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Archive for the ‘mexican road crosses’ Category

YOU DO NOT GET A SPECIAL “AMERICAN” PASS

YOU DO NOT GET A SPECIAL “AMERICAN” PASS

Originally Published the Week of September 10, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about folks who come down to Baja, particularly here in La Paz, and ask me how to score drugs. 

The gist of my comments were generally:

  1. I’m the wrong person to ask
  2. You’re an idiot and
  3. You’re an idiot

A couple of things happened this past week that had me shaking my head and compelled me to write more about the subject of breaking the law down here. 

If you don’t want to read any further, my advice is “DON’T DO IT.”

Not only is ignorance of the law not a defense, but this is NOT the U.S.  You are GUILTY until you prove your innocence and you do NOT get some special “pass” because you assert that you’re an American. 

On the contrary.  The fact you’re a foreigner will probably make you an even bigger mark. 

Everyone else is speeding, but you blow by the police officer in a rental car.  Or everyone else goes through the stop sign except you.

Locals walk down the street with open beer cans.  So, that means you can do the same and be loud and obnoxious.

There’s some tolerance for it.  But don’t count on it.  You won’t necessarily get pegged, but why chance it?

To further illustrate, I had a young gal, maybe 20-years-old come down with a fishing group a few days ago. While the group was eating at our Tailhunter restaurant, she pulled me aside.

She was a bit tipsy.  Not a lot, but she had that “slightly buzzed” vibe to her. It might have had something to do with the margarita she had in her hand.

Or it might have had something to do with her question.

“Jonathan, do you know where I can score some weed?”

I took a moment before I answered as I looked at her slightly glazed eyes.  Somehow, I still can’t believe when folks ask me questions like this. 

Am I just too old?  Have I lost tolerance for questions like this? Do I look like the cool old guy that has the answer to finding drugs?

It was a sincere question from her.

I gave her my standard answer.  No.  I don’t know. 

And also she should be very careful about trying to score weed or drugs of any kind here in Mexico.

For one, it’s illegal.

Moreso, like any city, there are bad people that can get her in trouble.  Also, there are narcs just waiting for tourists to go around asking just those kinds of questions. 

I wasn’t dismissive.  I tried not to be the condescending old guy.  I was just giving her some advice.  I didn’t want her to get in trouble.

I also told her that if she had brought anything down to quickly get rid of it.

And that’s when I got the lecture.  From a 20-year-old.  (I’m 65 years young.)

She started on telling me it was her “right and privilege” to be able to smoke weed or whatever else she wanted to do. 

She informed me she came from a state (it wasn’t California) where it was very liberal and easy to obtain marijuana so, by her logic, that should extend to Mexico.

…just because.

And she also told me, she had paid good money (actually her parents paid) to have a great vacation in Mexico, so she figured that included the ability to “fire up a joint” if she wanted.

Besides, ”This is Mexico, where you can do whatever you want, right?” she added.

Not sure what travel brochure she had been reading, but before I could get a contrary word in, she started in about how alcohol is a worse and more dangerous drug than marijuana…as she held up the margarita in her hand to illustrate her point.

And she told me that cigarettes are more dangerous, but legal, as well. (Was this a prepared speech?) Blah blah blah. 

I have neither the time, energy or inclination to debate.  Especially with an entitled “20-something” girl clearly-armed with information and in a defensive posture.

It wasn’t the time and place. At my age, I pick my battles carefully and the hills I want to die on.  I had said my piece.

Anyway…

Before I could say anything more, she disgustedly walked away from me to rejoin her group at the restaurant table.  Where she sulked and gave me “stink eye” for the rest of the meal.

That was several days ago and the group is still fishing and having a great time.  Including her parents .

But she hasn’t said a word to me since then.  Not a smile. Not a hello.

I ruined her vacation.

I’ve become my parents.  I’m a buzz-killing old man.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________



Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

 

 

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SHUT MY MOUTH

SHUT MY MOUTH

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

They say if you own a restaurant, it’s inevitable that your employees will steal from you.  It’s a very accurate truism.

Having worked or managed 14 restaurants plus a catering business, there’s just no way to watch every single employee every single minute.

We’ve owned our own Tailhunter Restaurant here in La Paz now for 13 years on the waterfront.  Employee theft is rampant.  It’s blatant.  It’s uncontrollable.

We’ve had workers who have been with us for years.  Servers, dishwashers, manager, and cooks that we consider family. We trust them.

We provide benefits, vacations, bonuses, health care, personal loans for school and home.  Many have never had these perks working for other employers.

 If you have a problem, come to Jonathan and Jilly.  Close the office door and we’ll figure something out!

Regretfully, some of our best people have been our saddest and biggest disappointments.  And our worst thieves.

Everything from stealing tips to even stealing knives and forks.

We’ve caught managers on our security cameras walking out with cases of ribs or boxes of shrimp.  We have caughtthem smiling into the camera. 

Two of our employees climbed the roof to our upper floors.  They stole cases of liquor.  That was too easy.

Two hours later they came back.  They stole several flat screen TV’s.  Just carried them over the rooftops and down a ladder.

One employee broke into our office and stole the entire safe with the payroll!  It was bolted to the floor!  He was caught smiling into the security camera as well.

On a smaller scale, waiters will jimmy the orders and not give the cashier the full amount.  They pocket the difference.

Packs of tortillas disappear or don’t match inventory. A case of beer disappears.  What the heck happened to the fish fillets that were delivered yesterday?  I know we didn’t sell them.

We recently caught one of our best employees.  He’s a young man I’ll call Omar.  

Omar came to us and we could see he had some potential.  Never worked in a restaurant, but willing to learn.  He started in the kitchen.  Then became a server.

When we were short-handed one night, he stepped in to help our bartender during an evening rush.  The kid liked it and he had talent.

Over the next few months, he developed into one of the best bartenders we had.  Everyone loved his concoctions.  He was great with the other employees.  Omar was a real gem.  A rare find. A favorite.

Then, we caught him red-handed on the security cam.  He was in the upstairs kitchen helping himself to a pot of rice.  Had a nice bowl of it.

Geeze…not him too!

We’ve tried all kinds of ways over the years to curb the theft.  Short of firing someone, most don’t work.  Stealing continues to a larger or lesser degree.

But darnit…employees are really hard to find these days.  Good employees are even harder to find.  Good employees that we really like are an even rarer commodity.  

So we brought the kid into the office.  Omar knew he was in trouble when we shut the door.  Or worse.

I’ve always thought of him as “kid.”  Anyone under 40 years-old working for us these days is a kid.

We wanted to hear his side of the story and why he was stealing rice.  It looked like it wasn’t his first time the way he was easily spooning-up the rice in the video footage. 

Why are you stealing food?

“I was really hungry…”

That hung in the air for a moment.  The way he said it.

It wasn’t like, you or me getting “hungry” and having the “munchies.” 

He started to tear-up.  Eyes were watering .

I always thought he was in his mid-to-late 20’s.  He was only 20 years old.  For the first time, I was seeing him as a real kid.

He really WAS hungry.  He had not eaten.

Turns out this was his first real job with us.  First time he had been trusted with a position and responsibility.

Talking…listening to this kid really for the first time…

He told us he had been abandoned at an orphanage with his sister when he was 8 years old.  Parents just left them.

He bounced around in and out. 

Never got any real schooling.

Never really had a stable home situation.  Lived with his sister for awhile. They would get kicked out or they had to move.  She had her own issues of drugs.

He was never sure where he would be sleeping the next week.  The next month.  The next day. 

But, he always made it to work.

And all his life, there had never been enough food.  Not in the orphanage.  Not living with others.  Not living on his own.

Never enough food.  At night, no food security.  Not knowing where the next meal is coming from.

He was honestly hungry. 

And for the first time, we’re seeing this kid differently. 

These days with the shortage of employees we tend to grab anyone who can walk, talk, breathe and show up.   We often don’t have time to really get to know many of them.

We can’t. I know we should and we do our best.

We are jamming full-speed.  Many of them don’t last anyway these days. 

They quit.  They disappear.  Bring in the next one.

Omar had been a welcome surprise. 

And now here was a kid who was simply hungry.  For a simple bowl of rice. 

We had been ready to possibly fire him.  We were raring to give him a stern lecture or rake him over the coals.  Make an example of him to the other employees.

Over a simple bowl of rice.

The fire was not there. How could we get angry?  He needed a hug and a meal.  Not our vitriol.

Just shut my mouth!

We so take things for granted.  We Americans hear about people who don’t have enough food all the time. 

But they are always “somewhere else.”  They are not the people you are in contact with day-to-day. 

All of us have full refrigerators and pantries.  At 3 p.m., we are “starving” for a bag of chips.  Or “starving” for a candy bar.  We are “famished” to have dinner.

Just shut my mouth.  

We’re going to make some changes.  No one doesn’t eat on our watch.

That’s my story…

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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RUN or RIDE IT OUT?

RUN OR RIDE IT OUT?

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 2, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s early morning here in La Paz and still dark outside even though it’s about 7:30 in the morning. Normally, the sun is well on it’s way to sunrise.

But, it’s dark outside because we’re waiting for Hurricane Kay to hit us.  Rain has already started falling although the winds haven’t arrived yet.

Other than streetlights reflecting off shiny wet roadways, the morning is punctuated by incredibly bright flashes of lightning.  It’s pretty ominous and we’re bracing.

It’s not like we haven’t been through these before.  In almost 30 years down here, I think this would be Hurricane 10 or 11.  Maybe more. 

Some years we get them.  Then we can go years without one. Some years, we get more than one.

It’s part of living here in the tropics.  Living the dream, right?

The biggest drawback for us are all our fishermen that are here. 

Originally, Kay was supposed to only be a “tropical storm”.  It has grown up. It has grown big.  Kay is now bordering on being a category 2 or category 3 hurricane.

We saw that there was going to be a storm.  Sometimes they arrive without much warning, but this one was building.  I sent out notices to all our folks flying down that it was coming. 

Check your flight.  Let me know if you want to cancel.  There’s a good chance you might lose a day or two or all your fishing trips to cancelation.

To their credits, I suppose, no one canceled.

“I’d rather be in Baja drinking a beer in the rain than stuck in my office or stuck on the freeway back home” was the general consensus.

But, this morning, I had to inform about 40 fishermen ready to go with gear-in-hand, that we were going to cancel. Overnight, the governor had closed the port.  No boat traffic in or out.

The beaches were already getting hit.  The little storm was turning into a big chugger. 

Buzz kill.  For all of them.  Us.  My captains.  My drivers.  My support staff.  This is what we do and we hate NOT doing it.

But, it is what it is and no one can control the weather.

So, now, the issues become a little more critical.

Will the airports close?

Will we be able to fly out?

What about flooding?

What happens if we lose electicity?

The hurricane has NOT hit us yet.  It’s several hundred miles away, but it’s always drizzling rain.  You can feel the vibe. 

However, I know there’s a mass of people at the Cabo Airport trying to grab any flight they can to get outta town.

I know the roads in some places are already flooded.  Internet and phone access is already getting spotty.

(I’m hoping to finish this column and have enough wifi bars to send it to my editor on time.)

So, here’s my thoughts.

Having been through many storms including historic Odile in 2014,  I’ll be honest. Most storms are just a big inconvenience to most tourists. 

Odile was a massive an catastrophic exception.

Unless you do something truly dumb-bass like crossing a flooded arroyo; jumping into the surf; headed out in a fishing boat in big seas, you’re gonna be fine.

No one gets hurt. 

You might miss your plane.  Or your booze cruise gets cancelled and you miss a day of fishing or something.

Wifi or phone signal goes out so you can’t facetime all your friends back home about what a terrible time you’re having or you can’t watch the latest episode of the “Bachelor”.

You’re ultimately going to be OK.

Believe me, the boss will understand if you’re back to work a day or two late.

It won’t be the vacation you envisioned and you might have the most terrible of times with everything ruined.  But, you’re gonna be OK.

If you are in a situation down here and there’s a storm approaching, you do have a choice of staying or getting outta Dodge.

Remember, if you decide to bail out, the last minute tickets and reservation changes are usually difficult and very expensive.

If you’re just going to run to the airport, remember that a lot of other people have the same idea.  As mentioned, we have Hurricane Kay on it’s way and at this moment, there are 3 hour lines at the Cabo Airport of folks trying to find seats.

If you stay, what will it be like?

What are the chances you’ll lose electricity?  To me, that’s a big one.

Most resort hotels have generators.  So, you’re not going to be losing lights or other services.   If it’s not a big storm, chances of losing power are not very big anyway.

But in smaller remote areas…at small hotels that are older or boutique hotels…if you lose electricity, it can be a totally different matter.

It’s one thing to have your fishing trip canceled and stuck in your room watching Mother Nature.  It’s way different if you have no power.

Forget TV.  Smallest of your problems.

No electrical  means no air-conditioning with 80% humidity.  Ever sat in a sauna?

Many hotels have electrical pumps to pump water into rooms from cisterns.  If you have no pumps, that could also mean no showers or bathrooms either.   No phone charging on top of that. 

That could be really miserable.  We all know people that losing the ability to use their cellphones is even more important than the ability to take a shower or use the bathroom.

Or, you need that phone to check airlines!

Maybe one day we’ll be able to predict these things, and as a vacationer, there’s no real way to prepare once you’re already down here.

But, it’s something to think about.

I gotta wrap this up.  Power is getting wonky and I’m starting to lose our wi-fi signal…again.  Here we go…

It’s like the click…click…click as you ride the rollercoaster and that first hill as you slowly go up before the big drop.

Click…click…click.

You know you’re gonna be fine at the end, but in between you better hold on!

That’s my story…

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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NO ME OLVIDES (Don’t Forget Me)

DESCANSO!

NO ME OLVIDES (DON’T FORGET ME)

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

If you’ve ever driven down the Baja Peninsula or have or had the opportunity for that matter on any Mexican country highway, there is perhaps nothing more poignant then what you see on the side of the road.

Yes, if you’re not driving, stop checking your Facebook messages for a moment.  Or stop taking selfies mugging for friends back home with the beer in your hand.

Plenty of time for that.

Look up.  Look out. 

Yes, you’re gonna see a lot of scrub brush.  Cactus.  Mountains or cliffs maybe in the distance.  Crossing another dry arroyo. The Pacific or Sea of Cortez shimmering off the horizon.

No, look a little closer to the road. 

Down there closer to the pavement zooming by or on the highway shoulder. 

It’s a bit sobering.  It might even make you put your beer down for a moment and give you pause.

And reflection.

After many years down here, nothing characterizes a Baja road more than the numerous crosses and shrines built next to the road. 

Not the occasional burro.  Not the occasional loncheria taco stand. Not the faded billboard for Tecate Beer.  Not the dry desolation that looks like no one has ever been there.

Because, you see the markers and crosses and obviously, someone has indeed been there.  

And then wasn’t.  But someone is trying to remember.

They come in many shapes and sizes. 

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Some sit forlorn and forgotten. 

Crude rusting metal.  Blasted over the years by sun, wind and the other elements. 

Crumbling wooden markers that are deteriorating and eroded by the arid Baja days and freezing nights.

Others are as elaborate or well-kept as if someone visits them regularly.

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Mini concrete block sanctuaries adorned with candles and dusty plastic flowers.  Perhaps a glass-framed painting of the Virgin Mary within.

Or a saint. A little raught-iron fence around it.

Or whitewashed rocks.

Others are built from the local stone of the area into little cairns or grottos.  Perhaps a wooden name hammered on the front.

Some might have some special crucifix made by some skilled craftsman.  Way back. 

You might see a number of markers in a row.  A family?

I have often been asked about them down here.

They are not grave markers although that is often the common sentiment among visitors.   That can sometimes be confusing.  The local name for them is “descansos.”  (Resting place)

But, they do mark a spot where tragedy happened. 

simple cross

The story has it that originally, the practice of marking goes back to the days of the missionaries and conquistadors.  It was a tough trail back then as they criss-crossed the continent for church, crown and gold.

They marked you where you fell.  Then end of your personal trail in life.

So, originally, they truly were grave markers. 

You were covered up and the explorers kept moving. The early pioneers, trappers, soldiers and settlers did the same in the U.S.

But modernly, the spots in Mexico don’t mark the spot of interment.  Rather, they spiritually mark the spot where the “soul left the body.”

So, most often it’s a roadside accident.

And there are a lot of markers along the roads. 

Mexican highways can be notorious for accidents.  Poor construction such as lack of barriers or maintenance; inadequate grading; poor lighting; poor markings and signage have all contributed.

Animals such as goats, cows, burros and horses regularly cross highways.  It is not uncommon for animals to sleep at night on the warm asphalt or gravel especially on colder desert nights.

Add to that the human factor.  Actually it’s A LOT of human factor.

Simple bad driving.  High speed. Alcohol.  Bad judgement or a bad vehicle. 

Living in Mexico, it’s a daily occurrence to see local folk who treat the road like their personal Hot Wheels track and most folks have never had a formal driving lesson.  You pass the test, you get your card.  

Heck, many folks I know do not even really have  licenses.

Rules of the road are “self-regulated” and there are no infractions unless you get caught.

But as you travel, you see these memorials.  The bottom of a curve.  In the mountains.  Rocky areas.  Tricky turns. 

All evident of a violent and untimely place where souls left their bodies.

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Other times, there is no indication of what might have occurred on some long stretch of road.  Perhaps someone just feel asleep.  Perhaps an animal or another car.

Often the memorials are adorned with a mangled car door.  Maybe the hubcaps or side view mirrors and debris from the vehicle.

To go along with the occasional wreath or flowers or glass candles.  Or whatever creative construction has been erected by the survivors.

It’s a fascinating and reflective opportunity if you get the chance to stop to examine some of these memorials to lives suddenly ended. 

Descansando en Paz…resting in peace.

Drive carefully yourself!

That’s My Story…

Jonathan

______________

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

_____________

 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

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

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