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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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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.”

Read Full Post »

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 »

BUDDY DO YOU HAVE SOME CHANGE?

 

money exchange

Buddy Do You Have Some Change?

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 10, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

In all the years and all the columns that I’ve written, I don’t know how I could have passed up the subject of money changing.   But, lately, I’ve gotten a number of folks asking so I guess that’s the genesis of this week’s subject.

 

If you’re coming to Mexico, is it a good idea to change dollars to pesos?

 

The answer is yes.

 

Using the “coin of the realm” is always a good idea, but especially now.  With the dollar-to-peso exchange rate at 16 to 18 pesos to the dollar, you stretch your purchasing power by having a pocketful of pesos.

 

There’s more “bang for the buck” as you wander around buying t-shirts for the kids; a sombrero that will end up in a garage sale; and another round of tequila against your better judgment.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  U.S. dollars are really welcome down here and we love having you spend them, but pesos are just handy to have.

 

With pesos in hand, if you see the shrimp dinner costing 150 pesos, you don’t have to do the mental gymnastics to figure how to convert to dollars.   It’s sure easier to figure out the 10% tip too.  It’s also easy math  to calculate if you received the correct amount of change.

 

Additionally, many local business, charge a little more for taking dollars.  We accept them as a “convenience” for visitors like you, but it actually costs us to accept those dollars.  So, there might be a small “visitor tax.”

 

Let me explain.

 

In order to deposit our earnings into the Mexican bank we have to convert them to pesos.  There’s a bank transaction fee attached so Mexican businesses lose some money by doing that.

 

Additionally  some Mexican banks only allow a certain amount of dollars to be deposited by the week or month. If you have more than that, you have to hold onto it and sit on it.

 

For a business, money sitting there doing nothing is not doing anyone any good.  Can’t pay bills.  Can’t make payroll.  Can’t purchase inventory with money that has to sit and, at some point, be accounted for.

 

So that begs the larger question for visitors.  Where should I exchange my money?

 

Out-of-hand, I used to  tell folks to change your money at the airport.  You’re already there.  It’s handy.  They have plenty of money. And the rates seemed about right for the market.

 

WRONG!

 

I didn’t realize that those exchange offices at the airport tack on huge “transaction fees” that pretty much erase any real pragmatic reason for using them.  If you have to use them, use them.  But, there’s better places.

 

For one, there’s your bank at home. Start with them.  You know them.  They know you.  You have an account or two with them. They won’t ding you so hard.

 

If you didn’t get it done before you left home and now you’re in-country, the next place I’d hit is the various money exchange houses around town.  In tourist places like Cabo San Lucas or larger cities like Ensenada or Tijuana, you’ll find them all over.

 

Some are just little kiosks.  Others have small offices.

 

But, they’re easy to find.   And they’re competitive.  Not just with the market rates, but against each other.  The want your business.  They want your dollars and are eager to hand you pesos.

 

Also in the larger tourist areas, they’re open all the time.  You suddenly realize you’re out’ve pesos for a late night taco run.  Or, you know that no one will be able to accept or break your $100 bills, you can usually find someone to change your money.

 

If you’re in a smaller community like La Paz, where we live,  or even smaller places, the money exchange houses will be harder to find and their hours will be more limited. But, they’re there.

 

So, try to think ahead.  If you need change after 5 p.m. you might be out’ve luck.  They‘ll be closed.

 

However, secondary and tertiary options can be found.

 

If you’re at a larger hotel, they can often exchange smaller amounts at the front desk.   For example you need to change $40 bucks that’s fine.  If you’re trying to change $500 dollars, not so fine.

 

But it’s subject to them having dinero in the til.  Don’t always count on the reception desk being able to make change or conversions.  But, it’s an option.

 

There are also larger grocery store chains that have “customer service desks” just like back home. They usually have more money on hand and offer pretty good exchange rates.

 

Just be aware that many places do not accept bills over $20 because of fear of counterfeit.  So, bring five $20 bills.  Don’t bring one $100 bill.

 

There are also ATM machines all over.  Personally, I avoid them.  There’s too many opportunities for fraud, especially in ATM’s on street corners or willy-nilly in markets or bars.  If your card gets eaten by the machine, it’s not like you can ask the bartender to get it out for you.

 

If you have to use an ATM, use one at a bank.  That way if there’s an issue, there’s bank personnel who can assist.  The ATM’s will dispense 200 peso notes (about $11).  And you’ll see a transaction fee on your next statement.  But, in a pinch, it’s better than nothing!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

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

Read Full Post »

WHERE THE WILD THING ARE…er…WERE

216

Where the Wild Things Are…er…Were

Originally published the Week of July 4, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

As a little kid, there was a beach I would sneak off to back home in Hawaii.

 

I’m dating myself.  I could ride my sting-ray bike there.

 

Down from the main road to where it sloped to gravel.  Down through the thick over-hanging jungle canopy. The air was thick and moist and the gravel gave way to a path of rich soft wet damp earth that never seemed to dry out and carpeted with soggy decaying leaves.

 

It would suddenly break into a clearing that I simply called “my beach.”  A sunny little white sand cove protected by a small shallow coral reef.  Dark lava rocks at the two small headlands and waves broke gently over into a blue pool about as wide as I could throw a rock.

 

A small stream that started somewhere in the rain forest up in the mountains dropped from a small waterfall.  It emerged from the thick vegetation and tumbled over smooth dark boulders through a gritty arroyo where it’s darker reddish waters joined the blue ocean.

 

It was a good little place to fish.  Or swim.  Or hang out with neighborhood pals under the coco palms.  For a bunch of black-haired, barefooted, hell-bent tribal children with unlimited energy and imagination , it was the best playground.

 

Where the wild things are.

 

Build forts out’ve driftwood. Chase each other with rounds of “Marco Polo,” our version of “tag.”

 

Play “chicken” in the waters while perched on each other’s shoulders and exhausted ourselves with laughter attacking the “king of the hill” on the small sand dunes.   Then later a retreat under the palms to eat sandwiches or maybe sticky-finger spam and rice rolls made by our moms.

 

Looking back we referred to it as “little kid time.”

 

It was “my beach.”  And I was convinced no one knew about it.  We never saw anyone else there.

 

On the island we just figured there were lots of little hidden beaches and coves.  This was “ours.”  Other people must have “their own beach.”  Right?   Little boys have their own brand of logic.

 

But, as with all “little kid time,”  little kids grow up.  Life and other things came along.  The islands were left behind, but always carried with me.

 

Years later, I came back.  To where the road ended.  To where the gravel started.  To where the dirt path emerged from the dampness to the light.  And I stopped.

 

Or to be more precise.  I was halted.

 

By a barbed wire gate.  It had a sign.

 

“No Trespassing.  Private Beach.  Exclusively for Owners.  No locals.”

 

Some “non-local” kids were gunning wave runners through the shallows where we used to play chicken.  Some new “kings of the hill” had built expensive houses on our sand.  An expensive European SUV was parked in front of one of them.

 

I stared at the barbed wire. . . and the sign.

 

Fast forward.

 

Two days ago. Mid-day Baja heat.

 

I drove out to one of the beaches north of La Paz where we live.  Just needed to get out’ve the office and not to be found for an hour or so.

 

No more beeping text messages or phone calls. Maybe just close my eyes for a few minutes to the sound of…nothing.

 

Just to take a breath.  Get some air.  Look at some blue water.  Get lucky and watch some dolphin make me envious.

 

I drove to one of the remote beaches.  This one famous on postcards for sugar sand and water the color of sapphire turquoise. It often shows up on travel shows and brochures as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

 

And there, plain as day, the beach had been lined with umbrellas and plastic tables and chairs.  And you needed to pay for a permit.

 

It was like being told you can’t look at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon without renting special glasses.

 

Oh, and no photos allowed either.  Or what?  Are you kidding me?

 

On the license plates here in Baja it says, “La Frontera.” The frontier. Yea, I get it.  Wide open spaces. Deserted beaches. Solitary beaches.  OK. It’s not Mexico City. It’s definitely not the mainland.

 

But, it had this reputation of being someplace you could still find the wild places to go.

 

And maybe re-aquaint yourself with some of your own internal wildness or hidden “little kid time”  that seems to get buried in traffic jams, office politics, corporate jumble and suburbia strip-mall-life-back home.

 

I guess, it’s still here.  You just have to look a little hard and go a little further.  And further still.  Everywhere.  Somewhere.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

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

Read Full Post »

WEATHER or NOT?

windy-trees

WEATHER or NOT?

Originally Published the Week of June 6, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

For the last few months or so…well…actually since winter…I’ve been whining about the crazy windy conditions in all my fishing reports.  As many of you in the U.S. may have noticed, winter is being a tenacious boob about going away.

 

Memorial Weekend has come and gone.  I’m still hearing from amigos north of the border about abrupt snowstorms;  unexpected hail; crazy winds; and rain.  Folks are  uncovering their swimming pools; getting ready to mow lawns; pulling out the barbecue…and  winter sweeps in with an 11th-hour punch.

 

Even, in Mexico City, they had historic hailstorms causing damage!

 

Well, it’s been the same down here in Baja.

 

We SHOULD be into balmy hot sunny weather about now.  I should be hearing from fishing clients laughing asking for “a little breeze” to knock back some of the heat.

 

Instead, we get sporadic windstorms that kick up the ocean.  They muss up my water.  They scatter the bait.  They get people seasick.  They gum up the fishing!

 

So, I bitch. And I whine.  And I rail about “the wind.”

 

In fact, as I write this column at about 4 a.m. in the morning, the winds outside are howling and I can hear it rattling my windows.  I can hear waves crashing outside and the palm trees are somewhere out there in the dark being rudely rustled by a strong northwind.

 

And I’m dreading putting out my fishermen in about an hour.  The forecast says the winds will calm down, but I know they’re gonna get wet.  And bounced.  And uncomfortable.  And that’s not what I want.   It sure doesn’t look like the fancy brochures right now!

 

But, last time I checked, I didn’t have a “weather control” button.  Dangit!

Anyway, a good friend asked me a great question that I don’t think I’ve ever been asked before.

 

“When is it too windy to fish?”

 

Relatively speaking, that’s an easy answer.

 

Like asking “When are the waves too big?  Or “When is it raining too hard?”  Or not.  You walk outside.  You figure it out pretty fast.   Yes or no.  You then decide to go. Or not.

 

But, if you’re like me, you want to play the odds a little better than just looking out the window or showing up at the docks.  This is especially true this year whether you’re going to Baja or anywhere else for that matter.

 

Since our livelihood down here with our fishing fleet depends on putting our customers on fish, I look at several variables.  Internet weather and wind sites are invaluable.  I use several to get the best picture of the coming forcast.

 

I look at:

 

  1. Windspeed
  2. Time
  3. Direction

 

Obviously, with regard to windspeed, I want it to be as calm as possible.  If the windsurfing and kiteboarding crowd starts to gather on the beach, something is up!   I want to know if the winds will be single or double digit speeds.

 

If you’re going to be panga fishing, then double-digit winds could be problematic.  If you’re going to fish inshore, maybe it will be OK.  If offshore, you might want to re-think things.  If you’re headed out in a 50-foot sportfisher, probably not so much.

 

The second variable I check is time.  When will the wind be blowing?  If it’s going to be blowing in the early morning and calm down later in the day,  that’s not too bad.

 

If the forecast calls for double-digit winds, but during the fishing hours, it settles down then, I really don’t care.  Let the wind blow all it wants when I’m back at the hotel hitting happy hour after a good day of fishing!

 

The third thing I take into consideration is the direction of the wind.  If it’s going to be blowing harder than I would like;  if it’s also going to blow during the hours I want to fish; then I want to know where the wind is blowing.

 

If the winds are coming full-speed out of the north and I’m going to be heading north to the fishing grounds early in the morning, then I know it might be a long bumpy wet ride.

 

If we’re heading south and the winds are coming from the north, then it would mean the wind is at our backs.  It’s going to push us along very nicely to where we want to go.  (Although coming back might be an issue if the wind is still blowing.)

 

By the same reasoning, if those north winds are going to kick up and we’re going west or east, then it might create some swells and rollers as the boat goes side-to-side.  You might want to be sure everyone has their seasick pills that morning and stays away from the greasy breakfast burritos!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

Jonathan

______________

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

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

_____________ 

 
Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International
 
TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor
TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor
 
Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-53311
.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

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

Read Full Post »

IS THE WHOLE ISLAND SURROUNDED BY WATER?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Is The WHOLE Island Surrounded By Water?

Originally Published the Week of May 8, 2017 in Western Outdoor News

Yes, you know who you are. I don’t think any worse of you for asking me that question.  Thanks for making me smile.

 

Any of us who are down here working in whatever capacity could come up with lists of similar questions.  Whether we work in fishing, diving, restaurants, day trips…whatever…We are the humble conduits of information for all our Baja visitors.   Good, bad, or otherwise.

 

Many are the same questions over and over.  That’s par for the course.

 

Where’s the best place to exchange money?

Is the water OK to drink?

Who has the best margaritas?

What’s the temperature going to be like this week?

 

And then there’s the other ones…

 

What kind of meat do you use in your teriyaki chicken dish? (BEEF)

 

Does the sun always rise in the East over the Sea of Cortez? (IT CHANGES DAILY)

 

Why can’t I take my top off and walk down the street like in France? (IT’S NOT FRANCE?)

 

Can you do something about the wind blowing in the morning when we’re fishing? (LET ME JUST WAVE MY MAGIC WAND A FEW TIMES)

 

Can you catch one of the dolphin so my son can ride it?  (YES, I AM A FULL SERVICE OUTFITTER)

 

Hey, it’s what we do and the folks are good folks with good honest questions.  I’m thankful for them for putting a little grin in my day!

 

But, if you’re coming down to Baja it helps to do a little research first.  At least a little.

 

No matter where you go for your travels, especially with so much social media and information out there, a little knowledge will help any trip go smoother.  This is even moreso with Mexico and Baja.

 

The phone systems are very very different.  Internet, while growing, does not always work.  Or when it works, it can be very sporadic even in the most urban areas.  Forget it if you’re out in the bush or out on the water.

 

I mean, c’mon.  Admit it.  It’s one reason you come down here so you can’t be reached, right? It’s still the Baja frontier.

 

But what if YOU need to reach out? Especially if something goes hinky with your vacation.

 

It’s far better to have the details and plans worked out ahead of time so that there’s as few glitches as possible.

 

There’s nothing like having your wife, girlfriend, family members or buddies giving you “stink eye” because something is amiss and it’s YOUR fault! Or maybe not.

 

Especially in Mexico.

 

Even moreso in Baja. Double-dog affirmative in Baja where not only might technology be a little sticky, but don’t forget…they speak Spanish here!

 

It’s kind of a national thing.

 

Yes. Surprise.  Spanish is the language here, and I am often perplexed at how many visitors are equally surprised that Spanish is spoken and(“surprise again”)…not everyone speaks English!

 

So, if something goes wrong…if something on your tour itinerary goes screwy…

 

…if the 5-star hotel you booked only has a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling and has a lovely view of a parking lot…

 

…if they send a four-seater Nissan Sentra Taxi for your group of 10…

 

…if your fishing tackle goes to Cleveland and your wife’s make up case got left in Seattle…(you better know which bag has priority in your life!)

 

Things might not resolve as quickly as making a simple phone call or dealing with the person “in charge.”

 

Some folks just “book it on whim.” They find something on the internet and run with it.  Many don’t even do that.  “Let’s just be wild and free!”

 

A little pre-planning takes the guess-work and stress out of your vacation which should be YOUR time to enjoy.  Not sweating the details.

 

Just because a website has pretty pictures is not enough.  Exactly what does “close to the beach mean?”  How far is “walking distance to restaurants?”

 

And, if it’s on the beach, can I swim there? Or use the beach? I know several hotels in Baja where they warn you NOT go to in the water. Too rough.  Too rocky or dangerous?   I know one that looks awesome but it’s built next to the outflow of the sewage treatment.

 

Just because one city is “two inches” away from another city on the map could mean 20 minutes apart or two hundred miles away!

 

Will the owner of your charter operation be there on site to answer questions?  Can you just walk to the docks and book a boat any time?  What does “all inclusive” really mean at the hotel?  It didn’t include lobster or steak or mixed drinks?

 

I’m a vegetarian…vegan…Kosher…diabetic…have food allergies.  Good idea to check.

 

I do need to still keep in touch with my family/ work/ office.  Will my phone, computer, texts work?  If they need to reach me, can they?

 

There’s great resources.  Talk to others.  Get other opinions.  A great starting point are Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google and others.  Compare.  Ask questions.  Also, even 10-star places have a bad review or a bad day or simply had a bad customer that loves blasting places.  Don’t rely on just that one single bad review or two.  A place that has 200 reviews but only 2 bad reviews is better than a place that has only 20 reviews and has 2 bad reviews.

 

Take that into account and make informed decisions!  Take the guess work out so you can enjoy your time!

 

And yes, find out if that island really is completely surrounded by water.  Anc check on those dolphin rides while you’re at it.   A good thing to know!

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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

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

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“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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