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THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 9, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         For years, I’ve been telling folks about the Cross Border Express bridge (CBX) at the border for flying to Mexican destinations from Tijuana.

         Mexico has a brand spanking-new air terminal now in Tijuana that’s as nice as many and perhaps nicer than many in the U.S.  Indeed, Tijuana is quite a hub for air travel.

         Many Americans over the years, especially from Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and even Utah found it much easier to cross the border and fly from Tijuana to places in Baja  like Loreto, Cabo and La Paz and other locations in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and others.

         For one, it’s often much less expensive.  From Tijuana,  domestic flight instead of an international flight.  Statistics show, it’s as much as 50% cheaper flying to Mexican destinations than from U.S. airports.

         Lately, it’s been especially conducive with Covid since international travelers returning to the U.S. must obtain negative Covid tests before their flights.  Domestic flights do not have that requirement.

         However, back in the day, flying from Tijuana required actually crossing the border by driving, a shuttle, a bus or taxi.  Or a generous understanding friend or family member.  

         It required navigating the maze of Tijuana streets and traffic to get to the terminal.  Plus, it included the added anxiety and potential delays of just getting through the border check-point. 

Those are huge deterrents to travel, especially for folks who don’t like the idea of driving through or into Mexico in the first place.  Additionally, there’s the sheer nervousness and likelihood of getting lost on a Tijuana border street.   

Not to mention,  your Spanish is limited to ordering chalupas at Taco Bell. 

         Oh, and you have a plane to catch.

         I’ve known many folks who missed a turn or two and ended up back on the U.S. side or got lost miles away from the terminal.  Miss a turn, miss your plane!

         To that end and with rare foresight, the CBX bridge was built several years ago.  I’ve been touting it for years. Clients and friends rave about it.

         Essentially, it allows travelers to park on the U.S. side of the border.  Or shuttle/ taxi there.  You then simply walk across the bridge right into the Tijuana terminal.  No fuss.  No bunched underwear getting lost.

         It’s a game changer!

         But, I had never taken it myself.  It’s like telling someone how good Italian food is, but never having eaten it yourself.

         So, this past week, I had the opportunity to go to San Diego for a few days with Jill, my wife.   She remained, but I had to get back to our home and business in La Paz.

         Booking was easy on Volaris Airlines.  It’s a newer and increasing popular airline choice for Mexican air travel.  It was $85 for a less-than-two-hour-flight to La Paz and the jet was completely full.  About 1/3 were gringos.

         She also booked me my ticket to use the CBX.  Easy online for $16.

         Dropping me off at the curb in the early morning hour to catch my flight, I was greatly surprised. 

20211108_054005_HDR

         I mean, I expected a BRIDGE.  Y’know…like a big span or girders or something.

         On the contrary, it was like being dropped at a regular modern airline terminal.   The CBX is, in fact, more like a giant causeway than an actual bridge.

         Architecturally, rather beautiful.

cbx_1280x640

         I walked right up to an uncrowded airline counter and checked in.  I could have opted for automated mini-kiosks as well.

         I then walked over to an immigration counter to digitally fill out and print my immigration forms.  Everything was computerized. There were helpful staff assisting folks.

         Again, very easy.  And off I went.

         Through the gates and down several well-lit modern corridors.  Signs and arrows were easy to follow. 

         I did one stop for them to take my temperature for Covid.  Another short stop to have my luggage x-rayed.  A short walk to another Volaris counter where I dropped off my luggage (There are carts available, but I was travelling light).

         Another short walk and bam…I was in the new terminal.  Starbucks…Johnny Rocket’s Burgers…convenience stores…cosmetics…clothes…a few sports bars. 

And easy-to-find -boarding gates.

         I had something to eat for breakfast and made my flight with plenty of time to spare.  It was a no- brainer and could not have been easier.

         The entire walk was maybe 100 total yards.  Much easier than driving through the border and all over Tijuana.

         I traveled light this time, but there are carts, luggage porters and wheelchairs if they had been needed.

         For sure, two thumbs up 5-star rating in my book.

         A couple of notes:   

         You can also park your vehicle in secure parking on the U.S. side.  It’s a big bonus.

It’s as little as $18/day.   In fact, you can reserve parking ahead of time online.  Cost is about $25/day and guarantees parking even if the other lots are full.  There is also valet parking.

         If you’re coming the other way, car rentals are also available as are shuttle services from cities like Los Angeles and San Diego and cities in between all the way up to Sacramento.   Plus Uber and Lyft.

         There are discounts for families travelling together plus luggage porters and wheelchair assistance.  There is assistance for minors travelling alone. You will also find scales, currency exchange counters as well as duty free shopping.

         All-in-all, a great deal.

         More info here:  https://www.crossborderxpress.com/en/

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 http://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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WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 2, 2021 in Western Outdoor News

           As the owner of a restaurant here in Baja and having hosted thousands of visiting fishermen, tourists, foodies and locals, I have many interesting conversations with our patrons.  I think the “social aspect” of owning a restaurant is one of the great reasons many folks do something crazy… like opening a restaurant.

         Something I hear a lot is, “Man, the food just tastes so much better down here!”

         Yea, there’s something to that.  Maybe you’ve said it yourself on a journey south of the border.  Food just tastes better down here.

         It could be the shrimp or the steak or even something as simple as a taco, guacamole or salsa.  There’s just “something” about the food in Mexico that’s different. 

20210113_193423_Burst01

I mean, it’s not like you’ve never had a taco or shrimp before.  It’s not like you’ve never dive-bombed the salsa or guacamole with a crispy tortilla chip.

         Heck, even the chips taste different!

         I have to agree. 

         Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love my Mexican food back in the U.S, but there’s something about the food down here that sets it apart.

         For one, it is indeed “local” in every sense of the word.

         Of course, speaking very generally and with exceptions to every rule,  you’re probably gonna find the good Italian food in a place named “Gino’s” and a bunch of Italian guys are working in the kitchen.  Or Gino’s mom is back there herself making the sauces or slinging pasta.

         Chinese food?  Personally, I’d probably duck into a place called “Chin Wah” than “Joe’s Chop Suey Express.” 

         In Sacramento on business once, I asked for the best Mexican food in the neighborhood and was directed to a local eatery that had 4 stars online.  OK.  Sounds good.  I was excited.

         As I entered the restaurant, we walked by the open kitchen so I stuck my head in and waved, “Hola! Que pasa?”  A whole bunch of Asian guys (I’m Asian) turned around and looked at me puzzled as if I was speaking Martian.

         Oh boy.  The food reflected it.  Barely so-so.

tacos in the dark

         My point being, that local ethnic food made by locals is probably going to be a notch above.  Most restaurants down here are mom-and-pop operations.  Dad, mom, the kids…all working.  Probably using the same family recipes used for generations.

         When we opened our restaurant, we asked our employees what was their family known for in the kitchen?  Salsa? Grilled fish? Rice? 

fish-taco

         We got their recipes and then took the best and adapted it to our restaurant and our menu.  We’ve kept our menu very local and held to those same recipes for over a decade.

         It sound cliché, but Mexican food made by Mexicans is a great start.

         Secondly, a big reason Mexican food tastes different than in the U.S. is that pretty much of  American-made Mexican food is pretty much the same.  You have the chain fast-food places.  Then, you have the chain restaurants.  Then, you have the local places.

         But, mostly all of them cater to American tastes.  Understandable.  Of course, I’m again speaking in broad generalities.

         However, here in Mexico, there are so many incredible culinary regions, that grilled fish in Cabo San Lucas will taste completely different  in Veracruz.  Ceviche in Puerta Vallarta might have completely different ingredients than in Cozumel.  Chorizo made in Puebla is different than chorizo in Toluca. 

         Mole…a big favorite salsa used on chicken, pork and beef has something like 28 different ingredients like chocolate, chile, peppers…it will taste different all over the country.  Even beef and pork will be different from region to region.

         Speaking of ingredients, that’s a big plus as well.

         Here in Mexico, storage is expensive.  Labor is cheap.

20210115_080737_HDR

Vegetables and fruits are actually allowed to ripen in the sunshine and in the soil.  They don’t ripen at the grocery store or some warehouse or shined-up to make them look juicier.

         Limes, avocados, onions, mangos, cucumbers are often in the store the same day they are picked.  When you bite into a red tomato, it actually tastes like a juicy fruit that it is.  The oranges are sweeter.  The aroma of cilantro can fill a room.

         It’s no wonder that your salsas taste so much better and your drinks (if made fresh) don’t taste like they are made from a mix.

         Beyond that, real Mexican food has all those “fun things” that taken in abundance would make a nutritionist or doctor cringe.

         Salt.  Check.

In fact, please pass the salt shaker. My chips could use a bit more!

         Sugar.  Check. 

Ice cold Mexican Coke is popular because it has real Mexican cane sugar in it!  Same with Mexican ice cream that’s growing in popularity north of the border.

         Fat.  Absolutely.

Why do you think the tortillas taste so good.  They use real lard to make them!  Fried things?  Sure…fry them in more real lard!  Makes all the difference.

         Salt…Sugar…Fat!  It’s the un- holy trinity of things you should eat in moderation.  It’s also why diabetes and heart disease are so rampant in Mexico.  But, if you’re on vacation, a little indulgence is part of the fun.

IMG_3142

         Enjoy the culinary ride down here.  You can go back to eating at Whole Foods and granola with almond milk when you get home.  Or the fast-food taco chain drive through.

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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WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

What a long-strange trip it’s been. Me selling fishing trips in the street circa 1995. Only thing I could think of doing.

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

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

          Looking back on almost 30 years here in Baja, I was thinking of what an incredible and improbably journey this has been.  It’s been the trip of a lifetime. 

         I’m grateful.  What was supposed to be a one-year exciting hiatus from practicing law turned into an unexpected and (initially) unwanted and scary realization that I couldn’t leave.  

         After almost a year, folks I had gone to work for fired me. A long story for another day. 

        However, when they chased me off, they  refused to return my passport and had never filed my work papers!  They also owed me several months of pay.  

        So, I’m illegal and broke! And I’m stuck.

        I had no visible or viable means of support, income, housing or food.  I’m in  a foreign country where my Spanish pretty much consisted of Spanish expletives and fishing terminology.

        “Vamos por cervezas” (Let’s get some beer!) wasn’t going to get me far.       

         But things turned out.  It’s that saying about God closing windows and opening other doors.  The good Lord busted my butt in so many ways, but he opened a huge door for me to step through. 

I was hungry and didn’t really have a choice. I had to figure a way to eat and I couldn’t sleep in my van forever!

         But looking back, I wish I knew then what I know now about so many things.  I made a list of some of them.

         For one.  I realize you can get by with very little if you need to.  It doesn’t take much.  It’s nice to have a full pantry.  It’s nice to have amenities. 

        But, it makes you grateful for many small things and also humbles you thinking about your Mexican friends and acquaintances. They can get by a lot better than most Americans I know.

        Almost everything is negotiable.  Except for grocery stores and gas stations, pretty much everything else from services to goods is negotiable. 

        The price is what whatever the seller is willing to accept and you’re willing to pay.  Trade has worked more often than I can remember.  Win-win for both sides.

        “Manana” does not always mean “tomorrow” when it comes to business or social commitments. Manana could mean “3 days from now.” 

        It could also mean “later.”  It could mean “whenever I get to it.” It could also be a polite way of being told, “It ain’t gonna happen so don’t count on me.”

        Speaking of “later,” most everyone is late.  I’ve come concluded that Mexican driver speed because they are late. 

        After running businesses for almost 3 decades, nothing I do can force my employees to be on time.  No amount of penalties, bonus pay, threats or jumping up-and-down will get them to be on time.  So, accept it and deal with it as best you can.

        “Guarantees,” “Warranties,” “Contracts” usually aren’t worth the paper they are written on.  New roof collapses.  Too bad. 

        Car stalls in the desert.  Hope you brought water and a cellphone.  They raised the cost of something before the contract expires?  What will do you…file a lawsuit?  You’re on your own. 

        Water is precious and not to be wasted.  Electricity is something not everyone has so don’t take it for granted. It makes EVERYTHING better.  Air-conditioning is the greatest invention since duct tape.

        If something breaks, we think we must find a specialty part or store.  Home Depot. West Marine. Walmart. 

        Mexican people are some of the most innovative and inventive I’ve ever seen.  If they can fix or jury rig something out’ve wire, rope or scrap, they will.  And it will work.  At least until it breaks again.

        Along those same thoughts, if something can break, it will.  If you lend it out, it will probably get broken.  Thing you never ever thought someone would break, will break. 

        How does one snap something so solid as a hammer or screwdriver in half?  How does a power drill suddenly not work after 10 years? How does a blender or microwave only last a month?  How does someone drive a truck into the ocean or a boat into the docks full speed?

        You will always get a shrug when you ask how that could have happened.  No se!  (I don’t know!)  “It must be defective!”

        Some things can’t be jury rigged.

        And some things never change.

        For instance, never turn down an offer of a home-cooked meal.  Especially by someone’s mama.  The world over, if someone’s mama offers to cook you dinner, you’re a fool to decline. Best food ever.

        Gringos drink tequila.  I don’t know many Mexican friends that actually drink tequila as a first choice if something else is available.  They smilingly watch the gringos knock back tequila drinks.  The locals that come to our bar prefer beer, whiskey and pina coladas.

        Here’s a big one.  One persons idea of “corruption” is another person’s idea of “culture.”

        Earlier, I stated that everything is negotiable.  A good example is bribes.  Against the law.  Bad stuff.  Here in Mexico it’s more like “tipping.”

        I’m not talking about getting ticketed for no reason by bad cops.

        I’m talking about getting tickets for failing to stop; speeding; bad parking or going down a one-way street.  It happens. Not the end of the world.  You get a ticket.

        I hate to say it but “tipping” the cop to just give you a warning is right up there with tipping the waiter for an extra cup of ice or onions-on-the-side.  Or your boat captain for a good day.  Or the mechanic for a special job. 

        I’ve had many a gal tell me she doesn’t think twice about batting her eye lashes and flirting to get out’ve a ticket back in the U.S.  I don’t have eyelashes or anything that a cop would think attractive. 

        But, I do have some extra pesos I keep in my ashtray.  And it works. 

        I was in the wrong. I deserve a ticket.  The cop wants some beer after work.  Here’s some pesos.  He tells me be more careful next time.

        It’s win-win and we both smile.  Just the way things work.

        Lastly, no matter how hard you try, things do not and will not happen fast here.  You are way ahead if you get just one thing done per day.  You can’t make a “to do” list here in Mexico.

         Do some banking.  Pay a bill. Get to the grocery store.  Wash the car.  If you accomplishe one thing, don’t even try for the other things on your list. 

        Crack a beer.  Day is done.

        Just how things are down here.  I learn more every day.

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

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

         As I write this, I’m looking out the office window.   Hurricane Nora is bearing down on us in southern Baja.

         I don’t think it will be too bad.  I hope.

         I mean, compared to historic Hurricane Odile in 2014 that reached Category 4 status and pretty much scoured our area unlike any other storm in Mexican History, Nora maybe end up being nothing more than a mild inconvenience at Category One. 

         Only “mild” 90 mph winds.  Uh-huh.

         Either way, it’s being downgraded so it might not even be that bad.  This will be my 16th hurricane since living in Baja almost 3 decades ago.  I’ve seen worse.

         And right now, the seas are looking pretty angry. The palm trees are getting torqued, but it really doesn’t look that ominous or petulant. 

       There’s a grey sunshine trying to burn through the clouds.  Much like a beach day marine layer in Southern California.

         I can see people still bouncing around on the beach in the tidal surge and storm waves. There’s one kooky kayaker out there paddling against the wind. She probably wishes they hadn’t paddled so far out.  She looks a bit tired, but she’s inching closer to shore.

         Nora is slated to get stronger tonite, but thankfully may dissipate in a day or two without too much yelling and screaming or damage.  If that happens, I will consider that we have dodged a bullet.

         Storms during this time of the year down here in Baja are not uncommon.  I wouldn’t say they are a regular occurrence either.  A big one every few years.  Then years with nothing.  Some years, several small ones.

         But they CAN happen. 

         And they can happen without much notice.  If the atmospheric conditions are right…well…

         Mostly, it’s just some intermittent rain or a scattered thundershower or two.  You wait it out at your favorite dockside bar with a cold one and watch the downpour for a few minutes until the sun pops our again.

         Some, however, like Nora are a little more powerful although largely benign.

         Right now, it looks ominous enough that it looks like we’ll be cancelling fishing for a few days as port captains in Cabo, La Paz and the East Cape shut down all water traffic. 

Beaches are getting pounded with big surf and frankly, it’s pretty snotty on the ocean even if the sun does it’s best to poke out.

         So, what do you do if your vacation is suddenly in jeopardy?

         Well, if you haven’t left yet, obviously check our flights.  If you’re booked with an outfitter or an agency, contact them to get some guidance.

         If you’re already down here and it looks like something big might be coming up the pipeline, you’ll have to make decision.  Stay or go?

         Consider that if you plan to go, so are a lot of other folks trying to book flights to get out before the storm hits.  So, don’t dally on your decision.

 Flights are already full with regular departures let alone lots of new folks now wanting seats.  Seats will be scarce and probably pricey.  But, it’s a decision you have to make.

         Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time before your flight.  Remember also, that if you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to allow for the extra time to get your covid test at the airport.

         If you decide to stay, I”ll be honest. It’s kinda cool to watch the power of nature do its thing.

         As long as you are safe!

         Stay inside.  There could be all kinds of things flying around.

If you drive, sudden flooding can become not only dangerous but fatal as roads and arroyos literally turn into raging rivers, even with a small amount of rain.

         Keep your electronics charged.  Don’t waste batteries watching tik tok videos or video chatting.  You may lose power and you don’t know when you’ll be able to recharge. 

         Plus, you may need your phone as a flashlight, although I never travel without a little tactical flashlight handy.

         Stock up on waters.  If you have time, get to the local market and grab some candles and masking tape as well for the windows. I always grab edibles that don’t need refrigeration as well. 

        Hate to admit it, but junk food works really well.  I seem to eat more potato chips and Pringles during storms than any other time.  But, not to be total knuckleheaded, we also have cold cuts, bread, energy bars and fruit.

         If you have an ice chest, fill it with water.  Use it as your back-up water to do things like flush toilets.  Oh yea…grab extra toilet paper as well.  Goes without saying.

         And ask housekeeping to bring you lots of extra towels to keep water from coming under the door or sopping up anything that leaks in.

         My wife and I always keep a deck or cards handy too.

         The above recommendations are mostly just for the most severe situations.

         The majority of time, it will never come to that.  You’re gonna get some wind and rain.  I cut out a big trash bag for my head and arms and use it as a rain pancho. 

         Everyone makes it through these things.  And they happen without warning sometimes.  And they happen during the best times to be down in Baja and Mexico in general.   It helps to know what to prepare.

         Also, I keep saying it, but purchase trip insurance ahead of time.  It’s economic and helps recover the costs of lost charters, hotel nights, activities, plane flights and others.

         I’m still here sitting looking out my office window and those clouds are getting darker and the winds are starting to rip a lot harder.  Nora is in the house.

         Gonna go pop a can of Pringles and a beer.

 

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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EPERANZA

DYANA and MOM

ESPERANZA

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

In Spanish, the word “Esperanza” generally means “hope.”

It can also connotate “promise,”

And “confidence.”

And “faith”

And “expectation.”

And “possibilities.”

Like a lot of kids in the U.S., Dayana just graduated from high school.  Like a lot of kids, the last year or so was especially tough. 

She has not been in a classroom in 16 months as schools remained closed.   No proms.  No dances.  No sports.  No activities.

Like a lot of kids, she’s headed off to college next semester.

But, Dayana isn’t like a lot of kids in the U.S.  You see, she’s not in the U.S.  She’s in Mexico.  In fact, she’s in Baja.  La Frontera.  The Frontier.

You see, unlike kids in the U.S. education here in Mexico is only mandated or required until the 6th grade.  That’s it.  That’s as far as you go. 

If you even get that far.

And unlike U.S., the family must pay for the kids to go further.

And unlike the U.S., if a family can afford to send a child further, it’s usually the boy that gets the nod. Girls will go to work. 

Or stay home.

Make babies.  Marry.  Make more babies.   

That’s the thinking.  For girls, no education needed beyond rudimentary reading and writing.

So, education is wasted on the girls.  Or, even if not, it’s simply not affordable.

And that would easily have been Dayana’s “happily-ever-after-future” into the abyss of life.

But, she’s headed in a different direction.  She’s going down the “road less traveled” because some few with generous hearts took an interest. 

And made a difference.

Even in impoverished areas, we see American kids wearing $300 Nike Jordan basketball shoes.  Or carrying $500 smartphones.  A different outfit every day. Name brand clothes and backpacks.  School lunches.  Transportation.  Real books.

For the past 6 years, Dayana has moved forward.  Because for her, $300 per year wasn’t used to buy the latest shoes or a smartphone.

The “monumental” amount of $300 a year kept her in school.

For a lot of us, that’s a concert ticket.  It’s a steak dinner.  It’s 5 minutes in Vegas.  It’s a hotel night in Puerta Vallarta or a night of clubbing in Cabo San Lucas.

 And yes (cringe)… It’s the cost of YOUR kid’s shoes headed to school this fall.

A special program here in La Paz, where we live and run our fishing business, allowed many of our anglers to donate towards keeping a kid in school.

Five bucks…ten bucks…a hundred bucks.  Little-by-little.  Poco a poco.

Hit $300 and another kid stays in school.

Three hundred bucks goes a long way.

For Dayana, each year, it purchased her books.  It purchased her uniform. It got her transportation to school; as well as breakfast and lunch.

And this was no free ride for her either.

She had to maintain her grades.

Forget dances, sports, social events, day trips and extracurricular activities.  No time for that.

She was also required to do community work.  She was also required to mentor other students and pay-it forward.

And from year-to-year, there was no guarantee that her benefactors would sponsor another year.  Or that there would be enough money.

It could have ended at any time, but for the big hearts of certain individuals.

It could easily have been a trip back to that happy-ever-after dead-end future that befalls so many of her friends.

In the barrio. In an un-ending circle of. . .whatever.

So, she graduated.  High grades. She reads and writes fluently English and Spanish.  Most of us can’t even do that.

And she’s moving on.

And up.

A full scholarship to the military university in distant Mexico City for 4 years then onto officers-training school and hopefully an engineering degree.

Oh…and an anonymous benefactor also paid for her braces!

It calls to mind the story about the hiker walking along the seashore after a storm.  He sees many starfish washed up stranded on the beach.

The hiker starts throwing the stranded starfish back into the ocean.  Hoping to save a few.

A bystander says, “You’re wasting your time. You can’t save them all.  There are miles of beach.  You can’t make a difference.”

The hiker smiles.  He picks up another starfish and tosses it back into the ocean and says, “It makes a difference to THAT starfish!”

I’m writing this column because Dayana wrote a letter…in perfect English mind you…probably better than some of the writing I’ve seen from other high school students…just to say thank you. 

Thank you to sponsors and benefactors named and anonymous.

 “…and to all those people who make the dream of many young people possible, to improve ourselves, study, pursue a career and achieve our goals; blessings for all.”

Her words. Not mine.

Grateful for “Esperanza.”

Hope.

Promise.

Confidence.

Faith.

Expectation.

Possibilities!

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

WHAT THEY SAY and WHAT WE REALLY SEE

Originally Published the Week of July 26, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         I probably get at least a half-dozen e-mails or phone calls about the rules and restrictions with Covid down here in Baja so I guess it’s time for a “point-counter-point” column about things.

Please keep in mind, I am in no way encouraging anyone to break or dis-respect the laws.  These are merely observations and all of this can change week-to-week.

 

RULE:  We are back to Level 5 Restrictions

         Southern Baja is currently in a Level 5 (orange) for Covid restrictions and protocols.  This was implemented about 3 weeks ago as a result of rising Covid infections.

REALITY:  Everything is pretty much still open

         Since March 2020, we’ve bounced back and forth through several levels of Orange, yellow, orange and back again.  The current level was initiated several weeks ago via a government vote.

         They vote on this every week.  It could change by the time you are reading this.       

         In the current state, gyms, churches, concerts, theaters and social events (like parties and weddings) are closed.  Classrooms have been closed since last March, but are set to re-open in August.

         Everything else is open.

RULE:  The Border Is Shut Down Again

         Since last March, the border has been shut down to non-essential traffic.

REALITY:  Welcome to Mexico.  Please Bring Your Tourist Dollars!

         The restrictions DO NOT apply to entry into Mexico via plane, train or boat.  No one we know that has been driving has been turned away from the border if you give them an “essential” reason for entering.

         Shopping?  Sure.  Fishing?  That’s pretty important. Lunch in Ensenada?  C’mon in.  Visiting friends in Tijuana?  You bet!

         Believe me, Mexico wants and desperately needs U.S. travel money.  They’re not stopping anyone.

RULE: Fishing Has Been Shut Down

REALITY:  False!  Jump on a boat!

         Fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and other water activities were deemed “essential” activities.  Business as normal, folks

RULE:  Restaurants and Hotels are Closed

REALITYFalse again.   But, they are all supposed to be at 30% occupancy

         Unless closed for other reasons, hotels and restauratns are mostly all open. 

         With restaurants, I see them full all the time.  Maybe tables got pushed further apart for social distancing.  Occasionally, they might tell you that they’re “at capacity” so you go somewhere else if the restaurant manager is worried about an inspection. 

Yes, some restaurants got fines or suspensions for blatantly ignoring the rules.  Others (wink wink) never ever seem to get checked and pack folks in every night. Most tourists will mostly not notice. Eat like normal!

For the hotels, parking lots sure look pretty full to me. However, they are “supposed” to be at 30% occupancy.  Down from 40% occupancy.

The reality is no one seems to be counting heads or beds.

People are pouring off planes.  Everyone is flocking to Mexico.  Airlines are packed. Plans have been made for months. 

With the way the restrictions change almost weekly, no hotel is going to say, “I’m sorry, we’re now at 30%.  So, 10% of you have to get back on the plane or go find a different hotel.” 

Not gonna happen.  If you have a reservation, come ahead!

RULE:  No alcohol sold or consumed after 5 p.m…oh wait 8 p.m.

REALITY:  Probably True

         If you run into an empty restaurant, this is probably the biggest reason for it.  Two weeks ago, it was at 5 p.m.  No sales after 5 p.m.

Now, it’s 8 p.m.

Not sure what that had to do with reducing Covid in the first place.  Not sure how changing it from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. has to do with reducing Covid.

         You cannot buy it at the supermarket.  At restaurants, you can’t have a bottle, a can or cocktail class at your table.

         But, that’s the rule.  Literally, a buzz kill.

         That being said, just like I mentioned earlier, there’s some places that “strangely” never ever ever get checked.  Most restaurants will do whatever they need trying to stay afloat. Desperate times.

         In the last two weeks, my wife Jill and I have been at several restaurants that approached the curfew.  Our server encouraged us about “last call.”

         Then, we were served our drinks in red solo cups and a can of Coke or bottled water was placed on the table.  It was served with a “wink and a smile.” 

RULE: You Must Have a Negative Covid Test To Return to the U.S.

REALTY:  Yes and No.  Mostly Yes.

         Since January of this year, you have to show evidence of a negative Covid test to come into the U.S.  via plane.  It has to be within 72-hours of the flight.

         It doesn’t matter if you’ve been vaccinated.

         It doesn’t matter if you’ve already had Covid.

         But…It only applies to flying.

         It only applies to INTERNATIONAL flights. 

For instance, many S. Californians fly Volaris Air from Tijuana.  They return via Volaris through Tijuana and walk across the border.  Volaris is a DOMESTIC flight.  Therefore, no testing is required.

         The test takes only 15 minutes and you get results on your phone in less than an hour.

         There are labs all over providing the services.  Many hotels can set up services.  There are labs at the airport as well.  Very easy.  Cost is $25-50 U.S. dollars.

RULE:  You need to Quarantine

REALITY:  Negative

         You do not need to quarantine on either end of your trip. 

If you happen to test positive while in Mexico, know that of the thousands that have been tested since January, only a miniscule amount have tested positive.

         The reality is that there is very little Covid infection in the tourist sections.  Sanitization is incredibly strict in the tourist zones.  More strict that your town back home.  

         It has been that way since Baja opened up last year from lockdown.  

         The surge in Covid is in the inner-city areas where folks do not have the luxury of not working.  There’s no unemployment or stimulus checks.  If you don’t work, you and your family don’t eat. 

         Many people live in close quarters.

         If you happen to test positive and show no symptoms, you simply take the test in two days.  As soon as you test negative, you go home.

RULE:  Beaches and Waterfronts are Closed

REALITY:  Selective Closures

         Where we live in La Paz, the main beaches and the waterfront get checked often and folks get chased off.  As soon as the inspectors leave, folks go back onto the beach. 

Down by the area of all the clubs and bars, it seems like business as usual, especially with locals.  (Even with the limits on alcohol sales.)

         In Cabo, I hear conflicting reports about the waterfront, but many tell me, it’s very much open in most cases.  It’s not hardcore enforcement. 

Others tell me there’s a noticeable lack of visitors and some operations are getting shut down.

         Then again, there’s lots of beaches that no one can check because they are too remote.  Where we are, everyone is flocking to the local islands to enjoy the beaches there. Pangas are doing a brisk traffic as water shuttles.

         It’s just impossible to patrol several hundred miles of beaches.

         Bottom line for all of this is that I don’t think it’s going to impinge much on your vacation.

UPDATE:

Since this article was published, there have been some changes! As anticipated, the government voted again.

Cabo San Lucas restrictions were reduced from a level 5 to a level 4.

La Paz and the rest of the states were kept at level 5.

However, strangely, it’s confusing because even though we here in La Paz are supposedly at Level 5:

  1. Beaches were re-opened to 30% occupancy during the daytime hours
  2. Restaurants were kept at 30% occupancy, but are now allowed to sell alcohol until 11 p.m.
  3. The Malecon is open for “exercising” during day time hours.

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.”

Read Full Post »

ANOTHER GRAND LADY TAKES A BOW

Originally Published the Week of July 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Hotel Perla on the La Paz Waterfront about 1965

          It came without fanfare as so many things did during the covid shutdowns last year.

         So many things were closed.  It was such a widespread occurrence that when things started to come back, you suddenly realized that some things just never opened up again. 

         Sad victims to businesses that Covid “wolves” pulled down.

         This afternoon, I walked down the historic Malecon waterfront of La Paz that extends about 2 miles along the eastern shore of La Paz Bay.  It’s a little more sedate than normal given there are still some Covid restrictions in place like so many other places.

         But, the popular stretch of roadway is filled with the usual restaurants, mom and pop eateries, watering holes, gift shops and tourist stops.  Strolling tourists meander.  Joggers and bikers huff and puff.

        Sidewalk cafes offer shade and refreshment al fresco under colorful awnings and umbrellas.  Locals  in cars cruise up one side and down the other in a decades-old ritual of life here along the waterfront .

         The blue waters of La Paz Bay lap gently up to the palapa dotted beaches and stately palms sway to the whims of the ocean breeze.

         It’s a Chamber of Commerce postcard.

         Except for one thing. 

         About mid-way down my stroll I hit the construction barriers and chain-link fence now surrounding the old Hotel Perla.  It’s the last original hotel in La Paz.

         Dating back to the 40’s, it’s the last elegant grand lady of the city. 

         It was built post-WW2 at a time when few cars moved along the waterfront  and there were more palm trees than people. Cobblestone streets were the norm just narrow enough for a wagon were the norm. 

         Folks didn’t usually fly into La Paz.  They took stately cruise ships.

s-l400

         Men wore white linen suits and panama hats to go along with fasionable pencil-thin mustaches.  Women wore dresses and heels.  Waiters stood by in waistcoated jackets.  One dressed for dinner. A lobster could be had for 2 dollars after the martini appetizers.  The margarita had not yet been invented.

         Celebrities like Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Lucy and Desi Arnaz might easily be sitting at the next table over.  Even the Queen of England stopped by for a visit.

         Ice was a luxury.  Air-conditioning usually meant opening the window to the fresh salty ocean breeze and the sweet smell of street vendors selling grilled carne. tacos.

         Mariachis didn’t just sing.  They serenaded.

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         It was a slower and more elegant time.

         And,  now I just stared at the now barely visible old Hotel Perla.   The last anchor to a long history. 

Her bustling sidewalk café now boarded up.  The Copacabana Club upstairs forever silenced.  The arched entry only a memory.

         Like so many things it just stopped last year.

         They stopped accepting reservations.  Employees who had worked for decades were shown the door.

         A big mega-corporation had purchased it and now plan to put a big gleaming white shopping center there along with a tower hotel in the middle of it.  There’s talk of a glass-bottom pool.

         All the local little family shops surrounding the hotel are all vacant.  No doubt to make room for and allow for the massive construction to come.

         I’m sad.

         Historic things act as an anchor to the past.  A reminder of what was and had been. 

I used to love going into the lobby of the hotel and spending time just looking at all the old yellowed-photos documenting the history of the hotel and, in many ways, the history of the city.

         It was always there.  And now it’s not. 

         Like a favorite actress that was always there.  Decade after decade And then a surprising obituary posted with no fanfare.

         There was no grand ovation or exit stage left to applause. 

         Yes, the grand lady of the Malecon had drifted into her latter years catering toward budget travelers and families.  The old actress now accepting bit parts as a matriarch or matron.  Now playing a supporting role for the current starlet of the day.

        But, no doubt the old gal was still a handsome dowager along a waterfront that with it’s growing trend toward upscale chic.

         How could Perla’s $80 rooms compete with the $400/ night rooms at the new place down the street boasting down comforters; bathroom TV’s and Netflix?

         Frankly, I don’t think it had to.  The old lady could have held her own against the new upstarts.

         But, that’s just me.  No one asked me.

         She’s the last.  At least as far as I can remember. 

         The old Hotel Los Arcos has been closed for a decade now.  Hotel Las Arenas is long gone.  In Cabo, I think of the old Hotel Hacienda and Hotel Cabo San Lucas.  All gems of their day and built by visionary men of their day.

         From another time.

         Nothing is forever and there’s no staying the crash of the wrecking ball and din of the jack hammer.  Even for all of us.

         And then, there are just the good memories of days gone by.  That which is remembered lives forever. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

OLD STOGIES I HAVE FOUND…SHORT BUT NOT TOO BIG AROUND!

trailer

OLD STOGIES I HAVE FOUND…SHORT BUT NOT TOO BIG AROUND

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

 

 

          I don’t know why Roger Miller’s classic lines in “King of the Road” always pop into my head at times like these.

         I am currently “hiding” on the closed 2nd floor of our Tailhunter Restaurant in La Paz trying to come up with something to write about. 

         To be honest, I’m looking out over the waterfront and late afternoon sunset over La Paz Bay.  My laptop is out and I just can’t think of anything.  Brain-dead syndrome.

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         But, I do have a cigar that I’m gently puffing on and a short 2 fingers of Pendleton whiskey to sip.  Perfect to dip the end of my cigar.

         I feel a bit guilty.  The blues and oranges of the sunset are looking like a Maxfield Parish sky.  I can smell grilled carne asada in the breeze from our restaurant kitchen downstairs seeking me out. 

         Except for not having a clue about what to write about, I’m enjoying this bit of solitude up here on the deck; watching the world go by and frankly feeling like I’m living large. 

         …and then there’s Roger Miller in my head too!

       I’m not a big cigar smoker.  Never cared for the things until just a few years ago.

       Good friends, Bart Hall (Fred Hall Fishing Shows) , John Pettey (Famous goldsmith) and the late great Jack Nilsen (Accurate Fishing Reels) invited me to an inner-sanctum tent at the Long Beach Fred Hall Fishing Show.

       After knowing these guys the better part of 30 years, I had never received an invite to “the tent.”  It’s kind of exclusive I heard.

        I told them I don’t like cigars and don’t know how to smoke them. 

       But, I was also told that I would only get “one invitation.”

       When 3 giants of the fishing industry invite you, it’s a good idea to go!

       Over several hours, I was “indoctrinated.”  Good stories and shots of whiskey, bourbon and wines helped seal the deal.

       That started it.

       If I’m lucky, I will enjoy maybe 2 cigars a month.  If I’m really lucky, I’ll get to puff a cigar more than half-way before the phone rings or folks show up or I have to attend to someone or something related to our restaurant or fishing business.

       I know smoking is bad for you. I”ve never smoked anything other than fish in my smoker.

        My wife, Jilly gets major props for stopping cold turkey on cigarettes when we first got married.

       But, I asked her if she minded me puffing a cigar now and then.  She said absolutely not.  It was one of the rare moments when she said that I stopped and slowed down for a few minutes.

       It truly is. 

       And frankly, she’ll stop by and take a draw on my cigar now and then herself.  I think she looks pretty good with a cigar in her hands.  It’s kind of a dangerous look.  Little rebel that she is.

       Lately, I’ve seen more and more guys coming down either with cigars or asking me where to get cigars.

       I’ll be honest, I’m not a cigar snob.  I’m also a cheap bastard.  Or, let’s just say I’m “economical.”

       Many decades ago, I was flying down here to Baja and a friend asked if I would buy a box of Cuban cigars for him.  I told him no problem.

       Until I went to actually purchase some Cubans.  Holy cow…I thought an entire box of Cubans would cost about $20 bucks!  They were $20 PER CIGAR!

       I came back with two cigars for him.

       I’m in the budget class.  Just like wine and tequila.  I know what I like and it doesn’t have to be the most expensive.  I”ll take a great cheeseburger over a terrible $40 steak any day of the week.

       There’s a lot of excellent things that don’t necessarily come from the top shelf.

        I cringe at the thought of paying a lot of money for a cigar I might only get to smoke for 5 minutes before I have to stamp it out because I get called away to do something.

       But a lot of guys ask me where they can buy Cubans. Or good cigars.

       I tell them if they’re just looking for a good cigar, many convenience stores in Mexico sell them from little cases. 

       They’re not Cubans.  Most likely Nicaragua or Dominican Republic tobacco, but if you’re just looking for something to puff on the beach at sunset with a cold beer or a sipping tequila or after dinner, they’re not bad.  And not expensive.

       On the other hand, if someone says they have “genuine” Cubans and they’re “almost free.”  You might want to pass.

       Surprise!  There’s a lot of phoney Cuban cigars being sold.  Just like that $25 Rolex watch or the “genuine” Gucci handbag deal. 

       C’mon man.

       Not being a gourmet cigar guy, I did a little research.

       Like anything else, you do get what you pay for.  No one will be selling you a genuine Cuban for 5 bucks. 

       If you know your prices ahead of time, you’ll know when a deal is too good to be true.

       The guys peddling cigars in little boxes on the marina are not Cubans.  Cubans are not packed in boxes with glass lids.

       It helps to know your packaging too. 

       A box of good cigars look alike because of quality control in the factory.

33425_Cohiba_Exquisitos_25S_sta_pac

       Check for labels and cigar bands.  The folks who make the real deal are as picky about their labels and seals as Mercedes and Polo.  They’re stuck to the product, not floating inside the box.

       I can guarantee you that the any seller who tells you he has a guy-who-knows-a-guy who works in the Cohiba or Montecristo factory back in Cuba…doesn’t know anyone. 

       He DOES know a sucker when he sees one.  Don’t be that guy.

       Take a look at the cigar itself.  One tell-tale sign is a cigar with different colored outter tobacco wrappers.  Called a “barber pole”. It’s a pretty good sign of a counterfeit .

       If you do happen to light up a Cuban, it should burn with a gray ash.  Somewhat of a salt-and-pepper appearance.  If the ash burns bright white, it’s a good sign you got a counterfeit stogie.

       None of these are sure-fire tell-tale signs.  Counterfeiters are very good. 

       But, counterfeit cigars aren’t necessarily bad either.  It doesn’t have to be Cuban to be good.  Just know what you’re buying.   

       And enjoy what you’re smoking. 

       I think I just wrote my column. 

20210411_153429

       “Trailer for sale or rent…”

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

man-in-car-accident

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of May 13, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          We’re gonna do a little “word association” test.  Read the following words then close your eyes.

         “MEXICAN DRIVERS”

         I bet I can guess what went through your head after reading those words.  All those “stereotypes” come flooding into your thoughts?

         Just to be fair, stereotypes are stereotypes. 

         They’re a broad-brush painting that may-or-may-not have a lot of truth or fairness to it.  But, after living in Mexico for almost 3 decades, the thoughts that flew through your brain probably weren’t too far off.

         Listen, there’s bad drivers all over the world. 

         How many people did you call out under-your-breath on your last freeway commute home from work?  Everyone slower than you was a “jerk.”  Everyone faster than you was a “butthead.”  Right?

         I don’t want to say that Mexicans are bad drivers.  But, I will say they drive “differently” and it behooves you to be a “better” driver because of it.  In other words, CYA. . .”cover your backside” and drive defensively.

         Why is that?

         Well, a couple of things that happened recently might have coalesced my thoughts on the matter.

         For one, I just realized that of our employees that “know” how to drive,   most have no driver’s licenses.  Some have NEVER had a license or have expired licenses.  They just laugh. 

         When you need to get from Point A-to Point B for work, you do what you gotta do.  Don’t need no license and don’t have time or money to get one!

         As a foreigner, I never had to take a test to get a Mexican driver’s license.  I never had to even prove that I could drive.  I just had to fill out the paperwork. 
        

         I had to pay my money.  And, like DMV’s everywhere, I had to stand in several long lines. 

         However, unlike say the DMV in the states, I found out that I could pay a proxy to stand in line for me.  Yup.  Pay for someone to stand in line for me!

         I could go sit down; check my e-mails on my phone; buy a hot dog or a churro from one of the vendors inside the TRANSITO (DMV) office.  My proxy calls me when it’s my turn to run up to the line. 

         He follows me to the next line.  He tells me where I need to sign documents.  He basically leads me by hand from one teller window or clerical office to the next. Nothing is done in one line.

         It’s a good thing because the TRANSITO office is a small version of the floor of the NY stock exchange.  It’s chaos incarnate.

        Noisy.   Little offices everywhere.  Lines everywhere.  Lines to nowhere.  Confusing signs on the walls.

       People milling and yelling and papers being shuffled.  There’s no appointments.  There’s no obvious order.

         Paying a proxy a few bucks and a hot dog was well worth it.   Turns out my guy was a police officer making a little money on the side.  Tipping is appreciated.

         Circling back, however, the point of my story is that to get a license you do NOT have to prove you can operate a moving vehicle.

         Unlike, the U.S., however, you DO have to prove that you are “alive.”

         I say that tongue-in-cheek because to get a license, you must submit to a blood test.  Yes, a blood test.  I don’t know why.

         But, you go across the street to an approved “lab” and they take a blood test.  Cost is about 20 bucks.  You take your test results when you get your license.

         That’s it.  No driving test.  No written test.

         Painted outside the TRANSITO office there’s ariel-view street grid l painted on the asphalt/ concrete. .  Kinda like Lego-land.  

         The streets area about 12-inches side.  It has little streets and buildings painted there with parking spaces and stop signs and left-turn lanes and one-way streets.

         I’m told that an examiner will take you through a “test” and let you WALK through the faux-streets.  You get to show that you know when to stop and how to back up and how to make left turns.

         You are not in a car. 

        You are in an “air-car” like playing “air-guitar.” 

        You are not in a vehicle.  You turn our “air wheel” to make a turn.  You shift gears in the air like when you were a kid.  You step on the imaginary brakes.

         Maybe you even have to make “vroom vroom” sounds as you drive around.

         Like I said, I never had to take any kind of driving or written test to get my Mexican license.

         However, I’ve had local friends who were given written exams.  They were getting their driving licenses for the first time.

         The tests are not open book.  There is no book.   There’s no manual.

         If you know how to drive, it’s not because you took lessons. It’s because someone else, maybe with questionable skills shows YOU how to drive.  The circle continues.

         With the written tests,  no one is monitoring the test takers.   Apparently,  you’re welcome to discuss questions with your neighbor test-taker. 

        Answer by committee.  Everyone gets to agree on the right answer about when it’s OK to blow through a stop sign or not having to signal a left turn.

         When, my wife, Jill went to get her motorcycle license so she could ride her scooter it was a good example.  She panicked when she was given the written test in Spanish.  Multiple choice.

         To her great joy, about 5 other test-takers all gladly helped her.  They not only interpreted the questions, but also gave her the correct answers!

         She only missed 1 answer and later told me she didn’t understand half the questions.  But, she did got her scooter license.

         Two weeks later, she stopped riding the scooter because of all the “crazy drivers.”  I’m glad she did!

         Just saying…

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

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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TROUBLESHOOTING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

panga

TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR FISHING – DON’T LEAVE FISH TO FIND FISH

Originally Published the Week of April 28, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

How does that saying go?

         “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

         I would like to throw out a challenger:

         “Nothing worse than a grumpy fisherman when everyone else is catching fish except him.”

         I know from experience.  I have been in the path of such a demon and it can be like watching one of those disaster movies where the huge apocalyptic tidal wave is coming.  There’s no escape.  Climbing the tallest tree or building isn’t gonna save you.

         Running a couple of fishing fleets here in Baja, I get the reports from my captains before they get back to the beach.  Everyone has caught lots of fish.  Everyone had a great time.

         Except one boat.  And the one guy.

         And it’s the guy who calls himself the “expert.”  He’s fished everywhere and caught everything and he’s done it all.

         And my captain gives me the code word on the radio “caliente” meaning, they’re coming in hot.  The client is NOT happy.

         Oh no.  Not like I can run away.  I know I’m gonna either get an earful of what went wrong ( it’s never the angler’s fault).  Or, I’ll get the silent Clint Eastwood squint of the pissed-off fisherman.

         Nothing like someone who’s upset and when you ask them what’s wrong, you get a brusque, “I’m fine!”

         Well…alrighty then…we’ll just walk to the other side of the room and give you some space!

         Before trying to figure out what went wrong I always chat with my captain.  I don’t like asking questions that I don’t already know the answer to. 

         Was the bait bad?  Was the guy simply unlucky?  Did he actually hook fish, but they broke off ?  That’s not bad fishing.  That’s simply bad catching. 

         Did he have a tackle box full of bananas?

         Often, one I hear is that the client just kept moving around too much and kept telling my captain he wanted to move.   Even when the fish were biting.

         The client wanted bigger fish. 

         Or he wanted a different species…then another type…then another type to cross of his bucket list.

         Or he simply had read too much and wanted to try all the “famous” spots he read about.

         For whatever reason, the client was like a waterbug scooting from spot-to-spot-to-spot.   Even when the fish were biting.  Even when other boats were catching fish. 

         That spot just wasn’t up to his expectations and in a version of “grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” wanted to keep moving…and moving again.

         When I am finally able to confront the angler, it’s really hard to tell them to just stop racing all over the ocean.  Especially, if it’s an angler that attests to knowing more than my captain or me about fishing.

         However, I learned long ago when working as a deckhand and also as a fishing guide “Don’t leave fish to find fish.”

         There’s only a finite number of hours in a fishing day.

         If the fish are biting where you are, you probably shouldn’t pull up and go looking for a different spot.  At least give your current spot time to produce whatever it’s going to produce. 

         Sure, you might find a better spot.  But, there’s a good chance you might not.  And you’ll be wasting time and bait and gas chasing around.

         While everyone else is hooking fish and having a good time!

        

        

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

Jonathan

______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter.com.

They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront.  If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

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