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Archive for the ‘storms’ Category

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 »

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.”

                 

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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 »

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

         I was sitting in our restaurant the other day here in La Paz.  It’s kind of a big multi-story eatery over-looking the waterfront.  Sometimes, it’s nice to bring my laptop upstairs to work.

         I get some fresh breezes and sunshine. I get to people-watch all the goings-on downstairs on the beach.  And I get to visit with folks a bit too.

         It’s also difficult avoiding a bit of eaves-dropping and observing.

         So, there’s one table over there with a family of five.  Mom and dad.  Three kids.  Two girls and one boy.  Maybe ranging from 12 (the girl) to 9 (the  youngest boy).

         No one is talking.  At least not what I would call talking.

         All of them, mom and dad included, are all on their cellphones.  Tapping.

         I think some of them are actually communicating with each other via text on their phones rather than just looking up and saying something to the other family member.

         The only conversation I hear is a comment about what they are reading, but loud enough for the rest of the table to hear…and comment.  If anyone else is interested.

         Random comments just thrown out there like playing cards on the table…

         “I simply CANNOT believe it, Shelly broke up with Lance over the phone.”

         “Did you see where Danny and Elaine are finally engaged?”

         “Wait, hold on, I’m streaming the NBA finals and the Bucks are down by two”

         Even when the food arrived or when one of my servers asked them something, there was merely a perfunctory one or two-word response before getting back to whatever was no that tiny screen.

         Tap…tap…tap…thumbs flying.  Somehow mastered the ability to eat and type at the same time.

         But who am I to judge, right?   There musta been some really important critical communication going on at that table.  (“Joes’ family gets to go to Hawaii next month!” “Our neighbors got a new dog!” )

         There was another family next to them.

         Family of four.  One girl.  One boy. 

        Ages 10-12…maybe. Honest.  Hard to tell. 

       She kinda dressed like a boy…torn jeans…cropped hair…baseball hat.  He was dressed in lanky stovepipe pants that were pastel-colored with and hot pink t-shirt.

       Mom and dad were very nice and conversant when I visited the table to make sure everything was OK.

         Kids…hmmmm…

         Never took their sunglasses off.  Oozing attitude.  Bored. Disaffected.

         “Why are we here when we could be somewhere else?” unsaid behind the smirks.

         One of the boys said, “Can you turn down the music?  It bothers me.”

       Said what he said and I was “dismissed” to go turn down the Jimmy Buffet music I had in the background. 

       No “please” or “thank you.”

        Yessireee…right on it, young master.

         Parents not affected by the attitude.

         They had a hard time finding something on the menu for the boys.

         “Are your chicken wings as good as Buffalo Wild Wings? That’s our favorite and that’s the only place we eat them. “

         “Do you have more things on the menu to choose from?  Mostly, you have Mexican food and I don’t like tortillas.  Or cheese.  Or beans.”

         They eventually ordered plain hot dogs on buns and had two orange soda floats each and pretty much ate in silence.  Like they couldn’t wait to get out and why’d mom and and dad drag us out here? 

Sunglasses never came off.  One kid never took his ear plugs outta his ears.

         Down the other end.  Dad and two boys.  Young teens.  I wasn’t quite sure if both were his sons, but it might have been a son with a chum along on the trip.

         I got the impression this was an absentee dad.  Maybe a divorce?  Out to take his son out on a trip.  Some bonding time.

         I heard him talking to them about maybe some beach time.  How about a snorkel trip to swim with the sealions?   Or maybe do some fishing or kayaking!

         Hot dang!  We’ll have a great time, boys!  What d’ya say?

         He was really excited and trying hard to sell the activities.

         The boys…pasty-white complexions that never go outside…and stylishly-gelled hair…

         Wanted to know where they could get massages and a manicure and pedicure.  And if the hotel had NETFLIX.

         Dad was a bit crestfallen.  Understandably.

         Am I missing something?   I had to ask myself.  What’s going on?

         This kinda stuff is not uncommon from what I see…almost daily.

         I don’t think I’m missing anything.

         I think THEY are missing something.  The kids AND the parents.  On so many levels.

         I wanted them to get excited about the view of the ocean or the sunset or even an “OOOooo”and “Ahhhh…” over a dumb plate of nachos.   Or the anticipation of jumping in the water or going fishing.

         But no.

         Yea…there’s a lot missing these days.

         Maybe it’s just me.  I’m old and old school.  Not hip enough.

         My wife Jill says I’m “outdated” because I still use e-mail and all our grown kids use Instagram and Tik Tok and Twitter and Whatsapp and…and…and..

         Can’t keep up with all those social platforms.  I miss plain conversation with my own family.  Obviously, these families don’t miss it at all.

         Yup!  Life has just passed me by. But, I haven’t missed much. Just eavesdropping and watching the tables.  

         And taking it all in.  And thinking with a smirk of my own.

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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TRAVEL TO MEXICO SOARS…Planes not so much!

          Mexico has become the go-to place for Americans as things open up.   It’s an easy get-away.  It’s economical.  It’s easy to get home.

         More Americans are choosing Mexico over the rest of the Covid-recovering world.

         Travel to Mexico is booming in all the usual places.  Cancun, Puerta Vallarta. Cozumel.  Cabo San Lucas. 

         It might not be back to where it was pre-2020, but it’s surely trending that way.  There are reports that flight travel, in general, is just about where it used to be.

         Just one problem.

         The airlines weren’t quite ready for it to boom back this much or this fast.

         Therefore, just as summer travel is hitting it’s stride, travelers are finding there’s some disconcerting hurdles to straddle

         Frankly, flights are getting delayed, changed and canceled with regularity.  Most recently American Airlines, Southwest and others have been cancelling over 100 flights per day. This does not begin to count the flights that are changed, delayed or re-routed.

         Insofar as my wife and I have dozens of clients per week flying here to La Paz to fish with our fleet, I would venture to say that at least 30% have had their flights changed…often several times from the original…and sometimes at the last minute.

         Maybe 40% have delayed flights where they either had unexpected waits at the airport or while sitting on the plane.

         Perhaps 10% have had their flights outright cancel.  Arriving a day or two later than planned, this has created issues with losing hotel nights as well as activities such as fishing. 

         If a replacement flight can even be found.  With many flights full, it’s not always a possibility.  Also, not all airlines fly every day.

         Going home to the U.S. has sometimes been an issue as well, although usually not as much.

         A big problem has been with connecting flights.  If one connecting flight is cancelled or extensively delayed, then there is no way for a passenger to make their next flight in a timely fashion.

         To some degree, the airlines point to the spat of bad weather that has hit the U.S. since the beginning of the year.

         However, not withstanding Mother Nature’s capricious whims, the bigger problem is a result of Covid.

         Many airlines layed-off thousands of employees last year.  Many employees were encouraged to accept retirement packages.

         Now with travel zooming back, like many industries, there’s a shortage of employees.

         Running an airlines is a little more complicated than teaching someone to flip burgers.

         One doesn’t suddenly find or train flight attendants in the classified section.  You can’t train a jet pilot overnight.  Aircraft mechanics and maintenance personnel don’t attend a 1 week night-class to get certified.  Ground crews can’t be found on Craig’s List.

         So, it’s just one more thing to keep an eye out for.

         There are several things you can do.

         For one, don’t assume the airline is going to tell you about changes.  Seems kinda logical and good business, but that’s not always the case.

I’ve had several clients who were never informed of changes until THE DAY of TRAVEL.

         I’ve had several others who never found out until they were AT THE AIRPORT.

         One was told, “Well…we’re sorry.  We tried to call you yesterday and also sent an e-mail, but no one answered.”  That’s right up there with “The check is in the mail.”

         Do yourself a favor and check…constantly!  Especially as the trip gets closer, don’t be the person who turns off their e-mails and instant messages the last day they leave the office.  Be pro-active and avoid surprises.

         Be prepared for the possibility of delay. 

         Bring a book.  Bring your medications.  Bring a jacket.  If there’s a bunch of delays and your flight isn’t until the next day, just assume that any nearby hotel will be full or just not worth the hassle. 

So, figure out what you’re gonna do for a few hours sitting in an airport chair or in the restaurant or bar.

         One of those goofy neck pillows isn’t a bad idea.  Even if you’re not having to spend time in the airport, if you’re stuck sitting on the tarmac in your plane for an extra hour or two, you’ll be grateful you had a neck pillow.

         The biggest thing to do is something I have advocated for years. 

         It’s trip insurance.  Google it up . There’s a zillion different companies and plans that will very economically insure pretty much anything on your vacation to missed flights; to missed kayak trips; to lost hotel nights or other plans .

         A week has not gone by lately where I was not assisting one of our clients help file a claim for compensation because of an airline SNAFU. 

         Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 

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 »

OLD STOGIES I HAVE FOUND…SHORT BUT NOT TOO BIG AROUND!

trailer

OLD STOGIES I HAVE FOUND…SHORT BUT NOT TOO BIG AROUND

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

 

 

          I don’t know why Roger Miller’s classic lines in “King of the Road” always pop into my head at times like these.

         I am currently “hiding” on the closed 2nd floor of our Tailhunter Restaurant in La Paz trying to come up with something to write about. 

         To be honest, I’m looking out over the waterfront and late afternoon sunset over La Paz Bay.  My laptop is out and I just can’t think of anything.  Brain-dead syndrome.

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         But, I do have a cigar that I’m gently puffing on and a short 2 fingers of Pendleton whiskey to sip.  Perfect to dip the end of my cigar.

         I feel a bit guilty.  The blues and oranges of the sunset are looking like a Maxfield Parish sky.  I can smell grilled carne asada in the breeze from our restaurant kitchen downstairs seeking me out. 

         Except for not having a clue about what to write about, I’m enjoying this bit of solitude up here on the deck; watching the world go by and frankly feeling like I’m living large. 

         …and then there’s Roger Miller in my head too!

       I’m not a big cigar smoker.  Never cared for the things until just a few years ago.

       Good friends, Bart Hall (Fred Hall Fishing Shows) , John Pettey (Famous goldsmith) and the late great Jack Nilsen (Accurate Fishing Reels) invited me to an inner-sanctum tent at the Long Beach Fred Hall Fishing Show.

       After knowing these guys the better part of 30 years, I had never received an invite to “the tent.”  It’s kind of exclusive I heard.

        I told them I don’t like cigars and don’t know how to smoke them. 

       But, I was also told that I would only get “one invitation.”

       When 3 giants of the fishing industry invite you, it’s a good idea to go!

       Over several hours, I was “indoctrinated.”  Good stories and shots of whiskey, bourbon and wines helped seal the deal.

       That started it.

       If I’m lucky, I will enjoy maybe 2 cigars a month.  If I’m really lucky, I’ll get to puff a cigar more than half-way before the phone rings or folks show up or I have to attend to someone or something related to our restaurant or fishing business.

       I know smoking is bad for you. I”ve never smoked anything other than fish in my smoker.

        My wife, Jilly gets major props for stopping cold turkey on cigarettes when we first got married.

       But, I asked her if she minded me puffing a cigar now and then.  She said absolutely not.  It was one of the rare moments when she said that I stopped and slowed down for a few minutes.

       It truly is. 

       And frankly, she’ll stop by and take a draw on my cigar now and then herself.  I think she looks pretty good with a cigar in her hands.  It’s kind of a dangerous look.  Little rebel that she is.

       Lately, I’ve seen more and more guys coming down either with cigars or asking me where to get cigars.

       I’ll be honest, I’m not a cigar snob.  I’m also a cheap bastard.  Or, let’s just say I’m “economical.”

       Many decades ago, I was flying down here to Baja and a friend asked if I would buy a box of Cuban cigars for him.  I told him no problem.

       Until I went to actually purchase some Cubans.  Holy cow…I thought an entire box of Cubans would cost about $20 bucks!  They were $20 PER CIGAR!

       I came back with two cigars for him.

       I’m in the budget class.  Just like wine and tequila.  I know what I like and it doesn’t have to be the most expensive.  I”ll take a great cheeseburger over a terrible $40 steak any day of the week.

       There’s a lot of excellent things that don’t necessarily come from the top shelf.

        I cringe at the thought of paying a lot of money for a cigar I might only get to smoke for 5 minutes before I have to stamp it out because I get called away to do something.

       But a lot of guys ask me where they can buy Cubans. Or good cigars.

       I tell them if they’re just looking for a good cigar, many convenience stores in Mexico sell them from little cases. 

       They’re not Cubans.  Most likely Nicaragua or Dominican Republic tobacco, but if you’re just looking for something to puff on the beach at sunset with a cold beer or a sipping tequila or after dinner, they’re not bad.  And not expensive.

       On the other hand, if someone says they have “genuine” Cubans and they’re “almost free.”  You might want to pass.

       Surprise!  There’s a lot of phoney Cuban cigars being sold.  Just like that $25 Rolex watch or the “genuine” Gucci handbag deal. 

       C’mon man.

       Not being a gourmet cigar guy, I did a little research.

       Like anything else, you do get what you pay for.  No one will be selling you a genuine Cuban for 5 bucks. 

       If you know your prices ahead of time, you’ll know when a deal is too good to be true.

       The guys peddling cigars in little boxes on the marina are not Cubans.  Cubans are not packed in boxes with glass lids.

       It helps to know your packaging too. 

       A box of good cigars look alike because of quality control in the factory.

33425_Cohiba_Exquisitos_25S_sta_pac

       Check for labels and cigar bands.  The folks who make the real deal are as picky about their labels and seals as Mercedes and Polo.  They’re stuck to the product, not floating inside the box.

       I can guarantee you that the any seller who tells you he has a guy-who-knows-a-guy who works in the Cohiba or Montecristo factory back in Cuba…doesn’t know anyone. 

       He DOES know a sucker when he sees one.  Don’t be that guy.

       Take a look at the cigar itself.  One tell-tale sign is a cigar with different colored outter tobacco wrappers.  Called a “barber pole”. It’s a pretty good sign of a counterfeit .

       If you do happen to light up a Cuban, it should burn with a gray ash.  Somewhat of a salt-and-pepper appearance.  If the ash burns bright white, it’s a good sign you got a counterfeit stogie.

       None of these are sure-fire tell-tale signs.  Counterfeiters are very good. 

       But, counterfeit cigars aren’t necessarily bad either.  It doesn’t have to be Cuban to be good.  Just know what you’re buying.   

       And enjoy what you’re smoking. 

       I think I just wrote my column. 

20210411_153429

       “Trailer for sale or rent…”

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 »

MARIA’s ALL NIGHT TACO STAND

Late night taco stands are community hubs in Mexican neighborhoods

MARIA’S ALL NIGHT TACO STAND

Originally Published the Week of June 16, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Way back in the day during my first years living down here, I had a favorite hang-out.  I was pretty much living hand-to-mouth back then. 

         Truth-be-told, most folks didn’t know I was guiding fishermen all day, but at night, I’d crawl into the back of my old Dodge Caravan.  It was usually parked in some quiet lot or sidestreet.

         Back then, it was home.  I’ve lived in worse conditions so it really wasn’t all that bad.

         I’m not a big drinker nor did I have the dinero to hang out in bars at night.  Not much to do there anyway. 

Back then, most bars didn’t have TV’s to watch and the ones that did had obscure soccer games going non-stop.

         Nope.

         My favorite place was Tacos Maria. 

         I guess, it’s the Mexican version of the all-night diner. Minus the coffee and apple pie.  But it had the best sizzling hot street tacos and salsas.

         Like all the best taco stands, Maria’s didn’t even get started until it was dark.  It wasn’t fancy by any means.  Definitely not a place you would have found on Google or Trip Advisor which didn’t exist back then anyway almost 30 years ago.

         But, this little box of ramshackle plywood with two open sides of counter-space; the corrugated roof; and string of haphazard white Christmas lights was the place to be.

         As lights would peek out from non-descript cinder-block homes that never knew a building code, Maria and her two sons operated on an otherwise lonely dark street corner.  Across the street a hazy yellow streetlight hummed from a tilting concrete pole.    

         If you had to ask about “Tacos Maria” you weren’t from the neighborhood.  A combination of a generation of years and road dust had long-since eroded the name off the side-wall.

Everyone knew the place anyway.

      Maria and her boys that worked with her, never posted hours.  They were open when they were open.  But, as far as anyone could remember, they were open 7 days a week all night and every night.

      There was a wonderful welcoming glow about the place on that dark street and it wasn’t from the streetlight.

     I would sometimes arrive early as twilight turned to dusk turned to night.  Often, I helped set up the scuffed plastic white tables and chairs that a beer company once donated and forgot to take back or replace.

     I’d help unload their battered mini-truck.  Or I’d help ice-down the bottles of Coke, Fanta Orange, 7-up and Strawberry soda that would be re-loaded throughout the night as patrons helped themselves. 

     When night arrived, Maria would fire up the grill.  A transistor radio served as the high-tech sound system

      Scratchy banda music seamed to drift with the beckoning aromatic fingers of roasted carne-asada through the nearby streets drawing folks from their homes.

     Showtime.

     It was wonderful to sit there with a plate of sizzling meat wrapped in a warm home-made tortilla slathered with all the fixings and a healthy dollop of one of Maria’s assortment of fresh salsas.

     I was often reminded of late-night burger places back home.

     But, a neighborhood Mexican taqueria is different.   Back in the U.S. people drifted in an out as they arrived, ordered, ate and then left.

     Here Maria’s was a neighborhood hub and social center.  I came to realize it was really a very important part of the community. 

     There was the nearby church. 

     There was the grammar school.

     And there was Tacos Maria.

     Like the TV show…everybody knows your name.

     And you knew everyone right back.

     In the early evening, families would arrive.  Couples and older folks came later.  

    Kids played and laughed with each other in the dusty glow of the streetlight. Mom’s gossiped and dad’s watched kids and told their own stories and jokes.  Even the neighborhood dogs seemed to know when to come out to romp and play.

     Young couples giggled.  Older couples sought out other older couples. The teens flirted and posed. 

     Young bucks brought their own beer.  No problem.

     The older solo uncles, aunties and grandparents were welcomed at anyone’s tables and made themselves at home.  

     I even remember there seemed to be a renegade chicken or two that ran around underfoot at times.  Escapees from someone’s yard no doubt.

     They would order off Maria’s handwritten menu written with a marker on a day-glo poster board.  But, it probably wasn’t necessary.

      Everyone knew the menu by heart and, as far as I know it never changed.

     Tacos would be served on plastic plates slipped into a plastic sleeve.  When someone was done, no dishwashing required. 

     Toss the old plastic. The plate was just cleverly placed in another sleeve ready for a new order.

     Folks would get their order, roust around in the ice chest for a soda and find a chair, table or sit along the two open-counters chatting and laughing with each other. Maria could chop, cook, serve and hold court like the neighborhood mom she was.

     Tell a joke; listen to a problem; dole out advice or wag an admonishing finger at you…that was Maria.

     Second and third helpings no problem.  Honor system.  You kept track of what you ate and drank and paid at the end.

     You would tell one of Maria’s boys how many tacos and Cokes you had.   They’d tell you how much you owed. A coffee and a shoe box seemed to serve as the cash register.  

     Over time, I got to recognize and know many of the regulars and many became friends.  In those early days, my Spanish was negligible.  An obvious outsider in the midst.

     Although I was often alone, no one sits alone forever at Tacos Maria. There weren’t enough tables anyway so you ended up sharing!

     Through the grateful introductions by Maria and the boys to the rest of the neighbors, smiles and hellos became handshakes and conversations. 

     I was “El Hawaiiano.” (The Hawaiian). 

     Rafa who drove a truck and his young family often came.  Rosario and Julio brought their new baby. 

     Mauricio and Celio would sometimes bring out a guitar and sing.  Victor, Ramon and Alejandro would always argue baseball and soccer into the night.   Misha and Fredo would seek me out and ask about the latest fishing. Chalo would pull up in his taxi cab between fares.

     Tacos Maria and the neighborhood are long gone.  I heard there’s a convenience store there now.  They fixed all the light poles and there’s a sidewalk and a paved two-way street there. 

     But 30 years ago, so far from home at the time, it was nice to feel welcome and part of the neighborhood at Tacos Maria for a few 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:

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 »

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

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

 

          “I’ve never seen it like this before”

         “I think this is what it must have been like back in the day.”

         “This is almost eerie.  Been coming for years and there’s something has definitely changed.”

         “It’s like there’s something in the water.”

 

Quotes from a recent sci-fi thriller?

Nope.

Recent comments from Baja fishermen.

And they’re not talking about some toxic sludge, eco-disaster or some other ominous occurrence or disaster.

On the contrary.

They’re actually talking about what might be one of the more incredible fishing seasons in many years.

From all parts of Baja and the west coast of Mexico, reports have been trickling in about phenomenal catches.

Big fish.

Most fish.

A plethora of fish not experienced for far too many years.

Sure, every location is subject to the occasional fish that has a “wow-factor” to it because of its unusual size.  Or the occasional day when all the planets, the moon and stars line up for a haul of a lifetime.

It happens all the time.  Worth a thumb-up; a high-five and a photographic Kodak moment.  That’s why there are fishing magazines and online websites showing the latest and greatest.

However, almost half-way through the year, these “Kodak” moments are getting too frequent to ignore. 

Maybe I’m wrong, but stories are coming in of species that haven’t been seen in these numbers for awhile.  Stories of fish with incredible…and even world-record size.  Stories of fish that are attacking baits and lures with a rabid ferociousness.

Even divers and snorkelers, sailors and other water-enthusiasts report, more dolphin and porpoise; more whales; more sea-turtles; more manta rays.  Just an abundance of life unseen for a long long time.

What gives?

“I’m sure there were at least a dozen 80-pound roosterfish swimming under the boat!”

“We were back at the docks by 10 a.m.  Limits like crazy in a single day and we threw back more fish than I’ve caught over several days!”

“My kid caught a huge dorado one day.  It  had everyone saying how they had not seen a fish that size in years.  The next day we got one even bigger.  The next day we caught one even bigger than that plus a lot of smaller ones!”

I was discussing it with some of our captains at our fleet here in La Paz.

I think one of them hit the nail on the head in one word, “Covid.”

We all laughed.  But, I think he had it correct.

Think about it.  Last year with pandemic rampaging around, fishing was brought to a standstill.  No boats.  No charters.  No fleets.  No traffic on the water.

Even the commercial boats were diminished.

For the first-time by social, government and health mandate, the fish were left alone.  The ocean was quarantined.  Maybe the first time ever. 

Mother nature was left alone.

Left alone to heal, if you will.  While the rest of us on land tried to find a way to heal as well.

Proving once again, what can happen if we just keep our doggone hands outta the pot.  For the better part of an entire year, we were forced to stay off the big pond. 

And she responded.  Fish had time to grow. Fish had time to re-produce and make more fish.  Waters and habitat got cleaner.  Less pollution. 

It’s a magnificent thing to see again.  I don’t want to be out’ve work like that again.  But, maybe we all needed a little rest and re-assessment.

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

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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ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

man-in-car-accident

ADVENTURES IN DRIVING

Originally Published the Week of May 13, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

          We’re gonna do a little “word association” test.  Read the following words then close your eyes.

         “MEXICAN DRIVERS”

         I bet I can guess what went through your head after reading those words.  All those “stereotypes” come flooding into your thoughts?

         Just to be fair, stereotypes are stereotypes. 

         They’re a broad-brush painting that may-or-may-not have a lot of truth or fairness to it.  But, after living in Mexico for almost 3 decades, the thoughts that flew through your brain probably weren’t too far off.

         Listen, there’s bad drivers all over the world. 

         How many people did you call out under-your-breath on your last freeway commute home from work?  Everyone slower than you was a “jerk.”  Everyone faster than you was a “butthead.”  Right?

         I don’t want to say that Mexicans are bad drivers.  But, I will say they drive “differently” and it behooves you to be a “better” driver because of it.  In other words, CYA. . .”cover your backside” and drive defensively.

         Why is that?

         Well, a couple of things that happened recently might have coalesced my thoughts on the matter.

         For one, I just realized that of our employees that “know” how to drive,   most have no driver’s licenses.  Some have NEVER had a license or have expired licenses.  They just laugh. 

         When you need to get from Point A-to Point B for work, you do what you gotta do.  Don’t need no license and don’t have time or money to get one!

         As a foreigner, I never had to take a test to get a Mexican driver’s license.  I never had to even prove that I could drive.  I just had to fill out the paperwork. 
        

         I had to pay my money.  And, like DMV’s everywhere, I had to stand in several long lines. 

         However, unlike say the DMV in the states, I found out that I could pay a proxy to stand in line for me.  Yup.  Pay for someone to stand in line for me!

         I could go sit down; check my e-mails on my phone; buy a hot dog or a churro from one of the vendors inside the TRANSITO (DMV) office.  My proxy calls me when it’s my turn to run up to the line. 

         He follows me to the next line.  He tells me where I need to sign documents.  He basically leads me by hand from one teller window or clerical office to the next. Nothing is done in one line.

         It’s a good thing because the TRANSITO office is a small version of the floor of the NY stock exchange.  It’s chaos incarnate.

        Noisy.   Little offices everywhere.  Lines everywhere.  Lines to nowhere.  Confusing signs on the walls.

       People milling and yelling and papers being shuffled.  There’s no appointments.  There’s no obvious order.

         Paying a proxy a few bucks and a hot dog was well worth it.   Turns out my guy was a police officer making a little money on the side.  Tipping is appreciated.

         Circling back, however, the point of my story is that to get a license you do NOT have to prove you can operate a moving vehicle.

         Unlike, the U.S., however, you DO have to prove that you are “alive.”

         I say that tongue-in-cheek because to get a license, you must submit to a blood test.  Yes, a blood test.  I don’t know why.

         But, you go across the street to an approved “lab” and they take a blood test.  Cost is about 20 bucks.  You take your test results when you get your license.

         That’s it.  No driving test.  No written test.

         Painted outside the TRANSITO office there’s ariel-view street grid l painted on the asphalt/ concrete. .  Kinda like Lego-land.  

         The streets area about 12-inches side.  It has little streets and buildings painted there with parking spaces and stop signs and left-turn lanes and one-way streets.

         I’m told that an examiner will take you through a “test” and let you WALK through the faux-streets.  You get to show that you know when to stop and how to back up and how to make left turns.

         You are not in a car. 

        You are in an “air-car” like playing “air-guitar.” 

        You are not in a vehicle.  You turn our “air wheel” to make a turn.  You shift gears in the air like when you were a kid.  You step on the imaginary brakes.

         Maybe you even have to make “vroom vroom” sounds as you drive around.

         Like I said, I never had to take any kind of driving or written test to get my Mexican license.

         However, I’ve had local friends who were given written exams.  They were getting their driving licenses for the first time.

         The tests are not open book.  There is no book.   There’s no manual.

         If you know how to drive, it’s not because you took lessons. It’s because someone else, maybe with questionable skills shows YOU how to drive.  The circle continues.

         With the written tests,  no one is monitoring the test takers.   Apparently,  you’re welcome to discuss questions with your neighbor test-taker. 

        Answer by committee.  Everyone gets to agree on the right answer about when it’s OK to blow through a stop sign or not having to signal a left turn.

         When, my wife, Jill went to get her motorcycle license so she could ride her scooter it was a good example.  She panicked when she was given the written test in Spanish.  Multiple choice.

         To her great joy, about 5 other test-takers all gladly helped her.  They not only interpreted the questions, but also gave her the correct answers!

         She only missed 1 answer and later told me she didn’t understand half the questions.  But, she did got her scooter license.

         Two weeks later, she stopped riding the scooter because of all the “crazy drivers.”  I’m glad she did!

         Just saying…

That’s my story!

signature transparent JR 4-21

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 »

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