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JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 22, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

No one likes surprises when they travel.  Travel can be pretty stressful as it is.  Even moreso, travel during the holidays is also high anxiety time.

         As luck would have it, I got to fly back to Texas from our home in La Paz to spend Thanksgiving with my wife and family.  After not having a day off pretty much since last April, I couldn’t wait to jump on a plane.

         As usual, I went to obtain my covid test within 72 hours of my flight. 

         In case you missed it or haven’t traveled internationally, since January, anyone entering the U.S. on an international flight MUST show a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of the flight.

         No biggie.

         Quick swab of my schnoz takes a few minutes and results pop up on your cellphone within the hour. 

We’ve had hundreds of fishing clients for our Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz over the past season. It’s a little inconvenient, but just part of travelling these days along with so many other protocols we live with.

         Everyone gets one then goes happily on their way back to the U.S.

         So, I was all set.  I had my passport, ticket, and my covid results for travel the next day. 

         I went to check in online and get my boarding pass and get a notice that curled my toes!

         The CDC has implemented NEW RULES as of Nov. 8 for international  travelers entering the U.S.

         Basically, if you have been vaccinated, you still need to show a negative covid test result within 72 hour of your flight home.  The problem is if you have NOT been vaccinated.

         I have not been vaccinated.  In fact, I’m getting it THIS week in Texas.  There was no rush. 

I had Covid bad last year.  I’ve tested positive for the anti-bodies. I didn’t want to get vaccinated in Mexico.  I’ve been there solid for 8 months. 

Understandably, I’d much rather get any shots or vaccinations in the U.S. with my own doctors.

Well, the new rule requires that ALL UN-VACCINATED persons MUST show a negative covid test within 24 HOURS of the flight.  Further, I had to attest that upon arrival, I would self-quarantine for a few days.  Plus, I had to promise that I would get the vaccination within 60 days of arrival.

Yikes!

So, I had to run back to the testing lab in La Paz and get a 2nd negative covid test.  I know the staff there and they were surprised that I returned for the 2nd time in 2 days.

They were surprised at the explanation and had no knowledge of the new rules.  However, they graciously expedited my results.

The other bump in the road is that the online check-in does not work if you have not been vaccinated.  Therefore, instead of TWO  hours checking in before your international flight, it requires you check in FOUR hours before your flight to show your paperwork.

My flight was at 11:00 a.m. from Cabo. 

Normally, I would arrive about 9 a.m. for a flight like that.  Since it’s 3 hours drive from La Paz, that means leaving about 6 a.m. to head to the airport.

With the new regulations, I had to leave at 4 a.m. to get to the airport by 7 a.m.

Grrrrrr….talk about adding stress to a travel day.

Once I was there, it was easy.  The folks at the airport were more than helpful and since the early days of the pandemic have tried to alleviate all the confusion and stress.  

There are assistants everywhere directing travelers to the correct places or helping with forms and documents.  Everyone I’ve ever run into speak English.

I’m glad I got there early, even if it was a pain.  I’m glad I knew about the new rules BEFORE I got to the airport or there was a good chance I would have been denied travel.

So, bottom line is this:

If you have not been vaccinated, you must obtain a negative covid test with 24-hours of your flight for an INTERNATIONAL flight.

You must check in at least 4 hours ahead of your flight.

Plan ahead and hopefully, you’ll have a smoother easier travel day.

By the way, after more than a year-and-a-half, the border is now open as long as you can show proof of vaccination. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

 

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THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 9, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         For years, I’ve been telling folks about the Cross Border Express bridge (CBX) at the border for flying to Mexican destinations from Tijuana.

         Mexico has a brand spanking-new air terminal now in Tijuana that’s as nice as many and perhaps nicer than many in the U.S.  Indeed, Tijuana is quite a hub for air travel.

         Many Americans over the years, especially from Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and even Utah found it much easier to cross the border and fly from Tijuana to places in Baja  like Loreto, Cabo and La Paz and other locations in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and others.

         For one, it’s often much less expensive.  From Tijuana,  domestic flight instead of an international flight.  Statistics show, it’s as much as 50% cheaper flying to Mexican destinations than from U.S. airports.

         Lately, it’s been especially conducive with Covid since international travelers returning to the U.S. must obtain negative Covid tests before their flights.  Domestic flights do not have that requirement.

         However, back in the day, flying from Tijuana required actually crossing the border by driving, a shuttle, a bus or taxi.  Or a generous understanding friend or family member.  

         It required navigating the maze of Tijuana streets and traffic to get to the terminal.  Plus, it included the added anxiety and potential delays of just getting through the border check-point. 

Those are huge deterrents to travel, especially for folks who don’t like the idea of driving through or into Mexico in the first place.  Additionally, there’s the sheer nervousness and likelihood of getting lost on a Tijuana border street.   

Not to mention,  your Spanish is limited to ordering chalupas at Taco Bell. 

         Oh, and you have a plane to catch.

         I’ve known many folks who missed a turn or two and ended up back on the U.S. side or got lost miles away from the terminal.  Miss a turn, miss your plane!

         To that end and with rare foresight, the CBX bridge was built several years ago.  I’ve been touting it for years. Clients and friends rave about it.

         Essentially, it allows travelers to park on the U.S. side of the border.  Or shuttle/ taxi there.  You then simply walk across the bridge right into the Tijuana terminal.  No fuss.  No bunched underwear getting lost.

         It’s a game changer!

         But, I had never taken it myself.  It’s like telling someone how good Italian food is, but never having eaten it yourself.

         So, this past week, I had the opportunity to go to San Diego for a few days with Jill, my wife.   She remained, but I had to get back to our home and business in La Paz.

         Booking was easy on Volaris Airlines.  It’s a newer and increasing popular airline choice for Mexican air travel.  It was $85 for a less-than-two-hour-flight to La Paz and the jet was completely full.  About 1/3 were gringos.

         She also booked me my ticket to use the CBX.  Easy online for $16.

         Dropping me off at the curb in the early morning hour to catch my flight, I was greatly surprised. 

20211108_054005_HDR

         I mean, I expected a BRIDGE.  Y’know…like a big span or girders or something.

         On the contrary, it was like being dropped at a regular modern airline terminal.   The CBX is, in fact, more like a giant causeway than an actual bridge.

         Architecturally, rather beautiful.

cbx_1280x640

         I walked right up to an uncrowded airline counter and checked in.  I could have opted for automated mini-kiosks as well.

         I then walked over to an immigration counter to digitally fill out and print my immigration forms.  Everything was computerized. There were helpful staff assisting folks.

         Again, very easy.  And off I went.

         Through the gates and down several well-lit modern corridors.  Signs and arrows were easy to follow. 

         I did one stop for them to take my temperature for Covid.  Another short stop to have my luggage x-rayed.  A short walk to another Volaris counter where I dropped off my luggage (There are carts available, but I was travelling light).

         Another short walk and bam…I was in the new terminal.  Starbucks…Johnny Rocket’s Burgers…convenience stores…cosmetics…clothes…a few sports bars. 

And easy-to-find -boarding gates.

         I had something to eat for breakfast and made my flight with plenty of time to spare.  It was a no- brainer and could not have been easier.

         The entire walk was maybe 100 total yards.  Much easier than driving through the border and all over Tijuana.

         I traveled light this time, but there are carts, luggage porters and wheelchairs if they had been needed.

         For sure, two thumbs up 5-star rating in my book.

         A couple of notes:   

         You can also park your vehicle in secure parking on the U.S. side.  It’s a big bonus.

It’s as little as $18/day.   In fact, you can reserve parking ahead of time online.  Cost is about $25/day and guarantees parking even if the other lots are full.  There is also valet parking.

         If you’re coming the other way, car rentals are also available as are shuttle services from cities like Los Angeles and San Diego and cities in between all the way up to Sacramento.   Plus Uber and Lyft.

         There are discounts for families travelling together plus luggage porters and wheelchair assistance.  There is assistance for minors travelling alone. You will also find scales, currency exchange counters as well as duty free shopping.

         All-in-all, a great deal.

         More info here:  https://www.crossborderxpress.com/en/

That’s my story!

Jonathan


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

WE HAVE A BLEEDER

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 24, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

In the several decades that I’ve been writing fishing articles and columns for magazines and newspapers, I don’t think I’ve ever tackled this subject.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because it’s just something I don’t think about much.

         For what we do down here, it’s just not much of an issue. 

         However, it’s come up several times in the last few weeks with regards to our panga fleet here in La Paz.

         One was a legitimate question about bleeding your catch.

         Two of them were complaints of sorts from first-time anglers who had never fished in Mexico and had also never fished in a panga.

         Let me explain.

         The process if “bleeding” a fresh-caught fish can really be beneficial.  It’s not that difficult to do, especially after you’ve done it a time or two.

         It involves taking a catch just out’ve the water.  While the fish is still flapping, quickly cut to it’s heart and the main artery right behind the gills.  You let the heart pump out the blood.  Easy.

         All fish are a bit different, but you can Google up the specifics. 

         By, the way, I’m all for a quick dispatch of any catch.  The quicker you do any of this, the better for the fish rather than let it flip around in a fish box, bucket, ice chest or kill bag. 

         But, it can be messy.  I mean, “all-over-the-deck messy” especially for really dense muscled fish like a tuna or bonito for example.

         Therefore, if you can, let the blood pump out while holding the fish over the side, if possible and practical.  Or, hold it in or over your bait tank.  If you can’t do either of those, at least do it away from everyone else.

         And be prepared to clean off the deck rapidly. 

         Then, get the fish chilled on ice.

         The whole idea, as explained to me by a marine biologist many years ago is that when a fish, or anything dies, it immediately begins to decompose.  Makes sense.  No vital organs are working anymore.  Blood, nerves, brain function, etc. are all flat-lined. 

         Blood left in the fish is also  logically decomposing. 

         By getting rid of the blood, you can really help improve the flavor of the meat by leaving you with cleaner and better tasting fillets.

         That’s the theory.  And it works!

         The reality can sometimes be different which brings me back to the complaints I received this week.

         When I worked on big private charter boats, it was relatively easy to bleed-out a fish.  I was a deckhand. 

Or there were other deckhands.  Even if there was a lot of activity on the deck during a bite, usually someone could bleed fish.

         Unless it was really crazy.

         I’ve worked on party boats and multi-day charter boats and ultimately, you’re dealing with a lot of fishermen.  There’s simply too much happening.

         A bunch of folks are trying to catch fish.  Fish are biting.  Lines are all over the place.  It’s frantic.

         We’re tying hooks; gaffing fish; untangling lines; tossing bait; bagging and tagging fish…and more.  It’s full-speed turbo. 

         There’s hardly time to take one person’s fish and bleed it in the middle of the chaos.   It is what it is.

         On a panga like we have here in La Paz, sometimes it’s possible to bleed a lone solitary fish.  Sure. Let me get right to it.

         Here’s the dilemma.

         There’s one captain and there 2 or 3 anglers.

         The captain is the one-stop, driver; guide; deckhand and navigator. He’s got his hands full.   It’s kind of a small, efficient but ultimately croweded working platform.

         The fishermen are out there to catch fish.  The captain’s job is to facilitate that event.

         Bites can happen in a frenzy.  Two or three fishermen with bent rods and slinging fish in a small boat is fun and exciting and can be a blur of motion for the captain. However…

         If he stops to gaff, cut and bleed a fish…

         The whole process comes to a standstill.

         He can’t re-rig your lines or the lines of your buddies.

         He can’t be baiting hooks.

         He can’t be untangling your backlash.

         He can’t drive the boat.

         Your buddies might be pulling in fish at the same time.

         Or losing them.

         The fish school could disappear.

         It’s a pragmatic issue.  The anglers need to weigh taking the time to bleed solo fish versus all the other things that can happen in the interim.

         I think most would rather be catching fish than watching the school disappear.

         Simple as that!

That’s my story!

Joanthan


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 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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BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED the WEEK of Oct. 9, 2021 in WESTERN OUTDOOR PUBLICATIONS

          I am often asked about renting cars or just driving around Baja in general.

           Or there are folks who tell me they are going to make some grand “Banzai” run from the border all the way down to Cabo.  They tell me they drive wide open and non-stop like race car drivers.

         They ask me for advice.

         Having been down here almost 30 years and also having driven the Baja over a dozen times top to bottom and back, I mostly have one rule.

         Do not drive at night.

         Frankly, it’s dangerous.

         When I tell folks that, I see their eyes go wide.

         No, it’s not the banditos.

         Some cartel is not going to grab you and run away with you.

         The legendary chubacabra (vampire bat/dog) is not going to suck your blood and leave you in the desert.

         It’s much more simple than that.

         You have a great possibility of bumping into something at night in Mexico.  Or, even missing something completely!

         I don’t care how careful of a driver you are.

         Mexican road are notoriously bad.  You are probably already on an unfamiliar patch of highway or road.  

A foot-deep pothole can suddenly shred a tire or bend an axle.  Not to mention shake your dentures.

Also, consider this.

         The Mexican road construction guys just LOVE to install speed bumps of all kinds.  If one speed bump works let’s install 5 more just for fun! 

At one point, in the two miles from my home to my office, there were 36 speed bumps along the way. You’ll hit them at the strangest places placed there for no apparent reason.

         Some would give an Abrams battle tank fits.  Others are spaced just enough so it’s like driving over a washboard.  Others will literally launch your car airborne if you hit it at just the right speed.

         Also, driving at night, you put on your headlights, right?  Don’t assume other drivers will also have their headlights on.  In fact, don’t assume other drivers even have headlights or taillights or brake lights for that matter. 

         Oh, and if they have headlights, they like to drive at you or pull up behind you with their bright hi-lights on.

         Assuming again that you’re on unfamiliar roadway, things aren’t always well marked.  Street signs can be non-existent, broken, hidden behind bushes and even hidden behind other signs. 

         This includes stop signs.  Street lights.  Street names.  Detours. Warnings about potholes and speed bumps coming up…SOON!

         Street lights often don’t work or are non-existent.

         Therefore, all things considered, you have a great possibility of getting LOST.  Or getting a traffic ticket.  Remember, you’re in a highly visible rental car or a car with non-Mexican license plates.

 I see it happen all the time.

         Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of folks dress in black at night.  I don’t know if it’s a fashion thing, but they’ll dash across a street.  Walk through a crosswalk without looking.  Jog and bike rider right in the traffic lane too!

         Out in the country side, you have a whole other set of things to be concerned about.

         Often, there’s debris on the roadway.  Rocks.  Parts of trees. Trash. Things that have fallen off other trucks or cars.  Even on the best highways, there is always that danger.  

I’ve seen it all.  I’ve hit them all!

         Even moreso, the biggest danger is hitting animals. 

         I’m not talking cats and dogs. Domestic street animals are usually pretty smart.

         I have seen wild pigs and deer that occasionally cross a highway.

         However, it’s the cows, burros, horses and goats you need to watch out for. Mostly, they are freerange animals left to wander a the countryside by a land owner.

         They can be grazing on the side of the road.  Often, at night, they will lie on the pavement for warmth.  They can suddenly dart out’ve the bushes across the road. 

         In the middle of the night on a long lonely stretch of desert a herd of goats suddenly were in our headlights as we rounded a corner.  We were already half-dazed from a lengthy drive. 

         Our big pickup with dually-rear tires ripped right into the herd.  I would swear that I saw two bodies fly up and over our windshield and cab and our tires rapidly went “bump-bump” over others several several times.

         Oops!  No way to avoid them.

         Even worse, I’ve had friends hit larger animals like a cow, or a burro.  Not only is there extensive damage to the vehicle, but on several occasions, the animal is now the ranchers “most prized” and expensive piece of livestock.

         Or course, it is.

         Even if it was really nothing more than a scrawny range animal wandering the property.

         The rancher now wants BIG MONEY. 

         So, drive in the light.  Stay safe.  Take your time.

That’s my story!

Jonathan    

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

What a long-strange trip it’s been. Me selling fishing trips in the street circa 1995. Only thing I could think of doing.

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 24, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Looking back on almost 30 years here in Baja, I was thinking of what an incredible and improbably journey this has been.  It’s been the trip of a lifetime. 

         I’m grateful.  What was supposed to be a one-year exciting hiatus from practicing law turned into an unexpected and (initially) unwanted and scary realization that I couldn’t leave.  

         After almost a year, folks I had gone to work for fired me. A long story for another day. 

        However, when they chased me off, they  refused to return my passport and had never filed my work papers!  They also owed me several months of pay.  

        So, I’m illegal and broke! And I’m stuck.

        I had no visible or viable means of support, income, housing or food.  I’m in  a foreign country where my Spanish pretty much consisted of Spanish expletives and fishing terminology.

        “Vamos por cervezas” (Let’s get some beer!) wasn’t going to get me far.       

         But things turned out.  It’s that saying about God closing windows and opening other doors.  The good Lord busted my butt in so many ways, but he opened a huge door for me to step through. 

I was hungry and didn’t really have a choice. I had to figure a way to eat and I couldn’t sleep in my van forever!

         But looking back, I wish I knew then what I know now about so many things.  I made a list of some of them.

         For one.  I realize you can get by with very little if you need to.  It doesn’t take much.  It’s nice to have a full pantry.  It’s nice to have amenities. 

        But, it makes you grateful for many small things and also humbles you thinking about your Mexican friends and acquaintances. They can get by a lot better than most Americans I know.

        Almost everything is negotiable.  Except for grocery stores and gas stations, pretty much everything else from services to goods is negotiable. 

        The price is what whatever the seller is willing to accept and you’re willing to pay.  Trade has worked more often than I can remember.  Win-win for both sides.

        “Manana” does not always mean “tomorrow” when it comes to business or social commitments. Manana could mean “3 days from now.” 

        It could also mean “later.”  It could mean “whenever I get to it.” It could also be a polite way of being told, “It ain’t gonna happen so don’t count on me.”

        Speaking of “later,” most everyone is late.  I’ve come concluded that Mexican driver speed because they are late. 

        After running businesses for almost 3 decades, nothing I do can force my employees to be on time.  No amount of penalties, bonus pay, threats or jumping up-and-down will get them to be on time.  So, accept it and deal with it as best you can.

        “Guarantees,” “Warranties,” “Contracts” usually aren’t worth the paper they are written on.  New roof collapses.  Too bad. 

        Car stalls in the desert.  Hope you brought water and a cellphone.  They raised the cost of something before the contract expires?  What will do you…file a lawsuit?  You’re on your own. 

        Water is precious and not to be wasted.  Electricity is something not everyone has so don’t take it for granted. It makes EVERYTHING better.  Air-conditioning is the greatest invention since duct tape.

        If something breaks, we think we must find a specialty part or store.  Home Depot. West Marine. Walmart. 

        Mexican people are some of the most innovative and inventive I’ve ever seen.  If they can fix or jury rig something out’ve wire, rope or scrap, they will.  And it will work.  At least until it breaks again.

        Along those same thoughts, if something can break, it will.  If you lend it out, it will probably get broken.  Thing you never ever thought someone would break, will break. 

        How does one snap something so solid as a hammer or screwdriver in half?  How does a power drill suddenly not work after 10 years? How does a blender or microwave only last a month?  How does someone drive a truck into the ocean or a boat into the docks full speed?

        You will always get a shrug when you ask how that could have happened.  No se!  (I don’t know!)  “It must be defective!”

        Some things can’t be jury rigged.

        And some things never change.

        For instance, never turn down an offer of a home-cooked meal.  Especially by someone’s mama.  The world over, if someone’s mama offers to cook you dinner, you’re a fool to decline. Best food ever.

        Gringos drink tequila.  I don’t know many Mexican friends that actually drink tequila as a first choice if something else is available.  They smilingly watch the gringos knock back tequila drinks.  The locals that come to our bar prefer beer, whiskey and pina coladas.

        Here’s a big one.  One persons idea of “corruption” is another person’s idea of “culture.”

        Earlier, I stated that everything is negotiable.  A good example is bribes.  Against the law.  Bad stuff.  Here in Mexico it’s more like “tipping.”

        I’m not talking about getting ticketed for no reason by bad cops.

        I’m talking about getting tickets for failing to stop; speeding; bad parking or going down a one-way street.  It happens. Not the end of the world.  You get a ticket.

        I hate to say it but “tipping” the cop to just give you a warning is right up there with tipping the waiter for an extra cup of ice or onions-on-the-side.  Or your boat captain for a good day.  Or the mechanic for a special job. 

        I’ve had many a gal tell me she doesn’t think twice about batting her eye lashes and flirting to get out’ve a ticket back in the U.S.  I don’t have eyelashes or anything that a cop would think attractive. 

        But, I do have some extra pesos I keep in my ashtray.  And it works. 

        I was in the wrong. I deserve a ticket.  The cop wants some beer after work.  Here’s some pesos.  He tells me be more careful next time.

        It’s win-win and we both smile.  Just the way things work.

        Lastly, no matter how hard you try, things do not and will not happen fast here.  You are way ahead if you get just one thing done per day.  You can’t make a “to do” list here in Mexico.

         Do some banking.  Pay a bill. Get to the grocery store.  Wash the car.  If you accomplishe one thing, don’t even try for the other things on your list. 

        Crack a beer.  Day is done.

        Just how things are down here.  I learn more every day.

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 1, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         As I write this, I’m looking out the office window.   Hurricane Nora is bearing down on us in southern Baja.

         I don’t think it will be too bad.  I hope.

         I mean, compared to historic Hurricane Odile in 2014 that reached Category 4 status and pretty much scoured our area unlike any other storm in Mexican History, Nora maybe end up being nothing more than a mild inconvenience at Category One. 

         Only “mild” 90 mph winds.  Uh-huh.

         Either way, it’s being downgraded so it might not even be that bad.  This will be my 16th hurricane since living in Baja almost 3 decades ago.  I’ve seen worse.

         And right now, the seas are looking pretty angry. The palm trees are getting torqued, but it really doesn’t look that ominous or petulant. 

       There’s a grey sunshine trying to burn through the clouds.  Much like a beach day marine layer in Southern California.

         I can see people still bouncing around on the beach in the tidal surge and storm waves. There’s one kooky kayaker out there paddling against the wind. She probably wishes they hadn’t paddled so far out.  She looks a bit tired, but she’s inching closer to shore.

         Nora is slated to get stronger tonite, but thankfully may dissipate in a day or two without too much yelling and screaming or damage.  If that happens, I will consider that we have dodged a bullet.

         Storms during this time of the year down here in Baja are not uncommon.  I wouldn’t say they are a regular occurrence either.  A big one every few years.  Then years with nothing.  Some years, several small ones.

         But they CAN happen. 

         And they can happen without much notice.  If the atmospheric conditions are right…well…

         Mostly, it’s just some intermittent rain or a scattered thundershower or two.  You wait it out at your favorite dockside bar with a cold one and watch the downpour for a few minutes until the sun pops our again.

         Some, however, like Nora are a little more powerful although largely benign.

         Right now, it looks ominous enough that it looks like we’ll be cancelling fishing for a few days as port captains in Cabo, La Paz and the East Cape shut down all water traffic. 

Beaches are getting pounded with big surf and frankly, it’s pretty snotty on the ocean even if the sun does it’s best to poke out.

         So, what do you do if your vacation is suddenly in jeopardy?

         Well, if you haven’t left yet, obviously check our flights.  If you’re booked with an outfitter or an agency, contact them to get some guidance.

         If you’re already down here and it looks like something big might be coming up the pipeline, you’ll have to make decision.  Stay or go?

         Consider that if you plan to go, so are a lot of other folks trying to book flights to get out before the storm hits.  So, don’t dally on your decision.

 Flights are already full with regular departures let alone lots of new folks now wanting seats.  Seats will be scarce and probably pricey.  But, it’s a decision you have to make.

         Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time before your flight.  Remember also, that if you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to allow for the extra time to get your covid test at the airport.

         If you decide to stay, I”ll be honest. It’s kinda cool to watch the power of nature do its thing.

         As long as you are safe!

         Stay inside.  There could be all kinds of things flying around.

If you drive, sudden flooding can become not only dangerous but fatal as roads and arroyos literally turn into raging rivers, even with a small amount of rain.

         Keep your electronics charged.  Don’t waste batteries watching tik tok videos or video chatting.  You may lose power and you don’t know when you’ll be able to recharge. 

         Plus, you may need your phone as a flashlight, although I never travel without a little tactical flashlight handy.

         Stock up on waters.  If you have time, get to the local market and grab some candles and masking tape as well for the windows. I always grab edibles that don’t need refrigeration as well. 

        Hate to admit it, but junk food works really well.  I seem to eat more potato chips and Pringles during storms than any other time.  But, not to be total knuckleheaded, we also have cold cuts, bread, energy bars and fruit.

         If you have an ice chest, fill it with water.  Use it as your back-up water to do things like flush toilets.  Oh yea…grab extra toilet paper as well.  Goes without saying.

         And ask housekeeping to bring you lots of extra towels to keep water from coming under the door or sopping up anything that leaks in.

         My wife and I always keep a deck or cards handy too.

         The above recommendations are mostly just for the most severe situations.

         The majority of time, it will never come to that.  You’re gonna get some wind and rain.  I cut out a big trash bag for my head and arms and use it as a rain pancho. 

         Everyone makes it through these things.  And they happen without warning sometimes.  And they happen during the best times to be down in Baja and Mexico in general.   It helps to know what to prepare.

         Also, I keep saying it, but purchase trip insurance ahead of time.  It’s economic and helps recover the costs of lost charters, hotel nights, activities, plane flights and others.

         I’m still here sitting looking out my office window and those clouds are getting darker and the winds are starting to rip a lot harder.  Nora is in the house.

         Gonna go pop a can of Pringles and a beer.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

                 

Read Full Post »

WHAT THEY SAY and WHAT WE REALLY SEE

Originally Published the Week of July 26, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         I probably get at least a half-dozen e-mails or phone calls about the rules and restrictions with Covid down here in Baja so I guess it’s time for a “point-counter-point” column about things.

Please keep in mind, I am in no way encouraging anyone to break or dis-respect the laws.  These are merely observations and all of this can change week-to-week.

 

RULE:  We are back to Level 5 Restrictions

         Southern Baja is currently in a Level 5 (orange) for Covid restrictions and protocols.  This was implemented about 3 weeks ago as a result of rising Covid infections.

REALITY:  Everything is pretty much still open

         Since March 2020, we’ve bounced back and forth through several levels of Orange, yellow, orange and back again.  The current level was initiated several weeks ago via a government vote.

         They vote on this every week.  It could change by the time you are reading this.       

         In the current state, gyms, churches, concerts, theaters and social events (like parties and weddings) are closed.  Classrooms have been closed since last March, but are set to re-open in August.

         Everything else is open.

RULE:  The Border Is Shut Down Again

         Since last March, the border has been shut down to non-essential traffic.

REALITY:  Welcome to Mexico.  Please Bring Your Tourist Dollars!

         The restrictions DO NOT apply to entry into Mexico via plane, train or boat.  No one we know that has been driving has been turned away from the border if you give them an “essential” reason for entering.

         Shopping?  Sure.  Fishing?  That’s pretty important. Lunch in Ensenada?  C’mon in.  Visiting friends in Tijuana?  You bet!

         Believe me, Mexico wants and desperately needs U.S. travel money.  They’re not stopping anyone.

RULE: Fishing Has Been Shut Down

REALITY:  False!  Jump on a boat!

         Fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and other water activities were deemed “essential” activities.  Business as normal, folks

RULE:  Restaurants and Hotels are Closed

REALITYFalse again.   But, they are all supposed to be at 30% occupancy

         Unless closed for other reasons, hotels and restauratns are mostly all open. 

         With restaurants, I see them full all the time.  Maybe tables got pushed further apart for social distancing.  Occasionally, they might tell you that they’re “at capacity” so you go somewhere else if the restaurant manager is worried about an inspection. 

Yes, some restaurants got fines or suspensions for blatantly ignoring the rules.  Others (wink wink) never ever seem to get checked and pack folks in every night. Most tourists will mostly not notice. Eat like normal!

For the hotels, parking lots sure look pretty full to me. However, they are “supposed” to be at 30% occupancy.  Down from 40% occupancy.

The reality is no one seems to be counting heads or beds.

People are pouring off planes.  Everyone is flocking to Mexico.  Airlines are packed. Plans have been made for months. 

With the way the restrictions change almost weekly, no hotel is going to say, “I’m sorry, we’re now at 30%.  So, 10% of you have to get back on the plane or go find a different hotel.” 

Not gonna happen.  If you have a reservation, come ahead!

RULE:  No alcohol sold or consumed after 5 p.m…oh wait 8 p.m.

REALITY:  Probably True

         If you run into an empty restaurant, this is probably the biggest reason for it.  Two weeks ago, it was at 5 p.m.  No sales after 5 p.m.

Now, it’s 8 p.m.

Not sure what that had to do with reducing Covid in the first place.  Not sure how changing it from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. has to do with reducing Covid.

         You cannot buy it at the supermarket.  At restaurants, you can’t have a bottle, a can or cocktail class at your table.

         But, that’s the rule.  Literally, a buzz kill.

         That being said, just like I mentioned earlier, there’s some places that “strangely” never ever ever get checked.  Most restaurants will do whatever they need trying to stay afloat. Desperate times.

         In the last two weeks, my wife Jill and I have been at several restaurants that approached the curfew.  Our server encouraged us about “last call.”

         Then, we were served our drinks in red solo cups and a can of Coke or bottled water was placed on the table.  It was served with a “wink and a smile.” 

RULE: You Must Have a Negative Covid Test To Return to the U.S.

REALTY:  Yes and No.  Mostly Yes.

         Since January of this year, you have to show evidence of a negative Covid test to come into the U.S.  via plane.  It has to be within 72-hours of the flight.

         It doesn’t matter if you’ve been vaccinated.

         It doesn’t matter if you’ve already had Covid.

         But…It only applies to flying.

         It only applies to INTERNATIONAL flights. 

For instance, many S. Californians fly Volaris Air from Tijuana.  They return via Volaris through Tijuana and walk across the border.  Volaris is a DOMESTIC flight.  Therefore, no testing is required.

         The test takes only 15 minutes and you get results on your phone in less than an hour.

         There are labs all over providing the services.  Many hotels can set up services.  There are labs at the airport as well.  Very easy.  Cost is $25-50 U.S. dollars.

RULE:  You need to Quarantine

REALITY:  Negative

         You do not need to quarantine on either end of your trip. 

If you happen to test positive while in Mexico, know that of the thousands that have been tested since January, only a miniscule amount have tested positive.

         The reality is that there is very little Covid infection in the tourist sections.  Sanitization is incredibly strict in the tourist zones.  More strict that your town back home.  

         It has been that way since Baja opened up last year from lockdown.  

         The surge in Covid is in the inner-city areas where folks do not have the luxury of not working.  There’s no unemployment or stimulus checks.  If you don’t work, you and your family don’t eat. 

         Many people live in close quarters.

         If you happen to test positive and show no symptoms, you simply take the test in two days.  As soon as you test negative, you go home.

RULE:  Beaches and Waterfronts are Closed

REALITY:  Selective Closures

         Where we live in La Paz, the main beaches and the waterfront get checked often and folks get chased off.  As soon as the inspectors leave, folks go back onto the beach. 

Down by the area of all the clubs and bars, it seems like business as usual, especially with locals.  (Even with the limits on alcohol sales.)

         In Cabo, I hear conflicting reports about the waterfront, but many tell me, it’s very much open in most cases.  It’s not hardcore enforcement. 

Others tell me there’s a noticeable lack of visitors and some operations are getting shut down.

         Then again, there’s lots of beaches that no one can check because they are too remote.  Where we are, everyone is flocking to the local islands to enjoy the beaches there. Pangas are doing a brisk traffic as water shuttles.

         It’s just impossible to patrol several hundred miles of beaches.

         Bottom line for all of this is that I don’t think it’s going to impinge much on your vacation.

UPDATE:

Since this article was published, there have been some changes! As anticipated, the government voted again.

Cabo San Lucas restrictions were reduced from a level 5 to a level 4.

La Paz and the rest of the states were kept at level 5.

However, strangely, it’s confusing because even though we here in La Paz are supposedly at Level 5:

  1. Beaches were re-opened to 30% occupancy during the daytime hours
  2. Restaurants were kept at 30% occupancy, but are now allowed to sell alcohol until 11 p.m.
  3. The Malecon is open for “exercising” during day time hours.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

Read Full Post »

CAN’T GET OUTTA YOUR OWN WAY!

CAN’T GET OUTTA OUR OWN WAY

Originally Published the Week of June 1, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

If any of this applies to you, I am NOT throwing shade your way.  I am as guilty as the anyone of this.

It was dawn and we were loading up the clients in our van to get them from the hotel to the beach to board our boats to go fishing that day.

Everyone was loaded and anxious to get going.  Waiting for the last 2 guys.

And then down the lobby steps come Rob and Gerry.  This is their 4th trip with us and really really good guys.

But, they are struggling.  They are carrying more gear than the other 6 guys combined that are waiting in the van.  Everyone stares wide-eyed.

Rob and Gerry need a crew of Himilayan Sherpas.  It took 3 of us to heft stuff onto the roof rack of the van.

When they first started coming down, they were rookies.  Didn’t have much gear. 

However, with each consecutive year, the equipment gets more and more extensive.  They have the latest rods, reels, clothes, lures, gadgets and thing-a-ma-jiggers.

And, it’s not like I can say anything.  I mean, I don’t wanna be a buzz-kill or dampen their enthusiasm.  Like I said, there are really nice guys.

But, sometimes I think they stay up at night on the couch with the remote in their hands.  Or instead of football on weekends, they watch the fishing shows…marathon style!

Every gadget that comes out “made by fishermen for fishermen” or “guaranteed to catch fish faster and easier” or “as seen on TV” gets them twitching to grab their cellphone and credit cards.

They MUST have the “Ferris Wheel Lure” and the “See Underwater Seaview Glasses” and the battery-operated “Sonic Fish Caller.”

They can’t help themselves.  It’s like some gals I know at a Nordstrom Shoe Sale. 

They’re having fun and get so excited they can’t wait to show everyone what they bought and how it’s gonna work.  This will be the year that the fish will literally attack their lines!

Whether it’s the latest type of triple-speeded fishing reel or the hot-color 100 SPF camouflage fishing clothes, they have it! 

…and the always catch fish.  But EVERYONE catches fish. 

I’m not sure that all of that gear really made a difference.  The folks using our basic rental rods do just as well.  The guys who bring a minimum of gear do just as well.

But, here’s the issue I see with these guys getting caught up in the technology.

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They still don’t know the basics. 

I’m guilty of that myself.  I get into a new hobby or interest and then I need all the accessories. Then I  realize…whoa…slow down! 

Put down the catalogs.  Stop web-surfing Amazon.

I need to back up and get some foundation so I know how to use all this great stuff.

I know for a fact, these guys still don’t know how to tie basic fishing knots…because I’ve sat with them and showed them some knot tying. 

But, I know they don’t trust their own knots.  So they always let my captain tie up their rigs.  And bait their hooks for them.

I know as well that they don’t know how to cast or how to work a jig.

They really don’t understand why some people use braided lines.  They don’t know why they need to tie fluorocarbon to regular mono.  Aren’t both kinds of lines invisible?

Why do we use certain hooks?  

They don’t understand how to set the drags or why you can’t just “button down” the drag when a fish is running.   Why can’t you just “winch” the fish to the boat?

Well most of us know…it just doesn’t work like that!

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The thing is sometimes we can get so wrapped up in all the cool fun stuff that we forget the basics.  We trip all over ourselves because of the technology and the “latest and greatest” claims. 

Why take the time to learn when technology will help us fast-forward to our goal? 

Don’t learn to tie knots.  Buy a gadget instead. 

Don’t learn to read the water.  Buy the battery-operated underwater drone camera. 

Don’t learn how to make a jig swim.  Buy a rechargeable lure that swims all on it’s own!

Sheesh! Stop me!

We make it more complicated than it really is.  We can’t see the forest for the trees or the water through all the gear in front of our eyes.  

If fish could laugh, I’m sure they would. 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

SALUD!!!!

FEELING A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AGAIN

Originally Published the Week of May 17, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

The vibe just kinda just hit me this week.

         I had to go down to Cabo San Lucas which is about 100 miles south of us where we live in La Paz.  Had to take care of some business, but also check out the Cabo Airport.

         I got stuck in traffic.

         It’s been awhile since I’ve been stuck in traffic down here.  I mean, not just slo-mo movement.  I mean gridlock bumper-to-bumper stuff.  

         At the airport, to drop off folks, shuttle vans and taxis were triple-parked trying to let folks off at the curb.  Inside the terminal lines snaked back-and-forth and up-and down. 

        It was a morass of people struggling  to find their proper lines to check in for their flights as well as get their covid tests.

         Picking folks up, the same thing.  Chaos.  People ready and anticipating a cold margarita and sunny vacations now stuck in lines.  Buzz kill.

         Like being a kid getting taken finally to Disneyland then realizing it’s a 2 hour line to get on your favorite ride.

         From the time planes were landing, it was taking 1-2 hours for folks to get off the plane and get their luggage. Then, they had to navigate get through more snaking lines for immigration and finally customs and luggage x-rays.

         It was another hour wait to get a rental car…if you’re lucky.

         As my amigo and I sat in the car waiting for traffic, I looked at him and said, “I guess we’re back to normal.”  And went back to drumming my fingers on the steering wheel.

         And so it is.  I guess we’re somewhat back to normal.  At least it feels like it. The new normal?  Maybe so.

         There’s no doubt that Mexico, especially Baja, has become the #1 vacation target for Americans looking to get away…finally.  Covid or no covid.  Vaccine or no vaccine.

         Mexico is close. A quick little plane ride.

        There’s no quarantine.  It’s economical. It’s a long weekend.   

       To many the culture is not so unfamiliar.  It’s second nature to many Americans.    It’s not like going to France or Italy or somewhere in Asia.  And, getting back home is easy too.

         Although Baja still has restrictions, truthfully, they are almost un-noticeable.

         Sure, you still gotta wear a mask.  It’s a requirement, but it feels very relaxed.  No one is shaking a finger at you if you’re not wearing one. 

       And for sure, it’s rare that someone is going to remind the precious tourists with the American dollars to put on a mask.

           As you walk around, you’ll know if you need to pull up your mask. 

         You will still have folks taking your temperature at some places.  No big deal.

         Admittedly, restaurants and hotels are supposed to only be at 40-50% occupancy. 

         But, I see hotel parking lots are full.   Many restaurants are full and I sure don’t see many tables supposedly 6’ apart.  

          If the restrictions are being observed, it’s pretty loose.  Or maybe no one is really checking that hard.  Getting people working is too important. 

         Everyone is trying to make up for a devastating 2020, no doubt. 

         Those are just my own personal observations.   A generality, if you will. 

         But, honestly, it’s exciting to feel the nice buzz in the air.  A nice energy.  Visitors are excited to be here.

         Folks are excited to be working again. Locals are excited to have you.  Businesses have open arms waiting for you.

         Baja had it especially tough last year.  I remember everything being closed.  I remember night time curfews. 

         I remember only being allowed to have 2 persons in a car and everyone better have a mask on.  I remember having to sanitize your shoes and feet before entering a business.

       For Pete’sake, I remember when they cut off beer sales because brewing beer was a “non-essential activity.”  Long lines and small riots ensued at convenience stores. 

         Toilet paper no problem, but cutting off beer in Mexico?  That’s a real crisis.

         I don’t miss any of that.

        In an ironic bitter-sweet way, I will miss some things however.  Not that I ever want to go back to 2020.

        In a weird Twilight Zone kind of way, it was a peek at Mexico the way it was 30 or 40 years ago.    

         The ocean was empty and uncrowded. 

         The fish were ready and eager.  There had been so little traffic on the water. 

         I had the beaches to myself.  

         At restaurants the service was crazy good.  Waiters were falling all over themselves to wait on me.  Few tables were occupied.

         Hotels were almost giving away rooms to have you be there.  You got the pool all to yourself.  The jacuzzi didn’t have 20 kids diving in it.

         The swim up bar was just you and the bartender.   And he was anxious to have some company.

         And traffic?  What traffic?  Roads were empty.  The airport was empty. 

         Things moved at a much more leisurely pace. 

         I couldn’t wait for it all to end and it’s good to get back to some normalcy.  Good to see people back working and visitors flocking back.

         But, for awhile I got to see a different older Mexico.  Just for awhile. 

         It’s like those movies where someone invents a time machine and goes back in time.  Nice to visit, but you don’t wanna stay there too long!

         It’s good to be back to business.  Even if I’m stuck in traffic now and then.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

______________

 

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 think of all the things you never had the courage to try.” 

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ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

man-in-car-accident

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of May 13, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          We’re gonna do a little “word association” test.  Read the following words then close your eyes.

         “MEXICAN DRIVERS”

         I bet I can guess what went through your head after reading those words.  All those “stereotypes” come flooding into your thoughts?

         Just to be fair, stereotypes are stereotypes. 

         They’re a broad-brush painting that may-or-may-not have a lot of truth or fairness to it.  But, after living in Mexico for almost 3 decades, the thoughts that flew through your brain probably weren’t too far off.

         Listen, there’s bad drivers all over the world. 

         How many people did you call out under-your-breath on your last freeway commute home from work?  Everyone slower than you was a “jerk.”  Everyone faster than you was a “butthead.”  Right?

         I don’t want to say that Mexicans are bad drivers.  But, I will say they drive “differently” and it behooves you to be a “better” driver because of it.  In other words, CYA. . .”cover your backside” and drive defensively.

         Why is that?

         Well, a couple of things that happened recently might have coalesced my thoughts on the matter.

         For one, I just realized that of our employees that “know” how to drive,   most have no driver’s licenses.  Some have NEVER had a license or have expired licenses.  They just laugh. 

         When you need to get from Point A-to Point B for work, you do what you gotta do.  Don’t need no license and don’t have time or money to get one!

         As a foreigner, I never had to take a test to get a Mexican driver’s license.  I never had to even prove that I could drive.  I just had to fill out the paperwork. 
        

         I had to pay my money.  And, like DMV’s everywhere, I had to stand in several long lines. 

         However, unlike say the DMV in the states, I found out that I could pay a proxy to stand in line for me.  Yup.  Pay for someone to stand in line for me!

         I could go sit down; check my e-mails on my phone; buy a hot dog or a churro from one of the vendors inside the TRANSITO (DMV) office.  My proxy calls me when it’s my turn to run up to the line. 

         He follows me to the next line.  He tells me where I need to sign documents.  He basically leads me by hand from one teller window or clerical office to the next. Nothing is done in one line.

         It’s a good thing because the TRANSITO office is a small version of the floor of the NY stock exchange.  It’s chaos incarnate.

        Noisy.   Little offices everywhere.  Lines everywhere.  Lines to nowhere.  Confusing signs on the walls.

       People milling and yelling and papers being shuffled.  There’s no appointments.  There’s no obvious order.

         Paying a proxy a few bucks and a hot dog was well worth it.   Turns out my guy was a police officer making a little money on the side.  Tipping is appreciated.

         Circling back, however, the point of my story is that to get a license you do NOT have to prove you can operate a moving vehicle.

         Unlike, the U.S., however, you DO have to prove that you are “alive.”

         I say that tongue-in-cheek because to get a license, you must submit to a blood test.  Yes, a blood test.  I don’t know why.

         But, you go across the street to an approved “lab” and they take a blood test.  Cost is about 20 bucks.  You take your test results when you get your license.

         That’s it.  No driving test.  No written test.

         Painted outside the TRANSITO office there’s ariel-view street grid l painted on the asphalt/ concrete. .  Kinda like Lego-land.  

         The streets area about 12-inches side.  It has little streets and buildings painted there with parking spaces and stop signs and left-turn lanes and one-way streets.

         I’m told that an examiner will take you through a “test” and let you WALK through the faux-streets.  You get to show that you know when to stop and how to back up and how to make left turns.

         You are not in a car. 

        You are in an “air-car” like playing “air-guitar.” 

        You are not in a vehicle.  You turn our “air wheel” to make a turn.  You shift gears in the air like when you were a kid.  You step on the imaginary brakes.

         Maybe you even have to make “vroom vroom” sounds as you drive around.

         Like I said, I never had to take any kind of driving or written test to get my Mexican license.

         However, I’ve had local friends who were given written exams.  They were getting their driving licenses for the first time.

         The tests are not open book.  There is no book.   There’s no manual.

         If you know how to drive, it’s not because you took lessons. It’s because someone else, maybe with questionable skills shows YOU how to drive.  The circle continues.

         With the written tests,  no one is monitoring the test takers.   Apparently,  you’re welcome to discuss questions with your neighbor test-taker. 

        Answer by committee.  Everyone gets to agree on the right answer about when it’s OK to blow through a stop sign or not having to signal a left turn.

         When, my wife, Jill went to get her motorcycle license so she could ride her scooter it was a good example.  She panicked when she was given the written test in Spanish.  Multiple choice.

         To her great joy, about 5 other test-takers all gladly helped her.  They not only interpreted the questions, but also gave her the correct answers!

         She only missed 1 answer and later told me she didn’t understand half the questions.  But, she did got her scooter license.

         Two weeks later, she stopped riding the scooter because of all the “crazy drivers.”  I’m glad she did!

         Just saying…

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

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.”

Read Full Post »

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