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FIRST TIMER FAQ

FIRST TIMER FAQ

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

Tourist with thumb up

Anyone who is in the travel industry has endured quite a year.  We have run our fishing operation in La Paz now for over 25 years. 

Being in Mexico, with it’s pre-existing stereotypes didn’t help much either.  Having Covid restrictions was just a dog-pile on top none of us needed.

Our operation is fairly large, but ultimately, we’re a mom-and-pop business.  It’s just me and my wife, Jilly.  We wear a lot of hats.  Some of them at the same time.

I will readily admit, Jilly is the brains of the operation.  After working with me all these years, she would probably laughingly concur with that assessment.

But, I do have my moments!  And I do bring some modicum or skill to the table.

I handle a lot of the bookings and scheduling.  That’s been my forte.  The seller.  The closer.  Whatever you want to call me. 

I don’t look at it like sales.  To me, it’s simply inviting people to come play in my sandbox and enjoy some smiles down in Mexico.

It involves a lot of e-mails, calls and other social media.  Lots of back-and-forth.

 But, it’s fun and a great opportunity to get to know folks.  And we become friends, long before they ever actually arrive to visit.

But, lately, the inquiries have been changing. 

Mexico is becoming a go-to spot for vacations during the pandemic.  Even with the borders technically closed to “non-essential” traffic, that’s quite ambiguous and loosely defined. 

Mexico needs U.S. tourism.  They CRAVE American tourism and I’ve never heard of anyone being turned away.

In that regard, Mexico tourism, has been surging.  Airlines are adding routes to keep up with the demand.  Planes are full.

And why not? 

Mexico is close.  It’s easy.  It’s economical.  There’s no testing.  No quarantine.  It’s easy to return back home.   

To some people, it’s not even like going to a foreign country.  They have visited so often.  It’s a no-brainer escape for Americans edging to get out.

And for 2021,  I’m getting a lot of first-timers.

Not just first-timers to Mexico.

First time out of the U.S.  First time fishing.  First time salt-water fishing.  I have even gotten inquiries from folks who have never even seen the ocean!

Some actually do their due diligence about where they are going. 

Others?

I think they just throw a dart at the map and see where it sticks.  Or they hit the internet and willy-nilly pick a spot that has nice pictures of beaches and palm trees.

They often seem to know very little about where they are actually going!

For instance, just a few days ago, I had a call from a husband.  He already had his plane tickets to La Paz.

During a casual conversation, he asked me, “When we are in La Paz, do you think we’ll be able to go to dinner in Cancun?”

I had to think about how to answer that one.

When I told him Cancun was about 4,000 miles on the other side of the Mexico, he incredulously didn’t believe me at first.  He and his wife were really set on taking some time to visit Cancun. 

Twice this past week, I’ve had folks wanting me to book fishing in the morning in Loreto. In the afternoon, they want to fish in La Paz.

I had to explain that La Paz is 5 hours away by car from Loreto.

One guy said, “Really, it’s only 2 inches away from each other on the map!”

Late last year, we were walking some clients out to the beach to board the pangas to go fishing that morning.  The sun was just starting to come up.

One of the clients had never ever seen the ocean!

Mesmerized, he said, “Wow, it’s REALLY big!”

Then, he did something crazy in front of all of us.  He suddenly knelt down. He cupped a handful of ocean and drank it!

“HOLY C#@P, that’s freakin’ salty! Oh my gawd!” he spit, choked and sputtered.

I grabbed a some bottled water and handed it to him.  And continued laughing along with my captains and the guy’s buddies.

And then there is the mom who asks if there is a market near the hotel where they are staying.  She wants to buy bread.

Why?

She heard from friends that people get sick eating Mexican food and drinking the water.  So for her family, she was packing lunch meats and condiments to make sandwiches and lots of bottled water in their ice chests.

They planned to eat all their meals in their hotel room with their 2 kids.

I had a hard time proving the negative.  Mexico has great food and restaurants.

They come to visit in June.  Hopefully, I’ll have convinced her by then it’s OK to grab some tacos.

That’s my story!

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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YOU’RE GOING TO…MEXICO?

YOU’RE GOING TO…MEXICO?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 15, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

         Covid rates are surging on both sides of the border and hitting records. There is huge trepidation about the consequences of the holiday gatherings still to come.

         Subsequently, it’s no surprise that Mexico and the U.S. appear to be extending the travel ban along the border through January.  The ban has prohibited all non-essential travel since March. 

         Both governments, as well as health organizations (too many alphabetic acronyms to remember), are warning people in no uncertain terms about taking a trip south of the border, especially during the holidays.

         Northern Baja is still rated as “red” on high alert.  Southern Baja is in danger of going from “yellow” back to “orange.”

         But wait…what gives?

#5 CAbo airport waiting area

         The Cabo Airport is full of arriving visitors.

         Airlines are adding more flights to keep up with the demand.  Forget leaving that middle seat empty.  Flights are full and people are paying premium prices.

         The booze cruise is full.

         Tourism rates show 70-90% are Americans.  Last month, some figures showed an increase in tourism of almost 200% over the same time last month.

         Mexico reports that in the last two months almost 2 million visitors arrived in Cabo alone.  Other Mexican tourist destinations are seeing similar up-ticks.

         Charter boats are selling out.

         Restaurants and hotels are hiring back staff furloughed during the early days of quarantine.  Reservations are being recommended again.

         Our own Western Outdoor News Cabo Tuna Jackpot held last month, literally at a moment’s notice, drew 149 teams and over 600 anglers and almost 1000 participants in 2 months.  This, even with the fact that covid protocols prevented any banquets, cocktail parties, live music or huge award dinners!

         It would seem there’s a huge contradiction going on here.

         For one, let’s talk about that “border closure.”   The term “non-essential travel” does not apply to taking a plane, a boat or train to get across the border. 

         Fishing (lucky us!) has been deemed to be an essential activity. 

         So has visiting friends and family…shopping…checking on some property. 

         Wink! Wink!  There’s a lot of loopholes here. 

Frankly, the “mandate” to stay away is really more like a “strong suggestion.”  I don’t know of anyone that has been turned away from travel.

         If you’re travelling commercially, there’s a good chance your temperature will be taken.  You’ll have to probably fill out a form asking the usual questions about your health and proximity to anyone with the virus.  Or if you’ve had it.

         If I suddenly showed a temperature, I’d think twice about getting on a plane so it’s not a big deal.  I’ve flown three times in and out’ve Mexico in 2020.  I have yet to have anyone actually collect the form I was asked to fill out. 

         I did have someone at the airport verbally ask me how I felt.  I said “fine.”  He said, “Bienvenidos a Mexico!”

         I think people have just made a personal choice to travel.  Bottom line.

         They are either sick of being cooped-up (“quarantine fatigue”).  Or they know the risks and decide to travel anyway.  Or, going to Mexico is no more dangerous than eating at McDonalds back home or shopping at Target.

         For one thing, it’s surely easy to get to Mexico. 

         You don’t have to be tested to visit.  No papers to show.  You don’t have to quarantine to visit. 

         To many people, going to Mexico is no big deal on many levels.

         “I’ve been to Mexico so many times, it’s no different than my flying to Las Vegas from my home in Denver,” said Jerry who was waiting in line for his rental car.

         “It’s easy.  It’s familiar.  As long as I have internet, I can work.  Believe me it’s a lot easier working on my computer looking at the beach than from my office in Colorado.”

         I talked to Maribel in a restaurant in Todos Santos.   

         “I was thinking of Europe for the holidays and an extended vacation,” she chatted, “But what if there’s another lockdown in Italy or England or somewhere else.  I’m stuck a long way from home.  Mexico won’t keep me,” she went on.  “Easier to get home!” she laughed.

       Her friend, Monique added, “I was thinking of Alaska or Canada to visit friends and family, but I would have to show that I had been tested or visitors had to be quarantined for awhile.  Same with Hawaii.  Mexico was uber-convenient. Less fuss.”

      Daniele is a nurse in Florida.  Her husband Travis is a doctor.  Both work in a hospital with Covid patients.  They were down for the 2nd time this year to use their timeshare.

       I just had to ask them…”So, does the mask make a difference?”

     “Absolutely, yes it does!” responded Travis with no hesitation.  “But, I think if you just take normal common sense pre-cautions like you would for a cold or flu, you’re covering yourself.”

     “Frankly, we feel almost safer here in Mexico than walking around back home,” added his wife, Daniele.

     “Crowds have been down.  Hotels, beaches, restaurants and other tourist spots have a lot fewer people than normal.  I mean, hotels are only allowed 30 or 40% occupancy.  Everyone takes your temperature before you enter any building or activity and everyone gives you a squirt of anti-bacterial gel too. Mask wearing is just a given down here. I think the tourism sector is going out of their way to make sure tourists feel safe.”

         Feeling safe.  Just a matter of personal choice.  A lot of Americans seemingly have no problem with it.

That’s my story

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

Originally Published The Week of Nov. 25, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications. 

             I pretty much wrote this week’s column lying flat on my back looking up at the sky.  Pretty unusual position for “word-smithing.”

         Most of the time, I write at my desk. Sitting up. 

           It’s in the middle of the night at the end of a long workday that usually starts about 4 a.m.  Or, if I’m “lazy” and couldn’t think of anything the night before, I scramble to compose something before the sun comes up and the day goes full-turbo!

         But, lying flat on my back, I’m looking at clouds drifting by as languidly as I was feeling. 

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

         Some Kenny Chesney “No Shoes No Shirt No Problem” playing on Spotify competing with the rise-and-fall crescendo of surf as a soundtrack.

         And this week’s column just sort of wrote it self. It auto-composed in my head in about 5 minutes.

         I was just lying there on that warm sand felling really tired.  Not just tired. 

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

         I had just come off the water.  Nope.   For once, not fishing.  Not diving either.

         Surfing.  Yup.  That kind of surfing.  Like on a board.

       My wife, Jill, and I had spent the better part of the afternoon surfing and using muscles that we had not used in…well…years!  I think the last time I “surfed” Baja, I had been driving my dad’s Pinto station wagon.

       Me, and a bunch of underage high-school buds on a flyer across the border below Rosarito Beach with $20 between the three of us; a bag of Doritos; and 3 days to waste on the waves.

       Yea, it had been a long time.

         Surfing muscles are not the same as fishing muscles.  Not the same as SCUBA muscles.  And no matter how much Jill and I had lied to ourselves, we were not “in shape” to be paddling out…fighting waves…fighting the board.

         I grew up in Hawaii, but my “old man” muscles were B–tching me out so very badly. 

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

                     But, I gotta tell you, it was a good soreness.  And Jill and I had the biggest smiles on our faces as we lay splayed-out on the beach.  

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

                   The sun rays warmed me from above and the hot sand warmed me from below.

                  It was like being a kid again and coming out’ve the pool and lying face-down on that warm cement without a care-in-the-world.  You know that feeling. 

                 Summer vacation. No school.  No homework. You had no place else to be except right then and there. Contentment.

                 And that was me.  Except I was lying looking up.

                 And I realized I had nowhere to be except right then and there. On that beach at that moment studying some dumb clouds.  No shoes. No shirt.  No problems.

                It finally just got to us.  Yea, we live and work in Baja. 

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

                  But, like everyone, no matter where you are, it’s been a tough year.  And this year, it seemed like we worked even harder-than-ever just trying to tread water like everyone else.

                 Being in the travel industry with our fishing fleets and restaurant, it was especially brutal.

                Surely, fewer clients and less business, but like I said, we seemed to work twice-as-hard just trying to keep what we had.  Working double to keep from sliding backwards even more. 

              Almost like surfing.  Paddle paddle paddle to get out.  Wave knocks you back. 

             Paddle paddle paddle to go a little further.  Another wave knocks you back again. 

            Just trying to get out past the white water to where that tasty curl tantalizes you with a rewarding ride back to the beach.  Paddle paddle paddle.  Can’t stop. Gotta get past that white water.

           Catch one or two, but mostly paddling paddling and more tiring paddling.

          Like life right now. 

         No days off and …UP-TO-HERE…with it all. 

         Covid…quarantine…restrictions…economy…politics…elections…unrest.  The “whitewater” of life, right? The cacaphony that never stops assaulting you.

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

        We never ever take time off.  But,it was time. 

         We didn’t tell any of our staff where we were going.  Basically told them, don’t burn down the building.  Don’t let anyone steal anything.  We’ll be in touch.

         In fact, I didn’t even tell my wife where we were going.

         I pretty much told her to grab some clothes for a few days.  Threw her and our rescue cat, my guitar,  and some gear in our Honda.  It’s the one with the busted air-conditioner and that overheats if I drive faster than 50mph and left.

         We drove. And drove.

And made a left off the highway down a dusty washboard dirt road.

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

         Our “rustic” cabana had holes in the palapa roof.

         Some lights didn’t work.  Others had those god-awful curly “economy” bulbs that save you 5 bucks over 100 years.

         A threadbare hammock tied between two palm trees.  It might have been a fishing net at one time.

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

         I don’t even want to tell you the name of the beach because the area is begging for a paved road and some high-rise hotels that will come soon enough, I imagine.

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

         And there were some waves that just begged to be ridden.

         And an ice chest full of cold ones that needed some attention too.

         And 3 days extended into 5 days of sun, sand, surf, card-playing and just the very best kind of “social distancing” that we probably could all use right now.

         Might still be there if we didn’t run outta cat food.

         And lying on my back like a very tired beached sealion soaking up the rays and watching clouds moving left-to-right.

Smiling.

         And while we were gone, the world did not blow up.  Our business did not burn down.  The problems of the world were still there when we got back. 

         We did not miss a thing.

         But finding that little stretch of Baja beach made all the difference.

         For now.

         We brought that beach home with us in a manner of speaking.  I brought this essay that wrote itself.

         Like that beer commercial says, I hope you find your beach. 

         Somewhere. 

        If not on a stretch of sand.  Then a backyard.  A park. Or some space where you can close the door.

       Away from the madness.  Close your eyes. Shut off the sound. Take a breath. Find that beach and watch the clouds.

That’s my story!

Jonathan


______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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SMALL CO-INCIDENCES…LITTLE BLESSINGS

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 20, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

_____________________

It’s been a helluva year, hasn’t it?

Definitely one for the books and a year none of us will ever forget.  It’s been unlike any year in history if you think about it.  Surely, in our lifetimes.

…and it’s not over yet.

…and it’s not going to change automatically just because the calendar flips to 2021 in two months.  Or because the crazy election is over in November. 

We simply don’t know.  Maybe it will get worse.  Quien sabe?  Who knows?

I was thinking about that the other day.  It could get worse?  Really?

For ourselves, how many more punches to the nose can we take and still remain standing?

And while I was sitting there sinking into “bluesville” and edging into feeling sorry for myself…

My wife, Jilly nudged me as she often does and interrupted my thoughts.  She’s always looking at her cellphone.

“Hey, look at this photo of the grandkids!  Pretty cute aren’t they?”

A cellphone with two grinning little ones was shoved into my face. 

…and I laughed.

Yea. They are pretty cute at that. 

“Remember that last time when we had them over for that barbecue? We had the huge blow-up pool from Walmart all set up and we all jumped in and splashed around with them?”

Actually, I do.  And it was a lot of fun.  Silly fun with silly grandkids and sillier adults.

And it made me smile.

Maybe it was more than just serendipitous co-incidence that she had nudged me.

Divine intervention? 

A poke from the galactic powers of the universe to sit up and take notice and stop whining?

There really were a lot of reasons to smile. 

In the middle of all the insanity, there were and are many blessings.

In fact, at the time this happened, my toes were buried in warm sand.

On a beach. At the ocean… in the sunshine… under a palapa with a plate of shrimp and a cold beer.

How terrible is that?

Only reason for that was business was slow. Like all businesses. Bummer.  Had a few hours to kill.

We live about 30 yards from the water’s edge.  Gosh…we run a fishing operation in Baja where I daily have to push boats into the water by hand up to my waist in the waves. 

Our restaurant is on the waterfront steps from the bay.

And I realized this was the first time in more than five years that I had actually taken time with my wife to sit on the beach. 

Because business was slow.

But, here I was.  Able to  sit and enjoy and put my toes in the sand and jump into the water…not for work.  Just for the heck of it.

We had snuck away from work for just a few precious hours. 

And then all the other stolen moments…that we never get to do normally.

Dinner out with clients.

Taking time to smoke a cigar and have a beer with friends.

Time with the kids and watching the grandkids grow up.

Watch a movie on TV from beginning-to-end without having to watch it in 30-minute increments over a week.

All the home dinners where Jill and I got to play in the kitchen and actually have real conversations.

Occasional naps.

I actually finished a book or two.

I had time to do some gardening and construction projects

Take a walk.

All the little unusual blessings in the maelstrom of a turbulent year.

I NEVER do these things.  I never have time to do these things running our businesses. 

Forced “time out.”

And, all those other things?

Ultimately, they were just “inconveniences.”  Most things we don’t like in life are just that…inconveniences.

There aren’t that many things in life that are “critical” if you have your health and family.

This just happened to be a year of more than incredible “inconveniences.”

We all had our health.

Wearing masks…inconvenience.

Social distancing…(sigh)…inconvenience.

No restaurants…movies…parks…sports…inconvenience.

No more than 2 persons in a car…inconvenience.

Re-runs on Netflix and Roku…inconvenience.

Getting completely sanitized before they let you into any building…inconvenience.

Standing in line at 4 a.m. for groceries and toilet paper…BIG STUPID INCONVENIENCE.

Waiting 40-deep at markets for beer here in Baja when they shut down the breweries (non-essential business)…MAYBE THE BIGGEST STUPIDEST INCONVENIENCE OF ALL!

But we endured.  And we endure s’more.

Many many many folks here in Baja and everywhere in the world have it so much worse than us. It’s beyond critical. It’s tragic.

There’s a zillion conflicts and turmoils swirling everywhere. 

But right now.  Right then… Next to my wife on a sunny beach in Mexico is a blessing.

Will have to clean up and get back to work in an hour or so.

But, I gotta remember to savor these little moments. Little co-incidences.  Little blessings.  Little miracles.

Please pass me another beer.

And thank you, Lord.   Thank you galactic powers of the universe.

For small blessings and little miracles. And co-incidences.

And the occasional poke in the side.

That’s my story…

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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THEY’RE MAKING IT TOO EASY!

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 16, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publicaitions

License plates say a lot about certain areas. 

Arizona’s plates proclaim the “Grand Canyon State.”Georgia’s plates tell you they have a lot peaches.

Minnesota wants you to know that they’ve got “10,000 lakes.” The “Corn State” is Iowa.  Easy one.

I’m not quite sure about South Carolina as “the iodine state?”  Hmmm…

Anyway, you get the gist.

Baja California’s license plate tells you it’s the “Frontera”. The Frontier.

Back in the day, almost 3 decades ago, when I first showed up down here in Baja, It surely was.  On my first trip diving down by myself, it was not without some trepidation.

Armed with Auto Club Maps, tour books, extra water, gasoline, engine hoses and belts, shovels and even extra toilet paper, I sallied forth across the border.  And there was no mistaking when you came across that threshold at Tijuana.

You were indeed, NOT in the U.S. any longer.

It looked different.  It felt different. Even the Mexican air felt different.

And when you finally broke out past the dusty concrete block buildings; tire shops; mom-and-pop taco stands and roadside vendors and into the open arid desert heading south, you were on an adventure. 

That desert went on for endless miles.  It still does.

Over the many years, it has continued to be an adventure.  And to live down here in those days, meant living on a much narrower margin of error than back in the U.S.

If you needed something, you didn’t just go down to the mall or Home Depot. If something broke, you fixed it or did without.

If you had to get from Point A to Point B, you had to ask yourself, how essential was it to get there?  Did you have enough gas?  Could you even buy gas? Did you even have transportation?  Many is the time I walked…and walked…and walked s’more!

Finding the simplest thing could take an entire day driving from place to place.

Everything had to be planned and calculated.

You actually had to plan meals way in advance. 

Running out’ve tomatoes or sugar wasn’t as simple as getting to the nearby grocery store.  Maybe you’re out’ve water.  Even more critical.

Even if you got there, there was no guarantee that they even had tomatoes or sugar…or water!

Things weren’t fixed by a simple phone call or checking the internet. There was no internet.  No cell phones.

You could wait days or weeks for the simplest of services.

Initially, this took some getting used to.  As Americans we’re used to having everything there at our fingertips. 

But, living in Mexico took some adjustment.  And for me, living out in the Mexican countryside made things double-hard…or at least incredibly inconvenient.  You just learned to get along without…or adapt. 

It could get frustrating.  At times, it could be precariously dangerous or urgent. It still is for a majority of folks down here.

We used to love it when a friend would travel back to the states. They carried lists of all the things that could be (dare-I-say) “smuggled back” down to Baja.

Please bring me music cassettes, a tool, a pair of shoes, some fishing line…Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue…American food!  Sausage…cheese…jerky…maple syrup…coffee!

Friends and clients used to actually bring famous In-N-Out hamburgers down to me from California.  They were cold and greasy, but what a treat!

I would hoard and eat by myself where no one could see me devilishly inhaling that cold burger like a little pack rat.  It was manna from heaven!

All of these things were the trade-off for being able to live by the ocean in a beautiful place.

That was living in the “frontera” of Baja.

Fast forward 2020.

Transportation?

A good number of my office staff arrive by Uber. Clients make their way around town or arrive at our restaurant by Uber.  Need to get somewhere?  It’s as easy as tapping out the app on your cellphone.

Three years ago, there were 8 Uber cars here in La Paz.  Now, it seems half the population is an Uber driver. 

You don’t have the ability to get bigger or smaller vehicles or share rides, but compared to transportation even 5 years ago, Uber is a no-brainer.  It’s just good solid transportation for a fraction of the cost.

 Locals don’t have to take crowded buses or walk.  Visitors don’t have to rent cars or take expensive taxis.

My own car is good for about 5 miles.  That’s it.  Then it overheats.  Uber has been the answer.

In fact, I don’t even need to spend/ waste a day hunting for many things anymore.

As I write this in my office, the delivery man just dropped off an Amazon box. 

Yes the magic “A” word! Danger! Danger!

Thank you.  Finally. Got that coffee bean grinder we “really” needed. 

Let me put it over there with the box that came yesterday with the special diet cat food for our rescue cat; wine bottle openers for our restaurant; and the new electric toothbrush.

All “essential” things!

The day before that, they even delivered on Sunday.  Got that cool set of patio lights; a new folding stepstool and even guitar strings!  Waited two-whole days for that delivery!

Yes, convenience has arrived.  And it’s been a game changer, even a life saver.

They’re making it too easy. And easy to get spoiled.

Progress and technology in Baja.  Living the dream!

Now, if only they could deliver one of those In-N-Out burgers hot!  Hopefully, another story for another time.

That’s my story!

Jonathan
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing8030 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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A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

A PARALLEL UNIVERSE?

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 18, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

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Have you ever found yourself during the day going through your usual routine and everything is just dandy?   But somewhere, somehow you feel something is not quit right.

Hmmm….

Did you leave the iron on or tthe water running back home?  Nope.

Forget to feed the dogs and cats?  Nope

Got your wallet and keys?  Check.

A birthday or anniversary or other event missed?  Nope

Underwear on right side out?  All good.

Just can’t put your finger on it.  But, you know something just isn’t co-pacetic.  There’s a slight disturbance in the force.

 

We’ve been up and running our fishing operation and small café and mini-market mostly for 2 months now here in La Paz.  Like everyone else, just trying to pull-it-together and hold-it-together after 4 months of strict quarantine.

Moving forward as as best as we can.  No other choice.

We’re thankful to be on our feet.  Moving slowly, but gratefully.  There’s a lot of our friends and neighbors who are not so lucky.  No jobs.  No money. Closed businesses.  Layoffs continuing.

We are allowed only 30% occupancy at hotels and restaurants as well as other places of business.   But frankly,  there’s not enough people around to come close to that.  Maybe 10-20% on a good day.

I guess, however, we’re settling into our groove.  We have clients and friends coming and going like usual.   They’re catching fish and doing the things they always do.

But after two months something is sorely amiss or missed.

We’re missing something here.

It wasn’t until about a week ago, it hit me.  I was saying good bye to some folks that  were headed out to the airport.   And I reailzed…in SIX DAYS… I hadn’t even seen their faces!  I had no idea what they looked like.

Conversely, they hadn’t seen mine either.

I’m not sure how to describe this.

When they arrive from the airport, they have their masks and go straight to their rooms.   I see them for about 5 minutes in the morning when we put them on the boats.

On the boats,  everyone is masked up.  The captains are wearing them.  The clients are wearing them.  It doesn’t do much for social interaction.  No one likes talking through a mask.

When they come to our restaurant, again, mask are on.  They take them off when they are eating, but because of social distancing, it’s not like the old days when I’d pull up a chair; have a beer and socialize.

Or I stand 6’ away and try to have some kinds of conversation.   It’s not very conducive to chatting.

So, after a number of days here, clients come.  They go.  And I’ve spent maybe 15 minutes total time with them.  Hello.  Now good-bye!

Hate to admit it, but with the safety protocols, it’s lonely and boring!  I understand the need for all of these things to be in place.  But they have made fishing and dining so anti-septically clinical,  that it’s truly taken the fun out’ve it.

Fishing was always a social event.  You get together with the guys or the family and you come fish and have a good time.  We chat and laugh and I get to see real smiles.

We don’t even shake hands, hug or high-five anymore. When they’re trying to show off-photos of their catch, be careful not to get too close.

I can’t help carry their luggage.  No one touches anything or immediately, you pull your gel out.

Even moving around town is different.

Have you ever been to Universal Studios where you’re walking down one of those movie-set city blocks?”   Everything in those movie cities and neighborhoods is perfect.

The people are perfect. Cars are perfect.  Everything is clean and spotless.   Everyone looks straight ahead. Got their masks on.  No eye contact.  No “Buenos dias.”  No waving hello.  No talking.

If anyone were smiling, you would never know it.

It’s just like they are all movie “extras” following a script and you’re just in the middle wondering what’s going on.

People here move from Point A to Point B and then they get off the street.

There’s no kids out.  There’s no teenagers out.  No families.

No laughter.  No smiles.  No joy.  No fun.

That’s what’s missing.

…and that’s my story.

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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.”

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BAD NEWS – GOOD NEWS – A GLIMMER OF HOPE

 

CAncel?BAD NEWS GOOD NEWS and a GLIMMER of HOPE

Originally Published the Week of May 1, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve become a junkie for Mexico news of late.  It’s not only for my own benefit, but especially to keep friends, clients and everyone else informed as much as possible.

 

Not even including phone calls, I think I field well over 100 e-mails a week.

 

It’s not easy covering Mexico.  It’s like someone asking how are things in the United States.  It’s a big country.

 

Any statements you read here in this confined space easily tend to over-simplify a myriad of variables.  And, just as easily be completely wrong, especially with a rapidly changing situation. Such as it is.

 

Just like in the U.S., reports conflict daily.  Everyone has a different opinion.

What’s working in Oregon isn’t necessarily good for Florida.  How does one accurately make a blanket statement  that covers  Michigan, Texas and Wyoming?

 

Mexico has 32 states. It’s the world’s 13th largest country with about 133 million people that are just now getting what a lot of the world has been dealing with for several months.

 

Just covering Baja itself is 1000-mile-long peninsula.  Most folks don’t realize it comprises two states.

 

Baja Norte (Northern Baja) encompasses cities such as Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali and San Felipe.

 

Baja Sur (Southern Baja) is where Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Mulege and Todos Santos are located.

 

Plus, there’s a ba-zillion little pueblos scattered all over the rural countryside in the mountains, beaches, islands and deserts.

 

As a country, Mexico, is just hitting Phase 3 of the pandemic.  As of this writing, it has almost 16,000 cases detected with  more than 1,400 fatalitites.  Health experts say that because of the lack of testing and reporting, the number of cases is probably closer to 65,000.

 

And climbing.

 

The two states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have pretty much extended their respective quarantines until the end of May.  However, the two states are trending divergently on their viral paths.

 

Both states are in lockdown.  However, Baja Sur has suffered 12 deaths for about 266 cases.

 

Comparatively speaking, Baja Norte, has about  1200 cases with 162 deaths.  Just a month ago there were a scant dozen cases or so in Baja Norte.

 

It’s escalating rapidly.

 

Hospitals in northern Baja are already over-stressed.  The entire city of Ensenada has almost a million residents.  It not only locked itself down, it is locking everyone out.  You can’t even drive into the city.  You are turned away.

 

Additionally, along the highway, cars are being disinfected and motorists are having their temperatures taken.

 

On the contrary…

 

Southern Baja which relies so heavily on tourism, looks like it might be loosening up.

 

But, not without struggles…

 

As of last week, the governor of Baja Sur implemented even harsher restrictions.  These included 10 p.m. curfews.  All persons must now wear masks and only 1 person in a car at a time. No alcohol sales after 6 p.m.

 

Violators are confronted with fines; jail time or community services including being forced to work in the hospitals.

 

But, there might be a possible light down the road.

 

Although the quarantine will persist until May 30th, Cabo hotels have started taking new reservations for June.  This includes some of the larger and well-known properties.

 

School kids are being told that there is a good possibility that classes will resume July 1. They are talking about re-opening the beaches.

 

The ports and marinas that affect some 24,000 workers may re-open.  Restaurants are preparing to open by mid-June.

 

Further, various airlines are making noise about returning to the Mexican skies either between the latter part of May.  These include Aero Mexico (May or June).  Alaska after May.  Delta to Cancun and Mexico City.  United Airlines sometime in June.  Spirit Airlines by May or June.

 

You may not be able to DRIVE to Baja Sur, insofar as many cities and places like Ensenada are closed down.  However, no one minds if you FLY over their cities.

 

There are others.  This is all changing quickly and for better or worse,  has probably changed by the time you’re reading this!

 

So, don’t make new reservations just yet.  But, don’t cancel your current plans either.

 

Stay tuned.  I could be wrong…again.

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.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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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

dark-flash-lightning-1114690

(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!

 

foto-diariolapaz-1538346917-tormenta_truenos

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.”

 

Read Full Post »

Shut My Mouth!

Day-6-Wheeling-and-dealing-with-the-Mexican-jewelry-salesman.

That’s the idea! Have some fun with it!

Shut My Mouth

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 27, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

It was an awkward situation that had the potential to turn ugly. Actually, it already was.

On the sidewalk outside our restaurant in La Paz, a gringo (I’ll call him Pete) was getting pretty loud.

In front of him looking embarrassed and afraid was Jose who makes his living walking up and down the beach and waterfront selling jewelry. Everthing is “genuine” and of “highest quality.” (wink wink).

But he says it with a smile so you know it’s a game.

No, that $30 Rolex watch is not waterproof nor would you expect it to be! Not for $30 and you’re a doofus if you think it’s real!

But I know Jose. He’s a good guy. He works hard. He doesn’t pester or hound. Folks like him and look for him. He laughs a lot and he runs a good bargain.

That turquoise bracelet that is 100% silver he tells you it’s $60. And he laughs. He’s dangles the bait in the water.

He EXPECTS you to say “no” and give him a counter offer!

He knows that the bracelet is not worth $60 and he figures you’re smart enough to know that too! If you plop down $60 and you’re happy…well so be it!

But, you say $15. He laughs and says $50.
You say $17 and he says “no way” and laughs again. He says he can’t sell it for less than $45.

Back and forth. Back and forth. You really want it. He really wants to sell it to you.

When you both finally settle on $21 dollars, everyone is happy! He made a sale and made a few bucks. You got a pretty piece of “genuine” silver and turquoise.

Win-win. It’s the game. It’s fun. It’s expected.

That’s not how it was going today. And by the way both Pete and Jose were looking at me, I was being drawn in as a referee.

Pete was getting pretty livid.

“This guy is like all the rest. He’s just trying to rip me off!”

Whoa…I already don’t like the usage of “all the rest” and “rip me off” in the same sentence.

Calm down Pete. Let me get Jose’s side.

Jose looked like he could use some assistance because Pete’s whole family was there and Pete was still causing a commotion drawing a crowd to listen in.

Jose explained to me that he and Pete had done a deal over several items of jewelry.

Well, Pete wanted his change in dollars!

Jose is a street vendor. He doesn’t or didn’t have dollars. So, he tried to give Pete the change in pesos.

Pete didn’t want pesos, but he definitely wanted the jewelry and didn’t understand the exchange rate.

Ultimately, there was a $5 dollar difference in what Pete thought and what Jose was giving him in change. Five freakin’ dollars!

And Pete was letting everyone know about it who would listen. About getting “ripped off” by “these people.”

By the way, Pete came into town on 75’ yacht and loved telling people over and over about it and all his antique sportscars. Five dollars. Are you kidding me?

I explained to Pete about the exchange rate and that no one had been trying “rip him off. Jose didn’t have American money to give him any change.

Pete glared.

“What you gonna do, Pete? Do you want the jewelry and pesos?”

He took his family and stormed off. Mumbling something about, “What am I supposed to do with pesos in my pocket?” Emphasis on the “I” as if it was beneath him to have pesos and how demeaning it was.

Uh, you’re in Mexico, Dude. I’m sure you’ll find something to spend that on.

His pretty blonde wife and two perfect kids also walked away indignantly with their noses in the air.

Jose gave me an appreciative high-five “gracias.” He shrugged. Just another day working the street. I’m sure it’s not the first time.

I won’t write what some of the other onlookers said about Pete and his family.

It got me thinking about five dollars here in Mexico…

Five dollars a day is what some people bring home after a day of work. A six-day work weeks gets you a whopping $30 to live on.

If you have a car (rarely), it buys one gallon of gas. Not to cruise or go to the beach. Hopefully that gallon is enough to putter to and from work. hopefully enough to bring the kids to and from school.

Five dollars is a bus ride to work and back. Even though you are only making 11 dollars for working a 12-hour day.

Five dollars barely buys a crappy dinner for a family of 3. That’s 3 Cokes and 3 Cup-O-Noodles in the styrofoam cup. Salt and sugar for dinner. Highly nutritious but at least you don’t go to bed hungry.
Five bucks buys you enough propane for a week to cook and light your home.

For cleaning 15 messed-up hotel rooms by herself, five bucks is the total amount of tips your cleaning lady made at the resort you’re staying at.

Just enough to pay for her bus ride home tonite.

Enjoy that genuine silver jewelry, Pete.

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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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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