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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

Originally Published the Week of May 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I thought this week rather than headline news, you might be interested in comments from locals and gringos living in Baja regarding what it’s like south of the border right now.

It’s not too different from the U.S. But, just to give you some context:

Currently, as of this writing Mexico has more than 2000 fatalities and 23,000 reported cases.

The states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have about 2000 cases with about 40 deaths.

The statewide quarantine is in effect until May 30th.  For almost 2 months, all beaches, schools, public areas, restaurants, stores and other non-essential businesses have been closed.   There is an 8 p.m. curfew in place. 

Many tourism businesses are making plans to re-open after the first of June. A number of airlines plan to start flying during that time as well.

Here’s just a small slice of what folks are thinking and, in many ways, it’s not too far from what many of us are experiencing.

HORACIO (49-year-old-taxi-driver) – It is very difficult. We do not have too many cases in La Paz, but we watch the U.S. news and it is crazy. I need to work. There are no riders for my taxi and no gas for the car. There is no other money.

ANGELINA (Single Mother of 2) – In our town the government announced a food truck would arrive with lots of food. We waited 4 hours with several hundred other families. No truck ever showed up. Several weeks earlier, they did the same thing, but the first people got all the bags they could carry. There was nothing left for anyone else. Then, the workers were told they were only supposed to give 2 bags to each family.

 
NINITA (Retired teacher 60 years old) – I am OK because I have a retirement check. But, my grown children all lost their jobs so they have moved back with me. Even my daughter that teaches in the United States returned because her school closed. They eat A LOT! It is nice to be together again, but I am worried for them.

JEFFREY (Retired gringo living just outside Tijuana) – At first we didn’t take it seriously. Then people blamed the U.S. for infecting us so they wanted to block the border. Kind of ironic really. All the Americans were crossing the border to buy toilet paper and there were lines at all the big box stores like COSTCO.

LORENZO – (panga captain) – There is not much to do. No business. Normally, we are very busy. We live 40 miles from the city and our pueblo has no internet. School is closed. We have no TV. We cannot go to the city because the roads are blocked. There is no medical care here and no money for gasoline for the panga or the car.

CHALO – (cook 52-years -old) – The restaurant I work at closed. So, I stay at home. But, there is not even beer to drink. All the breweries got closed by the government. So, shelves are empty or the prices are triple normal. Some people are selling blackmarket illegally from their homes or trunks. The police will arrest us if we are out past 8 p.m. But, I know people that still have parties.  I have no car so I can’t go anywhere.

NORMAN – (70 year old retired American) – Many gringo neighbors had to decide to stay in Mexico or leave. I understand many of my friends are older and high-risk so they didn’t want to take a chance with Mexican medical care. There’s no shortage in the markets and this is my home so I plan to stay. But, I have many things like TV and a computer and internet that locals unfortunately do not have.
ROSALIA – (43 years old office assistant and mother) – I have a reduced salary and work hours, but my husband cannot work. He got sick during the quarantine and has been in the hospital several times for emergencies to his kidneys. I cannot visit him in the hospital and be with him because of the virus. But, they send him home very quickly after treatments because of the virus in the hospitals. Then, his illness comes back.

JACOBO – (Musician and graphic artist) With all the restaurants and bars closed I have no place to play but I can make a little money online doing graphic design. I am from mainland Mexico and moved to Baja. I was going to move back home with my parents when the virus first hit Baja. My parents are both doctors and told me to stay in Baja where it is safer. Everyone is angry at the politicians. They did not act quickly enough.

Many people ignore the quarantines and defy authorities. They have parties. They go to the beach. They do not respect social distancing. They do not believe this is a big problem.

 
ZACHARY – When the quarantine hit, I had just pulled the sailboat I live on out’ve the water. I didn’t think this would be two months. I am on a boat sitting on blocks on DRY LAND in a dusty boat yard ! Not my favorite idea of social distancing. Cabin fever crazy right now!

SERGIO – (Transportation Driver) – My wife keeps making me clean the house. We have the cleanest house in the neighborhood. I need to get out before my wife makes me clean the house again. But there is nowhere to go!

That’s my (their) story!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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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BAD NEWS – GOOD NEWS – A GLIMMER OF HOPE

 

CAncel?BAD NEWS GOOD NEWS and a GLIMMER of HOPE

Originally Published the Week of May 1, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve become a junkie for Mexico news of late.  It’s not only for my own benefit, but especially to keep friends, clients and everyone else informed as much as possible.

 

Not even including phone calls, I think I field well over 100 e-mails a week.

 

It’s not easy covering Mexico.  It’s like someone asking how are things in the United States.  It’s a big country.

 

Any statements you read here in this confined space easily tend to over-simplify a myriad of variables.  And, just as easily be completely wrong, especially with a rapidly changing situation. Such as it is.

 

Just like in the U.S., reports conflict daily.  Everyone has a different opinion.

What’s working in Oregon isn’t necessarily good for Florida.  How does one accurately make a blanket statement  that covers  Michigan, Texas and Wyoming?

 

Mexico has 32 states. It’s the world’s 13th largest country with about 133 million people that are just now getting what a lot of the world has been dealing with for several months.

 

Just covering Baja itself is 1000-mile-long peninsula.  Most folks don’t realize it comprises two states.

 

Baja Norte (Northern Baja) encompasses cities such as Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali and San Felipe.

 

Baja Sur (Southern Baja) is where Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Mulege and Todos Santos are located.

 

Plus, there’s a ba-zillion little pueblos scattered all over the rural countryside in the mountains, beaches, islands and deserts.

 

As a country, Mexico, is just hitting Phase 3 of the pandemic.  As of this writing, it has almost 16,000 cases detected with  more than 1,400 fatalitites.  Health experts say that because of the lack of testing and reporting, the number of cases is probably closer to 65,000.

 

And climbing.

 

The two states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have pretty much extended their respective quarantines until the end of May.  However, the two states are trending divergently on their viral paths.

 

Both states are in lockdown.  However, Baja Sur has suffered 12 deaths for about 266 cases.

 

Comparatively speaking, Baja Norte, has about  1200 cases with 162 deaths.  Just a month ago there were a scant dozen cases or so in Baja Norte.

 

It’s escalating rapidly.

 

Hospitals in northern Baja are already over-stressed.  The entire city of Ensenada has almost a million residents.  It not only locked itself down, it is locking everyone out.  You can’t even drive into the city.  You are turned away.

 

Additionally, along the highway, cars are being disinfected and motorists are having their temperatures taken.

 

On the contrary…

 

Southern Baja which relies so heavily on tourism, looks like it might be loosening up.

 

But, not without struggles…

 

As of last week, the governor of Baja Sur implemented even harsher restrictions.  These included 10 p.m. curfews.  All persons must now wear masks and only 1 person in a car at a time. No alcohol sales after 6 p.m.

 

Violators are confronted with fines; jail time or community services including being forced to work in the hospitals.

 

But, there might be a possible light down the road.

 

Although the quarantine will persist until May 30th, Cabo hotels have started taking new reservations for June.  This includes some of the larger and well-known properties.

 

School kids are being told that there is a good possibility that classes will resume July 1. They are talking about re-opening the beaches.

 

The ports and marinas that affect some 24,000 workers may re-open.  Restaurants are preparing to open by mid-June.

 

Further, various airlines are making noise about returning to the Mexican skies either between the latter part of May.  These include Aero Mexico (May or June).  Alaska after May.  Delta to Cancun and Mexico City.  United Airlines sometime in June.  Spirit Airlines by May or June.

 

You may not be able to DRIVE to Baja Sur, insofar as many cities and places like Ensenada are closed down.  However, no one minds if you FLY over their cities.

 

There are others.  This is all changing quickly and for better or worse,  has probably changed by the time you’re reading this!

 

So, don’t make new reservations just yet.  But, don’t cancel your current plans either.

 

Stay tuned.  I could be wrong…again.

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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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MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE 3

PHASE 3 PHOTO

MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE THREE

Originally Published the Week of April 23, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

Understandably, like never before, I’ve become a junkie for Mexican online news. My sportfishing fleet and captains sit idle and anxious.  Sadly, I’ve already had to permanently close our restaurant.

 

And we’re stuck in the states unable to return.  But return to what?

 

My business is shut down.  Everything is closed. The beach is closed. Even the hotel where we rent our little apartment is closed. No place to live. And, there’s no flights.

 

My livelihood and the livelihood of friends and employees depends on keeping abreast of the news.  Like much of the world, we’re trying to keep ourselves, our business and many others in our social and business circle afloat as well.

 

It’s not the Titanic and that is NOT the brave little band I hear playing on the quarterdeck.  But, I see leaks and I know how THAT movie ends and I know in that movie there were not enough life jackets or lifeboats.

 

That’s maybe overly dramatic.

 

However, the U.S. has been dealing with this now on full-alert for several months.  We know where we’ve been and we know what’s still in store.  There’s even a glimmer of normalcy peeking out here-and-there although we are far from it.

 

Heck, just this morning at the our local grocery store here in the states, I actually left with a smile. There wasn’t a lot of it.  But,  there was toilet paper, pasta, rice and things people were scrambling for only a few weeks ago.  Yay!

 

Although we’re still desperately treading water, there’s hope.

 

So, I see Mexico getting hit by a wave that we’ve already been dealing with for awhile.  And Mexico is even less able, let alone prepared for the potential tumble.

 

Many in Mexico haven’t even taken it seriously yet.

 

FACTS:  As of April 21st:  (facts keep changing so fast between the time I write these and the time they are published by even one day difference)

 

  • Mexico has almost  10,000 confirmed virus cases a jump of over 3,000 in a single week.
  • Coronavirus deaths are at  almost 1000  and climbing daily. Two weeks ago it was 125.
  • Health officials think that as many as 54,000 is a true number of cases because of so many unreported cases and very little testing.
  • Four Mexican states with more than 33 million residents are not reporting any statistics because they do not want to violate people’s privacy or “cause panic.”
  • More than 220 municipalities in 10 Mexican states have closed their roads unilaterally to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the towns.
  • Hospitals in Mexico City are already almost at capacity.
  • Baja (states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur) has almost 800 confirmed cases with 38 deaths.
  • Baja has the highest incidence of infection per capita in the country. Mexico City has the 2nd highest per 100,000 people.
  • Baja has extended the quarantine past the original April 30th In the absence of something changing, the quarantine is now extended to May 30th.
  • Health officials estimate that only about 60% of the population are adhering to the quarantine. Many are ignoring the mandates while law enforcement and the military continue to chase people off beaches, public areas and gathering locations.
  • Healthcare workers are pleading for non-existent personal protection while themselves now becoming targeted for attacks and abuse by people who say the workers are spreading the disease.
  • There’s no stimulus checks, unemployment or health insurance (socialized medicine). In fact 40% of the working population aren’t even on anyone’s books.  They work as laborers, vendors and other cash-only workers.

If you thought the U.S. moved slowly, the Mexican government didn’t even recognize the issues until just a few weeks ago.

 

President Obrador was still telling Mexicans they were immune. He was still out holding rallies, shaking hands, kissing babies, and telling folks they should still be eating at restaurants.

 

In my course of monitoring Mexican news, lately, I check the online social media message boards  regularly. There are Mexicans still talking about this being a “hoax” or “government conspiracy scam.”

 

People are posting smiling selfies of themselves sneaking out to party at the beach.  Or backyard barbecues.

 

Even ex-pat gringos living in Mexico are posting-up messages that show an insulated mentality.  There’s “us” and there’s “them.”  And “Us” aren’t going to get sick.  “Them” is outside the gated wall.  And we don’t associate with “them.”

 

They criticize others for being “fear mongers” and about “fake news” and “inflated statistics.”

 

Heads-in-the sand, I saw one post from a gringa lady living in a gated community.

 

She said she did not know how to clean her house or cook.  Was it OK for her to allow her maid to come in?  “I know she is very clean and we know her family and friends and they are all nice people. So we can’t get infected.”

 

I read another post about some retired gringos living in a condo complex about having a “Quarantine Party” instead of a “Hurricane Party” for fellow condo residents.

 

It would be a themed party and would only include residents.  Please do not invite outside friends “for health reasons.”  Oh…it was going to be “catered” by a local restaurant happy to have some business.

 

Magnanimously, they announced it would “help the local economy.”  Your attendance would be just wonderful!

 

Like I said, in the U.S. we’ve been treading water for months.    Mexico is just starting its own bumpy journey and it’s like watching a bad-movie again.

 

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

______________

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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.”

Read Full Post »

SHOULD I CANCEL MY MEXICO TRIP?

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Empty cities. Empty beaches.

SHOULD I CANCEL MY MEXICO TRIP?

Originally Published the Week of April 9, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

So, this virus-thing got you a bit worried about the Mexico trip you have planned?

 

LOTS of folks are in the same boat with you.  Hopefully, not a cruise liner.

 

 

Bad publicity over-the-years to the contrary,  Mexico is still the #1 destination for American travel.   Statistics show that more than 32 million Americans visited Mexico last year.  Approximately half-of-those ended up in Baja.

 

The other big areas areas are Cozumel and Cancun.  Mexico expected a 5-7% increase for 2020.

 

Until it all hit the wall.

 

My caveat for anything I write these days is simply, “Whatever you read here, things may have changed by the time you read them.”  The world is changing rapidly.

 

As of this date (Week of April 12, 2020), there is a national closure of all hotels, ports, marinas, beaches, public spaces, park, event centers, charter fishing, booze cruises and the like, as well as restaurants and bars.  Yes…and bars.

 

And beer.

 

Breweries are shutting down and some cities are instituting zero tolerance on alcohol sales.  Or minimizing the hours of sale.

 

So, aside from the fishing, if you can even get out, many of the fun reasons for going to Mexico are off-the-board at the moment. The Mexican government says these prohibitions will be in place until April 30th.

 

Or not.

 

Since the virus really hasn’t slammed full-force into Mexico, the country reserves the right to extend the lockdown.  Maybe right through YOUR vacation.

 

And, by the way, Mexico would really prefer you to NOT come into the country and infect it’s people.  They love tourism…They need tourism…They love YOU!  Just not right now.  Please stay home!

 

(Thank you very much to the Texas students who chartered a plane and flew 70 of them down in spring break and more than half of them are now infected.        And now Cabo trails only Mexico City as the leading growth area for the virus.)

 

So, should you pull the plug?  If so, there’s good ways and not-so-good ways to do it.

 

There’s some things to think about.

 

If your trip is within the next month, I would say the chances are probably slim.  Optimistically, even if your hotel opens or your charter operator gives the thumbs-up don’t celebrate just yet.  You need to check if your airline will still be flying.

 

Airports are still open, but with no one flying anyway, airlines have cut service and flights.  Open airports are empty airports.

 

If your vacation is not for awhile, it’s my recommendation to wait.  I admit this is a totally self-serving suggestion since we own a fishing fleet in La Paz.

 

But, it won’t hurt to wait as long as you can.

 

God-willing, things MAY change and you surely don’t want to lose your spots .  When we get to the other side of this pandemic, there will be a rush to get out of isolation.  People will want to fish.

 

If you do have to change, consider postponing it.  And, if you can come up with new dates all the better.

 

Every operator is different so check.  But, most payments, including deposits are not refundable.

 

Having been on both sides of the counter in dealing with Mexico vacations, it’s pretty difficult to get a refund.  Lots of wasted time and energy.

 

If you don’t show up too bad.  Or, many operators treat this pandemic as a “force majeure” (act of God).  Like a hurricane or other unforeseen event.  It’s harsh, but it’s just bad luck.  No one can control the weather…or foreseen a pandemic.

 

It’s like booking a fishing trip and the weather happens to be bad and fishing hits the dumper.   No one’s fault . Just bad luck. No refunds.

 

But, that is also why so many of us recommend and have recommended economic trip insurance.  We personally never travel without it.

 

Even in the best of times, the insurance can cover things like canceled airlines; bad weather; too sick to go out; a medical emergency or accident, etc.  It’s well worth it.

 

Some travel insurance will not cover this pandemic and if your trip is coming up soon, it might be too late. But, consider it if your trip is still somewhere down the calendar year.  Just Google it up and there are plenty of options and policies to choose from and, they aren’t that expensive!

 

Although refunds may be difficult, most operators I’ve spoken to seem more than willing to give you credit towards re-booking a trip.  This is especially true given the current situation where normally, they would not be so lenient .

 

But, again you should check.  Some charge a fee for canceling or re-booking.  A little research can help you get your full credits.

 

Truth be told, most operators I know from Mexico to Alaska and Canada to South Africa and Oregon to New Zealand, ultimately are mom-and-pop operations.  Realistically, they can’t afford to refund everyone.  So, it’s win-win if you propose new dates for the future and they can credit you for that trip.

 

As for airlines, things seem to be loosening.

 

Early on, the airlines got bashed for their cancelation policies.  Some were giving zero refunds; eating up your points; and charging exorbitant fees to change tickets.

 

This was happening even when it was the airline that canceled the flights.

 

That has come more into line.

 

We have found that if YOU cancel the flight, you might not get a refund, but the airlines will credit you for a new flights in the future.  Lately, however, we are finding that if THEY cancel the flight, refunds are being given.

 

So, just a heads-up that if you wait until the airlines actually cancels, you have a better chance of getting some money back.

 

Bottom line is do a little research before yanking the plug on your Mexico vacation.

 

Hopefully, we’ll get to the other side of this sooner rather than later.

 

That’s my story!  Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  We can do this!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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.”

Read Full Post »

MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

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MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

Originally published the week of April 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

These columns are getting more difficult to write in these hectic times. I cringe writing anything because by the time I publish here or on the internet, often things have changed.

For instance, that last column about “Updates from the Road” was written when this whole coronavirus pandemic was just starting out almost a month ago. It was from that immediate perspective as my wife and I were driving cross-country.

By, the time it was actually published about 2 week later, the world had drastically tilted and I felt like a doofus.

Things are altering so rapidly that let me just advise you up front that whenever you’re reading this, I COULD BE WRONG. THE WORLD MIGHT HAVE SHIFTED AGAIN!

Here’s the lay-of-the land as we know it right now in Mexico and Baja.

Cases of the virus in Mainland Mexico are climbing. However, as of 2 weeks ago, President Obrador told people not to worry. It was just the “early stage” and they should continue socializing, eating out and getting together.

I’m paraphrasing, but he also mentioned that Mexico is “ready” for anything that happens (even tho’ Mexico City has 15 million people and only 14 ICU beds). And that because Mexican people have “Mayan blood” they will be resistant.

The governor or Pueblo went to far as to say that Mexican poor people are immune because only people who travel get sick and (logically), only rich people travel.

President Obrador continued to meet; hold rallies; shake hands; hug supporters; and get together with crowds telling them he was safe because he wore “lucky amulets.”

Even his own health ministers were critical.

Then, Mexico’s virus cases almost doubled later in the week and the President abruptly reversed his position. Now, he’s telling his people to “run for cover.” Although he has not curtailed his own social schedule.

Experts say this might be too little and too late. Mexico might be in for a perfect storm.

Ten percent of it’s population has diabetes. It has the highest rate of obesity (right up there with the U.S.). It has huge issues with hypertension and heart disease. With socialized medicine, it has a difficult enough time taking care of people in normally.

Additionally, even with social distancing supposedly in place, it will be difficult since many people habitate in dense conditions with large numbers often living in the same quarters.

Further, it is estimated that more than 60% of the population lives day-to-day and hand-to-mouth as vendors; plumbers; laborers; etc. with no brick-and-mortar building. The majority of the population cannot simply “stop working.”

Although mainland Mexico has about 2100 virus cases as of this writing, Baja itself has a relative small handful. However, Baja has been turning into a peninsula of ghost towns, especially anyplace that relies on tourism.

As of April 5, all hotels, beaches, public places, restaurants and marinas have been closed by international decree.

Supposedly, this is only until April 30th, but that assumes Mexico shows some improvement.

Police and military are enforcing the closures.

Two weeks ago, both Mexico and the U.S. mutually agreed to close the border to non-essential travel. But that does not seem to apply to tourism, although there’s not really anyone travelling. Airports are empty. There are no cruise ships around.
Where we live in La Paz, many restaurants were trying to survive by doing “take out” service. Most unsuccessfully, but now all restaurants are closed.

We had to permanently close our own restaurant on the waterfront.

Several cities, including Cabo San Lucas have prohibited liquor sales. It is expected that others will follow. Breweries like Corona/ Modelo are shutting down with no one to deliver beers to because of all the restaurant and bar closures.

So, there’s no one on the water. The fish continue to bite and the weather is improving and getting warmer. Airline rates are cheap, if you can find a flight.

Surprisingly, I’ve got folks calling and e-mailing. They are wondering if it’s OK to go down.

They are already “bored and feel fine.”

“Prices are right and less traffic on the water and fishing looks good.”

Need to “get away from the madness.”

“Mexico has less coronavirus than the U.S.”

“Want to help the Mexican economy.”

“Mexico is safe because it’s warmer and the virus cannot live in heat.”

Well, from a pragmatic perspective, sure. It’s OK to go down. Everyone needs the work. You’re a good guy. No one will stop you. Vacation is “essential.”

The hardest part might be finding a flight since so many carriers have canceled their service or have reduced their flights. But, aside from that, should be great!

Except for one thing…

It’s thoughtless and you’re not doing anyone any favors.

Realistically, you are not single-handedly saving the Mexican economy.

For the same reason so many of us are “sheltering in place” and for the same reasons, my wife and I haven’t gone home to Baja yet is that we could be contagious.

We feel fine, but that’s not to say we aren’t carrying the virus.

That’s not to say we won’t pick something up in a car, gas station, airport, or airplane on the way down. Touch a rail. Drink a cup of coffee. Breathe someone else’s air.

This thing could be totally asymptomatic.

Or, given it’s shelf-life, it could be on a bit of our clothes or our suitcases or my backpack. And we would never know it.

And then, we unknowingly infect our driver…a captain…an employee…a friend…

And they pass it on to someone else.

And people get sick. And people die. Yea…people die. And, Mexico is not someplace you want to get sick.

No matter what the government says about “being ready.” I have seen Mexico’s socialized health system at work. We have employees and I’ve been personally in that system.

As one of my captains told me when I asked him what happens when you really get sick, he told me, “We just die or they let us die.”

Simple as that.

It’s OK to cut my finger or sprain an ankle. But you surely don’t want to need a ventilator. There really aren’t any to go around.

Our city of La Paz with about 250,000 people has something like 4 ventilators.

Or what if YOU get sick and/or bring the virus back home with you? Like the 70 kids from the University of Texas who took a charter to Cabo San Lucas for spring break. They came home and something like 44 of them have tested positive. How many did they infect?

All because you want to fish. Or you’re bored. Or prices are right.

I’m saying this against my own self-interest since we own a huge sportfishing fleet and restaurant. We could sure use the business.

But, this is about social responsibility and the sooner we get a handle on this thing the sooner we get back to normalcy in the long-run. And hopefully back out to fish.

If you already have reservations for later in the year, don’t cancel them yet. Things could turn around. Or, postpone your trip for later.

But, until then, dig in and hunker down. Let’s do this together. It’s all abstract until someone you knows dies. And that’s a harsh bottom line.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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.”

Read Full Post »

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

cowboy-campfire

Talent in unlikely places

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 26, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I don’t get to see many movies. Especially living in Baja and with our lifestyle, we barely ever get to watch TV, let-alone catch a movie.

And that’s with a bar that has 13 TV’s in it. We’re always running!

However, Jill and I recently got to sit down for a moment and catch the movie “Yesterday.” It’s a romantic English comedy about this guitar-playing singer who has spent years trying to “make it big.”

He just can’t seem to get it going.

He’s ready to quit and go back to being a teacher. On his way home after a failed gig, there’s a mysterious global blackout and a bus accidentally hits him in the dark. He’s hospitalized.

When he wakes up, he takes to his guitar and plays the Beatles’ iconic song “YESTERDAY” for some close friends and they are mesmerized. They have been his friends and supporters for many years. As friend do. But none of them delusioned about his talent.

But, now their mouths are dropped open.

Blown away to be more precise. He protests and keeps insisting it’s one of the greatest songs from the Beatles.

Beatles? Who are they? Some kind of bug?

As it turns out, the whole world has never heard of the Beatles and suddenly this guy starts playing all the Beatles hits…

“I Wanna Hold Your Hand”
“Back in the U.S.S.R”
“She Loves You”
“Hey Jude” (although the record company wants him to change the title to “Hey Dude”)…

…and the whole world goes crazy for him and thinks he’s the biggest singer-songwriter in the history of the world. A fun movie and I won’t kill the ending for you!

But, it reminded me of a story. Of hidden talents.

Many many years ago, I was invited by a bunch of our captains to come over one evening for some beers and tacos. Nothing formal. Just a bunch of the boys.

Sounding like a good idea, I drove out to the remote area where many of the captains and their families lived.

I had left the lights of the city way miles behind in the rear view mirror. The night was chilly and clear.

It took a bit of navigation to find the little pueblo nestled in the darkness of the low hills and shrubbed-trees a few miles back from the beach.

I followed the stab of my headlights through the dust of the gravel road and found the little clearing behind a group of block houses.

The guys were already there mostly lit up by propane lights hung from trees and surrounding an old brick barbecue. I probably could have found the place just by following the aroma of cooking meat over smoky mesquite and the laughter of beer-driven voices arrayed in plastic chairs around the fire.

An instant welcome with lots of hugs and handshakes. A plastic chair was shoved under my butt near the crackling fire.

A cold can of Tecate thrust into my hand pulled from a tattered scuffed ice chest.
Psssssst!!! Pop that beer and even in the dark watch the icy smoke rise before tipping it back and feel that wonderful icy burn in the back of my throat with the first sip. Nectar of the gods for sure!

It’s the Mexican equivalent of happy hour.

Just like any other workplace. The workday is done. And it’s been a good one. Put your feet up. Loosen the belt. Put on the kick-back clothes and some old flip-flops on the dirt ground.

No boss or employee foolishness. Just one of the guys. And it feels good to be included. And welcomed.

Cracking some beers. Shop talk and jokes. Easy conversation. Knee slapping laughter. Letting fly the occasional un-apologetic burp. Or worse!

Grilled meat and fresh tortillas with salsa served in mismatched plastic bowls on a makeshift plywood board on concrete blocks. Delicious goodness dripping down chins and wiped with shirt sleeves. Sluiced down with another beer.

The family dogs press noses against pants legs eagerly hoping for something from greasy fingers. The chickens know to keep a low profile in the bushes.

Life is good around the fire.

And you think it can’t get better until someone pulls out a guitar. And starts strumming a few notes. Hmmm…that note buzzed a bit.

A little adjustment on the tuning and a few chords from a familiar rancho song…you wish you could remember the name of it.

But yup, that’s Captain Alfonse pulling chords out’ve a guitar that looks like it’s seen more than a few campfires. Maybe even more beat up than Willy Nelson’s guitar.

A longing tune about a missing love.

Alfonse has worked for us for years and you had no idea. A few sing along. Others stare into the fire with smiles.

The last chord drifts off with the final words to the song. Andale, amigo! Applausa applausa as beers are lifted.

Then Captain Mario produces another guitar. His cousin goes back to the house for an accordian. Captain Yonni, pulls a fiddle from his rusty pick-up truck and Captain Bujo and his son pull some old maracas and a scratched trumpet they were hiding someplace.

Pickin’ and grinnin’ Baja-style.

And here we go! Uno…dos…tres…

A few simple songs at first. More beer and the music and songs get tighter along with the voices!

Who knew about such hidden talents way out past the city lights! Just incredible musicians. My mouth drops open.

Happy songs. Sad songs. Drinking songs. Anyone not playing is singing or clapping rhythms.

Wives and kids join in. The dogs wag happy and even a few chickens come out. One couple dance a well-practiced rancho two-step in the dirt with neighbors clapping time.

Sheer joy and simple pleasure of songs and companionship with neighbors, compadres and family. In the dusty glow and iconic hiss of the propane lamps and a communal campfire.

I don’t know the words, but can’t help it when maracas are put in one hand and beer in the other. I can sing “La-La-La” as good as anyone when I’ve had enough beer.

And it feels good to join in and just let go. Loud as you want. As off-key as anyone and laughing your head off about it with good friends.

It’s the best of nights. It’s the kind of nights you don’t find anymore. Neighbors just getting together to sing, drink beer and laugh. Maybe like our grandparents did back in the day.

Before internet. And TV. And everyone behind their own little closed doors not even knowing your neighbors.

Tomorrow is another workday. But today is today and the music seems as if it’s being carried to the sky by the sparks of the fire. Little pinpoints of light and harmony up to the stars.

Who knew?

Music out where the streetlights end and the dusty road begins. And hidden talents under the desert sky.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

“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.”

Read Full Post »

THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

I think many folks would agree that it’s been a strange year for weather.  In many parts of the U.S., winter lingered stubbornly well into June and even July.

 

Correspondingly, down here in Baja, we experienced much of the same.  Waters stayed cooler.  Air temperatures seemed below normal.  Cold-water species continued to bite well past their normal seasons.   Warm-water fish seemed to take their time showing up.

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

And then, about the time you stopped trying to figure it all out, someone opened a window and summer showed up.  Late…but it showed up.

 

Here in La Paz where we live, that would be about the end of July or early August when things finally seemed to turn around .

 

Humidity rose.  Air temps rose.  Water cleared up and warmed up.   Water-water fish like dorado finally started to bite with some measure of enthusiasm.

 

And all was right again.

 

Until Hurricane Lorena about 2 weeks ago.  As far as tropical hurricanes in Mexico go, it wasn’t much.  We’ve seen much worse and suffered the harsh after-affects.

 

Lorena didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t knock down houses or destroy marinas.  Except for some trees and power poles, it was one of the mildest hurricanes I can recall in my 25 years down here.

 

Although it did get pretty windy, I think most of us actually welcomed the much needed rain, although it did rain for about 12 hours!

 

What Lorena did, I think, is carried summer away with it.  Like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz…summer went careening up, out and away.

 

In the hurricane aftermath, it feels like summer suddenly ended.  Like a switch was thrown.

 

Air temperatures that had been in the high 90’s and low 100’s have been 10 degrees cooler overall.  It has averaged only about 88 or so since the hurricane.

 

Similarly, humidity has dissipated as well.  Before the hurricane we had steamy 80-85% humidity.  The hot sauna air was that thick.

 

As one of my employees told me, “I think we are breathing water.”

 

Since then, we’ve hovered around a comfortable 50-55%.

 

Water temperatures have also dropped.  In our area, it dipped 2-5 degrees in a week.

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

It took the fish awhile to figure out.  Just like us.

 

Normally, after a storm, it takes awhile any for water to calm and clear up.  And fishing seemed noticeably slower to get up to speed again.

 

Then, when it did start to break open, we still had the warm water species like dorado and marlin, but a whole host of entirely different an unusual species started bending rods.

 

Fish like pargo liso, sierra, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla and palometas showed up in the counts.  These are all cold-water fish virtually unheard of at this time of year.

 

These are sure signs that something has changed below the surface.

 

If this trend continues, I think anglers should be prepared for this variety of species.  Also, don’t be surprised if it’s cooler and windier with each progressive week and waters will be rougher.

 

I hear this week there’s blizzards and heavy snow in Montana, Utah and Idaho. It is supposed to snow this week in the Sierras.   Summer is gone. Shortest summer ever.

 

In the mornings, I’m already wearing a sweatshirt.  In Baja.  In September. I better find my long pants around here somewhere.

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g


“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.”

 

 

Read Full Post »

BEST of TIMES & WORST of TIMES

dark-flash-lightning-1114690

(TURN UP YOUR VOLUME FOR THE FULL EFFECT!)

BEST of TIMES & WORST of TIMES

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 10, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s 5:30 a.m. here in La Paz and it’s still dark outside.  We just put out our first group of fishermen for the day with our sportfishing fleet.

 

It looks like it’s gonna be a great day.  Seas are flat.  Winds are calm a a brilliant quarter moon is shimmering on the water.

 

At this time yesterday morning, it was Armageddon.

 

To use another Bible reference, I think it’s the Book of Kings (I’m sure many of you know better than me) that says something about “Chariots of fire in the sky and the air being “torn asunder.’”

 

Well, that’s what it was like.

 

Woke up to a few little drops of water.  No big.

 

Saw some lightning flashes over the hills.  Heat lighting in the dark.  No big.

 

That stuff happens all the time.

 

The weather forecast for the day has NOTHING on the radar.

 

I’ve got 40-something anxious fishermen on the beach… in the dark waiting to go fishing.

 

“GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!”

 

…and just about then, as if in response, the heavens answered.

 

Suddenly, a BRILLIANT jag in the dark as if someone had popped a zillion camera flashes and I was suddenly looking at the lit up big-eyed faces of all our clients …followed by…

 

BOOM!!!  BOOM!!!  BOOM!

 

foto-diariolapaz-1538346917-tormenta_truenos

As if we were suddenly in a giant kettle drum.

 

More lightning.  More deafening incoming kettle drums!  It was like Thor and the Angel Gabriel decided to have a drumming contest and lightning was so close overhead the hair on your arm prickled up with static electricity.

 

Some bolts hit the water in the distance! YEOW!

 

Then, the rain came.

 

And came.  We huddled under whatever cover we could.

 

I could see my captains offshore in the misty dark.  The pangas continually lit by the lighting now so bright I could have read a book.   I nervously radioed them to hold on.

 

Through the din of the rain and the artillery thunderclaps, my wife and I kept reassuring everyone that this will pass.

 

Man…we had our fingers crossed because most clients were in favor of heading straight back to their hotel rooms.  Sheets of rain now obscured everything.

 

Nothing worse than telling people on vacation that their day had been canceled.

 

This was not looking good.  Darnit…

 

And then…just like that.  It stopped.

 

Was it over?  We hesitantly emerged from hiding like nervous bunnies peeking from our holes.  All eyes skyward.  Some passing clouds clearing.  A few residual drops.

 

They all looked at us.  A pregnant moment of silence…

 

“We told you so (breathing a sigh of relief)!  LET’S GO FISHING!

 

Yay!

 

We called the boats in.  Everyone boarded.  We had one of the best fishing days of the season.

 

My wife and I exhaled as we left the beach.  Dodging a bullet will do that to you. Not getting caught in a big hopeful FIB will also do that to you.

 

When I assured folks it was just a passing storm, it was really just a hopeful guess!

 

But, as I sit here composing my column, I have the extended weather forecast out.  There’s a hurricane headed our way although it’s going to bank and head to the Pacific.  Maybe well get some larger waves and some gusts of wind.

 

Juliet, please head away from us!

 

However, I see in about 6 days, we’re in for some thundershowers.  Fortunately, it will be in the afternoon.  After everyone is back from fishing eating nachos, drinking beers and telling fishing stories.

 

So, I think it will be Ok.  I hope it will be OK.  I hate fibbing.

 

The big blow that passed over us was not on the radar.  It was not in the forecast.  It’s what the locals call a “TORITO.”  A “little bull” hurricane.  It comes…hits hard…and goes.

 

The big chubasco hurricane is the one we really worry about.  In my 25 years down here, I’ve been through 8 of them.  Most blow through and in a day or two,  we’re back on the water.

 

A few like Odile in 2014 cut a chunk of devastation with 200 mph winds.  We knew it was coming.

 

The ominous thing is that unlike other hurricanes that can be watched for days before striking, Odile gave us less than 24 hours notice.  A benign chubasco suddenly and unexpectedly turned and hurled itself into Baja.

 

But, this is that tropical time of year.  This stuff can and does happen.

 

It’s the BEST fishing in Baja.

 

Year-after-year, we are packed with fishermen because they know it’s a great time to fish!

 

This is when the fun species like tuna, wahoo and dorado dominate.  Giant roosterfish prowl the beaches.  Striped, blue, black marlin and sailfish arrive in schools.

 

There’s a reason that all the major tournaments…some of the largest in the world like the Bisbee’s Black & Blue and the Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot are held during this time.

 

From late summer through fall, it seems there are several major tournaments going on every single week.

 

They’re happening and folks come from all over the world because the fishing is so good.

 

But, you just never know about the weather.  It’s a capricious mistress.

 

I have spent many years flying around the country for business and pleasure. I always passed those little machines at the airports selling travel insurance.

 

What’s that all about?   Never mind…there’s a plane to catch.  Check it out later.

 

That was way way back in the day.

 

There is no way to control the weather.  But, you do have some control about how the weather or other unforeseen incidents impact your vacation.

 

Travel insurance is easy and economical.  It should be a part of your travel planning just like an extra set of underwear.  It doesn’t take much space.

 

Here in Mexico, it’s pretty hard to get a refund for anything.  Actually, it’s like that in most parts of the world.  Weather-related cancelations in the fishing industry?  Weather is a part of fishing.  Weather happens.

 

It’s like going on a hunting trip.  Because you don’t shoot an elk or it snows, you don’t ask for a refund,

 

Ever tried to get a refund from the airlines or a hotel? Short of an actual medical emergency or actual crisis, get ready for a lot of phone calls and documents you’ll have to submit.

 

A bit of cheap travel insurance kicks in and you’re golden again.  You won’t recover the lost day.  But, at least you’ll get some re-imbursement.

 

Like a 2nd set of underwear.  Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:  http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g


“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.”

 

Read Full Post »

Shut My Mouth!

Day-6-Wheeling-and-dealing-with-the-Mexican-jewelry-salesman.

That’s the idea! Have some fun with it!

Shut My Mouth

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 27, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

It was an awkward situation that had the potential to turn ugly. Actually, it already was.

On the sidewalk outside our restaurant in La Paz, a gringo (I’ll call him Pete) was getting pretty loud.

In front of him looking embarrassed and afraid was Jose who makes his living walking up and down the beach and waterfront selling jewelry. Everthing is “genuine” and of “highest quality.” (wink wink).

But he says it with a smile so you know it’s a game.

No, that $30 Rolex watch is not waterproof nor would you expect it to be! Not for $30 and you’re a doofus if you think it’s real!

But I know Jose. He’s a good guy. He works hard. He doesn’t pester or hound. Folks like him and look for him. He laughs a lot and he runs a good bargain.

That turquoise bracelet that is 100% silver he tells you it’s $60. And he laughs. He’s dangles the bait in the water.

He EXPECTS you to say “no” and give him a counter offer!

He knows that the bracelet is not worth $60 and he figures you’re smart enough to know that too! If you plop down $60 and you’re happy…well so be it!

But, you say $15. He laughs and says $50.
You say $17 and he says “no way” and laughs again. He says he can’t sell it for less than $45.

Back and forth. Back and forth. You really want it. He really wants to sell it to you.

When you both finally settle on $21 dollars, everyone is happy! He made a sale and made a few bucks. You got a pretty piece of “genuine” silver and turquoise.

Win-win. It’s the game. It’s fun. It’s expected.

That’s not how it was going today. And by the way both Pete and Jose were looking at me, I was being drawn in as a referee.

Pete was getting pretty livid.

“This guy is like all the rest. He’s just trying to rip me off!”

Whoa…I already don’t like the usage of “all the rest” and “rip me off” in the same sentence.

Calm down Pete. Let me get Jose’s side.

Jose looked like he could use some assistance because Pete’s whole family was there and Pete was still causing a commotion drawing a crowd to listen in.

Jose explained to me that he and Pete had done a deal over several items of jewelry.

Well, Pete wanted his change in dollars!

Jose is a street vendor. He doesn’t or didn’t have dollars. So, he tried to give Pete the change in pesos.

Pete didn’t want pesos, but he definitely wanted the jewelry and didn’t understand the exchange rate.

Ultimately, there was a $5 dollar difference in what Pete thought and what Jose was giving him in change. Five freakin’ dollars!

And Pete was letting everyone know about it who would listen. About getting “ripped off” by “these people.”

By the way, Pete came into town on 75’ yacht and loved telling people over and over about it and all his antique sportscars. Five dollars. Are you kidding me?

I explained to Pete about the exchange rate and that no one had been trying “rip him off. Jose didn’t have American money to give him any change.

Pete glared.

“What you gonna do, Pete? Do you want the jewelry and pesos?”

He took his family and stormed off. Mumbling something about, “What am I supposed to do with pesos in my pocket?” Emphasis on the “I” as if it was beneath him to have pesos and how demeaning it was.

Uh, you’re in Mexico, Dude. I’m sure you’ll find something to spend that on.

His pretty blonde wife and two perfect kids also walked away indignantly with their noses in the air.

Jose gave me an appreciative high-five “gracias.” He shrugged. Just another day working the street. I’m sure it’s not the first time.

I won’t write what some of the other onlookers said about Pete and his family.

It got me thinking about five dollars here in Mexico…

Five dollars a day is what some people bring home after a day of work. A six-day work weeks gets you a whopping $30 to live on.

If you have a car (rarely), it buys one gallon of gas. Not to cruise or go to the beach. Hopefully that gallon is enough to putter to and from work. hopefully enough to bring the kids to and from school.

Five dollars is a bus ride to work and back. Even though you are only making 11 dollars for working a 12-hour day.

Five dollars barely buys a crappy dinner for a family of 3. That’s 3 Cokes and 3 Cup-O-Noodles in the styrofoam cup. Salt and sugar for dinner. Highly nutritious but at least you don’t go to bed hungry.
Five bucks buys you enough propane for a week to cook and light your home.

For cleaning 15 messed-up hotel rooms by herself, five bucks is the total amount of tips your cleaning lady made at the resort you’re staying at.

Just enough to pay for her bus ride home tonite.

Enjoy that genuine silver jewelry, Pete.

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

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.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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

Or drop by the restaurant to say hi.  It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863
.

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“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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So…What Do You Think About…?

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My wife, Jilly, keeps telling me I’m an “acknowledged expert” on Baja fishing.

 

Frankly, I love the compliment, but it still makes me a tad uncomfortable.  I’m not an expert on anything!

 

I used to tell people that I’m only an “expert” for  about 5-minutes at a time at  a cocktail party.  That’s as good as I get.

 

Nuclear physics?  Sure!

Move to the next group.

 

World economics? Sure!

Excuse me, gotta get more of that yummy spinach dip.

 

Babylonian architecture?  Sure?

I’ll be right back!

 

Czechoslavakian cuisine? 

OK…but only for 3 minutes.

 

I move from cocktail group to cocktail group!

 

But for Baja fishing?  I’d say I’m “above average.”   Better than a lot.  Not as good as I’d like to be.  Not as good as a lot of others.

 

But, I do get a lot of fishing questions directed my way. We own a fishing operation.  I get it.  I do my best to answer and educate.  There’s no bad questions!

 

The hardest questions, however, are the ones about tackle and gear.

 

I get them especially about this time of year.  The fishing season is going to kick ramp-up as waters get warmer.  Anglers have been shopping or about to go out shopping.

Also, a lot of fishermen have been to the fishing and hunting shows buying the “latest and greatest.”  Tackle boxes are bulging!

 

There’s so much technology out there.  “Made by fishermen for fishermen!” Help me if I ever hear or see that again.

 

If God ever made a more ingenious and inventive group of guys always willing to build, invent or conjure the “better way to catch a fish”  it was fishermen.

 

Sometimes, I think that’s why Jesus grabbed a bunch of fishermen as his Apostles.  Never a dull moment figuring out ways to increase the catch whether He was speaking about fish or souls!

 

I have no doubt they had some “unofficial” time drinking wine or beer and telling a tall tale or two (although outright lying was a no-no given that Jesus could tell you were lying!)

 

I’ve been victim to it as well.  My garage workshop has, at times, been covered with my tinkerings to build a better lure; develop a new color;  a more comfortable tuna harness…etc. etc.

 

But, I get e-mails and phone calls asking me what I think about the newest so-and-so-lure.  Or some new-fangled reel or about whether some new scientific aerospace-atomic fishing line will work?

 

And I have to show my hand…”I just don’t know!”

 

The reality of it is, even if I fished 365-days-a-year,  I would still never have all the time to personally test out every new piece of equipment under optimal conditions.  Nor would I be able to test them out under same or similar conditions so that I could give an honest assessment between products.

 

There’s that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

 

After almost 50 years in or around the fishing industry, I would have to speculate that most guys who make a living in the industry know what works because our livelihood depends on it.  We only grudgingly adopt new things.

 

We have to make livings.  We have to catch fish.

 

Change comes slowly.

 

If something works, we’re reluctant to just go out and gamble the money on something new that might be nothing more than a gimmick.  Nor would we take a chance on a day we earn our livings on something that’s not proven.

 

I know a lot of my friends in the tackle industry will hate this, but having worked in a tackle store, a lot of stuff out there is honestly meant to catch fishermen.  Not fish.

 

Some of my best gear is the most beat-up; scratched; and dilapidated shameful looking equipment you would ever want to see.  It’s almost embarrassing.

 

But it catches fish. It’s blue-collar gear that’s functional, not pretty.  Give me a lure with lots of teeth marks on it and a rod and reel that have dried blood and fish scales on it any day of the week!  I don’t need pretty.

 

Don’t get me wrong. There’s A LOT of incredible gear out there and I only wish I could keep up with the technology because it’s cutting edge.

 

But, as I write this, I look into one of my tackle closets. I have a ½ dozen rooms like this.   This one has about about 70 rods and maybe 100 reels in there.  Several hundred lures, gadgets, rigs and other accessories are cluttered in there.

 

The truth of it is, God gave me two hands.  I can only fish with one rod at a time.  And one reel.  I don’t really need 30 colors of each casting jig.  I don’t need 60 different kinds of trolling feathers or 20 different types of colored lines.  But, I have them!

 

And… I keep adding to the collection! Like many of you,  I’m not immune to bright and shiny new-and-improved things! My wife feels the same way about shoes or shopping at Target!

 

But, like I said before, I can’t try everything. I’ve only used about 10% of the gear I have.  If that.  And truthfully, I haven’t had time to try out lots of the new stuff.

 

My best answer to someone who asks about new stuff is “it looks good,” but you might want to let it “season” for a bit.  Let it get out in the industry and the public  and get battle-tested by others before you drop your coins on it.

 

Check out reviews.  I made it a habit of NEVER purchasing something the first year it’s out.  Especially if it’s mechanical.

 

Let them work the bugs out first.  Let other people spend THEIR money before you spend yours.

 

Get it into the hands of the public, not just the dealer selling it as the “next hottest thing.”  Maybe next time, I”ll be asking you “What do YOU think?”

 

I’m never above learning.  Bring it down and try it out and we’ll both count your fish at the end of the day!

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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