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END-OF-THE-YEAR BAJA

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

It’s been a heck-of-a-year, hasn’t it?

A lot of us just want to press “fast forward” and put 2020 behind us with hopes that 2021 will be different.  Or at least back to some semblance of normalcy.

If not 2021, then how about 2020 version (2.0)?  A lot of us would settle for that!

A few months ago, I was in that same tank.  Tired of quarantine . Tired of protocols. Tired of restrictions.

Tired or looking at empty beaches you couldn’t go on.  Tired of looking down empty streets and restaurant that remained closed.

As a fishing operation down here in Baja, it was disheartening to take another phone call or answer another e-mail with another client needing to cancel their fishing trips.  It was either because of nervousness, age, pre-existing medical conditions or plain old fear.

Some cancelations had nothing to do with the fishermen who were eager to come down.  However, they had to cancel through no fault of their own.   For example, their flight was canceled again…and again.  Or that the immigration office was not processing passports this year “until Covid was under conrol!” 

And so, the clients just gave up out of shear frustration and put postponed their trips.

I get it.  I got it.  Sure…WHAM…every day.  Every day another punch right in the kisser.

Just the way it is.  This year. Like you, we keep rolling on.

But, with each passing week, I gotta say, things are looking more optimistic.  Maybe, I’m just getting used to the new “normal” here.

I look around and I’m saying, “This is not a bad time at all to be down here.” 

Check it out. 

For better or worse, we’ve been blessed with cooler temperatures this year.  The sun is out and it’s warm, but we’ve been spared all the 100-degree temps we normally see in the season.

Because there’s been so little boat traffic, the waters are markedly cleaner and clearer.  Although fishing has been up-and-down, my divers and snorkelers are telling me that not only is the water clearer, but there’s a lot more sea-life happening as well.  They’re seeing a lot more down there than normal .

I look scan the city’s  the main streets.  I see palm trees in the breeze and very little traffic.  It’s like Baja 20 years ago.  The air is cleaner too!

I can actually get seated at a restaurant without reservations. And, my gosh…the service is so much faster and friendlier as well.  You’ve been missed!

The waterfront tourist areas are not should-to-shoulder tourists bumping into each other.   You can actually walk and stroll like in the old days.

The hotels have great deals and it’s nice to be in the pool without 50 drunk guys or kids doing cannonballs right on your head.  I can swim a lap and don’t have to dodge anyone. The swim-up bar always has a seat  waiting for me too. 

Wanna go somewhere?  Taxi drivers found their manners again. 

They’re willing to take you anywhere.  Willing to make a deal with you too!  You’re not taken for granted anymore.  They also know they’re competing with UBER and other services. 

Remember landing at the Cabo Airport then finding that standing in line for immigration and customs sometimes took longer than your flight?  Crowds are largely gone. 

You grab your luggage and you’re out the door.  You can start your vacation with a smile instead of being worn out from a travel day.

More airlines are coming back.  More airlines are adding routes to Baja as well.  Prices are back to being competitive.  You may not get a happy meal or a cocktail on the flight anymore, but the airlines want you back in the worst way.

You want to go snorkeling or diving?  You want a sunset cruise?  You want to rent a car or ATV?  Finally try paddleboarding? 

And fishing?  Sure, there’s boats available and they can’t wait for you to climb aboard.

Step up!  There’s no waiting. 

Yea, it’s not such a bad time to be here afterall!

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.”

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WHERE CAN I FIND “REAL” MEXICAN FOOD?

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 3, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I think I was just asked about the 5th time this week by visitors some version of “Where can we get real-authentic Mexican food?”


Good question.  But, I have a hard time understanding how to respond.

I have to usually pause a minute before answering.

“What do you mean by ‘real authentic Mexican food?” I ask.

“You know, the usual food, but we figure that since we’re here visiting in Mexico, we can get the REAL stuff!” they’ll say anxiously.

Well, that doesn’t help me much. 

It would be like me visiting someplace like New York and asking, “Where can I get real ‘New York’ food!

Throw a question like that into a bunch of my  New Yorker friendsd and you’ll end up with as many different answers, arguments and debates as there are people in the crowd.

Mexico is probably a lot like New York gastronomically speaking.  Visitors come down with a certain culinary expectation.  And that could have been formed by eating at too many Taco Bells; neighborhood chain restaurants; or local neighborhood eateries.

Mexican food is as varied as the areas of the U.S.

Northern Mexico near the border has it’s regional specialties. Areas on Mexico’s East Coast have food far different from areas of Mexico’s Pacific coast or regions. Central and southern Mexico have their own specialties as well.

Even within those geographical vicinities, there are variables.  For instance, urban food will be different from rural areas.  Mountainous areas likewise have different food preparations than areas on the lower elevations.

So, when someone asks me where to go for real authentic Mexican food, it’s a tough answer.  In our area, I tell them if they’re looking for the kind of food they’re used to back home in the U.S., they probably won’t find it.

They are usually somewhat disappointed, but I tell them hit the streets.  Go eat at local eateries.  Not tourist spots.  Eat at street carts and small vendors.  Eat at places that you see a lot of locals eating and they can’t go wrong. 

Invariably, they end up loving their new discoveries.

Actually, instead of telling people what “real Mexican food” is, it’s often easier to tell them what is NOT real Mexican food.  It surprises many visitors.

For instance, if you’re looking for “pre-formed” taco shells like you find at fast food places back home, you’ll be disappointed.  Most tacos are served in soft hot tortillas you fold-around the hot filling.

The closest thing to a pre-formed taco might be “tacos dorados.”  Not named after the fish. It just refers to a deep-fried taco that is fried until “dorado” (golden).

You will not find ground beef in your Mexican food.

You will not find sour cream in your Mexican food.

To the surprise of many, you won’t find shredded cheese in your Mexican food or even any cheese at all.  Mexicans DO like hot melted cheese called “queso fundido” served as an appetizer very much like fondue.

By the way, Nachos were an American invention! Hard to have nachos if there’s no cheese around. Forget finding black olives too!

Fajitas?  Nope.  That hot skillet full of sizzling veggies and meat is a gringo concoction too!

Chili?  You’ll get a blank stare.

I once threw a party for a bunch of my friends many many years ago when I first arrived here in La Paz.  One of the items was “chili dogs.”

Who doesn’t like chili dogs?

Mexicans love their “hates.” (hotties).  But every single person at that party wiped the chili off their hot dogs then put them back in the bun.  I was mortified!

It was like watching someone pulling all the toppings off pizza and only eating the crust.  Are you kidding me? 

Chili’s origin is not Mexico.  It’s the U.S border areas and started as a stew you tossed meat, beans and spices into.

Who does not love those deep-fried chimichanga burritos?  We grew up on them at little league games; Tastee Freeze; and Mexican chain restaurants.

Well, that was an accident that happened at a gringo restaurant when the owner accidentally dropped a burrito into hot oil.  It was so good, he kept it on the menu and its popularity grew.

Speaking of burritos…guess what?  They didn’t  origiate in Mexico either. You WILL find burritos in Mexican cities (mostly in street restaurants or tourist areas), but historically, they had their genesis in California only about 60 years ago.

And the fillings? 

You’ll get shredded meats, grilled chunks of meat, but nothing that resembles what you’re used to. Again, no ground beef.   Most of our Mexican friends use ground beef to make…hamburgers…an unquestionable gringo concoction.

Two other little tidbits of non-Mexican origin:

Ask for a lime in your beer, and you’ve just labeled yourself as a tourist.  Locals don’t put a slice a lime in their beer.

The lime thing was something you squirted on the lip of your beer bottle or rubbed on the rim of your glass to keep flies away. 

Picked up by certain beer companies…the idea took wings.

Finally, what’s more synonymous with Mexico than a margarita?  Lots of places will lay claim to it’s invention, but most historians will point to it’s inception in California.  And interestingly, most locals I know don’t drink them.  They don’t even drink tequila.

We have had a restaurant in La Paz for over 12 years.  Most will prefer rum drinks or whiskey shots over tequila drinks.  They think gringos are crazy for drinking tequila!

By the way, that bottle of Tapatio hot sauce you’ll find everywhere?  Check the label.  It’s made in Southern California in Los Angeles!

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.”

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A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

A PARALLEL UNIVERSE?

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 18, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

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Have you ever found yourself during the day going through your usual routine and everything is just dandy?   But somewhere, somehow you feel something is not quit right.

Hmmm….

Did you leave the iron on or tthe water running back home?  Nope.

Forget to feed the dogs and cats?  Nope

Got your wallet and keys?  Check.

A birthday or anniversary or other event missed?  Nope

Underwear on right side out?  All good.

Just can’t put your finger on it.  But, you know something just isn’t co-pacetic.  There’s a slight disturbance in the force.

 

We’ve been up and running our fishing operation and small café and mini-market mostly for 2 months now here in La Paz.  Like everyone else, just trying to pull-it-together and hold-it-together after 4 months of strict quarantine.

Moving forward as as best as we can.  No other choice.

We’re thankful to be on our feet.  Moving slowly, but gratefully.  There’s a lot of our friends and neighbors who are not so lucky.  No jobs.  No money. Closed businesses.  Layoffs continuing.

We are allowed only 30% occupancy at hotels and restaurants as well as other places of business.   But frankly,  there’s not enough people around to come close to that.  Maybe 10-20% on a good day.

I guess, however, we’re settling into our groove.  We have clients and friends coming and going like usual.   They’re catching fish and doing the things they always do.

But after two months something is sorely amiss or missed.

We’re missing something here.

It wasn’t until about a week ago, it hit me.  I was saying good bye to some folks that  were headed out to the airport.   And I reailzed…in SIX DAYS… I hadn’t even seen their faces!  I had no idea what they looked like.

Conversely, they hadn’t seen mine either.

I’m not sure how to describe this.

When they arrive from the airport, they have their masks and go straight to their rooms.   I see them for about 5 minutes in the morning when we put them on the boats.

On the boats,  everyone is masked up.  The captains are wearing them.  The clients are wearing them.  It doesn’t do much for social interaction.  No one likes talking through a mask.

When they come to our restaurant, again, mask are on.  They take them off when they are eating, but because of social distancing, it’s not like the old days when I’d pull up a chair; have a beer and socialize.

Or I stand 6’ away and try to have some kinds of conversation.   It’s not very conducive to chatting.

So, after a number of days here, clients come.  They go.  And I’ve spent maybe 15 minutes total time with them.  Hello.  Now good-bye!

Hate to admit it, but with the safety protocols, it’s lonely and boring!  I understand the need for all of these things to be in place.  But they have made fishing and dining so anti-septically clinical,  that it’s truly taken the fun out’ve it.

Fishing was always a social event.  You get together with the guys or the family and you come fish and have a good time.  We chat and laugh and I get to see real smiles.

We don’t even shake hands, hug or high-five anymore. When they’re trying to show off-photos of their catch, be careful not to get too close.

I can’t help carry their luggage.  No one touches anything or immediately, you pull your gel out.

Even moving around town is different.

Have you ever been to Universal Studios where you’re walking down one of those movie-set city blocks?”   Everything in those movie cities and neighborhoods is perfect.

The people are perfect. Cars are perfect.  Everything is clean and spotless.   Everyone looks straight ahead. Got their masks on.  No eye contact.  No “Buenos dias.”  No waving hello.  No talking.

If anyone were smiling, you would never know it.

It’s just like they are all movie “extras” following a script and you’re just in the middle wondering what’s going on.

People here move from Point A to Point B and then they get off the street.

There’s no kids out.  There’s no teenagers out.  No families.

No laughter.  No smiles.  No joy.  No fun.

That’s what’s missing.

…and that’s my story.

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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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MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE 3

PHASE 3 PHOTO

MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE THREE

Originally Published the Week of April 23, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

Understandably, like never before, I’ve become a junkie for Mexican online news. My sportfishing fleet and captains sit idle and anxious.  Sadly, I’ve already had to permanently close our restaurant.

 

And we’re stuck in the states unable to return.  But return to what?

 

My business is shut down.  Everything is closed. The beach is closed. Even the hotel where we rent our little apartment is closed. No place to live. And, there’s no flights.

 

My livelihood and the livelihood of friends and employees depends on keeping abreast of the news.  Like much of the world, we’re trying to keep ourselves, our business and many others in our social and business circle afloat as well.

 

It’s not the Titanic and that is NOT the brave little band I hear playing on the quarterdeck.  But, I see leaks and I know how THAT movie ends and I know in that movie there were not enough life jackets or lifeboats.

 

That’s maybe overly dramatic.

 

However, the U.S. has been dealing with this now on full-alert for several months.  We know where we’ve been and we know what’s still in store.  There’s even a glimmer of normalcy peeking out here-and-there although we are far from it.

 

Heck, just this morning at the our local grocery store here in the states, I actually left with a smile. There wasn’t a lot of it.  But,  there was toilet paper, pasta, rice and things people were scrambling for only a few weeks ago.  Yay!

 

Although we’re still desperately treading water, there’s hope.

 

So, I see Mexico getting hit by a wave that we’ve already been dealing with for awhile.  And Mexico is even less able, let alone prepared for the potential tumble.

 

Many in Mexico haven’t even taken it seriously yet.

 

FACTS:  As of April 21st:  (facts keep changing so fast between the time I write these and the time they are published by even one day difference)

 

  • Mexico has almost  10,000 confirmed virus cases a jump of over 3,000 in a single week.
  • Coronavirus deaths are at  almost 1000  and climbing daily. Two weeks ago it was 125.
  • Health officials think that as many as 54,000 is a true number of cases because of so many unreported cases and very little testing.
  • Four Mexican states with more than 33 million residents are not reporting any statistics because they do not want to violate people’s privacy or “cause panic.”
  • More than 220 municipalities in 10 Mexican states have closed their roads unilaterally to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the towns.
  • Hospitals in Mexico City are already almost at capacity.
  • Baja (states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur) has almost 800 confirmed cases with 38 deaths.
  • Baja has the highest incidence of infection per capita in the country. Mexico City has the 2nd highest per 100,000 people.
  • Baja has extended the quarantine past the original April 30th In the absence of something changing, the quarantine is now extended to May 30th.
  • Health officials estimate that only about 60% of the population are adhering to the quarantine. Many are ignoring the mandates while law enforcement and the military continue to chase people off beaches, public areas and gathering locations.
  • Healthcare workers are pleading for non-existent personal protection while themselves now becoming targeted for attacks and abuse by people who say the workers are spreading the disease.
  • There’s no stimulus checks, unemployment or health insurance (socialized medicine). In fact 40% of the working population aren’t even on anyone’s books.  They work as laborers, vendors and other cash-only workers.

If you thought the U.S. moved slowly, the Mexican government didn’t even recognize the issues until just a few weeks ago.

 

President Obrador was still telling Mexicans they were immune. He was still out holding rallies, shaking hands, kissing babies, and telling folks they should still be eating at restaurants.

 

In my course of monitoring Mexican news, lately, I check the online social media message boards  regularly. There are Mexicans still talking about this being a “hoax” or “government conspiracy scam.”

 

People are posting smiling selfies of themselves sneaking out to party at the beach.  Or backyard barbecues.

 

Even ex-pat gringos living in Mexico are posting-up messages that show an insulated mentality.  There’s “us” and there’s “them.”  And “Us” aren’t going to get sick.  “Them” is outside the gated wall.  And we don’t associate with “them.”

 

They criticize others for being “fear mongers” and about “fake news” and “inflated statistics.”

 

Heads-in-the sand, I saw one post from a gringa lady living in a gated community.

 

She said she did not know how to clean her house or cook.  Was it OK for her to allow her maid to come in?  “I know she is very clean and we know her family and friends and they are all nice people. So we can’t get infected.”

 

I read another post about some retired gringos living in a condo complex about having a “Quarantine Party” instead of a “Hurricane Party” for fellow condo residents.

 

It would be a themed party and would only include residents.  Please do not invite outside friends “for health reasons.”  Oh…it was going to be “catered” by a local restaurant happy to have some business.

 

Magnanimously, they announced it would “help the local economy.”  Your attendance would be just wonderful!

 

Like I said, in the U.S. we’ve been treading water for months.    Mexico is just starting its own bumpy journey and it’s like watching a bad-movie again.

 

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

______________

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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MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

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MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

Originally published the week of April 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

These columns are getting more difficult to write in these hectic times. I cringe writing anything because by the time I publish here or on the internet, often things have changed.

For instance, that last column about “Updates from the Road” was written when this whole coronavirus pandemic was just starting out almost a month ago. It was from that immediate perspective as my wife and I were driving cross-country.

By, the time it was actually published about 2 week later, the world had drastically tilted and I felt like a doofus.

Things are altering so rapidly that let me just advise you up front that whenever you’re reading this, I COULD BE WRONG. THE WORLD MIGHT HAVE SHIFTED AGAIN!

Here’s the lay-of-the land as we know it right now in Mexico and Baja.

Cases of the virus in Mainland Mexico are climbing. However, as of 2 weeks ago, President Obrador told people not to worry. It was just the “early stage” and they should continue socializing, eating out and getting together.

I’m paraphrasing, but he also mentioned that Mexico is “ready” for anything that happens (even tho’ Mexico City has 15 million people and only 14 ICU beds). And that because Mexican people have “Mayan blood” they will be resistant.

The governor or Pueblo went to far as to say that Mexican poor people are immune because only people who travel get sick and (logically), only rich people travel.

President Obrador continued to meet; hold rallies; shake hands; hug supporters; and get together with crowds telling them he was safe because he wore “lucky amulets.”

Even his own health ministers were critical.

Then, Mexico’s virus cases almost doubled later in the week and the President abruptly reversed his position. Now, he’s telling his people to “run for cover.” Although he has not curtailed his own social schedule.

Experts say this might be too little and too late. Mexico might be in for a perfect storm.

Ten percent of it’s population has diabetes. It has the highest rate of obesity (right up there with the U.S.). It has huge issues with hypertension and heart disease. With socialized medicine, it has a difficult enough time taking care of people in normally.

Additionally, even with social distancing supposedly in place, it will be difficult since many people habitate in dense conditions with large numbers often living in the same quarters.

Further, it is estimated that more than 60% of the population lives day-to-day and hand-to-mouth as vendors; plumbers; laborers; etc. with no brick-and-mortar building. The majority of the population cannot simply “stop working.”

Although mainland Mexico has about 2100 virus cases as of this writing, Baja itself has a relative small handful. However, Baja has been turning into a peninsula of ghost towns, especially anyplace that relies on tourism.

As of April 5, all hotels, beaches, public places, restaurants and marinas have been closed by international decree.

Supposedly, this is only until April 30th, but that assumes Mexico shows some improvement.

Police and military are enforcing the closures.

Two weeks ago, both Mexico and the U.S. mutually agreed to close the border to non-essential travel. But that does not seem to apply to tourism, although there’s not really anyone travelling. Airports are empty. There are no cruise ships around.
Where we live in La Paz, many restaurants were trying to survive by doing “take out” service. Most unsuccessfully, but now all restaurants are closed.

We had to permanently close our own restaurant on the waterfront.

Several cities, including Cabo San Lucas have prohibited liquor sales. It is expected that others will follow. Breweries like Corona/ Modelo are shutting down with no one to deliver beers to because of all the restaurant and bar closures.

So, there’s no one on the water. The fish continue to bite and the weather is improving and getting warmer. Airline rates are cheap, if you can find a flight.

Surprisingly, I’ve got folks calling and e-mailing. They are wondering if it’s OK to go down.

They are already “bored and feel fine.”

“Prices are right and less traffic on the water and fishing looks good.”

Need to “get away from the madness.”

“Mexico has less coronavirus than the U.S.”

“Want to help the Mexican economy.”

“Mexico is safe because it’s warmer and the virus cannot live in heat.”

Well, from a pragmatic perspective, sure. It’s OK to go down. Everyone needs the work. You’re a good guy. No one will stop you. Vacation is “essential.”

The hardest part might be finding a flight since so many carriers have canceled their service or have reduced their flights. But, aside from that, should be great!

Except for one thing…

It’s thoughtless and you’re not doing anyone any favors.

Realistically, you are not single-handedly saving the Mexican economy.

For the same reason so many of us are “sheltering in place” and for the same reasons, my wife and I haven’t gone home to Baja yet is that we could be contagious.

We feel fine, but that’s not to say we aren’t carrying the virus.

That’s not to say we won’t pick something up in a car, gas station, airport, or airplane on the way down. Touch a rail. Drink a cup of coffee. Breathe someone else’s air.

This thing could be totally asymptomatic.

Or, given it’s shelf-life, it could be on a bit of our clothes or our suitcases or my backpack. And we would never know it.

And then, we unknowingly infect our driver…a captain…an employee…a friend…

And they pass it on to someone else.

And people get sick. And people die. Yea…people die. And, Mexico is not someplace you want to get sick.

No matter what the government says about “being ready.” I have seen Mexico’s socialized health system at work. We have employees and I’ve been personally in that system.

As one of my captains told me when I asked him what happens when you really get sick, he told me, “We just die or they let us die.”

Simple as that.

It’s OK to cut my finger or sprain an ankle. But you surely don’t want to need a ventilator. There really aren’t any to go around.

Our city of La Paz with about 250,000 people has something like 4 ventilators.

Or what if YOU get sick and/or bring the virus back home with you? Like the 70 kids from the University of Texas who took a charter to Cabo San Lucas for spring break. They came home and something like 44 of them have tested positive. How many did they infect?

All because you want to fish. Or you’re bored. Or prices are right.

I’m saying this against my own self-interest since we own a huge sportfishing fleet and restaurant. We could sure use the business.

But, this is about social responsibility and the sooner we get a handle on this thing the sooner we get back to normalcy in the long-run. And hopefully back out to fish.

If you already have reservations for later in the year, don’t cancel them yet. Things could turn around. Or, postpone your trip for later.

But, until then, dig in and hunker down. Let’s do this together. It’s all abstract until someone you knows dies. And that’s a harsh bottom line.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

cowboy-campfire

Talent in unlikely places

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

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

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

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

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

He just can’t seem to get it going.

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

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

But, now their mouths are dropped open.

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

Beatles? Who are they? Some kind of bug?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the Mexican equivalent of happy hour.

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

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

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

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

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

Life is good around the fire.

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

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

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

A longing tune about a missing love.

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

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

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

Pickin’ and grinnin’ Baja-style.

And here we go! Uno…dos…tres…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who knew?

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

GRACIAS a DIOS

thank you, gratitude concept, beautiful card

GRACIAS a DIOS

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

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

 

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

 

No matter.

 

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

 

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

 

“Gracias a Dios.”

 

“Thanks to God”

 

“How did you sleep?”

 

“Slept great. Gracias a Dios.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

You slept well and get a new day.

 

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

 

Basic simple stuff.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s a different kind of thankfulness.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gracias a Dios.

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

I think many folks would agree that it’s been a strange year for weather.  In many parts of the U.S., winter lingered stubbornly well into June and even July.

 

Correspondingly, down here in Baja, we experienced much of the same.  Waters stayed cooler.  Air temperatures seemed below normal.  Cold-water species continued to bite well past their normal seasons.   Warm-water fish seemed to take their time showing up.

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

And then, about the time you stopped trying to figure it all out, someone opened a window and summer showed up.  Late…but it showed up.

 

Here in La Paz where we live, that would be about the end of July or early August when things finally seemed to turn around .

 

Humidity rose.  Air temps rose.  Water cleared up and warmed up.   Water-water fish like dorado finally started to bite with some measure of enthusiasm.

 

And all was right again.

 

Until Hurricane Lorena about 2 weeks ago.  As far as tropical hurricanes in Mexico go, it wasn’t much.  We’ve seen much worse and suffered the harsh after-affects.

 

Lorena didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t knock down houses or destroy marinas.  Except for some trees and power poles, it was one of the mildest hurricanes I can recall in my 25 years down here.

 

Although it did get pretty windy, I think most of us actually welcomed the much needed rain, although it did rain for about 12 hours!

 

What Lorena did, I think, is carried summer away with it.  Like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz…summer went careening up, out and away.

 

In the hurricane aftermath, it feels like summer suddenly ended.  Like a switch was thrown.

 

Air temperatures that had been in the high 90’s and low 100’s have been 10 degrees cooler overall.  It has averaged only about 88 or so since the hurricane.

 

Similarly, humidity has dissipated as well.  Before the hurricane we had steamy 80-85% humidity.  The hot sauna air was that thick.

 

As one of my employees told me, “I think we are breathing water.”

 

Since then, we’ve hovered around a comfortable 50-55%.

 

Water temperatures have also dropped.  In our area, it dipped 2-5 degrees in a week.

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

It took the fish awhile to figure out.  Just like us.

 

Normally, after a storm, it takes awhile any for water to calm and clear up.  And fishing seemed noticeably slower to get up to speed again.

 

Then, when it did start to break open, we still had the warm water species like dorado and marlin, but a whole host of entirely different an unusual species started bending rods.

 

Fish like pargo liso, sierra, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla and palometas showed up in the counts.  These are all cold-water fish virtually unheard of at this time of year.

 

These are sure signs that something has changed below the surface.

 

If this trend continues, I think anglers should be prepared for this variety of species.  Also, don’t be surprised if it’s cooler and windier with each progressive week and waters will be rougher.

 

I hear this week there’s blizzards and heavy snow in Montana, Utah and Idaho. It is supposed to snow this week in the Sierras.   Summer is gone. Shortest summer ever.

 

In the mornings, I’m already wearing a sweatshirt.  In Baja.  In September. I better find my long pants around here somewhere.

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

Favorite-Fishing-Spot-760x500

 

I DON’T ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHERE I FISH…

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

 

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

 

Fishermen are funny folks.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

pinocchio-04-2

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

 

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

 

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

 

Most times!

 

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

 

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

 

For example, there’s radio channels.

 

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

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

 

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

 

And all seems fair.

 

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

 

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

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

 

Almost like the Navajo radiomen in WW 2.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Well, OK then…

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

“Where were you fishing today? “

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

Read Full Post »

LIVING THE DREAM

201402-w-best-mexico-beach-resorts-la-casa-que-canta_0

LIVING THE DREAM

Originally Published the Week of June 17, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

I think a week doesn’t go by down here where we live that someone doesn’t ask me about retiring to Baja or somewhere in Mexico.  So many dream of “Living the Dream” after they walk away from the 9-to-5.

 

Kiss-off traffic and kiss-off the hassles and anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss something else for all you care.

 

The warm waters, blue skies and white sands call you and cold cervezas already have your name on it.  The sounds of the mariachi and Jimmy Buffet beckon you like an irresistible siren.  There has to be a way to do it.

 

And, in fact, so many have done it and are doing so with increasing velocity every year.  Americans and Canadians alike have chosen Mexico as the #1 retirement destination in the world.

 

Despite travel warnings, Mexico has one of the highest tourism rates of any country.  And, as more folks visit, they’re thinking that a permanent vacation might not be a bad idea.

 

If you have Mexico as a possible retirement destination, think on it carefully.

 

Remember, you’re not moving to another state.  You are moving to another country with it’s own set of laws, customs, culture and language.  It’s not like grabbing the U-Haul; calling some buddies with pick-up trucks; and moving across town.

 

It’s not for everyone, but if you put some thought into it, the possibilities are worth exploring.

 

The first thing to think about here is what kind of lifestyle you think you want to have.  And also where do you want to live.

 

If you want a lifestyle similar to what you have north of the border, you can probably do it a lot cheaper here in Mexico.

 

If you really do not need a 3 bedroom home with the air-conditioner running all the time and you can turn things down a notch and live more like your local neighbors, you can do quite well.

 

When I first got down here almost 25 years ago, my roommate and I rented a 5 BR house with a 7-car garage!  Not because the two of us needed it, but because it was $120 bucks a month!  It came with a maid 5 days-a-week also!

 

The only reason we moved out was because the owner sold it.

 

Researching some online websites that specialize in retirement living and assets, the average cost of living for a retired couple is about $2000 a month ($24,000/ year) here in Mexico.

 

And that’s living pretty comfortably.

 

Also, the dollar is extremely strong in Mexico against the value of the peso so your dollars go quite far here in terms of purchasing power.

 

Of course, like all real-estate, location is important.  Are you living with an ocean view or proximity to the ocean?  In the little towns in the mountains?  A resort city?  A regular urban location?  All of those factor in.

 

If you’re renting, housing is cheaper here than in the states. Gas is about what you pay for in a major U.S. metro area.

 

But how much driving are you really doing?   I put maybe 20-30 miles a week on our beater vehicle, but that’s also because I run a business.  I used to commute 50 miles one-way each day back in the U.S. in traffic!

 

Food is definitely cheaper.  Electricity is probably a bit more.  Services like phones and internet are a little cheaper, but quality is not always great.  It’s serviceable but not always reliable depending on where you live.

 

Several things you will have to get used to, include possibly a lack of reliable mail service (again depending on where you live) or it can be very costly.  Paying bills can be a chore…again very often related to mail service.

 

Getting someone to come by to do thing i.e. plumbers, painters, repairmen, electrician, the cable guy…

 

They’ll get there when they get there. No amount of phone calls will make it go faster.  No amount of money will make it go faster or (laughing) telling people “I’m an American!”

 

We have a saying here that if someone tells you, “Manana (tomorrow)” for the 3rd time, it ain’t happening.  They’re just being too polite to tell you they can’t do it.

 

Go find someone else.  When you find a reliable person for any job, grab and hold onto them!  There are some great folks down here who do great work.

 

The problem is that everyone else has grabbed them as well.  They are in high demand.

 

So, back to square one.

 

They might also have to tell you “Manana” as well.  Not because they’re slackers.  It’s because they’re extremely busy.  It’s just part of living here.

 

One big consideration, for retirement is health care.

 

For the most part, I’ve found that health care here is pretty good.  We live in a major city.  La Paz  also happens to be the capital of the state.  So, the level of care is probably better than some other places.

 

Our U.S. medical insurance doesn’t work down here so yours won’t either, but we have always used private doctors and dentists and been able to easily use a credit card or cash.

 

For example, I had some back issues a few years back.  I was in a private hospital in a private room with American meals and two personal physicians and two personal nurses for almost 1 week.

 

When I checked out, the doctors sheepishly apologized to me for the high cost.  I held my breath as they handed me the bill.

 

It was a little over 1000 dollars!  That included everything even the meds!  That might have covered only one single day in an American hospital.

 

Two years ago, I had two root canals and two fillings needed.  Three visits to take care of everything was less than $200 in a dental office that was more like a health spa.  They had classical music playing;  plant filled rooms; aromatherapy fragrances; attentive friendly assistants; and a U.S. trained oral surgeon who spoke English!

 

Near here, places like Cabo San Lucas and other “tourism” centers also have good care as well.  Many of the doctors and dentist I have met were either educated in the U.S. or go to the U.S. for continuing education.

 

Of course, the further you go from major population areas, the health facilities diminish.  Keep that in mind, no matter where you retire much like anywhere in the world.

 

Many of our fishing clients come down and take an afternoon or day off to do some routine dental work like cleaning or a quick filling at a fraction of the cost.

 

The same with medications is also true.  Many folks that live in close proximity to the border in states like Texas, Arizona and California routinely visit Mexican border towns to purchase prescription drugs.

 

Remember, that whatever medical policies you have in the U.S. probably won’t be applicable here in Mexico.

 

But there’s the local socialized medicine that anyone can get.  And there are local health insurance policies as well that can be obtained.  Just remember that like anywhere, it’s more difficult to obtain the older you are or if you’re past 65 or have pre-existing conditions.

 

Living the dream here in Mexico is a very viable and popular option.  This article barely scratches the surface of the research you should do.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

 

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