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Sunday December 17 2017
My Move to Cabo

Brian Blackburn

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This is the story of my move to Cabo San Lucas, from my very first trip in December of 1993 to today. I share stories of my travels and thoughts from the very beginning when I was just a tourist with a visa card to buying a vacation property to becoming a full-time resident in 2004.

Over the years many friends have visited, so many that a gathering of all those connected to Cindy & myself is in the works for 2012. Over 150 people are on the list; if you want to join us, book a trip soon and you’ll be invited for sure!

Part 1: Just a tourist with a visa card!

My initial plan was to visit Cabo with a buddy in spring 1991 but I started a new work project and had to cancel. Two years later, I wangled an invite from a new friend and found myself on the beach for Christmas and New Year’s, not bad, eh? After 2 weeks of fun in the sun, meeting tons of great folks, it was back to Calgary to recover (we all know we all need a rest after a vacation, right!). But Cabo had gotten into my blood and within just a few days, I arranged to buy a condo on the outskirts of Cabo from Barry & Tina Fraser of the Edmonton Oilers. Now that wasn’t too bad, but the Oilers sticker on the broom was a little much!

The rest of 1994 was spent jetting back and forth when time and weather agreed, getting settled in the condo; it was common to haul small household items and furnishings then pack shorts and sandals so I brought everything from bedding to toasters and electric fry pans. Christmas ’94 on the beach was great with my daughter Hailey.

Of course, my frequent trips became known to buddies so they decided they should get into the act. In February 1995, Ron & Lonny packed their luggage which consisted of sleeping cots and extra pillows and the Tres Amigos made the first of several junkets to Billygan’s and Squid Roe. Thank goodness for eyewitness to tell us of our exploits which started at breakfast and ended after midnight.

Soon, a monthly trip was common especially when the weather report called for COLD…COLD…COLD. My excuse was a very strong urge to dust the condo! I quickly became a favorite of the airlines as not only was I flying a lot but also friends were flocking to Cabo in droves.

In September 1996, I figured the perfect Baja Buggy had to be a jeep so I struck a deal with Kris and drove my newly acquired Jeep YJ the 5,000 kilameters from Calgary to Cabo. Imagine my surprise when arrived at the same time as Hurricane Fausto, a category 2 storm that was bearing down on the Baja. As I rolled down the hill at Soriana’s, I wondered what the heck was going on with everyone lined up at gas stations and grocery stores. Fortunately, the storm weakened and didn’t cause as much damage as it could have; Cabo had learned from the bad one in 1993 and was better prepared.

Part 2: More visits, more friends, more fun!

The ensuing years were spent entertaining visitors and friends from elsewhere. Fortunately, my condo is located just outside of town thus most people stayed closer to the action on Medano Beach. Our days (and nights) were spent on the beach partying at Billigan’s and Cabo Villas; trying to connect to Gerry Forbes’ CJAY 92 morning radio show and Bob Steele’s driving home show; timing the one stoplight in town; fishing with my dear friend Ralph Olson (which eventually turned into boat rides as the fish knew when we were on the water and swam away from our boat) and doing my best to avoid the chilly temperatures up North! Trying new restaurants and driving to Todos Santos were wonderful ways to enjoy the tastes and travels of the Los Cabos area.

One of more interesting past-times was simply trying to stay in touch with folks back home - we felt it was our duty to rely live weather reports to frosty friends in Canada. The process was not difficult but it was a time-consuming mission consisting of venturing into town to the business center where you wrote the number on a piece of paper and handed it to the smiling senor behind the counter. The next step was real tough - going to the small bar located next door or across the street, it often changed names without warning, ordering a cold cerveza or margarita and waiting. Sometime in the next hour, the smiling Mexican would wave furiously at you to indicate that it was your turn on the phone. With drink in hand you would hurry over so as to not lose your spot and enter the little booth where the $9 a minute call took place. Eventually, fiber optic lines and the Internet provided easier contact with the rest of the world, now being done from a lounge chair on the beach albeit at a hefty contribution to Telmex!

Soon, more and more cruise ships and flights brought more people to Cabo; thus hotels and residential developments began appearing on the Tourist Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, on the Pacific side and on the East Cape. Property investment boomed, businesses sprang up and the population increased dramatically. Infrastructure became strained as the local and federal governments tried to keep up with the influx of people and the increasing need for schools, hospitals, and other services; fortunately, they did a pretty good job.

Part 3: I think i’m turning mexican!

The opportunity arrived in November 2004 for me to move to Cabo and live here full-time. The jeep that I had driven down many years before had moved on to bumpier roads so I decided to buy another jeep from the same people from whom I had bought the condo. Once again, I had a Jeep and was busy reacquainting myself with the day-to-day happenings in Cabo! The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” certainly applied. Above and beyond everything, the wonderful people of Cabo were the constant: friendly, accommodating and always smiling! I was thrilled to finally be calling my little condo home, after all it had felt like home for so many years.

An important consideration when living in Cabo is medical coverage; can insurance be obtained, are the medical professionals and facilities capable of handling emergencies, what about air/evacuation, etc.? Well, an emergency hit me in October 2005 when a blood vessel ruptured in my forehead and fortunately, bled out my nose; otherwise I was facing the more serious situation of an aneurism bleeding into my head.

The staff at Hospital Especialidades did an excellent job of fixing me up, a neurosurgeon from Mexico City explained the procedure, and I came through the operation and recovery with flying colors. Miss Cindy came down from Calgary and did a remarkable job of helping me for a couple of weeks until I could better maneuver myself around. I can attest from my personal experience that wonderful care and facilities are available here including Ameri-med Hospitals in both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. My insurance through Cabo Insurance Services (approx. $250US a month) handled my claim and paid it out in a very timely fashion.

Now 5 years later, I have become a permanent fixture and rarely leave! I pick friends and family up at the airport, play tour guide then take them back to the airport. The airport has expanded, and there are many more flights, cruise ships, people driving down and things to do that Cabo has truly become one of the world’s most popular destinations. It offers something for everyone from sun-seekers to golfers, sport fishers to scuba divers to those looking for a weekend get-away. Cabo’s beautiful vistas and spectacular weather attracts everyone from your average Joe to the rich and famous - but of course, Cabo makes everyone feel rich & famous!

Cindy and her loyal and travel weary cat Edgar joined me in March of ‘07 when she brought her wedding planner talents to Cabo, fitting in those duties between playing cards with the ‘girls’, attending Cabo Tomato meetings and being a hostess to visitors. Oh yeah, Halloween has never been the same since she came to town! In July 2008, Cindy rescued CeeCee, a beautiful Siamese kitten from the parking lot so our family has grown by one with lots of entertainment and much flying fur!

Throughout the years, Cabo has maintained its reputation as a favored destination and of course, has experienced the tough times of the past year with the economic downturn, reports of violent drug wars ,and the dreaded swine flu crisis which closed airports and cruise ship terminals. Cabo is resilient and now we see visitors returning and spirits uplifted. This chapter of my life has been pretty cool and I invite our readers to come and enjoy “Living Cabo-Style.”


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