THE SUNSEEKER 777 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 316 • Palm Springs CA 92262 • (760) 320-7321 • (800) 351-1217 • Fax (760) 320-3939 • e-mail [email protected] A publication for members of WIVC Produced by Andzia Leao Spring 2013 Edition President’s letter The Inn at SilverCreek, Colorado You will be delighted to know that you now can receive complimentary Wi-Fi in every unit at The Inn! No need to spend your time in the lobby, although there is a new information television for your convenience. A necessary assessment was added in December 2012, to reinvigorate the indoor hot tub area — a direct response to guests and owners feedback, and also in an effort to increase the overall rating of The Inn. The Inn now has partnered with the Harriett E. Kay Granby Chamber of Commerce to host president an Easter Egg Hunt. The hunt will be held on Saturday, March 30 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.. Prizes will be awarded for different age categories. Hot apple cider and hot chocolate will be provided. Weeks for sale WIVC still has some one-bedroom weeks available at the minimal member price for you or your family. It is nice to have two units at the same time, so that you can invite your friends and family to join you on your vacation and not be in the same unit! Well, that goes for my family anyway. As usual, all is well, and do enjoy your membership. We do our best to make it possible! Resort Improvements Alta Vista and Conchas Chinas: refurbished the furniture and freshened up the units Casa de la Playa: replaced the wall décor in some units and installed blackout drapes Coral Mar: replaced obsolete window air conditioners with Trane mini-split systems in Building One La Paloma: replaced the floor tiles in three units, and refurbished the bathrooms Mar Azul: refurbished the living room furniture and freshened up the units Villacana: renovated the bathroom in Elena 29 Chairman’s report We, again, are happy to report that the club operated at a cash profit (approximately $150,000. before depreciation), for the last fiscal year which ended September 30, 2012: We reduced employee costs in Mexico, made cost-savings from the disposition of some unneeded property and benefitted from favorable exchange rates. In addition, more revenue was provided by an aggressive WIVC program to resell cancelled memberships to existing members. The resale of memberships generated major amounts to replace old assets as well as adding new dues payments. In fact, annual dues payments actually increased for the first time in years! Also, please note that the cost-savings mentioned allowed us to operate below budget for the year and to increase reserves somewhat — while still making needed replacements and improvements at the resorts. Review this financial information in the enKenneith F. Lacy, closed pamphlet.. chairman As we have mentioned before, realistic circumstances for our types of traditional clubs require us to plan on dues revenue to trend lower in future years. This puts pressure on management to continually find ways to reduce expenditures while maintaining the property and services at a high level. Always, we are receptive to new ways to increase our membership and actually hope to begin selling to the public. Any comments or suggestions? Please send them to the office in Palm Springs. Also, join us in Palm Springs on April 27, for the annual meeting. Rosales & Associates Happily, the club has retained the services of Rosales & Associates, a bilingual law firm from the state of Baja California, to represent the club’s many varied interests in Mexico. Eduardo Rosales, a former law professor, graduated from the University of Baja California, Tijuana, Mex., in 1998. He clerked at the Tijuana District Attorney’s Office and served as a legal advisor at the University of Baja California, Lic. Eduardo Rosales where he provided pro bono legal assistance to lowGomez income families. At South Western College in San Diego, Calif., in 2005 and 2006, he studied English, and earned a bilingual paralegal certificate and obtained a California Real Estate License. Rosales & Associates represent the interests of both Mexican and foreign nationals. The firm specializes in real-estate law, civil law, real-estate litigation and land acquisitions. Their motto is “Know your rights, protect your assets.” Well said and welcome aboard. WIVC appoints a new certified public accountant for its Mexican resorts The club has retained Evangelina Contreras, CPA, to provide accounting services for its Mexican resorts. A dual citizen of the USA and Mexico, Contreras earned her accounting degree in 1985 from the Baja California Autonomus University. Contreras comes Evangelina Contreras, CPA highly recommended and brings with her an impressive résumé; she has been a member of the Mexican Institute of Public Accountants since 1986 and, in 2001 she was elected president of the local chapter of Mexico’s Certified Public Accountants. In addition to being a finance and tax consultant, she is an accomplished public speaker, a teacher and a published writer. We welcome Contreras enthusiastically. What’s happening? Maya Museum opens in Cancun — Gotta go Cancun Maya Museum After six years of construction and a $15 million investment, the Maya Museum opened this past November in Cancun — just in time for the (oops) end of the world! According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the world was to come to a screeching halt on December 21, but it didn’t, and the sun did rise on December 22. Local tourism officials characterized the timing of the museum's opening as "an incredibly exciting season that marks the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new era." The museum features 350 archeological artifacts that took 30 years to curate, including some magnificent relics that have never been displayed, and others that were discovered in recent excavations. The exhibit includes 14,000-year-old skeletal remains found in underwater caves at famed Tulum. The museum complex covers a whopping 55,000-square-foot expanse in the Hotel Zone, elevated 3,000+ feet above sea level for weather protection. Admission to both the museum and the popular San Miguelito site is about $5 for adults; children under the age of 12, and seniors (60+) get in free. Puerto Vallarta reopens Los Muertos Pier After three years and $2.4 million, the new Los Muertos Pier was officially reopened on January 4. There’s 2,182 square feet with a pedestrian friendly zone, a waterfront promenade, scenic lighting and a landing dock that can berth up to six medium-size boats, mostly for beach excursions around Banderas Bay. This smaller pier connects with the larger ports located in the Marina area — the Maritime Terminal, where international cruise ships call, and Marina Vallarta, where many private boats berth . . . the new pier being another jewel in the seven-year transformation of PV’s crown. The Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride Some three years ago, longtime WIVC member, Enrique Santos, and his friends, entered the 50-Mile-Fun-Bike ride and got hooked. Whatever for? “Because it’s fun and challenging” says Santos. This scenic-award-winning race starts in Rosarito Beach and takes you along the panoramic Pacific coastline on the free road. The route turns east heading inland for a few miles through rural countryside before going south to the hill — La Cuesta del Tigre. This hill separates the strong from the weak. It’s officially listed as only two miles long, but seems like 25 miles, some say. When you get to the top, expect to experience the most exhilarating ride of a lifetime — an eight-mile drop downhill! Then ride the final eight flat miles along the ocean to the finish line just outside of Ensenada. If you’re in tiptop shape like Santos, you can finish in about three hours, otherwise it may take a bit longer. At the finish line there’s all kinds of fun, plus a bike-friendly shuttle back to Rosarito Beach. The next race will be held on May 4, and another in September. What a wonderful excuse to bike, or view the excitement or just visit Baja California. And WHAT BETTER place to stay then at WIVC’s La Paloma? Answer that one. Los Muertos Pier at night Second from left Enrique Santos and friends Flavor of the Month: Cancun By Robert Menifee, a Palm Springs-based travel writer As you may not know, it is against sensible WIVC rules for your esteemed travel writer to pick favorites; nevertheless, I am pulling a fastie here, because I love Cancun. And, there is much to tell: For those of you who have vacationed there, you know the drill: top-notch suites, views of the famed peninsula beach across the bay (pooh on Hurricane Wilma . . . within days they just trucked in new white sand), youngin’s on jet skis headed for the lagoons, championship golf within walking distance, a luxurious pool, a diminutive beach dotted with palapas, a bay-side newly refurbished hang-out restaurant with the best sunsets, fish-tacos and Margaritas in town, a friendly resort staff at-the-ready . . . well, I go on too long, because all our resorts are running on full: i.e., to make our guests happy. Well, recently I have given up all that luxury living, for a day or so, for adventures, thanks to our on-site travel expert Linda at Coox Ximba Tours. To wit, the 8 a.m. (3 p.m. if you are a late sleeper) to Xcaret, an ecological park only a one-hour ride away. Ask about the Xcaret basic or plus package deals: one buffet meal (con cerverca), you choose; snorkeling tour, snuba (a popular activity that combines snorkeling with diving) or temazcal (igloo-like sweat lodges from pre-Hispanic origin); and thrills in an underground river, a coral reef aquarium, snuggles with marine turtles and manatees, spookiness in a bat cave, a livelier butterfly pavilion, a deer shelter, jaguar and spider monkey island, a glance at an island mushroom farm, oodles of orchids, or view the whole shebang from the viewing tower. NOT to forget the flying man, a pre-Hispanic ball game, the equestrian show, plus varied archaeological and religious sites. I eschewed the renowned evening show (a mistake) because I had a chilled Margarita awaiting me back at Coral Mar’s revamped restaurant . . . a necessity, of course, but hey, life at chez WIVC is good and I needed an honest excuse to return. Underwater Rivers at Xcaret Xcaret Ecological Park Gourmet goings-on at Cancun The charming Linda Gonzalez Stampfli and her ebullient husband Stanly are the new restaurant and bar managers at Coral Mar. (For you regulars, Linda, who started with us in 1989, is the genius who (with son Raul) handles the travel agency and will continue doing so.) What does all this mean? Well, fresh white walls and newly painted beams and with all the wiring hidden, the place looks larger and neater. (The splendid view over the bay stays the same.) We have new menus, including Mexican food, American food, pastas and seafood — already some say the quality of the food has improved, what with real sirloin in our hamburgers, beef hot dogs and "steak" fries instead of French fries. One of Linda's "students" is a bona fide chef who considers his new job his "baby." Besides the notorious Taco Loco party, Linda and Stanly Stampfli there'll be another theme party on Fridays, romantic dinners for two on the beach, and they may change the restaurant name to "Lindamar." Dinner hours may change to 7 to 10 p.m., plus breakfast and lunch, of course. Daily happy hours are noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. There you have it: new menu, new atmosphere, new staff (aided by Linda's three sons) in the most convenient resort spot with reasonable prices and excellent food! Oh, yes, in case you are planning some wedding festivities, Linda has a company that makes wedding cakes. Now that's a palapa with pizzazz. WIVC’s DIRECT EXCHANGE AVAILABILITY San Diego Country Estates, Ramona , California 05/05/13 —- 05/12/13 07/21/13 —- 07/28/13 Two-bedroom unit One-bedroom unit Wyndham Emerald Beach Resort, Panama City, Florida 07/27/13 —- 08/03/13 Two-bedroom unit Tahiti Vacation Club, Las Vegas, Nevada 03/29/13 —- 04/05/13 Two-bedroom unit Tahoe Summit Village, Lake Tahoe, Nevada 08/17/13 —- 08/24/13 08/24/13 —- 08/31/13 Two-bedroom unit Two-bedroom unit Magic Tree Resort, Kissimmee, Florida Various dates available throughout 2013 for one-bedroom units Direct Exchange Fee: Continental US/Canada $115; Hawaii and other locations $140 A surcharge may apply. Retired and about to retire After 25 years of loyally serving WIVC members, Beverly J. Harris retired in September. Beverly always has believed in staying fit: Without fail, three days a week, in the early morning, you will find Beverly working out at the Spa Fitness Center. What she loves most about being retired is that now she does not have to rush through her morning workouts just to get to the office pronto. When asked what she does in her spare time, she said, “Actually, I don’t know, but I’m busy all the time. I don’t even have time to make dinner for my sweetheart.” At the end of May, our official French Connection, Robert Audet will retire. Robert, who has been with the club for 24 years, and serves as the reservations manager, feels this is a good time to move along. After all, his wife, French Canadian Michelle, already has retired as a court clerk, so time is on their hands. The day after he leaves WIVC, this active pair is boarding an RV and traveling from California across the United States, then up to Montreal — where Robert grew up. Since HIS favorite pastimes are cooking and wine tasting, he wants to spend more time trying out exotic recipes and the fine wines he expects to acquire during his travels. “Bon voyage to all of you!” says Robert. Beverly J. Harris and Robert Audet MEMBERSCOMMENT Alta Vista We have been members for more than 30 years — great. We love coming back. We like the new colors in the suite. Brookfield, Wisconsin Casa de la Playa The staff was friendly and helpful. This was our third consecutive year to stay here. Everything is centrally located and has beach front. All rooms offer ocean view and spectacular sunsets. San Fernando, California Conchas Chinas We greatly enjoyed the peace and quiet of this resort. No vendors and no timeshare people pressuring you to attend timeshare presentations. We are so happy with this charming place with its Mexican decor. Staff is great, helped us with everything we needed. Sherwood Park, Alberta Coral Mar We are so happy to see that Linda took over the Palapa Restaurant. The whole atmosphere has changed. My daughter said her hamburger and french fries were the best she's ever had in Mexico and we have been coming for 30 years. THE WHOLE CREW is friendly and helpful. We always feel comfortable and safe. Spooner, Wisconsin Mar Azul Aurelio Morales goes above and beyond what an employee should be doing. Staff at the front desk is fantastic. Another really exceptional employee who stands out among Kris Busch and Carole Sorensen win the pool at the Annual Super Bowl Party held at the Coral Mar all of the employees at Mar Azul is Eliud. You have a wonderful, The Inn at SilverCreek well-informed and fine-tuned Perfectly located. It was nice to staff. Very knowledgeable help- have Wi-Fi access in the lobby. ful and friendly. The front-desk staff was very Salem, Oregon nice. We really enjoyed our stay. We will go again. There La Paloma are many activities for the enThis was one of the nicest and tire family. With two teenagers most pleasant resorts we have this was handy — basketball, ever stayed. ALL the employ- tennis, game room, racquet ees were friendly, courteous ball, weight room — we used and helpful. Going above and them all. beyond for our comfort and Deux Montagnes, Quebec enjoyment. The young ladies at the front desk were wonderful. Villacana The groundskeeper and secu- Beautiful town homes and pool rity were all friendly and helpful. with Mediterranean views and Everyone with a smile. I really access. Terrific people, food enjoyed “Israel” at the restau- and culture. Definitely a wonrant. He always remembered derful vacation. us and I was not just “a cus- Albuquerque, New Mexico tomer.” The resort is beautiful and definitely well maintained. Watsonville, California SIGN, date and mail your proxy card today!
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