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Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

CAN’T GET OUTTA YOUR OWN WAY!

CAN’T GET OUTTA OUR OWN WAY

Originally Published the Week of June 1, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

If any of this applies to you, I am NOT throwing shade your way.  I am as guilty as the anyone of this.

It was dawn and we were loading up the clients in our van to get them from the hotel to the beach to board our boats to go fishing that day.

Everyone was loaded and anxious to get going.  Waiting for the last 2 guys.

And then down the lobby steps come Rob and Gerry.  This is their 4th trip with us and really really good guys.

But, they are struggling.  They are carrying more gear than the other 6 guys combined that are waiting in the van.  Everyone stares wide-eyed.

Rob and Gerry need a crew of Himilayan Sherpas.  It took 3 of us to heft stuff onto the roof rack of the van.

When they first started coming down, they were rookies.  Didn’t have much gear. 

However, with each consecutive year, the equipment gets more and more extensive.  They have the latest rods, reels, clothes, lures, gadgets and thing-a-ma-jiggers.

And, it’s not like I can say anything.  I mean, I don’t wanna be a buzz-kill or dampen their enthusiasm.  Like I said, there are really nice guys.

But, sometimes I think they stay up at night on the couch with the remote in their hands.  Or instead of football on weekends, they watch the fishing shows…marathon style!

Every gadget that comes out “made by fishermen for fishermen” or “guaranteed to catch fish faster and easier” or “as seen on TV” gets them twitching to grab their cellphone and credit cards.

They MUST have the “Ferris Wheel Lure” and the “See Underwater Seaview Glasses” and the battery-operated “Sonic Fish Caller.”

They can’t help themselves.  It’s like some gals I know at a Nordstrom Shoe Sale. 

They’re having fun and get so excited they can’t wait to show everyone what they bought and how it’s gonna work.  This will be the year that the fish will literally attack their lines!

Whether it’s the latest type of triple-speeded fishing reel or the hot-color 100 SPF camouflage fishing clothes, they have it! 

…and the always catch fish.  But EVERYONE catches fish. 

I’m not sure that all of that gear really made a difference.  The folks using our basic rental rods do just as well.  The guys who bring a minimum of gear do just as well.

But, here’s the issue I see with these guys getting caught up in the technology.

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They still don’t know the basics. 

I’m guilty of that myself.  I get into a new hobby or interest and then I need all the accessories. Then I  realize…whoa…slow down! 

Put down the catalogs.  Stop web-surfing Amazon.

I need to back up and get some foundation so I know how to use all this great stuff.

I know for a fact, these guys still don’t know how to tie basic fishing knots…because I’ve sat with them and showed them some knot tying. 

But, I know they don’t trust their own knots.  So they always let my captain tie up their rigs.  And bait their hooks for them.

I know as well that they don’t know how to cast or how to work a jig.

They really don’t understand why some people use braided lines.  They don’t know why they need to tie fluorocarbon to regular mono.  Aren’t both kinds of lines invisible?

Why do we use certain hooks?  

They don’t understand how to set the drags or why you can’t just “button down” the drag when a fish is running.   Why can’t you just “winch” the fish to the boat?

Well most of us know…it just doesn’t work like that!

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The thing is sometimes we can get so wrapped up in all the cool fun stuff that we forget the basics.  We trip all over ourselves because of the technology and the “latest and greatest” claims. 

Why take the time to learn when technology will help us fast-forward to our goal? 

Don’t learn to tie knots.  Buy a gadget instead. 

Don’t learn to read the water.  Buy the battery-operated underwater drone camera. 

Don’t learn how to make a jig swim.  Buy a rechargeable lure that swims all on it’s own!

Sheesh! Stop me!

We make it more complicated than it really is.  We can’t see the forest for the trees or the water through all the gear in front of our eyes.  

If fish could laugh, I’m sure they would. 

That’s my story!

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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UPDATING COVID TESTING in MEXICO

AIRPORT TESTING SITE

UPDATING COVID TESTING IN MEXICO

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 24, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Since the new CDC rules went into effect about a month ago last January, Mexico has been doing it’s best to help international travelers comply.

In case you hadn’t heard, the new CDC rules went into effect January 26th.  It requires all international travelers flying into or back to the United States to show a negative Covid test result that was administered less than 72 hours prior to travel.

This only applies to airline passengers. It does not apply to boats, cars or other means of travel coming into the U.S.

You are not required to quarantine upon returning to the U.S.

You do not have to show a negative Covid test before entering Mexico.  You are not required to quarantine once you get to Mexico.

Even if you have been vaccinated or have had Covid, you must still show a negative test or have a medical waiver.

If you fly both in and out of a Mexican Airport like Tijuana, the test is not required.  That is a domestic flight and only international flights have the mandate.

With tourism such an essential part of the Mexican and Baja economy, and vital to recovery after Covid lockdowns were eased, there has been a mad dash get-up-to-speed for travelers. 

Mexico can ill-afford to deter or impede further travel.  So, the aim has been to make it as convenient and economical as possible to obtain the test.

According to the respective tourism boards, all of the hotels and timeshares in Cabo San Lucas have erected facilities or provide testing as a service to their guests. Costs appear to be minimal and many hotels are offering it free so check with your hotel.

As well, there are numerous laboratories now offering the service as well as all local hospitals.

At this time, the following destination airports have facilities:

Aguascalientes

Acapulco

Chuahua

Culiacan

Durango

Guadaljara

Hermosillo

La Paz

Leon

Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas)

Los Mochis

Mazatlan

Mexicali

Mexico City

Monterrey

Morelia

Puerta Vallarta

San Luis Potosi

Tijuana

Tampico

Torreon

Zacatecas

Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo

Los-Cabos-Airport-Departures-Board-Plane-11

The basic antigen test takes about 15 minutes.  Cost varies at the airports about $25-65 dollars and results are provided in about an hour.

Airports are recommending giving yourself extra time to allow for this.  It’s first-come-first-served.  The airports are also open to walk-in visits from the general public.

Several airlines are also in discussion about erecting their own facilities and also developing apps so test results can be uploaded quickly.

Having spoken to several folks who have returned from Mexico travel, I’m told it’s the test where your nasal passages are swabbed.  Intrusive and uncomfortable, but not painful and it’s over quickly.

The persons I spoke to paid $40-65 dollars for the test.  Several got the tests prior to leaving.  Several got the tests at the airport.  Not surprisingly, private labs are more expensive.

Two of the travelers that I spoke to inquired at their respective hotels and said the staff wasn’t sure about the tests.  So, they went to an outside lab located not far from the hotel.  In both cases, later they found out from management that testing was available. 

So, I guess it depends who you ask.

Take note that smaller cities, such as La Paz which have a smaller tourist base and lower hotel occupancy than say, Puerto Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas, do not offer testing at hotels. 

As one official mentioned, certain cities just do not have the huge influx of  international travelers like other cities.  With hotel occupancy only at 10-30% in those smaller cities, it’s not economically feasible to have testing facilities at those hotels.

Nevertheless, it sounds like it’s coming together with little bumps here and there.

Easter Week and Spring Break are just a few months off.  These are the biggest travel period of the year in Mexico.  Contrary to popular thought, it’s not Thanksgiving or even Christmas.  

During Spring Break and Easter, Mexicans visiting relatives in the U.S. or vice versa as well as regular spring vacationers normally flood in and out of Mexico.

Not surprisingly, numbers will probably be somewhat subdued this year compared to other years, but nevertheless, Mexico will have to be ready for the influx.   Easter is the first week of April this year.

As we get closer, I have to think things will only get easier, more convenient and more economical. 

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 »

MINE’S SO BIG

MINE’S SO BIG

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 20, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

Last week down here it was hard to believe it was the sunny Baja they project on all the tourism ads.

         Dang…It was 39 degrees one morning.  It was 36 degress another.  Frost on roofs and my car windshield.

         I found myself fumbling in our old ’92 Honda looking for the defroster and heater.  I had never used them and once I found them, I crossed my fingers hoping they worked. 

         Dust blew out, but thankfully, the heat came on.

         When it wasn’t cold it was windy.  Really windy.  And other days, it was both COLD and WINDY.

         It was just as well that we didn’t have anyone fishing.

         One later afternoon thankfully warmer than the morning, a group of local gringo fishermen came by our restaurant for some happy-hour beers and watch the sunset over the bay.

         I was able to sit a spell and join them.  As invariably happens with old fishermen like us, the talk turned to fishing.

         Smack talk and good laughs over some eyebrow raising tales and others that were genuinely interesting as the guys “alpha-dogged” each other with their stories.

         “The fish was the biggest…”

       “That trip was the best…” 

      “Well, let me tell you. You should have seen the time when I…

         I had a few of my own as well.  It’s a guy thing. You get the idea.  We are still the descendants of the hunter-gatherers who lived in caves and shared stories around the campfire.

         However, as the beer consumption increased and the sunlight diminished, the tenor of the stories changed. 

         More reflective.  More instrospective.  A different kind of bragging if you will.

         Guys would stare blankly at beer bottles and sotto voce talk about other deeper experiences.  It was almost like they were thinking out loud.  Almost more to themselves than their buddies.

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         There were pauses in the story-telling as they gathered thoughts or dredged up memories.  Or attempted to articulate how profoundly they had been affected.

         Think Captain Ahab, gripping his mug of grog… staring into the candle-flame… and talking about the “Great White Whale.”  The beast that not only eluded and endured his sharp harpoons, but turned the tables.

         It went on the attack smashing boats and fragile men into kindling and burning itself into Ahab’s tortured psyche.

         Or Hemingway’s old Santiago.  The old man who suddenly beholds an almost mythical fish on the end of his line and knows it’s the fish of his lifetime.

         “Man…I’ve never seen a fish do what this fish did…”

         “I couldn’t believe the power…”

         “I’m not sure what else I could have done.  Was it me?  Was it the gear?”

         “That was a fish that just wasn’t meant to be caught…”

         “We only got a glimpse of the fish and all of our mouths dropped…”

         I have never forgotten what Michael Jordan said about winning and losing. 

         To paraphrase, he said, “I’ve won many a game with a last second shot.  But, the ones I remember the most are the times my last-second shot missed. Those are the ones I never forget.  Those are the ones I lose sleep over.”

         If you fish long enough and fish enough, I think every fisherman has a fish or two they would like to have back.   It’s the fish that you wonder what you could have done differently.

         It might be decades old, but the memory is as vivid and as real as if it was yesterday.  And you will never have that moment again.

         It’s not like a fish ever comes back and says, “Let’s do two-outta-three!”

         If you haven’t fished much, you probably would never understand that connection. 

         You put bait on the line.  You put it in the water.  You get a bite.  You turn the handle of the reel and bring up the fish.  You take a picture.  What’s the big deal?

         In reality, we don’t catch every fish we hook. Fishing isn’t like that.

      Some get away and that’s the nature of the sport.  But every now and then, if you’re lucky, you hook that one fish you never forget and will always remember that it got away.

         And, in the end, fish come and go, but it’s the memories that stay with us.  And that’s really why we fish.  That’s what we have at the end of the day.

         Memories.

         It allows you to sit at the big boy table with no boring stories.  And a beer.

         And hopefully a sunset at the end of your fishing days.

     

That’s my story

 

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 »

FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

Originally Published The Week of Nov. 25, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications. 

             I pretty much wrote this week’s column lying flat on my back looking up at the sky.  Pretty unusual position for “word-smithing.”

         Most of the time, I write at my desk. Sitting up. 

           It’s in the middle of the night at the end of a long workday that usually starts about 4 a.m.  Or, if I’m “lazy” and couldn’t think of anything the night before, I scramble to compose something before the sun comes up and the day goes full-turbo!

         But, lying flat on my back, I’m looking at clouds drifting by as languidly as I was feeling. 

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

         Some Kenny Chesney “No Shoes No Shirt No Problem” playing on Spotify competing with the rise-and-fall crescendo of surf as a soundtrack.

         And this week’s column just sort of wrote it self. It auto-composed in my head in about 5 minutes.

         I was just lying there on that warm sand felling really tired.  Not just tired. 

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

         I had just come off the water.  Nope.   For once, not fishing.  Not diving either.

         Surfing.  Yup.  That kind of surfing.  Like on a board.

       My wife, Jill, and I had spent the better part of the afternoon surfing and using muscles that we had not used in…well…years!  I think the last time I “surfed” Baja, I had been driving my dad’s Pinto station wagon.

       Me, and a bunch of underage high-school buds on a flyer across the border below Rosarito Beach with $20 between the three of us; a bag of Doritos; and 3 days to waste on the waves.

       Yea, it had been a long time.

         Surfing muscles are not the same as fishing muscles.  Not the same as SCUBA muscles.  And no matter how much Jill and I had lied to ourselves, we were not “in shape” to be paddling out…fighting waves…fighting the board.

         I grew up in Hawaii, but my “old man” muscles were B–tching me out so very badly. 

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

                     But, I gotta tell you, it was a good soreness.  And Jill and I had the biggest smiles on our faces as we lay splayed-out on the beach.  

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

                   The sun rays warmed me from above and the hot sand warmed me from below.

                  It was like being a kid again and coming out’ve the pool and lying face-down on that warm cement without a care-in-the-world.  You know that feeling. 

                 Summer vacation. No school.  No homework. You had no place else to be except right then and there. Contentment.

                 And that was me.  Except I was lying looking up.

                 And I realized I had nowhere to be except right then and there. On that beach at that moment studying some dumb clouds.  No shoes. No shirt.  No problems.

                It finally just got to us.  Yea, we live and work in Baja. 

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

                  But, like everyone, no matter where you are, it’s been a tough year.  And this year, it seemed like we worked even harder-than-ever just trying to tread water like everyone else.

                 Being in the travel industry with our fishing fleets and restaurant, it was especially brutal.

                Surely, fewer clients and less business, but like I said, we seemed to work twice-as-hard just trying to keep what we had.  Working double to keep from sliding backwards even more. 

              Almost like surfing.  Paddle paddle paddle to get out.  Wave knocks you back. 

             Paddle paddle paddle to go a little further.  Another wave knocks you back again. 

            Just trying to get out past the white water to where that tasty curl tantalizes you with a rewarding ride back to the beach.  Paddle paddle paddle.  Can’t stop. Gotta get past that white water.

           Catch one or two, but mostly paddling paddling and more tiring paddling.

          Like life right now. 

         No days off and …UP-TO-HERE…with it all. 

         Covid…quarantine…restrictions…economy…politics…elections…unrest.  The “whitewater” of life, right? The cacaphony that never stops assaulting you.

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

        We never ever take time off.  But,it was time. 

         We didn’t tell any of our staff where we were going.  Basically told them, don’t burn down the building.  Don’t let anyone steal anything.  We’ll be in touch.

         In fact, I didn’t even tell my wife where we were going.

         I pretty much told her to grab some clothes for a few days.  Threw her and our rescue cat, my guitar,  and some gear in our Honda.  It’s the one with the busted air-conditioner and that overheats if I drive faster than 50mph and left.

         We drove. And drove.

And made a left off the highway down a dusty washboard dirt road.

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

         Our “rustic” cabana had holes in the palapa roof.

         Some lights didn’t work.  Others had those god-awful curly “economy” bulbs that save you 5 bucks over 100 years.

         A threadbare hammock tied between two palm trees.  It might have been a fishing net at one time.

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

         I don’t even want to tell you the name of the beach because the area is begging for a paved road and some high-rise hotels that will come soon enough, I imagine.

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

         And there were some waves that just begged to be ridden.

         And an ice chest full of cold ones that needed some attention too.

         And 3 days extended into 5 days of sun, sand, surf, card-playing and just the very best kind of “social distancing” that we probably could all use right now.

         Might still be there if we didn’t run outta cat food.

         And lying on my back like a very tired beached sealion soaking up the rays and watching clouds moving left-to-right.

Smiling.

         And while we were gone, the world did not blow up.  Our business did not burn down.  The problems of the world were still there when we got back. 

         We did not miss a thing.

         But finding that little stretch of Baja beach made all the difference.

         For now.

         We brought that beach home with us in a manner of speaking.  I brought this essay that wrote itself.

         Like that beer commercial says, I hope you find your beach. 

         Somewhere. 

        If not on a stretch of sand.  Then a backyard.  A park. Or some space where you can close the door.

       Away from the madness.  Close your eyes. Shut off the sound. Take a breath. Find that beach and watch the clouds.

That’s my story!

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.”

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WHERE CAN I FIND “REAL” MEXICAN FOOD?

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 3, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I think I was just asked about the 5th time this week by visitors some version of “Where can we get real-authentic Mexican food?”


Good question.  But, I have a hard time understanding how to respond.

I have to usually pause a minute before answering.

“What do you mean by ‘real authentic Mexican food?” I ask.

“You know, the usual food, but we figure that since we’re here visiting in Mexico, we can get the REAL stuff!” they’ll say anxiously.

Well, that doesn’t help me much. 

It would be like me visiting someplace like New York and asking, “Where can I get real ‘New York’ food!

Throw a question like that into a bunch of my  New Yorker friendsd and you’ll end up with as many different answers, arguments and debates as there are people in the crowd.

Mexico is probably a lot like New York gastronomically speaking.  Visitors come down with a certain culinary expectation.  And that could have been formed by eating at too many Taco Bells; neighborhood chain restaurants; or local neighborhood eateries.

Mexican food is as varied as the areas of the U.S.

Northern Mexico near the border has it’s regional specialties. Areas on Mexico’s East Coast have food far different from areas of Mexico’s Pacific coast or regions. Central and southern Mexico have their own specialties as well.

Even within those geographical vicinities, there are variables.  For instance, urban food will be different from rural areas.  Mountainous areas likewise have different food preparations than areas on the lower elevations.

So, when someone asks me where to go for real authentic Mexican food, it’s a tough answer.  In our area, I tell them if they’re looking for the kind of food they’re used to back home in the U.S., they probably won’t find it.

They are usually somewhat disappointed, but I tell them hit the streets.  Go eat at local eateries.  Not tourist spots.  Eat at street carts and small vendors.  Eat at places that you see a lot of locals eating and they can’t go wrong. 

Invariably, they end up loving their new discoveries.

Actually, instead of telling people what “real Mexican food” is, it’s often easier to tell them what is NOT real Mexican food.  It surprises many visitors.

For instance, if you’re looking for “pre-formed” taco shells like you find at fast food places back home, you’ll be disappointed.  Most tacos are served in soft hot tortillas you fold-around the hot filling.

The closest thing to a pre-formed taco might be “tacos dorados.”  Not named after the fish. It just refers to a deep-fried taco that is fried until “dorado” (golden).

You will not find ground beef in your Mexican food.

You will not find sour cream in your Mexican food.

To the surprise of many, you won’t find shredded cheese in your Mexican food or even any cheese at all.  Mexicans DO like hot melted cheese called “queso fundido” served as an appetizer very much like fondue.

By the way, Nachos were an American invention! Hard to have nachos if there’s no cheese around. Forget finding black olives too!

Fajitas?  Nope.  That hot skillet full of sizzling veggies and meat is a gringo concoction too!

Chili?  You’ll get a blank stare.

I once threw a party for a bunch of my friends many many years ago when I first arrived here in La Paz.  One of the items was “chili dogs.”

Who doesn’t like chili dogs?

Mexicans love their “hates.” (hotties).  But every single person at that party wiped the chili off their hot dogs then put them back in the bun.  I was mortified!

It was like watching someone pulling all the toppings off pizza and only eating the crust.  Are you kidding me? 

Chili’s origin is not Mexico.  It’s the U.S border areas and started as a stew you tossed meat, beans and spices into.

Who does not love those deep-fried chimichanga burritos?  We grew up on them at little league games; Tastee Freeze; and Mexican chain restaurants.

Well, that was an accident that happened at a gringo restaurant when the owner accidentally dropped a burrito into hot oil.  It was so good, he kept it on the menu and its popularity grew.

Speaking of burritos…guess what?  They didn’t  origiate in Mexico either. You WILL find burritos in Mexican cities (mostly in street restaurants or tourist areas), but historically, they had their genesis in California only about 60 years ago.

And the fillings? 

You’ll get shredded meats, grilled chunks of meat, but nothing that resembles what you’re used to. Again, no ground beef.   Most of our Mexican friends use ground beef to make…hamburgers…an unquestionable gringo concoction.

Two other little tidbits of non-Mexican origin:

Ask for a lime in your beer, and you’ve just labeled yourself as a tourist.  Locals don’t put a slice a lime in their beer.

The lime thing was something you squirted on the lip of your beer bottle or rubbed on the rim of your glass to keep flies away. 

Picked up by certain beer companies…the idea took wings.

Finally, what’s more synonymous with Mexico than a margarita?  Lots of places will lay claim to it’s invention, but most historians will point to it’s inception in California.  And interestingly, most locals I know don’t drink them.  They don’t even drink tequila.

We have had a restaurant in La Paz for over 12 years.  Most will prefer rum drinks or whiskey shots over tequila drinks.  They think gringos are crazy for drinking tequila!

By the way, that bottle of Tapatio hot sauce you’ll find everywhere?  Check the label.  It’s made in Southern California in Los Angeles!

That’s my story!

_____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.”

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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.”

 

 

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On Second Thought…

spring break

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

Originally Published the Week of March 12, 2019 in Western Outdoor News

Back in the day before I lived in Baja, I scheduled a spring-time trip.  Man, after a long winter, I so looked forward to getting into the sunshine and away from the crowds and hectic grind.

 

So, there I was.  At the airport with my luggage, ice chest, rod tube…and holy cow…!!!

 

Where did all these people come from?

 

I had forgotten, it was not only Easter week but also spring break when I scheduled my vacation.

 

Oh the agony!  It’s what I was trying to escape.

 

I ran smack into long lines at the airport.  Students and families all trying to get someplace.  Everyone looking to get away, but now swallowed up in the mass of humanity and everyone getting agro about it.

 

And this was in the pre-911 days before you had to take off your shoes and basically undress and unwrap everything at the TSA counters.

 

Plane was full and it was one of those flights where they asked folks to “volunteer” to give up their seats in exchange for a free voucher blah blah blah.

 

Not a chance. I didn’t exactly see anyone raise their hands abruptly.

 

And in the plane, it was also the flight where they tell you it’s full and there’s not enough room for all the carry-on luggage so please stash it under your seat; over your head; or give it up to the baggage handlers.

 

Oh, and the flight was full of excited kids and babies.  Not that there’s anything wrong…family time is important, but some poor baby was screaming in the back and one little devil thought it was fun to kick my seat from behind. And yell “BOO” through the crack in the seat!

 

Got to the Cabo Airport and again, it was jam-packed.  But, at least most folks were a bit more congenial now that they were on the ground in Baja.

 

Until they hit the immigration and customs inspection lines.  They wound round-and round-and round almost back to Los Angeles! That took almost an hour.  Like waiting in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

 

The hotel shuttle from the airport was delayed as well because well…they wanted to fill in all the seats so we had to wait…and wait…until everyone from every flight got through the morass.  Didn’t want to leave anyone who had reservations.

 

I was pretty bedraggled by the time I got to the hotel; waded through a full lobby and reception and got to my room.

 

It was already late. Lots of people partying in the street and a crowd of tequila-fueled partiers was the last thing I wanted.  So, some forgettable room service tacos and I passed out dreaming of big fish in the sunshine and ocean the next day.

 

It wasn’t quite as I envisioned.

 

The marina was packed with boats headed out fishing.  It was a regular morning traffic-jam on the water; trying to buy bait; fueling up; just trying to get to the fishing grounds which was jammed with fishing boats, but add to that the site-seeing boats; the booze cruises; and other pleasure craft.

 

As might be expected the fishing was negligible at best.  Just too much traffic on the water and pressure on the fish.

 

It was like that all week.  But what’s that saying about a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work?  It was nice being in the sunshine, but it would have been nice to hook a few more fish and if it wasn’t so much like work.

 

Oh well.

 

Took a day off to head to the beach.  A little secluded cove that’s a nice getaway.  Not too many folks.  Got my beach chair; small ice chest of beer and my beach towel.  Ready to go!

 

Oh no.

 

To say the beach was crowded is an uber-understatement.  It was more like Woodstock.

 

There was hardly a square foot of sand that didn’t have a tent on it plus tables, chairs, beach toys, blaring boom-boxes playing banda/rancho music and cars parked willy-nilly everywhere also blaring music.  The whole city was out.

 

In Mexico, there’s no designated camp sites.  The beach belongs to the people so wherever you want to camp is legal.  There were tents within inches of each other.  There was no space.  No privacy.   It was almost impossible to walk to the water.

 

I jumped in my rental and drove to two other beaches to the same result!

 

I finally found a spot right next to a local family of 8.  They took pity on the bedraggled tourist and invited me to barbecued carne asada for lunch.  Very kind and nice folks.  I shared my beer.

 

Nothing to do but make the best of it.  It was an OK vacation, as vacations go, but not what I had planned or expected.

 

What I had failed to do and forgotten was Easter and Spring Break.

 

As I found out later, the weeks up to…including…and shortly after Easter are the busiest times of the year for travel and vacation in Mexico.  Not only are tourists, students, etc. travelling into Mexico for Easter and Spring Break,  but it is also the busiest time for locals to travel as well both internationally and domestically.

 

Many Mexicans travel into Mexico as well as travel outside Mexico to visit friends and family.  Domestic inter-city travel also fills planes, trains and automobiles…and busses!

 

It’s even busier than Christmas or Thanksgiving.  (In Mexico they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.)

Consequently, you’re not only dealing with crowds, but airlines rates and hotels prices are at a premium. If you can find a ticket or seat available.  Frankly, everything is more expensive.

 

It’s a nice time to visit, but be prepared and give it some extra thought if you’re looking for a bargain vacation or to get away from the crowds.

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.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.”

 

 

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When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

bananas1

When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 1, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.”
—Daphne Guinness

It’s been about 15 years since I last wrote about a subject that seems to keep popping up. And lately, I’ve had several folks ask about it.

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

But, they’ll still wear their raggedy “good luck” basketball socks. They refuse to throw away their best bowling shirt.

Do you still have a pair of “tidy-whitey” underwear in your drawer that’s you won’t throw away even if it has no more elastic and your wife nags you about it?

Do you refuse to open your eyes when your team’s kicker lines up for the game-winning field goal because it’s “bad luck?” Still have your bloody-splattered fishing t-shirt from when you were in college when you were 100 pounds lighter?

So, what’s the deal about bad luck bananas and fishing?

To some, it’s just something to goof with and talk smack about.

I’ve seen guys “plant” bananas in their buddy’s tackle box or fishing boots. I’ve seen guys tie a banana on hotel-room doors or toss a banana onto a buddy’s boat.

To other’s it’s deadly serious. It’s grounds for fighting words and coming to blows.

I’ve seen boats catch fire. Bananas were later found in the galley.

I’ve been on boats where everyone is catching fish except the boat with bananas but start catching fish when bananas were tossed overboard.

I was working as a deckhand where a guy broke his leg in a freak accident . Bananas were in an ice chest on deck. Another time a guy had to be air-lifted after having a heart attack on a boat that had bananas.

If bananas were found in the galley of any boat that I worked on or had chartered they were quickly discarded or discreetly “disappeared” at night when the boat was underway.

Rumor has it that Fruit of the Loom underwear used to have a banana on their label, but the banana was eliminated.

maxresdefault

So, what’s the source of the superstitious myth?

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

Back in the days of sailing ships, fresh fruit and vegetables were pretty important. Having bananas aboard, the bananas ripen pretty quickly and emit a gas and odor that can quickly ruin the food stores of a crew. Lacking fresh produce on those long voyages could lead to malnourishment at best. At worst, death.

No Slowing Down

The fact that bananas ripen quite quickly could also give credence to the lack of fish caught on board. Speed was essential to cargo ships carrying bananas.

Normal ships could travel at regular speeds. Often crews would fish to supplement their diets and the diets of passengers.

Banana boats did not have that luxury. They had to scoot. No slowing down to troll. It was essential to get from point A to point B.

Word got out that you didn’t want to crew or travel on a ship carrying bananas because those ships “never caught fish!” Seems logical.

Hidden Critters
Bunches of bananas could often hide snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlers that could get loose aboard a ship. Many areas in Africa also were home to a voracious wood-eating termite that could get loose when bananas were brought about those old wooden sailing ships.

A Dark Chapter

If you remember your history, banana boats were often used as slave ships. If you suddenly woke up manacled, crowded and in a dark place smelling of bananas, life was about to take a turn for the worse.

post-154343-13958883064994

Davey’s Locker

Similarly, bananas float. When a ship would sink, among other things, floating bananas would often be indicative of the final resting place of a vessel.

Here’s another one…

Good to Be King

From my part of the world where my family originated, in Hawaii, only royalty were permitted to have bananas. A commoner found in possession of bananas could be grounds for execution…the ultimate bad luck!

So, what do you think?

I’m not superstitious, but you’d still better not bring bananas on any boat that I’m on! Why tempt luck?

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.”

 

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GOOD ENUFF

nolan and me 2 edit

GOOD ENUFF

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 16, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to our fishing fleet, we have a little bar and restaurant in La Paz where lots of our fishermen trade stories; watch sports; and have a few cold ones.  Most will tell you it’s a fun little place.

 

We also have live music a few nights a week.  Our guys are pretty good.  But anyone is welcome to join in.

 

If you think you can strum a guitar; carry a tune or bang two tin cups together, step on up.  Put your beer down or bring it with you.

 

I guarantee, alone or with the band no matter.  We love it.  The band loves it.  The crowd loves it.  You’ll love it.

 

Enthusiasm counts for a lot more than talent, skill or ability.

 

I’ve played guitar for years.  I’ve played in bands.  I’ve been in front of crowds.  But, by my own standards, I’m a hack.  I get by if I have to.

 

But,  I was hesitant to play with our guys at first.   I don’t know why, but I didn’t think I was good enough.

 

It was the leader of our house band who finally said, “Are you good enough to have fun? If the answer is ‘yes’ then come on up to the stage.”

 

And that kinda did it.  I’m not as good as these guys, but I’m good enough to play WITH these guys and I have a world of fun.   And they have fun with me on stage and the crowd seems to enjoy it too.

 

For some reason, I got two e-mails this week from two different dads. In both cases, they wanted to come fish with us in La Paz.

 

One wanted to bring his young son.

 

Another was going to bring a son and an older daughter, but not his youngest daughter.

 

I also got a phone call from guy who had never fished in salt water, but was hesitant.

 

In all three situations, “not good enough” was mentioned.

 

I had to think about that for a moment before responding to each situation.

 

I rarely hear that someone “isn’t good enough.” Not about fishing.  How good do you have to be?

 

No matter how much someone tries to make of it, I’ll tell ya a secret.  In almost 5 decades of fishing, it’s NOT rocket science.  Fishing is not curing cancer.  Fishing is not winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

We often forget that.

 

And for some reason, I remembered about my guitar playing.  I only have to be good enough to have fun.  That’s all.  Have a good time.

 

I asked each father if their kids enjoyed the outdoors?  Did the kids like fishing at all? Do they have fun?  Did the fathers have fun with their kids?

 

Both answered in the affirmative.

 

I put the same question to the freshwater guy that was nervous about saltwater fishing.  He didn’t want to look foolish or under-gunned if he came to fish with us.

 

“Well, do you have fun fishing?”

 

“Yes, I love it!”

 

Well, what’s stopping you?  Step on up.  If it’s a kid, they’ll never get good at all if you don’t start ‘em somewhere.   Same with the freshwater guy.

 

If you’re good enough to have fun, you’re good enough.  That’s all you need to know.

 

You don’t need to be stronger or bigger.  You don’t need to have all the best equipment. You don’t need more experience. That will come.

 

I’m in my 60’s now.  I have a new first grandson myself.  He’s not even two-years-old yet but we’ve already taken him fishing.

 

Some would say he’s not old enough.

 

Heck, he’s not even potti-trained yet!  That will come, right?

 

But, he had fun so that means he’s already “good enough” and I can’t wait to take him again.  Or the younger sister that just got born two months ago.

 

We’ll have her on the water in good time and I have no doubts she’ll have fun.

 

I won’t be around to see either of them fishing when they’re  60.  But, I hope they remember their grandpa taking them out.

 

Time is precious.  Moments are precious.  Get those kids out.  Get yourself out.  Tomorrow is already here.

 

You’re good enough.  Jump up.  Jump in.  The water is fine!

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 »

REALITY CHECK

REALITY CHECK

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 13, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you spend anytime watching U.S. news or surfing the internet, listening to the radio, or social media, it doesn’t take much to figure the U.S. has a lot of problems.  Yikes.

 

If you even got a smidgen of the TV ads for the recent elections, it was an inundation of mind-boggling battering.  It was numbing.  I happened to be in the U.S. for just two days for a family emergency and it was inescapable.

 

Jill and I still vote (absentee ballot) of course from down here in Baja.  But it’s easy to say at times, “Dang, I’m glad I live in Mexico!”

 

And we do. And we’re blessed.

 

But it wasn’t to escape anything back home in the U.S.  Indeed, we miss the heck out’ve it.  But, through a weird and convoluted series of happenstance, this is where work took me and the business just grew.

 

In fact, I was on my way out of Baja, but it grabbed me by the ankles…pulled me back… and wouldn’t let go.

 

And before I knew it two decades had passed.  And we’re still here.  Funny how careers are made.

 

But, we’re not far removed from being reminded how especially fortunate we are.  Despite all of America’s plethora of problems and shares of idiots, there’s a reason folks are desperate to get in.

 

I mean, I don’t see caravans of people from Chicago trying to bust into Mexico or people from Seattle trying to smuggle themselves into China.

 

We love our many friends and employees here and I have watched their kids grow over the years.  And I wonder what opportunity awaits.

What opportunity lies ahead when 6th grade is the highest level of mandatory education here in Mexico?  Or, even a college degree down here means you’re now qualified to work at the reception desk in a hotel.   Is that really it?

 

I know kids that honestly “aspire” to flip burgers at Burger King.   The bar is not very high.

 

Can you imagine, “When I grow up, I hope to learn to work at McDonalds.”

 

American tourists toss 20-dollar bills around while on vacation.

 

I doubt many of them realize that twenty bucks is 3-days wages for many Mexicans.  Most earn less than 10-dollars-a-day and probably paid 4 dollars to ride the bus to get to work and back home.  And probably having to feed a family.

 

Your own kid working that summer job at Dairy Queen is probably making 100 bucks a day for “spending money.” Not to buy food or pay the family rent.

 

Just the other day, I heard a gringo complain that he had been “ripped off” by a street vendor who didn’t have 75 cents change in American.  C’mon, Man.

 

We know a friend who just found out she has breast cancer.  Serious.  It took a MONTH between the biopsy and diagnosis and the cancer had grown tremendously.

 

But there’s no openings for surgery for THREE months. And even then, the date might come up and there might not be a surgeon available.

 

A death sentence. But, there are no other options.

 

And she’s “lucky.”

 

She has government-provided socialized “medical insurance.”

 

It means everyone has the right to medical care in Mexico.  It just doesn’t necessarily mean you get it “right now” when you need it or the right kind of treatment.

 

If you live in the outlying areas as many folks do, medical treatment means you also have to  travel to a doctor.  I asked one of our captains many years ago what do you do if you can’t get to a doctor?

 

He said sadly, “We just die.”

 

As many of you know, we drive a beat- up Honda down here.  I’m not proud. It’s a junker. But it goes forward and reverse. And the air-conditioning works…sometimes.  At a whisper and often blows dust in our faces.

 

Recently the door handle just fell off.  So, we duct taped it back in place,  You get the idea.

 

Although not stylish, we have the means to get from Point A to Point B.

 

As long as it’s not far.  Or involve hills.  We cannot make the 100-mile drive from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas without overheating.

 

Everyone has a car back home in the U.S.  Or even more than one car.  Last time in Los Angeles, I was  stuck 2 ½ hours driving 20 miles.

 

But, a car here is a luxury.  And we know it.  There are times when we have not had a car and it restricted every aspect of our life.

 

There were several of those early years here in Baja that I did not have a car.  I relied on two legs, my thumb or a generous friend.

 

People make fun of Mexican cars, mine included.  But, it sure beats not having one at all.

 

Back-in-the-day in the U.S., it was a right-of-passage at 16 to get that driver’s license and get a car, no matter how hard you had to work for it.

 

Most adults I know down here do not have a driver’s license. Or know how to drive.

 

What for?  They will never own or have a car in their lifetimes.

 

If you do own one..insurance? Maintenance? They can barely afford gas.  So, make all the fun you want.

 

I was bitching a few days ago because our apartment (once again) did not have hot water.  About 20% of the time, we don’t have hot water.

 

I guess you get used to it, but after a long day, you look forward to that shower and instead, there’s only cold water…it gets old.

 

I was going on-and-on to a friend.  He just smiled then said, “Our house never has hot water.”

 

“Never? “

 

“Not ever. “

 

“How do you shower?  Cook?  Wash clothes?”

 

“Nunca. Never, Jonathan. And sometime no electricity either.”  He shrugged and smiled.

 

“You get used to it.”

 

End of conversation. I shut up.  You take something for granted and you just assume that everyone has it.

 

Reality check and you say a little prayer of gratitude.

 

Oh…by the way, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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