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Archive for the ‘road trip’ Category

MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE 3

PHASE 3 PHOTO

MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE THREE

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s maybe overly dramatic.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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SHOULD I CANCEL MY MEXICO TRIP?

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Empty cities. Empty beaches.

SHOULD I CANCEL MY MEXICO TRIP?

Originally Published the Week of April 9, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

So, this virus-thing got you a bit worried about the Mexico trip you have planned?

 

LOTS of folks are in the same boat with you.  Hopefully, not a cruise liner.

 

 

Bad publicity over-the-years to the contrary,  Mexico is still the #1 destination for American travel.   Statistics show that more than 32 million Americans visited Mexico last year.  Approximately half-of-those ended up in Baja.

 

The other big areas areas are Cozumel and Cancun.  Mexico expected a 5-7% increase for 2020.

 

Until it all hit the wall.

 

My caveat for anything I write these days is simply, “Whatever you read here, things may have changed by the time you read them.”  The world is changing rapidly.

 

As of this date (Week of April 12, 2020), there is a national closure of all hotels, ports, marinas, beaches, public spaces, park, event centers, charter fishing, booze cruises and the like, as well as restaurants and bars.  Yes…and bars.

 

And beer.

 

Breweries are shutting down and some cities are instituting zero tolerance on alcohol sales.  Or minimizing the hours of sale.

 

So, aside from the fishing, if you can even get out, many of the fun reasons for going to Mexico are off-the-board at the moment. The Mexican government says these prohibitions will be in place until April 30th.

 

Or not.

 

Since the virus really hasn’t slammed full-force into Mexico, the country reserves the right to extend the lockdown.  Maybe right through YOUR vacation.

 

And, by the way, Mexico would really prefer you to NOT come into the country and infect it’s people.  They love tourism…They need tourism…They love YOU!  Just not right now.  Please stay home!

 

(Thank you very much to the Texas students who chartered a plane and flew 70 of them down in spring break and more than half of them are now infected.        And now Cabo trails only Mexico City as the leading growth area for the virus.)

 

So, should you pull the plug?  If so, there’s good ways and not-so-good ways to do it.

 

There’s some things to think about.

 

If your trip is within the next month, I would say the chances are probably slim.  Optimistically, even if your hotel opens or your charter operator gives the thumbs-up don’t celebrate just yet.  You need to check if your airline will still be flying.

 

Airports are still open, but with no one flying anyway, airlines have cut service and flights.  Open airports are empty airports.

 

If your vacation is not for awhile, it’s my recommendation to wait.  I admit this is a totally self-serving suggestion since we own a fishing fleet in La Paz.

 

But, it won’t hurt to wait as long as you can.

 

God-willing, things MAY change and you surely don’t want to lose your spots .  When we get to the other side of this pandemic, there will be a rush to get out of isolation.  People will want to fish.

 

If you do have to change, consider postponing it.  And, if you can come up with new dates all the better.

 

Every operator is different so check.  But, most payments, including deposits are not refundable.

 

Having been on both sides of the counter in dealing with Mexico vacations, it’s pretty difficult to get a refund.  Lots of wasted time and energy.

 

If you don’t show up too bad.  Or, many operators treat this pandemic as a “force majeure” (act of God).  Like a hurricane or other unforeseen event.  It’s harsh, but it’s just bad luck.  No one can control the weather…or foreseen a pandemic.

 

It’s like booking a fishing trip and the weather happens to be bad and fishing hits the dumper.   No one’s fault . Just bad luck. No refunds.

 

But, that is also why so many of us recommend and have recommended economic trip insurance.  We personally never travel without it.

 

Even in the best of times, the insurance can cover things like canceled airlines; bad weather; too sick to go out; a medical emergency or accident, etc.  It’s well worth it.

 

Some travel insurance will not cover this pandemic and if your trip is coming up soon, it might be too late. But, consider it if your trip is still somewhere down the calendar year.  Just Google it up and there are plenty of options and policies to choose from and, they aren’t that expensive!

 

Although refunds may be difficult, most operators I’ve spoken to seem more than willing to give you credit towards re-booking a trip.  This is especially true given the current situation where normally, they would not be so lenient .

 

But, again you should check.  Some charge a fee for canceling or re-booking.  A little research can help you get your full credits.

 

Truth be told, most operators I know from Mexico to Alaska and Canada to South Africa and Oregon to New Zealand, ultimately are mom-and-pop operations.  Realistically, they can’t afford to refund everyone.  So, it’s win-win if you propose new dates for the future and they can credit you for that trip.

 

As for airlines, things seem to be loosening.

 

Early on, the airlines got bashed for their cancelation policies.  Some were giving zero refunds; eating up your points; and charging exorbitant fees to change tickets.

 

This was happening even when it was the airline that canceled the flights.

 

That has come more into line.

 

We have found that if YOU cancel the flight, you might not get a refund, but the airlines will credit you for a new flights in the future.  Lately, however, we are finding that if THEY cancel the flight, refunds are being given.

 

So, just a heads-up that if you wait until the airlines actually cancels, you have a better chance of getting some money back.

 

Bottom line is do a little research before yanking the plug on your Mexico vacation.

 

Hopefully, we’ll get to the other side of this sooner rather than later.

 

That’s my story!  Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  We can do this!

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 »

MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

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MEXICO’s CHANGED REALITIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even his own health ministers were critical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Police and military are enforcing the closures.

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

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

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

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

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

They are already “bored and feel fine.”

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

Need to “get away from the madness.”

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

“Want to help the Mexican economy.”

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

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

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

Except for one thing…

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

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

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

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

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

This thing could be totally asymptomatic.

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

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

And they pass it on to someone else.

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

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

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

Simple as that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

cowboy-campfire

Talent in unlikely places

MUSICOS de la NOCHE

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

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

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

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

He just can’t seem to get it going.

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

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

But, now their mouths are dropped open.

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

Beatles? Who are they? Some kind of bug?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the Mexican equivalent of happy hour.

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

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

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

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

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

Life is good around the fire.

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

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

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

A longing tune about a missing love.

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

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

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

Pickin’ and grinnin’ Baja-style.

And here we go! Uno…dos…tres…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who knew?

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

WHERE’s THE PARTY?

mexico-desfile-dia-muertos

When I first arrived here in Baja to live, Crocs were the hot shoe and I had a lot more hair.  It’s interesting over the decades watching Americana creep into the lives and culture of Mexico.

 

I was shopping just yesterday and noted that it’s mid-October and, as is custom, Christmas decorations and toys are already filling the stores.

 

Yes, it starts a lot earlier here. In about a week, there will be Christmas tree lots in the parking lots hawking trees “Fresh from Oregon!”  I’m not kidding.

 

Y’see, here in Mexico, there’s no Thanksgiving acting as a gastronomical speed-bump before Christmas.  So, of course, the stores want to get you into the holiday spirit while it’s still 98 degrees outside and humidity is 75%.

 

However, with increased popularity, I am seeing more folks referring to “turkey day” coming soon.  Not “Thanksgiving day.”  No reason to celebrate the Pilgrims breaking-bread with the native residents here in Mexico.

 

Still, turkey is quite popular here.  In fact, most cold-cuts and hot dogs are actually made from turkey so a reason to roast a whole big bird is a reason to celebrate “something different.”

 

It’s not every day folks roast turkeys in Mexico. The markets have some great bargains on the birds.

 

There is one more holiday that pops up before Christmas.  It’s not really a holiday, however, in the sense of a huge fiesta.  However, it’s a country-wide celebration that will actually be found throughout the Latin-American nations.

 

Dia de los Muertos…the Day of the Dead… comes in at the end of the month.  It’s not a national holiday.  Nothing is closed.  Business as usual. It’s more like a personal holiday that just happens to be celebrated by just about everyone in their own way.

 

It arises from the combination of Pagan/ Christianity/ Catholicism rituals and actually encompasses three days more-or-less.  Sort of all mixed together, there’s the Day of the Dead, All Souls Day and All Saints Day.

 

The religious side is a remembrance of the departed loved ones.

ofrandas-muertos

Small altars are built in homes with photos and other memorabilia of the departed. Some can be quite elaborate with candles, colorful table cloths, and favorite items of the deceased like bottles of alcohol, pastries and favorite items of clothing.

 

One hotel we work with here in La Paz used to construct an elaborate and beautiful altar in the lobby.  Truly a work-of-art.  They would place photos of long-time employees who had passed away.

 

The altar was decorated with photos; favorite books; musical items; a chef’s spatula and hat.  But, it often had several plates of pastries; cans of beer; bottles of whiskey or tequila…

 

The problem was that hotel guests, especially gringo guests, didn’t know the significance of the altar in the lobby.

 

They thought it was some kind of “welcome table” and would help themselves to the pastries, cookies and cans of beer.  The hotel stopped setting up the display after a few years.

 

The big party, however, is at the cemetery.

dia-de-muertos1

 

If you really want a taste of culture, head to the cemetery at Dia de los Muertos!  In the states, we rock Halloween, but few of us go to an actual graveyard that night.  In Mexico, it’s all part of it!

 

And, it isn’t a creep show.  There’s no gouls and ghosts.  But, there’s definitely a spirit in the air. It’s a big fiesta!

 

Families and friends bring out elaborate celebrations to the graveyard and it’s like a giant tailgate party of a whole different type.

 

Candles and torches set the mood.  Boom boxes and even live musicians add to the ambience. Everything from mariachi, to ranchero music, rap and classic rock can be heard.

 

Barbecues fill the air with grilling chorizo and carne asada. People sing.  Families spread out lawn chairs and blankets on the concrete grave slab.  Fresh flowers and wreaths are brought out.

 

If you forgot anything, food vendors, flower vendors and beer concessions are outside the gate. Grab a wreath; pick up a kilo of hot carne; a couple of bottles of Tecate and head-on-in with your lawn chair.

day-of-the-dead-568012_1280-1200x675

If there’s more than one deceased, as is often the case, it’s a mobile party.  From one grave to another.  Families and friends intermingle in a festive reunion of sorts.

 

They gather.  They tell stories.  They laugh.  They remember.  They drink to death as well as to life.  All night long.  Keeping the memories alive for a few fun-filled evening hours.

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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THAT SURE DIDN’T LAST LONG

Palapa Beach 6

ADIOS SUMMER! YOU DIDN’T STAY LONG

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

 

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

 

It made for some crazy and unusual catches this season.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And all was right again.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The change in fishing was gradual, but ultimately profound.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

 

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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C.P.R. for FISH

C.P.R. for FISH

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 24, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

release-right-main

We had several pangas-slow trolling the shallow turquoise waters off Punta Arenas. White sands met the Sea of Cortez in colors worthy of any travel brochure.

 

We are in roosterfish land.

rooster Dave big one tags

 

The big kings of the beach in this area can range from 40-over-100-pounds.  We had already landed and released two 60-pound fish and were hoping for at least one more.

 

Two other guys in the panga 50 yards away suddenly started whooping.  They had a double strike and the boat was in pandemonium mode.

 

Both guys were on bent rods already moving and dancing around the stern of the panga trying to keep the lines tight and untangled.  The captain was alternately steering the boat; coaching the anglers; and trying to keep the deck cleared.

 

The big fish were tearing up the waters behind the boat.  We could hear the reels singing.

 

We needed to change our own baits so we stopped our panga and all of us watched the crazy activity in the other panga.  It made for some fun video. Time for a cold beer anyway.

 

In about 15 minutes both fish were simultaneously brought to the boat.  Everyone was high-fiving and whooping it up.  As they should!  Judging just by the dorsal fins of the submerged fish, they were legit 50-70 pound roosters.

 

This was confirmed as both fish were lifted into the panga.

One fish, was unceremoniously plopped on the deck. The other was dropped by the tired angler.  I could see the anglers and skipper jump as the fish thrashed.

 

Then, of course congratulatory photos.

 

This pose.  That pose.  Double pose.  Hold them this way.  Hold them that way.  Snap! Snap! Snap!  Your camera.  My camera.  Now with the captain.  You know how it goes.

 

Then, of course holding the fish up so we could see!  Of course, we gave them some sportsmanlike applause and thumbs-up.

 

Photos done, I could see everyone bending over and trying to unhook the fish.  It looked problematic, but ultimately, it was clear that hooks and lines were unhitched.

 

Then, both fish were lifted and heaved up and over the side in cannonball splats!  More high-fives, knuckle taps, and fist-bumping.

 

Good for them.

 

But, as we pulled away to start trolling again, I had to cringe about how the fish were handled.  No doubt, I’m glad the fish were released and the other anglers were well-intentioned.

 

I could only hope the fish survived.

 

There’s a right and a wrong way to C.P.R. a fish (Catch-Photo-Release).

wayne seibert rooster release 9-16

 

For one, time is of the essence. Actually, it’s the most important thing.

 

A fighting fish builds up lactic acid in their muscles just like any human who exercises strenuously.  The longer the fight, the more lactic acid builds up.  In fish, this can be lethal.

 

Once the fight is over, if you can do your photos and the release without taking the fish out’ve the water, all the better.  Once you pull the fish out’ve the water a bunch of things happen.

 

In the water, fish have neutral buoyancy.  When you take them out, gravity takes over and internal organs can be severely damages.

 

This is especially true if you hold the fish (as we have all done), with the head up and tail down.  It’s just not a natural position for the fish and all it’s innards.

 

Also, dropping the fish on the deck is a knucklehead move.

 

Fish need water to breathe.

 

So, for obvious reasons, once the fish is out’ve the water, it’s suffocating.  It’s just been fighting for it’s life and now it can’t breathe because you have a 10-minute photo session.

 

Imagine running several hundred-yard dashes as if an army of zombies was after you.  At the end of 10 minutes…15 minutes…an hour of running full-speed, someone pinches off your nose and mouth so you can’t breathe!

 

 

A couple of other pointers.

 

As mentioned, holding a fish vertically isn’t doing the fish much good.  How you hold it can further exacerbate the damage.

 

Holding it by the gill and probably damaging it’s breathing apparatus is a fail. So, is sticking your fingers in it’s eyeball sockets!  OUCH.

 

The fish also have a very important slime covering their bodies.

 

The more you touch it, the more that slime rubs off.  That coating is important in warding off infections.  Another reason why dropping it on the deck to wiggle and squirm is a bad move.

 

Removing the hooks properly is essential as well.

 

For your own protection, as well as the fish, use long nose plyers.  If all else fails, it might be better to just cut the line as close to the hook as you can rather than further injure the fish.

 

Better to get it back into the water faster.

 

Undoubtedly, there’s some controversy on this topic.

 

Some say that the hook will eventually cause an infection that kills the fish.  Others say that the hook will eventually rust out.  For that reason, some anglers use bronze hooks instead of stainless steel whenever they can.

 

People with bigger brains than mine might someday figure that one out.  Personally, I would just like to get the fish in the water and on-it’s-way ASAP.

 

Finally, for the actual release, be gentle.

 

Tossing it into the air like a pizza to come down in a big splat doesn’t cut it.

 

If you can,  gently get the fish moving back-and-forth in the water. This helps re-oxigenate it’s gills.  For a big fish slowly moving the boat forward while carefully holding the fish helps accelerate getting the fish back to normal and reviving it .

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

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Shut My Mouth!

Day-6-Wheeling-and-dealing-with-the-Mexican-jewelry-salesman.

That’s the idea! Have some fun with it!

Shut My Mouth

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 27, 2019 in Western Outdoor Publications

 

It was an awkward situation that had the potential to turn ugly. Actually, it already was.

On the sidewalk outside our restaurant in La Paz, a gringo (I’ll call him Pete) was getting pretty loud.

In front of him looking embarrassed and afraid was Jose who makes his living walking up and down the beach and waterfront selling jewelry. Everthing is “genuine” and of “highest quality.” (wink wink).

But he says it with a smile so you know it’s a game.

No, that $30 Rolex watch is not waterproof nor would you expect it to be! Not for $30 and you’re a doofus if you think it’s real!

But I know Jose. He’s a good guy. He works hard. He doesn’t pester or hound. Folks like him and look for him. He laughs a lot and he runs a good bargain.

That turquoise bracelet that is 100% silver he tells you it’s $60. And he laughs. He’s dangles the bait in the water.

He EXPECTS you to say “no” and give him a counter offer!

He knows that the bracelet is not worth $60 and he figures you’re smart enough to know that too! If you plop down $60 and you’re happy…well so be it!

But, you say $15. He laughs and says $50.
You say $17 and he says “no way” and laughs again. He says he can’t sell it for less than $45.

Back and forth. Back and forth. You really want it. He really wants to sell it to you.

When you both finally settle on $21 dollars, everyone is happy! He made a sale and made a few bucks. You got a pretty piece of “genuine” silver and turquoise.

Win-win. It’s the game. It’s fun. It’s expected.

That’s not how it was going today. And by the way both Pete and Jose were looking at me, I was being drawn in as a referee.

Pete was getting pretty livid.

“This guy is like all the rest. He’s just trying to rip me off!”

Whoa…I already don’t like the usage of “all the rest” and “rip me off” in the same sentence.

Calm down Pete. Let me get Jose’s side.

Jose looked like he could use some assistance because Pete’s whole family was there and Pete was still causing a commotion drawing a crowd to listen in.

Jose explained to me that he and Pete had done a deal over several items of jewelry.

Well, Pete wanted his change in dollars!

Jose is a street vendor. He doesn’t or didn’t have dollars. So, he tried to give Pete the change in pesos.

Pete didn’t want pesos, but he definitely wanted the jewelry and didn’t understand the exchange rate.

Ultimately, there was a $5 dollar difference in what Pete thought and what Jose was giving him in change. Five freakin’ dollars!

And Pete was letting everyone know about it who would listen. About getting “ripped off” by “these people.”

By the way, Pete came into town on 75’ yacht and loved telling people over and over about it and all his antique sportscars. Five dollars. Are you kidding me?

I explained to Pete about the exchange rate and that no one had been trying “rip him off. Jose didn’t have American money to give him any change.

Pete glared.

“What you gonna do, Pete? Do you want the jewelry and pesos?”

He took his family and stormed off. Mumbling something about, “What am I supposed to do with pesos in my pocket?” Emphasis on the “I” as if it was beneath him to have pesos and how demeaning it was.

Uh, you’re in Mexico, Dude. I’m sure you’ll find something to spend that on.

His pretty blonde wife and two perfect kids also walked away indignantly with their noses in the air.

Jose gave me an appreciative high-five “gracias.” He shrugged. Just another day working the street. I’m sure it’s not the first time.

I won’t write what some of the other onlookers said about Pete and his family.

It got me thinking about five dollars here in Mexico…

Five dollars a day is what some people bring home after a day of work. A six-day work weeks gets you a whopping $30 to live on.

If you have a car (rarely), it buys one gallon of gas. Not to cruise or go to the beach. Hopefully that gallon is enough to putter to and from work. hopefully enough to bring the kids to and from school.

Five dollars is a bus ride to work and back. Even though you are only making 11 dollars for working a 12-hour day.

Five dollars barely buys a crappy dinner for a family of 3. That’s 3 Cokes and 3 Cup-O-Noodles in the styrofoam cup. Salt and sugar for dinner. Highly nutritious but at least you don’t go to bed hungry.
Five bucks buys you enough propane for a week to cook and light your home.

For cleaning 15 messed-up hotel rooms by herself, five bucks is the total amount of tips your cleaning lady made at the resort you’re staying at.

Just enough to pay for her bus ride home tonite.

Enjoy that genuine silver jewelry, Pete.

That’s my story…

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

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A QUIET CONVERSATION

senior

A QUIET CONVERSATION

Originally Published the Week of July 1, 2019 in Western Outdoors Publications

You know you’ve been in business awhile when you start seeing 2nd and 3rd generations of clients come to visit.

 

Fathers bring kids.  Kids bring fathers.  Grandfather brings sons and grandsons.

 

It’s a special privilege and honor that folks think enough of spending time with us and sharing their families with us.  We do our best to make sure they are memorable for them.  I think anyone in this type of outdoor hospitality work does the same.

 

As I also grow older and realize I’m now eligible for senior discounts at Denny’s and AARP magazines, I take a special joy in the grandfathers and grandmothers.

 

It’s that generation just slightly ahead of me.  They lived through the cold war and Korea.  Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson,  Martin Luther King, Nixon and Vietnam.  Veterans and ex-hippies. They remember Elvis and Nat King Cole.

old-man-smiling

Dads who watched Johnny Carson and the Ed Sullivan Show and moms who drove real station wagons full of kids (without seatbelts) to drop them off at the park pool. They made boloney sandwiches on white Wonderbread and gave the kids a dime to chase the ice cream truck.

 

They served sugar-laden Cokes as treats and squirted you with the garden hose in the summer.

 

And they were allowed to spank you too!

 

They may be a step-or-two slower.  Hair might be a few shades grayer or it might be gone the same place as the trim waist line, but the memories are mostly sharp.

 

A big part of me mostly just keeps a special eye on them.

 

Sometimes, the younger ones are having too much fun and not watching  dad or gramps or granny who doesn’t climb steps as fast.  Or they might not be drinking enough water in the hot sun.  Or forgetting the sunscreen. Stuff like that.

 

But, I keep a personal eye on them for another reason.  Purely selfish.  Eyesight might not be as great, but that doesn’t mean they can’t see.  And I love watching them watch their kids or grandkids.

b7b06df94adf5f2cf2592084bab3257d--centenarian-aging-gracefully

 

There’s a special twinkle there.  A satisfied grin.  The special way they might sit with arms folded across chests and tummies just taking it all in.   Like they were sitting on the porch back home.

 

Catching fish isn’t quite as important as watching everyone else catch fish and hearing the laughter.  Nothing to prove, and really wanting nothing more than to share more Kodak moments.

 

They might not know a thing about their cellphones, Instagram or
Facebook.  But I can tell they’re storing every single moment in their minds and memories.

 

Whenever I can slow down for a moment, I treasure the conversations and the time to just sit for a few minutes. For as much as they want to ask and talk to me about our lives here in Mexico, I love hearing their stories.

 

I like knowing where everyone is from and how close or far they are now living. How many grandkids there are or even great grandkids.

 

Conversations flow easily.

 

So often times with us “younger folks”, we consciously or unconsciously “one-up” each other.

 

“Hey, last year, my brother and I went to this awesome mountain lake…”

 

We’ll dude, I gotta tell you about this even better place I took the girlfriend.”

 

“And this restaurant we ate at had the absolute BEST Italian food I have ever eaten and we went their 3 times in a row and my favorite was…

 

“Man, we found this other place that you should have gone to instead. They know us by name and know exactly what my favorite drink is!”

 

Everyone making it about “Me” and “I” and this and that.

 

Everyone yakking and no one listening or having real conversation.  We never even let the other person finish their sentence.  Always turning the conversation back to themselves.  I hear it in our restaurant all the time.

 

No one ever follows up a statement by asking the other person, “Wow, tell me more about that.”

 

The older generation has nothing to prove.  Not much I can say would compete with someone telling me they were in Vietnam. Or stood barefoot in the rain at Woodstock.

booty

 

I want to know more.

 

Not much I can say could add to mom and dad packing all their household belongings and kids in a station wagon with stuff tied to the roof.  They then drove completely cross country on a whim of hope to find a better job at the end of the road.  No solid prospects.  Just fingers crossed and some trust in a dream.

 

I never knew what it was like to pay 19 cents for a gallon of gas.  And you say the gas station attendants use to come out and wash your windshield and check your oil for free every time you came in? What?  Really?

 

I didn’t get to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium in ’64 or hang out with the Grateful Dead and “pass around a doobie” with 10 other people in a Volkswagen van in Golden Gate Park.

 

I didn’t get raised on a farm in Ohio and have to milk the cows and shovel pig poo in the morning.  That was BEFORE actually walking  two miles through the snow to school.  Yes, some folks really did have to do that.

older-man

I never had “Sunday Best” clothes for church or have to dress up to go on a trip.  I never had “just one pair of shoes.”

 

And I don’t remember the days before TV.  And I don’t ever remember looking forward to a dinner of Spam and canned peas. And excited to get a 2nd helping.

 

They actually had to “cook” oatmeal and it was OK to eat all the Sugar Frosted Flakes you wanted for breakfast. What’s a microwave?

 

I wasn’t the first in my family to get a high school diploma while working in a factory to help support mom and dad and three other brothers and sisters. Nor did I have ever go hunting or fishing when it meant the difference between having something to eat for dinner or another can of beans.

 

I never worked on a tramp steamer to South America nor did my family just escape Germany in 1939 and our last name was Goldstein.  I was never shipped to an internment camp in the desert and losing our farm because we were of Japanese Ancestry.  Or doubt that Douglas McArthur would ever come back.

920x920

 

I would have liked to have seen Wilt Chamberlin score 99 points for Philadelphia or take my date to dance with the Lawrence Welk band or jitterbug to Benny Goodman.

 

What could I possibly add to any of that?

 

I can’t.  So, I just listen and absorb and enjoy.  Please tell me more.

20180713_200329

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

 


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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


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

 

 

 

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LIVING THE DREAM

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

LIVING THE DREAM

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And that’s living pretty comfortably.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, back to square one.

 

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

 

One big consideration, for retirement is health care.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s my story!

signature June '18 two 1

Jonathan

______________

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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