Baja Western Onion - News For The Left Coast of Baja California Sur

La Cachora Special Needs School - There's a beautiful little school for children and adults with special needs that most folks in our greater Todos Santos community don't even know exists. It's been here for over nine years and needs our support. Properly known as Centro de atencian Multiple (CAM), its director, Prof. Martin Mendez and his incredible staff do wonders for these kids & adults. There just isn't enough state funding to cover regular expenditures for student transportation, education and vocational materials or equipment. They're in dire need of special playground equipment, such as the Liberty Swing. (See the video at You are all invited to come to our Open House and Holiday Garden Party to see for yourselves. There'll be pony rides for your children, homemade foods, music, a raffle and an auction with a great selection of handmade holiday items and other surprises. Please mark it on your calendar: Saturday, December 15, just a block down La Cachora Road. Anyone out there who would like to help, please email Mary: mshortell[-at-] - Mary Shortell, mshortell[-at-], 145-0512, Todos Santos

Building Concerns - Thanks for the update on the TS Master Plan. Is there a way that we can get involved in the planning phase of the Master Plan if we do not live there? It would be great to have a more detailed summary of the items discussed and even better if we can have our voice heard...owners of land who do not yet have a home there yet. - Hudson Barnes, hudsonb[-at-], 972-983-5288, Pescadero

Ride Needed From SJDC Airport Nov 4th - My buddy and I need a ride from SJD to mi casa in Las Tunas Nov 4th. Will pay 75 cocos plus tacos and beer? Thanks, Aldo - Alan Cooper, tropic.aldo[-at-], 406-549-6767, Todos Santos

Rummage Sale Canceled - Sunday, Dec. 9 at La Canada - The Annual Rummage Sale at La Canada Del Diablo, originally announced for Sunday, December 9 will be rescheduled for a date in January. The Benefit for Kittie Heaven Rummage Sale at La Canada de Diablo will go ahead as scheduled on Saturday, December 8. - BWO

Responses To Recent Crime Articles - Editor's Note: We received a number of comments about the three recent articles we reprinted from the Baja Pony Express describing incidents of crime and corruption in Mexico. In spite of the concern and alarm these incidents can cause, we're reminded to keep them in perspective as isolated exceptions and not the rule. Also, almost all of these incidents occur far to the north in or near Tijuana or Ensenada. We are also reminded that there are countless incidents of human kindness and Good Samaritans that go unreported every day (See "High Wind Danger" this issue). Each day, tens thousands of people pass north and south throughout Baja without incident.

The important message to take away from these incidents is to travel safely and sensibly, whether you are in Mexico, Canada or the US, and to prepare for potential risks and problems. - BWO
Bribery - After reading about extortion attempts by Mexican police, I have to share my story. My husband and I were in La Paz opening a business. We were riding around on our 4 wheeler (without helmets since everyone does) and stopped to say hi to some police friends my husband had made. One of the officers patted his head, asking where our helments were. We explained we would have them manana. He then pulled out his ticket book, asked for my husband's driver's license, which he put in his pocket, and said he was writing us a ticket. He kept glaring at us.

I then asked him to take us to the police station where I would pay the ticket (I learned this on a Baja message board) I repeated myself. He then closed his book, returned the license and said "no English". Ha, got him. Another time my husband was on a scooter, with a helmet and got pulled over and searched for no reason. Unbelievable. - Susan Waldorf, Kahan1016[-at-], 5092997391, United States


Huh? - Quote: "What really upsets me is that when the Mexican people come to the U.S. They are so protected, have benefits and you know all the rest."

Can you please articulate?- as an American of European descent I have always understood that ("illegal") Mexicans have next to no rights at all here in the united states - Sabine Freudiger, getgoatgirl[-at-], 510 533-5075,


Response To Stolen Truck Post - First of all I am very sorry to hear about the couple whose truck was stolen in Ensenada. Sounds like an awful experience. I would, however, like to respond to the comment about Mexicans living in the US being "protected and having benefits and all the rest." I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I work in court as a Spanish language interpreter.

I would like to tell you the story of just one of the defendants I interpreted for today. He was stopped at a checkpoint on his way home from work, having committed no traffic violation. He did not have a California driver's license, because he is undocumented and in California it is not possible to get a license if you are not here legally. He was arrested and his car was impounded. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, formerly INS) talked to him at the county jail and put an immigration hold on him.

Today he plead guilty to driving without a license and agreed to pay a fine and to 2 years of court probation. He will now be deported. He has a wife and two small children living here in the Bay Area who depend on him. This is an example of the type of thing I see every single day.

You may say, "but he's illegal and we go to Mexico legally." True, but all we have to do is go and we are automatically granted a tourist visa at the border, no questions asked. A Mexican who wants to come to the United States has to go to the American Embassy in Mexico and show proof of substantial assets in order to be granted a visa. Most are unable to do so. This is why they risk their lives to cross the border illegally. They come here to work because they cannot make enough money to support their families in Mexico. They live here knowing that at any moment they could be picked up and deported and separated from their families, AFTER spending weeks or months in an ICE detention center.

I do not deny that there are Mexican cops who target Americans because they know they can get some money out of them and that coyotes steal American cars to use for their "transport business". However, the implication that Mexicans living in the US are more protected and have more benefits than Americans living in Mexico is not at all supported by my experience and observation. If anything, I would claim the reverse. Respectfully, Katy Van Sant - Katy Van Sant, krvansant[-at-], 510-207-6044, Todos Santos

High Wind Danger - I want to let you know that Congo and I had a frightening accident and we are currently in Ensenada. We were driving north on Monday, returning one of Shaun's F-350's with an attached 14 foot Cargo Trailer that we had used to transport the new motors for 'Too Awesome' in September. Driving from Loreto north we were in the midst of terribly strong winds. When we were about 50 km south of Catavina (mid-central desert) a horrendous gust of wind picked up the trailer like it was a Tonka toy and threw it on its side, rolling us and the truck over with it. We were originally traveling north, but after skidding down the road on its side the entire rig ended up facing south, dangerously teeter-tottering on the drivers side for an hour and a half, not rolling on it's top because of the immense strength of the wind.

We got out safely, Congo moving like greased lighting to get us carefully out of the cab - I was caught inside, suspended by the seat belt for a few scary moments before I could free myself, but thankfully the truck didn't roll over onto us. Once we were out, eighty mile an hour winds were thrashing our bodies with sand, dirt and anything that blew, so it was an awful roadside experience. At one point, Congo was literally blown across the road like a leaf. A kind man - my highway angel - stopped and provided shelter for me while I was in shock. Other Mexican folks, who miraculously appeared in this desolate stretch of highway provided us assistance, managing to retrieve a huge tow truck that was attending to an 18 wheeler that had rolled over just 3 km south of our accident. They expertly righted the truck, but our trailer was sliding on the road and took 6 guys to help push it up so the tow truck could bring it onto its wheels.

Within distance of our accident two tractor-trailers were slowly moving past eachother (in opposite directions) when the wind sandwiched them together like an oreo cookie. The accident happened Monday, the same day all of Southern California and Baja started to blow and burn. That includes all the mountains south of Ensenada which are also on fire. Today is Thursday and the vehicles are just today being moved north toward us. Unfortunately, these horrendous winds throughout Southern California and all of Baja caught us as well. Many people lost homes, we could have been injured or worse, so we're thankful and counting our blessings.

I'll take a moment to admonish us all to drive with care and vigilance on these highways. We should know everything we can - apparently these Catavina desert winds are notorious in October - but we didn't know anything about them. (This season's wind blew the roof off of their elementary school the same day as our accident). Don't drive at night. Drive with a buddy or in a team if you can. Don't drive in Mexico at all without life flight insurance. Make sure you have towing coverage on your Mexican insurance policy and add the clause to cover the expense of hotel rooms and rental cars, which add up fast. This is what you need in your car and a duplicate in your purse – the insurance policy, your registration, a copy of your title; we were separated from our information when the truck went south 100 km and we went north 50 km. If I'd had a set in my purse we'd have more immediately had our information to make the insurance report.

See you soon back in Baja and may you be safe always. Theresa Comber combertheresa[-at-]

Courtesy, Baja Pony Express

Sob Story - I learned this quite by accident, but it sure worked. If you are a woman ( or have a woman in the car) Cry. Mexican men do not like to see women cry. I just happened to be listening to a book tape and a dog was in danger in the story - I cry whenever an animal gets hurt - so I was already crying when the policeman pulled us over - he didn't know what to make of it, it got him so upset to see me crying he just told us to go. ( I laughed for an hour afterwards) This was not at the border it was the speed trap by Visciano, but it's worth a try if you can do it. Also some tips I've learned, always keep some (not much) money in the glove compartment or someplace other than your wallet. Let one person do the talking. Offer to pay the Fine ( not a bribe ) in order to avoid the police station, or as has been mentioned offer to go with the officer to the station, in the south they don't want to go all the way into town and spend a couple of hours with you, they would rather take the 100-pesos and get back to work. 2 hours off the road is money they can't be collecting from others.

We were stopped in TJ once for an illegal U turn ( which we did make) the policemen were very nice, took our $40.00 and we were on our way. They asked for $60.00, but $40.00 is what we had in the glove compartment so they took it and thanked us and that was it. I think the story awhile ago from that surfing magazine was phony - Urban myth, I've been hearing it in one form or another for 30 years. Never have I ever met anyone who has had anything even close to that happening.

Drive carefully, slow down at all turns (roads are not banked) do not drive at night (animals go up on the road at night because it's warm - or so I've heard) , and if you get a funny feeling - pay attention, instinct has saved us a couple of times. (trucks coming around a curve in the center of the road)

Baja is a beautiful drive, don't let these stories scare you off. I have heard many stories from people who have had car problems , or run out of gas, and the locals ( also the Green Angels ) are as nice as nice can be. Helpful, honest and, in a word, wonderful. The bad stories get repeated the good ones are rarely told. Of course you have to be careful, but I've had my car broken into twice in California, never in Mexico, so that's just a general rule for everywhere ( Maybe not Chile - those people are HONEST ) liviaw[-at-]

Courtesy, Baja Pony Express

La Sindicatura - There is a public worker's union office specifically charged with investigating police matters, and firing corrupt officials. It is called the "Sindicatura," and it is a name you should remember. It is pronounced "seen-dee-kah-too-ra."

It does not matter if the officer speaks English, or understands anything of what you are saying. When he hears that word, the game is usually over. It has been said by a Mexican observer, "Sindicatura to a police officer is like a gold cross to a vampire." They are the "untouchables" of the local government.

Sindicatura del Gobierno Municipal
Tijuana (664) 688-2810 , 973-7770, 973-7759, 683-4095
Ensenada (646) 617,1561, 176-2222, 617-1561
Mexicali (686) 558-1600 x1661
( Note: these phone numbers are unverified. )

It might be useful to have a small sheet taped to the back of your drivers license with these phone numbers written below the words Sindicatura del Gobierno Municipal.

If you have a phone number for the Sindicatura in another Baja city, please send the information to me by email: ftm[-at-]

The Sindicatura organization in Tijuana has a website at

I find this website difficult to navigate, but you might give it try. There is a complaints form - I'll provide a separate link here to avoid the navagations problems with the website:

Another useful website is the Tourist Legal Guide maintained by the city government of Tijuana:

Peter y Linda, Cabo Pulmo

Courtesy, Baja Pony Express

RE: Airport Shortcut Road - I've driven the road twice, and it's definitely not a "shortcut" in any sense of the word. The first time took almost 4 hours in an underequipped 2wd nissan. Fun and beautiful, but very slow. The second time I took a 4wd truck, but it took almost all day because I had to rebuild sections that had washed out. It goes through a pass in the Sierra de Laguna and is definitely not for the faint of heart. Rapid elevation gains, very steep twisting ravine driving, and no room for error in a few critical sections. I can't imagine how that road could ever be paved. If you were to leave a dirtbike or quad at the airport, it would be a really fun and fast way to ride to TS, but even then, I doubt it would be any faster than going around by Cabo unless you're a professional motocross racer! - Stephen Cayer, , ,

Baja Pony Express - How do we also get the Pony Express newsletter. I have searched the web to no avail. Does anyone have an email address for them so we can subscribe? Also, other than the Baja Nomad and the Baja Insider, are there any other great online places for those of us who live here? Thanks in advance. - Ellen Musch, ellen[-at-],

You can find the excellent Baja Pony Express on the web at You can also subscribe by sending an E mail to Cheryl, the Publisher of the BPE, at bajaponyexpress3[-at-] - BWO

Ashtanga Yoga With Zandro - Zandro's Ashtanga Yoga lessons will start again from November 15th, at La Arca, every Thursday at 09.00 a.m., (donations) - Joseph Baumann, bea.datwyler[-at-], 044 612 149 4952, Todos Santos

Lot And Trailer For Sale - 1229 sq. meters for sale on Puesta del Sol in El Otro Lado of Todos Santos. We will be relocating to the mainland by mid July and must sell our lot so we can make a home there. Clear title, partial ocean view, bordered by a ravine and a Zona Z on one side. Power and water within 2 months is our info. The power poles are already in place. Also, we live in our 30 foot trailer situated on a nice lot on Camino Del Pacifico. This is for sale along with top notch hitch, garden supplies, above ground pool etc. We will live in the trailer until we go. It could be moved to the property should you be interested in the entire package. 368,000 pesos for the lot, 468,000 pesos for the whole package. The lot we live on is rented for $150 U.S. per month not including utilities. Private and very, very quiet with lovely landscaping in progress. Great landlord and 5 minutes walk to the beach. - Ellen And Daniel Musch Siqueiros, be[-at-], 612-145-0141

Whale Watching/Eco Tours - *****COME JOIN US FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!**** What better way to enjoy a day with family and friends over the holidays!!! Rampage Sport Fishing and Water Sports will be offering the "Big Boat" during December 20th - January 15th for eco tours in Magdalena Bay. Perfect for groups of 10 or more - we can design a day of luxury, comfort and fun for all ages!!! Come see the breathtaking whales, the sea turtles and the migration of the most beautiful fish in the world during this special time of year. Rampage always includes all food and beverages (first class only - not your normal "boat fare") and provides experienced guides to aid you in photography and oceanography. The perfect gift to yourself and your loved ones - a day on the water together!! We promise you memories that you'll keep for a lifetime!!! For more information, please contact Janel Faraci or David Marvin at janel91436[-at-] or jusr call - 624.137.0686 (cell MX) or 624.124.8042 (office) Looking forward to seeing you onboard and adding to our growing "family of friends". - Janel Faraci, janel91436[-at-], 624.137.0686, Baja California Sur

Missing Direct Tv Dish - About three weeks ago someone took my Direct TV Dish from my property. If anyone knows who might have this, please contact me. I am not as interested in getting it back as knowing who took it. This is the first time in 6 years I have had anything taken from my property. A Mexican would not have an interest in the Dish unless he had a friend or relative using Direct TV in the US. So I imagine the burglar has sold it to a gringo for a good price. Thanks Susan Murray - Susan Murray, susanleigh55[-at-], 624 116 2564, Elias Caies

Photoshop Lessons - Learn Photoshop in three hours in a private lesson. Mac or PC. If you have this program on your computer and do not use it you are really missing a great opportunity and the best in photo editing..make business cards, flyers, Christmas cards etc, I can teach you in three hours for $60. I have many years of experience as a graphic designer and have devised a way to make it very simple for you to get the basics and use the program right away. Call me at 612 1280606 La Paz or email me at at sherryleeduncan[-at-] Former students will give you testimonials. - Sherry Duncan, sherryleeduncan[-at-], 612 1280606, La Paz

Spanish Lessons For Beginners & Intermediates. - Affordable Spanish Lessons for Beginners & Intermediates - from 10:00 to noon. Instituto de Ingles y Español "America" in Pescadero, barrio San Juan in front of Sueño Tropical office. Contact Maestro Antonio Estamates for info. 612 13 03270 or cell 6121426184.e-mail address caballito_[-at-] Visit our blog at: http// - Joel Antonio Estamates, caballito_b[-at-], 6121303270, Pescadero

RE: Donations to The City Council - Will there be any accounting for donations as to how much is donated and how it was used? How much of the Real Estate taxes collected here stays in Todos Santos for improvements? - Sylvia St. Clair, sasinbaja[-at-], 145-0563, Todos Santos

Quote of the Day: "There is nothig new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know." - Ambrose Bierce

Community Calendar
Denotes New or Updated Onion Item This Week
NFL Football at the Sandbar
Dharma Talks and Guided Meditation with Robert K. Hall, 10:00a.m--11:30a.m. at La Arca, Todos Santos
Cabo Mil Happy Hour - 6 to 7 PM. 96.3 FM, In English.
Oct 28 - Daylight Savings ends in Mexico
Nov. 4 - Dayight savings ends in US.

NFL Football at the Sandbar
Free Pool, 3 PM - 10 PM, The Sandbar, Pescadero


All You Can Eat Pizza, The Sandbar, Pescadero
Oct.31 - Halloween Costume Party at the Sandbar

NFL Football at the Sandbar
Steak Night - La Canada del Diablo - call for reservations 612-14-00069
Nov. 1 - Cafe Santa Fe and Deli re-opens

Oct. 26 - Full Moon Reggae Party at The Sandbar - 9 PM til 1 AM

Nov 3 - Peace & Loaf Reopening. 9 AM to 1PM, Calle Las Brisas, Otro Lado, Todos Santos
Nov. 24 - Palapa Society Yard Sale And Street Fair - 10:00 3:00 p.m.
Nov. 24 - Music & Extreme Sports Festival at Pescadero Skate Park
Dec. 8 - Benefit for Kittie Heaven, Rummage Sale - La Canada de Diablo

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