December 19, 2014 — As some of you know I lived, worked and played in Mexico for nearly a decade and I had an incredible time, made some good friends, earned decent money and loved the country, the people and the food – especially the sauces and of course the cervezas (with Pacifico being my favorite). And for the record, like many others I wasn’t in Mexico on the lam; I was just seeking new experiences and adventures, etc.
So Here’s The Scoop: I began that journey in September of 1988 and my first stop was in a little known town with few paved streets and only 3 timeshare resorts. They were the Finnesterra, Cascadas de Baja and the Cabo Holiday Club in Cabo San Lucas. Back then stray dogs along with horses, cows and burros roamed the streets freely and so did all we Expats, and the majority of us who had a car were, with few exceptions, driving ‘beaters’ (old, worn out, faded and rusty)!
At that time the peso to dollar exchange rate was something around 2,150 pesos per buck, so on payday – when we’d be paid pesos instead of dollars – the payroll was handed out to each rep in large black plastic garbage bags brimming with their ‘booty’ (aka: plunder – LOL) inside: Literally, millions of pesos in each bag.
It was a sight to see, and we all joked about being ‘millionaires’. However our paydays were a different story for the Mexican gals earning about 1-2 dollars per day cleaning our sales center. When the bags were handed to each rep the cleaning gals would stare in awe as some of the reps poured out millions of Pesos onto the tables and carefully started counting the loot to make sure they were paid in full.
I was ashamed and embarrassed that some reps did that. Those Mexican ladies didn’t speak a word of English and you could see the confusion on the cleaning gals’ faces. Some of us thought they might chat among themselves, “I don’t get it! Each day turistas come here and meet Gringos who seem to work here. They walk around and look at a the resort, then they talk sitting at little tables. Sometimes they sign papers. And each week a man shows up with garbage bags filled with millions of Pesos and gives them to the Gringos…”
One of the downsides during that era was that only Aero California flew in and out of San Jose del Cabo, and only about 3 times a week on jets that only held about 100 passengers during each trip. So needless to say tour flow was pretty challenging and the 3 timeshare resorts in Cabo, like today, battled aggressively to get their fair share of the tourists roaming about.
There were also cruise ships that came to Cabo back then, however, as today, none of us wanted those tours. But because the pickings from in-house and street tours was often slim sometimes the cruise ship crowd would be invited and every now and then we’d sell them. Back then the cruisers weren’t in port for very long, which made selling them within the allotted time extremely challenging.
A couple of our favorite watering holes back in the day were Senior Sushi and Latitude 22, and around the end of summer and into early fall – when the tourist flow in Cabo was extremely low – there were times when full-ownership real estate reps (often happily intoxicated) would unsuccessfully try to ‘self-gen’ timeshare reps – and vice versa!
But, overall the full time real estate and timeshare reps all got along really well and life was at a slow pace as there were rarely crime issues to deal with. We hardly ever locked the doors to our casas and cars, although a good friend did get a ticket once for “wild parking” from a petite police woman; armed with only a whistle (which she wasn’t afraid to use) she was otherwise always very nice, kind, friendly and helpful to everyone including the Expats.
Of course there was another downside back then and that was there wasn’t much to do other than work a few hours each day and then drink – often too much – eat food, talk-story, go fishing, take siestas and do it all over again day in and day out.
On the brighter side, even back then Cabo had some outstanding restaurants, with Romeo and Juliet’s, the Trailer Park and El Pollo de Oro being some of our favorites. And there was one other place everyone would get together for some ‘cold ones’ and to tell stories about the marlin that got away or the biggest deal sold that day, etc.
It’s still there to this day and is called the Marina Sol. Back then this was a place to get, IMO, a great BBQ sandwich on a French roll w/fries, enjoy some air conditioning and watch limited Gringo TV stations on the one small TV in the bar area. It didn’t matter what was on that TV, we’d all watch it as though it were actually worth watching.
Lastly, I’ll always remember right around Christmas day in 1988 when an Expat w/a white jeep got all dressed up like Santa and slowly drove the mostly dirt streets of Cabo tossing out candy and wishing all the kids a Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas). It was quite a sight! The kids were ecstatic as they all ran behind the jeep for blocks on end catching as many goodies as they could, looking for all the world like the tail on a kite as they cheered Santa on.
I truly miss the old Cabo would do it again in a heartbeat – if it were the same. And I am thankful that I was able to enjoy the community the way it was during that era and also have my very first Christmas in Mexico become one of my favorites of all time.
And so to you all this Holiday Season – wherever you are – I wish you all health, happiness, success and – a Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!
Good Luck Out There
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services — and, of course, all the ‘Good’, the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’.
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