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COKE…The Real Thing?

COKE…The Real Thing?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 4, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you’re old enough to remember commercial about Coke being the “real thing,”  you’re like me.  You have some history!

Ask most folks what the most popular drink in Mexico is and some will say it’s tequila . Others will claim it’s beer.

It may surprise you to learn that Coke is the #1 beverage in Mexico.  The statistics are astounding.

According to the stats, Mexicans drink more than 700 cups of Coca-Cola a year!   Let that sink in for a moment.  That is 43 gallons of Coke per year.

Chiapas is Mexico’s poorest and southernmost state.  The average person in Chiapas knocks back over a ½ gallon of the Coke each day!  It’s an area where Coke is cheaper and easier to get than water.

I’m not sure how much Coke YOU drink, but that’s a lot of Coke by anyone’s standards. 

In fact, Mexico is the largest consumer of soft-drinks in the world. Coke being about 70% of that consumption. 

That 700 cups in Mexico is still way ahead of the #2 country. It’s the  United States with a still-crazy 400 cups of Coke every year per person.

Needless to say, Coke is a big part of the fabric of Mexican life, tradition and culture. Some would argue it’s an addiction.

It’s not only a refreshment but is even used in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes as well.  With some validity, it’s used to soothe or cure everything from headaches, indigestion and nerve disorders.

I mean, how many times have we all just “grabbed a Coke” and we seem to feel better?

But, it wasn’t always that way in Mexico, although it had been around for decades.

It really gained it’s popularity during the 60’s and 70’s.  Former Mexican Presidente Vincente Fox worked his way up the corporate ranks of Coke, but started as a delivery driver and salesman. He ended up as President of the company.

During his career, he shrewdly offered incentives to companies who sold Coke exclusively over Pepsi.

Then, during the 70’s, it really accelerated.  Those were the years that Mexico sponsored the Olympics in Mexico City as well as the World Cup.

Not surprisingly this co-incided with national ad campaigns that exposed the drink to so many Mexicans and brought it to prominence. 

Mexican President Luis Echeverria,  during those years, even tried to get the Coke recipe in order to nationalize the drink as the official drink of Mexico.  He was unsuccessful.  However, it underscored how integrated the drink had become to the nation.

When Vincente Fox left the presidency of Coca Cola and became President of Mexico in the early 2000’s, he sure wasn’t going to let the brand fall. 

It was his baby.  Lots of photos of him with an ice cold Coke in hand!

So, what’s the deal with Mexican Coke? 

Many folks swear by it over American Coke although many folks can’t tell the difference in flavor.

However, it’s growing popularity has many U.S. outlets and restaurants now offering Mexican Coke to their customers and patrons. 

While quite cheap to purchase in Mexico, it’s understandably more expensive in the U.S.  It has to be imported.  But that has not slowed the demand.

But, many Americans clamor for it. 

There is a difference.  

While American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup, Mexican Coke is made from cane sugar.  To many purists, they insist it has a cleaner and fresher flavor and zest. 

Some testify it that Mexican Coke doesn’t have the chemical taste of fructose Coke.  Supposedly it also has more snap and effervescence.

Others also insist that it makes a difference that Mexican coke comes in the traditional bottles.  And to many, glass containers make a critical difference.

However, other than taste, one wonders if Coke made with sugar is better for you than high-fructose Coke.  The medical field says it’s all the same.

Coke is Coke. 

Arguably, the same taste.  Same calories, sodium and other things probably not so good for us.

Alot of it could all be in your head and what advertising tells us.

Does an organic apple taste different than a regular apple?  To me, Chicago Pizza tastes as good as a New York pizza.  Expensive water bottled in the “mountains of Fiji” better than “smart water.” 

C’mon, Man!

It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes. 

We all think Mexican Coke is better because everyone says it’s better. So when we lift that ice cold bottle to our lips…ahhhhh…dang, that’s good stuff!

But, there’s some hard sad facts about drinking Coke.  Even one can. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Coke.  I don’t drink a ton of it, but it’s my non-alcohol drink of choice on many occasions.  Living in Mexico, an icy can from the cooler on the beach rocks.  Or while fishing.

And, I’m personally not picky about Mexican or American Coke.  The red can is the red can.

Seems pretty harmless. 

However, a single can of Coke has about 10 teaspoons or sugar in it (or it’s equivalent in fructose corn syrup) which does the same thing to your body.  It still gets processed the same way.

The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day.  So, even one can or bottle puts you way above dosage.

Not to mention the sodium and caffeine that’s also being consumed.

By the way, original Coke actually did have cocaine in it!  But that’s for another story.

Sodium, sugar, caffeine…All of these are attributable to higher blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Or at least the lifestyle that goes along with it…

Those factors contributed a lot to fatalities during the pandemic.

Mexican Coke or American Coke.  It’s no wonder the two leading consumers of Coke in the world also have the highest obesity and diabetes issues.   

Buzz kill.  But, it is the “real thing.” 

I don’t have any beer in my frig.  But, I do have a 6-pack of Coke sitting in there.

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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COVID REBOUND

COVID REBOUND

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 22, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Mexico tourism, like many places took a big hit in 2020 with the Covid Pandemic.  Baja, in particular took it right on the chin with a virtual lockdown that turned many areas like Cabo and other cities into ghostowns.

Some of it was external.  I mean, if you have no airline flights there’s not much you can do about it.  Likewise, if the U.S. government has closed the passport office, it’s outta your hands.

But, Mexico at ground level was trying to figure out how to handle it.  In many respects, they were late-to-the-game in dealing with it. 

Mexico is highly dependent on tourism. It needed to keep the general economy moving and people working. Therefore, it sat on it’s hands when the rest of the world was going into lockdown.

It didn’t help matters that Mexico’s own President was still running around visiting restaurants and kissing babies; or telling folks that “Mexico will not be affected by Covid because we have Mayan blood and only rich people are affected by the virus.”

Uh, yea, right. 

He also wore a special “amulet” that he claimed would ward off the virus. 

It wasn’t too long ago to forget some of the wacky attempts to curb the spread. 

That included sanitizing your feet and shoes before you could go into a building or shuttle van.  Or who could forget, spraying sanitizer from helicopters?

The stopping of all beer sales was a big winner.  So was having to walk through a fumigation tent to go into a market.  And only one family member in the store at a time.

At hotels, you could not have two occupied rooms next to each other.  One occupied.  The next one empty.  Then an occupied room.  Social distancing to the max!

Since we run a fishing operation, this one was near and dear.  At one point, they declared that you could not be on a boat with open-toed footwear.  No flip flops.  No sandals. To fish “safely” you had to wear closed-toed shoes.

…and the captain could only stay in the center of the boat.  And the boat had be regularly fumigated.  Even if it was a panga.

Those were just lovely days!

But, the point being, none of this was very conducive to welcoming tourism on any level even after things started to open up.

However, here we are.  Almost 3 years post-covid and about a year since masks more-or-less came down.

Tourism is booming. 

In fact, tourism in Mexico is breaking records. American tourists are up 35% over last year. 

But… not just with Americans.  It’s an international vacation destination as well.  Mexico is the number one tourism spot in the world right now.

cabo-san-lucas-hip-hop-boat-party-with-unlimited-drinks-1155902

In fact, for the upcoming holiday season, if you’re headed to Cabo, be prepared.  It might be hard to find beach space!

We run our own shuttle service for our clients who fish with us in La Paz.  The majority fly into Cabo  and we transport them north to our city.

I was there in Cabo Airport a week ago and the line of shuttle vans picking up and dropping folks off was incredible.  Vans and cars were triple parked with arriving and boarding tourists.

Statistics showed that this year visitors are thronging in greater numbers than ever before.

So much so, that they’re adding another 1500-2000 more hotel room construction in the next year. Airlines have added more flights to the tune of almost 2 million more available plane seats.

By this past spring 2020, almost 3 million visitors had already shown up in Cabo.  They expect by the end of the year, Cabo alone will have hosted some 7 million tourists.

medano-beach

During the Thanksgiving holidays, the expectation is for at least 30,000 visitors and more than 80% hotel occupancy. 

It’s a phenomenal number.  We think of all the big-name hotels brands like Hyatt, St. Regis and Four Seasons to name a few.

However, there are also all the little mom-and-pop operations as well.  The big ones have been booked for weeks or months even though statistics show that the average hotel room night is now $400!

Of course there’s plenty of smaller more economic places (like where I stay!).   But, the flood of tourists has now slowed down. 

Not surprisingly, Cabo has edged Cancun as the #1 Mexican vacation destination.

Just be prepared for crowds if you’re coming down in the next few weeks.  Give yourself extra time so you can enjoy your time!

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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YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

Definitely this is NOT a taco.

YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 15, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the years, I’ve watched the complexion of the tourism industry and tourism in general evolve.  It has been an interesting observation.

Being in the tourist industry ourselves, we have a courtside seat to all the comings and goings.

Years ago, it was the fishermen.  No two ways about it. 

Fishing built the tourism industry.  It’s what initially opened up Baja and much of the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

It was the exotic frontier teeming with fish and popularized by those early adventurers and writers who elaborated about deserted hidden beaches; sunshine; waters teaming with boiling fish and a wonderful people.

At first, it wasn’t easy to get to.  But that only increased the allure.

But, as time went on, the tourism gates edged ajar enabling more visitors to make their way down the coast.  The gates have never closed.

It has never stopped being a wonderland to so many. 

At first, mostly the guys came down.  The journey could be long.  The visit often did not accommodate many conveniences like air-conditioning, ice, electricity, gasoline and soft beds or even running water. 

But, again with time, all of these came to pass along with swimming pools, spas, shopping centers, and all the modern accoutrements.

Not co-incidentally, tourism surged again.  Not surprisingly, the mix of families, wives, kids and others increased.  International tourism also burgeoned.

Today, Mexico is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world.  Not just for Americans but for world-tourism as well.

But, no matter who was arriving off that cruise ship, plane or bus, there was always the underlying attraction of the ocean. 

Whether for fishing; diving; watersports like boating; beaches; real estate; photography…for the most part, the water was a common denominator for a vast majority.

Everyone was attracted by that big blue ocean out there in some way, shape or form. 

Whether to catch the fish of a lifetime; lie on a beach; to go on a booze cruise; to build a house; to watch whales; to get married or honeymoon; to retire;  to surf; build a house…the ocean was always the seductive siren.

 I mean, no advertises empty desert.  Right?  It’s always “ocean view.”

But lately, I’ve noticed a big difference.

People are arriving who have really no interest in the ocean or the proximity of the water.

They’re here for the food.

A “Foodie” invasion.

Not just folks who like to eat.  These are people who are hardcore into what’s on their plates.  They study.  They research.  They take notes and photos.

They post up photos of their meals on all the social media platforms.  “This is what I’m eating tonite!”

They’re not just here to eat a taco from a food cart or have nachos at happy hour.

I’ve often written about the food scene down here in Mexico.  It’s often about stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things.

But these are whole different class of visitors.

I’ve found myself taking vacation reservations for folks who don’t ask what’s the best time to catch a marlin. 

They don’t really care if that hotel has a spa.  They don’t ask about the water temperature for scuba diving.

But, they do want my opinion about which restaurant has the best chicken mole dish. 

Or they want to know if I had tried the bearnaise sauce they’re making at some new chi-chi restaurant on the waterfront.  Is the restaurant really using an organic goat cream reduction?

Yup!  As if I knew!

gourmet-vs-gourmand-usage-6072-09ae1d24289a50ea6ce3c9e8005a7796@1x

I’ve been asked my opinion about sautee’d bluefin eyeballs or the French pastries some hot-shot chef is getting raves about at a new bakery.

These folks have researched online menus and have check-lists of eateries they intend to visit or certain dishes they specifically plan to try.  

You’ve heard of a “pub crawl.” 

I’ve had folks do things like “only taste test ceviche” at a number of restaurants.  And take notes!  Or only tacos made from triggerfish or baby octopus.

Or they are on a “food tour” to taste the difference in fish preparations between various regions such as eastern Mexico vs. Southern Mexico vs. Baja. 

There’s a big difference in preparations.  Spices and herbs.  Presentations. 

In the same way barbecued ribs might be different in Alabama compared to Minnesota in the U.S.  Or chowder on Boston’s waterfront versus San Francisco’s Fisherman’s wharf.

large_562228646

Stuff like that.

Food popularity is big business.  Just check out the Food Channels on TV sometime.  There are dozens of cooking shows 24-7 and the hosts are international food rock stars.

Yes, many of our visitors are changing and seeking culinary pursuits these days.

Some are actually chefs themselves.  A few have been cookbook authors.  Some are just gourmet adventurers. 

Some just like to eat and get that same cosmic rush over a bowl of pasta as the folks who come to battle a big fish; or ride a wave; or touch a migrating whale.

To each their own.

With the growth of so many higher-level restaurants in Mexico and Baja, being a “foodie” is a sport.  It’s a hobby.  It’s an obsession. 

Buen provecho! 

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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FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 7, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

When I first found myself living down here in the Baja almost 30 years ago, I thought I was in heaven . I was “living the dream” as it were.

In my previous “life” I had gone from a litigation attorney with a pin-striped suit and briefcase running in-and-out of courthouses with a demanding schedule.

I now found myself 10 miles down a dirt road. 

I was working as the fishing guide, divemaster and chef for a little boutique hotel in a little bay.  No more than 10 or 15 persons there at a time.

I lived in a little backpacker tent I had erected on a wooden pallet on the beach.  I ran about a 100-yard extension cord from the main house so I could plug in a little 20-watt lamp.

Water was in a 5-gallon jug filled from a fresh-water well dug up in the arroyo.   I had two pairs of shorts (one for fishing and one for scuba) ; 3 t-shirts and 2 sets of flip-flops for clothes.

I did have an array of fishing gear and dive gear oh, and I adopted a little black dog I found living in the hotel trash dump.

No internet.  No phones.  These were the days before that technology.  Imagine that!

Getting supplies meant bouncing an hour down a dirt road to the nearest town. 

Days were spent fishing or diving in the prettiest bluest clearest waters I’ve ever seen in my life.  When I had no fishing clients, part of my job was to still catch fish for the hotel kitchen.

Crazy…I had a job where it was MY JOB to catch fish fresh fish!  In the freakin’ Sea of Cortez!

Nights were spent cooking in the kitchen mostly, but after that, simply sitting in a beach chair in front of my tent.  Or around the big blazing fire pit we would light for the clients and listening to the guests.

I remember skies with a zillion stars.  You could actually see galaxies.  And shooting stars Or moon-lit nights that were almost as bright as day.

And nothing but the sound of waves lapping the beach.

I touched no money.  I wore no shoes.  Never wrote a check.  Never had to “return a call.” Washed my clothes in a bucket.

It was hard work and often a long day with no days off, but what’s that saying?  “Find what you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Sometimes you just know.

It was a special happy time.  A good time.  I had found my beach.  Just like the popular commercial. 

Fast forward almost 3 decades.  Still in Baja. 

Still doing a lot of the same things.  But now on a much larger stage and scale.

Big city.  Two big fishing fleets.  A restaurant.  Transportation company.  Dozens of clients a day coming-and-going.  No days off.  A big payroll.  All the accoutrements of running two companies in two different countries.

There are meetings and reports.  Articles to write.  Up every morning at 4 a.m.  Inventories, lists, deadlines and so many moving parts every day.

We’ve been successful and blessed beyond deserving.  I have a lovely wife now and hopefully, lots of happy employees and there’s nothing more gratifying than all the smiles we see every day.

Life is good.  Life is grand.

I’ve got miles of beach right in front of me.  I’m looking out the window as I type this.

But, it’s not MY beach.  I’m happy, but it’s not my happy place.  There’s a big difference.

So, this past week, Jill and I drove down another dirt road.  Over an hour from La Paz where we live.  We weren’t supposed to take the rental car “off-road” but hey…don’t ask permission…ask forgiveness. 

We just hoped we didn’t get stuck somewhere.  It almost happened where part of the dirt road had been washed away in the last rains and we almost got stuck in the loose sand and mud of the arroyo.

Our own rattle-trap car would definitely not have made the journey.

But, at the end of this road is a little spot. 

With a few cabanas.  And a kitchen.  And a boat ramp.  And palm trees on a beach that were planted over 100 years ago.  And a little cemetery where the folks who planted those trees now rest tucked against a cliff that rises from the ocean.

There’s a little chapel on a hill. It was built by hand when everything was brought in by boat or hauled over the mountains.

The little pool is fresh sweet water that comes from a mountain spring.  Swimming in it reminds you of bygone summer days and lying on that warm cement as a kid.

Many a time over the years, we’re the only ones there.

No music is played.  No blenders are allowed.  One must dress for dinner.  Nothing elegant. Just basic simple tasty food made by ladies in the kitchen. Some have been there for decades.

The ladies who serve dinner dress in pinafores. It’s like they stepped out’ve a time capsule when life was simpler.

Candles only light the patios and tables.

There’s a formal “cocktail hour.”  As it were. Basically, it just means it’s dark now. Come have a drink before dinner gets served .

You can fish.  Or swim.  Eat or nap.  That’s what there is to do. Did I say nap?

Listen to the ocean or the wind that blows from the mountains.  Watch the sun navigate slowly across the sky and paint the landscape with changing colors.  Watch the moon and stars take it’s place illuminating the night in nocturnal silver.

I”d love to tell you the name of the place and where it is.

But as much as I blab on in my weekly writings, I think I will keep this one to myself.   It feels like MY beach again.  It feel like a place a came to long ago and had forgotten.

It’s good to touch that again. 

Yes, you can come to visit your Cabo and Puerta Vallartas and Cancuns…and do all the tourist things.  Nothing wrong with that.

But, I hope you can also find a little dirt road down to a beach that few people know.  It might not even be on a map.   I hope you find a little something different.  Maybe a little part of yourself too. 

And keep that spot all to yourself and how you got there.  Cheers to finding your beach!

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 Sportfishing

Website: 

www.tailhunter.com

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube 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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ANOTHER #@$% BONITO!

BONITO! FUN and EXCITING…UNTIL THEY AREN’T!

ANOTHER #@$% BONITO!

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 28, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publication

If you’ve never caught one, they can be a lot of fun.  These smaller members of the tuna family can pull you out’ve your socks or flip-flops.

Most are only 5-10 pounds, but pound-for-pound, I would argue that no fish pulls harder.  I’ve often told our astonished fishing clients that if they ever make a 25-pound bonito, it’ll destroy us.

Built like little missiles they are speedy and tenacious.  On light tackle or spinning gear, there are few fish in the sportfishing world that can compete.

. . .until you’ve had your fill.

The first few are fun.  Then, there’s a point of diminishing returns. 

Even on matched tackle, they sure can take a lot out’ve you!

After awhile, you realize, they’re not fun anymore.  They’re pests!

You’re getting tired.  These darned things are eating up all your live bait.  You’r really out on the water to be catching real tuna or dorado or something else besides bonito!

You want to get to the main event, not fooling around with these pesky %#$@ bonito!

Because there’s a big drawback about bonito!

With the exception of a few types of bonito, most don’t taste so great. So, we throw them back.  Or, in the old days, they get used for fertilizer in the garden.

But, aside from eating them, there’s some really handy uses for them that I never realized until I moved down here and learned from our fishing captains.

For one, they make excellent bait.

If you can keep them alive and are fortunate enough to be on a boat that has “tuna” tubes to keep fish like this alive, they make super bait for billfish.

Harnessed properly and hooked, they are great to troll.  Big marlin are especially attracted.  If the bonito are small enough they can be cast directly to a billfish.  It’s like tossing candy in front of a 5-year-old.

If still alive, I’ve found it very effective to take a smaller one and pin a big hook in it through the jaw or dorsal and send it back down on a heavy rig with some weight.

Then, I hold on!

Done over a reef or rocky area or high spot, I might cut one of it’s tail fins or put some shallow cuts in it’s flanks.  With the cut tailfin the bonito will swim erratically like the wounded fish that it is.

Darren bonito 6-21 tags

With the scores on it’s flanks, the bonito will bleed a bit and release it’s oily scent into the water.

Big dog-tooth snapper; giant pargo and grouper fall for this all the time.  It’s a deadly rig and you’d better hold on because they don’t “nibble.”

They’ll slam like a powerful freight train and head right back into the rocks. Anything that can eat a 5-pound bonito will surely have a big mouth and the muscle to back it up!

Speaking of bonito blood and oil, the meat is indeed very bloody and oily.  It’s a big muscle with fins.

If the fish is already dead, our captains will sometime cut strips from it and drag them behind our pangas to leave an oily trail in the water.  Sometimes, they’ll just run a rope or heavy cord through the mouth and gills and drag the whole bonito behind the boat.

Dorado especially find this irresistible. 

Keep an eye out because I’ve seen dorado swim right up in the propwash to the transom following that blood trail. Get ready to drop a hooked bait almost right on top of their heads.

Strips of bonito are, in fact, great to use with your lures.  A little strip on a casting lure or iron adds some organic attractant to your presentation.

Likewise, a larger strip hooked onto a feather or larger lure is also a bonus.  Not only will it add scent to the water, but if a big fish grabs it, it’s less likely to let go now that it has some real “meat” in it’s mouth instead of a chunk of plastic or resin!

There’s one other reason I like to keep bonito on board.

Every now and then, you get sealions that become a nuisance.  I’m sure you can relate.

These pests eat your baits. They eat your hooked fish then give you the “middle finger salude” as they throw it into the air right in front of you. Plus, their presence chases away the gamefish.

Back-in-the-day, there were things like seal bombs, wrist rockets and sometimes firearms to take care of the problem.

We can’t do that anymore and frankly, I don’t wanna hurt anything permanently that I’m not going to eat.

But, these sealions are messing with our livelihood. 

One of my panga captains showed me that if you take a dead bonito, you put a bunch of hot sauce into it.  Then heave it like a football at the sealion.

The sealion grabs it and dives with it’s treasure!

…then pops up barking like crazy!  It goes jumping around and swimming away as fast as it can!  It goes and bothers someone else’s boat.

Problem solved. 

Your %$#@ bonito has become seal repellent!

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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SHUT MY MOUTH

SHUT MY MOUTH

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 12, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

They say if you own a restaurant, it’s inevitable that your employees will steal from you.  It’s a very accurate truism.

Having worked or managed 14 restaurants plus a catering business, there’s just no way to watch every single employee every single minute.

We’ve owned our own Tailhunter Restaurant here in La Paz now for 13 years on the waterfront.  Employee theft is rampant.  It’s blatant.  It’s uncontrollable.

We’ve had workers who have been with us for years.  Servers, dishwashers, manager, and cooks that we consider family. We trust them.

We provide benefits, vacations, bonuses, health care, personal loans for school and home.  Many have never had these perks working for other employers.

 If you have a problem, come to Jonathan and Jilly.  Close the office door and we’ll figure something out!

Regretfully, some of our best people have been our saddest and biggest disappointments.  And our worst thieves.

Everything from stealing tips to even stealing knives and forks.

We’ve caught managers on our security cameras walking out with cases of ribs or boxes of shrimp.  We have caughtthem smiling into the camera. 

Two of our employees climbed the roof to our upper floors.  They stole cases of liquor.  That was too easy.

Two hours later they came back.  They stole several flat screen TV’s.  Just carried them over the rooftops and down a ladder.

One employee broke into our office and stole the entire safe with the payroll!  It was bolted to the floor!  He was caught smiling into the security camera as well.

On a smaller scale, waiters will jimmy the orders and not give the cashier the full amount.  They pocket the difference.

Packs of tortillas disappear or don’t match inventory. A case of beer disappears.  What the heck happened to the fish fillets that were delivered yesterday?  I know we didn’t sell them.

We recently caught one of our best employees.  He’s a young man I’ll call Omar.  

Omar came to us and we could see he had some potential.  Never worked in a restaurant, but willing to learn.  He started in the kitchen.  Then became a server.

When we were short-handed one night, he stepped in to help our bartender during an evening rush.  The kid liked it and he had talent.

Over the next few months, he developed into one of the best bartenders we had.  Everyone loved his concoctions.  He was great with the other employees.  Omar was a real gem.  A rare find. A favorite.

Then, we caught him red-handed on the security cam.  He was in the upstairs kitchen helping himself to a pot of rice.  Had a nice bowl of it.

Geeze…not him too!

We’ve tried all kinds of ways over the years to curb the theft.  Short of firing someone, most don’t work.  Stealing continues to a larger or lesser degree.

But darnit…employees are really hard to find these days.  Good employees are even harder to find.  Good employees that we really like are an even rarer commodity.  

So we brought the kid into the office.  Omar knew he was in trouble when we shut the door.  Or worse.

I’ve always thought of him as “kid.”  Anyone under 40 years-old working for us these days is a kid.

We wanted to hear his side of the story and why he was stealing rice.  It looked like it wasn’t his first time the way he was easily spooning-up the rice in the video footage. 

Why are you stealing food?

“I was really hungry…”

That hung in the air for a moment.  The way he said it.

It wasn’t like, you or me getting “hungry” and having the “munchies.” 

He started to tear-up.  Eyes were watering .

I always thought he was in his mid-to-late 20’s.  He was only 20 years old.  For the first time, I was seeing him as a real kid.

He really WAS hungry.  He had not eaten.

Turns out this was his first real job with us.  First time he had been trusted with a position and responsibility.

Talking…listening to this kid really for the first time…

He told us he had been abandoned at an orphanage with his sister when he was 8 years old.  Parents just left them.

He bounced around in and out. 

Never got any real schooling.

Never really had a stable home situation.  Lived with his sister for awhile. They would get kicked out or they had to move.  She had her own issues of drugs.

He was never sure where he would be sleeping the next week.  The next month.  The next day. 

But, he always made it to work.

And all his life, there had never been enough food.  Not in the orphanage.  Not living with others.  Not living on his own.

Never enough food.  At night, no food security.  Not knowing where the next meal is coming from.

He was honestly hungry. 

And for the first time, we’re seeing this kid differently. 

These days with the shortage of employees we tend to grab anyone who can walk, talk, breathe and show up.   We often don’t have time to really get to know many of them.

We can’t. I know we should and we do our best.

We are jamming full-speed.  Many of them don’t last anyway these days. 

They quit.  They disappear.  Bring in the next one.

Omar had been a welcome surprise. 

And now here was a kid who was simply hungry.  For a simple bowl of rice. 

We had been ready to possibly fire him.  We were raring to give him a stern lecture or rake him over the coals.  Make an example of him to the other employees.

Over a simple bowl of rice.

The fire was not there. How could we get angry?  He needed a hug and a meal.  Not our vitriol.

Just shut my mouth!

We so take things for granted.  We Americans hear about people who don’t have enough food all the time. 

But they are always “somewhere else.”  They are not the people you are in contact with day-to-day. 

All of us have full refrigerators and pantries.  At 3 p.m., we are “starving” for a bag of chips.  Or “starving” for a candy bar.  We are “famished” to have dinner.

Just shut my mouth.  

We’re going to make some changes.  No one doesn’t eat on our watch.

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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RUN or RIDE IT OUT?

RUN OR RIDE IT OUT?

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 2, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s early morning here in La Paz and still dark outside even though it’s about 7:30 in the morning. Normally, the sun is well on it’s way to sunrise.

But, it’s dark outside because we’re waiting for Hurricane Kay to hit us.  Rain has already started falling although the winds haven’t arrived yet.

Other than streetlights reflecting off shiny wet roadways, the morning is punctuated by incredibly bright flashes of lightning.  It’s pretty ominous and we’re bracing.

It’s not like we haven’t been through these before.  In almost 30 years down here, I think this would be Hurricane 10 or 11.  Maybe more. 

Some years we get them.  Then we can go years without one. Some years, we get more than one.

It’s part of living here in the tropics.  Living the dream, right?

The biggest drawback for us are all our fishermen that are here. 

Originally, Kay was supposed to only be a “tropical storm”.  It has grown up. It has grown big.  Kay is now bordering on being a category 2 or category 3 hurricane.

We saw that there was going to be a storm.  Sometimes they arrive without much warning, but this one was building.  I sent out notices to all our folks flying down that it was coming. 

Check your flight.  Let me know if you want to cancel.  There’s a good chance you might lose a day or two or all your fishing trips to cancelation.

To their credits, I suppose, no one canceled.

“I’d rather be in Baja drinking a beer in the rain than stuck in my office or stuck on the freeway back home” was the general consensus.

But, this morning, I had to inform about 40 fishermen ready to go with gear-in-hand, that we were going to cancel. Overnight, the governor had closed the port.  No boat traffic in or out.

The beaches were already getting hit.  The little storm was turning into a big chugger. 

Buzz kill.  For all of them.  Us.  My captains.  My drivers.  My support staff.  This is what we do and we hate NOT doing it.

But, it is what it is and no one can control the weather.

So, now, the issues become a little more critical.

Will the airports close?

Will we be able to fly out?

What about flooding?

What happens if we lose electicity?

The hurricane has NOT hit us yet.  It’s several hundred miles away, but it’s always drizzling rain.  You can feel the vibe. 

However, I know there’s a mass of people at the Cabo Airport trying to grab any flight they can to get outta town.

I know the roads in some places are already flooded.  Internet and phone access is already getting spotty.

(I’m hoping to finish this column and have enough wifi bars to send it to my editor on time.)

So, here’s my thoughts.

Having been through many storms including historic Odile in 2014,  I’ll be honest. Most storms are just a big inconvenience to most tourists. 

Odile was a massive an catastrophic exception.

Unless you do something truly dumb-bass like crossing a flooded arroyo; jumping into the surf; headed out in a fishing boat in big seas, you’re gonna be fine.

No one gets hurt. 

You might miss your plane.  Or your booze cruise gets cancelled and you miss a day of fishing or something.

Wifi or phone signal goes out so you can’t facetime all your friends back home about what a terrible time you’re having or you can’t watch the latest episode of the “Bachelor”.

You’re ultimately going to be OK.

Believe me, the boss will understand if you’re back to work a day or two late.

It won’t be the vacation you envisioned and you might have the most terrible of times with everything ruined.  But, you’re gonna be OK.

If you are in a situation down here and there’s a storm approaching, you do have a choice of staying or getting outta Dodge.

Remember, if you decide to bail out, the last minute tickets and reservation changes are usually difficult and very expensive.

If you’re just going to run to the airport, remember that a lot of other people have the same idea.  As mentioned, we have Hurricane Kay on it’s way and at this moment, there are 3 hour lines at the Cabo Airport of folks trying to find seats.

If you stay, what will it be like?

What are the chances you’ll lose electricity?  To me, that’s a big one.

Most resort hotels have generators.  So, you’re not going to be losing lights or other services.   If it’s not a big storm, chances of losing power are not very big anyway.

But in smaller remote areas…at small hotels that are older or boutique hotels…if you lose electricity, it can be a totally different matter.

It’s one thing to have your fishing trip canceled and stuck in your room watching Mother Nature.  It’s way different if you have no power.

Forget TV.  Smallest of your problems.

No electrical  means no air-conditioning with 80% humidity.  Ever sat in a sauna?

Many hotels have electrical pumps to pump water into rooms from cisterns.  If you have no pumps, that could also mean no showers or bathrooms either.   No phone charging on top of that. 

That could be really miserable.  We all know people that losing the ability to use their cellphones is even more important than the ability to take a shower or use the bathroom.

Or, you need that phone to check airlines!

Maybe one day we’ll be able to predict these things, and as a vacationer, there’s no real way to prepare once you’re already down here.

But, it’s something to think about.

I gotta wrap this up.  Power is getting wonky and I’m starting to lose our wi-fi signal…again.  Here we go…

It’s like the click…click…click as you ride the rollercoaster and that first hill as you slowly go up before the big drop.

Click…click…click.

You know you’re gonna be fine at the end, but in between you better hold on!

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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NO ME OLVIDES (Don’t Forget Me)

DESCANSO!

NO ME OLVIDES (DON’T FORGET ME)

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 25, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you’ve ever driven down the Baja Peninsula or have or had the opportunity for that matter on any Mexican country highway, there is perhaps nothing more poignant then what you see on the side of the road.

Yes, if you’re not driving, stop checking your Facebook messages for a moment.  Or stop taking selfies mugging for friends back home with the beer in your hand.

Plenty of time for that.

Look up.  Look out. 

Yes, you’re gonna see a lot of scrub brush.  Cactus.  Mountains or cliffs maybe in the distance.  Crossing another dry arroyo. The Pacific or Sea of Cortez shimmering off the horizon.

No, look a little closer to the road. 

Down there closer to the pavement zooming by or on the highway shoulder. 

It’s a bit sobering.  It might even make you put your beer down for a moment and give you pause.

And reflection.

After many years down here, nothing characterizes a Baja road more than the numerous crosses and shrines built next to the road. 

Not the occasional burro.  Not the occasional loncheria taco stand. Not the faded billboard for Tecate Beer.  Not the dry desolation that looks like no one has ever been there.

Because, you see the markers and crosses and obviously, someone has indeed been there.  

And then wasn’t.  But someone is trying to remember.

They come in many shapes and sizes. 

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Some sit forlorn and forgotten. 

Crude rusting metal.  Blasted over the years by sun, wind and the other elements. 

Crumbling wooden markers that are deteriorating and eroded by the arid Baja days and freezing nights.

Others are as elaborate or well-kept as if someone visits them regularly.

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Mini concrete block sanctuaries adorned with candles and dusty plastic flowers.  Perhaps a glass-framed painting of the Virgin Mary within.

Or a saint. A little raught-iron fence around it.

Or whitewashed rocks.

Others are built from the local stone of the area into little cairns or grottos.  Perhaps a wooden name hammered on the front.

Some might have some special crucifix made by some skilled craftsman.  Way back. 

You might see a number of markers in a row.  A family?

I have often been asked about them down here.

They are not grave markers although that is often the common sentiment among visitors.   That can sometimes be confusing.  The local name for them is “descansos.”  (Resting place)

But, they do mark a spot where tragedy happened. 

simple cross

The story has it that originally, the practice of marking goes back to the days of the missionaries and conquistadors.  It was a tough trail back then as they criss-crossed the continent for church, crown and gold.

They marked you where you fell.  Then end of your personal trail in life.

So, originally, they truly were grave markers. 

You were covered up and the explorers kept moving. The early pioneers, trappers, soldiers and settlers did the same in the U.S.

But modernly, the spots in Mexico don’t mark the spot of interment.  Rather, they spiritually mark the spot where the “soul left the body.”

So, most often it’s a roadside accident.

And there are a lot of markers along the roads. 

Mexican highways can be notorious for accidents.  Poor construction such as lack of barriers or maintenance; inadequate grading; poor lighting; poor markings and signage have all contributed.

Animals such as goats, cows, burros and horses regularly cross highways.  It is not uncommon for animals to sleep at night on the warm asphalt or gravel especially on colder desert nights.

Add to that the human factor.  Actually it’s A LOT of human factor.

Simple bad driving.  High speed. Alcohol.  Bad judgement or a bad vehicle. 

Living in Mexico, it’s a daily occurrence to see local folk who treat the road like their personal Hot Wheels track and most folks have never had a formal driving lesson.  You pass the test, you get your card.  

Heck, many folks I know do not even really have  licenses.

Rules of the road are “self-regulated” and there are no infractions unless you get caught.

But as you travel, you see these memorials.  The bottom of a curve.  In the mountains.  Rocky areas.  Tricky turns. 

All evident of a violent and untimely place where souls left their bodies.

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Other times, there is no indication of what might have occurred on some long stretch of road.  Perhaps someone just feel asleep.  Perhaps an animal or another car.

Often the memorials are adorned with a mangled car door.  Maybe the hubcaps or side view mirrors and debris from the vehicle.

To go along with the occasional wreath or flowers or glass candles.  Or whatever creative construction has been erected by the survivors.

It’s a fascinating and reflective opportunity if you get the chance to stop to examine some of these memorials to lives suddenly ended. 

Descansando en Paz…resting in peace.

Drive carefully yourself!

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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DUMB-BASS QUESTIONS

A HARD NO!

DUMB- BASS QUESTIONS

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 10, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the last 3 decades or so down here, I’ve been asked some crazy head-scratching questions.  I call them dumb questions from smart people.

Hey, I’m just as guilty of opening my mouth before I can put the brakes on and something idiotic comes out.  I do it more often than not.

But, when you run through hundreds of fishing clients and friends each year, you realize that often we are a clearing house for information.

Understandably.  It’s a foreign country.  People speak Spanish.  It can be difficult to navigate.

We live here.  We have answer.  No problem.

So, daily, we get the usual questions about the weather, restaurants, siteseeing, shopping and where to purchase things.  All very typical on a vacation trip.

Then, there are the other kinds of questions that leave us wanting to give a smart-alec response.  But, we hold our tongues and realize that the questions are very sincere and require a somewhat sincere response as well. 

“Will I get wet if I go snorkeling?”

“What happens if a shark bites me?”

“When do the salmon run upriver?”

“How come everyone speaks Spanish in Mexico?”

“What’s the best day of the week to catch a blue marlin?”

“If I’m fishing out on the ocean and have to go ‘Number Two’ and can’t hold it, what happens?”

“How come in Mexico the sun sets in the East?”

We always tell folks there’s no such thing as a bad question. But, I have to admit there’s “dumb-bass” questions like these.

I do my best to provide a deservedly sincere answer.  I grin and try to remind myself that these are honest questions.

There is one subject however, that I get irked about when asked.

I recently got pulled aside by a fishing client who wanted to speak to me alone in my office.  Sure.  No problem.  C’mon in.

I thought he wanted to complain about his hotel shower or tell me he only wanted vegetarian meals for lunch on the boat.

Instead he says, “Dude.  Jonathan.  Where can I score some pot or coke? I can’t find anyone or don’t know where to go. Help me out.”

(pause)

(hard stare and a longer pause)

Are you kidding me? 

Yea, this deserves an honest answer.  Frankly, I’m a bit put out that someone would think I know where to score illicit drugs…in MEXICO!  And yes, this is more than just a dumb-bass question.

It’s a truly stupid question and the kind that will get you in a lot of trouble.

It’s not the first time someone has asked me something like this, and honestly, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear it.  I look at the knucklehead who asked me. 

Maybe I’m just naïve about all this. 

First of all, I tell them NO!  A HARD NO!

It’s not my line or my wheelhouse and I tell them if you go around asking, or you’re solicited, you could very well be talking to a narc who is looking for an idiot tourist to make a bust.   

Or you hang out with the wrong people and you get in even more trouble.

I tell the person if they would enjoy being in a dirty Mexican jail with a bunch of other Mexican guys with a coffee can toilet and zero rights.

Here in Mexico, I remind them that it’s not like the U.S. 

You are “guilty until you prove your innocence.”  Unlike the U.S., in Mexico you are automatically guilty.  And if you’re a tourist…especially an American tourist…you’re triple-dog-dare guilty.

Think long and hard about automatically being guilty!

So, someone could tell a police officer you wanted to buy drugs or a police officer could say you bought or used drugs.  And, it would up to you to PROVE you didn’t do it.

Try that without being able to speak Spanish. 

At worst, your life is might change radically in a bad way.  At best, your vacation is ruined and you’re probably in for a bad few days.

I tell ‘em don’t be an idiot.  Or a victim. 

If you really need a buzz, drink tequila like everyone else. 

If they are already carrying stuff get rid of it.  And yes, I’ve had people actually travel INTO MEXICO with illicit drugs and chemicals.

I get away from them as soon as I can.  Maximum space.  Social distancing to the umpteenth power.

Don’t do it.  Don’t ask me how to do it.

Yes, there are stupid questions.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

 

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing

8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

 

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

 
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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Things I Didn’t Know About Mexican Etiquette

OOPS!

THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT MEXICAN ETIQUETTE

Originally Published the Week of July 24, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

The longer I live here in Mexico, the more I realize that there are so many “nuances” to social etiquette that can only be garnered through experience.   Sometimes, embarrassingly so!

It’s not enough to know a language, although that’s a great place to start.  Lord knows after 30 years, I’m hardly fluent.  By most standards, I’m hardly even passable. 

But, I get by. 

I try to learn a new phrase or word every day.  But, even then it’s not just what you say, but how you say it and the context in which something is used.

Like in any country.

There are some things that I learned long ago that are just bad form.  I hear Americans unwittingly say and do things that make me cringe.

For instance, hearing someone ask a local, “Do you speak Mexican?”  Ouch. 

That’s right up there with walking around and committing one huge faux paux of telling folks, “I’m American.”  As if that gives you extra cred.

Or even worse, telling a local, “Well compared to how it is in Mexico, in the United States this is how WE do it…”.

Go ahead and be an arrogant bastard.

Here’s a few other things I’ve learned about social etiquette over time.  Admittedly, I’ve goofed on many of these until I got “schooled.

Where to start…Here are some nuances that I bet you didn’t know. 

It’s rude to stand with your hands in your pockets.  Standing with your hands on your hip signifies you’re angry.  Really?

This is a very macho country on so many levels and it’s part of the very fabric and DNA.  For instance, only men should propose toast at a table. Especially rude for a foreign woman to propose one.

Try to figure out this one…

As a foreigner, you are expected to be on time.  But, if you show up “on time” at a social event like dinner at a restaurant, you’ll be the only one there…maybe for a long time!

It’s quite alright for locals to customarily arrive 30 to 60 minutes or more late.  We see this in our own restaurant constantly.

They’ll reserve a table for 8 at 6 p.m.  Great.  But, by the time everyone shows up, it’s 7:30!

In business, it can really be frustrating.

“On time” for a meeting means your Mexican counterpart might show up unapologetically half-an-hour or more late.  Expect it.

On top of that, it’s considered rude to just “get down to business.

Business in Mexico is largely based on relationships.  Resumes and pedigrees are fine, but locals deal with counterparts they like and trust.

Business…real business, is not done on the phone, text or e-mail.  Even the smallest thing is best done personally.  In many cases, it will ONLY be done person-to-person.

So, expect small talk first.  And it’s expected that you will ask and be asked about family, friends, etc.

By the way, get everything in writing.  A “promise”  culturally means nothing.  It’s part of small talk.  Unless committed to writing, it’s not serious.

If business or entertainment is done over a meal at an establishment, the invitee is expected to pick up the tab.  No friendly arguing at the end.  Not a bad idea to slip your credit card to the waiter at the beginning.

Even if your Mexican associate drinks several cocktails, and you’re sipping your Diet Coke, the tabs is on you.

Conversely, if you are being invited and you are offered a beer, cocktail…even coffee, it’s rude for you to turn it down. 

Or food. 

Accept and take a little or you’ll be seen as being “too good” to accept.

Along those lines, drinking in excess raises eyebrows.  Especially, if it’s done by a woman.

And it’s culturally acceptable if the person you invite to a meal, meeting or social event keeps canceling.  Sometimes at the last minute.  Or not show up at all.

Maddening!

But, you’re expected to keep inviting them or they will assume you were never serious in the first place!

Interestingly, if you do invite folks, usually, they will say “yes” because it’s culturally acceptable and proper.  And even if they say “yes” they might never intend to really show up.

As an American, that sure feels rude!  But, perfectly OK down here.

Here’s one I just learned…always keep your hands above the table. Pass dishes to the left. 

Don’t start eating until the host says “buen provecho.” And never ever cut your salad at the table.  Fold it!

One thing to keep in the forefront is that many Mexicans are very status conscious.  Despite what you may see and hear or seems obvious, Mexico has social classes.

There’s an upstairs and a downstairs.  Socially, there’s not much cross-over.  Sadly actually. 

Upper class stays upper class.  Middle and lower class stay in their lanes as well.

Status is very important.

Therefore, how you dress.  What you drive.  What hotel you are staying in.  Your make-up.  Your jewelry.  Your shoes. 

Impressions are important. Yes, you ARE being watched and subtle judgements are being made about you.

I never realized that until recently. Never dawned on me. 

I’ve been here 3 decades.  My wife and I run several businesses. 

However…I wear shorts every day.  And usually a Hawaiian shirt or printed t-shirt.

And I don’t even have a pair of shoes! 

Because of our work, I’m in flip-flops 24/7.  I wear an old dive watch with a rubber/ plastic wristband . We drive a beat up 1992 Honda Civic!

Sometimes, I even take the time to shave!

This is how I show up.  I am what I am.  Now I wonder how I’ve been perceived all of these years. 

Or not!

None of this is wrong, by any means.  It’s just a different and wonderful culture that you need to adapt to.  As in any country.  It’s how things are done.

However…

I’m definitely going to start showing up late.  And saying “yes” when I don’t intend to actually show up!  When in Rome…or Mexico…do what the locals do!

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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