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It’s time to Party!  Carnivale comes this week!

VAMOS A FESTEJAR!  (Let’s Party!)

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 4, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

Some twenty years ago, I was on my way to my new job working at a scuba dive shop and setting up a fishing operation in La Paz. I had driven down from San Diego in my road-weary Dodge Caravan pulling a flat trailer stacked with multi-colored kayaks.

 

There seemed to be a lot of vehicle congestion along the La Paz waterfront and a police officer was directing traffic to a backstreet detour. I followed the cars for several blocks then broke off back towards the waterfront.

 

As was my habit in those days, I had Led Zeppelin blaring from my van speakers and my windows open. I pulled back onto the waterfront and suddenly…

 

I was attacked by clowns!

 

About half-a-dozen clowns jumped on my van and trailer! One jumped into the passenger seat. What the…??? Then, I heard the cheering and yelling and clapping.

 

I had apparently pulled into a parade and was now one of the “floats!”   There were floats in front of me…behind me. There was a marching band and clowns and freaky dressed folks in costumes everywhere. And my own clown posse was bouncing up and down on my trailer and hanging off my van doors whooping it up too!

 

What the heck. Go with the flow is my motto. I cranked up the Led Zep “Whole Lotta Love” and waved at the crowds like a Rose Parade Queen and pretended I knew what I was doing.

 

At some point many blocks down, the clowns high-fived me and jumped off my van and went running back to the crowds. I continued on my way with a laugh. Welcome to La Paz!

 

Actually, it wasn’t until years later that I was informed that I had stumbled into one of the largest of Mexican festivals. I had inadvertently joined the Carnivale Parade and one of six of the most boisterous days on the Baja social calendar.

 

Carnivale became popular in the middle ages and rolled into the New World with the Spanish who, among other things, brought all the makings for a good party…gunpowder, wine, horses, drums, trumpets, guys dressed in robes and colorful banners and adornments.   They also brought a great excuse to party…RELIGION!

 

Basically, the idea was to party like heathen cavemen before the numbing penitence of Lent descended for 40 days prior to Easter. Bust the moves and get the pent up insanity out’ve your system before the grey-ash days of fasting and sacrifice of Lent.

 

The local indigenous populations took right to it as it co-incided with many of their own religious holidays.

 

Party with the overlord Spaniards!  Everyone is equal behind the masks. Peasants, farmers, merchants, soldiers, royalty, friars and Indians mixed it up. Everyone is your bro. It’s like the file clerks wearing lampshades at the Christmas party and getting to dance with the boss’s secretary in front of the board of directors. Everyone gets a pass. And God or gods say it’s OK.

 

A perfect storm. The perfect reason to FESTEJAR! Party! Break the rules. Be all you’ve always wanted to be. Let out the repressed inner child. Cross dressing was fine. Be a nun. Be a clown. Drink like fish. Dance like no one is watching. Lust like bunnies and wear masks and costumes to hide your identity. Be loud and blow horns and make music to chase away the evil was the attitude of the week-long-celebration.

 

In the 18th century, the Spanish Crown understandably felt it was getting out-of-hand and aggressively repressed much of the revelry. In the 19th century post Mexican Revolution, again, the political newbies suppressed the party because of its’ ties to the colonial past.

 

However, by the late 1800’s the event staged a growing comeback.    But, it’s tough to snuff out a good reason to party.

 

Largely divorcing itself from it’s religious roots and gaining popularity as a huge social and community event, Carnivale spread throughout the Latino Americas and New World.

 

In many cities like Rio de Janiero, Carnivale (Mardi Gras) has become synonymous with the city itself. Many Americans are, of course, familiar with Mardi Gras in New Orleans which is a direct descent from it’s Spanish heritate.

 

Mexico is no slouch. Huge celebrations in Veracruz and Mazatlan draw thousands of revelers from throughout Mexico as well as internationally.   Like most modern carnivals, they are marked with the election of a carnival king and queen, the burning or condemning of an effigy of “bad humor”, floats, parades, street vendors and music of all types.

 

Mazatlan has the oldest of the modern carnivals dating back more than 100 years to 1898.

 

The two major celebrations in Baja take place in Ensenada and La Paz. La Paz’ celebrations also date back to the 1890’s. Ensenada can fill with more than 300,000 visitors during Carnivale.

 

Taking place over 6 days, hundreds of thousands attend the giant street fairs which are filled with food, music, concerts, parades and activities of all types. Many of the attendees are Californians who come annually from across the border.

 

If you’re headed to either city or other major cities in Mexico between Feb. 4-9, bring your party dress. It’s a great opportunity to participate and witness a truly grand party. Vamos a festejar!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

_______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

 

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

We don't need fancy tablecloths and fancy glasses to have the best food ever!

We don’t need fancy tablecloths and fancy glasses to have the best food ever! Plastic tables are no problem! 

tacos-marisa_6038_r2

Never judge a place by how it looks on the outside!

Judge a place by how many people are eating the food that comes from inside!

Judge a place by how many people are eating the food that comes from inside!

If she's cooking in the cocina are you kidding me? She KNOWS how to cook!

If she’s cooking in the cocina are you kidding me? She KNOWS how to cook!

You'll never find this place on YELP or Trip Advisor, but tell me this doesn't look 5-star-good!

You’ll never find this place on YELP or Trip Advisor, but tell me this doesn’t look 5-star-good!

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 20, 2016 in Western Outdoor Publications

There’s a lot of things over the years that I’ve sworn off for my New Year’s resolution.   I won’t get into the list, but most of my resolutions never worked anyway. Action wasn’t quite as strong as the intent.

 

But, one thing I have never tried to give up was eating good food. Even for Lent. Not candy. Not baloney sandwiches with crushed potato chips. Not black olives. Not mac ‘n’ cheese.

 

I’d give up watching Batman or reading my Mad Magazines before I’d give up Swanson TV-dinners (yes, even that yummy brown-gravy-Salisbury- steak with the crusty-dry brownie in it).

 

I’m a foodie. I like to eat. I’m also Asian. Food is part of our culture.

 

And I’m blessed enough to live smack in the middle of the kind of food I love best…Mexican food!

 

Given the choice between a hot dog or a microwave burrito with questionable ingredients , I’d probably take the burrito bomb. That’s how bad I am.

 

There’s a place up in the mountains between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.   It’s a hole-in-the-wall. Well, more like a hole-in-the-rocks. It’s run out’ve a modest little hillside-home tucked into big boulders and a stand of trees next off the gravel of the road.

 

Plastic chairs. Plastic table cloths over plastic tables. Real flatware, but it’s paperplates. You grab your own Coke or Sprite out’ve a refrigerator on the concrete patio.   No beer.

 

Mama, her daughter and dad serve food out’ve an enlarged window that goes directly to their kitchen.   And, it’s not unusual for about a dozen people standing outside that window. Tour buses and shuttle vans cram the driveway.

 

No wonder. From out’ve that kitchen, mama and the family steam up the best tamales in the mountains. Homemade masa. Sweet roasted pork. Green olives and bits of California chilis and potatoes too.

 

Out’ve that kitchen come their famous empanadas. Pastry dough stuffed with beef and deep fried until hot golden and crispy. Served with chunks of fresh moist homemade mountain goat cheese and red salsa fresca.

 

They make 300 tamales a day and 200 empanadas. Once they sell out, they close the kitchen window. Sometimes that lasts until lunch time. Sometimes not.

 

But there’s no paper bill at the end. You tell them what you ate. They tell you how much it costs. They trust you.

 

I know another place. Again, run out’ve a home. You’d only know about it because a local had told you to walk around the back and into the patio. And a lot of folks know about it. You’ll find tables, chairs and the soccer game on the TV that never ends.

 

There’s no menu. Papa and mama walk out and tell YOU what they have in the kitchen. Or you can ask. If they have it or some variation of it, they’ll whip it up for you.

 

Papa says, there’s no camarones (shrimp) today, but the chickens out back laid lots of eggs and mama just made a big batch of salsa verde and salsa roja.

 

Just trust him.

 

Out comes a huge plate of “Huevos divorciados” (divorced eggs). One fresh fried egg gently laid on warmed red salsa and another fried egg laid on the warm green salsa.

 

The two eggs are divided by a fat strip of homemade refried beans chunky with bits of Mexican chorizo sausage that mama makes fresh and cooks over a big skillet on an open flame.

 

If you want “bistec” (beefsteak) healthy chunks of beef are also grilled, seasoned and served on the eggs with hot handmade flour tortillas. Coffee is served in chipped ceramic mugs. None of them match. Fifty pesos…about $3.50 for everything.

 

Take some to go. Papa shakes everyone’s hands and reminds you that Sunday, mama is making menudo and birria (goat soup) so come early before all the rancheros come in to nurse their Saturday hangovers. The spicy soup is guaranteed to force all poisons out’ve their pores!

 

Seemingly, along all Mexican roads, countless mom-and-pop food stands dot the highways. Some are little more than carts-on-wheels. Some are metal and wooden booths. Some are actual homes.

 

But, if you really really really want to get into local Mexican eating, outdoor food stands are mandatory. Beef tacos, seafood tacos, pork tacos (carnitas), roast chicken, pork sandwiches (tortas), shrimp cocktails, skewered shrimp, tamales, soups, clams and oysters, Mexican hot dogs…if you can eat it, someone is selling it and it’s all pretty darned tasty.

 

But, progress is on the way.

 

New roads. New highways. Traffic is being re-routed so folks, especially tourists can get from Point A-to-Point B faster.

 

There’s that famous quote about the journey is just as important as the the destination.

 

The problem is that the super highways are blowing right past the old roads with the cracked pavement, the gravel and the little barrio neighborhoods. They’re bypassing all these family-owned little eateries.

 

If you really want to know a people and it’s culture, you won’t find it in a big faux steakhouse or white-table-clothed-venue. Eat where the locals eat.

 

I’m all for the new roads and highways. But, don’t forget the road-less-traveled. There’s some great culinary treasures waiting for you. Getting there should be part of the fun!

 

Gear collage.jpgHAVE GIFT CARD…WILL SHOP!

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 6, 2016 in Western Outdoor News

So…the calls and e-mails are coming in. A lot of my buddies and clients got gift certificates for Christmas to their favorite tackle stores, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas and other big boy toy stores.

 

Like Nordstroms at a shoe sale for the ladies!

 

Oh, the excitement! Oh the carnage! Plus all the holiday sales are on and the big fishing and hunting shows are start up too!

 

What should I get?

What do I need?

What’s the best?

If I can only get one rod or one reel which one should I buy?

 

Listen, I’m a big fan of online purchases. Living in Mexico, we just can’t just go out and buy a lot of things available in the U.S. Amazon and UPS are my best buddies.

 

But, there are certain things that are just best purchased by putting them in your hands and trying them out. Like shoes…I never buy shoes online. They never ever fit! One company’s size 8 is another company’s 10.

 

Lots of fishing gear can be like that too.

 

If you have to buy online, of course, buy the best you can afford. Check the ratings. Check the reviews. Talk to buddies. Name brands that everyone uses are generally gonna be just fine.

 

But, if you can actually go to the tackle shop or store, all the better. I have several hundred rods and reels…I think. I used to also sell tackle in a tackle store. I know many of the great manufacturers and still deal with many of them as friends. Not all things are the same!

 

Take reels for instance. I know one manufacturer that’s quite famous and they make great state-of-the-art reels. But, I’ve been to their factory for purchases.

 

I can pick up 10 of the same model and no three of them will be exactly alike. Some seem to free-spool a little better.   Some seem to crank a little better. None of them are bad, by any means. But, some just have a better “feel” to them.

 

Those of you that are hunters or have been in the military have told me certain rifles or pistols have that same “feel” as well. A car or motorcycle can feel that way.

 

In my free-time, I love to play one of my growing collection of guitars that take up far too much space in our little place. Any guitar player will tell you that in a guitar store, if you have 10 exactly the same guitars, not a single one will play the same!

 

So, if you’re headed to buy a reel, ask to take several out of the box and give ‘em a spin.

 

Put ‘em in your hand. By all means, take it off the counter and ask to put it on a rod that’s similar to the one you’ll be using. I think you’ll find there’s a difference. Check out the drags and the freespool, especially.

 

Same with rods.   Having been in the industry now for several decades, many anglers don’t realize that just because two rods are rated 20lb-50lbs, they are NOT necessarily equal.

 

Is it for a spinning reel or a conventional reel? Is it a bait rod or a jigging stick? Is it meant for trolling or bottom fishing? A good salesperson at the store SHOULD be able to tell you. Usually, that’s NOT the guy at Walmart or K-Mart although I have found some who do know their stuff.

 

Even moreso, what’s the “action” on the rod. Is it “lively?” Good for casting a bait with a softer tip or stiffer for a jig? Does it have a “quick taper” that “shuts off” and helps you lift a fish.   Or, is the rod shut-off (stop bending) closer to the butt and more foregiving?   Again, a good sales guy or gal will know!

 

Do you know that even all fishing lines are not equal? Two lines rated at 30 lbs. can be very different. One might break at exactly or close to 30 pounds. The other might actually break closer to 40 pounds! (They’re not lying…surely it can withstand 30 pound pull!).

 

But, ever wonder why sometimes two guys fishing the same line…same color… and one guy is getting bit more than the other? Or his bait swims better?

 

When you buy line, take a look at the line diameter. The good brands have it printed on the side of the spool

 

Two lines rated the same can be different. The guy getting bit more might have purchased the line that has the smaller and limper diameter. His bait swims better. His line has less visibility in the water. He’s getting bit!

 

I’ve actually seen very cheap off-brand discount line that’s not even consistent. I took a micrometer to it and the diameter of the line over several yards varied considerably! Almost like it had bumps in it! You get what you paid for!

 

Casting jigs aren’t the same either. Go to your favorite saltwater tackle store where the guys really know their stuff. Take a Tady or Salas, Raider, Sumo or other “candy bar” type jig off the rack.   There could be 50 all the same color and style.

 

Hold it by the ring and using your same hand let the lure spin slowly while hanging down. Finding two that spin correctly with the correct balance is what the pros do! Impossible to do if you can’t hold the lures in your own hands.

 

Like I said, I’m a big fan of online shopping. But some things are best when you can touch, hold and feel them!

 

Best fishes for a Happy New Year! May the fish be with you!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

_______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

CHRISTMAS LETTERS

collage

Yea…I remember! I got 20 years locked away!

CHRISTMAS LETTERS

Originally Published the Week of December 22,2015 in Western Outdoor News

It’s that time of year. We live in Baja all year, but just before Christmas, Jill and I come up to San Diego for the holidays. Oh joy… about 11 months of mail is waiting for us.

But, speaking of joy… there are also so many wonderful Christmas cards to sit down and read. It makes for a nice evening of reading for us in our hotel room while we play all the rented Christmas TV shows…Charlie Brown’s Christmas…The Grinch…Miracle on 34th Street…

Many cards contain letters. So many of them say things like, “You may not remember me, because you have so many clients, but…”

Or, “About 8 years ago, my family and I visited you and we will never forget…”

Or, “Jonathan, you can’t possibly remember that giant roosterfish my dad battled…”

I’ve gotten to the point in this wacky fishing career when I realize I have more days behind me than ahead of me. But, my old brain and heart have a big memory bank full of Kodak moments…

I remember squinting into your first Baja sunrise. Full of expectation and anticipation. We bounced across the flat sea and the sun shred the morning chill. You gave me a thumbs up and a big grin that said it all.

I remember that day you finally hooked that marlin. And it beat you up, but you refused to hand over the rod. I was proud of you.

I remember that day sitting up in the flybridge with you. The trolling lures were skipping behind us and the stereo blared the Eagles. We sang “Take It Easy” at the top or our lungs as we toasted those icy Tecates.

I remember all the hooting, hollering and high five’s as those schools of dorado slammed into us fighting for our baits! Every rod bent. Ever reel screaming. Bloody decks and barefeet!

Do you remember how tasty those crummy sack lunches were in the early days? Why do baloney sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs taste so good when you’re fishing?   Even when the beer got warm!

And that day that giant school of spinner dolphin stayed with us for hours playing in our bow waves?

Remember the day your buddy was locked in fighting that big sailfish and you guys yanked his shorts down around his ankles?

I’ll never forget when you proposed to your wife out there on the beach at sunset and then we surprised you all with the mariachi band. I think everyone had a tear in their eyes.

I remember when we took your dad’s ashes out in the bay then scattered flowers. He sure loved his time with you fishing. I will miss him.

I”ll never forget the kindness when our van broke down in the middle of nowhere and a guy in his pickup truck gave us a ride to his little ranchero and his wife cooked up the best huevos, beans and tortillas ever on a smokey little wood stove.

I remember Mary’s first fish…and her 2nd…and her third. Like a little kid at Christmas. And you were worried she wouldn’t like Mexico or fishing. I’m glad you married her!

I remember that other time you guys all streaked through the hotel, but your buddy then locked you out’ve your room leaving you all in the hallway butt-nekkid! Then being chased by hotel security!

Or the time some of you kidnapped the hotel statue and put it in your brother’s bed. Man, he screamed when he woke up!

Or the time you duct-taped the toilet in your cousin’s hotel room after he passed out the night you all had a taco and beer chugging contest?

Or the first time you brought your son and dad to fish with us? And both of them hooked giant roosterfish at the same time. I still have that photo of the three generations. I remember how proud you were when your son said, “Dad, let’s release them.”

There was that other time your buddies caught you tying bananas to their hotel doors. I never saw you run so fast!

And there was that other time you fought that big tuna…stand up. I told you not to use that light gear. But you “manned-up” for two hours in that hot Baja sun. Then lost the fish. I felt for ya, Bro. Those are the ones you surely never forget.

What about the time you brought your granddaughter? She outfished you every day and wouldn’t let you forget it. And that was just fine with you.

And do you remember how good that warm sand felt between your toes as we watched sunsets; ate clams and tried to figure out a way never to have to go home?

Sure…I remember!

On this Christmas, I look back at all of you who have enriched my life and taught me so much.   You have gifted me in so many ways and allow me to do what I love.

It’s never been about the fishing. That’s just the vehicle that brings us all together. Like Christmas…ultimately it’s about the smiles. We will always be fish brothers and sisters.

They say that once you visit Baja, you never leave because a piece of the Baja goes with you. You may spend only a tiny bit of your life with us, but the time you spend with us stays with you for a lifetime.

It works both ways. I have a treasure chest of memories.

Feliz Navidad y Que Dios te bendigas por siempre. Merry Christmas and may God bless you always.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

_______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

TRANQUILO

DSC_0072 (2)

It’s been a long season. Time to pull the boats out. Time to take it “poco mas tranquilo”…a little slower!

TRANQUILO!

Originally published the Week of Dec. 8, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

You can tell the season’s changing now. The obvious signs are here in town. It’s that slow gap between the end of summer, but not quite Christmas…yet.

 

Town is kinda empty. Tourists are mostly gone. Fishermen? Gone for weeks now. Snowbirds filtering in from their frosty homes in Canada and the Dakotas.

 

It’s not as hot during the day. A subdued Baja sun casts longer shadows. There’s always a breeze.

 

Nights are cooler. Visitors are still in shorts and t-shirts. Us locals are more prone to long pants and sweatshirts.

 

Chatter in the neighborhood coffee cafes tend towards the “chilliness” of the weather (“We used two blankets last night!”) and the upcoming holidays (“My wife is cooking her chicken mole this year!”).

 

Chatter comes easy. Coffee is savored slowly while cold hands wrap around chipped mugs.

 

Everyone is moving at a slower pace.

 

You may have heard that Mexico is the land of “manana.” (Tomorrow). Right now, add “tranquilo.” (Slow and calm).

 

Don’t move if you don’t have to. If you have to move…Tranquilo! Take it easy. No rush. No stress.

 

You hear it a lot. Como estas? How are you?

Tranquilo.

How are things?

Tranquilo.

Are you busy?

Tranquilo.

How’s the family?

Tranquilo.

 

A little different from the hecticness in states. Here in Baja, many folks have their Christmas decorations and trees already. If you head to the store to buy decorations, they’re sold out.

 

There’s no Thanksgiving in Mexico to act as a speed bump before Christmas! After Halloween, we slid right into the holidays.

 

Lots of the Christmas gift shopping is already done. Much of Mexico had their “Buen Fin” (Black Friday Shopping) several weekends ago.

 

I inadvertently wandered into that madness to buy some stuff for dinner and got crushed by the holiday shoppers! Twenty minutes to find parking. Twenty minutes standing in the check-out line. Sheesh…my bad.   Feliz Navidad!

 

The rush is over!

 

And so what do we all do now? For the last 9 months all of us have been working pretty much 7-days-a-week.   The next three months are “tranquilo.” Sort of.

 

If you ever wondered what your favorite captains and “Baja guys” do when you’re not there, I’m sure it’s similar to what my crew will be doing.

 

For the captains, it’s time to clean and repair gear. Time to scrape the hulls; paint the fiberglass; and finally take in the motors for that long overdue 4-zillion-hour scheduled maintenance.

 

For those who had steady work, they can kickback a little during the off-season. Or work to help supplement their savings.

 

A good number of the guys head off to fish commercially at the islands or at the various fish camps that dot the Baja shoreline. They’ll drag big coolers full of ice with them; fish for a few days and stay in the fish camps.

 

It’s more economic to just stay out at the camp. After several days, they’ll bring the fish back to the waiting trucks from the seafood wholesalers.

 

Life in the ramshackle sites is a combination wild west mining camp and outpost trading post. Think about a bunch of guys camping…it’s the same no matter what the country or culture. Exhausting solitary daytime work. Campfires and camaraderie… beer, beans and and tall tales on the beach at night.

 

Some of our other guys…

 

Chalo and Pepe usually take it easy in the off-season. Old-timers. They’ve put in several decades fishing. It’s been another long good season. Let the young guys go shiver in the fish camp!

 

These two guys take their rifles up in the mountain every few weeks to hunt deer and pigs.

 

Gonzalo goes to town and helps his family with their little restaurant. Brother Chuy leaves his panga on the trailer and goes to work picking chilis for the local chili ranchers.

 

Julio has a mechanical background and gets boat repair jobs in the shipyard. Omar drives a taxi several days a week while Luis has a part-time job driving a truck for the city.

 

Marcos has the best tranquilo off-season of all. He’s still single. He has a concrete block house with a tin roof and chickens in the yard. But, he also has satellite TV.

 

He sits on the couch with a beer in one hand and the TV remote in the other. He loves watching American football and Mexican soccer in his undershirt and shorts.

 

So, the other captains tell me. He’s a popular guy. No wife. No kids and a TV with sports. The other captains love hanging out at Casa de Marcos!

 

Gabriela makes all our breakfasts and lunches for our fishermen nine months of the year. Her neighbors love her kitchen fragrances. She’s been making Christmas tamales for weeks and freezing them for the holidays.

 

Miguel is one of our shuttle drivers. He is working in a toy store and on weekends he dons a Santa outfit to wish everyone Feliz Navidad at the town square near the mission.

 

With the doves and pigeons. For tips. Because it makes the kids smile.

 

Life outside the fast lane in Baja. Until next season. Manana. Tranquilo. Take it easy.

That’s our story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

MEN IN TIGHTS

 

MEN IN TIGHTS…and YOGA PANTS

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 23, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

It has always been on my bucket list of things to do since living in Mexico all these years.

 

But, we got invited by friends of ours…to a LUCHA LIBRE (Mexican wrestling) event and just couldn’t turn it down. How could we? The husband had been a former “luchador” himself going by the name of “El Domelador” (The Demolisher).

 

So, on a chilly fall evening, Jill and I found ourselves wide-eyed and open-mouthed in the middle of several thousand screaming fanaticos in a hastily thrown together concrete outdoor basketball stadium under the stagelights. And we were screaming ourselves having a blast.

 

The event was sold out. There were lines around the neighborhood block to get in. Our friend, the “Domeledor,” got us ring-side seats to see The Apache Sisters; Stardust; Cibernetico; the Super Doll; The Psycho Clowns and the Renegade Texan among others.

 

Pudgy hombres in tights…skinny guys in their kids’ pajamas…fat guys in yoga pants…masks…facepaint…glitter…overweight ladies in stretchy body suits. . .elaborate costumes and others that looked like discards from the Halloween bargain bin. Every match was great.

 

Some guys looked like steroid body-builders. Some looked like they had never seen a gym or the only weights they ever lifted were 12-oz. cans of beer and super-sized burritos.

 

A lot look like your fat uncle or neighbor next door. Or his wife.  One luchador, we found out later, was almost 70-years-old and the bony knees and elbows and hanging arm-skin were not fake!

 

Some were “professional.” Most were not. At least not full-time. We found out later that “El Elegido” was actually the guy taking tickets at the gate before he event!

 

But they could sure entertain and the crowds loved them! There thumps and punches; stomps and kicks. And unlike American wrestling, there was much more emphasis on flying bodies as well as tumbling and acrobatics. And, different. The inside ring is canvas-covered wood. It’s not padded. No spring underneath. A thump is a thump!

 

The interaction with the crowd is more than half the fun. In unison, the “family” crowd chants things that had us cracking up and aghast.

 

I mean, can you imagine 1000 people all chanting at Hulk Hogan (in Spanish) in the U.S. with…

 

“Assh___e! Assh___e! Assh—e!” and then him laughing and pointing at the crowd and flipping them the middle finger?

 

Or the crowd singing “He’s a jerk-o..f” at the referee? And the referee grabbing his crotch and turning to the crowd and telling the crowd, “Shut up Cabrones!”

 

Or two luchadores pounding the frijoles out of each other then freezing to smile at someone with a cellphone camera then resume smacking each other around?

 

All in fun.

 

And I learned a lot too.

 

Is it rigged? Not as much as you think!

 

The Domeledor explained to me that it’s a lot of “entertainment” but he would come home with plenty of bruises on his face and arms. His chest would have lots of broken blood vessels. His wife told me about him coming home with lots of swollen lips and faces.

 

They would not choreopraph the actual moves, but they would train very hard on jumping, flipping, twists and “combinations” of multiple moves.

 

The one who “orchestrates” things is actually the referee who would guage the mood of the crowd. He would calculate the cheering and the crowd favorite and how things would go.

 

The referee would whisper to the luchadores about when they needed to speed things up…do a “crowd pleaser move”…and when someone would take a fall. Or hit harder. Or throw the other guy through the ropes!

 

Yes, there are good guys and bad guys. The “technicos” are the good guys and the “rudos” are the “rude ones” who break the rules. Sometimes the crowd loves the “technicos” and sometimes they root for the “rudos.” It all depends on who is pleasing the crowd more. The bad guys are always the most fun.

 

He told me about some of the “tricks” of the ring. Here come the “spoilers” for those of you who are really into WWE wrestling…

 

When someone stomps another luchador, the “slap” is often the sound of the opposite foot stomping the mat or the louder slap is the hand slapping against a thigh.

 

Face punches and slaps are the sound of the palm hitting against a chest or the palm of another hand…like when you clap your hands.

 

Smashing a chair against your opponent’s head, one uses the soft part of the folding chair that bends easier and the forward part of the seat that easily folds back to absorb the hit.

 

However, spit is real. These guys spit A LOT!

 

But, make no mistake…for all the fake stuff, hits, kicks and punches do land accidentally It’s all part of it. It takes practice to make a hit sound and look violent. But, even a fake hit can hurt.

 

According to my Domeledor amigo, anonymity is EVERYTHING. That’s why they wear the mask. The Demeledor has lived in La Paz almost his whole life.

 

He was a champion free-style wrestler in mainland Mexico before he became a luchador and then wrestled for about 10 years in La Paz, where we live. He has rarely ever revealed his identity and still guards it religiously.

 

They live behind the mask and facepaint and when appearing for any public events they never show their faces.  In fact, one of the biggest disgraces is for a luchador to have his mask taken away from him by an opponent. There goes the magic. Sometimes an old luchador will do it as a form of “falling on the sword” in retirement or when a luchador wants to change to another personality.

 

My amigo explained to me that the promotion company actually owns the “personalities.” The actual wrestlers are usually just “employees.” Employees can get hurt…quit…get fired…but the personality can endure for years or for decades.

 

So, someone named “El Diablo” might not be the same guy all the time even though El Diablo has dominated his matches year-after-year. Or the guy might put on a different mask and be called “Superfreak.”

 

Sometimes, just like circus families there are families that are wrestling families and the son or grandson continues on with a family character.

 

Money is not very big. They earn a meager salary or portion of the gate. Most of the money comes from a percentage of the abundant t-shirts and costume sales at the arena or stadium. There’s no insurance. There’s no workman’s compensation. If you’re hurt, they find someone else to put on the mask.

 

But, as my friend explained, there’s nothing like the adrenaline of being “in the ring” and having everyone cheering for you or calling you a “cabron.”

 

Or being able to turn around and flip the one-fingered salute to several thousand people and have them laugh!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

_______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

4-c-jptuna22903

All the fishermen for just one of so many Baja tournaments! This one the Los Cabos Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot.

BENT RODS and BIG SALTY HEARTS

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 10, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

As I write this, we have just completed the first day of the 16th Annual Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot Tournament here in Cabo San Lucas. If you’ve never seen or participated in something like this, or any major sportfishing tournament, add it to your bucket list.

It’s an incredible spectacle.

This year, we have 143 fishing teams and almost 600 anglers. Add in non-fishing friends, family, crews, sponsors, celebrities and support staff, this is a 5-day fiesta on a massive scale for about 2000 people! This makes it the largest tournament in Cabo San Lucas. Actually, it’s the largest in Baja.

In terms of prize money, the awesome Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin tournament has a bigger payout. But, almost $700 thousand in prize money here right now is nothing to sneeze at and it’s a lot of fun.

This is just one of so many tournaments here in Cabo San Lucas. Bisbees actually hosts two tournaments here in Cabo and another on the East Cape.   When international tournaments like this current Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot; the Bisbee’s; and others take place, they can pretty much take over a town. From the largest cities to even the smallest fishing pueblos, where it can be the social event of the season.

It’s like that for tournaments in from Loreto, to the East Cape and Ensenada to Mulege naming just a few. The circus comes to town. And the music, clowns and hoopla come with it.

I heard one disgruntled ex-pat grumble under his breath that, “The tournaments bring nothing but noise and traffic and turns the town into ‘gringo-landia.’”

I found that rather amusing. Here was an ex-pat gringo living in Cabo San Lucas, a world-wide tourism mecca, complaining that Cabo was too “gringo” during the tournaments.

That’s like saying Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles or East Los Angeles is too “Mexican.”

The grumpy guy had a point. Yes, a lot of gringos come to town for tournaments.   I mean, that’s the point.

But, they bring a lot more than just noise, traffic and a lot of whoop-dee-doo at the margaritas bars.   All these visitors fill hotel rooms; eat at restaurants; use gas; buy bait; rent boats; use services; buy a lot of t-shirts and souvenirs; etc.

Even our own tournament here right now in Cabo…2000 people have to sleep somewhere. They consume a lot of food and spend a lot of money.

Today 143 boats full of fuel, bait, boxed lunches and cases of beer went out. That’s a lot of economic well-being for the locals. That’s a lot of charter boats and crews, captains and gear.

That’s a lot of tax revenue as well. And, as I write this, they’re going out again tomorrow and still have 2 more days of events.

And this happens with all of these “gringo” events. Wealth gets spread around!

A lot of “wealth” comes back in terms of prize money also. Sure, there’s money and prizes to be won. You hear so much about some of these big-money events.

But, what often isn’t publicized is how much these sports events benefit the local communities in other non-direct ways.

Last year, after devastating Hurricane Odile rampaged through Baja, this current tournament raised enough donation money and sales from t-shirts and other items to build 15 complete homes for families who lost their houses to the storm. Several huge truckloads of clothing and shoes were also brought down as well.

This year, donation are benefitting Cabo Smiles International which provides dental and oral surgery for impoverished kids. As I write this more than $3000 is already in the kitty.

The Bisbee Tournament organizers have been donating to the communities for many many years on many levels.  For instance, two weeks ago, they donated marlin provided food for a reported 1600 people.

Many folks think the popular “Stars and Stripes Tournament” is all about Americans. Actually, the “stars” stand for the kids who benefit from medical supplies and medical equipment and the “stripes” are the striped marlin of the tournament.

Since 1993 in Loreto, the “Fishin’ for the Mission” Yellowtail Tournament has benefited not only the historic Loreto Mission, but also the Loreto orphanage. This tournament is very unique because ALL of the money goes to charity as well as extra funds raised during the tournament through sales and auctions.

The Lynn Rose East Coast Classic Tournament is another prominent example of generosity in Los Barriles on the East Cape. For many years, the money raised has built playgrounds as well as provided school buses and vans for the local kids.

In La Paz, where we live, smaller scale events have raised supplies for school kids; food for the senior citizens homes; scholarships for underprivileged families.

These kinds of things go on weekly at events up and down the Baja peninsula. Without a lot of fanfare or recognition.

I am reminded that as a gringo myself in Baja for 20 years, we are guests of Mexico and American ambassadors to this host country. We are grateful that we are allowed to do what we do and bring down other gringos to share so many things that Baja has to offer.

By the same token, we’re grateful to all the big hearts who take away memories, fish filets and Kodak moments, but also leave something behind because of their generosity. It’s win-win all the way around.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

_______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-international.com.  They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

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