evening.

An entrance gateway to the Patio area had been set up where the guests had their wristbands checked and received a tote bag containing a complimentary bottle of wine and the ladies were given a white feather boa to accent the color themed ensembles that almost everyone had managed to put together.  Typical of most Loreto Bay social events, the crowd started to form a line-up before the planned start time and as they filtered through the entrance, picking up their “goody bags” (also white, of course) and began to mingle in the open area beyond, the impact of a couple of hundred people (almost all of whom were at least partially, and many completely) dressed in white was a surprisingly impressive!

After a somewhat extended cocktail hour, we were encouraged to move to the edge of the beach where a fire pit had been prepared for a bonfire conducted by the same fire dancer I wrote about early in the season, ( who had done the same demonstration at the earlier food event I had reported about where they were actually cooking the local delicacy clams.  This time, however, the fire dance was for entertainment purposes only without the delicious results of the steamed clams at the conclusion of the fiery show.  However, when we made our way back to our tables to begin the meal we were greeted by a delightful surprise – an appetizer of Tatemada style cooked Chocolata clams was waiting for us!   

This was followed by a soup course, a “fresh mint pea bisque” according to the menu, and not being a lover of pea soups in general - I was prepared to give this a pass after a sample taste, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the creamy consistency and fresh, slightly minty, very “un pea like” taste and enjoyed the whole serving, accompanied by bread sticks and “gourges”, which I discovered were a small hollow puff pastry balls.  After a small fresh greens salad the entrée was served, a generous portion of Sea Bass presented in a foil “swan” sculpture nesting on a bed of wild rice with a garnish of sautéed vegetables – the attractive presentation added to the enjoyment of the delicious food and I was impressed with how well the Hotel’s staff coped with serving a much larger group than they are normally prepared to handle.

The meal was accompanied by generous quantities of 4 different wines supplied by several of the different wineries who were represented at the Festival and concluded with a light desert of Cream Pablova with mixed Berries.  The live entertainment continued throughout the meal, with the vocalist and stylized blues/jazz repertoire adding an uncommon “dinner club” atmosphere to the evening.  During the first band break representatives of several of the wineries introduced themselves and highlighted the wines we were enjoying with the meal.

My brief stint as Auctioneer was scheduled to take place during the second band break and, following some descriptions of the items on offer by Elaine, the Auction Chair of the event, I did my best to coax a total of over $3,300 US out of the crowd for the four items that included a private catered dinner for four (later enlarged to eight) in winner’s home by Chef Kieran from Restaurant 1697, who was the Head Chef for the meal we had all just enjoyed.  There was also a private return flight for two from Loreto to San Ignacio with a Whale watching tour included, a two night stay at a golf resort in Cabo and a stay for up to six at the Guest House at an organic olive orchard in central California.

The next morning preparations were underway early on the Paseo, with cars being cleared from both sides of the street to make way for the approximately 500 diners who would be seated at tables in both lanes of the street, on either side of the open intersection in front of the two Posada buildings, where the bandstand was set up for the evening’s entertainment.  In the center median between the tables on either side of the street, shade tents were being set up for each of the 13 participating restaurants, all members of the Loreto Restaurant Association, along with other tents where the wineries offer tastings of their products, and more tents where bottles of wine could be purchased, and still others selling beer, water and soft drinks.

When people started arriving for the Street Party in the late afternoon their appropriate wristbands were checked by volunteers at reception tents at either end of the blocked off section of the street and then everyone received another a souvenir wine glass imprinted with the Festival logo, and a commemorative T-shirt in a similarly logoed tote bag and an all important restaurant “passport” listing the names of all the food venues and the specialty they were serving.

Apparently, one of the “areas for improvement” following last year’s Festival was controlling the food distribution so everyone could sample from all the restaurants, and so a passport was implemented this year so when you picked up food from one location that vendor could check themselves off your sheet with the intention of limiting everyone to one visit and sample per restaurant.  Space limits me from listing all the restaurants and their offerings, but suffice to say that the selections ranged from a pork paella, several preparations of clams, ribs , chicken and sea-foods, traditional Mexican specialties and even a desert table of iced cupcakes and other sweets.       

Early in the evening Los Beach Dogs, supplemented with some guest musicians sitting in, kicked off the entertainment with a classic rock and roll set – never sounding better, by virtue of the professional sound system that had been set up for the headline act Bahia Show de La Paz, back by popular demand following their appearance at last year’s Festival.  This 10 piece show-band with a horn section, two percussionists, keyboards and two vocalists did not disappoint with their return engagement and kept up a fast paced blend of popular English and Spanish songs that kept the dance area in front of the stage hopping most of the night.

Interspersed between the wide variety of food and drink to be enjoyed and the great music, there were more fundraising activities including a popular silent auction area with a variety of donated art and crafts along with gift baskets and décor items among other offerings.  Featured among some raffle items was a beautifully reconditioned golf cart supplied by a cart dealer in Cabo and I was once again recruited to auction off two final getaway packages; one to a Napa Valley resort and spa and another to a high-end Cabo beach and golf resort.

There were still some hardy dancers enjoying the hard-working band when I called it a night, well after the usually early “Baja Midnight” and found my way home again, feeling tired after the uncommon back-to-back nights of partying – but for a couple of dozen more resilient golfers, the scramble start of the second annual Festival tournament got off to an early beginning with an 8:00 am tee off!  I trust you, my patient Readers, will forgive me from passing on the early rising and the golf that followed, but by all accounts a good time was had, and many prizes were awarded during the lunch at the 19th Hole that followed the tournament, which further contributed to the fundraising purposes of the entire Festival.

Last year I was disappointed that I was away on a visit to Canada during the first Festival and could only report on it second hand (, as a result I have been looking for to this year’s event all Season – and suffice to say, I was not disappointed!  While in any large event like this, organized and staffed by volunteers, many of whom put in hundreds of hours of meetings and work for months leading up to the weekend, there can always be room found for improvements, but there is no question that this year’s celebration raised the bar much higher and, along with it, raised considerably more funds which will no doubt benefit that much longer a list of worthy recipients than were assisted last year.  More information will be available about the fund raising results from the Festival on the Amigo’s website when the final accounting is completed.

Seeing how this community has pulled together to begin a Festival tradition that will apparently thrive and grow in the future, and by so doing, improve the quality of life for many whom we share this beautiful place with that are less fortunate than we who have recently arrived.  And seeing how our enjoyment of the good things in life can help to benefit so many others – that is truly a special synergy of “Living Loreto”!        

Sunday, March 24, 2013

St. Patrick's in Loreto Bay

 With the increased numbers of Homeowners and Visitors here during the extended Spring Break season, we are in the midst of a busier social agenda at this time of year, including last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration at El Cardon Cantina here in Loreto Bay.  While St. Patrick’s has become an almost international celebration, you may be forgiven if the idea of a Fiesta in Mexico celebrating the Irish Patron Saint seems a bit counter intuitive, but when you consider that it was being put on by Kieran, the Owner of El Cardon, who is himself authentically Irish, it not only makes sense but it was almost inevitable!

Tickets (which sold out before the event) were available at the restaurant, located here in Loreto Bay, for a couple of weeks before the event, and the 100 peso charge included a drink and a corned beef “pie”, which turned out to be a large turnover-type of pastry filled with chunks of potato, shredded beef and some herb seasonings.  In addition, there would be natchos and other snacks available from the Cantina kitchen during the event, and, of course, a bar offering beers, wines and some mixed drinks as well as (to my great enthusiasm) actual Guinness Beer – talk about authentic!

Headlining the festivities were the locally favorite music group “Los Beach Dogs”, in their “large band” format, including the original four members with their latest addition, a bass guitarist, so, not surprisingly, when you combine food, drink and entertainment with a popular excuse for party, the scene was set for another memorable night in Loreto Bay! 

On Sunday afternoon I headed down the Paseo to check out the preparations at El Cardon, where one side of the street, centered on the restaurant, had been blocked off to make room for a stage platform for the band.  Shade tents for a ticket desk and outside bar, were set up on the street either side of the stage and tables and chairs were being set up on the restaurant’s patio as well as along the sidewalk and the street, while the area between the sidewalk and the front of the stage was left open for dancing, with more tables and chairs filling the street on either side.  During the early afternoon the “Dogs” were setting up their equipment, while the Cantina Owners Kieran and Norma with the extra staff hired for the occasion, had turned that part of the normally quiet Paseo into a hive of activity.

After checking out the preparations I returned home to look for something green in my wardrobe and get ready for the evening ahead.  Fortunately, in a last moment flash of inspiration, I remembered that I had an unusual souvenir from my past life as a Calgary Flames (NHL Hockey) fan – a bright green hard hat emblazoned with the Flaming “C” Logo (“the hardest working fan”) which provided the finishing touch to my somewhat cross-cultural “wearing of the Green” ensemble!  So decked out and carrying my trusty camera – you never know when a Blog event may happen – I headed off a bit early for the 6:00 pm start time to get a good seat.

By the time I arrived there were several dozen other early birds claiming tables and getting food and drinks sorted out, while a steady influx of people arrived over the next hour or so, most of whom were “wearing the green” in one form or another.  The available seating filled up and more chairs were brought in until the available space was filled and people were sitting on the curb and standing at the outer edges of the crowd.  The Beach Dogs cranked it up around 7:00 and soon afterwards the street was full of dancers – young and old – who kept the place hopping for the rest of the evening.

Once again, Loreto Bay had transformed itself from a relaxed oasis of “quiet enjoyment” to a happy, friendly all-ages “party zone”, the mood of which was perfectly reflected by the music and energy of the friends and neighbors providing the entertainment – for the pure joy of playing the music they love.  Added to this the food and drink being offered by Kieran and Norma who, by opening the El Cardon Cantina earlier this season ( have become a part of this community, even if they still live in town where their main restaurant is located.

And so the evening progressed, far later than I was able to participate, being one of the few residents with work responsibilities the next morning, but by all accounts a grand time was had by all – Faith and begorrah!  Seeing a couple of hundred people in the community come together and enjoy any excuse to have a party, sharing in the fun of a evening of food, drink and music together and celebrating the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, half a world away from it’s origins in the Emerald Isle – that is one more reason why we all are “Living Loreto”!    

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reflections at dawn - Springtime in Loreto

This week, when the rest of North America “sprang forward”, here in Mexico we are still on regular Mexican Time, as Daylight Savings does not begin here until the first weekend in April.  Having said that, this far south the time change is not associated with the portent of changing seasons, as it is in northern climates, where I was used to this annual ritual being a promise of milder weather to come – maybe.

In fact, we are already feeling a distinct shift to warmer weather, albeit somewhat later this year than has been my experience in the recent past.  Perhaps it is related to the fact that the popular dialogue seems to have shifted from the concept of “Global Warming” to what is now referred to “Climate Change”.  Our “winter” here has been traditionally identified as starting sometime in mid-December, with the advent of cooler evenings and mornings, followed by comfortable daytime highs in the 70’s and usually extends through to mid-February, when things start to warm up again.

However this year, the northeast winds that are associated the cooler weather have continued off and on through until early in March, and during the past month or so we have had more clouds than normal and even a brief rain shower about a week ago.  But during the past couple of weeks I have noticed that the ambient temperature has been rising, and with the increasingly sunny days, there have been a return to more of the satisfying heat that I have been missing.

To those of you further north who have suffered through what in many places has been an extreme winter, with low temperatures and frequent heavy storms, the subtle and apparently benign weather fluctuations I describe here may seem trivial.  Let me be clear, I am NOT complaining about a “hard winter in Mexico”, but it is perhaps worth noting that we are all connected on this continent and while those of us lucky enough to live this far south have, over the past several months, enjoyed weather that would be the envy of much of the rest of North America, we too have had an unusually “wintery winter”.

However, delayed as it has been, the warm calm days we have been enjoying recently are as close to perfect as we have enjoyed since my return here last Fall.  In fact, this week I have been tempted out of my bed in the predawn for the first times since late in the Fall to take a morning walk along the beach, about a hundred yards from my home.  Sunrise is now about 6:30 and at that time there is a grayish light as I walk along the path between neighboring homes to the beach.

Leaving the pathway, the sand is cold that makes up the small dune that separates the beach from the homes, the sea grasses coarse and dry underfoot.  At low tide, the extended beach is dark brown sand stretching ten or fifteen yards from the high water mark to the gentle rolls of surf curling out of a glassy calm sea.  Small fragments of white shells spot the sand and there are hundreds of “pores” marking the refuges of clams burrowed into the beach, oozing seawater as the small waves wash back and forth over them.

Perhaps due to the early hour, I do not meet dogs and their walkers, as is often the case on the beach in the morning, but in their place was a first for me, a group of half a dozen Mexican fishermen are pulling a net ashore and harvesting dozens of foot long fish from the light weight nylon mesh.  Once the net is laid out on the beach in five or six 30 foot swags, they untangle their catch and drop the fish into a bucket, later to transfer them into a sturdy cooler layered with ice to keep them fresh.   Then they begin the process again, retrieving a second net, stretching at a right angle from the beach into the shallow water offshore.

Watching this early morning industry, I consider the logistics involved in this practical and efficient undertaking – including coming from town to collect their catch at this early hour, which would have meant leaving there at least an hour earlier, and presumably another trip the evening before to set the nets.  I am struck by the difference between this exercise and what would be classed as “sport fishing” for the ex-pat community. 

This was clearly a food harvesting enterprise, and while the men were friendly and cheerful while they went about their work, (greeting me with a “Buenas Dias” and, when I approached closer to take pictures, pointing out unnecessarily “pescado” (I’m not sure what they thought I thought they were catching!) this was obviously not an entertainment but a practical way to feed themselves and/or sell their catch to others.  As I continued on with my walk, I considered how many fish tacos their buckets of fish would possibly become later in the day – and reflected on my own past angling experiences off this same beach, where spending a couple of hours with a carbon fiber rod and a spinning reel with lifelike plastic lures, more often than not I would fail to catch a single edible specimen.

Further along the beach, with the new sun breaking quickly above the off-shore island of Carmen, I encountered a more recreational activity – a couple of Homeowners launching a kayak for an early morning paddle on the glassy smooth water, joining another couple of paddlers further down the beach who were also taking advantage of a perfectly calm clear dawn for what I anticipated would reward them with a pristine and memorable experience.

With this sun now up, and a new day begun, I retraced my steps back along the beach, returning to my home while reflecting on the contrast of the simple activities I had seen this morning on my walk – catching fish for food and kayaking over the calm waters toward the rising sun – with the soon to begin daily routines that are associated with living here in this community of hundreds of homes that borders the shore.  While this day to day activity for me is focused on my life and work, and the complexities that come with those things, I was glad that I had made the effort to once again recharge myself by experiencing the simple pleasure of greeting another dawn walking along the beach.

Putting things into perspective by returning to the basics that attracted me here in the beginning is a lesson I keep learning while I’m “Living Loreto”.                 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Living Roots planted in San Javier

Regular readers will be familiar with my several previous postings about the San Javier Mission, the second Mission to be established after the original one was founded here in Loreto about 300 years ago.  I have written before about the 30+ km drive into the Sierra de La Giganta mountain range west of here and the tiny hamlet surrounding the historic building itself, the oldest un-restored Mission in the Baja.  I have expressed how I am moved by the sense of history and spirituality every time I return to visit this special place.

However, in spite of frequent visits, the community of San Javier itself has remained an enigma to me – a cluster of small buildings bordering the unexpectedly wide avenue leading to the Mission building with one or two palapa style restaurants (that may, or may not, be open on any given day) a MINI “mini-super” with little stock on the shelves, other than the ubiquitous Coca-Cola cooler, bags of spicy chips and foil wrapped cookies.

Beyond the Mission building itself, are the irregular shaped fields that are cultivated with onions in season and the orchards of olive and fruit trees, with a few livestock and, of course, territorial dogs – evidence of a larger population that is largely invisible to most of the casual visitors.  However “connected” I have felt on a spiritual level, after a visit to San Javier, I often left there feeling that I have missed connecting with the real place that is San Javier today.

 But that has now begun to change!

This change started for me last week when I went to an open meeting here in Loreto Bay at the Community Center, sponsored by the Loreto Bay Volunteers, on behalf of Living Roots, a non-profit organization with the goal of nurturing and assisting the ranchero lifestyle and culture in the Sierra de La Giganta region surrounding Loreto ( ).  The meeting was an introduction to McKenzie Campbell, the co-founder and director of Living Roots, accompanied by several residents of San Javier who are part of the organization she has been working to develop over the past several years.

McKenzie’s story is interesting; with an MBA from Colorado, she spent four years in management and leadership roles with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and through that organization lead backpack and kayak tours of the Baja, which introduced her to the hidden beauty of the ranchero lifestyle in the mountains surrounding Loreto.  San Javier and the neighboring ranchero community was chosen as the first area of focus for the Living Roots organization a couple of years ago and following an extensive communication process, goals and objectives were established with much input from the local residents and the ranchero community.

The presentation that took place here was coordinated through the Loreto Bay Volunteers organization, some of whose members have assisted in the beginnings of Living Roots, and was to announce the official opening of a newly completed cultural center and marketplace in San Javier last weekend, so your “Faithful Scribe” decided that this would be a worthy Blog item and made plans to attend.  There have been some significant improvements to the San Javier road since my last visit a couple of months ago ( ) the paving has been completed on the last stretch of the approach to the community, although there are still the other washouts through the mountains. 

The new cultural center is a tidy thatch roofed building midway along the main street leading to the Mission, next door to the Police detachment.  As part of the local commitment to Living Roots, the building was designed and built with community volunteer labor and donated materials.  When I arrived there were a couple of dozen people milling in and around the building, about equally divided between locals and residents and supporters from the ex-pat community.

For the occasion, shade tents had been erected at the entrance where a couple of celebratory cakes were on display as well as some cold drinks.  Inside there were several small displays of locally produced handcrafts including leatherwork, quilts, embroidery, preserves and baking, among other things.  Establishing direct market access for locally produced goods is a primary goal of Living Roots, with the dual benefits of preserving traditional skills and generating commerce for the local craftspeople.

Although, from a merchandise point of view, the offerings were modest, the obvious pride and enthusiasm of the people who there that had made the goods was evident, as was the pride of ownership they had, as members of the community, for what they had accomplished in building the cultural center itself.  But as the afternoon passed, I came to appreciate that probably the most significant element was the “sea-change” that was evidenced by the very existence of this Living Roots organization – for a community that had changed little in perhaps hundreds of years and an economy that had been largely self-sufficient and supplemented by barter – now was making its first tentative steps towards modern commerce.

I also realized that this incipient commercialism was almost exclusively being undertaken by the women of the community.  McKenzie told me a story that serves as an example of this feminine entrepreneurship.  During the Festival of San Javier, an annual celebration of the Mission’s Patron Saint’s day held in early December that attracts hundreds of pilgrims and people participating in the combination county fair/carnival atmosphere that overwhelms the hamlet every year, one of the women who had become involved in Living Roots decided to put up a hot-dog stand – her first such venture at the Festival, although she had grown up in the community.  She also had her portable wood stove set up from which she was making and selling tortillas, and while she sold lots of hot-dogs, what surprised her the most was that her tortilla stove attracted a standing room crowd of fascinated on-lookers waiting to be customers.

Now that the Cultural Center has been launched and is staffed by contributing volunteers, the next project is to establish a self-guided nature walk of the surrounding area, including the orchards that date back almost three centuries to the Jesuit founders of the original mission.  Listening to McKenzie, there are many more ambitious plans for new products and projects in the future, and as this initial San Javier Living Roots “takes root” and becomes self sustaining, it will become a model that will be duplicated in a network of other ranchero communities within Baja California Sur.

What I took away from my afternoon visit to San Javier was a new appreciation of the underlying community that has existed there for many generations, but has remained largely invisible to the average casual visitor who comes to see history in the form of the Mission building, and then leaves again, without having made a connection to the living history that is represented by the people who call this place home.  But on second thought, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by the revelation that an organization called Living Roots could make a big impact on “Living Loreto”!                    

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Swimming Pools, Art and Hogs - a weekend in Loreto

As we approach the “high” season here in Loreto – the time before, during and after the Spring Break period in North America, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of visitors here over the past couple of weeks and an increase in the number of events in Loreto Bay and the town of Loreto.

This past weekend is a case in point.  After a busy week in the Office when I did more tours of homes than any week so far this Season, the HOA hosted an official opening party for the new Community Pool that was finished in Agua Viva (the second phase of the development) around the end of last year.  Prior to this pool being completed there was one Pool near the south end of the Founders Neighborhood, so the completion of this major amenity is an important development for the growing number of occupied homes in the north end of the Loreto Bay development.

While this new Pool is smaller than the original one, in an organic somewhat kidney-shape, it has been very nicely finished with several shade structures and some specimen plantings in the landscaping around its borders and the finishing touches are underway on a large decorative fountain at the entrance to the Pool area.  The surrounding Pool deck area has been well furnished with nicely upholstered metal lounge beds and some table and chair groupings, making it a welcoming and comfortable social and relaxation center for the residents in Agua Viva, as well as the Loreto Bay community as a whole.

Associa, the Homeowner’s Management company had set up several tables and ice-chests near the entrance to the pool area where they distributed draft beer and bottled water along with some light snacks, soon there was a good sized crowd assembled enjoying the refreshments and visiting among themselves.  The weather, however, was unseasonably cool – discouraging all but one brave soul from venturing into the actual pool itself, and sending part of the crowd further down the path to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun’s warmth.

While this Pool is the largest project undertaken last year, the first of the two year infrastructure completion project currently underway, work has already begun on the third and final Community Pool that will be completed about mid-way between the two existing ones at either end of the Development.  While these Pools are important additions to the amenities and enjoyment of the Community, they are also a tangible expression of the pride and confidence that all of us who own homes here feel about the community where we have chosen to live and what our vision is of its future.

But my evening was not yet finished, I left the Pool Party well underway and headed into town where I took in the opening reception of an Art Festival that had been organized by Rick and Jill (who I wrote about a few weeks ago “Have I got your attention yet?” January 2013  This Festival included several local artists along with a number of others who had been invited from the surrounding area.  The Festival was held in the beautiful surroundings of Rick and Jill’s small boutique Hotel with the ten artists setting up in different areas around the main building and the pool patio.  Wine and beer were available from a small poolside bar, catered by Cynthia and Will from the Wine Bar @ Nopolo along with some tasty snacks.  Although I was only there for about an hour or so, there was a good sized opening reception crowd in attendance, made up apparently of a combination of ex-pat and Mexican “townies” with a good representation of people from Loreto Bay as well.        

The next day I headed back into town and spent some more time browsing the variety of art available at the Festival which included paper mache sculpture, gourd art, acrylic, oil and water colors along with decorated ceramic tiles, among other media.  Of course, Rick had several areas dedicated to displaying his photographic art ranging from small matted prints to magnificent wall-sized framed feature pieces.  Speaking with several people involved, I gather that there was a steady flow of browsers and customers throughout the day, and many homes will be proudly displaying some new art accents as a result.

When I left the Art Festival I checked out the town square for early signs of the third big event of the weekend – a (mainly) Harley Davidson Motorcycle rally, which was visiting Loreto over the weekend.  There was a main stage being assembled in front of the City Hall, and a couple of BBQs loaded with sides of pork starting to slow cook, but only a handful of motorcycles were in evidence so far, although apparently most of the Hotels in town had been fully booked and I had noticed that there were numerous big bikes parked in front of many of them.
I carried on with my weekend “hunting & gathering” re-stocking my kitchen for the week and then, on my way back to Loreto Bay, I stopped at Del Baracho, the Saloon/Diner just off the highway for a hamburger and draft, while I checked out the patio band they had laid on for the Harley weekend.  When I finally got home, I just had time to put away my shopping and tidy up a bit before it was time to meet up with some neighbors to share a taxi back into town for the evening’s festivities!

Since I had been there earlier in the day, the Plaza had been transformed with dozens and dozens of immaculate motorcycles parked side by side on both sides of the approach street as well as a double row of more gleaming bikes the length of one side of the Plaza.  The square itself was packed with hundreds of people, many denim and leather clad Bikers, mixed in with even more Loretanos and ex-pats, there for the live music, food, beer, and above all else, people watching!

In addition to the BBQ pork I had seen being prepared earlier in the day, there were vendor carts selling hot dogs and snacks as well as a beer tent selling cans for 10 pesos (less than a dollar) – Bikers, Motorcycles, Rock & Roll and cheap beer, ya gotta love Mexico!  After checking out many of the beautiful bikes on display and enjoying the music with the lively crowd in the square, my friends and I made our way to a nearby bar where things were a bit quieter and we sat at the bar, had a few more beer and enjoyed another rock band of surprisingly young, but very talented locals.

After a while, as the bar filled up, we decided it was time to get something to eat so we made our way back to the Plaza and went to 1697, a favorite restaurant that opened Loreto Bay branch I wrote about earlier this season “El Cardon . . . “ December 2012,  We were welcomed by the Chef/Proprietor Kieran and ordered a selection of their delicious thin crust pizzas to share, and with the music from the Plaza filtering into the Dining Room we began to wind down the evening.

When our late night dinner was over we left the restaurant to find Oscar, our driver for the evening, waiting patiently for us outside the restaurant, and so we headed back to Loreto Bay.  On the drive home, reflecting on the busy day, and weekend I had enjoyed, I was struck by how the social life that now surrounds us has grown over the past number of years – so that some times there are almost more things going on than there is time to fit them all in – and that’s a good problem, when you are “Living Loreto”!