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Archive for the ‘historical’ Category

EVERYONE GETS A MEDAL

Getting ready for the real world!

EVERYONE GETS A MEDAL

Originally Published the Week of May 3, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Jill just sent me an article that had me scratching my head. It’s about new reforms in the Mexican educational system.

The Mexican federal government is implementing a big overhaul of the education curriculum. Prima facia, it will flip education on it’s head down here.

It’s not like Mexico’s education system is that stellar to begin with. Students have already been additionally handicapped by the last 2 years of closed classrooms and intermittent internet-based learning.

It’s only in the planning stages, but when started, the new programs will scrap current text books “because they promote neoliberal concepts.” That’s from the Ministry of Public Education.
Instead of competing, the new educational model wants to stress that students “share.” Instead of competition, which essentially pits students against each other, the emphasis will be on “sharing and the common good.”

I’m not smart enough to know what “neoliberalism” is so I had to look it up.
Here’s what I found: “Neoliberalism, or neo-liberalism, is a term used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market capitalism.”

Hmmmm…..

I don’t remember enough from my college Civics and Political Science Courses or I wasn’t listening that day. I probably was watching the girls in tube tops throwing Frisbees on the college commons or something.

But, that sounds (dare I say) “socialistic?” I’m sure someone will send me an e-mail correcting me.

According to the plan, students won’t have to sit for standardized tests any longer either. Those are too competitive as well as “racist, colonial,” “elitist” and promote “segregation.”

Those tests are used to evaluate students ability in math, science and reading.

The new curriculum has been described as “humanist” and “libertarian.” Lots of big words today for our vocabulary enrichment.

Mexican President Lopez Obrador backs the new program and says the new curriculum will make the students “good citizens.” He believes the current programs results in dehumanized and selfish individuals. He’s on a mission to eradicate all indicia of neoliberalism. One of his pet peeves apparently.

A good number of professional educators and academics in Mexico aren’t terrifically enamored with the new proposals. It’s causing some raised eye-brows and head scratching for sure.

As one educator was quoted, he surmised that the President was treating everything that came before as “neoliberalism.” There’s that word again.

Just a snippet of news from Mexico.

Looks like everyone will be getting “participation” and “self esteem” medals.   Perfect preparation for the future.

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That’s my story!

Jonathan

____________________

Jonathan has been writing the Baja Column for Western Outdoor News since 2004. He lives in La Paz with his best fishing buddy and wife, Jilly, where they run their Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet for almost 30 years as well as their Tailhunter Sea Level Restaurant on the La Paz waterfront Malecon. If you’re in town, stop and say hi!)

____________________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
http://www.tailhunter.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address: Tailhunter Sportfishing

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

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

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

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BREATHING EASIER…FOR NOW

OH YEAH!!!!

BREATHING EASIER…FOR NOW

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

         My wife and I fly a lot for work.  In the past 2 years since Covid, I’ve probably been on close to 20 flights.

         If you have flown at all during this time, you know that travel has been less than enjoyable.  Like everything else.  Rules and protocols. 

         Least of which was wearing a mask in the airport and on flights.

         I just loved being sternly reminded to pull up my mask because I absent-mindedly forgot. Some airline and airport people were unashamedly rude.  Or suddenly power-tripping!

         I get it.  But, don’t ream me.  I’ll happily pull it up or pull it outta my bag.  Chill. 

But, I guess they got a job to do too. Especially those early months when no one really knew what was going on (do we really know now?)

         Or trying to explain something at the check-in counter when you have a mask and the agent has a mask and they are sometimes also behind a plexi-glass screen. 

         Or you’re trying to tell the flight attendant that you’ll have another Coke, please.  

         Or getting stink-eye from someone at the airport or during the flight because you’ve pulled your mask off or sideways for a discreet moment to breathe or eat something.

         Frankly, I’m sure I’m hardly the first person who “pretended” to always  be sipping on water or a drink during the flight so I could keep my mask down.  My wife, Jill, became a ninja about that.

Heck a good number of other passengers had their masks below their noses! 

         But, I’m not going to debate the efficacy of mask-wearing here.  Bigger brains than mine have opined on that subject ad nauseam and can’t figure it out.

         However, this past week, I was on a flight the first morning the mask mandate was removed. 

         A federal court struck down the mandate for airports and airlines and stated that the CDC had over-reached it’s authority. 

         I was flying on May 19th and had just read about the decision the night before.  No idea when it was going to be implemented and, according to my readings, not all airlines had jumped on board.

         So, there I was the early morning of the 19th ready to pull out my mask when the P.A system for American Airlines announced “that masks were now “optional.” 

         I kid you not, there was some handclapping and fist pumping and a lot of smiles!

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         I talked to the ticket agent at the counter who was literally giddy along with the other American Airlines employees.  I told her it was nice to see everyone’s faces and smiles again!

         She said they had just received their directive that morning. 

Originally, they had been told that the airlines was going to extend the mask mandate until the middle of May.   The CDC wanted the extra time to come to some decisions about some new Omicron variant.  

         But, she was happy as heck!  Everyone was.

         On the plane, there were announcements from both the flight crew as well as the captain about the repeal of the mandate.

          Again, rounds of applause and high-fiving and hoots! 

         The announcements cautioned that masks were “optional” and asked that everyone be respectful of everyone’s choices.  Everyone had their masks off, however, some older folks kept them on understandably.

         I was next to a 92 year-old-lady travelling for her birthday who was a gem.

 She was smiling the whole time, even under her mask.  She said she was happy to see everyone happy and that it seemed crazy to wear masks all the time.  However, she wanted to keep hers on because…”Well, I’m kinda old!” she laughed.

         Anyway, no one had to pretend they were eating or drinking the whole flight and it was nice to see smiling flight attendants again and interact like normal folk.

         I will tell you that when we landed in Cabo a Mexican airport agent came on and said the mask mandate at Cabo Airport was still in effect.  (Big groan).  However, the opinion is that it won’t be long-lasting and things will probably change. 

         Once out of the airport, everyone pulled their masks off again.

         There’s a few caveats.

         Private places may still require you to wear a mask.  Here in La Paz where we live, you will still see masks by employees in stores, public places and restaurants and hotels.  It’s up to the private owners. 

I only had to pull up my mask one time in the last week.   That was to go into a supermarket.

         Also, despite the repeal of the mask mandate, individual countries may still require masking up.  Depends where you’re flying.

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         Note also that there’s a bear on the horizon.

         The U.S. Justice Department may file an appeal against the Federal Court that made the ruling about the masks.   As I read it, the Justice Department might assert that the Federal Court ruling is erroneous because the court lacked authority or jurisdiction over the mandate.

         The Justice Department is waiting to hear from the CDC which is dealing with a possible new Omicron variant that is supposed to hit us.

         However, I think for now the horse is outta the barn.  Cat’s outta the bag.  The happy faces are back.

         Gonna enjoy breathing easier as much as I can for as long as I can.

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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OUTSIDE YOUR EPI-CURIOUS COMFORT ZONE

A DIFFERENT SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

OUTSIDE YOUR EPI-CURIOUS COMFORT ZONE

Originally Published the Week of April 14, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

A few columns ago, I mentioned that a great place to get a bit of “real Mexico” is to visit the local church.  Get a bit of history. Culture.  Community.  Maybe even some healthy spiritualism thrown in.

But, I forgot maybe the best place to get a real slice of Mexican life.

Maybe it’s even more basic and more fundamental than going to church. 

I mean, admittedly, not everyone goes to church.  Plus, at church, we’re always seeing folks pretty much at their best.  Dressed up.  Respectful.  Attentive. 

For most of us, going to church is not an everyday activity. 

But, there is one place that pretty much everyone goes to eventually.  That includes, families, couples, kids…everyone!

Get away from the tourist zone and go visit a local grocery store.

I’m not talking about one of the numerous chain convenience stores on every corner that sell every manner of two things…beer and junk food.

I’m not talking about the new Walmart or Costco or Sam’s Club that seem to be popping up everywhere there’s a hefty gringo population or tourist destination.

I’m talking about a regular grocery store.

You’ll find one in pretty much any neighborhood. 

It could be an eye opener.

Sure, you’ll find a lot of products similar to the U.S., with growing demand for many of the same brands.  But, you’ll notice the prices are cheaper than the U.S.

For one, very often the quality isn’t quite the same as the U.S. even though the packaging might look the same.  You do get what you pay for.

You’ll find lots of canned goods.  Tons of salsas.  Many you’ve never heard of but worth a try!

mexican-supermarket-salsa

In produce, you’ll find some unusual thing like nopales (cactus paddles…the broad succulent leaves of the cactus plant).   You’ll see all kinds of chiles if you like to make your own salsa and you’ll notice that veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers, etc. are vibrant colors. 

That’s because they’re allowed to ripen in the warm Mexican sun not coated with wax to make them shiny.  And they taste so much better too1

Definitely you’ll see a lot of junk food. It’s a paradise of munchie food!

If it’s sugar or salt or something fried that you’re looking for, there is no shortage of soda, candies (some very interesting and unusual types you might want to give a taste) plus bags of bags of a zillion types of chips or other fried things.   

There are aisle and aisles of sugar and salt.   It’s unfortunately why diabetes is so rampant in Mexico.

In the meat section, there are  cuts you won’t recognize, other than to knowing it’s beef or pork.  However, Mexico cuts many of their meats differently than in the U.S.   Mexico has different names for their cuts. 

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Also, the cuts tend to be much much thinner (affordable) than in the U.S.  Unless, it’s a market frequented by gringos, you’ll never find a thick steak or a fat porkchop.  No ribeye, New York , T-bone or pork tenderloins!

You will find lots of different chorizo (pork sausages) and cold cuts in the deli section. 

You  will rarely have actual sliced ham for some reason.  Like the kind you put in sandwiches . It will be “ham flavored” but made from turkey (“jamon de pavo.”) and that includes packaged hot dogs.  You will however, find bacon, but in my experience, it’s incredibly salty unless you purchase an American brand.

The dairy section has lots of yoghurt, but tends to be highly sugared creamy syrup and you’ll have to look hard to find real butter.  Mostly it will be some type of margarine. 

You will, however, find loads of different and delicious Mexican cheeses.  It’s one of the true treasures if you get a chance to sample all the different cheeses including manchengo, queso Corazon, queso fresco and dozens more.

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Another great thing you ‘ll find in the larger grocery stores is a bakery.  Fresh cakes, breads, pastries are laid out and customers pick up a big flat pan and tongs and go up and down the shelves picking our their selections.  There will also be a section with fresh warm tortillas as well.

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However, the magic for me, is in the hot deli section!

The larger markets have hot dishes behind glass where you can buy incredible food to take home.  Carne asada…chicken mole…chicharrones in salsa verde…pork ribs…street corn slathered in lime and cotija cheese just to name a few of my favorites.

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Bring some of that home along with a cold Mexican Coke , some fresh warm tortillas and you’re good to go!

Give it a try next time.  They may not necessarily be the healthiest or what you’re used to, but it’s all pretty delicious  and you’re only ducking in for a sample! It can’t be any worse than ordering a pizza near your hotel or walking over to Burger King

Instead of the fancy tourist restaurant step away next time.  Ask your taxi driver where he does his grocery shopping and it’ll open up a whole new culinary world for you!

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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HI-FIVE and WELL DONE!

Some High-Fives are gratuitous and don’t mean much. There are other High-Fives that mean everything!

HIGH FIVE and WELL DONE!

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

          Last week, my wife, Jill and I were in Denver. 

         We’ve been on the road 3 months doing the fishing and hunting expositions across the western U.S. promoting our fishing operation in La Paz as well as tourism in general to Baja. 

         Each week a different city.  A different show. 

         In our booth four or five days for 8-12 hours-at-a-time.  Meeting and greeting.  Shaking hands and socializing. 

         We’ve been doing it every January to March for almost 30 years.  It’s fun.  But, it can also be wearing. 

         Long hours driving. Different hotel rooms.  Too much fast food.  Packing and unpacking all the booth and gear.   Convention centers with thousands of people packed inside.

         So, we’re at our last show in Denver.  As often happens, rather than look for parking in a major downtown metro, it’s often easier to take Uber from our hotel to the respective convention center.

         Dial up Uber.  He’s on his way.  Meet out front on the sidewalk.

         It’s early.  We’re half-asleep, but we gotta get to the expo.  It’s show time.

         Our uber driver today is Haani. He has a white Toyota Camry. 

         He pulls up.  Good-looking pleasant young man.  Swarthy.  Cleanly dressed. He helps us with all our briefcases, backpacks and other things we need to drag to the show each day.

         We climb in. Bonus points, the car is spotless and he’s got some light jazz playing.  Nice music for the morning.

         We make the usual conversation. 

         Jill asks, “Are you having a busy day?”

         He says cheerfully, “I’ve been working all morning and usually work the whole day.  But, today, I have to take a break in the middle of the day.”

         “For lunch?” asks Jill.

         “No.  Not today!  Not for lunch. Today I have a special service to attend!” replies Haani.

         “A special service?”

         He smiles and turns around towards us in the backseat and says proudly, “Today I will become a naturalized American citizen!”

         A pause as Jill and I wrap our collective brains around that for a moment.

         “Oh my God!  That’s awesome!”

         “Congratulations!”

         “This is the best news of the day!”

         Jill and I are both yammering out loud at the same time from the backseat as we lean over towards him.

         We are spontaneously shaking his hand; playfully punching him in the shoulder and giving him high-fives from the backseat.  I’m shaking him by his neck.  It’s like he just shot the winning basket…scored the 4th quarter touchdown…touched all the bases in the World Series. 

         For indeed he has!

         He is laughing and trying to keep the car on the road!

         He is beaming and his proud smile fills the rearview mirror as he watches Jill and I bounce around his backseat pumping our fists in the air!

         Haani is from Afghanistan.  He has been working hard on getting his citizenship for six long years.  He says it is the hardest and best thing he has ever done.

         He and his wife work two jobs.  Two young kids in school.

         He tell us what a great country America is.  He could not be prouder.  Or more grateful.

         Neither could we.  He dropped us off and we all laughed and we wished him well with one last handshake and high-five.   It made our day.

         Welcome to America, Haani. 

         We’re gonna lift up a cold one to you and your spirit to luck and a better life!

family-celebrates-nationalization-with-american-flags

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

        

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YOU CAN’T GOOGLE or TRIP ADVISOR THIS

YOU CAN’T GOOGLE OR TRIP ADVISOR THIS

Originally Published the Week of Mar. 26, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

         Living in Baja, visitors often ask me some suggestions of where they can “see the real Mexico.”  They’re not interested in finding out where to go zip-lining or the cheapest place to buy a hammock or sarape.

         They want the genuine article.  The real deal.  Something not “touristy.”

         I tell them to head to church.  Preferably on a Sunday or a Saturday afternoon.

         After a momentary quizzical look, I explain that they’ll see a part of Mexico…a part of the community…a lot of history and a lot of culture if they make a visit to the local church.

         Every city or large town has a Catholic church. 

         Since the earliest days of the conquistadores and missionaries, you can pretty much find a Catholic Church somewhere in the area.  To this day, Mexico remains largely a Catholic country and the church is still the center of life…even if not everyone goes to church all the time. 

         Nevertheless, the church is still central to so much that goes on in a Mexican community.  Obviously, it’s a spiritual and religious center.

         Architecturally, it’s usually in the center of town or in a town square, park or pavilion area.

         Socially, it often remains the place where life’s milestones still take place.  Start to finish…baptism…confirmations…quincineras (sweet 16 presentations)…weddings…more baptisms…and funerals.

         So, I tell folks to head to the local church. 

         Outside, there are often street vendors in the larger cities.  It can be a hub of activity.

         Our own cathedral in La Paz is in the town square and adjacent to the town park.  There are often musicians playing.  Families picnicking.  Impromptu karaoke and bingo games.  Old men playing chess or checkers.

         Stand outside. 

         If it’s an old church, take in the architecture.  Admire the craftsmanship.  Many of these churches weren’t made with modern cranes, bulldozers and electric tools. 

         Old-fashioned human labor with hand tools.  Sweat equity for credits in heaven.  Pride in details that were meant to last for decades or centuries.

         Handmade brick and quarried stone transported maybe from many miles away with carts, wagons and mules.  In some cases, the very wooden beams inside the structure as well as the window glass was transported from Spain, not to mention statues and religious artifacts and furniture.

         The bells may have come from some faraway forge as well.  Most likely yes.

         If there’s an old cemetery nearby, well worth it to trace the history of the former priests, padres and parishioners.  It was a hard life. 

         You’ll often see short life spans.  Children and babies who died early.  Many deaths close in date could indicate a communal epidemic like measles, smallpox, dysentery or a simple flu.

         Step inside.  Remove your hat.  There might be a Mass or other event taking place.  Even if not, remember it’s still a house of worship.  Be respectful. 

         If nothing is happening, wander and gaze.  Statues, the alter, the stained glass, the wooden pews, paintings and artwork may date back decades or centuries.  They may have travelled thousands of miles to find their forever homes in this church.

         The craftsmen are long gone, but their work remains.  It’s better than any museum. 

         Imagine today, we go to Home Depot.  Get our materials.  Build a bookshelf for your home.   Never in a million years would we expect it to last for decades.  Not like these old artisans. 

         I’ve been in old Mexican churches where the walls and ceilings are still covered with the dark soot of a century or more of burning votive candles. 

         A close examination of the area around the alter shows inset graves of the old padres who once serviced their community.  The tiles show their names.

         It’s a testament to their dedication and commitment that many of them travelled from Spain or other places in Mexico to find their final resting place in the arid hard-scrabble frontier of Baja.

         If there are services taking place, many times, there can be multiple events transpiring since often, there’s only one priest or padre.  In some instances, the priest is a travel-priest doing services from town-to-town to tend to his parishioners.

         But, if you’re visiting, that’s where you’ll see the culture.

         I once came for Mass.  It was followed by a baptism.  Followed by a wedding.  Followed by a first communion of 8 and 9 year-old-kids in their little white shirts and puffy dresses.

         The whole gamut.  Proud families.  Happy couples.  Nervous youngsters.  Big days in life.  Big days in the community.  The circle of life.  The cycle of life.

         All in one place.  Just follow the sound of the bells!

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 »

SHOCK and AWE

SHOCK and AWE

Originally Published the Week of Mar. 20, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

           My wife, Jill, and I have been on the road now for the better part of three months.  Every year, we drive all over the U.S. doing fishing and hunting expos drumming up business for our fishing operation in La Paz.

         We set up our booth and join many hundreds of other international outfitters, fishing guides, hunting guides, gear retailers, RV and boat sellers and others in the modern day version of the fur trapper rendezvous.  

         It’s definitely a “gathering of tribes.”  Over the course of 4 or 5 days, often tens of thousands of attendees fill the aisles.  It can be quite an event.

         As of today, we’ve been over a dozen states now.  A few more still to come.

         We’ve been through huge cities and the smallest of towns.  Towering skyscraper skylines to one-horse crossroads.  I believe we’ve already logged over 10,000 miles driving. (Not so fun watching gas prices blow up, but that’s another story!)

         In previous columns, I’ve documented the distressing amount of crime, vagrancy, squalor and trash we encountered in so many cities.  Especially along the west coast.

         Friends and other outfitters were victimized by burglaries and outright thefts of their vehicles, trailers and rigs.  One friend was carjacked at gun point by a guy running from a murder. 

         Our own rig was rendered undriveable by a break-in where the bad guys completely smashed not only our rear glass, but the whole liftgate. 

         We joke about the “Zombie Apocalypse,” but many a night none of us would leave our hotel/ motel rooms because of all the homeless folks wandering outside; sleeping in the bushes; panhandling; hustling; partying; defecating and more.

         Some of our most beautiful and favorite cities broken, ruined and abandoned except for the tattered, the homeless, the lawless, the disenfranchised of the streets.  It’s an urban landscape straight out’ve an “end of the world” sci-fi flick.

         After several weeks in these areas, it was more than disheartening and depressing.  I wasn’t alone in my assessment.

         Other outfitters, local residents and law enforcement friends echoed the same sentiments in these areas.

         There was a tacit resignation of spirit that THIS is what it’s come to.  THIS is where WE are.  THIS is how it will always be and only get worse. 

         And not a thing we can do about it.

         The whole country to hell-in-a-handbag.  

But wait…

         Then our show schedule took us inland.   Smaller shows AWAY from the big cities.  We passed through and spent more time in smaller cities and neighborhoods. 

         Back to the countryside.  Little pink houses.  Denny’s diners.  Swings and slides in town parks. Crossing guards at the elementary school.  There’s a banner about a pancake breakfast at the church. The VFW Hall has a bunch of pick-up trucks parked outside.

         Went into a grocery store in Central Oregon.  A 9-year-old boy held the door open for me and said, “after you, sir!”

Shock and awe.

         In little towns in Washington and Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico,  Colorado, Texas and Wyoming, we got “sir” and “ma’am” a lot.  And not just from kids.

         Adults you run into in the street in the normal course of a day or at our hotels addressed us similarly.  Just the way things are.   Courtesy and hospitality, that was rarely found in the big cities. 

         We had become so callous to common civility and comity that it seemed like people were going out of their way to be amiable.  But, it’s just the way people are in different spots of the country.  Or how they are brought up.

         I was brought up addressing others like that as well.  Just how I was taught.  However, when I use “sir” or “ma’am” I often get a quizzical look as if I was speaking Greek.  Some folks get offended as if I was calling them “old.”

         In these small towns and open spaces, I got a nod and smiles and friendly responses instead.

         At the shows themselves, it’s a different crowd for sure.

         At the start of the show before they let the crowds in, they play the Star Spangled Banner over the loudspeaker in these expo centers.  Everyone stops what they are doing and puts hand or hat over heart and faces the flag. 

         Many people sing out loud.  You can help smiling.  You stand up a little straighter.  I catch myself singing as well.  

         When the crowds come in..

         Again, I’m often addressed as “sir.”  After chatting with someone at our booth, it’s not uncommon for someone to thank me for taking the time to answer their questions. 

         Are you kidding me?

         I hear the word “please” a lot .

         The adults/ parents are much more blue collar.  Yes, there’s a lot of pick-up trucks and suburbans in the parking lot . A lot of baseball hats, blue jeans, camo vests and work, hiking or cowboy boots.  Men and women alike.

         Some look just like they just took off the gloves and came to the show from the ranch, farm or mechanic shop.  Moms look like they just grabbed the kids from school and are trying to get through the show before they gotta race home to cook dinner.

         In the meantime, a beer or Coke and a bag of popcorn will do, thank you very much.

         But in talking to adults and kids alike, they sound like they can fix cars and boats.  They can take out an elk at 500 yards AND carry it out on their backs.   They can run tractors and they tell you they can only come visit us in Mexico AFTER the crops come in but BEFORE hunting season starts.

         At one show on a Sunday, a family apologized to me for coming so late to the show.  Because they were at CHURCH!

         I felt like giving them all a high-five!

        At one show, I was next to a sporting goods outfitter. 

         The men, women AND kids knew how to handle guns and fishing gear and were as at adept and knowledgeable about fishing and hunting, camping and boating and off-roading as any expert. 

         It was refreshing.  It’s not hopeless.  It’s not as depressing as it seems. 

         It’s not a Normal Rockwell painting, by any stretch.  All places have their issues and problems.  I realize my view was only a tiny miniscule slice.

         But, all is not lost.  Faith renewed.

         Yes, Sir.  Yes, Ma’am. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing

Website:

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 »

MY TWO CENT OBSERVATION FROM THE ROAD

No Words…

         I’m writing this at night from our hotel room in Boise, Idaho.  We’re doing a banzai drive from Salt Lake City to get to Portland, Oregon.  As fast as the speed limit will let us.

         It seems strange to say that we’re not looking forward to being in Portland. 

         Let me back up.

         For almost 30 years, I spend the better part of 3 months on the road exhibiting at all the huge hunting and fishing expositions across the western U.S.  Every week another 4 or 5 day show. 

         My wife, Jill, and I haul our booth, a million brochures and flyers spreading the good word about fishing and vacationing in Baja.  Specifically with our own Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz.

         Thousands-upon-thousands of attendees wander and socialize with outfitters like ourselves in the fishing, hunting, camping, boating, RV and other outdoor pursuits.  Us exhibitors sell our wares. 

         Each week finds us in different cities like Denver, Phoenix, Bozeman, Seattle, San Diego, Long Beach, Las Vegas even Anchorage, Alaska!  Criss-crossing the U.S. up-down-back-and-forth in snow, rain, ice, and sunshine.

         We’ve been on the road now almost 6 weeks and have finished shows in Reno, Sacramento, Puyallup (south of Seattle) and this past weekend in Salt Lake City.   As previously mentioned, we’re back on the Pacific Coast in Portland this week.

         A few weeks back in my column, I had commented about driving through so many cities and states and observing the differing covid-mask protocols or lack thereof.  I also wrote about my observations of how everyone was hurting for employees.  And how customer services were directly suffering from it.

         We really didn’t know what to expect of the shows this year.  In short, a crapshoot. 

No one knew what the attendance would be like.  No one knew how many vendors/ outfitters wouldn’t show-up as a result of covid; the fear of covid; or the local mandates and protocols.

         As it turned out, attendance suffered at 3 of the 4 shows. All on the west coast. 

         Exhibitors were absent as well.  Again, this was at all at the west coast shows in California, Washington and, to some degree, the Reno Show. 

        Masking/ testing/ vax card protocols were in place to greater or lesser degrees.  Nothing was standardized

         I guess that was to be expected.  All these shows had been cancelled last year and it’s going to take awhile for them (and the public) to get back up to speed.

         And now, we’re headed to Portland. 

         We love our Pacific Coast.  My wife Jill and I both grew up on the West Coast.  But, after our experiences the past month in California,  Oregon and Washington, we’re dreading Portland, one of our favorite western cities.

         I’ll tell ya why.

         There’s been a drastic change.  A polar shift.  A techtonic social upheaval.

         In Sacramento, we stay at a well-know hotel chain.  Almost 20 years.  Not the 4 Seasons or the Ritz Carlton, but hardly the Econo-Riverside Motel either.

         Upon arrival. What a change!

        People living in their cars in the parking lot.  Broken cars everywhere.  People living in boxes on busy public street.  Multiple people living in rooms meant for 2.  Trash everywhere. Tent camps everywhere.  Open sewage/ excrement on sidewalks, planters…opens spaces.

         Vagrant folks lining the streets.  Stores trashed, littered and empty shelves.  Such common things like soap, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, masking tape…all in locked cases!

         I asked one store clerk what happened to all the shopping carts and shopping baskets.  He said, “They all got stolen.”

         The second night, our new Chevy Suburban rig got broken into.  Not just busted windows.  They tore the whole rear liftgate rendering our rig undriveable.  Looks like a crowbar was used. Because nothing could be found inside, the bad guys took it out on the vehicle.

         Fortunately, we had emptied the vehicle and nothing was taken.  But, the vehicle was disabled.  

Because of supply chain issues, parts not available!

         Over the next few days, others also got burglarized.  Police don’t come out because burglary is so common.  And they are under-staffed like everyone else. You file a report online.  That’s it.

 I had to take Uber to the Expo.  My driver said, in his neighborhood they leave their trunks and liftgates unlocked so the thieves don’t break in. 

         Except one day his neighbor found a guy sleeping in his trunk!

         While at the show, several outfitters got their rigs completely stolen.   One of our clients came to our booth and said several days earlier, he had been carjacked at gun-point by a guy who was escaping from a murder!

         We headed north to Washington.  Passing through Oregon (more on that later).

         While in Washington State, more of the same. Tent cities scattered everywhere.  Again, several of our outfitter friends had their trucks and trailers stolen.  This time in broad daylight from “guarded” parking lots.

         Friends who are law enforcement officers told us many vehicles are being stolen for the catalytic converters.  And, many officers are quitting or taking early retirement leaving the remaining tired officers working overtime.

         Oh, and new legislation prevents officers from giving chase.  About all they can do is yell “Stop!”  Also, if someone steals something less than $750 dollars and says “it’s a necessity”, no prosecution ensues.

         We were advised by Washington friends not to go into downtown Seattle, again, one of our favorite cities to visit.  

         And now everyone-and-their-brother is warning us against Portland now.  And saying it’s even worse.  Even before the pandemic, the area and hotels around the Portland Expo Center were rife with homeless and property crime was rampant.

         Vehicles at the Expo and surrounding areas, were regularly targeted.  Our own van was broken into several years ago.  Police told us that the thieves love vehicles belonging to the outfitters because they are often loaded with camping gear, fishing gear, electronics, outdoor clothing and yes…firearms. 

         So, now they tell us it’s even going to be worse.  And definitely do NOT go into Portland metro.

         Tell you what.  Several of us outfitters were standing around.  We were somberly discussing the crime these days while on the show tours now.  All of them hunting and fishing guides. 

       I quietly admitted that my wife and I both have our concealed-carry permits and that I always carry a firearm now.  There was a little pause among the group.

       I thought I was going get some blowback for carrying. Big burley mountain guys and salty fishing captains staring at me.

       As it turned out, all of them were carrying.  In fact, talking to most of the other vendors in their booths, everyone either had firearms in their booths, on their person, or in their cars.

       My wife wouldn’t let us drive this year without a (legal) shotgun hidden in the car.  

       As one Alaska guide told me, “I carry a big pistol to guard against grizzly bears attacks in the bush.  But, I’m even more afraid to walk around the cities.  So, of course, I carry. Bears are predictable. Idiot people are not.”

       It’s gotten pretty sad.  Portland, here we come. 

       Hope for the best.  Prepare for the worst.  The new normal.

Update:  Just finished the Portland Show.  We did NOT go downtown.  The area around the Expo Center was tragic.  Many of the outfitters and vendors said they would not come back.  Someone tried to break into our vehicle 3 times, but the alarm scared them off although we were messaged that someone had tried to open the doors…twice when we just ran into a gas station just to buy some soda for the road. It happened that fast!  Several vehicles in the parking lot at the Expo Center were burglarized as well. 

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 »

IN YOUR FACE CABRON ADOLF

I’ve always loved history. Given a choice, history might be my favorite subject to read or study.

And I really like trivia.

I was researching some info on Mexico’s imports/ exports and came across some really interesting facts about Mexico and World War 2.

WHA???  Mexico in World War 2?  The BIG ONE?

Well, actually that was my reaction.  Complete surprise. 

I mean, when you think of the major combatants of that global conflict, you think of the U.S., England, Italy, Canada, Germany, Japan, Russia.  All the main players, right?

And, of course, pretty much the rest of the world from the Philippines to Finland and Algiers to Australia.

Mexico doesn’t exactly come to mind.

And, you probably wouldn’t believe that Mexico was an ally to the United States.  That’s not a partnership that generally pops to the forefront of historical discussion.

But, yes, Mexico absolutely stuck one in the eye of the Axis powers.

Even before the U.S. was thrust into the war with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, countries had a strong foreboding of impending conflict.

Fortuitously, Mexico and the U.S. settled the usual border tensions with reciprocal trade agreements whereby Mexico continued to supply raw materials to the United States. Conversely, the U.S. helped stabilize the peso and Mexican economy by-way-of-long term loans as well as military aid for the Mexican military.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1942, Mexico terminated all relations with the Axis powers.  It was one of the first countries to show support for the U.S.   It also closed all of it’s ports to Germany thereby securing the Gulf of Mexico for the U.S.

The Mexican people were initially very reluctant and adamant about joining in the armed conflict.

However, that changed several months later in May of 1942.  German U-boats torpedoed two Mexican tankers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hitler was unrepentant about the attacks.

And Mexico took the gloves off.

Mexico declared war on the Axis.  It also urged other Latin American countries to follow suit.

Mexico instituted nation military service as well as civil defense.  However, it’s main contribution to the war was the continued steady supply of raw materials to the U.S. war effort.

As much as 40% of the raw material for the American war machine came from Mexico.

Moreso, although most other Latin American countries sided with the allies, only Mexico and Brazil sent armed combatants to the front.  

At the invitation of the U.S. Mexico put together a special combat team of airmen.  The Mexican President Manuel Comacho gathered up more than 300 volunteers including more than 30 hand-picked experienced pilots and the rest veteran groundcrew.

After receiving extensive combat training in Texas and Idaho, the “Aztec Eagles” were dubbed the “201st Fighter Squadron” and attached to the American 58th Fighter Group.

Flying P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter Aircraft, the “Pancho Pistolas” were deployed to the Philippines and flogged more than 1900 hours of flight time and 795 combat sorties.  Their bombing runs and attacks were instrumental in helping push the Japanese off the islands of Formosa and Luzon in some of the toughest fighting in the Pacific.

Eight of the pilots were killed.  One was shot down. One crashed.  Three others ran out’ve fuel over the ocean and lost at sea.  Three others died in training.

Their ground crews were also involved in ground combat on  several occasions. 

According to Wikipedia, “The 201st Mexican Squadron was given credit for putting out of action about 30,000 Japanese troops [4] and the destruction of enemy held-buildings, vehicles, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns emplacements and ammunition depots.”

After the war, they returned to Mexico to a hero’s welcome.  A number of the pilots ended up becoming generals in the Mexican Air Force in later years.  

The Aztec Eagle’s squadron remains active today.  It is the only military unit from Mexico to engage in combat outside it’s borders.

In addition to the pilots, Mexico contributed in other ways. 

Although it was adamant about sending ground trips, Mexico did allow the United States to recruit Mexicans to the American Army. Between 1942 and and 1943 almost 7,000 Mexicans volunteered to fight for the the U.S.  In fact, the embassy was so overrun they had to close.

Nevertheless, somewhere estimates of 15,000 to 400,000 Mexican-born troops enlisted.  Statistics are not clear.  However, almost 2,000 would become casualties.

Many were decorated and four who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during combat in the European and Pacific Theaters of war.

Viva Mexico, Cabrones!

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 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 »

DESERT GHOSTS

Someone had a dream at one time…or at least a good idea!

DESERT GHOSTS

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

           I’ve always had this weird (not creepy) thing about looking at (and into) people’s houses. 

         At the time I’m writing this, we’re driving across country to the fishing and hunting shows in various cities around the western U.S.  We’ve exhibited at these shows from January to April for almost 30 years to talk to folks about fishing with our company in La Paz.

         We have our booth packed up and are on our way to the Wild Sheep Foundation Show in Reno, NV.  Over the past 3 days, we’ve driven across Texas, New Mexico and Nevada.

         My wife Jill is driving and I’m tapping out on my laptop.

         And looking at people’s houses. 

        I like to guess what they do.  I’m intrigued by their story.

Why they happened to plant themselves in this particular area near that particular town.

         Or in the middle of nowhere.

         I look at what’s in the yard.  Kid’s toys?  A rusty swing? A bunch of old cars?  An RV?  Five later model cars and a mini-van?  Or 5 cars on concrete blocks?

         Is the yard done?  Is there even a yard or just tumbleweeds and a cotton field in the back. 

         There’s a washing machine on the front porch of a single-wide modular.  Or is there a swimming pool out back?

         You can tell a lot.

         Driving up and down Baja, I have that same fascination.

         But, it’s not the occupied homes that I focus on. 

         It’s the empty houses.

        Empty buildings have a story as well.  And sometimes they talk.

        These are the abandoned homes and  buildings standing ( or leaning) in the middle of the Baja landscape.  You find them built on the side of a hillside.  Or they are tucked onto the bank of an arroyo or still standing observant by the side of the highway.

Baja - Mision San Fernando Velicata - Ruin - Shack

         Dilapidated.  Wind, sun-baked and weather torn.  Collapsing roofs and leaning walls.  Warped and sandblasted wood.  Maybe some leftover traces of color or paint.

         The Baja is not kind to old buildings left unattended.

         Fascinating head-scratchers.  I wonder about those stories.

         Why here?  It’s the only house for miles.  What were they thinking?

        No obvious source of water.  No towns or communities nearby to drive to…or if the house is that old… nothing nearby to walk to…or ride a cart or burro to.

Is this as far as the got?  Is this where the donkey cart finally busted an axle?

         Maybe the few small tree trunks stuck in the ground at crazy angles are evidence of an old corral.

         Stone, bricks and adobe are handy. 

         How did the even get the wood to build?  It’s not like Baja has a lot of treeworthy lumber around.  Did the haul it here?  From where?   

          Baja isn’t exactly known for its forests.

         Occasionally, you find a small cluster of buildings.  Or what’s left of them.

         Perhaps an extended family.  Again, why here? And what happened to them.

         Maybe as often happens, parents settle.  Raise kids in the hardscrabble environment.  Kids move on as they grow up.  Parents pass. 

         Or the parents pass and the dream of living in the middle of nowhere is not the dream of their progeny.  They move on.

         Buildings are abandoned.

         I’ve never trespassed, but if it looks like it doesn’t matter, I like to stop.  Normally, it’s not like anyone cares.  There’s no one around for miles and I doubt the tumbleweeds or jackrabbits care.

         But, poking around old buildings…they sometimes talk to you if you look.

         A blackened brick outdoor firepit.  A sign that there was probably no electricity when these folks lived there.  They cooked outside.

         No signs of plumbing of any kind.

         Rough carpentry.  Uneven door and window frames.  No signs that glass ever filled those windows.  

         Old uneven hammered rusty nails protrude from splintering dried wood.  These didn’t come from Home Depot.  They look like tiny sharpened spikes…handmade.  Probably pretty precious back in the days.

         In fact, there are signs that furniture and parts of the buildings may have been bound together with what remains of rope or old leather strips.

         I find an old bent spoon in what would have been a dirt floor.

         I have found an old coin or almost rubbed smooth and largely unidentifiable.

         There are dark patches along walls where perhaps candles or old fuel lanterns once burned. 

 I found lots bleached fish bones around the back of one building.  They ate fish?  We were 10 miles from any body of water.

         I once found two old crosses and a weathered upright stone marker side-by-side. They were in the shade of an old scrub tree back behind what may have been an old shed or barn.

 Nearby the remains of a cracked clay vase that long ago may have held desert flowers.  A family cemetery?

         Whoever lived in these places are long gone and forgotten.  But, there was a story here at one time.

         I think in some sense, moving through these old living spaces makes them somewhat more real.  A reminder that real people and families once lived here.  Had dreams here. 

         And moved on.  While the desert moves back to reclaim everything.

images

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 »

A BETTER MARGARITA

A BETTER MARGARITA

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 5, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         As the owners of our own restaurant in La Paz for over a decade and then living in Baja for almost 30 years, we’ve seen a lot of margaritas made and consumed.

         It’s interesting to note that most of the locals won’t touch tequila or margaritas.  When I’ve offered it to them at our restaurant, they (perhaps wisely) wag their fingers at me and smile.  “No, gracias!”

         I think they know better and I also think they enjoy watching the gringos go at it.  I mean, if you’re going to Mexico, it’s your “go-to” drink.  

         Seemingly, as soon as folks walk off the plane, vacation has not started until they have one of those high-priced margaritas served in a plastic cup at the bar just outside the terminal.  Am I right?

         “Whoo-hooo, Honey! We’re in Mexico.  Hot dang!”

         I’d estimate that at our restaurant, 95% of the margaritas are ordered by tourists.  Personally, I think we make a pretty good margarita.

         We cut our own limes.  We make our own lime juice (no bottled mix).  Our tequila does not come from a plastic jug behind the bar.  We cut our own fruits and make our own syrups.

         Just like anything else, good fresh ingredients result in a better product.

         But, in the spirit of “research and development”, not to mention it’s a great way to actually write-off the cost of drinking margaritas, my wife and I have gone to numerous places to “test drive” margaritas. 

         Here’s the deal.  We go to someplace that’s known for their margaritas and as a tourist destination…Cabo San Lucas…Puerta Vallarta…Maui…San Diego…San Antonio Texas…and others.

         All in the name of “research and development,” as mentioned.

         We do our own version of a margarita crawl. 

         The purpose is not get drunk and buzzed.  However, I will admit it is sometimes a happy by-product of our in-depth research!  We go from bar-to bar at supposedly the places with the best margarita reputation.

         We ask for their house margarita. 

         We take a sip or two.  If we don’t like it, we pay for it and walk away without finishing it.  Move onto the next place. 

         And so-forth-and-so on.

         Spoiler alert.  Here it comes.

It is amazing that some of the places that are known to be great margarita-makers literally serve absolute JUNK!  Most places, we honestly can’t finish them.

         But tourists don’t know any better. 

         They buy margaritas the size of birdbaths or chug them with their chips and that’s pretty much the extent of it. Or it’s what happens to be in their hands sitting at the pool bar all afternoon.

         Admittedly, there are a few places where Jill and I take a sip and then look at each other.  And another sip to make sure.  Surprise!  OK…not bad at all.  There’s some decent stuff out there.

         But, again as mentioned before, it starts with the ingredients.

         If volume selling to tourists or catering to the “buy-one-get-the-2nd margarita- free” crowd is the intent, the customers aren’t going to be very discriminating. 

993553-drinking-a-yard-of-beer-each-at-a-bar--merida-mexico-0

         They have no idea nor do they really care that they’re drinking a mix or that the tequila comes from a jug.  It’s got ice.  It’s got salt.  We are having a large fun time!

         “Let’s party, Baby.  Afterwards let’s go buy a sombrero and one of those sarape blankets and a hammock to bring back to Montana.”

         Honestly, nothing wrong with that.  Vacation fun is vacation fun.  Good on them!  But, you get the idea.

         If you really want a better margarita, here’s a few tips. 

          Yes, it will cost a tad more.  So figure that.

         For one,  ask for real lime juice.  Not “Jose’s Fiesta Lime Juice” in a bottle or jug.  Get the real stuff if at all possible.  It will make a tremendous difference.

         Ask what kind of tequila they’re making your margarita with.  In fact, ask to see the bottle! 

         There are 3 kinds of tequilas. 

         Silver (Plata) is clear.  It has not been aged or not more than 2 months.

         Resposada is slightly amber.  Reposada means “rested” and it has been aged in a barrel up to one year. 

         Anejo means “old.” This tequila has been sitting for awhile aging for more than a year and is much darker.

         The older the tequila, the richer and more full-bodied the taste.

         That doesn’t mean it’s the best for tequila.

          Personally, we feel that the Silver/ Clear plata tequila is best for mixing cocktails.  It’s got a clean flavor that blends nicely with other ingredients.

         I like the Reposada and Anejo in a shot glass or snifter.  It’s meant to be sipped or I especially like it with a cigar at sunset!

         While checking out the bottle, make sure it’s REAL tequila!  The real stuff must be from the blue agave plant and, by law, may ONLY be produced in the regions of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

         I’m not being snobby here. 

         Good tequila does NOT have to be expensive to make a good margarita.  Like wines or beers there are so many great and inexpensive brands. 

         A fancy bottle does not necessarily mean a good tequila.  Conversely a good tequila doesn’t have to be in a fancy bottle either.

         However, like most liquors, the more expensive sipping tequilas do taste better and smoother.  But, that’s OK because I’m not using the good stuff to do slammers or shots with buddies!

         Life’s too short for bad margaritas!  So are vacations.

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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