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Archive for the ‘road trip’ Category

CHANGING SEASONS

FRESH FROM OREGON!

CHANGING SEASONS

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

          Having a fishing business down here, I could usually tell when the warm water season was cooling down.   The signs are usually everywhere.

         The kinds of fish start to change.  Instead of warm water species like billfish, tuna, dorado, etc., we there are fewer in the counts.  More inshore species acclimated to cooler waters like sierra, pargo, snapper, cabrilla and amberjack become more prevalent.

         The winds from the north start to blow a little stronger and more consistently. The waters are choppier and cooler.

         The sun is at a different angle and throws longer shadows around.

         It sounds silly to the tourists, but we are starting to wear sweatshirts and long pants even though the temps are still in the high 70’s.  Tourists are still running around in shorts and t-shirts.  To us, it’s unequivocally cooler.    

         You can even tell by the types of visitors we’re getting.

         Not quite so many folks from California or Arizona, Utah, Texas or Nevada.

         Now, we’re getting more Canadians, Alaskans and folks from Oregon, Washington and the Dakotas.  They don’t ask much about fishing or what they will catch.  They just want to know if there will be sunshine. 

         Even if it’s a cool 70 degrees here, it’s still much warmer than what they’ve got back home so yes, the snowbirds are already showing up.

         The crowds are definitely down.

         Families are largely gone.  Kids are back in school.  Fishermen as well.  Everyone’s getting ready for holidays back in the U.S.   It’s a quieter time down here.

         However, the biggest indicator of the changing seasons can be viewed by anyone driving around town.  And it usually elicits a collective groan.

         Christmas is already in the air here in Mexico.

         Usually, in the U.S. we can generally figure it kicks in right after Thanksgiving. 

         Well, there’s no Thanksgiving holidays here in Mexico.  Halloween is growing, but it’s a minor little kid thing mostly.

         So, just about the end of September, here we go!

         Stores are pushing aside merchandise and stocking rows and rows of toys.  Those that don’t have the room, erect huge “TOY TENTS” in their parking lots.

         Christmas decorations are already on the shelves as well.  In fact, if you don’t purchase them now, there probably will not be any around by the beginning of December and the stores do not re-stock.  Once they’re gone…they’re gone!

         Christmas tree lots are also popping up in vacant lots and parking areas.

         You can see where the fencing is being put in and banners advertising “Fresh Oregon Christmas Trees” are already being hung in anticipation of the arrival of trees in a few weeks.

         They’ll be here by the beginning of November and folks will snap them up.  Nothing like a fresh “Oregon Christmas Tree” in the living room.  How you keep a tree fresh and fragrant for two months is beyond me.

         I’m just not quite ready for this.

         I know in a few weeks, shop owners will start painting elves and fake snow on storefronts. Somehow, it’s just not the same in Mexico seeing fake snow sprayed on things.

         For most folks, the only snow they want to see is inside the rim of a margarita glass or when they pop an ice chest full of Pacifico or Dos Equis long-necks.

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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BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

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

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

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

         They ask me for advice.

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

         Do not drive at night.

         Frankly, it’s dangerous.

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

         No, it’s not the banditos.

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

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

         It’s much more simple than that.

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

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

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

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

Also, consider this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 I see it happen all the time.

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

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

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

I’ve seen it all.  I’ve hit them all!

         Even moreso, the biggest danger is hitting animals. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Oops!  No way to avoid them.

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

         Or course, it is.

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

         The rancher now wants BIG MONEY. 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan    

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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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. 

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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 »

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

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

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Some things can’t be jury rigged.

        And some things never change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Crack a beer.  Day is done.

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

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

MY SMALL THINGS THEIR BIG THINGS

MY SMALL THINGS THEIR BIG THINGS

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 14, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         I’m sitting here reveling in my surroundings for a bit as I write this week’s column in my office here in La Paz.

         We just got through Hurricane Olaf that smacked into Baja down here about three days ago and really gave us a spin.

         Funny how things work out here.  Almost a month ago we all watched as Hurricane Nora approached us.  It was all about the same time that Ida hit the U.S. Gulf states.

         For our days, we prepped and stayed vigilant.  You just never know.

        I had my batteries for flashlights; extra waters and masking tape for the windows.  aWe had lots of junk food piled up that could be eaten right from the bag without having to cook in case we lost power (Pringles, Doritos, Chips Ahoy).  And of course bottles of wine.

       We call this “survival eating.”  Not a healthy thing in there!  I’ve been through quite a few hurricanes and it’s hurricane sustenance food.   

       If you have to be shut in, might as well enjoy it.

       I had warned all our fishing clients that we might lose some fishing days.

       Anyway, after all this prepping…

       Nora turned out to be nothing more than a big-weather fart.  Some strong winds.  Some big southern swells.  Not a drop of rain. 

       Actually, kind of a letdown after all the anxiety.

       This week, we did the same thing. 

       We watched Olaf approach.  All the computer and weather experts predicted it would come up the Pacific side of Baja and make a 90-degree turn out to the Pacific Ocean.

       Nothing to really worry about.  Totally benign. A cream-puff storm.

       So, we didn’t do much in terms of prepping

       Last Thursday morning, I launched all our fishing boats and client.  It was early . Seas were flat calm.  Not a hint of wind.  Skies were so clear I could see stars.

       However, just a few hours later, it was like suddenly someone had flipped a switch.  Out’ve nowhere, the heavens opened with huge blasts of thunder.  Lightning bolts could be seen striking in the bay in front of us.

       Mexican apocalypse.

       The rain didn’t drizzle to start.  I came in buckets from the get-go.  Winds whipped trees and everyone caught unawares was literally running and diving for cover like they do in war movies when the fighter planes sweep in.

       Over the next 48-hours, Hurricane Olaf turned into a Category 2 storm.  We had 12-15 inches of rain in less than 24 hours.  We had winds to 90 mph and gusts up to 150. 

       Trees were uprooted.  Roofs torn off. Boats were sunk. Roads were flooded. Arroyos ran like rivers.

       Fortunately, I haven’t heard of any fatalities or serious injuries.

       But, it DID leave us with no power or water.

       And that’s why I’m sitting here now writing about it.

       In this modern world we take a lot for granted. 

       I can always get a glass of water.  Hot showers no problem.  Need to call someone, the cellphone is there.  Need to check something?  Pop the laptop.

       Tough day?   An icy margarita or beer is at arms-length.

       Hungry?  Open the frig and cook up something in the microwave or stovetop.

       Night comes? Turn on the light.

       As I write this, there’s still folks here in town that don’t have water, power or cellphone/ internet from the storm.

       Off-the-grid.

       We were like that for 2 days and we just lights and electric about 12 hours ago.  Trying to work in the office with a flashlight or navigate our apartment with candles just doesn’t cut it.

       Even more importantly, only about 2 hours ago, we got AIR CONDITIONING!

       I guess I’ve gotten to be a whimp in my old age.

       However, when it’s 102 degrees during the day and 92 at night and the humidity level is 85%, and you have nothing but candles and flashlights, it melts even the strongest of men.

       We have our breaking points, right? Imagine sitting in your bathroom fully-clothed with only the hot water on your shower going full blast. You are engulfed in steam.

       And you’re locked in the bathroom for 2 or 3 days.  Try to sleep.  Try to function.

       That’s what it’s like.

       And so, I’m able to type this column while sitting in blessed cool air and my laptop is plugged in and finally re-charging.  There are lights.  The food in the frig isn’t turning to muck.  Sweat isn’t dripping onto my laptop keyboard.

       There’s still a lot of folks in town without water or power.

       We had 46 clients/ fishermen here in town also locked in hotel rooms with no power or water in some cases.  We also had to deal with that as they put on game-faces and had to deal with it as well.

       But, now that we personally are back in the light, I realize (again) just how much we take for granted.  We push buttons on remotes or gadgets or turn handles and all the conveniences of modern life are at our fingertips for our comfort and ease.

       And  every now and then, mother nature reminds us what it’s like without that ability.

       And then it make me think that there’s people right here in this Mexican city that NEVER have those things.  Basic services that we never even think of.

       I do know folks here in town that live by flashlights and lanterns in the night.  I know folks that have to get their water in buckets from a public faucet to bring to their homes for cooking and washing and cleaning.

       There’s no tapping a button or flipping a switch.  There’s no knob or handle to turn.  It’s like this for them 24/7. 

       And, I’m grateful and blessed at this moment.  I have very little to complain about for even a few hours without all my comforts.  

       Ultimately, it’s not an emergency.  It’s an inconvenience not to have these luxuries because that’s what they are. 

       To many others, it’s just another day without. 

       Very humbling.

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 »

CUTTING SOME SLACK

CUTTING SOME SLACK

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Current affairs here in Mexico…

         At one restaurant, we sat down to a dirty table. All the other tables weren’t much better. We had to ask the waitress to wipe the table and she looked put out by the request.

         At another restaurant, the waiter literally tossed the menus at us onto the table from about a foot away.  Turned and walked away.

         We’ve waited at other restaurants that we normally patronize and were left drumming our fingers on the table for meals that should not have taken THAT long.  I mean, how long does it take to make two plates of fish tacos?

         We’ve had clients tell us they went on some kind of booze cruise or some other kind of tour and find out it was delayed because “not enough crew members” or “they had to find another driver.” 

         We own several businesses here in Mexico and chatting with some other local business owners I guess we’ve got ourselves a labor shortage going on.  Sort of like in the U.S., but somewhat different.

         We thought it was just us. 

For our restaurant it’s been more difficult than usual.

Can’t find a cook.  Not enough waiters.  We’re down a driver…again.  The vegetable delivery guy quit again.  The bakery won’t be bringing burger buns for 4 days because they’re short-handed.

         We have advertisements all over social media, newspapers, school bulletin boards and other platforms.

         Maybe 20 apply.  15 say they’ll be there for an interview. 

        Maybe 5 show up.  Of those, we give 3 of them contracts. 

        Of the three…two of them actually show up for their first day of work.  

       One of the two never shows up. 

       One of the two quits after 2 days.  The other one doesn’t show up after 5 days.  No phone call.  No notice.  Just doesn’t show up.

      Or the universal excuse, “I have to quit because my mother is sick in Guadalajara.”  You have no idea how many times we’ve gotten something like this.   Everyone’s parent gets sick in Guadalajara.  Right up there with “My dog ate my homework.” 

     Other business owners are telling us the same thing.

     Can’t find people to work. 

     But, it’s a bit different than in the U.S. where folks find it more economic to sit on the couch with the remote because they’re getting unemployment checks or stimulus checks.

      Mexico doesn’t have that luxury.  There’s no enemployment down here.  Or stimulus checks.

       For many folks you work or you don’t eat.  So, why can’t we find workers?

      Some of our co-business owners with the same issues told me some of it is simply cultural. 

      “Like the rest of the world, some people just got used to staying at home. If you can ‘get by’ without working, there’s no need to go to work.”

      “Many people live together.  Especially younger people.  You find ‘youngsters’ in their 20’s and 30’s even with their own kids still living in the same house as mama and dad.  No one gets kicked out.  If mama will keep cooking and washing clothes, there is not much motivation to leave the house.  They are spoiled,” is what one business owner said to me disdainfully.

      “Some are just looking for the ‘perfect’ job.  They have no particular skill or education, but if a job isn’t ‘perfect’ they do not stay and bounce from one menial job to the other.” 

     One of my amigos agreed, “Yes, if it seems too much like ‘work,’ they quit!”

     By no means does this mean everyone has this work ethic.  There are many many good hard workers to be found.

     But, they are hard to come by .

     Or they in such demand, they get snatched up having their pick of positions.  And can also command higher pay.

     However, with the pandemic rules changing weekly combined with the shortage of workers, service is inconsistent.

     For example, the covid rules might say you’re allowed only 30% occupancy at a restaurant or hotel. 

     Keep in mind that you lost most of your staff last year when everything shut down so you’ve got almost a completely different staff. 

      Last year’s staff  that you had for years. has moved on.

         Then, they allow you to increase to 40% occupancy.  You optimistically hire and train more people.  

       You teach them how to cook; wait tables; clean rooms; work at reception; drive shuttles…and with a smile!

     Two weeks later, the government knocks everyone back to 30% occupancy. 

         Or, you you are not sell alcohol after 5 p.m.  Or the beaches get closed again.

         That pretty much kills all your evening dinner business.  You have empty tables.  You have empty hotel rooms.  People cancel reservations and trips.

         So, now you have to fire all the new people you just hired and trained.

         Then, the restrictions change again.

         And you just need bodies to work.  Whoever you can get.  Whoever is willing to work. 

        No real time to train properly.  And no one knows how long that person will be working for you either voluntarily or involuntarily.

         So, the guy making tacos, is still learning to fry a tortilla.  He can’t remember if the fish plate gets beans on the side or rice.  Or has never heard of meat “medium rare.”  Cooked mean cooking until it’s done.

         The guy making your margarita has never worked in a bar before.  He thinks a margarita is tequila mixed with orange juice.

         They waitress tells you she’s not sure what’s on the menu.  She has actually been fired or quit her last 3 restaurant jobs.  But, the restaurant owner was desperate to hire someone

         The guy driving your shuttle tosses your luggage in the back and gets lost driving to your hotel.  Takes 20 frustrating minutes to go 4 blocks.

         That’s not to say they’re not trying.  Under the circumstances.  Seems like most of them are. 

         Everyone is just trying to get by.  I have to remember to cut folks some slack and remember it’s not just us.  Or us. 

         “Dog ate my homework and my mother is sick in Guadalajara.”

         It’s just the times we live in now.

 

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 »

EPERANZA

DYANA and MOM

ESPERANZA

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 11, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

In Spanish, the word “Esperanza” generally means “hope.”

It can also connotate “promise,”

And “confidence.”

And “faith”

And “expectation.”

And “possibilities.”

Like a lot of kids in the U.S., Dayana just graduated from high school.  Like a lot of kids, the last year or so was especially tough. 

She has not been in a classroom in 16 months as schools remained closed.   No proms.  No dances.  No sports.  No activities.

Like a lot of kids, she’s headed off to college next semester.

But, Dayana isn’t like a lot of kids in the U.S.  You see, she’s not in the U.S.  She’s in Mexico.  In fact, she’s in Baja.  La Frontera.  The Frontier.

You see, unlike kids in the U.S. education here in Mexico is only mandated or required until the 6th grade.  That’s it.  That’s as far as you go. 

If you even get that far.

And unlike U.S., the family must pay for the kids to go further.

And unlike the U.S., if a family can afford to send a child further, it’s usually the boy that gets the nod. Girls will go to work. 

Or stay home.

Make babies.  Marry.  Make more babies.   

That’s the thinking.  For girls, no education needed beyond rudimentary reading and writing.

So, education is wasted on the girls.  Or, even if not, it’s simply not affordable.

And that would easily have been Dayana’s “happily-ever-after-future” into the abyss of life.

But, she’s headed in a different direction.  She’s going down the “road less traveled” because some few with generous hearts took an interest. 

And made a difference.

Even in impoverished areas, we see American kids wearing $300 Nike Jordan basketball shoes.  Or carrying $500 smartphones.  A different outfit every day. Name brand clothes and backpacks.  School lunches.  Transportation.  Real books.

For the past 6 years, Dayana has moved forward.  Because for her, $300 per year wasn’t used to buy the latest shoes or a smartphone.

The “monumental” amount of $300 a year kept her in school.

For a lot of us, that’s a concert ticket.  It’s a steak dinner.  It’s 5 minutes in Vegas.  It’s a hotel night in Puerta Vallarta or a night of clubbing in Cabo San Lucas.

 And yes (cringe)… It’s the cost of YOUR kid’s shoes headed to school this fall.

A special program here in La Paz, where we live and run our fishing business, allowed many of our anglers to donate towards keeping a kid in school.

Five bucks…ten bucks…a hundred bucks.  Little-by-little.  Poco a poco.

Hit $300 and another kid stays in school.

Three hundred bucks goes a long way.

For Dayana, each year, it purchased her books.  It purchased her uniform. It got her transportation to school; as well as breakfast and lunch.

And this was no free ride for her either.

She had to maintain her grades.

Forget dances, sports, social events, day trips and extracurricular activities.  No time for that.

She was also required to do community work.  She was also required to mentor other students and pay-it forward.

And from year-to-year, there was no guarantee that her benefactors would sponsor another year.  Or that there would be enough money.

It could have ended at any time, but for the big hearts of certain individuals.

It could easily have been a trip back to that happy-ever-after dead-end future that befalls so many of her friends.

In the barrio. In an un-ending circle of. . .whatever.

So, she graduated.  High grades. She reads and writes fluently English and Spanish.  Most of us can’t even do that.

And she’s moving on.

And up.

A full scholarship to the military university in distant Mexico City for 4 years then onto officers-training school and hopefully an engineering degree.

Oh…and an anonymous benefactor also paid for her braces!

It calls to mind the story about the hiker walking along the seashore after a storm.  He sees many starfish washed up stranded on the beach.

The hiker starts throwing the stranded starfish back into the ocean.  Hoping to save a few.

A bystander says, “You’re wasting your time. You can’t save them all.  There are miles of beach.  You can’t make a difference.”

The hiker smiles.  He picks up another starfish and tosses it back into the ocean and says, “It makes a difference to THAT starfish!”

I’m writing this column because Dayana wrote a letter…in perfect English mind you…probably better than some of the writing I’ve seen from other high school students…just to say thank you. 

Thank you to sponsors and benefactors named and anonymous.

 “…and to all those people who make the dream of many young people possible, to improve ourselves, study, pursue a career and achieve our goals; blessings for all.”

Her words. Not mine.

Grateful for “Esperanza.”

Hope.

Promise.

Confidence.

Faith.

Expectation.

Possibilities!

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

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.”

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