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FIRST TIMER FAQ

FIRST TIMER FAQ

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 5, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

Tourist with thumb up

Anyone who is in the travel industry has endured quite a year.  We have run our fishing operation in La Paz now for over 25 years. 

Being in Mexico, with it’s pre-existing stereotypes didn’t help much either.  Having Covid restrictions was just a dog-pile on top none of us needed.

Our operation is fairly large, but ultimately, we’re a mom-and-pop business.  It’s just me and my wife, Jilly.  We wear a lot of hats.  Some of them at the same time.

I will readily admit, Jilly is the brains of the operation.  After working with me all these years, she would probably laughingly concur with that assessment.

But, I do have my moments!  And I do bring some modicum or skill to the table.

I handle a lot of the bookings and scheduling.  That’s been my forte.  The seller.  The closer.  Whatever you want to call me. 

I don’t look at it like sales.  To me, it’s simply inviting people to come play in my sandbox and enjoy some smiles down in Mexico.

It involves a lot of e-mails, calls and other social media.  Lots of back-and-forth.

 But, it’s fun and a great opportunity to get to know folks.  And we become friends, long before they ever actually arrive to visit.

But, lately, the inquiries have been changing. 

Mexico is becoming a go-to spot for vacations during the pandemic.  Even with the borders technically closed to “non-essential” traffic, that’s quite ambiguous and loosely defined. 

Mexico needs U.S. tourism.  They CRAVE American tourism and I’ve never heard of anyone being turned away.

In that regard, Mexico tourism, has been surging.  Airlines are adding routes to keep up with the demand.  Planes are full.

And why not? 

Mexico is close.  It’s easy.  It’s economical.  There’s no testing.  No quarantine.  It’s easy to return back home.   

To some people, it’s not even like going to a foreign country.  They have visited so often.  It’s a no-brainer escape for Americans edging to get out.

And for 2021,  I’m getting a lot of first-timers.

Not just first-timers to Mexico.

First time out of the U.S.  First time fishing.  First time salt-water fishing.  I have even gotten inquiries from folks who have never even seen the ocean!

Some actually do their due diligence about where they are going. 

Others?

I think they just throw a dart at the map and see where it sticks.  Or they hit the internet and willy-nilly pick a spot that has nice pictures of beaches and palm trees.

They often seem to know very little about where they are actually going!

For instance, just a few days ago, I had a call from a husband.  He already had his plane tickets to La Paz.

During a casual conversation, he asked me, “When we are in La Paz, do you think we’ll be able to go to dinner in Cancun?”

I had to think about how to answer that one.

When I told him Cancun was about 4,000 miles on the other side of the Mexico, he incredulously didn’t believe me at first.  He and his wife were really set on taking some time to visit Cancun. 

Twice this past week, I’ve had folks wanting me to book fishing in the morning in Loreto. In the afternoon, they want to fish in La Paz.

I had to explain that La Paz is 5 hours away by car from Loreto.

One guy said, “Really, it’s only 2 inches away from each other on the map!”

Late last year, we were walking some clients out to the beach to board the pangas to go fishing that morning.  The sun was just starting to come up.

One of the clients had never ever seen the ocean!

Mesmerized, he said, “Wow, it’s REALLY big!”

Then, he did something crazy in front of all of us.  He suddenly knelt down. He cupped a handful of ocean and drank it!

“HOLY C#@P, that’s freakin’ salty! Oh my gawd!” he spit, choked and sputtered.

I grabbed a some bottled water and handed it to him.  And continued laughing along with my captains and the guy’s buddies.

And then there is the mom who asks if there is a market near the hotel where they are staying.  She wants to buy bread.

Why?

She heard from friends that people get sick eating Mexican food and drinking the water.  So for her family, she was packing lunch meats and condiments to make sandwiches and lots of bottled water in their ice chests.

They planned to eat all their meals in their hotel room with their 2 kids.

I had a hard time proving the negative.  Mexico has great food and restaurants.

They come to visit in June.  Hopefully, I’ll have convinced her by then it’s OK to grab some tacos.

That’s my story!

______________

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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YOU’RE GOING TO…MEXICO?

YOU’RE GOING TO…MEXICO?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 15, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

         Covid rates are surging on both sides of the border and hitting records. There is huge trepidation about the consequences of the holiday gatherings still to come.

         Subsequently, it’s no surprise that Mexico and the U.S. appear to be extending the travel ban along the border through January.  The ban has prohibited all non-essential travel since March. 

         Both governments, as well as health organizations (too many alphabetic acronyms to remember), are warning people in no uncertain terms about taking a trip south of the border, especially during the holidays.

         Northern Baja is still rated as “red” on high alert.  Southern Baja is in danger of going from “yellow” back to “orange.”

         But wait…what gives?

#5 CAbo airport waiting area

         The Cabo Airport is full of arriving visitors.

         Airlines are adding more flights to keep up with the demand.  Forget leaving that middle seat empty.  Flights are full and people are paying premium prices.

         The booze cruise is full.

         Tourism rates show 70-90% are Americans.  Last month, some figures showed an increase in tourism of almost 200% over the same time last month.

         Mexico reports that in the last two months almost 2 million visitors arrived in Cabo alone.  Other Mexican tourist destinations are seeing similar up-ticks.

         Charter boats are selling out.

         Restaurants and hotels are hiring back staff furloughed during the early days of quarantine.  Reservations are being recommended again.

         Our own Western Outdoor News Cabo Tuna Jackpot held last month, literally at a moment’s notice, drew 149 teams and over 600 anglers and almost 1000 participants in 2 months.  This, even with the fact that covid protocols prevented any banquets, cocktail parties, live music or huge award dinners!

         It would seem there’s a huge contradiction going on here.

         For one, let’s talk about that “border closure.”   The term “non-essential travel” does not apply to taking a plane, a boat or train to get across the border. 

         Fishing (lucky us!) has been deemed to be an essential activity. 

         So has visiting friends and family…shopping…checking on some property. 

         Wink! Wink!  There’s a lot of loopholes here. 

Frankly, the “mandate” to stay away is really more like a “strong suggestion.”  I don’t know of anyone that has been turned away from travel.

         If you’re travelling commercially, there’s a good chance your temperature will be taken.  You’ll have to probably fill out a form asking the usual questions about your health and proximity to anyone with the virus.  Or if you’ve had it.

         If I suddenly showed a temperature, I’d think twice about getting on a plane so it’s not a big deal.  I’ve flown three times in and out’ve Mexico in 2020.  I have yet to have anyone actually collect the form I was asked to fill out. 

         I did have someone at the airport verbally ask me how I felt.  I said “fine.”  He said, “Bienvenidos a Mexico!”

         I think people have just made a personal choice to travel.  Bottom line.

         They are either sick of being cooped-up (“quarantine fatigue”).  Or they know the risks and decide to travel anyway.  Or, going to Mexico is no more dangerous than eating at McDonalds back home or shopping at Target.

         For one thing, it’s surely easy to get to Mexico. 

         You don’t have to be tested to visit.  No papers to show.  You don’t have to quarantine to visit. 

         To many people, going to Mexico is no big deal on many levels.

         “I’ve been to Mexico so many times, it’s no different than my flying to Las Vegas from my home in Denver,” said Jerry who was waiting in line for his rental car.

         “It’s easy.  It’s familiar.  As long as I have internet, I can work.  Believe me it’s a lot easier working on my computer looking at the beach than from my office in Colorado.”

         I talked to Maribel in a restaurant in Todos Santos.   

         “I was thinking of Europe for the holidays and an extended vacation,” she chatted, “But what if there’s another lockdown in Italy or England or somewhere else.  I’m stuck a long way from home.  Mexico won’t keep me,” she went on.  “Easier to get home!” she laughed.

       Her friend, Monique added, “I was thinking of Alaska or Canada to visit friends and family, but I would have to show that I had been tested or visitors had to be quarantined for awhile.  Same with Hawaii.  Mexico was uber-convenient. Less fuss.”

      Daniele is a nurse in Florida.  Her husband Travis is a doctor.  Both work in a hospital with Covid patients.  They were down for the 2nd time this year to use their timeshare.

       I just had to ask them…”So, does the mask make a difference?”

     “Absolutely, yes it does!” responded Travis with no hesitation.  “But, I think if you just take normal common sense pre-cautions like you would for a cold or flu, you’re covering yourself.”

     “Frankly, we feel almost safer here in Mexico than walking around back home,” added his wife, Daniele.

     “Crowds have been down.  Hotels, beaches, restaurants and other tourist spots have a lot fewer people than normal.  I mean, hotels are only allowed 30 or 40% occupancy.  Everyone takes your temperature before you enter any building or activity and everyone gives you a squirt of anti-bacterial gel too. Mask wearing is just a given down here. I think the tourism sector is going out of their way to make sure tourists feel safe.”

         Feeling safe.  Just a matter of personal choice.  A lot of Americans seemingly have no problem with it.

That’s my story

 

______________

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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REFRESHING AMBIVALENCE

REFRESHING AMBIVALENCE

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 4, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

After all the political, social, health and economic rancor and upheaval this past year in the U.S., I think I’ve reached that point of fatigue.

         Along with religion, those are generally just some topics I avoid talking about.  It seems especially true down here in Baja where most folks I come in contact with are here for vacations, not debate or argument.

         I would think most are trying to get AWAY from all of that back home.  The whole point of “vacation”, right?

         That being said, a good number of folks still seem anxious to engage in conversation.

         Usually, the red lights in my brain start flashing “DANGER! DANGER!”

         As quickly as I can, I try to turn the flow of words to something more palatable.

         But, some folks are so used to it coming from the U.S. that they still feel the need to bring it up.  It’s what everyone talks about “back home.”

Kinda like the A-type personality who runs a million-miles-an-hour at work.  Comes down here and it takes awhile for them to decompress and take it down a few notches.

         I get it. Unavoidable topics of conversation.  Hot topics of conversation. It’s what everyone is talking about.

         The problem is, it’s not conversation.  It’s not even debate.  It’s like that even among my only family members.

         If you agree with them, there’s not much else to say.  Or the other person will just talk and talk.  No real exchange of info.

         On the other hand, if you have a DIFFERENT opinion, you’re suddenly the “enemy” or an “idiot.” Conversation turns to argument with no one giving ground.

         No info is exchanged.  No one learns anything. 

No give-and-take.  Instead it becomes a mission to verbally batter and bludgeon the other person to back down and accept YOUR point-of-view.

         I usually do.  Back down, that is.

         I used to be a litigation attorney.  If I wanted to pull my verbal guns, yea…I guess I could.  But, what’s the point?  Restraint.

         No one really wants to listen to me anyway.  If we have the same point of view, then why keep talking? 

         If we differ, then why piss each other off?  I’ll keep my opinions to myself. And keep my friends and family.

         This is Baja.  Folks are supposed to be on vacation.  If you want debate jump on Facebook and say something controversial and, like I said, half will agree with you and the other half will tell you you’re dumber-than-dirt.

         In no uncertain terms.

         That’s why it was so refreshing to have one of my Mexican friends ask me a few weeks ago, “Who do you think will be your next American President?  Biden or Trump?”

         Oh no.  Here we go again.

         I didn’t want to start down that path or open a can of worms with my friend so I asked, “Does it matter to you as a Mexican citizen?”

         Instead of the usual hackle going up, he smiled and said, “Nope.  I was just making conversation.  It seems all Americans have strong opinions about it. Don’t you?”

         I shrugged.  Again, trying to nip things in the bud.

         I asked him disarmingly again, “Do YOU have an opinion?”

         And then he said something that put the biggest grin on my face. 

         He laughingly replied, “I don’t care.”

         A pause.

         I had to think about that.

         Are we allowed to say that anymore?  Are we allowed to think that anymore?

         Three simple words. 

         “I don’t care.”

         Maybe it’s simply not caring at all.  Ambivalence.  Fatigue.  Resignation.  Indifference.

         Whatever the reason, you NEVER hear anyone say “I don’t care.”

 It’s uh…sacrilegious!  It’s uh…blasphemous.  It’s Un-American.  It’s un-civilized, by gosh!!!

         I’m sure everyone cares.  I actualy do care. 

         But there are times when I just don’t care.  Or, at that particular moment, I don’t have the energy to care.  But, I’m afraid…hesitant… to say that to anyone. 

         I can’t be the only person who feels like that.

         A fishing clients says to me, “What do you think about all that unrest in the police force?  Or “How about them closing California again cuz of Covid?”

         What would I sound like if I said, “I don’t care.”

         Probably like a jerk.

         My Mexican friend explained to me.

         “Look, it might be different in the big cities than here in Baja.  It might be different if I were a big business owner. “

         “But, I’m a regular guy like you.  Nothing special.  I drive a delivery truck.”

         “To me, the only reason I asked about your elections is that’s all Americans seem to talk about and that’s what we see on the news on our TV’s about the U.S. But, I don’t think it affects me that much.  We got enough problems with our own politicians here in Mexico without worrying about YOUR politicians,” he laughed.

         “Mire, hombre…Look, amigo,” he elaborated.  “ Us Mexicans, we’ve been ruled by the Spanish, the French, the Germans. We had wars with America.  We have endured revolutions and corrupt politicians at every level.”

         “We now have this pandemic thing.  It’s a big problem.  Or, that’s what they tell us it is. Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t”

         “We Mexicans will endure.  We keep going.  We hear promises, but nothing really ultimately changes.  We move ahead.  Everything will pass and we will still be here.”

         “Honestly, I am more concerned with my next delivery in my truck and feeding my kids than who will be the next senator for our state or if the government is telling the truth about covid.  I care enough to wear my mask.  No big deal.”

         No big deal.

I think there’s an honest dignity in that.  Keep on-keeping on.  Stay the course.

         Just kinda nice to hear that once-in-awhile.

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 »

FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

Originally Published The Week of Nov. 25, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications. 

             I pretty much wrote this week’s column lying flat on my back looking up at the sky.  Pretty unusual position for “word-smithing.”

         Most of the time, I write at my desk. Sitting up. 

           It’s in the middle of the night at the end of a long workday that usually starts about 4 a.m.  Or, if I’m “lazy” and couldn’t think of anything the night before, I scramble to compose something before the sun comes up and the day goes full-turbo!

         But, lying flat on my back, I’m looking at clouds drifting by as languidly as I was feeling. 

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

         Some Kenny Chesney “No Shoes No Shirt No Problem” playing on Spotify competing with the rise-and-fall crescendo of surf as a soundtrack.

         And this week’s column just sort of wrote it self. It auto-composed in my head in about 5 minutes.

         I was just lying there on that warm sand felling really tired.  Not just tired. 

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

         I had just come off the water.  Nope.   For once, not fishing.  Not diving either.

         Surfing.  Yup.  That kind of surfing.  Like on a board.

       My wife, Jill, and I had spent the better part of the afternoon surfing and using muscles that we had not used in…well…years!  I think the last time I “surfed” Baja, I had been driving my dad’s Pinto station wagon.

       Me, and a bunch of underage high-school buds on a flyer across the border below Rosarito Beach with $20 between the three of us; a bag of Doritos; and 3 days to waste on the waves.

       Yea, it had been a long time.

         Surfing muscles are not the same as fishing muscles.  Not the same as SCUBA muscles.  And no matter how much Jill and I had lied to ourselves, we were not “in shape” to be paddling out…fighting waves…fighting the board.

         I grew up in Hawaii, but my “old man” muscles were B–tching me out so very badly. 

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

                     But, I gotta tell you, it was a good soreness.  And Jill and I had the biggest smiles on our faces as we lay splayed-out on the beach.  

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

                   The sun rays warmed me from above and the hot sand warmed me from below.

                  It was like being a kid again and coming out’ve the pool and lying face-down on that warm cement without a care-in-the-world.  You know that feeling. 

                 Summer vacation. No school.  No homework. You had no place else to be except right then and there. Contentment.

                 And that was me.  Except I was lying looking up.

                 And I realized I had nowhere to be except right then and there. On that beach at that moment studying some dumb clouds.  No shoes. No shirt.  No problems.

                It finally just got to us.  Yea, we live and work in Baja. 

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

                  But, like everyone, no matter where you are, it’s been a tough year.  And this year, it seemed like we worked even harder-than-ever just trying to tread water like everyone else.

                 Being in the travel industry with our fishing fleets and restaurant, it was especially brutal.

                Surely, fewer clients and less business, but like I said, we seemed to work twice-as-hard just trying to keep what we had.  Working double to keep from sliding backwards even more. 

              Almost like surfing.  Paddle paddle paddle to get out.  Wave knocks you back. 

             Paddle paddle paddle to go a little further.  Another wave knocks you back again. 

            Just trying to get out past the white water to where that tasty curl tantalizes you with a rewarding ride back to the beach.  Paddle paddle paddle.  Can’t stop. Gotta get past that white water.

           Catch one or two, but mostly paddling paddling and more tiring paddling.

          Like life right now. 

         No days off and …UP-TO-HERE…with it all. 

         Covid…quarantine…restrictions…economy…politics…elections…unrest.  The “whitewater” of life, right? The cacaphony that never stops assaulting you.

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

        We never ever take time off.  But,it was time. 

         We didn’t tell any of our staff where we were going.  Basically told them, don’t burn down the building.  Don’t let anyone steal anything.  We’ll be in touch.

         In fact, I didn’t even tell my wife where we were going.

         I pretty much told her to grab some clothes for a few days.  Threw her and our rescue cat, my guitar,  and some gear in our Honda.  It’s the one with the busted air-conditioner and that overheats if I drive faster than 50mph and left.

         We drove. And drove.

And made a left off the highway down a dusty washboard dirt road.

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

         Our “rustic” cabana had holes in the palapa roof.

         Some lights didn’t work.  Others had those god-awful curly “economy” bulbs that save you 5 bucks over 100 years.

         A threadbare hammock tied between two palm trees.  It might have been a fishing net at one time.

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

         I don’t even want to tell you the name of the beach because the area is begging for a paved road and some high-rise hotels that will come soon enough, I imagine.

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

         And there were some waves that just begged to be ridden.

         And an ice chest full of cold ones that needed some attention too.

         And 3 days extended into 5 days of sun, sand, surf, card-playing and just the very best kind of “social distancing” that we probably could all use right now.

         Might still be there if we didn’t run outta cat food.

         And lying on my back like a very tired beached sealion soaking up the rays and watching clouds moving left-to-right.

Smiling.

         And while we were gone, the world did not blow up.  Our business did not burn down.  The problems of the world were still there when we got back. 

         We did not miss a thing.

         But finding that little stretch of Baja beach made all the difference.

         For now.

         We brought that beach home with us in a manner of speaking.  I brought this essay that wrote itself.

         Like that beer commercial says, I hope you find your beach. 

         Somewhere. 

        If not on a stretch of sand.  Then a backyard.  A park. Or some space where you can close the door.

       Away from the madness.  Close your eyes. Shut off the sound. Take a breath. Find that beach and watch the clouds.

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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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.”

Read Full Post »

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:

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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

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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!

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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

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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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