The Daily Gusketeer

Baja Trek's daily blog.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Toy Run for Tots!

As you may well know, every year, we organize a Tot Program designed to bring Christmas out into the streets of Tecate and Tijuana and to give toys to the kids who deserve them (i.e. every kid).

This year went very well. We loaded up our friendly VW bus with toys, engaged Santa to join us, and hit the streets!

A very big "Thank You" to Santa and the Christmas Elves, as well as to everyone who helped assemble toys and make this Christmas Run happen. You've put so many new smiles on children's faces!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Capturing the In-Between

I was taken by these photographs by Frederic Lezmi, from the excellent online magazine Lens Culture. In the artist's words:
I have been searching for the "in between” – whatever lies geographically as well as culturally between my world here in the midst of Europe and my long term focus of interest in the Middle and Near East. 
They're my favourite kinds of photos, ones which hint at the beginnings to several different stories.The people in these images are all in that transitory space between destinations - such a common sensation that it's only recognizable when we see someone else experiencing it - just as the world around them seems to be in deep cultural transition.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Shameless Plug

It's that time of year again. No not that time. It's a time where people fling money around. It's a time of love and caring. It's a time of thoughtfulness toward others. Even though, we should all strive to move in this direction in our daily actions, it's this time of year especially that you can help and support the things that you stand for and the vision you have for a better world. How? Glad you asked. Support the things you love by using your holiday spending dollars wisely. It's that simple. Well, you made it through this far so we won't let you down. Now for the Baja Trek shameless plug. Help support Gus and an earth friendly carbon neutral lifestyle by buying your gifts at the mighty Trek store. How does this help you ask? It helps us get the message out of a more sustainable and respectful way of moving people. It helps us buy the things needed to make raw waste vegetable oil a renewable form of fuel for Gus at Trek Headquarters. It helps all the little people, too. It helps us put together things like holiday Trek Toy Trots and purchase items for our partner orphanage. Do all those chain retailer's CEOs really need another bonus this year while our world is in the weeds? So how about changing the world this holiday season? Shop with a conscience!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mexico Works for an Image Makeover

We at Gus HQ have been seeing tourist numbers steadily rising in Baja for a while now, and it's very encouraging. That's why I was interested to read this article from the Globe and Mail: Mexico battles ‘sun, sea and severed heads’ image. It says that the Mexican government is now trying to change its image - highlighting the country's safety and wonderful travel opportunities and trying to shake the stigma of violence. From the article:
Of 5.1 million visits in the past four years, only 20 Canadians have died while in Mexico, and almost all were accidental deaths, with alcohol playing a role in many (seven, he says, were falls from balconies).
This is the kind of thing that never shows up in articles about Mexico. All of us at Gus HQ have spent a lot of time in Mexico without experiencing anything but an incredibly beautiful country and kind, friendly people. And we know many people whose experiences have been the same.

We've seen a lot of news reports about tragedies in this country. But such stories never point out that, statistically, the country is actually not much more violent than many places in the United States. Nor do such stories describe what percentage of the people who've been involved in violence were directly involved in the drug trade. Nor do they point out that violence is actually highly localized in a few key areas, with most parts of the country remaining quite safe.

These days, it seems as though the media has decided that Mexico is an extremely violent place, and any story which can support that theme is splashed across the front page, while the stories of Mexico's awesomeness tend to fade into the background.

Meanwhile, those of us in the know will keep trekking through this incredible country, learning about its rich history and its incredible cultures, and meeting the millions of kind, generous, happy people who call Mexico their home.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weirdly Cute

oh my goodness
As 2010 draws to a close, the internet is about to get deluged with every kind of Top Ten year-in-review list imaginable, ranking everything from albums to celebrity couples toLink best-of lists, which would be easier to read if they were only aggregated into some kind of ranked list format. But over here at Gus HQ, there is only one list we care about: National Geographic's Ten Weirdest New Animals of 2010.

The clear winner: the purple octopus, pictured here. Runners-up included an armored, wood-eating catfish and a females-only lizard species which reproduces by cloning. But come on, look at that little guy. Why did those other animals even bother entering the contest in the first place?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cabo Bob's Definitive Mexican Slang 101

We've just received the most delightful package in the mail: a short stack of the hilarious book: Cabo Bob's Definitive Mexican Slang 101.

Besides sitting here in our offices reading each other passages and giggling furiously (AND learning things too, of course), we're also thinking of ways we can get these books out into the wide world, where they belong.

These little books are for sale for $5 "Gringo Dollars" apiece.  We certainly plan to keep Gus stacked with this required reading so that you can take one home with you if you wish to update your rusty high school Spanish to street-smart Baja slang.

We also hope to run a few down to our friends at the hostels down the Baja coast, from El Sauzal to Cuatro Casas, so they can show them to their guests.

In the meantime, let us know if you'd like one!