It would be hard not to notice that Chihuahua’s, formerly Banana’s and if you want to really date yourself the place was originally called Stella’s by the Sea, restaurant recently burned. The big question is was it arson or an accident? This is not the first time that the palapa roof at this location was torched. Many years ago when Walt Baker owned the place the roof was burned down in an act of arson. I don’t recall the Banana’s story terribly well, perhaps someone else out there remembers the details of the first torching but to have the place torched once again suggests something a bit nefarious. The fact that it happened in the dead of night certainly makes one lean towards the arson theory. If you know anything about the past of the new owner who was remodeling it then there is little doubt that you would weight in on the arson side.
Several years ago the current owner of Chihuahua’s, lets call him Pepito, was kidnapped while on his way driving home in San Carlos. There were was virtually no press coverage of the kidnapping and the act itself was never even reported in the official crime statistics for Guaymas. I found that out via a freedom of information request from IFAI. His car was forced off the road, I believe it was in the the Bahia and if I recall the story correctly he was taken from his vehicle which was left by the side of the road. A ransom of 80,000 dollars was paid to the kidnappers almost immediately, within approximately 36 hours perhaps less, Pepito was released unharmed. Just after that a person that I know fairly well was arrested, interrogated and tormented by state investigators. That women was eventually released. Another women, who for what ever reason was chosen to deliver the ransom money, was eventually arrested in connection to the crime and ultimately went to jail for almost a full year before being released. No one really wanted to talk “on the record” about this incident for obvious reasons but there was plenty of words on the street that gave what I think is a fairly believable explanation of why Pepito was taken. And it goes something like this.
It is certainly no secret that men on occasion often game-fully seek out and employ women of the night for sexual favors in San Carlos and Guaymas. I will never forget my first rather naive experiences with some of the red light district bars that existed in San Carlos back when I first moved here in 1990. San Carlos was a pretty small town back then with just a handful of bars and restaurants compared to the present day. El Yate, which was located above the south side of the Marina San Carlos was one of the better dive bars in San Carlos and I can still remember the day I noticed a local business man who I knew very well partying hard. The funny thing was I knew his very attractive wife really well to, and it was definitely not her who he had his hands all over. That was my first real experience with what might be called stereo typically “Mexico Machismo”. Others might just call the guy a cheating son of bitch. Anyway local prostitutes could be found hanging at El Yate and more so over at La Terraza, which incidentally morphed in to the Colegio Americano over the years. Part of La Terraza is still standing at the back of the parking lot by the Ley supermarket. Guaymas also had a “Zona Roja” with two bars called “La Sirenita” and I think it was “Club 69”. My buddies and I in San Carlos would often play the “who is a pro” game when we walked into those local San Carlos bars.
I have been told by good sources that it is not inconceivable that Pepito used to hang out with a buddy of his in a certain bar in Guaymas were there was no real confusion between women who might be “a pro” and women who might not be. There were also rumors of underage girls hanging out in that bar. Underage prostitution has been a real issue in San Carlos. I have unfortunately seen this first hand and while I am no prude as far as adults doing what ever they wish in privacy of their own room I think it is pretty sad when older men take advantage of under aged girls. If that rumor is true then I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Don Pepito. Now a gringo with dinero hanging out in a bar in Guaymas that caters to men seeking women like that might just be setting himself up to be a target for kidnapping. It is hard to believe that these two events involving kidnapping and arson could not be related. There was no electricity hooked up to the building and there was also no propane. If you look closely at the back wall on the south side of the building it sure looks to me like the very large black soot stain that can be found on the outside of the wall may have been caused by some form of combustible material. Was that were the fire started? The wind was out of the east that morning and can easily be discerned from the picture of the fire above. Inside the building where the newly painted murals on the East wall are located was completely untouched by the fire. There is no doubt from all this evidence that the fire started in Chihuahua’s and then burned down the roof next to above Pasta Fasta.
Seeing as how this is the second time this building has been torched I suspect that there will not be a thatched roof construction the third time around!