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Archive for the ‘Mexico neighborhood’ Category

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

cowboy-campfire

Talent in unlikely places

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 26, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I don’t get to see many movies. Especially living in Baja and with our lifestyle, we barely ever get to watch TV, let-alone catch a movie.

And that’s with a bar that has 13 TV’s in it. We’re always running!

However, Jill and I recently got to sit down for a moment and catch the movie “Yesterday.” It’s a romantic English comedy about this guitar-playing singer who has spent years trying to “make it big.”

He just can’t seem to get it going.

He’s ready to quit and go back to being a teacher. On his way home after a failed gig, there’s a mysterious global blackout and a bus accidentally hits him in the dark. He’s hospitalized.

When he wakes up, he takes to his guitar and plays the Beatles’ iconic song “YESTERDAY” for some close friends and they are mesmerized. They have been his friends and supporters for many years. As friend do. But none of them delusioned about his talent.

But, now their mouths are dropped open.

Blown away to be more precise. He protests and keeps insisting it’s one of the greatest songs from the Beatles.

Beatles? Who are they? Some kind of bug?

As it turns out, the whole world has never heard of the Beatles and suddenly this guy starts playing all the Beatles hits…

“I Wanna Hold Your Hand”
“Back in the U.S.S.R”
“She Loves You”
“Hey Jude” (although the record company wants him to change the title to “Hey Dude”)…

…and the whole world goes crazy for him and thinks he’s the biggest singer-songwriter in the history of the world. A fun movie and I won’t kill the ending for you!

But, it reminded me of a story. Of hidden talents.

Many many years ago, I was invited by a bunch of our captains to come over one evening for some beers and tacos. Nothing formal. Just a bunch of the boys.

Sounding like a good idea, I drove out to the remote area where many of the captains and their families lived.

I had left the lights of the city way miles behind in the rear view mirror. The night was chilly and clear.

It took a bit of navigation to find the little pueblo nestled in the darkness of the low hills and shrubbed-trees a few miles back from the beach.

I followed the stab of my headlights through the dust of the gravel road and found the little clearing behind a group of block houses.

The guys were already there mostly lit up by propane lights hung from trees and surrounding an old brick barbecue. I probably could have found the place just by following the aroma of cooking meat over smoky mesquite and the laughter of beer-driven voices arrayed in plastic chairs around the fire.

An instant welcome with lots of hugs and handshakes. A plastic chair was shoved under my butt near the crackling fire.

A cold can of Tecate thrust into my hand pulled from a tattered scuffed ice chest.
Psssssst!!! Pop that beer and even in the dark watch the icy smoke rise before tipping it back and feel that wonderful icy burn in the back of my throat with the first sip. Nectar of the gods for sure!

It’s the Mexican equivalent of happy hour.

Just like any other workplace. The workday is done. And it’s been a good one. Put your feet up. Loosen the belt. Put on the kick-back clothes and some old flip-flops on the dirt ground.

No boss or employee foolishness. Just one of the guys. And it feels good to be included. And welcomed.

Cracking some beers. Shop talk and jokes. Easy conversation. Knee slapping laughter. Letting fly the occasional un-apologetic burp. Or worse!

Grilled meat and fresh tortillas with salsa served in mismatched plastic bowls on a makeshift plywood board on concrete blocks. Delicious goodness dripping down chins and wiped with shirt sleeves. Sluiced down with another beer.

The family dogs press noses against pants legs eagerly hoping for something from greasy fingers. The chickens know to keep a low profile in the bushes.

Life is good around the fire.

And you think it can’t get better until someone pulls out a guitar. And starts strumming a few notes. Hmmm…that note buzzed a bit.

A little adjustment on the tuning and a few chords from a familiar rancho song…you wish you could remember the name of it.

But yup, that’s Captain Alfonse pulling chords out’ve a guitar that looks like it’s seen more than a few campfires. Maybe even more beat up than Willy Nelson’s guitar.

A longing tune about a missing love.

Alfonse has worked for us for years and you had no idea. A few sing along. Others stare into the fire with smiles.

The last chord drifts off with the final words to the song. Andale, amigo! Applausa applausa as beers are lifted.

Then Captain Mario produces another guitar. His cousin goes back to the house for an accordian. Captain Yonni, pulls a fiddle from his rusty pick-up truck and Captain Bujo and his son pull some old maracas and a scratched trumpet they were hiding someplace.

Pickin’ and grinnin’ Baja-style.

And here we go! Uno…dos…tres…

A few simple songs at first. More beer and the music and songs get tighter along with the voices!

Who knew about such hidden talents way out past the city lights! Just incredible musicians. My mouth drops open.

Happy songs. Sad songs. Drinking songs. Anyone not playing is singing or clapping rhythms.

Wives and kids join in. The dogs wag happy and even a few chickens come out. One couple dance a well-practiced rancho two-step in the dirt with neighbors clapping time.

Sheer joy and simple pleasure of songs and companionship with neighbors, compadres and family. In the dusty glow and iconic hiss of the propane lamps and a communal campfire.

I don’t know the words, but can’t help it when maracas are put in one hand and beer in the other. I can sing “La-La-La” as good as anyone when I’ve had enough beer.

And it feels good to join in and just let go. Loud as you want. As off-key as anyone and laughing your head off about it with good friends.

It’s the best of nights. It’s the kind of nights you don’t find anymore. Neighbors just getting together to sing, drink beer and laugh. Maybe like our grandparents did back in the day.

Before internet. And TV. And everyone behind their own little closed doors not even knowing your neighbors.

Tomorrow is another workday. But today is today and the music seems as if it’s being carried to the sky by the sparks of the fire. Little pinpoints of light and harmony up to the stars.

Who knew?

Music out where the streetlights end and the dusty road begins. And hidden talents under the desert sky.

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:

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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ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

ENDEAVOR to PERSEVERE

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 17, 2019 in Western Outdoor News Publications

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I know it’s the holiday season.

 

Christmas is still two weeks away and I don’t wanna sound like the Grinch. I love Christmas!

However,  a couple of nights ago, I was overdosing on Christmas movies.  One-after-the-other on TV non-stop.

 

Ever been there?  A little too much sugar and spice at one time?

 

All the Hallmark movies end the same.  Pretty girl falls in love with the good-looking guy in the cute Christmas village.

 

Clarence gets his wings with the help of Jimmy Stewart and a Wonderful Life.

 

Charlie Brown and his little tree give us the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Bing Crosby had his White Christmas after all.

 

Y’know, as much as I love Christmas movies, there’s only so much sweetness and goodness a guy can take in a row.   So, I did a 180 with the TV remote.

 

I popped on Clint Eastwood and “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”  Yea!

outlaw-josey-wales

 

Nothing like a squinty-eyed Clint with a big pistol in his hands to bring a guy’s testosterone levels back in line.

 

Hardly Christmas stuff, but what the heck…

 

There’s some gems in there.  You may remember, actor Chief Dan George as the old Indian Lone Watie.  He says to Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood)

 

“Endeavor to persevere.”

Josey wales

 

It’s a phrase that kinda stuck with me.  In fact, I was reminded of it just a few days ago.

 

Jerry and his buddy, Alex, have been fishing with our operation in La Paz for about 10 years.  Jerry wrote me an e-mail asking for suggestions on what kind of fishing gear to get for Alex for Christmas.

 

Not an unusual question on its face.  But, the e-mail had some “involved” questions about “dual drags” and “graphite rods vs. fiberglass.”  There were questions about “knife jigs” and “colors of trolling lures.”  Did I know anything about “retrieve ratios” for fishing reels?

 

Let me put this in context.

 

Ten years ago, Jerry and Alex when they first came to visit, they couldn’t catch a fish if fish jumped in the boat.   In fact, they had never fished in the ocean, let alone fishing in Mexico.

 

They weren’t terrible.

 

Let’s just say they were “inexperienced.”

 

They fumbled with rods and reels.  They tried to tie knots that came undone.  They busted rod tips and tangled lines.  Hooks ended up catching hats and clothes.  Open tackle boxes tipped over spilling all manners of “stuff” on the floor.

fishing-bad-fail-768x413

 

We’ve all been there in some way, shape or form.  But these two brothers just couldn’t get the hang of it.

 

Fish were lost.  Bites were missed.  How can they be the ONLY boat in my fleet that comes back with zero fish during a wide-open bite?

 

Not just one day…almost every day.

fish-snaggers-4x32

 

I try to make a point every day of talking to each of my fishermen to check on them.  And every day, Jerry and Alex had the longest faces.

 

And a lot of questions They couldn’t understand why everyone else was catching fish except them.

 

Every day, I’d answer their questions.  We would try to figure out where their technique was off.  Try to rally and encourage them.

 

But, pretty much everything they tried just complicated it.  In my mind, they were simply thinking too much and trying to hard.  Concepts like how to pin a bait were concepts that just couldn’t grasp.

 

But, give ‘em credit, they hung in there.

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When I bid them “adios” and thanked them for visiting, I was sure they wouldn’t come back.

 

I shook their hands.  All I could say was, “Hope you had a good time and I’m sorry you didn’t catch more fish.”  What else could I say?

 

They shook my hand and thanked me and one of them smiled and said, “Endeavor to persevere” as he ducked into the shuttle van.

 

Endeavor to persevere?   OK.  Whatever.

 

At the time, I figured it meant, “O well, that’s fishing.”  See ya around.

 

Like I said, I thought I’d never see them again.

 

But, every year, they returned.

 

Every year they got a little better.  It took a bit, but the next year, they caught a few more fish although they still bumbled.  And they still had a mound of questions each day after fishing.

 

And, normally pretty shy guys, I saw them talking to other fishermen too.

 

And each year, they got a bit better.  So, did their gear.

 

That first year, it was like some kid at Walmart or Target sold ‘em a bill of goods and made a helluva commission.  They came with so much junk they were told they “must have” to fish in Mexico.  I felt sorry for them.

 

But the more they learned and watched, the better the gear got.  It was good to see.

 

Other guys were still catching more and bigger.  But Alex and Jerry were starting to have more fun.

 

Not one time in all those years did I hear them bitch about anything.  It was never “the captain’s fault” or “the weather and current” or “bad bait.”

 

They hung in there.  They persevered.  And they got better.

 

And it was more fun for me too.  Anyone in this business likes to have folks enjoying themselves.

 

I reminded the guys about that first year and them saying “ Endeavor to persevere”.  Apparently, they were fans of Josey Wales too.

 

Alex told me, “Clint never gives up. “

 

Simple as that.  No other explanation needed.  And then he asked me how to tie a San Diego knot.

 

I think I’m gonna get a t-shirt that says, “Endeavor to Persevere.”  Wise words to hold onto.  No matter what you’re doing.

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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GRACIAS a DIOS

thank you, gratitude concept, beautiful card

GRACIAS a DIOS

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 3, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

I’m writing this during Thanksgiving Week, which seems to be a growing custom here in Mexico.  They’re not quite sure about the roots of our American tradition, but many folks sure understand “Turkey Day.”

 

And they know it has something to do with being “thankful” although what turkey has to do with it, is somewhat a fuzzy concept.  It’s like gringos assuming Cinco de Mayo has something historical to do with Corona Beer.

 

No matter.

 

Cinco de Mayo or Turkey Day, historical accuracy never stopped anyone from eating and drinking!

 

But, if you ever listen carefully the a conversation in Spanish, you will often here a phrase:

 

“Gracias a Dios.”

 

“Thanks to God”

 

“How did you sleep?”

 

“Slept great. Gracias a Dios.”

 

“The family is doing great.  Kid are super. “Gracias a Dios.”

 

“Gracias a Dios, my wife’s doctor visit went well.”

 

It’s not an exasperated exclamation as we often use like “Thank GOD!”

 

It’s a sincere gratefulness for the good fortune and blessings, whether there’s a belief in a divine deity or not. There’s a lot to be said for being thankful and reminding yourself that you’re surrounded by small blessings every day.

 

You slept well and get a new day.

 

You have a job. The kids and wife are OK.  You had something to eat last night for dinner.  The sun wasn’t too hot.  You have a cold beer in your hand.  You have money for bus fare.

 

Basic simple stuff.

 

Gracias a Dios.  It’s a wonderful Spanish articulation.

 

Because ultimately, all those small things are big things.  They mean something in life at ground zero.

 

 

And, in Mexico, so many of the things we gringos take for granted like a good night of sleep; or healthy kids; or like something good to eat; or like a job; we forget to be grateful for.

 

Instead we’re often thankful because we got “lucky in Vegas.”  Or, we scored those great zillion dollar seats for that huge concert.  That ultra high-speed fishing reel just went on sale.

 

Our fantasy football team made the playoffs.  Thank God, we got the captain’s suite on our Hawaii cruise.  Economy cabin just wouldn’t do.

 

That’s a different kind of thankfulness.

 

I like being reminded throughout the day when I chat with my Spanish-speaking amigos, “Gracias a Dios.”

 

Even if it’s just for a nano-second, it registers in my brain that I am blessed on so many levels.  Everything is really OK.

 

So, as we hit the holiday season, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and  are also blessed with the really important things in life  and everything is well.

 

Gracias a Dios.

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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RUNNING LEANER

RUNNING LEANER

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 19, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

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There’s that old saying, “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

 

If you’re a fisherman like me, you got toys.  Lots of toys.  And we like to play with our toys and surround ourselves with lots of our toys.  Deep inside, we’re still little boys.

 

Just the way we are.

 

So, when I go on fishing trips, I want to bring all my toys with me. Bring the whole garage full if possible.  And use them all too.

 

And you want back-up gear for your backup gear.

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A 3 day fishing trip to Baja?

 

Well, let’s see.

 

Eight sticks…2 trolling rods…4 bait rods…2 jig sticks.  Check.

 

Of course, that means 8 reels to match.  And 3 extra reels in-case there’s a malfunction like a handle falls off or you burn-out the drags.  Check.

 

Terminal tackle:

 

50 hooks of each size

20 jigs in all colors and shapes

5 pounds of lead

20 trolling feathers

Squid jigs

Large, medium and small rod belts/ harnesses

Leader material in all sizes from 10-100 pound sizes

…and of course something to carry it all in.  Check

 

100-quart ice chest.  Check.

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Over the years, I’ve seen anglers bring some other weird stuff too!

 

One guy brought his own anchor.

Another brought a machete.

A fish-finder and battery

A large battery-operated bait tank

A fish caller that made sounds underwater to “call fish.”

A harpoon.  Yea…a full-sized harpoon.

 

C’mon, man!

 

But, in all honesty, it’s great to have it but for just a few days on the water, how much do you really need?  How much will you realistically use?

 

Especially, in these days of airlines increasing the restrictions on the size and weight of luggage and the prohibitive fees for exceeding those restrictions, it’s time to re-evaluate.

 

If it’s you and a buddy, consider combining your gear, as much as it hurts to share.  Put all your rods in one container.  Share hooks, jigs and other equipment.

 

Downsize!  There’s some great travel rods out there these days that will literally fit in an overhead compartment.

 

Ask your charter operator what you really need.  Maybe they already have some or all of your gear and it’s good stuff.  Leave what you don’t need home.

 

If you’re chasing dorado, there’s no need to pack a Penn 50W International. Match your reels to what you will realistically be targeting. Or consider bringing lighter gear and use the heavier gear provided.

 

For taking fish home, consider soft-sided coolers.  Hard-size ice-chests weight a lot with absolutely nothing in them.  Soft-coolers weigh only a few pounds and you can put a lot more fish in them and still stay under the airline weight restrictions.  Plus, they’re a lot easier to haul around.

 

I’m not talking about cold coolers like you bring ice-cream home from the market or keep your drinks cold at a tailgate picnic.  These are genuine cold bags that are often airline-rated and will keep your fillets frozen for many hours or even a day or two.

 

These coolers are also great on a boat.  They will keep drinks and ice colder longer than a hard-sided cooler.  Plus, again, a lot easier to handle than a hard-sided cooler.

 

You also want to check your airlines too.  Some, like Southwest allow for free bags.  Others might be cheaper, but charge a lot for luggage and especially for being over-weight or over-sized.

 

One other thing, consider leaving some of your gear behind for your captain or crew.  It’s a great good-will gesture although should NOT be done in lieu of a tip.

 

Gear is expensive in Mexico and would be extremely welcome as a gift.  Do you really need to drag home all that lead or 10 jigs?  It will help lighten the load home.

 

Either way, leave the harpoon in the garage!

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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 »

WHERE’s THE PARTY?

mexico-desfile-dia-muertos

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

ofrandas-muertos

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The big party, however, is at the cemetery.

dia-de-muertos1

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

day-of-the-dead-568012_1280-1200x675

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

 

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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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

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

Read Full Post »

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH… (…BUT WHEN I DO, IT’S A LIE!)

Favorite-Fishing-Spot-760x500

 

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH…

                     …BUT WHEN I DO, IT’S A LIE!

 

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

 

Fishermen are funny folks.

 

Most of them that I know will give you the shirts off their backs.  They’ll invite perfect strangers to sit down for dinner and a beer.

 

They’ll happily give you every fish recipe they know.  They’ll patiently show you how to tie every knot or explain their gear to you.

 

But, there’s a caveat and limit to generosity.  Fishermen have a reputation for tall tales and outright lies.  It’s in our nature.

 

Nowhere is that more evident than when you ask an angler where his secret fishing spots are located.

pinocchio-04-2

He or she will give up the combination to the family safe or tell you where the family jewels are stashed before revealing their honey hole fishing spots.

 

In my years down here, I have seen some crazy things.

 

With our fleets here in La Paz, let me preface by saying that most of the captains are related by blood or marriage.  Overall, no matter which fleets they work for, there’s a general spirit of cooperation.

 

Most times!

 

There’s mutual respect and at the end of the day, they all have to go home to the same families, neighborhoods and, in some cases, the same homes together.

 

But, like competing football teams, that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of competitiveness or shenanigans.

 

For example, there’s radio channels.

 

There are the general channels that everyone listens to or for emergencies.  But then each fleet also has it’s own channel that everyone in that particular fleet tunes to.  Everyone knows the other fleet’s frequencies.

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And there’s the “secret channel” where anyone can listen, but the fleet broadcasts it’s phoney-baloney info!  And the channels change all the time to keep the competition off-balance.

 

For instance, they’ll broadcast the wrong locations to catch bait or where the dorado or tuna are biting.  They’ll outright lie about what they’ve caught in their fish boxes or where they are located.

 

And all seems fair.

 

It’s part of the game and strategy because everyone is doing it.  The “hot” guy one day might be ice cold the next.  He might be giggling about his secret spot today, but tomorrow, he’s the goat and gets duped by false info.

 

The secret to playing the game is scanning through all the radio junk and know who’s broadcasting what info and recognizing voices.

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To us it sounds like one continuous Spanish word and a lot of squawking, but there’s a method to the madness.  I’ve even seen them disguise their voices.

 

Almost like the Navajo radiomen in WW 2.

 

So, if your captain seems like he’s spending a lot of time on the radio, he’s wading through all the chatter and keying on what’s happening on the  oceanic game-board.

 

This was all explained to me years ago by one of my captains after I asked him why he spent so much seemingly useless time on the radio.

 

He laughed and said, “I’m playing the game! My youngest brother and uncle work for the other fleet. My older brother and cousin work for you so we screw with each other all day.  So do all the other captains!”

 

Gamesmanship! Know when to hold ‘em.  Know when to fold ‘em.

 

He also said, “We know the gringo guys in the big yachts are trying to listen as well and we do not want them to know our spots and ruin the bite!”

 

Well, OK then…

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Another time, with one of our favorite skippers, he told us to bring colorful beach towels with us.  Sure.  No big deal.

 

Later in the day, he brought us to one of his “secret spots.” We were having a blast catching fish.

 

But, whenever another panga (from another “team”)  got close to us, he would quickly tell us to take down the rods and hide them.  He told us to grab the beach towels and pretend we had been swimming.

 

He told us to make  a lot of noise and pretend we were drying off and wave at the other boat as it went by.

 

As soon as they were gone, out came the rods again!  Sneaky.

 

There was another year when we had a huge dorado bite going off north of town.  The “fish magnet” turned out to be a huge Christmas tree that someone had set adrift.

 

Floating upside down, it attracted huge schools of sizeable dorado and other species.   Whoever was on the spot could easily load up on fish and/or catch- and-release as quickly as you could put a bait in the water.  It was epic.

 

 

One or two boats would fish the spot and load it up.  It would then call in other friendly pangas. They would get their limits.  They would leave and call in others.  And so-on-and-so-on in a great rotation!

 

All the while, phoney radio transmissions were getting sent out.  But…word eventually got out to the other fleets.

 

Every few nights, each fleet would “steal” the tree and tow it to another secret spot known only to it’s captains.

 

A few nights later having deciphered all the crazy radio broadcasts,  some other fleet would steal it back.  This went on for two weeks until the currents carried it away or the tree simply disintegrated.

 

 

Even on a daily basis, when our own captains return each day to give me their reports, I ask where they were fishing or where they found the bite.

 

“Where were you fishing today? “

 

I get winks and a smile, “In the Sea of Cortez, Senor Jonathan!”

 

Let the games continue…can’t trust a fisherman to give a straight answer.

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.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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