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WHERE’s THE PARTY?

mexico-desfile-dia-muertos

When I first arrived here in Baja to live, Crocs were the hot shoe and I had a lot more hair.  It’s interesting over the decades watching Americana creep into the lives and culture of Mexico.

 

I was shopping just yesterday and noted that it’s mid-October and, as is custom, Christmas decorations and toys are already filling the stores.

 

Yes, it starts a lot earlier here. In about a week, there will be Christmas tree lots in the parking lots hawking trees “Fresh from Oregon!”  I’m not kidding.

 

Y’see, here in Mexico, there’s no Thanksgiving acting as a gastronomical speed-bump before Christmas.  So, of course, the stores want to get you into the holiday spirit while it’s still 98 degrees outside and humidity is 75%.

 

However, with increased popularity, I am seeing more folks referring to “turkey day” coming soon.  Not “Thanksgiving day.”  No reason to celebrate the Pilgrims breaking-bread with the native residents here in Mexico.

 

Still, turkey is quite popular here.  In fact, most cold-cuts and hot dogs are actually made from turkey so a reason to roast a whole big bird is a reason to celebrate “something different.”

 

It’s not every day folks roast turkeys in Mexico. The markets have some great bargains on the birds.

 

There is one more holiday that pops up before Christmas.  It’s not really a holiday, however, in the sense of a huge fiesta.  However, it’s a country-wide celebration that will actually be found throughout the Latin-American nations.

 

Dia de los Muertos…the Day of the Dead… comes in at the end of the month.  It’s not a national holiday.  Nothing is closed.  Business as usual. It’s more like a personal holiday that just happens to be celebrated by just about everyone in their own way.

 

It arises from the combination of Pagan/ Christianity/ Catholicism rituals and actually encompasses three days more-or-less.  Sort of all mixed together, there’s the Day of the Dead, All Souls Day and All Saints Day.

 

The religious side is a remembrance of the departed loved ones.

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Small altars are built in homes with photos and other memorabilia of the departed. Some can be quite elaborate with candles, colorful table cloths, and favorite items of the deceased like bottles of alcohol, pastries and favorite items of clothing.

 

One hotel we work with here in La Paz used to construct an elaborate and beautiful altar in the lobby.  Truly a work-of-art.  They would place photos of long-time employees who had passed away.

 

The altar was decorated with photos; favorite books; musical items; a chef’s spatula and hat.  But, it often had several plates of pastries; cans of beer; bottles of whiskey or tequila…

 

The problem was that hotel guests, especially gringo guests, didn’t know the significance of the altar in the lobby.

 

They thought it was some kind of “welcome table” and would help themselves to the pastries, cookies and cans of beer.  The hotel stopped setting up the display after a few years.

 

The big party, however, is at the cemetery.

dia-de-muertos1

 

If you really want a taste of culture, head to the cemetery at Dia de los Muertos!  In the states, we rock Halloween, but few of us go to an actual graveyard that night.  In Mexico, it’s all part of it!

 

And, it isn’t a creep show.  There’s no gouls and ghosts.  But, there’s definitely a spirit in the air. It’s a big fiesta!

 

Families and friends bring out elaborate celebrations to the graveyard and it’s like a giant tailgate party of a whole different type.

 

Candles and torches set the mood.  Boom boxes and even live musicians add to the ambience. Everything from mariachi, to ranchero music, rap and classic rock can be heard.

 

Barbecues fill the air with grilling chorizo and carne asada. People sing.  Families spread out lawn chairs and blankets on the concrete grave slab.  Fresh flowers and wreaths are brought out.

 

If you forgot anything, food vendors, flower vendors and beer concessions are outside the gate. Grab a wreath; pick up a kilo of hot carne; a couple of bottles of Tecate and head-on-in with your lawn chair.

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If there’s more than one deceased, as is often the case, it’s a mobile party.  From one grave to another.  Families and friends intermingle in a festive reunion of sorts.

 

They gather.  They tell stories.  They laugh.  They remember.  They drink to death as well as to life.  All night long.  Keeping the memories alive for a few fun-filled evening hours.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g


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

 

 

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THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

I think many folks would agree that it’s been a strange year for weather.  In many parts of the U.S., winter lingered stubbornly well into June and even July.

 

Correspondingly, down here in Baja, we experienced much of the same.  Waters stayed cooler.  Air temperatures seemed below normal.  Cold-water species continued to bite well past their normal seasons.   Warm-water fish seemed to take their time showing up.

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

And then, about the time you stopped trying to figure it all out, someone opened a window and summer showed up.  Late…but it showed up.

 

Here in La Paz where we live, that would be about the end of July or early August when things finally seemed to turn around .

 

Humidity rose.  Air temps rose.  Water cleared up and warmed up.   Water-water fish like dorado finally started to bite with some measure of enthusiasm.

 

And all was right again.

 

Until Hurricane Lorena about 2 weeks ago.  As far as tropical hurricanes in Mexico go, it wasn’t much.  We’ve seen much worse and suffered the harsh after-affects.

 

Lorena didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t knock down houses or destroy marinas.  Except for some trees and power poles, it was one of the mildest hurricanes I can recall in my 25 years down here.

 

Although it did get pretty windy, I think most of us actually welcomed the much needed rain, although it did rain for about 12 hours!

 

What Lorena did, I think, is carried summer away with it.  Like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz…summer went careening up, out and away.

 

In the hurricane aftermath, it feels like summer suddenly ended.  Like a switch was thrown.

 

Air temperatures that had been in the high 90’s and low 100’s have been 10 degrees cooler overall.  It has averaged only about 88 or so since the hurricane.

 

Similarly, humidity has dissipated as well.  Before the hurricane we had steamy 80-85% humidity.  The hot sauna air was that thick.

 

As one of my employees told me, “I think we are breathing water.”

 

Since then, we’ve hovered around a comfortable 50-55%.

 

Water temperatures have also dropped.  In our area, it dipped 2-5 degrees in a week.

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

It took the fish awhile to figure out.  Just like us.

 

Normally, after a storm, it takes awhile any for water to calm and clear up.  And fishing seemed noticeably slower to get up to speed again.

 

Then, when it did start to break open, we still had the warm water species like dorado and marlin, but a whole host of entirely different an unusual species started bending rods.

 

Fish like pargo liso, sierra, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla and palometas showed up in the counts.  These are all cold-water fish virtually unheard of at this time of year.

 

These are sure signs that something has changed below the surface.

 

If this trend continues, I think anglers should be prepared for this variety of species.  Also, don’t be surprised if it’s cooler and windier with each progressive week and waters will be rougher.

 

I hear this week there’s blizzards and heavy snow in Montana, Utah and Idaho. It is supposed to snow this week in the Sierras.   Summer is gone. Shortest summer ever.

 

In the mornings, I’m already wearing a sweatshirt.  In Baja.  In September. I better find my long pants around here somewhere.

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g


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

 

 

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BEST of TIMES & WORST of TIMES

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(TURN UP YOUR VOLUME FOR THE FULL EFFECT!)

BEST of TIMES & WORST of TIMES

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 10, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s 5:30 a.m. here in La Paz and it’s still dark outside.  We just put out our first group of fishermen for the day with our sportfishing fleet.

 

It looks like it’s gonna be a great day.  Seas are flat.  Winds are calm a a brilliant quarter moon is shimmering on the water.

 

At this time yesterday morning, it was Armageddon.

 

To use another Bible reference, I think it’s the Book of Kings (I’m sure many of you know better than me) that says something about “Chariots of fire in the sky and the air being “torn asunder.’”

 

Well, that’s what it was like.

 

Woke up to a few little drops of water.  No big.

 

Saw some lightning flashes over the hills.  Heat lighting in the dark.  No big.

 

That stuff happens all the time.

 

The weather forecast for the day has NOTHING on the radar.

 

I’ve got 40-something anxious fishermen on the beach… in the dark waiting to go fishing.

 

“GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!”

 

…and just about then, as if in response, the heavens answered.

 

Suddenly, a BRILLIANT jag in the dark as if someone had popped a zillion camera flashes and I was suddenly looking at the lit up big-eyed faces of all our clients …followed by…

 

BOOM!!!  BOOM!!!  BOOM!

 

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As if we were suddenly in a giant kettle drum.

 

More lightning.  More deafening incoming kettle drums!  It was like Thor and the Angel Gabriel decided to have a drumming contest and lightning was so close overhead the hair on your arm prickled up with static electricity.

 

Some bolts hit the water in the distance! YEOW!

 

Then, the rain came.

 

And came.  We huddled under whatever cover we could.

 

I could see my captains offshore in the misty dark.  The pangas continually lit by the lighting now so bright I could have read a book.   I nervously radioed them to hold on.

 

Through the din of the rain and the artillery thunderclaps, my wife and I kept reassuring everyone that this will pass.

 

Man…we had our fingers crossed because most clients were in favor of heading straight back to their hotel rooms.  Sheets of rain now obscured everything.

 

Nothing worse than telling people on vacation that their day had been canceled.

 

This was not looking good.  Darnit…

 

And then…just like that.  It stopped.

 

Was it over?  We hesitantly emerged from hiding like nervous bunnies peeking from our holes.  All eyes skyward.  Some passing clouds clearing.  A few residual drops.

 

They all looked at us.  A pregnant moment of silence…

 

“We told you so (breathing a sigh of relief)!  LET’S GO FISHING!

 

Yay!

 

We called the boats in.  Everyone boarded.  We had one of the best fishing days of the season.

 

My wife and I exhaled as we left the beach.  Dodging a bullet will do that to you. Not getting caught in a big hopeful FIB will also do that to you.

 

When I assured folks it was just a passing storm, it was really just a hopeful guess!

 

But, as I sit here composing my column, I have the extended weather forecast out.  There’s a hurricane headed our way although it’s going to bank and head to the Pacific.  Maybe well get some larger waves and some gusts of wind.

 

Juliet, please head away from us!

 

However, I see in about 6 days, we’re in for some thundershowers.  Fortunately, it will be in the afternoon.  After everyone is back from fishing eating nachos, drinking beers and telling fishing stories.

 

So, I think it will be Ok.  I hope it will be OK.  I hate fibbing.

 

The big blow that passed over us was not on the radar.  It was not in the forecast.  It’s what the locals call a “TORITO.”  A “little bull” hurricane.  It comes…hits hard…and goes.

 

The big chubasco hurricane is the one we really worry about.  In my 25 years down here, I’ve been through 8 of them.  Most blow through and in a day or two,  we’re back on the water.

 

A few like Odile in 2014 cut a chunk of devastation with 200 mph winds.  We knew it was coming.

 

The ominous thing is that unlike other hurricanes that can be watched for days before striking, Odile gave us less than 24 hours notice.  A benign chubasco suddenly and unexpectedly turned and hurled itself into Baja.

 

But, this is that tropical time of year.  This stuff can and does happen.

 

It’s the BEST fishing in Baja.

 

Year-after-year, we are packed with fishermen because they know it’s a great time to fish!

 

This is when the fun species like tuna, wahoo and dorado dominate.  Giant roosterfish prowl the beaches.  Striped, blue, black marlin and sailfish arrive in schools.

 

There’s a reason that all the major tournaments…some of the largest in the world like the Bisbee’s Black & Blue and the Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot are held during this time.

 

From late summer through fall, it seems there are several major tournaments going on every single week.

 

They’re happening and folks come from all over the world because the fishing is so good.

 

But, you just never know about the weather.  It’s a capricious mistress.

 

I have spent many years flying around the country for business and pleasure. I always passed those little machines at the airports selling travel insurance.

 

What’s that all about?   Never mind…there’s a plane to catch.  Check it out later.

 

That was way way back in the day.

 

There is no way to control the weather.  But, you do have some control about how the weather or other unforeseen incidents impact your vacation.

 

Travel insurance is easy and economical.  It should be a part of your travel planning just like an extra set of underwear.  It doesn’t take much space.

 

Here in Mexico, it’s pretty hard to get a refund for anything.  Actually, it’s like that in most parts of the world.  Weather-related cancelations in the fishing industry?  Weather is a part of fishing.  Weather happens.

 

It’s like going on a hunting trip.  Because you don’t shoot an elk or it snows, you don’t ask for a refund,

 

Ever tried to get a refund from the airlines or a hotel? Short of an actual medical emergency or actual crisis, get ready for a lot of phone calls and documents you’ll have to submit.

 

A bit of cheap travel insurance kicks in and you’re golden again.  You won’t recover the lost day.  But, at least you’ll get some re-imbursement.

 

Like a 2nd set of underwear.  Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g


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

 

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When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

bananas1

When Fishing Is Not So A-Peeling!

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 1, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.”
—Daphne Guinness

It’s been about 15 years since I last wrote about a subject that seems to keep popping up. And lately, I’ve had several folks ask about it.

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

But, they’ll still wear their raggedy “good luck” basketball socks. They refuse to throw away their best bowling shirt.

Do you still have a pair of “tidy-whitey” underwear in your drawer that’s you won’t throw away even if it has no more elastic and your wife nags you about it?

Do you refuse to open your eyes when your team’s kicker lines up for the game-winning field goal because it’s “bad luck?” Still have your bloody-splattered fishing t-shirt from when you were in college when you were 100 pounds lighter?

So, what’s the deal about bad luck bananas and fishing?

To some, it’s just something to goof with and talk smack about.

I’ve seen guys “plant” bananas in their buddy’s tackle box or fishing boots. I’ve seen guys tie a banana on hotel-room doors or toss a banana onto a buddy’s boat.

To other’s it’s deadly serious. It’s grounds for fighting words and coming to blows.

I’ve seen boats catch fire. Bananas were later found in the galley.

I’ve been on boats where everyone is catching fish except the boat with bananas but start catching fish when bananas were tossed overboard.

I was working as a deckhand where a guy broke his leg in a freak accident . Bananas were in an ice chest on deck. Another time a guy had to be air-lifted after having a heart attack on a boat that had bananas.

If bananas were found in the galley of any boat that I worked on or had chartered they were quickly discarded or discreetly “disappeared” at night when the boat was underway.

Rumor has it that Fruit of the Loom underwear used to have a banana on their label, but the banana was eliminated.

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So, what’s the source of the superstitious myth?

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

Back in the days of sailing ships, fresh fruit and vegetables were pretty important. Having bananas aboard, the bananas ripen pretty quickly and emit a gas and odor that can quickly ruin the food stores of a crew. Lacking fresh produce on those long voyages could lead to malnourishment at best. At worst, death.

No Slowing Down

The fact that bananas ripen quite quickly could also give credence to the lack of fish caught on board. Speed was essential to cargo ships carrying bananas.

Normal ships could travel at regular speeds. Often crews would fish to supplement their diets and the diets of passengers.

Banana boats did not have that luxury. They had to scoot. No slowing down to troll. It was essential to get from point A to point B.

Word got out that you didn’t want to crew or travel on a ship carrying bananas because those ships “never caught fish!” Seems logical.

Hidden Critters
Bunches of bananas could often hide snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlers that could get loose aboard a ship. Many areas in Africa also were home to a voracious wood-eating termite that could get loose when bananas were brought about those old wooden sailing ships.

A Dark Chapter

If you remember your history, banana boats were often used as slave ships. If you suddenly woke up manacled, crowded and in a dark place smelling of bananas, life was about to take a turn for the worse.

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Davey’s Locker

Similarly, bananas float. When a ship would sink, among other things, floating bananas would often be indicative of the final resting place of a vessel.

Here’s another one…

Good to Be King

From my part of the world where my family originated, in Hawaii, only royalty were permitted to have bananas. A commoner found in possession of bananas could be grounds for execution…the ultimate bad luck!

So, what do you think?

I’m not superstitious, but you’d still better not bring bananas on any boat that I’m on! Why tempt luck?

That’s my story~!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLvdHL_p4-OAu3HfiVzW0g


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

 

Read Full Post »

“I’m Jack from the Board of Tourism!”

“I’M JACK FROM THE BOARD OF TOURISM!”

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 9, 2018, in Western Outdoor News

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“I wish I had a pencil thin mustache

The Boston Blackie kind

A two-tone Ricky Ricardo jacket

And an autograph picture of Andy Devine”

 

  • “Pencil-Thin Mustache” by Jimmy Buffett

 

 

Everyone has known a guy that was just so smooth…so likeable…and such a charmer that the ladies would fall all over him.  Call it charisma.  Call it magnetism.  Call it allure or “pizzaz.”

 

I called him Jack.

 

His full name was Jacobo Santa Maria Peralto Villalobos.  He shortened it to “Jack Velez.”

 

Jack was the Ricky Ricardo of La Paz in his day.  I met him when he was already in his late 60’s more than 20 years ago.

 

If you ever see the old black and white movies of the Latin Lover…that was Jack.  And yes…he had a pencil thin mustache.  It was perfect.  So was his perfectly slicked back black hair.

 

He came from a quieter  time and place.  Women wore dresses and men in straw fedoras or Havana hats strolled in white linen jackets, pleated pants and cream-colored wing-tip loafers along the La Paz waterfront.

 

Cigarettes were held elegantly in long cigarette holders.  Men sipped scotch or tequila…a splash of water and one ice cube por favor…and a fragrant Cuban cigar was always on hand.

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Ceiling fans vied with the breeze off the Sea of Cortez to keep folks cool in these seaside cafes.   The music of the mariachi mixed easily with the popular gringo tunes by Sinatra, Andy Williams or Perry Como.

 

With a twinkling eye; a quick and witty sense of humor; a cocked eyebrow and a great laugh, Jack was the prince of the Malecon waterfront back then.

 

John Wayne…Bing Crosby…Fred Astaire…Liz Taylor…even a younger Queen Elizabeth visited in those halcyon days.

 

Jack’s background was ideal.

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Jack’s Aunt was famous actress Lupe Velez (“The Mexican Spitfire”) from the golden age of Hollywood.  She had romances with Clark Gable, Gary Cooper ,Tom Mix and Charlie Chaplin.  She had a chauffer who wore jodhpurs and she even has a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

 

Into this environment a young Jack was sent from Mexico to live with her for learn English and the “American way.”  He excelled as a car-salesman to the stars.  Working his “schtick, “ it’s where he really honed his personality and his “A” game was born.

 

He had the “IT” factor going on.   He brought all that personality back to La Paz as a young man.

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His father was the famous “Smiling Rudy Velez” and he  had been the first charter boat operator in La Paz and based in the elegant old Hotel Los Cocos. His brothers all worked the boats.

 

Not Jack.

 

Jack was the barker and and PR guy working the waterfront.

 

For Jack it was a playground and target-rich environment.  As a harker, showman and tour guide, Jack did anything or everything before there was such a thing as a concierge.

 

Always laughing, he was everyone’s favorite.

 

Oh yes…he was an operator and hustler.  He could “procure” anything from the best dining table in the house to a romantic cruise out to the island…or a set of tires.  Si, Senor!

 

“I am a Mexi-CAN! Not a Mexi-CAN’T” he would proclaim and shake your hand.

 

 

My favorite story of him was how he used to romance single girls visiting the city. Jack was slick.

 

Back in the days when cruise ships would dock on the waterfront, he would pay other vendors to report when a single pretty senorita arrived in the crowd and where she might be staying.

 

He would then show up at her hotel room. Dressed in his white suit with a batch of roses, he would politely knock on the door and say with a flair, “Excuse me Senorita, I am Jack from the Board of Tourism.  These flowers are to welcome you to La Paz!”  Hehehehe…

 

Who doesn’t like flowers?

 

He would then offer services like dinner…tours… beach swims…fishing…of course, all with him as the “representative of the La Paz Board of Tourism!

 

And, the ladies would all tumble!

 

And, like Ricky Ricardo, he could also sing, play guitar and congas and would serenade the senoritas under their hotel balconies and had a reportoir of many crooning Spanish romanticas.   He once even climbed the vines outside a room to the balcony of one senorita to impress her.

 

“When I climbed the balcony, I announced ‘Have no fear, Jack is here!”

 

“Later I fell in the pool as I was trying to sneak out early in the morning when the vine broke.  I was borracho from champagne she bought for me!”

 

 

One of his “trucos (tricks)” he told me was to buy several dozen roses very inexpensively then get dressed up again for the evening.  He would then go to one of the elegant late-night dance lounges in the city and give every lady a rose.

 

“Most smiled gratefully and thanked me. Even with their date or husband there.”  He paused and winked.

 

“But there were always two or three or more that would invite me to their table for dancing, martinis and I would charm all of them!” He would roar with laughter.

 

“I was really good too because I could rhumba and cha-cha and tango! Oh my god, I got so many marriage proposals and they always wanted to take me to the states.”

 

“I always told them (again winking at me conspiritorily and looking around to see if anyone was listening)…

 

… that my job with the Board of Tourism was too important to the city and I could not leave…just yet!”

 

He laughed aloud again and playfully punched me in the shoulder.

 

“And then another cruise ship would arrive…”

 

“That was me, Mr. Tourism!”

 

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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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WHEN NOTHING WAS EVERYTHING

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WHEN NOTHING WAS EVERYTHING

Originally Published the Week of Aug 28, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

Back in the day, I used to teach fishing seminars and give fishing classes at the venerable old Hotel Las Arenas east of La Paz and about 30 miles north of the East Cape.  Sitting on a small hill on about 9 miles of beach, it looked right across at Cerralvo Island.

 

It’s been closed for many years now, but it was a gem.

 

Some sprocket guys from Europe in skinny tight black pants and “Flock of Seagulls” bleached-gel haircuts bought it to turn into a Club Med or something (“We don’t want ‘stinky fishermen’ in our hotel!” they told me.), but it never got off the ground.  LOL.

 

I’m glad it didn’t.  The old girl was too good for that indignity.

 

The last 10 miles were on a dirt road. As the hotel was built on the reverse slope of a hill facing the sea, you never saw the hotel until you came over that last rise.

 

And suddenly you were there!

 

What a place.  Old Mexico.

 

An oasis of two long white 2 story buildings nestled in the palm trees with curved tile roofs.  An administrative building where Patricia, the manager checked you in; assigned rooms and gave you the fishing schedule.  (She loved getting a bottle of red wine!) And a dining hall, bar and the swimming pool.

 

Carry your own bags, Senor.

 

You know how hotels have marquee signs that tell you all the amenities they offer?  (pool…cable TV…etc.)

 

The wooden sign for the Hotel Las Arenas would have been funny.

 

“Welcome to the Hotel!” 

No designer beds. No laundry. No in-room coffee maker or hair dryer.  No TV.  No ice machine.  No phones.  No room-service.  No spa.  No Air.

 

What else did you need?

 

You kept the windows open and let the breeze blow through.

 

The hotel had thick old walls that held out the Baja heat and cool tile floors you could lie on after a long day of hot fishing.  The tiles would simply pull the heat out’ve your body while a tired overhead ceiling fan bumped and whirred.

 

But, the hotel had the three most important things in a hotel back then.  It had a bar.

 

It had a great bartender who had a mighty arsenal of all the drinks he could concoct.  And Gabriel had a great memory. He not only knew everyone’s name he could remember your favorite drinks.

 

And it had ice.

 

No craft beer.  They had Corona, Pacifico and Modelo.  They were cold and that’s all that mattered.

 

It had an old tile pool that was just deep enough to reach your shoulders.  Any deeper and your beer would get wet.  No one swam. That would have been bad form.

 

Everyone just sort of bobbed with a beer bottle in hand.  It wasn’t a swimming pool.  It was a bobbing pool.  A dozen fishermen with a Corona-buzz would have laughed you out’ve the pool if you started actually swimming.

 

No menu.  It was whatever the great kitchen staff cooked.  But it was always fresh and no one complained and always centered around homemade Mexican dishes the Mexican moms in the back whipped up.
Tacos…enchiladas…bistec ranchero…ceviche…guacamole…fresh fish and salsas… You have not eaten until you’ve had a Mexican mom cook for you!

 

You could always smell the fresh tortillas, chorizo and other spices across the compound.

 

Three hearty meals a day.  If you missed it, you waited until the next one.  It was always communal and a great social event.  No one missed!

 

Breakfast was early because everyone wanted to get going fishing.  Lunch was a bag carried down to the waiting pangas on the beach along with ice and your fishing gear.  Those were exciting mornings.

 

Dinners were always fun and lively after a long fun day of fishing.

 

You definitely did not skip dinner which was always followed by bull-sessions around the pool or back on your room balcony to watch the sunset over the ocean.

 

The lights of the hotel would wink on while the setting sun painted the Baja twilight.

 

With no TV’s and in the halcyon days before laptops, ipads and smartphones, people actually talked.  After a day of fishing; a full happy tummy and some sipping tequila nothing better than fun conversation among fishing friends.

 

No one retreated to isolation unless it was to sleep or read a good book.

 

With nothing else around, darkness would come quickly.

 

But the ambience always held the congeniality of a campground as ambient laughter or the sweet smell of someone’s cigar wafted through the evening.

 

Like all fishing trips, mornings would come early.  Sometimes too early.

 

With no alarm clocks in the rooms or cell phones to set a wake-up, one of the staff would knock on your door about 4:30 a.m.  to tell you to come down for breakfast.

 

One evening, I had just gone to bed.  Having about 20 anglers there at the hotel taking one of my seminars, I was beat.

 

When you’re tired, the nights go quickly.  It seemed like I had just gone into deep sleep when I got the wake-up knock on my door.

 

I opened the door and Salvador, the night manager told me it was time to get up.  It was still dark.  Of course.

 

So, I sleepily went around from room to room and woke everyone up as was my habit when I had a group.  I then went back to my own room to get ready for the day and get down to breakfast so we could get to the boats.

 

It was then, Salvador came running frantically up to my room.  In a panic. It wasn’t 4:30 in the morning.  It was only 2 a.m.!!!!

 

Salvador’s battery-operated clock in his office had stopped.

 

Guys were already coming down with fishing gear…bleary eyes…and looking for the coffee pot.  If anyone had actually looked at their wrist watches, they’d have figured something was wrong.  But no one questioned the wake-up!

 

He and I crazily had to run around to all the room to tell everyone they could go back to bed!  We also had to tell the hotel staff as well, as they had already started cooking breakfast! Turn off the ovens and stoves! Put the eggs back in the frig.

 

There was a little grumbling and a few choice words were thrown my way, but everyone was more than happy to go back to bed.  Me included.

 

I can’t imagine that happening these days at a Hilton or a Wyndham Hotel.

 

Old Baja, back in the day.  You really had nothing, but you had everything.

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

Mexico Office: Tailhunter International, 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter International, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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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STAY FOR DINNER! SPANISH FOOD ON THE MENU!

 

Stay for Dinner!  We Have Spanish Food on the Menu! 

Originally Published the Week of April 10, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

A couple of columns back I had written about some history I found in an old book detailing the issues the Spanish had in colonizing the area around La Paz where we live.  Getting the especially belligerent tribes to submit took more than a century longer than other areas of Baja.

 

In that particular report, I had written how the tribesman had “gifted” the Spanish loaves of papaya bread.  It was nothing  like your Aunt Mary gives you for Christmas.

 

The papaya was made from crushed papaya seeds AFTER the tribes had eaten the seeds;  digested them; gathered up the droppings;  THEN baked them up for the conquistadores and padres.  Initially the naïve colonists accepted and ate them with glee.

 

Well…then, the masters found out!  Gag!  Choke! Spit!

 

Remember those Cub Scout cupcake sales as a kid?  Ex-laxing those confections?

 

Well…Whether it was a genuine gift or simply the Indians pranking the Spaniards we’ll never know.  The Europeans’ taste buds and culinary sensibilities were not amused in the slightest.  They retaliated with violence against those dastardly locals.  Complete buzz kill.

 

Recently, I again found myself pouring over some old Baja books in my collection.  One was copy of  the book written by my venerable predecessor at Western Outdoor News, Ray Cannon.  You never know when a gem might pop up.

 

His 1966 book published by Sunset entitled “The Sea of Cortez” is required reading for any Baja aficionado.  If you can get your hands on a copy it’s what Genesis is to the Bible for Baja fans.

 

Just looking at the black and white photos will give you a sense of what Baja was before it was really discovered.  Indeed, many a Baja fan got their fires first kindled reading Ray Cannon’s book as well as his historic columns in Western Outdoor News.

 

Regretfully, I ashamedly have never read the entire edition, but I keep it handy in my library and it’s one of those books I pull down from time-to-time and always find a treasure.

 

Like my previous article  food comes into focus.  But, in a different way this time.

 

One of Ray’s chapters is about the Midriff Islands appropriately located about half-way down the Sea of Cortez.  It’s the narrowest part of the Sea and “Midriff” somewhat describes how the ocean is pinched like a woman’s waist in that area.  The Midriff Islands somewhat form irregular stepping stones between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico.

 

On the far eastern edge lies the large island of Tiburon aka “Shark Island.”  It sounds like the name of another reality show.  It’s the largest island in the Sea of Cortez and encapsulates about 450 square miles.

 

Cannon described his earliest visit to the island then inhabited by the nomadic Seri Indians.  They put to shore in a small skiff off their larger vessel. Cannon remembers as they neared shore about a dozen fierce men and women ran out to meet them.  The were brandishing “deadly looking shark spears.”  Ray and his companions quickly reversed course and paddled back.

 

It was later he was told by his Mexican crew why they did not want to accompany Cannon to visit the island.

 

Apparently, people had been disappearing on mysterious “Shark Island” for centuries.   And “not just into thin air” as Cannon recounted.  They disappeared into the soup pot.  Or staked to the barbecue.

 

This included sailors, explorers, gold miners and others.  Never heard from again although bits of pieces of people had been recovered over the years.

 

The Seri Indians never admitted it.  Who me?  Nah!  Must be some other guys.  Would never do that!  Never saw the gringos you’re looking for.

 

But…The Spanish explorers had kept logs of it.  Dating back to the Spanish days, shipwrecked sailors had washed up and found refuge on Tiburon’s rocky shores.

 

The forlorn sailors were grateful to be taken in kindly by the Seri inhabitants.  They were treated and fed well.  Like one of the family. They got fat and sassy.  Living the dream on an island!

 

Until it came time for the big fiesta and finding out the Seri tribespeople were really into Spanish food.  In fact, Spanish dishes were the main course.

 

Over the years, more mysterious “disappearances” fed the stories.

 

History reports that up until the late 50’s the Mexican government allowed the Seri to remain on Tuburon Island. By this time, the tribe, once estimated as large as 5,000 had been reduced to a handful by the usual culprits.   Most notably, they fell victim to European disease.

 

The government had one caveat.  No more cannibalism.   Change your diet! Find a different source of protein.

 

Then some Mexican fishermen went missing.

 

This caused the government to ship the whole tribe of several hundred to the Mainland.

 

Today, the Tiburon Island is operated as a wildlife refuge and very few Seri remain where they are known for artistic basket weaving and those dark ironwood sculptures.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

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