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Art Exhibits in Ensenada
text by connie ellig; photos by david hopps
If you need a break from stress or crave a jolt of creativity and culture, why not check out one or more of the outstanding art expositions offered in Ensenada’s galleries or CEART Ensenada State Center of the Arts? Ensenada’s art scene is extremely diverse and offers exhibitions of local, national and international artists. Spending a few hours exploring art is also a great way to relax while at the same time, impressing visiting friends and family with the potpourri of quality expositions.
 
“Esbozos y Plains (Outlines & Plains)” Exposition
February 13-March 20
In conjunction with Building Bridges Foundation of Los Angeles, CA and Bice Bugatti Club of Italy, CEART presents paintings by Italian artist Franco Marrocco in the Galería Ernesto Muñoz Acosta of Centro Estatal de las Artes (CEART) on the corner of Blvd. Costero (Lázaro Cárdenas) & Av. Club Rotario. The February 13 inauguration at 7:30pm is open to the public. Exhibition hours: 8am-8pm Mon.-Sat., noon-6pm Sun. Free admission. Info: CEART, tels. (646)173-4307 & (646)173-4308.

“XIX Bienal Plástica de Baja California” Visual Arts Exposition
Thru March 20
Outstanding paintings, drawings, sculptures and graphic works by Baja California artists that were selected from the “XIX Bienal Plástica de Baja California” art competition held in 2013 are on display in the Galería Internacional of Ensenada’s Centro Estatal de las Artes (CEART) on the corner of Blvd. Costero (Lázaro Cárdenas) & Av. Club Rotario. Exhibition hours: 8am-8pm Mon.-Sat., noon-6pm Sun. Free admission. Info: CEART, tels. (646)173-4307 & (646)173-4308. 

Photo Exposition
February 26 & March 18 and by appointment thru mid-April
6pm. Works by Ramón Tamayo at La Covacha Foro/Galería, Calle 3 #350 int. 5A, Pasaje Romero between Av. Ruíz & Obregón. Free showings by appointment thru mid-April. Info: La Covacha, cell tel. (646)108-8926; e-mail 

Collective Art Show
Thru February 18
An exhibition of live figure drawings at La Covacha Foro/Galería, Calle 3 #350 int. 5A, Pasaje Romero between Av. Ruíz & Obregón, Ensenada. Free showings by appointment. Info: La Covacha, cell tel. (646)108-8926; e-mail 

“Kinderwunsch” Photo Exposition
Thru February 14
Internationally acclaimed Mexico City photographer Ana Casa Broda explores the intimate joys and complexities of motherhood in her book and exhibition at Galería 184, Av. Blancarte #184 (near Calle 2), Ensenada. Gallery hours: 9am-8pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-3pm Sat., closed Sun. Free admission. Info: Galería 184, tel. (646)178-2031, e-mail 

Friends from Ensenada, the U.S. East Coast and Southern California admire the installation by Marco Miranda at the “XIX Bienal Plástica de Baja California” at CEART
miranda installation


Ensenada Toll Road Finally Re-opened on December 16, 2014
text by connie ellig; photos by david hopps
A 20-mile section of the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Highway (Carretera Escénica), also known as the Toll Road, finally re-opened on December 16, 2014. The 20-mile section between La Fonda/La Misión and the Ensenada toll gate had remained closed since December 28, 2013 when a massive landslide caused the collapse of a 330-yard stretch at Km. 93.
 
For nearly a year, traffic was diverted to the two-lane Free Road that curves inland through the small town and historic valley of La Misión, and then winds through the hills and rural countryside before connecting with Mexico 1 south of the Ensenada toll gate. See the 2.43 minute video of collapse published on December 28, 2013 by www.FronteraEnsenada.info
 
Caminos y Puentes Federales de Ingresos y Servicios Conexos (CAPUFE) is the federal agency responsible for the maintenance of toll highways. It is a decentralized body of the Federal Government of Mexico.
 
In early May 2014, the delegate of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) stated that the repairs and re-opening of the toll road would be completed by late July prior to the August 1 start of the annual Fiestas de la Vendimia. The completion did not happen.
 
The 20-mile section of the toll road was then rescheduled for opening on September 15 or 16 (Mexican Independence Day). In a press release dated September 11, 2014, the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) reported that the date of reopening of the scenic highway had been postponed until December.
 
Because the highway is an important conduit for tourism and commerce, Ensenada citizens were outraged by the leisurely repair and formed protest groups. Ensenada businesses requested sanctions. Ensenada Mayor Gilberto Hirata Chico has estimated the losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
 
Below are some of the photos shot by David Hopps soon after the December 16, 2014 re-opening of the 20-mile stretch of the Toll Road.
 
December 19, 2014
by david hopps
by david hopps

January 22, 2015
by david hopps
by david hopps


Compañeros de Baja Norte Make Donations to Local Charities
text by connie ellig; photo by david hopps
Compañeros de Baja Norte, A.C., was extremely active during the past few months and provided significant donations to local charitable organizations. The Ensenada-based social and service club supplied a new cooking griddle to Albergue San Vicente migrant shelter, a new washing machine to both Gabriel House of Mexico and Pequeños Hermanos orphanage, new tires for the Agua Viva Ministries school bus, seeing eye guide dog training for a member of Unidos Venceremos, and a sizeable cash donation to St. Paco Animal Rescue. Membership in the multicultural, multilingual Club Compañeros is open to all persons interested in meeting new friends and helping the local community. For more information e-mail
 
Compañeros de Baja Norte, A.C. helped with financial assistance for the numerous unwanted, mistreated and abused dogs and cats at St. Paco Animal Rescue in Cantú in Punta Banda. Left to right with four-footed friends: 2015 Compañeros President Nancy McKee, St. Paco founder Joy Meade, Compañeros member Leon Crowell, and 2014 Compañeros President Mary Jane Boone.
companeros and st paco
 

Mexico: A Traveler's Guide to Safety Over Sensationalism
Baja, California - Mexico, one of the world’s great travel destinations, is often singled out for violent crime without telling the whole story. While there is sporadic violence along parts of the U.S. border, the majority of Mexico’s key tourism areas are not only safe, but safer than many other popular tourism areas.
 
While the media often portrays Mexico as the most dangerous place on earth, it is statistically quite safe. According to NationMaster.com which uses U.N.-based data, Mexico doesn't even make the list of the 36 nations with the highest murder rates. Mild-mannered nations like Sweden and Switzerland top Mexico for murders on NationMaster.com. The assault rate in the U.S. is nearly 5 times greater than that of Mexico in the independent Prominix report adjusted for under-reported crime.
 
Even when we add on independent estimates for unreported homicides, Mexico ranks 21st behind many popular vacation destinations. Places we think of as idyllic Caribbean retreats have double, triple, even quadruple the murder rates of Mexico. Mexico’s famous vacation areas are even safer than the averaged statistics, and even safer still for tourists.
 
The Yucatan is as safe as rural U.S. states.
The magnificent beaches and ancient ruins of the Mexican State of Yucatan are among the safest and most spectacular resort beaches in the world. Yucatan’s  low homicide rate is slightly lower than the rural U.S. States of Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Maine.
 
Mexico is safer than many cities in the U.S.
More than 150,000 Americans safely visit Mexico every day. And while the media sensationalizes stories of violence in Mexico, Mexico is safer than many major U.S. cities. Travelers feel relatively safe visiting popular U.S. cities like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C, or Atlanta. Visitors from around the world enjoy these vibrant cities in relative, reasonable safety. Yet each of these cities is statistically less safe than Mexico.
 
Mexico and politically charged Media Bias
In the debate on immigration reform in the US, the facts on safety in Mexico have become a casualty of politics. To change public opinion and policy, politicians sometimes throw fuel on the fire. If you make up an exciting story about “severed heads in the desert,” it gets a lot of attention and people believe it. The governor of Arizona admitted this story was baseless, but only after months of damage was successfully inflicted to the image of Mexico. The homicide rates above are facts from the FBI, not political fabrications.

Media Favoritism versus Facts
New Orleans is beloved and its renaissance is showcased in the news. The FBI reports the murder rate of New Orleans is declining, but it is nearly 4 times higher than all of Mexico and over 5 times higher than Mexico City. New Orleans is still an amazing place to visit and the Media is right to champion this inspirational city. But Mexico is at least as remarkable and there is a clear difference in how each of these storied destinations is portrayed in contemporary news.
 
Every city and country has places that are safe and dangerous. Mexico is no exception. The areas that are dangerous should be avoided. And those that are safe should be enjoyed and celebrated. (read entire story)


The Baja Review
text by barbara keller; photo by david hopps

Celebrating its first anniversary in January 2013, the Baja Review is a hard copy, print on paper newspaper with no breaking news. It’s published once a month and is on the stands on the 23rd for the coming month. The focus is good restaurants, wineries, hotels, music, outdoor life, events, and community. My agenda is to inform, comfort and encourage the English speaking ex-pats living here, to support and stimulate the Mexican economy, and in time, to reach and reassure the folks contemplating tourism in northern Baja.
 
The Baja Review has some excellent writers: Tom Gatch, of Hooked on Baja fame, composes the fishing column and a restaurant review column; Sitara Perez chronicles a wine diary of her first year making wines in the Guadalupe valley; Susan Shea provides a golf column. Classical music aficionado and choral ensemble member Margit Gantt presents classical music reviews. Bunny Wingate, a prolific writer and playwright, does a column about the interesting women in Rosarito.
 
The quality is good, the articles are interesting, and the ads are cheap. Be sure to check out the Baja Review, now online at www.bajareview.com
 
If you have stories or articles that fit generally into the categories we focus on, you are welcome to contact me at (646)155-0581 or e-mail barbarakeller3@gmail.com with your questions or submissions. Please keep stories less than 500 words and nothing scary or contentious.

You can find the Baja Review on the 23rd of each month. Where you can find it is listed on the back page of the paper, which is tricky if you don’t have a copy. We try to make them available at the big restaurants and some of the hotels in Rosarito, La Misión, Ensenada, Punta Banda and Valle de Guadalupe. Please call me at (646)155-0581 if you would like an exact location. Enjoy, please, and I welcome feedback.

Get Hooked on Hooked on Baja
hooked on baja coverEscape to a land of magical, natural beauty that offers a warm sun, a host of beautiful coastlines and some of the very finest saltwater fishing on the entire planet. Hooked on Baja by Tom Gatch gives you the maps, GPS waypoints, proper angling techniques, tackle and species information that you need to be successful when fishing and exploring the coasts of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

Much more than a simple fishing guide, Hooked on Baja incorporates many true-life adventures from some of Baja’s foremost outdoors personalities along with travel information, deliciously authentic south of the border recipes and, for those who end up being ‘hooked on Baja’ themselves, vital information on how to go about purchasing and legally securing real estate property along the picturesque coast of the Baja California peninsula.

Hooked on Baja allows readers to step away from the hustle, bustle and traffic gridlock that are a regular part of life in many of the crowded urban communities north of the Mexican border. Discover a place where there are still countless opportunities for relaxation, recreation and retirement in an enchanting world where the fish are nearly always biting, and lines of pelicans are regularly observed gliding silently mere inches above the pounding surf. 

Released on September 15, 2007, Hooked on Baja is now available at Borders, Barnes & Noble and Costco warehouse stores in southern California, as well as through most major online booksellers.

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