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Archive for the ‘Mexico economy’ Category

So…What Do You Think About…?

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My wife, Jilly, keeps telling me I’m an “acknowledged expert” on Baja fishing.

 

Frankly, I love the compliment, but it still makes me a tad uncomfortable.  I’m not an expert on anything!

 

I used to tell people that I’m only an “expert” for  about 5-minutes at a time at  a cocktail party.  That’s as good as I get.

 

Nuclear physics?  Sure!

Move to the next group.

 

World economics? Sure!

Excuse me, gotta get more of that yummy spinach dip.

 

Babylonian architecture?  Sure?

I’ll be right back!

 

Czechoslavakian cuisine? 

OK…but only for 3 minutes.

 

I move from cocktail group to cocktail group!

 

But for Baja fishing?  I’d say I’m “above average.”   Better than a lot.  Not as good as I’d like to be.  Not as good as a lot of others.

 

But, I do get a lot of fishing questions directed my way. We own a fishing operation.  I get it.  I do my best to answer and educate.  There’s no bad questions!

 

The hardest questions, however, are the ones about tackle and gear.

 

I get them especially about this time of year.  The fishing season is going to kick ramp-up as waters get warmer.  Anglers have been shopping or about to go out shopping.

Also, a lot of fishermen have been to the fishing and hunting shows buying the “latest and greatest.”  Tackle boxes are bulging!

 

There’s so much technology out there.  “Made by fishermen for fishermen!” Help me if I ever hear or see that again.

 

If God ever made a more ingenious and inventive group of guys always willing to build, invent or conjure the “better way to catch a fish”  it was fishermen.

 

Sometimes, I think that’s why Jesus grabbed a bunch of fishermen as his Apostles.  Never a dull moment figuring out ways to increase the catch whether He was speaking about fish or souls!

 

I have no doubt they had some “unofficial” time drinking wine or beer and telling a tall tale or two (although outright lying was a no-no given that Jesus could tell you were lying!)

 

I’ve been victim to it as well.  My garage workshop has, at times, been covered with my tinkerings to build a better lure; develop a new color;  a more comfortable tuna harness…etc. etc.

 

But, I get e-mails and phone calls asking me what I think about the newest so-and-so-lure.  Or some new-fangled reel or about whether some new scientific aerospace-atomic fishing line will work?

 

And I have to show my hand…”I just don’t know!”

 

The reality of it is, even if I fished 365-days-a-year,  I would still never have all the time to personally test out every new piece of equipment under optimal conditions.  Nor would I be able to test them out under same or similar conditions so that I could give an honest assessment between products.

 

There’s that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

 

After almost 50 years in or around the fishing industry, I would have to speculate that most guys who make a living in the industry know what works because our livelihood depends on it.  We only grudgingly adopt new things.

 

We have to make livings.  We have to catch fish.

 

Change comes slowly.

 

If something works, we’re reluctant to just go out and gamble the money on something new that might be nothing more than a gimmick.  Nor would we take a chance on a day we earn our livings on something that’s not proven.

 

I know a lot of my friends in the tackle industry will hate this, but having worked in a tackle store, a lot of stuff out there is honestly meant to catch fishermen.  Not fish.

 

Some of my best gear is the most beat-up; scratched; and dilapidated shameful looking equipment you would ever want to see.  It’s almost embarrassing.

 

But it catches fish. It’s blue-collar gear that’s functional, not pretty.  Give me a lure with lots of teeth marks on it and a rod and reel that have dried blood and fish scales on it any day of the week!  I don’t need pretty.

 

Don’t get me wrong. There’s A LOT of incredible gear out there and I only wish I could keep up with the technology because it’s cutting edge.

 

But, as I write this, I look into one of my tackle closets. I have a ½ dozen rooms like this.   This one has about about 70 rods and maybe 100 reels in there.  Several hundred lures, gadgets, rigs and other accessories are cluttered in there.

 

The truth of it is, God gave me two hands.  I can only fish with one rod at a time.  And one reel.  I don’t really need 30 colors of each casting jig.  I don’t need 60 different kinds of trolling feathers or 20 different types of colored lines.  But, I have them!

 

And… I keep adding to the collection! Like many of you,  I’m not immune to bright and shiny new-and-improved things! My wife feels the same way about shoes or shopping at Target!

 

But, like I said before, I can’t try everything. I’ve only used about 10% of the gear I have.  If that.  And truthfully, I haven’t had time to try out lots of the new stuff.

 

My best answer to someone who asks about new stuff is “it looks good,” but you might want to let it “season” for a bit.  Let it get out in the industry and the public  and get battle-tested by others before you drop your coins on it.

 

Check out reviews.  I made it a habit of NEVER purchasing something the first year it’s out.  Especially if it’s mechanical.

 

Let them work the bugs out first.  Let other people spend THEIR money before you spend yours.

 

Get it into the hands of the public, not just the dealer selling it as the “next hottest thing.”  Maybe next time, I”ll be asking you “What do YOU think?”

 

I’m never above learning.  Bring it down and try it out and we’ll both count your fish at the end of the day!

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

 

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I’m Voting You Off the Island!

Originally Published the Week of March 23, 2019 in Western Outdoors Publications

 

Is it just me?

 

We have now been on the road cross-crossing the country since just after Christmas.  All these fantastic fishing/hunting/ sportsmans shows from Denver to Seattle and Long Beach to Salt Lake City and many more.

 

Jill and I  haul our booth and a zillion pounds of brochures and flyers in our vehicle and promote our Tailhunter Sportfishing operation in La Paz but also just visiting Baja and Mexico.

 

It’s been a wonderful run.

 

For almost 25 years we hit the road  for almost 4 months.  Add in another 15 other years for other fishing businesses and that’s about 40 years of shaking hands; smiles and good will.

 

It’s been a privilege and an honor to see so much of our great country and visit so many wonderful folks.  Even moreso to host them, their friends and family with us in Baja.

 

Most of our clients become our friends.  And we’re now into 2 or 3 generations.  It has been one of my life’s great joys.

 

So, what’s changed?  And indeed is it just me? Or are all of us just a little more on edge?  More flinty.  More intolerant.  Less sensitive or overly sensitive at the same time.  Sometimes over the same thing and at the same time.

 

It started a few years ago during our shows.

 

People directly confronting us or out of the side of their mouths saying things like:

 

“Why’d they let people like YOU into this show?”

“All dirty Mexicans like you should be killed.”

“We can’t believe you’re up at this show trying to make people go to THAT country!”

 

I’m not proud to say that a few times I rose to the bait and we had some confrontations at the booth.  I hate when someone gets in my face and jabs a finger in my chest, especially when I’m trying to get everyone to stand down.

 

Some don’t dare say it to me, but I hear them say it to my wife.  And, that I won’t take.  Say it to my face if you have something to say.

 

And, no, it wasn’t isolated in just certain places.  It happened in almost every state and city we visited.  But only now and then.

 

I just chalked it up to ignorance.  Or too much alcohol walking around through the show.  Can’t fix stupid.

 

And believe me, it’s just one tiny-eenie-weenie part of the thousands of folks we chat with every year.

 

No, we’re not Mexican.  We’re very American and very proud of it.

 

But, I’m also proud of the work we do and all the happy times we’ve provided.  I’m proud to also represent Mexico and it’s people and hopefully open a few eyes to new experiences and a wonderful culture.

 

By the same token, I feel we represent Americans as well.  We strive to be good ambassadors in Mexico because well…we’re Americans and we will be judged by our actions.

 

So, what’s happening?

 

At the shows, the complexion of people seems to have changed.  So many folks still come to our booth to ask about fishing and vacations and laugh over fishing stories.

 

But, increasingly  people come up to the booth not to ask about vacations or if the hotel rooms have air-conditioning or how big are the fish in August.

 

They have opinions to share.  And we’re sitting ducks in our booth.

 

More belligerent.  More confrontational.  More argumentative.  More contradictory. More profane.

 

You say that something like “Sir…In the past 10 years, the best time to catch tuna is the summer months!”

 

Here’s a response…

 

“Well, you’re full of crap.  I have a friend-who-has-a-friend and he fished twice there in Baja and he caught tuna in winter!”

 

And it’s said with emphasis on the C-word and inches from my face. A challenge.

 

“OK, Sir.  I don’t doubt your friend’s friend has caught tuna, but I’ve been in Mexico almost 30 years and…”

 

Before I can even finish…

 

“So, you’re calling me a liar?  I guess just like all Mexicans, you just wanna take people’s money and talk sh-t!”

 

Or this conversation:

 

“We never listen or care about limits.  Whenever we go to Mexico, screw the limits.  We kill whatever we want to kill and as much as we want.”

 

“Amigo..uh..That’s illegal!”

 

“So what?  Every Mexican captain or Mexican can be bought off if you give him enough money. (Ha!Ha!) That’s why we go to Mexico because rules don’t apply! We can do whatever we want.  Who cares what Mexico or Mexicans think?”

 

“Well, that’s not how it works for me.  Or my employees or my captains.  It’s not only illegal and unethical, but I don’t know any LEGITIMATE operator where we live that would tolerate that or would risk their business or reputation doing that!”

 

“Then you’re all idiots! (Guffaw guffaw!) “

 

And he makes a point to point that stupid finger at my face.  Cute.

 

He tries logic.

 

“Like when we catch marlin. Last time we went, I caught and boated a marlin.  There’s 3 other guys on the boat.  It’s not fair to them that they don’t get to kill a marlin too, is it?

 

“The limit is one per day, Pal..”

 

“Well, it’s a stupid rule and you’re stupid for not letting your clients catch what they want because if you don’t, there’s plenty of other Mexicans willing to play ball!”

 

My hackles are up…count…1, 2, 3, 4, 5…take a breath.

 

Look…I have a business to run and payroll to make and I surely love earning a buck.  But, for the first time in decades, I’m reserving the right to fire clients.  Sometimes even before they are clients…

 

I do the same to folks who stand at my booth and rail on all the things wrong with the U.S. and Americans and how it’s all gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket.  And on and on.

 

There’s a time and place.  The counter of my booth isn’t it.  It’s a fishing booth not your soapbox to tell me all the things you hate about our country or people.

 

“You just need to move on. I really don’t want you down to visit us. I do not want you or your money or your business.  You’re not worth the energy. “

 

And their eyes pop open!  And they go…

 

”Whaaaa…?  You don’t want me?”

 

As if they’ve paid their entry ticket to the event and it entitles them to spew vitriol at me and I’d better well stand and listen to it.  And how dare I refuse to listen and not want their business or listen to their opinions.

 

Well, yes I can.  You have a right to your opinon, but I have a right not to have to listen either.

 

Yessir. You, sir, are voted off the island!  Seeeee ya!

 

And these are no longer isolated incidents.  That’s the sad part.

 

A day doesn’t seem to go by at the shows these days when at least once or more when someone has something to get off their chest on us.  It’s either because we’re handy targets or directly fired at us because of what we do.

 

People are angrier.

 

They’re more emboldened to say their mind with no filters.  Maybe it’s social media.  Maybe it’s just the times we live in.  Maybe it’s just me lacking patience for haters.

 

In that respect, I’m angrier too.  And it takes a lot to get me angry.

 

Just be on notice.

 

If you’re gonna spew hate and nonsense about me, my work, my wife, employees or both my countries of Mexico AND America, I have no hesitation to telling you that I don’t need you. You’re already wrecking my day standing in front of me yapping your pie-hole.

 

Twenty years ago…heck even 5 years ago, I’d have sucked it up and smiled and accepted their money and booked them to come down and fish.  I’m learning to say “no” in my old age.  I can be a butt-head too.

 

 

I’m not going to let that ugliness ruin it for so many other incredible folks who just want to have a good time with friends and family.

 

Nor will I let you come down and show our Mexican friends another side of ugly Americans and let you taint all of us.  No, sir. Not everyone is like you.

Just my two cents.

 

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.”

 

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GOOD ENUFF

nolan and me 2 edit

GOOD ENUFF

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 16, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

In addition to our fishing fleet, we have a little bar and restaurant in La Paz where lots of our fishermen trade stories; watch sports; and have a few cold ones.  Most will tell you it’s a fun little place.

 

We also have live music a few nights a week.  Our guys are pretty good.  But anyone is welcome to join in.

 

If you think you can strum a guitar; carry a tune or bang two tin cups together, step on up.  Put your beer down or bring it with you.

 

I guarantee, alone or with the band no matter.  We love it.  The band loves it.  The crowd loves it.  You’ll love it.

 

Enthusiasm counts for a lot more than talent, skill or ability.

 

I’ve played guitar for years.  I’ve played in bands.  I’ve been in front of crowds.  But, by my own standards, I’m a hack.  I get by if I have to.

 

But,  I was hesitant to play with our guys at first.   I don’t know why, but I didn’t think I was good enough.

 

It was the leader of our house band who finally said, “Are you good enough to have fun? If the answer is ‘yes’ then come on up to the stage.”

 

And that kinda did it.  I’m not as good as these guys, but I’m good enough to play WITH these guys and I have a world of fun.   And they have fun with me on stage and the crowd seems to enjoy it too.

 

For some reason, I got two e-mails this week from two different dads. In both cases, they wanted to come fish with us in La Paz.

 

One wanted to bring his young son.

 

Another was going to bring a son and an older daughter, but not his youngest daughter.

 

I also got a phone call from guy who had never fished in salt water, but was hesitant.

 

In all three situations, “not good enough” was mentioned.

 

I had to think about that for a moment before responding to each situation.

 

I rarely hear that someone “isn’t good enough.” Not about fishing.  How good do you have to be?

 

No matter how much someone tries to make of it, I’ll tell ya a secret.  In almost 5 decades of fishing, it’s NOT rocket science.  Fishing is not curing cancer.  Fishing is not winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

We often forget that.

 

And for some reason, I remembered about my guitar playing.  I only have to be good enough to have fun.  That’s all.  Have a good time.

 

I asked each father if their kids enjoyed the outdoors?  Did the kids like fishing at all? Do they have fun?  Did the fathers have fun with their kids?

 

Both answered in the affirmative.

 

I put the same question to the freshwater guy that was nervous about saltwater fishing.  He didn’t want to look foolish or under-gunned if he came to fish with us.

 

“Well, do you have fun fishing?”

 

“Yes, I love it!”

 

Well, what’s stopping you?  Step on up.  If it’s a kid, they’ll never get good at all if you don’t start ‘em somewhere.   Same with the freshwater guy.

 

If you’re good enough to have fun, you’re good enough.  That’s all you need to know.

 

You don’t need to be stronger or bigger.  You don’t need to have all the best equipment. You don’t need more experience. That will come.

 

I’m in my 60’s now.  I have a new first grandson myself.  He’s not even two-years-old yet but we’ve already taken him fishing.

 

Some would say he’s not old enough.

 

Heck, he’s not even potti-trained yet!  That will come, right?

 

But, he had fun so that means he’s already “good enough” and I can’t wait to take him again.  Or the younger sister that just got born two months ago.

 

We’ll have her on the water in good time and I have no doubts she’ll have fun.

 

I won’t be around to see either of them fishing when they’re  60.  But, I hope they remember their grandpa taking them out.

 

Time is precious.  Moments are precious.  Get those kids out.  Get yourself out.  Tomorrow is already here.

 

You’re good enough.  Jump up.  Jump in.  The water is fine!

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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REALITY CHECK

REALITY CHECK

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 13, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you spend anytime watching U.S. news or surfing the internet, listening to the radio, or social media, it doesn’t take much to figure the U.S. has a lot of problems.  Yikes.

 

If you even got a smidgen of the TV ads for the recent elections, it was an inundation of mind-boggling battering.  It was numbing.  I happened to be in the U.S. for just two days for a family emergency and it was inescapable.

 

Jill and I still vote (absentee ballot) of course from down here in Baja.  But it’s easy to say at times, “Dang, I’m glad I live in Mexico!”

 

And we do. And we’re blessed.

 

But it wasn’t to escape anything back home in the U.S.  Indeed, we miss the heck out’ve it.  But, through a weird and convoluted series of happenstance, this is where work took me and the business just grew.

 

In fact, I was on my way out of Baja, but it grabbed me by the ankles…pulled me back… and wouldn’t let go.

 

And before I knew it two decades had passed.  And we’re still here.  Funny how careers are made.

 

But, we’re not far removed from being reminded how especially fortunate we are.  Despite all of America’s plethora of problems and shares of idiots, there’s a reason folks are desperate to get in.

 

I mean, I don’t see caravans of people from Chicago trying to bust into Mexico or people from Seattle trying to smuggle themselves into China.

 

We love our many friends and employees here and I have watched their kids grow over the years.  And I wonder what opportunity awaits.

What opportunity lies ahead when 6th grade is the highest level of mandatory education here in Mexico?  Or, even a college degree down here means you’re now qualified to work at the reception desk in a hotel.   Is that really it?

 

I know kids that honestly “aspire” to flip burgers at Burger King.   The bar is not very high.

 

Can you imagine, “When I grow up, I hope to learn to work at McDonalds.”

 

American tourists toss 20-dollar bills around while on vacation.

 

I doubt many of them realize that twenty bucks is 3-days wages for many Mexicans.  Most earn less than 10-dollars-a-day and probably paid 4 dollars to ride the bus to get to work and back home.  And probably having to feed a family.

 

Your own kid working that summer job at Dairy Queen is probably making 100 bucks a day for “spending money.” Not to buy food or pay the family rent.

 

Just the other day, I heard a gringo complain that he had been “ripped off” by a street vendor who didn’t have 75 cents change in American.  C’mon, Man.

 

We know a friend who just found out she has breast cancer.  Serious.  It took a MONTH between the biopsy and diagnosis and the cancer had grown tremendously.

 

But there’s no openings for surgery for THREE months. And even then, the date might come up and there might not be a surgeon available.

 

A death sentence. But, there are no other options.

 

And she’s “lucky.”

 

She has government-provided socialized “medical insurance.”

 

It means everyone has the right to medical care in Mexico.  It just doesn’t necessarily mean you get it “right now” when you need it or the right kind of treatment.

 

If you live in the outlying areas as many folks do, medical treatment means you also have to  travel to a doctor.  I asked one of our captains many years ago what do you do if you can’t get to a doctor?

 

He said sadly, “We just die.”

 

As many of you know, we drive a beat- up Honda down here.  I’m not proud. It’s a junker. But it goes forward and reverse. And the air-conditioning works…sometimes.  At a whisper and often blows dust in our faces.

 

Recently the door handle just fell off.  So, we duct taped it back in place,  You get the idea.

 

Although not stylish, we have the means to get from Point A to Point B.

 

As long as it’s not far.  Or involve hills.  We cannot make the 100-mile drive from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas without overheating.

 

Everyone has a car back home in the U.S.  Or even more than one car.  Last time in Los Angeles, I was  stuck 2 ½ hours driving 20 miles.

 

But, a car here is a luxury.  And we know it.  There are times when we have not had a car and it restricted every aspect of our life.

 

There were several of those early years here in Baja that I did not have a car.  I relied on two legs, my thumb or a generous friend.

 

People make fun of Mexican cars, mine included.  But, it sure beats not having one at all.

 

Back-in-the-day in the U.S., it was a right-of-passage at 16 to get that driver’s license and get a car, no matter how hard you had to work for it.

 

Most adults I know down here do not have a driver’s license. Or know how to drive.

 

What for?  They will never own or have a car in their lifetimes.

 

If you do own one..insurance? Maintenance? They can barely afford gas.  So, make all the fun you want.

 

I was bitching a few days ago because our apartment (once again) did not have hot water.  About 20% of the time, we don’t have hot water.

 

I guess you get used to it, but after a long day, you look forward to that shower and instead, there’s only cold water…it gets old.

 

I was going on-and-on to a friend.  He just smiled then said, “Our house never has hot water.”

 

“Never? “

 

“Not ever. “

 

“How do you shower?  Cook?  Wash clothes?”

 

“Nunca. Never, Jonathan. And sometime no electricity either.”  He shrugged and smiled.

 

“You get used to it.”

 

End of conversation. I shut up.  You take something for granted and you just assume that everyone has it.

 

Reality check and you say a little prayer of gratitude.

 

Oh…by the way, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Tell Them Bring the Salad Next Time!

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PEACE OFFERING or DID THE SPANISH GET PUNKED?

NEXT TIME TELL THEM TO BRING THE SALAD INSTEAD!

Originally Published the Week of March 14, 2018 in Western Outdoor News

I’m a fan of history and enjoy finding little obscure bits of historical trivia.  I recently came across a story about our own city of La Paz where we live.

 

If you ever have a chance to visit the city,  I hope you get  the opportunity to visit the city cathedral in the town square.  It’s not a big city.  The cathedral is not hard to find.

 

 

The first thing that will strike you is that it sure doesn’t look like your typical Spanish-style mission so common up-and-down the Baja and into California.

 

It is strikingly absent of the long sepia-colored arched breezeways and adobe walls usually associated with mission architecture.  On the contrary, the La Paz cathedral is kind of square and blocky-looking.

 

It has two atypical  massive bell towers that look more fortress-like than other mission churches.  Heavy stone blocks and concrete masonry have been described as “sober neo-classical” in design.  It doesn’t sound too exciting, but nonetheless, it’s a big church!

 

Indeed, it looks different because it is.

 

Most other missions were constructed by Spanish Jesuit missionaries and conquistadores in the 1600’s and 1700 hundreds.  La Paz didn’t complete it’s house of worship until the latter part of the 1800’s.

 

According to the history, when the Spanish first arrived, they didn’t come as benevolent emissaries of church and crown.  Actually, they showed up as violent buttheads and took a heavy brutal hand to the local indigenous population.  They had no problem applying armor, cannons and musket to get their point across.

 

The locals didn’t take kindly to it and battled back.  And won.  Booted the Spanish right out.

 

This happened again and again.  Something between 5 and 8 incursions by the Spanish were made in La Paz to set up a colony.  In each case, the locals either whupped up on the padres and their military escorts or simply made it difficult to for the Spanish colonists to sustain the outpost.

 

The natives would cut off water; damage crops; and made it impossible for supply trains and ships to replenish and re-inforce the beleaguered  colonists. Life in the New World was hard  and brutal enough let alone being harassed by belligerent tribes.

 

So, the Spanish would pack up and sail away.

 

At least until the next intrepid group of helmet-headed imperialists showed up.

 

According to the story, during one of these attempts, the Spanish thought they were making some headway with the locals.  Rather than attack, the tribesmen presented the Spanish with many loaves of native papaya bread.

 

A welcome gift and gesture indeed!  The Spanish were thrilled with this apparently peaceful overture.  So, thrilled that they decided to have a fiesta to celebrate the wondrous gift of the delicious bread. A bit like the colonists at the first Thankgiving.

 

It was during this fiesta that the Spanish found out that the natives had a special method to making their bread.

 

The natives loved papaya and would consume the entire fruit wasting nothing.  This included the skin, meat and seeds.  It was their traditional way.

 

So far so good.  The key words are “wasting nothing.”

 

The most interesting part was that the tribespeople would then gather up the “previously digested seeds.”  Use your imagination.

 

The seeds ground into the flour used to make this special “Baja Bread” …wasting nothing!

 

Upon hearing this, the Spanish pretty much choked and gagged in” mid-chew” thinking about the origins of their yummy bread.

 

They were mad. Fighting mad at what they perceived was a cruel and sinister joke.  No one was laughing.  The Spaniards thought they got punked big time.  Talk about a “party fail!”

 

And once again, hostilities broke out.  The Spanish had no sense of humor and much blood was spilled over breaking bread.

 

A peace offering misunderstood and gone awry?  Or a dastardly prank pulled on the Spanish masters and padres?

 

We will never know.

 

But the natives again rose up and pummeled the Spanish back to the mother country.

 

I love history.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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.”

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BUDDY DO YOU HAVE SOME CHANGE?

 

money exchange

Buddy Do You Have Some Change?

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 10, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

In all the years and all the columns that I’ve written, I don’t know how I could have passed up the subject of money changing.   But, lately, I’ve gotten a number of folks asking so I guess that’s the genesis of this week’s subject.

 

If you’re coming to Mexico, is it a good idea to change dollars to pesos?

 

The answer is yes.

 

Using the “coin of the realm” is always a good idea, but especially now.  With the dollar-to-peso exchange rate at 16 to 18 pesos to the dollar, you stretch your purchasing power by having a pocketful of pesos.

 

There’s more “bang for the buck” as you wander around buying t-shirts for the kids; a sombrero that will end up in a garage sale; and another round of tequila against your better judgment.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  U.S. dollars are really welcome down here and we love having you spend them, but pesos are just handy to have.

 

With pesos in hand, if you see the shrimp dinner costing 150 pesos, you don’t have to do the mental gymnastics to figure how to convert to dollars.   It’s sure easier to figure out the 10% tip too.  It’s also easy math  to calculate if you received the correct amount of change.

 

Additionally, many local business, charge a little more for taking dollars.  We accept them as a “convenience” for visitors like you, but it actually costs us to accept those dollars.  So, there might be a small “visitor tax.”

 

Let me explain.

 

In order to deposit our earnings into the Mexican bank we have to convert them to pesos.  There’s a bank transaction fee attached so Mexican businesses lose some money by doing that.

 

Additionally  some Mexican banks only allow a certain amount of dollars to be deposited by the week or month. If you have more than that, you have to hold onto it and sit on it.

 

For a business, money sitting there doing nothing is not doing anyone any good.  Can’t pay bills.  Can’t make payroll.  Can’t purchase inventory with money that has to sit and, at some point, be accounted for.

 

So that begs the larger question for visitors.  Where should I exchange my money?

 

Out-of-hand, I used to  tell folks to change your money at the airport.  You’re already there.  It’s handy.  They have plenty of money. And the rates seemed about right for the market.

 

WRONG!

 

I didn’t realize that those exchange offices at the airport tack on huge “transaction fees” that pretty much erase any real pragmatic reason for using them.  If you have to use them, use them.  But, there’s better places.

 

For one, there’s your bank at home. Start with them.  You know them.  They know you.  You have an account or two with them. They won’t ding you so hard.

 

If you didn’t get it done before you left home and now you’re in-country, the next place I’d hit is the various money exchange houses around town.  In tourist places like Cabo San Lucas or larger cities like Ensenada or Tijuana, you’ll find them all over.

 

Some are just little kiosks.  Others have small offices.

 

But, they’re easy to find.   And they’re competitive.  Not just with the market rates, but against each other.  The want your business.  They want your dollars and are eager to hand you pesos.

 

Also in the larger tourist areas, they’re open all the time.  You suddenly realize you’re out’ve pesos for a late night taco run.  Or, you know that no one will be able to accept or break your $100 bills, you can usually find someone to change your money.

 

If you’re in a smaller community like La Paz, where we live,  or even smaller places, the money exchange houses will be harder to find and their hours will be more limited. But, they’re there.

 

So, try to think ahead.  If you need change after 5 p.m. you might be out’ve luck.  They‘ll be closed.

 

However, secondary and tertiary options can be found.

 

If you’re at a larger hotel, they can often exchange smaller amounts at the front desk.   For example you need to change $40 bucks that’s fine.  If you’re trying to change $500 dollars, not so fine.

 

But it’s subject to them having dinero in the til.  Don’t always count on the reception desk being able to make change or conversions.  But, it’s an option.

 

There are also larger grocery store chains that have “customer service desks” just like back home. They usually have more money on hand and offer pretty good exchange rates.

 

Just be aware that many places do not accept bills over $20 because of fear of counterfeit.  So, bring five $20 bills.  Don’t bring one $100 bill.

 

There are also ATM machines all over.  Personally, I avoid them.  There’s too many opportunities for fraud, especially in ATM’s on street corners or willy-nilly in markets or bars.  If your card gets eaten by the machine, it’s not like you can ask the bartender to get it out for you.

 

If you have to use an ATM, use one at a bank.  That way if there’s an issue, there’s bank personnel who can assist.  The ATM’s will dispense 200 peso notes (about $11).  And you’ll see a transaction fee on your next statement.  But, in a pinch, it’s better than nothing!

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
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
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U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

“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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