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JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 22, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

No one likes surprises when they travel.  Travel can be pretty stressful as it is.  Even moreso, travel during the holidays is also high anxiety time.

         As luck would have it, I got to fly back to Texas from our home in La Paz to spend Thanksgiving with my wife and family.  After not having a day off pretty much since last April, I couldn’t wait to jump on a plane.

         As usual, I went to obtain my covid test within 72 hours of my flight. 

         In case you missed it or haven’t traveled internationally, since January, anyone entering the U.S. on an international flight MUST show a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of the flight.

         No biggie.

         Quick swab of my schnoz takes a few minutes and results pop up on your cellphone within the hour. 

We’ve had hundreds of fishing clients for our Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz over the past season. It’s a little inconvenient, but just part of travelling these days along with so many other protocols we live with.

         Everyone gets one then goes happily on their way back to the U.S.

         So, I was all set.  I had my passport, ticket, and my covid results for travel the next day. 

         I went to check in online and get my boarding pass and get a notice that curled my toes!

         The CDC has implemented NEW RULES as of Nov. 8 for international  travelers entering the U.S.

         Basically, if you have been vaccinated, you still need to show a negative covid test result within 72 hour of your flight home.  The problem is if you have NOT been vaccinated.

         I have not been vaccinated.  In fact, I’m getting it THIS week in Texas.  There was no rush. 

I had Covid bad last year.  I’ve tested positive for the anti-bodies. I didn’t want to get vaccinated in Mexico.  I’ve been there solid for 8 months. 

Understandably, I’d much rather get any shots or vaccinations in the U.S. with my own doctors.

Well, the new rule requires that ALL UN-VACCINATED persons MUST show a negative covid test within 24 HOURS of the flight.  Further, I had to attest that upon arrival, I would self-quarantine for a few days.  Plus, I had to promise that I would get the vaccination within 60 days of arrival.

Yikes!

So, I had to run back to the testing lab in La Paz and get a 2nd negative covid test.  I know the staff there and they were surprised that I returned for the 2nd time in 2 days.

They were surprised at the explanation and had no knowledge of the new rules.  However, they graciously expedited my results.

The other bump in the road is that the online check-in does not work if you have not been vaccinated.  Therefore, instead of TWO  hours checking in before your international flight, it requires you check in FOUR hours before your flight to show your paperwork.

My flight was at 11:00 a.m. from Cabo. 

Normally, I would arrive about 9 a.m. for a flight like that.  Since it’s 3 hours drive from La Paz, that means leaving about 6 a.m. to head to the airport.

With the new regulations, I had to leave at 4 a.m. to get to the airport by 7 a.m.

Grrrrrr….talk about adding stress to a travel day.

Once I was there, it was easy.  The folks at the airport were more than helpful and since the early days of the pandemic have tried to alleviate all the confusion and stress.  

There are assistants everywhere directing travelers to the correct places or helping with forms and documents.  Everyone I’ve ever run into speak English.

I’m glad I got there early, even if it was a pain.  I’m glad I knew about the new rules BEFORE I got to the airport or there was a good chance I would have been denied travel.

So, bottom line is this:

If you have not been vaccinated, you must obtain a negative covid test with 24-hours of your flight for an INTERNATIONAL flight.

You must check in at least 4 hours ahead of your flight.

Plan ahead and hopefully, you’ll have a smoother easier travel day.

By the way, after more than a year-and-a-half, the border is now open as long as you can show proof of vaccination. 

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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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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BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED the WEEK of Oct. 9, 2021 in WESTERN OUTDOOR PUBLICATIONS

          I am often asked about renting cars or just driving around Baja in general.

           Or there are folks who tell me they are going to make some grand “Banzai” run from the border all the way down to Cabo.  They tell me they drive wide open and non-stop like race car drivers.

         They ask me for advice.

         Having been down here almost 30 years and also having driven the Baja over a dozen times top to bottom and back, I mostly have one rule.

         Do not drive at night.

         Frankly, it’s dangerous.

         When I tell folks that, I see their eyes go wide.

         No, it’s not the banditos.

         Some cartel is not going to grab you and run away with you.

         The legendary chubacabra (vampire bat/dog) is not going to suck your blood and leave you in the desert.

         It’s much more simple than that.

         You have a great possibility of bumping into something at night in Mexico.  Or, even missing something completely!

         I don’t care how careful of a driver you are.

         Mexican road are notoriously bad.  You are probably already on an unfamiliar patch of highway or road.  

A foot-deep pothole can suddenly shred a tire or bend an axle.  Not to mention shake your dentures.

Also, consider this.

         The Mexican road construction guys just LOVE to install speed bumps of all kinds.  If one speed bump works let’s install 5 more just for fun! 

At one point, in the two miles from my home to my office, there were 36 speed bumps along the way. You’ll hit them at the strangest places placed there for no apparent reason.

         Some would give an Abrams battle tank fits.  Others are spaced just enough so it’s like driving over a washboard.  Others will literally launch your car airborne if you hit it at just the right speed.

         Also, driving at night, you put on your headlights, right?  Don’t assume other drivers will also have their headlights on.  In fact, don’t assume other drivers even have headlights or taillights or brake lights for that matter. 

         Oh, and if they have headlights, they like to drive at you or pull up behind you with their bright hi-lights on.

         Assuming again that you’re on unfamiliar roadway, things aren’t always well marked.  Street signs can be non-existent, broken, hidden behind bushes and even hidden behind other signs. 

         This includes stop signs.  Street lights.  Street names.  Detours. Warnings about potholes and speed bumps coming up…SOON!

         Street lights often don’t work or are non-existent.

         Therefore, all things considered, you have a great possibility of getting LOST.  Or getting a traffic ticket.  Remember, you’re in a highly visible rental car or a car with non-Mexican license plates.

 I see it happen all the time.

         Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of folks dress in black at night.  I don’t know if it’s a fashion thing, but they’ll dash across a street.  Walk through a crosswalk without looking.  Jog and bike rider right in the traffic lane too!

         Out in the country side, you have a whole other set of things to be concerned about.

         Often, there’s debris on the roadway.  Rocks.  Parts of trees. Trash. Things that have fallen off other trucks or cars.  Even on the best highways, there is always that danger.  

I’ve seen it all.  I’ve hit them all!

         Even moreso, the biggest danger is hitting animals. 

         I’m not talking cats and dogs. Domestic street animals are usually pretty smart.

         I have seen wild pigs and deer that occasionally cross a highway.

         However, it’s the cows, burros, horses and goats you need to watch out for. Mostly, they are freerange animals left to wander a the countryside by a land owner.

         They can be grazing on the side of the road.  Often, at night, they will lie on the pavement for warmth.  They can suddenly dart out’ve the bushes across the road. 

         In the middle of the night on a long lonely stretch of desert a herd of goats suddenly were in our headlights as we rounded a corner.  We were already half-dazed from a lengthy drive. 

         Our big pickup with dually-rear tires ripped right into the herd.  I would swear that I saw two bodies fly up and over our windshield and cab and our tires rapidly went “bump-bump” over others several several times.

         Oops!  No way to avoid them.

         Even worse, I’ve had friends hit larger animals like a cow, or a burro.  Not only is there extensive damage to the vehicle, but on several occasions, the animal is now the ranchers “most prized” and expensive piece of livestock.

         Or course, it is.

         Even if it was really nothing more than a scrawny range animal wandering the property.

         The rancher now wants BIG MONEY. 

         So, drive in the light.  Stay safe.  Take 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.”

Read Full Post »

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.”

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.”

                 

Read Full Post »

THAT “A-HA” MOMENT

THAT “A-HA” MOMENT

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 22, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

       I’ve been watching fishermen (of both genders) for almost 50 years now. 

       Working as a guide; a deckhand; on TV shows; as a fishing instructor and as a fleet owner now in Baja for almost 30 of those years, I’ve seen a wonderful lot of folks with rods and reels in their hands.

         It’s great going out on the water with fishing veterans.  Anglers know their stuff.  It’s well-oiled fishing. 

        Lots of muscle memory.  Gear is locked in.  Technique is dialed-in.  No wasted motions.  Let’s just fish!

         But then there’s the really fun fishing for me.

         And that’s with first timers or folks who really don’t have that much experience.

         It’s often a day of tangled lines and too many thumbs.  Backlashes and upside-down reels.  Too much intensity and lack of intensity. 

        Lots of anxiety and, unfortunately, sometimes lost fish.  Too much expectation or not knowing at all what to expect.

         But, for me it’s fun!  It’s the best time.

         For these folks the bar isn’t set that high.

         It’s often their first time or a rare time and they just don’t have other experiences to compare this to. 

         I won’t hear about how the fish are bigger in Australia or about all the fish they caught off the Grand Banks.  They’re not going to compare fishing here to battling giant lake trout in Canada.

         Nah.

         By the same token, they’re not going to compare me to their fishing guide in Argentina or that grizzly old-timer on the flats of Key West.  I’ll have to be really bad to look like a doofus in their eyes.

         They just wanna have some fun in the sun. 

         Almost any fish will be their biggest or the most.  Or the funnest. Or even the funniest!

         When a fish is hooked it can be all “arms and elbows” and “get outta the way!” with lots of laughs and big eyes and straining arms.  Lines going every-which way and lots of “coaching!”

         “Follow your fish!”

        

         “Keep the line tight!”

         “Turn the handle!” (The OTHER way!)

         “Lift the rod!”

         Sometimes everyone is yelling at once and I often feel sorry for the poor angler be it a guy, a gal or a kid .  They’re  holding on for dear life and trying to process all the information.  All while trying NOT to make a mistake or lose the fish.

         It’s sometime just too much!

         I’ve noticed that kids are very coachable.  Wives and girlfriends are more coachable than their husbands or boyfriends.  They are even better when the husband or boyfriend is at the other end of the boat and not watching them so closely.

         Guys can be a little different.  Sometimes they go all “macho” and figure they can just overcome any fish with brute strength and muscle.  Guys can be less inclined to listen to any instructions.  They will “bend the fish to their will” and “beat the fish into submission!” 

         It’s a guy thing!  Just the way we are.

         Even some anglers that I see year-after-year can need a lot of coaching and instructions. 

         Things that veteran anglers take for granted often continue to be lessons in frustration year-after-year for some of the regular anglers we see. 

         Things like tying a hook correctly or using a bait.

         Things like properly winding the line on the reel or keeping lines directly in front of them.

         Or the proper rhythm of fighting a fish.  Lifting the rod then using the reel to wind down as the fish comes up.   Just using their gear and technology to their advantage.

         I give them all credit for trying and just being out there and still enjoying the heck out’ve themselves.  It makes it some of the most enjoyable of times for me to be on the water.

         But one of the best rushes is that “Ah-HAH” moment.

         It’s when it all comes together.  For some it happens pretty quickly.  For others it takes awhile.  Sometimes years after grinding. 

         The important thing is they kept at it.

         You remember. 

         It’s that feeling when your dad finally let go of you and you realized you were peddling your bike by yourself down the street. 

Or you realized you were driving on the street all by yourself and not thinking about it anymore.

         It happens when someone learns to play an instrument.

         Or your two left feet disappeared and you’re actually dancing.

         Or you watch your kid suddenly realize he or she is reading. 

         And they realize it too.

         Or your toddler is running and not all wobbly and clumsy across the living room floor.  So THAT’S what these legs are for!

         It suddenly just all comes together.  And it can happen at any moment.

         No more over-analyzing.  No more over-thinking.  Pure muscle memory and enjoyment.

         It’s when the “student” realizes, “Hey, I got this!”

         It’s like that with fishing and I see it all the time and it’s great. 

         Yea…you got this!

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 »

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 »

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

         I was sitting in our restaurant the other day here in La Paz.  It’s kind of a big multi-story eatery over-looking the waterfront.  Sometimes, it’s nice to bring my laptop upstairs to work.

         I get some fresh breezes and sunshine. I get to people-watch all the goings-on downstairs on the beach.  And I get to visit with folks a bit too.

         It’s also difficult avoiding a bit of eaves-dropping and observing.

         So, there’s one table over there with a family of five.  Mom and dad.  Three kids.  Two girls and one boy.  Maybe ranging from 12 (the girl) to 9 (the  youngest boy).

         No one is talking.  At least not what I would call talking.

         All of them, mom and dad included, are all on their cellphones.  Tapping.

         I think some of them are actually communicating with each other via text on their phones rather than just looking up and saying something to the other family member.

         The only conversation I hear is a comment about what they are reading, but loud enough for the rest of the table to hear…and comment.  If anyone else is interested.

         Random comments just thrown out there like playing cards on the table…

         “I simply CANNOT believe it, Shelly broke up with Lance over the phone.”

         “Did you see where Danny and Elaine are finally engaged?”

         “Wait, hold on, I’m streaming the NBA finals and the Bucks are down by two”

         Even when the food arrived or when one of my servers asked them something, there was merely a perfunctory one or two-word response before getting back to whatever was no that tiny screen.

         Tap…tap…tap…thumbs flying.  Somehow mastered the ability to eat and type at the same time.

         But who am I to judge, right?   There musta been some really important critical communication going on at that table.  (“Joes’ family gets to go to Hawaii next month!” “Our neighbors got a new dog!” )

         There was another family next to them.

         Family of four.  One girl.  One boy. 

        Ages 10-12…maybe. Honest.  Hard to tell. 

       She kinda dressed like a boy…torn jeans…cropped hair…baseball hat.  He was dressed in lanky stovepipe pants that were pastel-colored with and hot pink t-shirt.

       Mom and dad were very nice and conversant when I visited the table to make sure everything was OK.

         Kids…hmmmm…

         Never took their sunglasses off.  Oozing attitude.  Bored. Disaffected.

         “Why are we here when we could be somewhere else?” unsaid behind the smirks.

         One of the boys said, “Can you turn down the music?  It bothers me.”

       Said what he said and I was “dismissed” to go turn down the Jimmy Buffet music I had in the background. 

       No “please” or “thank you.”

        Yessireee…right on it, young master.

         Parents not affected by the attitude.

         They had a hard time finding something on the menu for the boys.

         “Are your chicken wings as good as Buffalo Wild Wings? That’s our favorite and that’s the only place we eat them. “

         “Do you have more things on the menu to choose from?  Mostly, you have Mexican food and I don’t like tortillas.  Or cheese.  Or beans.”

         They eventually ordered plain hot dogs on buns and had two orange soda floats each and pretty much ate in silence.  Like they couldn’t wait to get out and why’d mom and and dad drag us out here? 

Sunglasses never came off.  One kid never took his ear plugs outta his ears.

         Down the other end.  Dad and two boys.  Young teens.  I wasn’t quite sure if both were his sons, but it might have been a son with a chum along on the trip.

         I got the impression this was an absentee dad.  Maybe a divorce?  Out to take his son out on a trip.  Some bonding time.

         I heard him talking to them about maybe some beach time.  How about a snorkel trip to swim with the sealions?   Or maybe do some fishing or kayaking!

         Hot dang!  We’ll have a great time, boys!  What d’ya say?

         He was really excited and trying hard to sell the activities.

         The boys…pasty-white complexions that never go outside…and stylishly-gelled hair…

         Wanted to know where they could get massages and a manicure and pedicure.  And if the hotel had NETFLIX.

         Dad was a bit crestfallen.  Understandably.

         Am I missing something?   I had to ask myself.  What’s going on?

         This kinda stuff is not uncommon from what I see…almost daily.

         I don’t think I’m missing anything.

         I think THEY are missing something.  The kids AND the parents.  On so many levels.

         I wanted them to get excited about the view of the ocean or the sunset or even an “OOOooo”and “Ahhhh…” over a dumb plate of nachos.   Or the anticipation of jumping in the water or going fishing.

         But no.

         Yea…there’s a lot missing these days.

         Maybe it’s just me.  I’m old and old school.  Not hip enough.

         My wife Jill says I’m “outdated” because I still use e-mail and all our grown kids use Instagram and Tik Tok and Twitter and Whatsapp and…and…and..

         Can’t keep up with all those social platforms.  I miss plain conversation with my own family.  Obviously, these families don’t miss it at all.

         Yup!  Life has just passed me by. But, I haven’t missed much. Just eavesdropping and watching the tables.  

         And taking it all in.  And thinking with a smirk of my own.

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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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.

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         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.”

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