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Author: Subject: Friendly Con-men in Baja
Baja Bernie
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 10:39 AM
Friendly Con-men in Baja


From, "Mi Baja No Hurry No Worry" A book by somebody.

A Not-So-Nice Sam



Sam came to La Salina in the early 80’s and purchased the oceanfront lot next to the ‘A’ Frame. He started building what we all came to call the ‘Taco Bell’ house. It looked like a drive-in and it was constructed of all red adobe blocks. Thus the name. Sam started bending the rules as soon as he bought his lot and never—ever stopped tromping on them.

As we all got to know Sam we came to the conclusion that he rarely if ever thought that any rule could possible apply to him. He got around the one story height limit for the houses in the front row by building the first story underground. It was amazing to watch him operate.

The first thing we knew he had a very large bulldozer working on his lot. He had bribed the operator to dig his lot down ten feet and push all of the dirt out toward the Pacific Ocean. This expanded ‘his’ lot about 75 feet west of his property line. God! What guts. The equipment operator worked for the Federal Highway Agency and the giant bulldozer belonged to the Government.

This was only the first of numerous actions on Sam’s part that caused him and the ‘Corporation’ to butt heads. This continued, in a grand fashion over things both large and small, for several years. The people on either side of his lot were not at all happy over his actions. It left them with the land under their respective homes starting sluff away undercutting their houses. When they approached him about the problem he just laughed in their faces and told them it wasn’t his problem.

They were forced to build retaining walls to support their homes.

When he built his monstrous house he extended it exactly to the property line on the north AND then he built his pump room for his water ‘on’ the Widow Pearson’s property—where it stayed until he died. No! He never asked permission and he had to trespass every time the pump needed repairs. Sorta tells you how Sam responded to those around him. He didn’t! He just went ahead and did what he wanted.

One of Sam’s first actions was to have a ‘house warming’ at his trailer. This even before construction was begun on his house. He impressed almost everyone when he pulled out elaborate plans for the construction of a resort in San Jose del Cabo. The plans showed that he and a past President of Mexico were partners in the endeavor. He talked as though they were compradres (best of friends).

Sam told everyone that if anyone in camp needed a favor he had the necessary pull to help. We soon learned that the only person he ever pulled for was Sam. I’ll not name the Presidente because we were sure that he was not even aware that his name appeared on those fabulous plans. Yes! That is all they were ever to be—just plans.

Sam had been wandering around Baja for a few years before he landed in La Salina. He was always trying to impress everyone with his vast knowledge, which somehow never seemed to stand the test of time. The one thing most of us admired in him was the fact that he never stopped trying to come out on top on every ‘deal’ he tried to complete. He knew more abogados (lawyers) than a man should need and he always seemed to need them.
Whether he was just walking down the old dirt road or approaching you in the Cantina you ‘always’ felt that you should grab a hold of your wallet and hold on tightly!

He had an idea that he could build a ‘city water system’ by taping into the Arrenallos Well. The well was on the east side of the Toll Road. He wanted to install a large water tank that would gravity feed the water into camp. The next thing we knew he was operating a ‘ditch witch’ to dig trenches for water lines throughout the camp. You guessed it! No warning. Several of us were trapped. We could not drive over the trench he had dug across the front of everyone’s property.

The Mexican workingmen went bananas. “That machine wasn’t legal in Mexico. Sam didn’t have a permit to work in Mexico and they were going to try and get him deported. He was taking jobs away from the workingmen.” He just grinned, that misshapen side of the mouth grin of his, laughed, and continued doing what he wanted to do.

He even dug a trench across a Mexican Federal Highway and got away with it. Anyone else would have been in the back seat of a black and white taxi being escorted across the border. A few of us said the system wouldn’t work but Sam proved us wrong. It worked quite well for several years before it had to be upgraded.

The Mexican Authorities did send him across the border on at least two occasions and he was directed not to return to Mexico. It is really hard for a Norte Americano to get deported but Sam managed it more than once and with little difficulty. Like a bad penny he just kept showing up back in camp.

After his wife died he began to drink even more heavily than normal—which was a lot. With his increased alcoholic intake he became an even nastier ‘old’ man. He was thrown in jail on more than one occasion.
One time he had driven to Rosarito in a very drunken condition. The police stopped him at the Toll Booth because he had been driving the wrong way for over twenty miles. After being questioned by a Mexican Highway Patrolman. Sam was about to get a free ride, because of his age, when he suddenly pulled out his—and peeed all over the officers shoes.

They not only tossed him in jail they also impounded his car. After he got out of jail it took him about a month and over $400.00 to get his car back!

Sam finally passed away in his mid 80’s. I’m told he was still trying to work a deal. He was ‘always’ a very devious and optimistic fellow.




My smidgen of a claim to fame is that I have had so many really good friends. By Bernie Swaim December 2007
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Sallysouth
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 10:48 AM


Yet another Gem from Bernie! That Sam was some character! I am sure I have know at least one, maybe two or so people during my years in Baja that so very much resemble Sam!! Great reading Bernie, thank you!!



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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 11:07 AM


Thanks Bernie ----

Like Sally said, we all run into at least one Sam in our Baja adventures.

Bernie, you mention the family in the house on the back side of the lagoon as the Arenallo family. I've heard it pronounced Arellano in reference to the same family. Would that be the same family of import/ export fame? I know they have other holdings in the area.
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 11:17 AM


Thanks for the story Bernie.:D Sam had it figured-out.:) It's easier to apologize than ask permission.:D
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Baja Bernie
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 02:52 PM
Dennis


Doubt it, Gus, the head of the clan is a illegal alien and somewhat unusual in that he was born in Salinas Valley in the other California......Family came to Baja in 1935 or 6. He stood up for me and Lu Ann when we applied for our FM-3's back then you had to have two Mexican citizens vouch for you in front of a republica del notario and they, Ramon Puente (of Cantina fame) and Gus, had to show proof of citizenship. Ramon left his in the cantina (Mexicans do not worry about carrying ID around like us free Americans do) so we had to return to La Salina and then make the trip back to Ensenada..........Gus didn't have any because he is not a Mexican......but the publico had known him and his family for over 40 years so he winked at his need of proof.

Funny the things you can learn about a culture when you get involved in stuff like that.

For you who do not know--Ramon was a State cop when he got shot, in the La Salina Cantina, by a drunk gringo. That was way back in the 70's. He has been with the Cantina every since and now runs the place. A great friend.

I guess I won't tell you the stories about Gus and some of the other guys who were having a fight with some ranchers up in La Mision Valley......Seems a barn got burned to the ground and then things really got bad....That was back when they still did cattle drives from La Mision, along the old road, to Enseneda....the cowboys all wore guns in those days. Let's pretend I didn't tell that story because I promised Gus that I would not put it in my books--and I didn't.

Life is so damn good when you have memory's like mine. Thanks for jogging that out for me.




My smidgen of a claim to fame is that I have had so many really good friends. By Bernie Swaim December 2007
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 03:20 PM
What a guy!


Quote:
Originally posted by Baja Bernie
From, "Mi Baja No Hurry No Worry" A book by somebody.

A Not-So-Nice Sam

Sam finally passed away in his mid 80’s. I’m told he was still trying to work a deal. He was ‘always’ a very devious and optimistic fellow.


Good riddance to bad rubbage. Wanker. I know for a fact that he would not last in present day Pescadero. He would simply vanish and no one would ever know what happened to him. Does anyone know the story around the Chief of Police of Pescadero being shot in a drug bust gone bad? About 4-5 years ago?

:cool:
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 03:43 PM


Another Character of Baja - indeed - Lmao - you find them everywhere! Thanks Bernie !
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 06:29 PM


As always Bernie you are like a neighbor that walks across the street to share a quick story with their neigbor that makes one grin, which then follows with a quick chuckle. Thanks, bajafun777



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Baja Bernie
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[*] posted on 6-1-2007 at 09:38 PM
Bajafun777


Friends and a good chuckle are what makes this world worth hanging around for.......Thank you



My smidgen of a claim to fame is that I have had so many really good friends. By Bernie Swaim December 2007
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[*] posted on 6-2-2007 at 07:43 AM


Thanks Bernie...Good story

Keep em coming




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[*] posted on 8-15-2007 at 02:37 PM


Bernie, are you sure Sam is dead? I've been in the Baja for Hmmmm.... don't remember, but a long time and I've run into a Sam every place I go and I'm still running into him to this day.



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Baja Bernie
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[*] posted on 8-15-2007 at 05:23 PM
Zgringo


Then hold on tight to your wallet! My Sam was the king of sams on both sides of the border in his day.

Hope you enjoyed the read.




My smidgen of a claim to fame is that I have had so many really good friends. By Bernie Swaim December 2007
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[*] posted on 8-15-2007 at 08:49 PM
Baja is a sunny place....


for a lot of shady people was an expression somebody told me. Living here now the 6th. year and meet my fair share of Sam's.....

Good story Bernie




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[*] posted on 8-15-2007 at 08:59 PM


Loved the read.
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Baja Bernie
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[*] posted on 8-15-2007 at 09:20 PM
For the Newby's Thanks


There is a whole book of my stories at Back to Baja on this site............they can be fun, thoughtful, and free. Just a click away.

Edit--Oh! The book is my first, Mi Baja No Hurry No Worry. Two more followed it.

[Edited on 8-16-2007 by Baja Bernie]




My smidgen of a claim to fame is that I have had so many really good friends. By Bernie Swaim December 2007
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[*] posted on 8-15-2007 at 10:51 PM


Thank you again, Bernie! I was going to ask if Sam's demeanor had anything to do with his demise. I guess he just kept peeing on peoples shoes until he eventually dried up.
:)




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