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Archive for the ‘Mexico neighborhood’ Category

SHOPPING FOR ONE

 

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SHOPPING FOR ONE IN MEXICO

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 24, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

The times they are a-changing.

 

Jilly just sent me down to our corner mercado a few blocks away to pick up some things for home.  It’s your usual typical Mexican neighborhood market.

 

All the basics are there.  Meat, milk, tortillas, fruits and veggies.  They might not have 30 different kinds of mayonnaise or mustard like back in the U.S. but, they’ve got 3 or 4 to get you by.

 

But, little-by-little, I’m noticing some real changes in the aisles and shelves.  And it’s indicative of the changing culture and tastes of the locals.

 

Gluten-free tortillas?

Lactose free almond milk?

Non-GMO organic parmesan and cheddar cheese?

Basil…mint leaves…portabello mushrooms?

 

Are you kidding me?  But yea.  How long until there’s a sushi counter?

 

Back-in-the-day, I remember having to “smuggle” in stuff like ordinary cheese…Polish sausage…mushrooms…steaks…wasabi for sashime…Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage…bottles of wine!

 

All the things you couldn’t get back then and craved.  All of us would bring things down for our friends and neighbors too.  Everyone got a turn at being the “burro.”

 

Personally, I would bury the treasure deep in my luggage or ice chest.  Always put it under your underwear.  No custom inspector ever goes below the lair of underwear!

 

Or put a layer of women’s hygiene products over it.  It worked every time.  Inspectors stopped digging immediately! You’d watch them rustle around but when they hit the layer of underwear or sanitary pads…they’d look up at you.  Smile.  Close your luggage or ice chest and move onto the next person.

 

Of course, this was all pre-911.

 

But nowadays, you don’t have to bury booty in your luggage.  You can find almost anything.  It’s a little pricier, but when you really have to have extra virgin olive oil…well…

 

It’s a far cry from my first “shopping experience” more than 20 years ago, when I moved to a little pueblo south of the East Cape.  It was really not much more than a concrete block house on a dirt road.

 

The owners lived in the back.  A kids bicycle was propped against an outer wall. I had to step over the family dog who could care less except for his siesta.

 

But, it had a sun-faded sign that said, “Mini-Super San Juanita”and there weren’t many other choices.

 

Bare concrete floors housed some shelves and tables while some lightbulbs strung from the ceiling provided light in the windowless room.

 

Crates and 5-gallon buckets on a table held the fruit and vegetables of the day in varying degrees of ripeness.  Especially in the hot Baja climate.

 

Six potatoes…several dozen tomatoes…3 or 4 bunches of rather dark bananas…1/2 a bucket of white onions…5 heads of soft lettuce.  No worries about an artificial waxy “sheen” on the apples.  There was a soft layer of dust on everything.

 

A cold case held the really important stuff.  Of course, lots of Coke and bottles and cans of Tecate beer.  Plus lots of other sugary soft drinks.

 

Another cold case had cold cuts and some varying types of cheese and meats. The the only ones I could identify were hot dogs.

 

Not to say the meat was bad.  As I found out over the months, it was actually not too bad at all.  But, just at that moment I certainly couldn’t identify it as it was wrapped in plastic wrap with no labels.  The flickering light in the case also glowed over a couple flats of eggs.

 

Shelves had the usual staples.  Some cans of soups and sauces and vegetables.  Soap and shampoo.  Spam and of course, cups of Maruchan noodles.  And lots of candy and junk food.

 

Insofar as I lived 10 miles outside of the little village down a dirt road, I picked what I needed and proceeded to the register where a smiling lady (presumably Juanita ?) helped me out.

 

I needed something from the chilled meat counter.

 

That’s when I think I made her day.

 

I asked for eggs.

 

She said “How many, Senor?”

 

“A dozen, por favor.”

 

“Verdad?  Really? More than one?” She perked up.

“Uh… por favor. Claro!  Sure!”  

 

She explained to me that most people only buy 2 or 3 at a time.  She rang it up.

 

I also wanted some of that wrapped cheese too.

 

She handed me one slice.  And rang it up.  One slice.

 

I wanted the whole pack please!

 

Another big smile.  Cha-ching.  She rang up 10 slices of yellow cheese.

 

I also wanted to buy some hot dogs.  She went back to the case.  Took a knife.  Cut it open and pulled out…ONE hot dog.  Cold and wet!

 

I smiled back as she handed it to me on a piece of wax paper.

 

Uh…hmm…” Todos por favor.” 

“All of them. Can I have the whole pack of hot dogs?”

 

“Claro, senor! Of course!”

 

Seeing the bemused confusion on my face, she explained that most folks can only afford one hot dog…maybe one egg or two…a slice of cheese…even one cigarette or just one beer at a time.

 

I pretty much cut her inventory in half!

 

But, I think I made her day when I said that I also needed some paper.  I had eyed a stack of stationery behind the counter that included…you guessed it…individual pens…pencils…erasers and a ream of paper.

 

She picked up the ream and pulled out…one sheet! A single piece of paper.

 

I told her that I needed about 50 sheets!  It was her eyes that got wide this time.  She meticulously counted out…25…26…27… 28…

 

Fifty sheets of paper and put them in a zip lock bag for me and rang it up.

 

“Adios, Senor, come back soon!”

 

I walked out the door into the bright dusty sunshine with two bags of groceries that would hopefully hold me for a week.

 

I un-wrapped one slice of cheese and one cold hot dog and started to munch.

 

With a smile, I stepped over the sleeping dog.  Who still couldn’t care less.

 

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 http://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 beach!
_____________
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:
http://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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Old-Car-Mexico

PLEASE STEAL MY CAR!

Originally published the Week of Aug. 11, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

So, this morning, I was checking out my “new car” here in La Paz. Proudly, I might add.

You see, unlike back in the states, where everyone has several vehicles in their driveway, in Mexico where most people do NOT own even a bicycle or depend on two legs or public transportation, we have a car. One car.

It’s a privilege. It’s independence.

In the times when we were without a car or our car was “in the shop” it puts a real crimp in the lifestyle. Try running several businesses from several locations without transportation.

Imagine your own lifestyle if you had no car. It’s a pain in the rumble seat that we often take for granted.

Anyway, our new ride is a dandy.

It’s ONLY 16-years-old.

It’s a Honda CRV. The sun has taken most of its’ paint. Tires look like they still have a bit of tread on it. Three hubcaps. One blinker light broken.

The after-market radio doesn’t fit. It is held into the dashboard with two metal shims wedged into the sides of the radio to keep it from falling into the dark void behind the dashboard.

The A/C barely whispers and it tries hard to lower the ambient temperature. But, the windows do roll down. Not always a given.

And the car runs. Sort of. It over-heats on hills and long drives. Might need a new radiator. Or not. We just won’t take long drives over hills!

In 23 years here, I’ve had 4 cars. I’ve never had a new one. No 4WD desert beast. No fancy SUV. Just basic Baja transportation.

New cars are expensive. New cars get beat up by the desert, sand, salt and water. Baja roads take their toll. It carries fishing gear, ice chests, groceries for the restaurant and so much more. Every day.

So, we keep it simple.

We got the car from a guy. Who knows a guy. Who knows a local police officer. Who knows a guy that imports old cars from the U.S. Cash only. It may or may not have papers.

If you ever want to know where old American cars and trucks go when even the used-car dealer doesn’t want them, look to Mexico. Or cars that get written off by insurance companies after disaster like Hurricane Katrina where all the vehicle get submerged…well…they’re all down here!

So, we buy our car from wherever. Whomever.

One of my cars only had 3 seats in it. And two windows didn’t work. Another only 2 doors that worked and had two different colored carpets in it.

Our last vehicle was 12 years ago.

It was purchased from a guy who desperately needed to leave town! Like RIGHT NOW! He already had a ticket for the ferry boat to mainland Mexico and said ultimately he needed to get to Guatemala.

So, he had to sell the car TODAY!  Please!  Not tomorrow!  Young kid who looked like someone might be after him. He wanted 8 grand.

The car was an ancient Range Rover.

It actually had papers, but without time to inspect it and only time to test drive it around the block, I told him no way I’d pay 8 grand. He pleaded. He had no choice. The ferry boat was leaving in a few hours.

We went back and forth. I got him down to $1500! From 8 grand. At that point, my wife said, not to take further advantage of the situation. He gratefully took the money…and ran!

And that’s how we get our cars.

We take them to “Fernando the Mechanic” who jury-rigs all the taxi drivers in town and can get cars running with duct tape and baling wire. He can make anything run for pesos and a case of beer.

He works out’ve his house. Little dead-end road near the arroyo. His wife runs a beauty salon in their living room. Fernando has the rest of the house. All the dogs in the neighborhood hang out there and the taxi drivers drink beer while they all visit and Fernando fixes their cars.

And off we go. Bouncing, creaking and rambling along.

And whenever something happens, Fernando can usually fix it.

Hehehehe…Sometimes we register it. Sometimes not.

You see the DMV down here is sometimes open. Sometimes not. You can wait for days. Sometimes you can wait months for registrations or license plates. So, lots of people drive illegally.

The cops know it’s tough to go through the DMV. So they’re pretty lenient most of the time. Live and let live.

So, we take our cars and use them! No coddling. Our cars are true Baja Burros.

When something, breaks, we call Fernando.

When the time comes and there’s simply no fixing our car any longer or not worth it, we literally ask someone to steal it!

We sometime just leave it where it had its last gasp or we get it to some back street corner.

We leave the keys in it. Doors unlocked. Windows down.

And it’s always gone the next day! SURPRISE! Hehehehe…

Some poor schmuck found a way to make it run or towed it. Or he used donkeys to haul it away! And now it’s HIS problem! Someone else thought they could make it run again. God bless ‘em.

I don’t have to haul it. I don’t have to junk it!

We never report it. Sometimes it’s not registered so no big deal.

I’ve seen one or two of our cars from time-to-time around town.

One old mini-van was in someone’s yard up on blocks being used as a dog house. Another was stopped on the side of the road with the hood up and the guy was pouring water into the radiator.

And I just smile. Glad someone was able to use it.

We find another car and start over.

Life in Mexico!

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

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crazy-drivers

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of June 3, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

With all the clients we’ve had over the years, we get a lot of comments about drivers here in Mexico.  It does take some getting used to driving and owning a car down here.

 

But, if you ever wonder about Mexican drivers, I can sum it up pretty easily.  Basically, to get a driver’s license, you don’t need to know how to drive!

 

Now, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

 

That’s right.  No driving school or driver’s ed required.   And the driver was probably taught by his or her dad or brother who also didn’t get any formal instruction.

 

There’s no actual driving test either.

 

No need to prove you know where or how to stop.  You don’t have to demonstrate the ability to park or how to do that crazy “Y” maneuver from the curb.  Nope.

 

There is a written test.  Really?

 

Yup. But from what I can tell, it’s more like “show and tell” time.  Open book.

 

Everyone helps everyone.  Got a problem?  Can’t read?  Ask the guy next to you.  Had a certain roadside experience?  Share it with your neighbors!  Bring family and friends along to help you too.  Need glasses?  For what? Not important.

 

Proof of insurance? What’s that?

 

You do have to give a blood sample!  That’s right.  You go across the street from the local Transito Office (DMV) and there are little clinics there.  You go give a little blood sample. You bring the results with your driver’s license application.

 

I have no idea why.

My employees at our Tailhunter Restaurant are also required to give a blood sample.  I guess I understand that. No communicable diseases, right?

 

But giving blood to get a driver’s license?  Maybe to make sure it’s red.  To make sure you’re alive?  To see if you’re a vampire?  It’s just a little pinprick, but it always cracked me up.

 

Once you have all the forms filled out, you go get in line.  Actually, about 4 different lines.  One to submit the forms.  Another to pay.  You take the receipt and go back to the first line to show proof that you paid.

 

Then a different line to get your photo taken.

 

By the way, no smiling allowed.  Or hats or glasses. Must look serious.  Must look like a guy on the Post Office Most Wanted list.

 

Actually, it’s like that for all official Mexican documents.  That includes passports, work visas, immigration papers…no smiling allowed!  Including Sam’s Club and COSTCO membership too!

 

I’m kind of a naturally smiley guy.  We all like to have nice photos on our passports and drivers licenses and other cards, right?  I mean we have to stare at them in our wallets for a couple of years, don’t we?  Friends and family ask to see them all the time to make fun of us.

 

I’ve been told to “cut it out” whenever I try to give ‘em a goofy mug shot.

 

And they are NOT smiling when they scolded me!  That usually makes me smile even more when I get scolded like a little school kid.  So, I think of sour milk and stepping on dog poo to get myself into the right “frame of mind.”

 

Like any DMV, this whole process can take hours.

 

And there’s no chairs.  Or air-conditioning.  Although there’s cart vendors outside selling hot dogs, Cokes, coffee and snacks,

 

However, you can expedite all of this if you know a guy who knows a guy.  There are “facilitators” hanging around. Or one can be recommended to you.

 

The last few times I went, they were off-duty cops making some dinero on the side.  One was a lieutenant.  Another was a detective.  Everyone seemed to know them.  Lots of high-fives and hand dubs.

 

Wassup? How’s the family? What did you think of the soccer game?  You up for a beer later?

 

THAT’s the kinda guy to follow around!

 

You pay them.  THEY will stand in line FOR YOU!  How cool is that?

 

Or, even better, the good ones have “inside connections.”  They fill out your forms for you.  When it’s your time, they walk you right to the front of the line.

 

It’s a bit awkward because you step right in front of folks who might have been waiting over an hour to get to a window. You can feel them scowling at your back.

 

But, you’re marched from one line to the next.  You don’t ask questions.  You just go where your facilitator directs you.

 

You say “Si” and “Gracias” appropriately to every person along the way.  You sign whatever they tell you to sign. You do not smile when they take your photo.

 

No goofing around.  The facilitator is not there to waste time.  He’s there to get you in…and out.  So he can get another “client.”

 

You pay them your pre-arranged fee and you’re also expected to tip them at the end for working you through the system!

 

But you get out fast and easy and you’re on your way to hit the road…

With all other qualified drivers out there!

That’s my story…

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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


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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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FACE EXPRESSION

CHEEKS, BEAKS & EYEBALLS

Originally Published the Week of May 23, 2018 in Western Outdoor Publications

Traveling and/ or living in another country has a way of expanding one’s horizons on so many levels.  It’s impossible to immerse yourself in another geography, climate, language or, in the case of Mexico,  another culture and travel in a vacuum.

 

I’ve never been too picky about my food.  I generally eat about everything.  But still…everyone draws the line somewhere, right?

 

Do you ever watch the popular Food or Travel Channels on TV?  And you watch the hosts travel the world eating (to us!) strange, bizarre and sometimes squeamish food?

 

Well, I’m here writing this week’s column.  And just a few hours ago, I was  hacking at a goat carcass with a butcher knife with perhaps more gusto than I would ever imagine.

 

Friends had gifted us a whole butchered goat and now here I was slicing ribs, loins and chops surrounded by my employees.  Everyone was anticipating who was going to receive which piece.  Like slicing birthday cake in front of kids!

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I was gonna put a photo of goat’s head in the soup, but nah…

 

The head, neck and eyeballs were especially prized for… Yes…”goathead soup” and other parts would be “headed” towards delicious “Birria” (goat stew).  Or maybe to the grill or chopped for tacos!  Everyone had a family recipe!

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I changed my mind!

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It’s about how you dress it up!

It sounds funky, but with the head in the boiling pot with garlic, cilantro, onions and other vegetables, it’s quite a treat.  You’re living large down here when you dip a hot tortilla into it and shovel it into your mouth!

 

Twenty years ago, who woulda thought?

 

My agrarian family back home in the hills of Hawaii would have been proud to see their kid with couple of college degrees and who used to wear a suit and tie slicing and carving away.  With some pretty good skill, if I say so myself!

 

But, there’s a lot of things that I don’t think twice about anymore.  Things that I would have rolled my eyes at years ago if they hit my plate, now get my hunger pangs off to the races.

 

Often, they’re things that make our tourist visitors wince!

 

For example, after fishing, we cut and clean fish for our clients and nicely pack their fillets to take home.  But, the aftermath of heads and body parts is a shame.

 

My captains and I actually laugh and sometimes playfully argue over “dividing the spoils” left by the clients.

 

The entire heads of snapper, pargo, seabass (cabrilla) and others are highly prized for soup.  The ten-pound head of a big dog-tooth snapper has lots of normally wasted meat.

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Here’s lookin’ at you! 

Throw it on the barbecue or into the soup pot and it’ll feed a family and all the neighbors!  Of course, the abuelo (grandfather) always gets the cheeks and eyeballs!

 

The same with the collars and bellies.  Tuna and dorado “pechos” can’t be beat on the grill.  I’m not talking about the stomach and innards.

I’m talking about the chest area of the fish and the long strip of flesh under the fish.  It’s the sweetest part of the animal in the same way salmon collars in Alaska are highly treasured.

 

I will sometimes get a bunch of leftover collars and bellies and grill them at our Tailhunter Restaurant and serve them as free appetizers to our guests.  It blows them away when they find out it’s the stuff they left on the beach that day!

 

Other examples of fish I usually see thrown away…

 

Bonito!  Yes, that dark oily relative of the tuna family.  Great sport, but a strong flavored meat that’s often released or used for bait.  Try chilling it.  Slice some loin very thin and make “Baja Sashime.”

bomito

Look dark.  Tastes pretty good!

Drizzle some fresh lime juice on it.  Splash it with some soy sauce.  Mince some fresh jalapenos on it and let it chill in the frig for 15 minutes.  Serve it like you would any sashimi with ginger and wasabi. Or not!  It’s pretty good as is!

 

Another is triggerfish.  For years, I threw it back or gave it away.  These pesky reef fish have an incredible hard jaw and their skin is almost like rawhide prompting locals to give it the name of “bootfish” because it’s so tough.

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Just add saltine crackers for ceviche!

However, it yields a tasty flaky-white fillet that makes great ceviche and is one of my favorites when it’s battered and deep-fried golden.  Perfect for fish tacos and you can feed a lot of folks with battered fish.

 

Sierra Mackerel is another one of those fish I tossed away for years.  How can anything that has “mackerel” attached to it be any good?  I think of dark, oily strong-tasting meat.

 

But, actually, sierra meat is silky pink and white.  It’s actually related to it’s cousin the much-sought-after wahoo.  Sierra is the smaller cousin and, in season, you can catch ‘em by the load.

 

Cooked up, it is incredibly tender.  A bowl of sierra ceviche with some crackers and tortilla chips will set you back 10 bucks in a restaurant down here.

 

And finally, let’s not forget the taco stands!

 

Anyone can serve up carne asada, chorizo or carnitas tacos.

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Pig cheeks!  It’s not quite the other white meat! 

But, a couple of my favorite stands down here serve,  grilled sizzling pork or cow cheeks.  Or deep fried cow knuckles and joints.

 

Ask around and you’ll also find the real “gourmet” stands that serve tongue and brain tacos as well.  And they’re awfully popular.

 

It takes a bit to get used to, but I can chow with anyone now.  Besides, here in Mexico, everything tastes good when washed down with an icy beer.

 

So, next time you’re down, don’t wince.  Give it a try.  Walk on the wild side!

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.”

Read Full Post »

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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“But They’re Not On The ‘Net, Man!”

5 stars

BUT THEY”RE NOT ON THE ‘NET, MAN!

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 21, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

I’m as guilty as anyone.

 

I don’t think I’m quite a “slave” to social media, but yea, it peeks it’s obtrusive face into my life more than I would like to admit.

 

I’m not one of those constantly buried with my nose in my smartphone. My thumbs aren’t constantly tapping out messages.  I don’t need to “like” or “friend” everyone on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp or all the others.  Thank you, I have enough clutter.

 

But, they do have a time and place.

 

And one of them is when I go to a new place or plan to make reservations. Or I’m on a rare vacation.

 

Darn, I hit those review websites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google pretty hard.

 

Half-a-dozen screens open on my laptop!  Do they have 3 stars?  5 stars?  How many reviews do they have?  Someone didn’t like their service?  Beds too hard? Drinks too small?  Noisy kids in the pool?  Overcooked food?  No wi-fi?

 

Compare.  Compare. Compare.

 

Sometimes the information superhighway is just overloaded with too darned much info. Boggles the brain.

 

Hey, everyone gets a bad review every now and then. Even the best.  Not everyone likes Santa Clause, the Pope, or the Dali Lama. Not everyone liked the “Sound of Music” or thinks, Disneyland is the “happiest place on Earth.” So, a bad review now and then won’t deter me.

 

But, a whole bunch of bad reviews is a different animal.  Danger. Danger.

 

A whole lot of good reviews surely helps.

 

But sometimes, it helps to just push yourself away from the screen and keyboard.  Especially in Baja.  Wake up and smell the salt air…the desert…the beans and rice, as it were.  Go all in. Taste the salsa!

 

Use a bit of common sense.  A dash of adventure.  Open your eyes, ears and senses.

 

If it looks good…feels good…other people are there…chances are it IS good.  Even if it’s not listed on some webpage.

 

Some of the best places will never show up on any social media review board.  You’ll never read about the friendly service; the cozy room; the tasty margarita or the best taco you’ve ever had on the internet.

 

The owners and managers themselves aren’t checking their reviews every day and wringing their hands about a bad write-up or counting their good comments proudly.

 

A lot of the best out there don’t know.  Or care.

 

I once offered to write a review in a magazine I worked for of a little-known family-owned hotel that sat at the end of a gravel road on pristine stretch of beach.  The hotel had been in the family for 3 generations.

 

I told the owner it would help bring lots of business. I would also post it on the internet on several blogs that I wrote.  It would be super!

 

The owner smiled and said,“Gracias, that is very kind.  But no thank you. We have enough business and we like it that way.  We don’t want to be so busy.  Just tell your friends you had a good time.  That’s enough.”

 

I had never met someone who didn’t want MORE publicity.  Even free publicity!

 

As his wife explained to me later, more people meant more upkeep, more maintenance, more workers, bigger parking lot, bigger kitchen…more strangers, more amenities, blah blah blah.

 

I got it.  There was something to that.

 

And they were right.  Bigger it not always better.

 

Over the years, I’ve found in Baja that some of the best places are down that dirt or gravel road.  They’re not listed.  You’ll never find if they are rated 2 stars or 5 stars.

 

You’ll find them behind two palm trees and a rickety fence with hand-painted letters.   And a sign pointing toward the beach.

 

They have 6 rooms and little cantina and Mama Maria makes breakfast every morning.  Papa Carlos will show you to your room overlooking the beach.  Son, Danny, laughingly chases the chicken out from behind the bar and makes a mean tequila sunrise. The happy family dog takes handouts.

 

You’ll find another place under a light post on a street corner surrounded by plastic chairs and a line of folks waiting for a fresh sizzling carne asada taco.

 

Luz takes the orders and makes change with a smile. Older brother, Julio handles the grill like a Benihana chef and flirts with the neighbor girls.  Tacos are a buck.  Bottles of Coke or orange soda are in the plastic ice chest.  Help yourself and tell Luz.

 

You’ll find another place 3 blocks from the neon strip and the booming discos.  It’s wedged between a dress shop and a travel agency.  The menus are plastic like the chairs and tablecloth and utensils.

 

The “napkins” are a roll of papertowels.

 

But Vincente the waiter is also the owner.  He promises you the best lobster burrito you’ve ever had.  And he’s right!  Fifty pesos?  About 3 bucks.  Are you kidding me?  Keep the change, Vincente!

 

You ask your taxi driver, Chuy, about a good tour company to take you around town.  He tells you he’ll take you and the family to all the best places and be your personal driver.  Fifty bucks for the whole day.  You take a chance.  What the heck.  All in.

 

He takes you to his favorite restaurants where they treat you like family. He directs you to some great deals on shopping and tells you if they’re charging too much.  Chuy jumps right into the bargaining to buy that sarape and silver bracelet you think you need. Money and laughs exchange hands.

 

He drives you to the best beach and wanders away for a few hours so you have some private time with the family. Barbecued shrimp on a stick?  Coming right up!

 

He takes you to the old cathedral and town square and you listen to local musicians play guitar to the pigeons and doves.

 

None of these people or places will ever be listed on the internet.  You’ll never be able to write a review about them or give them any “stars.”

 

But, you’ll never forget the smiles and experiences either.

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
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

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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You Can’t Go To the Buffet Dressed Like That!

active-senior-vacation

YOU CAN’T GO TO THE BUFFET DRESSED LIKE THAT!

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 25, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

I’ve gone through several stages in life where I thought that I had “come of age” or had “finally arrived.”  Maybe that’s happened to you.

 

In high school, I thought it was when I went to the prom with the homecoming queen.  A year later, it was the head cheerleader.  In college, I thought it was when I bought my first car.

 

Even later, I had finally arrived when a law firm hired me and I had my own secretary and a view of downtown Los Angeles from the 28th floor.  Living large!

 

But looking back now, I realize my milestone took place when I was on vacation with my dad many years later.  I was in my 30’s

 

He turned to me and said a bit sheepishly,

 

“Hey, Jon, can you spot me 200 bucks?  I didn’t bring enough money.”

 

A pause.  A little smirk on my face.  A cocked eyebrow.

 

“Whaddya mean, you didn’t bring enough money?”

 

“Well, y’know how it goes.”

 

He smiled innocently and shrugged.  Then he said the following three words…

 

“Payback is hell.”

 

And he just smiled a S-eating grin.

 

And that was the moment.  I point to that as my life-changing moment.

 

And in a nano-second, I flashed on all the times dad had “spotted me.”

 

Countless.  Priceless. What any dad does for his kid with a hand-out asking for a dime or quarter…and later in life for so much more.

 

Quarters and dimes for the arcade and those mechanical horses in front of the supermarket.  All the “loans” for junk and things I “desperately” needed growing up.

 

All the myriad of  times he fished into his pocket for some change or a few bucks or reluctantly pulled out his checkbook.  Or mom’s checkbook.

 

And now here we are on vacation together and he’s asking me to float him some cash.

 

“Sure dad.  Don’t spend it on anything foolish,” I joked.

 

We both grin. I’ve arrived.  How can I say no? He knows it.  He knows it’s OK to ask.

 

And life will never be the same…in a good way.

 

Dad’s not always going to pick up the dinner tab or “forgive” loans anymore.  I’ll be paying my own way… or for him now.  And that’s OK!  I’ve truly arrived.

 

And the roles have reversed.  I’m happy and proud to be able to spot him some bucks and secretly inside tickled as hell.  Payback isn’t hell.  Not being able to accommodate him would have been hell.

 

My dad forgot to bring enough cash?   Really?

 

I’ve written numerous articles about taking the family or kids out on vacation.  But what about taking your parents out on vacation?  Easier?  Harder?  Survivable?

 

In some ways, especially as they grow older, it’s a bit like having your kids with you.  You can’t just run off and leave them alone.

 

But, it’s not like you can leave them at hotel day-care either.  You can’t give mom and dad some buckets and a shovel and say, “Make some sandcastles” while you read a book.

 

You gotta keep a respectful eye on them.  They’re adults, not kids.  They’re your parents.  You can’t lead ‘em around like kids.

 

It’s more like you’re their wingman.  You have to be there.  But NOT be there at the same time.  It can be trying.  And frustrating.

 

They’re gonna forget stuff.

 

Like money.  Like credit cards.  Room keys.  Fishing licenses and passports.  Most importantly their medications!  Don’t let them forget or slack on their meds.

 

In fact, make it a point to bring extra meds for them in case they lose some; luggage gets misplaced or you’re delayed for a few days.  You don’t want to have to look for prescription medications in a foreign country.

 

By the same token, without saying so, they’re depending on you to not just watch OVER them.  You have to WATCH them.  There’s a difference.

 

Are they getting too tired?  Overheated?  Too much sun?

 

They may tell you stories about the time “back in the day” when they caught 100 zillion tuna in an hour or hike 20 miles, but now one fish in the hot blazing sun might be their limit.  A walk to the pool and back might be enough.

 

Be gracious.  No one likes being confronted with their frailties or mortality.

If you’re all doing an activity, make it “age appropriate.”  Just like your kids.  You might be into zip-lining and body surfing.  Your 80-year old parents, maybe not so much.

 

The biggest thing we encounter here is adult children not watching their parents to keep them hydrated.   Beers are fine, but water is essential.

 

They’re not going to be able to keep up with the youngsters and we’ve sent several seniors to the hospital over the years for dehydration and heat exhaustion.  Simply not drinking enough water.

 

Especially with seniors, once you get behind the 8-ball on hydration, the consequences can be very very serious.  Even critical.

040909+oldsex

 

And then, there are the awkward moments that will test your patience.  Just like when you were a kid.

 

“Where’s your jacket?  You have to take a jacket because you might catch a cold!

 

“You can’t go to dinner dressed in your fishing clothes.”

 

“You only brought one pair of what?”

 

“You lost your what? Where?”

 

“You’re only telling me this now?”

 

“If you’re going to be out past midnight would you please call or leave us a message so we don’t worry.”

 

“You don’t know how to send a text? We bought you that new smart phone!”  

 

Or the really awkward one…

 

“You want to bring your new boyfriend/ girlfriend on the trip with the family?”  And stay in the same room?”

 

Payback is hell.  Grit your teeth and smile.  Enjoy the time.  Some day you can torment your own kids in the circle of life.

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
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

 

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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