All those little bits of info that separate you... from the tourists!

Hey Meester.... wanna buy a house?

There are 2 golden rules that I've learned since moving down here. I truly believe that without them, I'd still be banging my head against the wall... well, okay, sometimes I still do! Regardless, remember them well:

1. Don't look for common sense here. It does not exist.

2. To some questions... there are simply no answers!

For the questions that DO have answers... well, you'll find them here (at least some of them anyways!). I'll be posting on this page, the little nuances of life that separate us locals from the tourists. Tidbit number one: That free breakfast and 1/2 hour on the jet ski... probably not worth the next 5 hours of being imprisoned in a timeshare salesroom. Your call.

TelMex 101 - Dialing in Los Cabos

Our local phone company here in Mexico is called TelMex. It is owned by a guy named Carlos Slim who is soooo rich, that he has nothing better to do than think up ways to make something simple (like dialing a phone number) into something difficult, confusing and quite frankly, lacking completely in common sense (see Golden Rules above). Here's your crash course... learn well and you won't keep getting that Spanish recording telling you that you screwed up!

LandlinesLand Lines (yup, cell phones are different): Our local area code here in Los Cabos is "624". This includes all numbers in Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo & Los Barriles. To dial landline-to-landline within the "624" area code, you'll just need to dial the seven digit number. (ie- Dialing from my home phone to the Caligas office phone, I'd dial: 143 3800)

Long Distance Calling (from a landline): Dialing long distance from your home phone here in Los Cabos is similar to dialing long distance from your phone back home. Only difference is, you'll dial "01" instead of just "1" (ie- 01 624 143 3800). The area code for La Paz and Todos Santos is "612". Hence, if you were calling the Hotel California in Todos Santos from your home phone here in Los Cabos, you'd dial "01 612 145 0525". If you were dialing the Hotel California in Todos Santos from a land line IN Todos Santos, you'd just dial "145 0525". See? Not so hard... yet.

Calling from outside the country to a Los Cabos LANDLINE: Okay, you're back home (in Canada or the US) and want to call me here in Cabo. If you're dialing a land line (like my house, a hotel or a restaurant) you'll dial "011 52 624 XXX XXXX". The "011" is to get an overseas connection. The "52" is Mexico's country code, and the rest is just the area code and phone number.

 Cellular Phones
Cellular Phones: Here comes the fun stuff! Dialing cellular to cellular is easy. To dial from cellular to cellular (regardless of the area code), just dial the area code and the seven digit number. Now try mixing in landlines and woohoo, Golden Rules here we come! If you're trying to dial a cellular phone from your landline you'll need to add "044" and "624" (the area code) to the number (ie- If you are trying to call my cellular phone from your home phone here in Los Cabos, you'll dial "044 624 157 3548").

Long Distance Calling (from landline to cellular phone): If you are trying to call long distance to a cellular phone from your landline you'll need to add "045" and the area code to the number (ie- If you are trying to call that cute girl you met in La Paz from your home phone, you'll dial "045 612 XXX XXXX).

Calling from outside the country to a Los Cabos CELLULAR PHONE: Pretty much the same as dialing a landline, except that you'll add an extra "1". Why you may ask... again, see Golden Rules above. Here's what you'll dial when trying to reach my Los Cabos cellular phone from Canada or the US "011 52 1 624 157 3548". The extra "1" when dialing fits in between the "52" (country code) and the "624" (area code). Simple right?

Toll Free Dialing
Toll Free Numbers: Whew, you made it to the last section... way to hang in there! Dialing US or Canadian toll free numbers isn't impossible. Why is it so frustrating then? Well, quite simply, the phone company can't get its cash out of these calls so they block the numbers. Low and behold, there IS a way! It isn't easy, but it IS possible! Next time you cheap out on a tip and the waiter uses your credit card for a lapdance (or so you told your wife)... use this prefix cheat sheet to get a hold of your credit card company to dispute the charge!

  • For 800 numbers, dial "001 880", then the number
  • For 866 numbers, dial "001 883", then the number
  • For 877 numbers, dial "001 882", then the number
  • For 888 numbers, dial "001 881", then the number

Avanti - Home of the $12usd massage!

Me after my $3 haircut... what DON'T I have to be happy about?

Need to pamper yourself a bit? Reward yourself for all of those long and difficult days at the beach? Take a break from slaving away at that tan? Don't want to blow a months worth of beer money to do it? I've got the place for you! Cheap Chinese Canadians of the world rejoice... Avanti Beauty School is beckoning!

As Cabo's main training ground for spa and salon personnel, Avanti offers a year long program which covers manicures & pedicures, hair & makeup and massages... oh yes, massages! Naturally, these budding cosmetologists, beauticians and masseurs need willing bodies to practice on to perfect their skills! *enter stage left* ... Us, the people of Los Cabos!

In order to lure people in, the good folks at Avanti offer spa & beauty salon services at ridiculously low rates (see below for their pricelist at the time of this article). While the massages are hit & miss (sometimes deep and invigorating, sometimes just a pair of hands touching you for an hour), the services overall are on par with any of the other street level (not hotel level) spas or beauty salons you'll find in Cabo. All students are supervised by their instructors and most times, you'll find that the only price to pay for using the school instead of your regular salon, is the extra time it takes for a haircut or manicure. Here's a short list of their services and pricing:
Home of the $12 massage and $3 haircut!

  • 1hr relaxation massage = $150 pesos ($12usd)
  • 1hr aromatherapy massage = $175 pesos ($14usd)
  • 1hr hot rocks massage = $400 pesos ($32usd)
  • Men's or Women's haircut = $40 pesos ($3usd)
  • Hair coloring = $150 pesos ($12usd)
  • Manicure = $70 pesos ($5.50usd)
  • Pedicure = $100 pesos ($8usd)
  • Acrylic Nails = $200 pesos ($16usd)

For more information, or to book an appointment, call (624) 172 0009 or (624) 172 0010. Mostly Spanish speaking but there is usually someone who can speak English there too. Located behind the DHL off the Bordo road (road heading towards Todos Santos highway). Open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm!

Swine Flu Prevention

And you thought bacon wouldn't bite back!!

The world abandoned their Mexico vacation plans by the tens of thousands when news of the "dreaded Swine Flu" hit the headlines. Yup, yet another crippling blow to an already beaten and bruised 2009 tourism season here in Los Cabos. Oh well, bring it on... if we can survive the bad press on Mexico's drug wars, pig disease & dirty cops... we can survive ANYTHING!!

It is now more commonly known that Swine Flu, H1N1, Bacon's Revenge (or whatever you want to call it) is a worldwide problem and not just localized to Mexico. That being said, it never hurts to be safe. Below are a few tips on how to prevent infection. This advice comes courtesy of Dr. Vinay Goyal, who is currently heading the Nuclear Medicine Department & Thyroid Clinic @ Riddhivinayak Critical & Cardiac Center, Malad. The guy has got a LOT of letters behind his name, but this is mostly common sense kinda stuff... but again, refer to the Golden Rules above.

  1. Frequent hand washing
  2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of the face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap). 
  3. Gargle twice a dy with warm salt water (use Listerine if you do not trust salt) H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. Ina way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one.
  4. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effectvive in bringing down viral population.
  5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C. If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
  6. Drink warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc.). Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate, or do any harm.

Other interesting facts on Bacon's Revenge (aka Swine Flu):

  1. H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates only there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/ throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions.
  2. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.
  3. What most N95 respirators (face masks) are designed to filter is about 95% particulates of 0.3, while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1. Hence, dependence on N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.
  4. Tamiflu drug does not kill the virus, but it prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks during the virus’ natural cycle.