Skip navigation.
Home

WHAT IS BAJA? DISCOVERING ATTRACTIONS SOUTH OF THE BORDER




Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


By Dennis Moore

April 19, 2012 (Baja)--Baja, or Baja California, is the northernmost part of Mexico--just across the border from San Diego. Like a hidden jewel waiting to be discovered, the region has many tantalizing facets. Baja includes the cities and towns of Tecate, Ensenada, Tijuana, Rosarito Beach and Puerto Nuevo, which is world renowned for its lobster fest.  

Baja California has been a misunderstood neighbor of San Diego, a perception many Baja residents want to change—including Americans living here.  A “Baja Image Committee,” made up of an estimated 25,000 full and part-time residents, has joined state tourism authorities in seeking out support of the expatriate community in promoting a positive image.  Hugo Torres, the former mayor of Rosarito Beach and the owner of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, is the president of the Baja Image Committee.

Just recently, the first Baja community mega mixer was held at the historic Hotel Rivera del Pacifico in downtown Ensenada, where a gathering drew an estimated 300 expatriates from Baja California, many of them eager to share their viewpoint about life south of the border.

“It’s more relaxed. We’re done with snow, we’re done with cold,” said Gary Pliley, a 64-year-old retiree from Utah.

You make friends here that you could call at two in the morning if you needed help,” said Carol Main, 69, who moved to Baja California from San Diego.

Their endorsements “are one more way of projecting an image that things are right, conditions are right for people to come down,” said Juan Tintos, Baja California’s Tourism Secretary. Last year Tinto’s office commissioned a 10-minute promotional video “What is Baja?” The video draws heavily on interviews with U.S. Visitors, residents and promoters such as Gary Foster, who runs the twice-yearly Rosarito-to-Ensenada bike ride. In a recent meeting with Daniel Torres at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, Daniel indicated to me that he helped develop the video.

Baja is home to Fox Baja Studios in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where director James Cameron and his crew re-created the massive ship Titanic, along with actors Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio staying at the Grand Baja Resort nearby during the filming of the movie. Of course, it is the people of this area that personify Baja.

Baja is also the Mar Vista Apartments in Tijuana in the Tomas Aquino area, where I can look out my bedroom window in this tranquil and family-oriented neighborhood towards a cruise ship on the Pacific Ocean, under an eclipse of the moon. These apartments are owned by American Michael Carlson, whom I truly believe is a saint, as he has helped me and so many other Americans over the years find affordable comfort and sanctuary within this oasis of beauty and tranquility called Baja.

When I first moved to Tijuana, Michael actually drove across the border to San Diego and brought me and my possessions to this place that I now call home, as he also did with other Americans who chose to live in this peaceful and tranquil environment. Michael, our landlord, would even host a Thanksgiving celebration for his tenants, which would include the Mexicans living nearby, even though it  is an American holiday.

My 13-year-old daughter, Brandy, was my impetus for moving to Baja, as I needed a larger space to accommodate her coming from Chicago to live with me, and the rent was much more affordable for me than when I lived in San Diego.  

I arise early in the morning to catch a Mexican bus  to the border with my daughter daily, so she can attend Roosevelt Junior High in San Diego, where warm memories for me should be a testament to my viewpoint of Baja. I felt that safe and secure for her and myself. I am sure that Baja has left an indelible imprint in the psyche of my impressionable daughter, as it probably has with other visitors to this beautiful locale.

Baja is Erika Avelar’s neighborhood store, just down the street from the housing complex and other Americans reside, overlooking the Tijuana airport. Erika greets everyone with a warm smile and greeting as they enter her establishment.

Baja is Ortega’s Buffet in Rosarito Beach, where annually for the last 11 years a group of 200 – 300 visitors from San Diego, the Royal Princesses and Knights, have included this establishments among their stops during their partying and fund-raising efforts. Evidently,  Baja California has been very good to them. Their next visit there will be May 12, 2012. I will actually be staying at a friend’s home just down the street from Ortega’s for several days starting May 25, to watch and attend to my friend Eduardo’s house and dogs, while he and my landlord, Michael, attend a wedding in northern California.

While staying there, I may just go by Ortega’s for a meal, or walk a few blocks over to the ocean to watch the local fishermen fish for clams, as I have done in the past. Either way, it should be a relaxing time for me in beautiful and tranquil Baja California.

Baja is Tom Gatch and his book, Hooked on Baja. I had the pleasure to meet this talented author at the first annual Baja Book Festival in Cantamar, Mexico. At this event, attended by approximately 300 authors, writers and artists, Tom gave me his book, which I would later write a review of in the East County Magazine. This book is full of pictures, maps and stories about ideal deep sea fishing spots off the coast of Mexico.     

Sam Warren, the founder of SDWriteway, an online news magazine in San Diego which has recently partnered with East County Magazine, leads a delegation of Americans across the border from San Diego monthly to Tijuana, to meet up with their Mexican counterparts, savoring dinner and taking excursions to nearby sites such as Plaza Santa Cecelia, Avenida Revolucion tourist area and Cathedral of Guadalupe.

As Juan Tintos has stated, “Conditions are right for people to come down.”

Dennis Moore has been a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. He is also a writer and book reviewer for the East County Magazine and the book review editor for SDWriteway. He is the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at contracts_agency@yahoo.com or you can follow him on Twitter at @DennisMoore8.

 

Tijuana revels in a soccer celebration! - Parade hails Xolos!

Fans waved from apartment windows and traffic bridges, as their conquering heroes, the members of the Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente soccer team paraded through Tijuana, after they won the Liga MX soccer championship Sunday in Toluca, Mexico.

BAJA BLUES FESTIVAL

On Saturday August 25, 2012, the first Annual Baja Blues Festival will be held on the ocean at the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort to aid a variety of children's charities through world-class musical performances.

MEXICO WINS GOLD IN OLYMPICS SOCCER

I woke up this morning in Baja California (Tijuana) with music blaring, as Mexico celebrated winning the Gold medal in soccer.

THINK BIG: OLYMPIC HANDS ACROSS THE BORDER

In a U-T San Diego Opinion piece on July 15, 2012, the newspaper proposed a bi-national Olympics with San Diego and Tijuana. In 1994, a group led by businessman Ron Fowler founded the San Diego International Sports Council to promote big-time sports in San Diego in general and specifically to pursue bringing the summer Olympics to San Diego-Tijuana as soon as 2008. The newspaper article further stated: "Importantly, it would bring the San Diego-Tijuana people together as no other event could. It would truly be hands across the border." Additionally, the newspaper editorial article stated: "Some infrastructure is already in place. The USOC's only all-weather Olympic Training Center already exists in Chula Vista. Similarly, Tijuana has its Centro de Alto Rendimiento, a first-rate complex for training its national athletes and hosting major events. The San Diego Trolley already goes to the border; binational Olympics would be a great opportunity to finally extend it across the border into Tijuana itself."

BAJA BLUES FEST

On Saturday August 25, 2012 the first annual Baja Bluse Festival will be held on the ocean at the Rosarito Beach Hotel & Resort to aid a variety of children's charities through world-class musical performances.

"All is Lost" Robert Redford movie being filmed in Mexico

The Bi-national Convention of Sister Cities in Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico, will have a presentation on Baja's film industry, with a special representative from All Is Lost, the Robert Redford movie being filmed at Rosarito's Baja Studios, the oceanfront facility where "Titanic" and "Master & Commander" was filmed.

Xolos soccer club helps Tijuana rebound from tough times

An article today in the U-T San Diego by Elizabeth Aguilera references Baja California Tourism Secretary Juan Tintos, as he states: "When you're a major city like Tijuana, you want to have a major soccer team, you want to have a major international airport, you want to have major recognition for various aspects of the city. That is why we are adding pieces every day that more resemble a major city and brings the community together."

"Baja California"

As I had earlier written a review of Darryl Littleton's "Black Comedians on Black Comedy" in the East County Magazine in San Diego, and Mr. Littleton has given me the honor and opportunity to write a review of his new book on Katt Williams, I can not wait to get started. I recall watching Darryl on "Def Comedy Jam" many years ago, when he used the stage name of "D'Militant." He has a vast amount of talent and information on other comedians, which comes out in his book(s). In the event we are able to organize an annual Rosarito Beach International Book Festival, he is one of the first authors and entertainers that I would want to call on.

Rosarito Beach Book Fest

It would be a privilege to be included in what's sure to be an illustrious line-up of talents. Thank you Dennis, for the continued support and for great reviews that encourage the exhilaration of reading. If you use your ability to communicate to the committee at Rosarito Beach as you do in East County Magazine I'm already packed and ready to attend your 1st Annual event.

What Is Baja?

Ahh, this review by the always-on-point, Dennis Moore brings back fond memories. I was married in Baja and spent my honeymoon there. The area is tranquil yet vibrant, with a timeless quality not found in surrounding locales. If the book is anything like the article, Mr. Gatch has provided us with a fine read.

I loved the environment so much I made the trek to Tijuana when I began writing my latest book, "Pimp Down: The Rise & Fall of Katt Williams". This insider's expose reveals the pitfalls of 21st century fame and the trend towards self destruction. How could a comedian make 20 million dollars in 6 months, have networks lined up to offer him the key to the show business kingdom and millions of fans worldwide - throw it all away with little chance of ever regaining it? That question and others are answered by going to Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com or www.createspace.com/3733680

You can also pre-order my upcoming book, "Comediennes: Laugh Be A Lady", the complete herstory of female comedy - due October 23,2012 by going to Amazon.com or Halleonard.com

Another great review by Dennis Moore

Thank you, Dennis for another compelling review. I'm sure many will want to learn more about Baja through Mr. Gatch's book.

Mr. Moore requested that I post the following invitation here, so thanks in advance for indulging this announcement about my novel DARKROOM:

DARKROOM ONLINE LAUNCH PARTY (May 1st at 6PM PST_

Join Joshua Graham, WINNER OF INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble #1 bestselling author LIVE ON CAMERA as he talks about his latest high-stakes thriller DARKROOM!

We'll open the chat lines for Q&A's, and a chance for readers to win a brand new Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, Free eBooks, and autographed copies of paperback and hardcovers by the author himself!

DATE: MAY. 1st, 2012
TIME: 6:00PM Pacific / 9:00PM Eastern
How to join:
- click this link: http://t.wbx.me/ges8v
- use the guest tab (not registered users tab)
- enter your name in the guest field
- click enter button to join

Pre-order DARKROOM published by Simon & Schuster/Howard Books
Amazon/Kindle: http://bitly.com/w2Qx1w
Barnes & Noble/Nook: http://bit.ly/vG22no

"What is Baja?"

I am honored to have been given the opportunity of writing a review of Joshua Graham's new book, DARKROOM, as I was in writing the review of his earlier book, Beyond Justice. Joshua is one talented author, whom I am pleased to also consider him a friend. DARKROOM is a book that I highly recommend. In the event that we are able to organize an annual Rosarito Beach International Book Festival, that would rival the world's largest in Hamburg, Germany, I trust that Joshua will be a participant with his books, Beyond Justice and DARKROOM.

Rosarito Beach Hotel Book Festival

I so look forward to the upcoming Book Festival along with so many of my Baja co-writers/friends. Always a joy to share our works. The sequel to Sweet Memories, 'Brainwave', nears completion. Anyone interested in reading the original book can do so via Amazon Books, http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&fie...
Thank you again, Dennis, and the Rosarito Beach Hotel for making this Book Festival a reality.

Obama opens immigration reform effort!

President Obama flew to this once-red state, turned blue largely by the votes of Latinos, to launch an effort to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. But in doing so, he carefully avoided ultimatums that might disrupt bi-partisan talks underway in the Senate and House. Speaking in Nevada, he stressed what his ideas have in common with those in the works in Congress.

Is there room for me in the Baha?

Between Dennis Moore's description and Tom Gatch's book, I think I'm ready to pack my bags and leave for the Baja. I'm thinking I could accomplish a whole lot of writing in a place of tranquility, peace, and beauty. Tom Gatch--Dennis Moore--you sold me!

"Choices" by Carole McKee

I has the distinct pleasure and honor of writing a review of Carole McKee's book "Choices" in SDWriteway, which is an online newsletter for writers in San Diego, that has recently merged with the East County Magazine. Choices was so moving that it had me emotional and on the verge of tears throughout, a book that I thought worthy of a full length movie, and one that I highly recommend. As I have proposed to the owners of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, an annual Rosarito Beach International Book Festival, that would rival the world's largest in Hamburg, Germany, I would hope that Carole McKee would be a participant at its inaugural debut with her fantastic book, Choices.

"Choices" by Carole McKee

Thank you, Dennis for the terrific review on my novel "Choices." I'm so glad you liked it. Hopefully, this opportunity is the beginning of a thriving writing career as well as a long-time association with you. As far as "Choices" participating in the book festival--I am certainly open for that. Thanks again.

Living Resourcefully, Yet Very Well

Dennis

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments on my book. It is a practical guide for anyone who does not know where to start working up a budget, and a way of life that ensures more money for what you really want. No more wondering what happened to all your money. Perfect for students, those who just graduated and retirees. Not to mention those who just lost income and do not know where to start. Take heart, it is all doable and not as painful as one might think.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006OBWJWQ

Susan

What is Baja?

 

I've heard of Baja but had no idea where and what the place is.  Sounds like Baja is heaven on earth.  Wonderful article, Dennis.  It would be a great place to spend time and write my third book.  Count me in on the book festival that you are planning. 

My first book "Sentenced to Life" is a fiction based the true story of an ex-felon who went through a lot of adversities but was able to overcome through her faith in Jesus Christ.  The book is  on www.Amazon.com, on www.Barnesandnoble.com and on my website http://kaybaker.tateauthor.com.   Dennis wrote a review on my book which he posted on SDWriteway.

Casa Club de Ninos y Ninas

Rosy Torres, the major force behind the development of the Rosarito Boys and Girls Clib, has a smile on her face once again. This is because her dream of opening the club will soon become a reality, according to a story by Jack E. George in the Baja Times.

The number one movie of all time! Titanic.

It is interesting to note that the number one movie of all time, Titanic, was made at Fox Studios Baja in Rosarito Beach. The attention to detail and enormous cost paid off for all involved with Titanic. Released in December 1997, the hit movie became the number-one grossing movie of all time. It was the first film ever to gross over $1 billion worldwide. The movie was actually filmed in Baja at a place called Popotla, just south of Rosarito Beach. People along Baja's Gold Coast were quite surprised to hear that a major movie studio was to be built nearby, but it happened. Titanic began filming right away, even before the new 20th Century Fox studio was completed. Little did any of the locals realize that the new studio's first movie was to become an instant legend, a classic for all time. The Titanic experiment made the movie industry sit up and take notice. Other movies have now been filmed at the new studio in Baja. The James Bond thriller Tomorrow Never Dies, portions of the movie In Dreams, and the 1998 Warner brothers movie Deep Blue Sea were all filmed at Fox Baja Studio.

Club de Ninos y Ninas de Rosarito

The Rosarito Boys & Girls Club is scheduled to get a temporary home next month while fundraising for construction of a permanent facility continues, according to a story by Ron Raposa in the Baja Times. The facility will be a former clubhouse at Rosarito Shores. It is being provided rent free by Hugo Torres, owner of the Rosarito Beach Hotel and city mayor when ground was broken for the permanent facility in 2010. The Rosarito Shores development is adjacent to the Rosarito Beach Hotel. "Providing city youth with activities and positive role models is so important that we want to do everything possible to help," Torres said in Raposa's story. "The children truly are our future," further stated by Torres in the article. Torres' daughter, Rosy, who is president of the board for the Club de Ninos y Ninas de Rosarito, said the club hopes to open the temporary facility in late April, offering a variety of programs and activities, according to the story by Ron Raposa. "We are grateful for the help we've received from all the wonderful members of our community," Rosy Torres said," according to the article by Raposa.

What is Baja, Anyway?

"Baja," which means "Lower" in Spanish, refers to an 800-mile long peninsula separated from Mexico's mainland by the Gulf of California - or the Sea of Cortez, if you prefer. The peninsula is comprised of two Mexican states, Baja California (Norte), with Mexicali as capital, and Baja California Sur, whose capital city is La Paz. To make it easy, Norte means "North" and Sur means "South." The peninsula is important, as it served as a stepping stone to the colonization of the U.S. state of California. Once the Spaniards left the Baja California peninsula to expand their efforts northward, the remote and arid peninsula was left to languish, virtually unpeopled and almost completely ignored by Mexico and the United States alike. Baja California (Norte) did not become a Mexican state until 1952. The southern half of the peninsula, Baja California Sur, entered statehood in 1974, less than a year after the first paved road linking north to south (Highway 1) was completed. 

Baja

I want to go to the Baha! Dennis Moore brings it to life and makes it so inviting. I can imagine that it is an artist's dream--a place I long for. The photo of the sunset over the water entices me to want to see more of it. I don't think it would take much to lure me there. Dennis makes it sound like Nirvanna--tranquil, peacefull, and friendly. Sign me up!

Dennis Moore's article on Baja

Dennis does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and character of this part of Baja. As a resident here for 9 years, I can attest to the paradise we have here along the coast and inland. Lots to do and low cost has attracted not only a lot of retirees, but also workers who do not wish to pay the high housing costs of Southern California. I fall into this category. There is a large population of single women here. Despite hyped up media claims of drug violence, which does not touch our daily lives, we live here, play here and network with each other more than anywhere I have ever lived. I could not be happier. I have a book on how to live within a budget that would be useful for anyone who wants to know where to start called Living Resoucefully, Yet Very Well in Kindle format on Amazon, which can also be downloaded to a computer, cell phone, or any device that allows downloads.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006OBWJWQ

"Living Resourcefully, Yet Very Well" by Susan A. Mahalick

The author of this comment, Susan A. Mahalick, has written a very practical book about saving money in this very tight economy, "Living Resourcefully, Yet Very Well." She talks about some of the precepts for saving money, such as taking your breakfast and lunch to work. This is a book that has practical applications for me, and one that I highly recommend.

Dennis Moore Baja Article

As a Dennis Moore acquaintance and, I might add, admirer, his Baja article has been read with great interest. Originally from Canada, I have been a Rosarito resident for over eight years and fully aware of tourism fear due to sadly negative media coverage. Dennis beautifully and accurately describes this lovely part of the world and the warm welcoming people. He embraces a very special environment where retirees choose to make their permanent homes.
The first descriptive word that comes to mind is “Affordable”, followed by scenic, safe and FUN for all.
Choose to be a happy hermit or attend festivals, theaters, dance or sing your favorite karaoke tunes, gather with friends for private parties, fish or kayak, ride the sand dunes, you name it, all awaits on this enticing Mexican peninsula.
A writer myself, I was delighted to read Dennis’ segment on a future book festival at the Rosarito Beach Hotel...a beautiful and popular location that will deservedly bring the crowds. We are many dedicated writers here, always enthusiastic to share our works. My own books are fantasy/fiction. Dennis wrote a stupendous review on ‘Sweet Memories’ which swept me skyward with delight.
Thank you, Dennis, for your dedication and super talent that has ignited many a creative soul. We all now warmly await the Rosarito Beach Hotel Book Festival.

"Sweet Memories" by Nicole Beaudry

I had the distinct pleasure and honor of writing a review of the referenced book by Nicole Beaudry, Sweet Memories, in the SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego, which has recently merged with the East County Magazine. Here's hoping that Nicole and her Sweet Memories will be participants at the proposed and inaugural Rosarito Beach International Book Festival.

Rosarito Beach Hotel

Met with Daniel Torres and Patricia Orozco at the exquisite Rosarito Beach Hotel today, to discuss doing all I can to help get this hotel recognized as a World-Class hotel. I actually went out on the pier behind the hotel, visited the Azteca Restaurant in the hotel, and went to view the rooftop swimming pool on the 19th floor. I was truly amazed that we have this jewel in our midst, and as I have stated, I intend to do all I can to get this recognized. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.