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THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

THEY BUILT A BETTER BRIDGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Oh, and you have a plane to catch.

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

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

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

         It’s a game changer!

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

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

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

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

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

20211108_054005_HDR

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

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

         Architecturally, rather beautiful.

cbx_1280x640

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

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

         Again, very easy.  And off I went.

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

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

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

And easy-to-find -boarding gates.

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

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

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

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

         A couple of notes:   

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

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

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

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

         All-in-all, a great deal.

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan


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

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

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


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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WE HAVE A BLEEDER

WE HAVE A BLEEDER

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

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

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

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

         One was a legitimate question about bleeding your catch.

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

         Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

         And be prepared to clean off the deck rapidly. 

         Then, get the fish chilled on ice.

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

         Blood left in the fish is also  logically decomposing. 

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

         That’s the theory.  And it works!

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

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

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

         Unless it was really crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

         Here’s the dilemma.

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

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

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

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

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

         The whole process comes to a standstill.

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

         He can’t be baiting hooks.

         He can’t be untangling your backlash.

         He can’t drive the boat.

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

         Or losing them.

         The fish school could disappear.

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

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

         Simple as that!

That’s my story!

Joanthan


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

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

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


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

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

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

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

         They ask me for advice.

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

         Do not drive at night.

         Frankly, it’s dangerous.

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

         No, it’s not the banditos.

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

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

         It’s much more simple than that.

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

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

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

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

Also, consider this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 I see it happen all the time.

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

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

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

I’ve seen it all.  I’ve hit them all!

         Even moreso, the biggest danger is hitting animals. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Oops!  No way to avoid them.

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

         Or course, it is.

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

         The rancher now wants BIG MONEY. 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan    

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

WHY MY MEXICAN FOOD TASTES BETTER THAN YOUR MEXICAN FOOD

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 2, 2021 in Western Outdoor News

           As the owner of a restaurant here in Baja and having hosted thousands of visiting fishermen, tourists, foodies and locals, I have many interesting conversations with our patrons.  I think the “social aspect” of owning a restaurant is one of the great reasons many folks do something crazy… like opening a restaurant.

         Something I hear a lot is, “Man, the food just tastes so much better down here!”

         Yea, there’s something to that.  Maybe you’ve said it yourself on a journey south of the border.  Food just tastes better down here.

         It could be the shrimp or the steak or even something as simple as a taco, guacamole or salsa.  There’s just “something” about the food in Mexico that’s different. 

20210113_193423_Burst01

I mean, it’s not like you’ve never had a taco or shrimp before.  It’s not like you’ve never dive-bombed the salsa or guacamole with a crispy tortilla chip.

         Heck, even the chips taste different!

         I have to agree. 

         Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love my Mexican food back in the U.S, but there’s something about the food down here that sets it apart.

         For one, it is indeed “local” in every sense of the word.

         Of course, speaking very generally and with exceptions to every rule,  you’re probably gonna find the good Italian food in a place named “Gino’s” and a bunch of Italian guys are working in the kitchen.  Or Gino’s mom is back there herself making the sauces or slinging pasta.

         Chinese food?  Personally, I’d probably duck into a place called “Chin Wah” than “Joe’s Chop Suey Express.” 

         In Sacramento on business once, I asked for the best Mexican food in the neighborhood and was directed to a local eatery that had 4 stars online.  OK.  Sounds good.  I was excited.

         As I entered the restaurant, we walked by the open kitchen so I stuck my head in and waved, “Hola! Que pasa?”  A whole bunch of Asian guys (I’m Asian) turned around and looked at me puzzled as if I was speaking Martian.

         Oh boy.  The food reflected it.  Barely so-so.

tacos in the dark

         My point being, that local ethnic food made by locals is probably going to be a notch above.  Most restaurants down here are mom-and-pop operations.  Dad, mom, the kids…all working.  Probably using the same family recipes used for generations.

         When we opened our restaurant, we asked our employees what was their family known for in the kitchen?  Salsa? Grilled fish? Rice? 

fish-taco

         We got their recipes and then took the best and adapted it to our restaurant and our menu.  We’ve kept our menu very local and held to those same recipes for over a decade.

         It sound cliché, but Mexican food made by Mexicans is a great start.

         Secondly, a big reason Mexican food tastes different than in the U.S. is that pretty much of  American-made Mexican food is pretty much the same.  You have the chain fast-food places.  Then, you have the chain restaurants.  Then, you have the local places.

         But, mostly all of them cater to American tastes.  Understandable.  Of course, I’m again speaking in broad generalities.

         However, here in Mexico, there are so many incredible culinary regions, that grilled fish in Cabo San Lucas will taste completely different  in Veracruz.  Ceviche in Puerta Vallarta might have completely different ingredients than in Cozumel.  Chorizo made in Puebla is different than chorizo in Toluca. 

         Mole…a big favorite salsa used on chicken, pork and beef has something like 28 different ingredients like chocolate, chile, peppers…it will taste different all over the country.  Even beef and pork will be different from region to region.

         Speaking of ingredients, that’s a big plus as well.

         Here in Mexico, storage is expensive.  Labor is cheap.

20210115_080737_HDR

Vegetables and fruits are actually allowed to ripen in the sunshine and in the soil.  They don’t ripen at the grocery store or some warehouse or shined-up to make them look juicier.

         Limes, avocados, onions, mangos, cucumbers are often in the store the same day they are picked.  When you bite into a red tomato, it actually tastes like a juicy fruit that it is.  The oranges are sweeter.  The aroma of cilantro can fill a room.

         It’s no wonder that your salsas taste so much better and your drinks (if made fresh) don’t taste like they are made from a mix.

         Beyond that, real Mexican food has all those “fun things” that taken in abundance would make a nutritionist or doctor cringe.

         Salt.  Check.

In fact, please pass the salt shaker. My chips could use a bit more!

         Sugar.  Check. 

Ice cold Mexican Coke is popular because it has real Mexican cane sugar in it!  Same with Mexican ice cream that’s growing in popularity north of the border.

         Fat.  Absolutely.

Why do you think the tortillas taste so good.  They use real lard to make them!  Fried things?  Sure…fry them in more real lard!  Makes all the difference.

         Salt…Sugar…Fat!  It’s the un- holy trinity of things you should eat in moderation.  It’s also why diabetes and heart disease are so rampant in Mexico.  But, if you’re on vacation, a little indulgence is part of the fun.

IMG_3142

         Enjoy the culinary ride down here.  You can go back to eating at Whole Foods and granola with almond milk when you get home.  Or the fast-food taco chain drive through.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

CAUGHT BY MOTHER NATURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         But they CAN happen. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         As long as you are safe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Gonna go pop a can of Pringles and a beer.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

                 

Read Full Post »

THAT “A-HA” MOMENT

THAT “A-HA” MOMENT

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

       I’ve been watching fishermen (of both genders) for almost 50 years now. 

       Working as a guide; a deckhand; on TV shows; as a fishing instructor and as a fleet owner now in Baja for almost 30 of those years, I’ve seen a wonderful lot of folks with rods and reels in their hands.

         It’s great going out on the water with fishing veterans.  Anglers know their stuff.  It’s well-oiled fishing. 

        Lots of muscle memory.  Gear is locked in.  Technique is dialed-in.  No wasted motions.  Let’s just fish!

         But then there’s the really fun fishing for me.

         And that’s with first timers or folks who really don’t have that much experience.

         It’s often a day of tangled lines and too many thumbs.  Backlashes and upside-down reels.  Too much intensity and lack of intensity. 

        Lots of anxiety and, unfortunately, sometimes lost fish.  Too much expectation or not knowing at all what to expect.

         But, for me it’s fun!  It’s the best time.

         For these folks the bar isn’t set that high.

         It’s often their first time or a rare time and they just don’t have other experiences to compare this to. 

         I won’t hear about how the fish are bigger in Australia or about all the fish they caught off the Grand Banks.  They’re not going to compare fishing here to battling giant lake trout in Canada.

         Nah.

         By the same token, they’re not going to compare me to their fishing guide in Argentina or that grizzly old-timer on the flats of Key West.  I’ll have to be really bad to look like a doofus in their eyes.

         They just wanna have some fun in the sun. 

         Almost any fish will be their biggest or the most.  Or the funnest. Or even the funniest!

         When a fish is hooked it can be all “arms and elbows” and “get outta the way!” with lots of laughs and big eyes and straining arms.  Lines going every-which way and lots of “coaching!”

         “Follow your fish!”

        

         “Keep the line tight!”

         “Turn the handle!” (The OTHER way!)

         “Lift the rod!”

         Sometimes everyone is yelling at once and I often feel sorry for the poor angler be it a guy, a gal or a kid .  They’re  holding on for dear life and trying to process all the information.  All while trying NOT to make a mistake or lose the fish.

         It’s sometime just too much!

         I’ve noticed that kids are very coachable.  Wives and girlfriends are more coachable than their husbands or boyfriends.  They are even better when the husband or boyfriend is at the other end of the boat and not watching them so closely.

         Guys can be a little different.  Sometimes they go all “macho” and figure they can just overcome any fish with brute strength and muscle.  Guys can be less inclined to listen to any instructions.  They will “bend the fish to their will” and “beat the fish into submission!” 

         It’s a guy thing!  Just the way we are.

         Even some anglers that I see year-after-year can need a lot of coaching and instructions. 

         Things that veteran anglers take for granted often continue to be lessons in frustration year-after-year for some of the regular anglers we see. 

         Things like tying a hook correctly or using a bait.

         Things like properly winding the line on the reel or keeping lines directly in front of them.

         Or the proper rhythm of fighting a fish.  Lifting the rod then using the reel to wind down as the fish comes up.   Just using their gear and technology to their advantage.

         I give them all credit for trying and just being out there and still enjoying the heck out’ve themselves.  It makes it some of the most enjoyable of times for me to be on the water.

         But one of the best rushes is that “Ah-HAH” moment.

         It’s when it all comes together.  For some it happens pretty quickly.  For others it takes awhile.  Sometimes years after grinding. 

         The important thing is they kept at it.

         You remember. 

         It’s that feeling when your dad finally let go of you and you realized you were peddling your bike by yourself down the street. 

Or you realized you were driving on the street all by yourself and not thinking about it anymore.

         It happens when someone learns to play an instrument.

         Or your two left feet disappeared and you’re actually dancing.

         Or you watch your kid suddenly realize he or she is reading. 

         And they realize it too.

         Or your toddler is running and not all wobbly and clumsy across the living room floor.  So THAT’S what these legs are for!

         It suddenly just all comes together.  And it can happen at any moment.

         No more over-analyzing.  No more over-thinking.  Pure muscle memory and enjoyment.

         It’s when the “student” realizes, “Hey, I got this!”

         It’s like that with fishing and I see it all the time and it’s great. 

         Yea…you got this!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

WHAT THEY SAY and WHAT WE REALLY SEE

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

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

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

 

RULE:  We are back to Level 5 Restrictions

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

REALITY:  Everything is pretty much still open

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

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

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

         Everything else is open.

RULE:  The Border Is Shut Down Again

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

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

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

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

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

RULE: Fishing Has Been Shut Down

REALITY:  False!  Jump on a boat!

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

RULE:  Restaurants and Hotels are Closed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REALITY:  Probably True

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

Now, it’s 8 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REALTY:  Yes and No.  Mostly Yes.

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

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

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

         But…It only applies to flying.

         It only applies to INTERNATIONAL flights. 

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

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

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

RULE:  You need to Quarantine

REALITY:  Negative

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

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

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

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

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

         Many people live in close quarters.

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

RULE:  Beaches and Waterfronts are Closed

REALITY:  Selective Closures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE:

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

Read Full Post »

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.”

Read Full Post »

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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