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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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THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

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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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A QUIET CONVERSATION

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A QUIET CONVERSATION

Originally Published the Week of July 1, 2019 in Western Outdoors Publications

You know you’ve been in business awhile when you start seeing 2nd and 3rd generations of clients come to visit.

 

Fathers bring kids.  Kids bring fathers.  Grandfather brings sons and grandsons.

 

It’s a special privilege and honor that folks think enough of spending time with us and sharing their families with us.  We do our best to make sure they are memorable for them.  I think anyone in this type of outdoor hospitality work does the same.

 

As I also grow older and realize I’m now eligible for senior discounts at Denny’s and AARP magazines, I take a special joy in the grandfathers and grandmothers.

 

It’s that generation just slightly ahead of me.  They lived through the cold war and Korea.  Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson,  Martin Luther King, Nixon and Vietnam.  Veterans and ex-hippies. They remember Elvis and Nat King Cole.

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Dads who watched Johnny Carson and the Ed Sullivan Show and moms who drove real station wagons full of kids (without seatbelts) to drop them off at the park pool. They made boloney sandwiches on white Wonderbread and gave the kids a dime to chase the ice cream truck.

 

They served sugar-laden Cokes as treats and squirted you with the garden hose in the summer.

 

And they were allowed to spank you too!

 

They may be a step-or-two slower.  Hair might be a few shades grayer or it might be gone the same place as the trim waist line, but the memories are mostly sharp.

 

A big part of me mostly just keeps a special eye on them.

 

Sometimes, the younger ones are having too much fun and not watching  dad or gramps or granny who doesn’t climb steps as fast.  Or they might not be drinking enough water in the hot sun.  Or forgetting the sunscreen. Stuff like that.

 

But, I keep a personal eye on them for another reason.  Purely selfish.  Eyesight might not be as great, but that doesn’t mean they can’t see.  And I love watching them watch their kids or grandkids.

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There’s a special twinkle there.  A satisfied grin.  The special way they might sit with arms folded across chests and tummies just taking it all in.   Like they were sitting on the porch back home.

 

Catching fish isn’t quite as important as watching everyone else catch fish and hearing the laughter.  Nothing to prove, and really wanting nothing more than to share more Kodak moments.

 

They might not know a thing about their cellphones, Instagram or
Facebook.  But I can tell they’re storing every single moment in their minds and memories.

 

Whenever I can slow down for a moment, I treasure the conversations and the time to just sit for a few minutes. For as much as they want to ask and talk to me about our lives here in Mexico, I love hearing their stories.

 

I like knowing where everyone is from and how close or far they are now living. How many grandkids there are or even great grandkids.

 

Conversations flow easily.

 

So often times with us “younger folks”, we consciously or unconsciously “one-up” each other.

 

“Hey, last year, my brother and I went to this awesome mountain lake…”

 

We’ll dude, I gotta tell you about this even better place I took the girlfriend.”

 

“And this restaurant we ate at had the absolute BEST Italian food I have ever eaten and we went their 3 times in a row and my favorite was…

 

“Man, we found this other place that you should have gone to instead. They know us by name and know exactly what my favorite drink is!”

 

Everyone making it about “Me” and “I” and this and that.

 

Everyone yakking and no one listening or having real conversation.  We never even let the other person finish their sentence.  Always turning the conversation back to themselves.  I hear it in our restaurant all the time.

 

No one ever follows up a statement by asking the other person, “Wow, tell me more about that.”

 

The older generation has nothing to prove.  Not much I can say would compete with someone telling me they were in Vietnam. Or stood barefoot in the rain at Woodstock.

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I want to know more.

 

Not much I can say could add to mom and dad packing all their household belongings and kids in a station wagon with stuff tied to the roof.  They then drove completely cross country on a whim of hope to find a better job at the end of the road.  No solid prospects.  Just fingers crossed and some trust in a dream.

 

I never knew what it was like to pay 19 cents for a gallon of gas.  And you say the gas station attendants use to come out and wash your windshield and check your oil for free every time you came in? What?  Really?

 

I didn’t get to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium in ’64 or hang out with the Grateful Dead and “pass around a doobie” with 10 other people in a Volkswagen van in Golden Gate Park.

 

I didn’t get raised on a farm in Ohio and have to milk the cows and shovel pig poo in the morning.  That was BEFORE actually walking  two miles through the snow to school.  Yes, some folks really did have to do that.

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I never had “Sunday Best” clothes for church or have to dress up to go on a trip.  I never had “just one pair of shoes.”

 

And I don’t remember the days before TV.  And I don’t ever remember looking forward to a dinner of Spam and canned peas. And excited to get a 2nd helping.

 

They actually had to “cook” oatmeal and it was OK to eat all the Sugar Frosted Flakes you wanted for breakfast. What’s a microwave?

 

I wasn’t the first in my family to get a high school diploma while working in a factory to help support mom and dad and three other brothers and sisters. Nor did I have ever go hunting or fishing when it meant the difference between having something to eat for dinner or another can of beans.

 

I never worked on a tramp steamer to South America nor did my family just escape Germany in 1939 and our last name was Goldstein.  I was never shipped to an internment camp in the desert and losing our farm because we were of Japanese Ancestry.  Or doubt that Douglas McArthur would ever come back.

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I would have liked to have seen Wilt Chamberlin score 99 points for Philadelphia or take my date to dance with the Lawrence Welk band or jitterbug to Benny Goodman.

 

What could I possibly add to any of that?

 

I can’t.  So, I just listen and absorb and enjoy.  Please tell me more.

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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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Tell Them Bring the Salad Next Time!

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PEACE OFFERING or DID THE SPANISH GET PUNKED?

NEXT TIME TELL THEM TO BRING THE SALAD INSTEAD!

Originally Published the Week of March 14, 2018 in Western Outdoor News

I’m a fan of history and enjoy finding little obscure bits of historical trivia.  I recently came across a story about our own city of La Paz where we live.

 

If you ever have a chance to visit the city,  I hope you get  the opportunity to visit the city cathedral in the town square.  It’s not a big city.  The cathedral is not hard to find.

 

 

The first thing that will strike you is that it sure doesn’t look like your typical Spanish-style mission so common up-and-down the Baja and into California.

 

It is strikingly absent of the long sepia-colored arched breezeways and adobe walls usually associated with mission architecture.  On the contrary, the La Paz cathedral is kind of square and blocky-looking.

 

It has two atypical  massive bell towers that look more fortress-like than other mission churches.  Heavy stone blocks and concrete masonry have been described as “sober neo-classical” in design.  It doesn’t sound too exciting, but nonetheless, it’s a big church!

 

Indeed, it looks different because it is.

 

Most other missions were constructed by Spanish Jesuit missionaries and conquistadores in the 1600’s and 1700 hundreds.  La Paz didn’t complete it’s house of worship until the latter part of the 1800’s.

 

According to the history, when the Spanish first arrived, they didn’t come as benevolent emissaries of church and crown.  Actually, they showed up as violent buttheads and took a heavy brutal hand to the local indigenous population.  They had no problem applying armor, cannons and musket to get their point across.

 

The locals didn’t take kindly to it and battled back.  And won.  Booted the Spanish right out.

 

This happened again and again.  Something between 5 and 8 incursions by the Spanish were made in La Paz to set up a colony.  In each case, the locals either whupped up on the padres and their military escorts or simply made it difficult to for the Spanish colonists to sustain the outpost.

 

The natives would cut off water; damage crops; and made it impossible for supply trains and ships to replenish and re-inforce the beleaguered  colonists. Life in the New World was hard  and brutal enough let alone being harassed by belligerent tribes.

 

So, the Spanish would pack up and sail away.

 

At least until the next intrepid group of helmet-headed imperialists showed up.

 

According to the story, during one of these attempts, the Spanish thought they were making some headway with the locals.  Rather than attack, the tribesmen presented the Spanish with many loaves of native papaya bread.

 

A welcome gift and gesture indeed!  The Spanish were thrilled with this apparently peaceful overture.  So, thrilled that they decided to have a fiesta to celebrate the wondrous gift of the delicious bread. A bit like the colonists at the first Thankgiving.

 

It was during this fiesta that the Spanish found out that the natives had a special method to making their bread.

 

The natives loved papaya and would consume the entire fruit wasting nothing.  This included the skin, meat and seeds.  It was their traditional way.

 

So far so good.  The key words are “wasting nothing.”

 

The most interesting part was that the tribespeople would then gather up the “previously digested seeds.”  Use your imagination.

 

The seeds ground into the flour used to make this special “Baja Bread” …wasting nothing!

 

Upon hearing this, the Spanish pretty much choked and gagged in” mid-chew” thinking about the origins of their yummy bread.

 

They were mad. Fighting mad at what they perceived was a cruel and sinister joke.  No one was laughing.  The Spaniards thought they got punked big time.  Talk about a “party fail!”

 

And once again, hostilities broke out.  The Spanish had no sense of humor and much blood was spilled over breaking bread.

 

A peace offering misunderstood and gone awry?  Or a dastardly prank pulled on the Spanish masters and padres?

 

We will never know.

 

But the natives again rose up and pummeled the Spanish back to the mother country.

 

I love history.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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

“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 »

WHERE THE WILD THING ARE…er…WERE

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Where the Wild Things Are…er…Were

Originally published the Week of July 4, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

As a little kid, there was a beach I would sneak off to back home in Hawaii.

 

I’m dating myself.  I could ride my sting-ray bike there.

 

Down from the main road to where it sloped to gravel.  Down through the thick over-hanging jungle canopy. The air was thick and moist and the gravel gave way to a path of rich soft wet damp earth that never seemed to dry out and carpeted with soggy decaying leaves.

 

It would suddenly break into a clearing that I simply called “my beach.”  A sunny little white sand cove protected by a small shallow coral reef.  Dark lava rocks at the two small headlands and waves broke gently over into a blue pool about as wide as I could throw a rock.

 

A small stream that started somewhere in the rain forest up in the mountains dropped from a small waterfall.  It emerged from the thick vegetation and tumbled over smooth dark boulders through a gritty arroyo where it’s darker reddish waters joined the blue ocean.

 

It was a good little place to fish.  Or swim.  Or hang out with neighborhood pals under the coco palms.  For a bunch of black-haired, barefooted, hell-bent tribal children with unlimited energy and imagination , it was the best playground.

 

Where the wild things are.

 

Build forts out’ve driftwood. Chase each other with rounds of “Marco Polo,” our version of “tag.”

 

Play “chicken” in the waters while perched on each other’s shoulders and exhausted ourselves with laughter attacking the “king of the hill” on the small sand dunes.   Then later a retreat under the palms to eat sandwiches or maybe sticky-finger spam and rice rolls made by our moms.

 

Looking back we referred to it as “little kid time.”

 

It was “my beach.”  And I was convinced no one knew about it.  We never saw anyone else there.

 

On the island we just figured there were lots of little hidden beaches and coves.  This was “ours.”  Other people must have “their own beach.”  Right?   Little boys have their own brand of logic.

 

But, as with all “little kid time,”  little kids grow up.  Life and other things came along.  The islands were left behind, but always carried with me.

 

Years later, I came back.  To where the road ended.  To where the gravel started.  To where the dirt path emerged from the dampness to the light.  And I stopped.

 

Or to be more precise.  I was halted.

 

By a barbed wire gate.  It had a sign.

 

“No Trespassing.  Private Beach.  Exclusively for Owners.  No locals.”

 

Some “non-local” kids were gunning wave runners through the shallows where we used to play chicken.  Some new “kings of the hill” had built expensive houses on our sand.  An expensive European SUV was parked in front of one of them.

 

I stared at the barbed wire. . . and the sign.

 

Fast forward.

 

Two days ago. Mid-day Baja heat.

 

I drove out to one of the beaches north of La Paz where we live.  Just needed to get out’ve the office and not to be found for an hour or so.

 

No more beeping text messages or phone calls. Maybe just close my eyes for a few minutes to the sound of…nothing.

 

Just to take a breath.  Get some air.  Look at some blue water.  Get lucky and watch some dolphin make me envious.

 

I drove to one of the remote beaches.  This one famous on postcards for sugar sand and water the color of sapphire turquoise. It often shows up on travel shows and brochures as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

 

And there, plain as day, the beach had been lined with umbrellas and plastic tables and chairs.  And you needed to pay for a permit.

 

It was like being told you can’t look at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon without renting special glasses.

 

Oh, and no photos allowed either.  Or what?  Are you kidding me?

 

On the license plates here in Baja it says, “La Frontera.” The frontier. Yea, I get it.  Wide open spaces. Deserted beaches. Solitary beaches.  OK. It’s not Mexico City. It’s definitely not the mainland.

 

But, it had this reputation of being someplace you could still find the wild places to go.

 

And maybe re-aquaint yourself with some of your own internal wildness or hidden “little kid time”  that seems to get buried in traffic jams, office politics, corporate jumble and suburbia strip-mall-life-back home.

 

I guess, it’s still here.  You just have to look a little hard and go a little further.  And further still.  Everywhere.  Somewhere.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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THEY BETTER SPEAK ENGLISH!

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It’s vacation!  Perfectly fine and fun to blow off some steam and act like an idiot.  Completely different to BE and idiot when you visit a neighbor.

THEY BETTER SPEAK ENGLISH!

Originally Published the Week of June 19, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

They better speak English!

Or what?

Are you going to pack your bags and go home?

I’m usually pretty calm.  Don’t get too excited and try to keep an even keel about things.  But, I’m human.  I have buttons that can be pushed like anyone else.

One that gets me is arrogant Americans.  I’m sorry.

This isn’t political. It’s just about well…as my English buddies day, it’s about “bad form” and “behaving poorly.”

I’ve lived here 21 years in Baja.  My wife and I try to be good ambassadors on behalf of Americans.  We realize people look at us. We have several rather high-profile businesses.  But, we always remember we are guests.

It’s how I would act if I were to come visit you in your home.  It’s how you’d expect me to act if you opened your doors to me.

But this happened yesterday.    I had the occasion to run into two couples who came into our restaurant.  I like to visit the tables.   Say hi.  Check on the food and chit-chat.

“Where ya from?”

“How’s that taco?”

“Is that mango margarita OK?”

Seemed like nice folks.  First time visiting Mexico.

They asked me about the possibility of going fishing.  So, I went into my info about our fishing fleets.   Blah blah blah…

Several sentences into my spiel, one of the guys says very straight-faced, “Your captains better speak English.”  Totally squared up.  Almost challenging.

Like the way the hall monitor talked to you…or down to you… in grade school.  Or Father O’Malley talked to me when he nailed me for shooting a spit wad in church.

What?  They BETTER speak English…or what? Was what bolted through my brain matter.

“UH…Well, sir, they do speak pretty good ‘Span-glish’ that has seemed to work pretty well for 2 decades.  Everyone gets along.”  I tried to deflect with a smile.

He replied.

“Y’know, that’s the problem with this country (oh-oh…anytime someone wants to tell you about YOUR problems red flags pop up…)”

“The problem is ‘THESE PEOPLE’ (another red flag) want our money, but they won’t learn English.  How are we supposed to communicate and how do you run a business with employees that don’t speak English?”

Inhale.  Take breath.  How do I count to ten really fast? For a nano-second I really wanted to bark back.

I looked around the room at all my waiters and busboys hustling around the dining room terrace.

I said, “Sir, it seems to work out OK.  This is Mexico.  People speak Spanish.  You’ll never find friendlier more welcoming people and hard workers.  Folks really do their best.  All of us do.  And whether it’s fishing, dining or whatever, I think you’ll find that the language barrier is what you make of it.  Everyone understands words like ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ and smiles are universal!”

I was trying to be cheery.  This guy couldn’t be this much of a boob.

I was doing my best efforts using international relations / chamber of commerce party lines.  But, my words were sincere.

One of the wives chimed in.

“Y’know, here’s another problem with THIS country. (emphasis on “THIS”) We went to a store to buy a t-shirt and they wouldn’t give us change in U.S. dollars.  They wanted to give us that Mexican pesos!  It’s like ‘play money.’”

“Yea,” chortled one of the other husbands.  “I bet these people have American dollars stashed behind the counter and just love to screw with American tourists ‘cuz they think we’re idiots.”

Si, Senor.  I’m thinking the same about you at this very moment.  I didn’t know where to start.  What are the rules of engagement here?

Do I address the insult or make some feeble attempt to educate?  Or do I punch someone in the nose?

It was three of them against one of me.  Three half-wits that didn’t have a complete thought between them.

Until the other wife joined the bashing party.  She was gonna sum up the conversation.

“THESE PEOPLE (that phrase again) just have such a messed-up country.”  There’s so much violence.  Their politicians are all corrupt.”

“No one trusts their government.  Everyone is on the take.  Mexican voting is all rigged.  Everyone knows that.  Their president is a joke.  Mexicans don’t care because that’s how it is.  That’s their culture. They’re used to it.”

“All they know how to do is take advantage of each other and get free things.   It’s all backwards in Mexico not like US back home in the U.S.   Right?”

She said it so cavalierly. So dismissively bordering on haughtiness.  So much smugness. She looked around at the other three to confirm.  Nods and smirks from the other panel of “judges.”

Yup.  Everyone knows.  You are so very very right.  Dumb-bass.  Pointless.

Why are you even here?

Favor quedate en casa proxima vez.

Well, you folks finish your meal.  Hope that margarita gives you the worst brain freeze ever.

I’m gonna go back into my office and do two things.

I’m going let off some steam and vent by putting some ideas down for my column.   Insulted.  Angered. Ashamed.  Yea…that about sums it up.

Secondly, I’m going to be thankful that the majority of the folks who visit us are a lot more enlightened.   Amen.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO
 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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IS THE WHOLE ISLAND SURROUNDED BY WATER?

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Is The WHOLE Island Surrounded By Water?

Originally Published the Week of May 8, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

Yes, you know who you are. I don’t think any worse of you for asking me that question.  Thanks for making me smile.

 

Any of us who are down here working in whatever capacity could come up with lists of similar questions.  Whether we work in fishing, diving, restaurants, day trips…whatever…We are the humble conduits of information for all our Baja visitors.   Good, bad, or otherwise.

 

Many are the same questions over and over.  That’s par for the course.

 

Where’s the best place to exchange money?

Is the water OK to drink?

Who has the best margaritas?

What’s the temperature going to be like this week?

 

And then there’s the other ones…

 

What kind of meat do you use in your teriyaki chicken dish? (BEEF)

 

Does the sun always rise in the East over the Sea of Cortez? (IT CHANGES DAILY)

 

Why can’t I take my top off and walk down the street like in France? (IT’S NOT FRANCE?)

 

Can you do something about the wind blowing in the morning when we’re fishing? (LET ME JUST WAVE MY MAGIC WAND A FEW TIMES)

 

Can you catch one of the dolphin so my son can ride it?  (YES, I AM A FULL SERVICE OUTFITTER)

 

Hey, it’s what we do and the folks are good folks with good honest questions.  I’m thankful for them for putting a little grin in my day!

 

But, if you’re coming down to Baja it helps to do a little research first.  At least a little.

 

No matter where you go for your travels, especially with so much social media and information out there, a little knowledge will help any trip go smoother.  This is even moreso with Mexico and Baja.

 

The phone systems are very very different.  Internet, while growing, does not always work.  Or when it works, it can be very sporadic even in the most urban areas.  Forget it if you’re out in the bush or out on the water.

 

I mean, c’mon.  Admit it.  It’s one reason you come down here so you can’t be reached, right? It’s still the Baja frontier.

 

But what if YOU need to reach out? Especially if something goes hinky with your vacation.

 

It’s far better to have the details and plans worked out ahead of time so that there’s as few glitches as possible.

 

There’s nothing like having your wife, girlfriend, family members or buddies giving you “stink eye” because something is amiss and it’s YOUR fault! Or maybe not.

 

Especially in Mexico.

 

Even moreso in Baja. Double-dog affirmative in Baja where not only might technology be a little sticky, but don’t forget…they speak Spanish here!

 

It’s kind of a national thing.

 

Yes. Surprise.  Spanish is the language here, and I am often perplexed at how many visitors are equally surprised that Spanish is spoken and(“surprise again”)…not everyone speaks English!

 

So, if something goes wrong…if something on your tour itinerary goes screwy…

 

…if the 5-star hotel you booked only has a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling and has a lovely view of a parking lot…

 

…if they send a four-seater Nissan Sentra Taxi for your group of 10…

 

…if your fishing tackle goes to Cleveland and your wife’s make up case got left in Seattle…(you better know which bag has priority in your life!)

 

Things might not resolve as quickly as making a simple phone call or dealing with the person “in charge.”

 

Some folks just “book it on whim.” They find something on the internet and run with it.  Many don’t even do that.  “Let’s just be wild and free!”

 

A little pre-planning takes the guess-work and stress out of your vacation which should be YOUR time to enjoy.  Not sweating the details.

 

Just because a website has pretty pictures is not enough.  Exactly what does “close to the beach mean?”  How far is “walking distance to restaurants?”

 

And, if it’s on the beach, can I swim there? Or use the beach? I know several hotels in Baja where they warn you NOT go to in the water. Too rough.  Too rocky or dangerous?   I know one that looks awesome but it’s built next to the outflow of the sewage treatment.

 

Just because one city is “two inches” away from another city on the map could mean 20 minutes apart or two hundred miles away!

 

Will the owner of your charter operation be there on site to answer questions?  Can you just walk to the docks and book a boat any time?  What does “all inclusive” really mean at the hotel?  It didn’t include lobster or steak or mixed drinks?

 

I’m a vegetarian…vegan…Kosher…diabetic…have food allergies.  Good idea to check.

 

I do need to still keep in touch with my family/ work/ office.  Will my phone, computer, texts work?  If they need to reach me, can they?

 

There’s great resources.  Talk to others.  Get other opinions.  A great starting point are Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google and others.  Compare.  Ask questions.  Also, even 10-star places have a bad review or a bad day or simply had a bad customer that loves blasting places.  Don’t rely on just that one single bad review or two.  A place that has 200 reviews but only 2 bad reviews is better than a place that has only 20 reviews and has 2 bad reviews.

 

Take that into account and make informed decisions!  Take the guess work out so you can enjoy your time!

 

And yes, find out if that island really is completely surrounded by water.  Anc check on those dolphin rides while you’re at it.   A good thing to know!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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.”

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

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