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Archive for the ‘Sun stroke’ Category

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

HE’s DA MAN! Senor Elote…the Street Corn Guy!

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

Originally Published the Week of April 15, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Food trends come and go.  The newest tastiest thing that seems to pervade every menu in some way, shape or form.  The come.  They go.  Some stick around.  Some don’t.

         Fried mozzarella cheese sticks

         Sushi and Hawaiian Poke

         Deep-fried ice cream

         Garlic truffle fries

         Dim sum

         Ramen

         Spam

         Fried Calamari

         Everyone has them in places you wouldn’t normally expect it.  French restaurants putting their own spin on raw fish.  Asian eateries with fried cheese sticks in spicy ponzu sauce and even Spam dishes.  Mexican cantinas with nacho fries.

         Many of these things aren’t “new” per se.  They were just “discovered” by the culinary world and blew up everywhere.

         For instance, I remember eating cold raw fish and marinated fish as a kid in Hawaii.  With cold rice too! 

It wasn’t “gourmet” back then.   It was cold because we didn’t have propane for cooking.  Couldn’t cook!

Just the way it was.  We used lots of soy sauce to flavor everything!

         Years ago, our restaurant in La Paz was the first and only place that served Hawaiian-style poke…fresh chunks of fish marinated and served cold with soy, ginger, sugar, sesame and minced onions. 

         Now, I’ve lost count of the restaurants that serve some variation of it in our city.  Oh well.  I guess imitation is the best form of flattery.

         And, now, the hot new things seems to be “Mexican Street Corn.”  I saw it everywhere the last 3 months travelling in the U.S.  From Texas to Washington State and Wyoming to California.  Menus in diners in roadside truck stops as well as  menus in fine eateries in big cities. 

         I can’t say I blame ‘em.  Not everyone might like fried cheese, or raw fish or garlic on anything. But, it’s a rare person that doesn’t like sweet hot corn.

         In La Paz, where we live, it’s a go-to snack late at night.  A big order can be a whole meal.  And it’s cheap.  If I were still a college kid, instead of all that ramen I ate, I could very well get by with a big cup hot of Mexican street corn.

         Most of the guys in our local neighborhood ride “bike carts” to sell their “Elote.” (corn).  The Elotero’s bike cart is usually a jimmied-together reverse tricycle with one big wheel in the back and two forward supporting a platform and often an awning.

         These eloteros usually come out as it gets dark and set up on a street corner somewhere.  Lines can form quickly. 

         For the more popular carts, it’s not unusual for lines to remain well into the night.  Just like as kids we would hit Jack-in-the-Box or Denny’s after a night partying, a big cup of steaming sweet corn is perfect before heading home.

         Step up and tell the elotero if you want a big cup or small cup. 

         He’ll grab a Styrofoam cup and ladle in some hot kernels from the big pot or basin on his bike.  He fills it about ½ up.

         Then, some thick white Mexican crema.  Mexico’s version of sour cream.

         Then a squirt of Valentina salsa similar to tangy Tobasco.

         Then more corn on top of that.

         Top it with more cream.  Another squirt of Valentina. 

Then a sprinkle of chili powder.  Then a spoonful of salty cotija cheese.  Very much like sprinkling parmesan on your pasta.

Esquites-1

Layer after layer of yumminess.

         He hands you a spoon and a napkin and off you go with your Mexican street corn goodness!  The newer places will also have a squirt of lime juice as well before you head off.

         Many times, you just stand on the street corner with everyone else or sit on the curb.  Or lean on a light pole and start spooning up the tasty concoction.   

         A big cup is maybe 2 bucks at the most.  Often cheaper.  That spare change in your pocket is enough to buy a filling meal of this good stuff.  It’s a deal.  Back in my early days, when all I had WAS pocket change, a cup-o-corn carried me through as my dinner!

         Next time you’re in Baja and wandering back to your hotel room and see the guy on the bike cart with a big vat and an “ELOTE DELICIOSO” sign lettered across it, step up for the original street treat.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

____________________

Jonathan has been writing the Baja Column for Western Outdoor News since 2004.  He lives in La Paz with his best fishing buddy and wife, Jilly, where they run their Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet for almost 30 years as well as their Tailhunter Sea Level Restaurant on the La Paz waterfront Malecon.  If you’re in town, stop and say hi!)

____________________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

 

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing

8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

 

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

 
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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BREATHING EASIER…FOR NOW

OH YEAH!!!!

BREATHING EASIER…FOR NOW

Originally Published the Week of April 25, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

         My wife and I fly a lot for work.  In the past 2 years since Covid, I’ve probably been on close to 20 flights.

         If you have flown at all during this time, you know that travel has been less than enjoyable.  Like everything else.  Rules and protocols. 

         Least of which was wearing a mask in the airport and on flights.

         I just loved being sternly reminded to pull up my mask because I absent-mindedly forgot. Some airline and airport people were unashamedly rude.  Or suddenly power-tripping!

         I get it.  But, don’t ream me.  I’ll happily pull it up or pull it outta my bag.  Chill. 

But, I guess they got a job to do too. Especially those early months when no one really knew what was going on (do we really know now?)

         Or trying to explain something at the check-in counter when you have a mask and the agent has a mask and they are sometimes also behind a plexi-glass screen. 

         Or you’re trying to tell the flight attendant that you’ll have another Coke, please.  

         Or getting stink-eye from someone at the airport or during the flight because you’ve pulled your mask off or sideways for a discreet moment to breathe or eat something.

         Frankly, I’m sure I’m hardly the first person who “pretended” to always  be sipping on water or a drink during the flight so I could keep my mask down.  My wife, Jill, became a ninja about that.

Heck a good number of other passengers had their masks below their noses! 

         But, I’m not going to debate the efficacy of mask-wearing here.  Bigger brains than mine have opined on that subject ad nauseam and can’t figure it out.

         However, this past week, I was on a flight the first morning the mask mandate was removed. 

         A federal court struck down the mandate for airports and airlines and stated that the CDC had over-reached it’s authority. 

         I was flying on May 19th and had just read about the decision the night before.  No idea when it was going to be implemented and, according to my readings, not all airlines had jumped on board.

         So, there I was the early morning of the 19th ready to pull out my mask when the P.A system for American Airlines announced “that masks were now “optional.” 

         I kid you not, there was some handclapping and fist pumping and a lot of smiles!

laguardia-jetblue-rt-ps-220419_1650386514639_hpMain_16x9_992

         I talked to the ticket agent at the counter who was literally giddy along with the other American Airlines employees.  I told her it was nice to see everyone’s faces and smiles again!

         She said they had just received their directive that morning. 

Originally, they had been told that the airlines was going to extend the mask mandate until the middle of May.   The CDC wanted the extra time to come to some decisions about some new Omicron variant.  

         But, she was happy as heck!  Everyone was.

         On the plane, there were announcements from both the flight crew as well as the captain about the repeal of the mandate.

          Again, rounds of applause and high-fiving and hoots! 

         The announcements cautioned that masks were “optional” and asked that everyone be respectful of everyone’s choices.  Everyone had their masks off, however, some older folks kept them on understandably.

         I was next to a 92 year-old-lady travelling for her birthday who was a gem.

 She was smiling the whole time, even under her mask.  She said she was happy to see everyone happy and that it seemed crazy to wear masks all the time.  However, she wanted to keep hers on because…”Well, I’m kinda old!” she laughed.

         Anyway, no one had to pretend they were eating or drinking the whole flight and it was nice to see smiling flight attendants again and interact like normal folk.

         I will tell you that when we landed in Cabo a Mexican airport agent came on and said the mask mandate at Cabo Airport was still in effect.  (Big groan).  However, the opinion is that it won’t be long-lasting and things will probably change. 

         Once out of the airport, everyone pulled their masks off again.

         There’s a few caveats.

         Private places may still require you to wear a mask.  Here in La Paz where we live, you will still see masks by employees in stores, public places and restaurants and hotels.  It’s up to the private owners. 

I only had to pull up my mask one time in the last week.   That was to go into a supermarket.

         Also, despite the repeal of the mask mandate, individual countries may still require masking up.  Depends where you’re flying.

NINTCHDBPICT000654649600

         Note also that there’s a bear on the horizon.

         The U.S. Justice Department may file an appeal against the Federal Court that made the ruling about the masks.   As I read it, the Justice Department might assert that the Federal Court ruling is erroneous because the court lacked authority or jurisdiction over the mandate.

         The Justice Department is waiting to hear from the CDC which is dealing with a possible new Omicron variant that is supposed to hit us.

         However, I think for now the horse is outta the barn.  Cat’s outta the bag.  The happy faces are back.

         Gonna enjoy breathing easier as much as I can for as long as I can.

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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HI-FIVE and WELL DONE!

Some High-Fives are gratuitous and don’t mean much. There are other High-Fives that mean everything!

HIGH FIVE and WELL DONE!

Originally Published the Week of April 4, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Last week, my wife, Jill and I were in Denver. 

         We’ve been on the road 3 months doing the fishing and hunting expositions across the western U.S. promoting our fishing operation in La Paz as well as tourism in general to Baja. 

         Each week a different city.  A different show. 

         In our booth four or five days for 8-12 hours-at-a-time.  Meeting and greeting.  Shaking hands and socializing. 

         We’ve been doing it every January to March for almost 30 years.  It’s fun.  But, it can also be wearing. 

         Long hours driving. Different hotel rooms.  Too much fast food.  Packing and unpacking all the booth and gear.   Convention centers with thousands of people packed inside.

         So, we’re at our last show in Denver.  As often happens, rather than look for parking in a major downtown metro, it’s often easier to take Uber from our hotel to the respective convention center.

         Dial up Uber.  He’s on his way.  Meet out front on the sidewalk.

         It’s early.  We’re half-asleep, but we gotta get to the expo.  It’s show time.

         Our uber driver today is Haani. He has a white Toyota Camry. 

         He pulls up.  Good-looking pleasant young man.  Swarthy.  Cleanly dressed. He helps us with all our briefcases, backpacks and other things we need to drag to the show each day.

         We climb in. Bonus points, the car is spotless and he’s got some light jazz playing.  Nice music for the morning.

         We make the usual conversation. 

         Jill asks, “Are you having a busy day?”

         He says cheerfully, “I’ve been working all morning and usually work the whole day.  But, today, I have to take a break in the middle of the day.”

         “For lunch?” asks Jill.

         “No.  Not today!  Not for lunch. Today I have a special service to attend!” replies Haani.

         “A special service?”

         He smiles and turns around towards us in the backseat and says proudly, “Today I will become a naturalized American citizen!”

         A pause as Jill and I wrap our collective brains around that for a moment.

         “Oh my God!  That’s awesome!”

         “Congratulations!”

         “This is the best news of the day!”

         Jill and I are both yammering out loud at the same time from the backseat as we lean over towards him.

         We are spontaneously shaking his hand; playfully punching him in the shoulder and giving him high-fives from the backseat.  I’m shaking him by his neck.  It’s like he just shot the winning basket…scored the 4th quarter touchdown…touched all the bases in the World Series. 

         For indeed he has!

         He is laughing and trying to keep the car on the road!

         He is beaming and his proud smile fills the rearview mirror as he watches Jill and I bounce around his backseat pumping our fists in the air!

         Haani is from Afghanistan.  He has been working hard on getting his citizenship for six long years.  He says it is the hardest and best thing he has ever done.

         He and his wife work two jobs.  Two young kids in school.

         He tell us what a great country America is.  He could not be prouder.  Or more grateful.

         Neither could we.  He dropped us off and we all laughed and we wished him well with one last handshake and high-five.   It made our day.

         Welcome to America, Haani. 

         We’re gonna lift up a cold one to you and your spirit to luck and a better life!

family-celebrates-nationalization-with-american-flags

 

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 »

YOU CAN’T GOOGLE or TRIP ADVISOR THIS

YOU CAN’T GOOGLE OR TRIP ADVISOR THIS

Originally Published the Week of Mar. 26, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

         Living in Baja, visitors often ask me some suggestions of where they can “see the real Mexico.”  They’re not interested in finding out where to go zip-lining or the cheapest place to buy a hammock or sarape.

         They want the genuine article.  The real deal.  Something not “touristy.”

         I tell them to head to church.  Preferably on a Sunday or a Saturday afternoon.

         After a momentary quizzical look, I explain that they’ll see a part of Mexico…a part of the community…a lot of history and a lot of culture if they make a visit to the local church.

         Every city or large town has a Catholic church. 

         Since the earliest days of the conquistadores and missionaries, you can pretty much find a Catholic Church somewhere in the area.  To this day, Mexico remains largely a Catholic country and the church is still the center of life…even if not everyone goes to church all the time. 

         Nevertheless, the church is still central to so much that goes on in a Mexican community.  Obviously, it’s a spiritual and religious center.

         Architecturally, it’s usually in the center of town or in a town square, park or pavilion area.

         Socially, it often remains the place where life’s milestones still take place.  Start to finish…baptism…confirmations…quincineras (sweet 16 presentations)…weddings…more baptisms…and funerals.

         So, I tell folks to head to the local church. 

         Outside, there are often street vendors in the larger cities.  It can be a hub of activity.

         Our own cathedral in La Paz is in the town square and adjacent to the town park.  There are often musicians playing.  Families picnicking.  Impromptu karaoke and bingo games.  Old men playing chess or checkers.

         Stand outside. 

         If it’s an old church, take in the architecture.  Admire the craftsmanship.  Many of these churches weren’t made with modern cranes, bulldozers and electric tools. 

         Old-fashioned human labor with hand tools.  Sweat equity for credits in heaven.  Pride in details that were meant to last for decades or centuries.

         Handmade brick and quarried stone transported maybe from many miles away with carts, wagons and mules.  In some cases, the very wooden beams inside the structure as well as the window glass was transported from Spain, not to mention statues and religious artifacts and furniture.

         The bells may have come from some faraway forge as well.  Most likely yes.

         If there’s an old cemetery nearby, well worth it to trace the history of the former priests, padres and parishioners.  It was a hard life. 

         You’ll often see short life spans.  Children and babies who died early.  Many deaths close in date could indicate a communal epidemic like measles, smallpox, dysentery or a simple flu.

         Step inside.  Remove your hat.  There might be a Mass or other event taking place.  Even if not, remember it’s still a house of worship.  Be respectful. 

         If nothing is happening, wander and gaze.  Statues, the alter, the stained glass, the wooden pews, paintings and artwork may date back decades or centuries.  They may have travelled thousands of miles to find their forever homes in this church.

         The craftsmen are long gone, but their work remains.  It’s better than any museum. 

         Imagine today, we go to Home Depot.  Get our materials.  Build a bookshelf for your home.   Never in a million years would we expect it to last for decades.  Not like these old artisans. 

         I’ve been in old Mexican churches where the walls and ceilings are still covered with the dark soot of a century or more of burning votive candles. 

         A close examination of the area around the alter shows inset graves of the old padres who once serviced their community.  The tiles show their names.

         It’s a testament to their dedication and commitment that many of them travelled from Spain or other places in Mexico to find their final resting place in the arid hard-scrabble frontier of Baja.

         If there are services taking place, many times, there can be multiple events transpiring since often, there’s only one priest or padre.  In some instances, the priest is a travel-priest doing services from town-to-town to tend to his parishioners.

         But, if you’re visiting, that’s where you’ll see the culture.

         I once came for Mass.  It was followed by a baptism.  Followed by a wedding.  Followed by a first communion of 8 and 9 year-old-kids in their little white shirts and puffy dresses.

         The whole gamut.  Proud families.  Happy couples.  Nervous youngsters.  Big days in life.  Big days in the community.  The circle of life.  The cycle of life.

         All in one place.  Just follow the sound of the bells!

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 »

SHOCK and AWE

SHOCK and AWE

Originally Published the Week of Mar. 20, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

           My wife, Jill, and I have been on the road now for the better part of three months.  Every year, we drive all over the U.S. doing fishing and hunting expos drumming up business for our fishing operation in La Paz.

         We set up our booth and join many hundreds of other international outfitters, fishing guides, hunting guides, gear retailers, RV and boat sellers and others in the modern day version of the fur trapper rendezvous.  

         It’s definitely a “gathering of tribes.”  Over the course of 4 or 5 days, often tens of thousands of attendees fill the aisles.  It can be quite an event.

         As of today, we’ve been over a dozen states now.  A few more still to come.

         We’ve been through huge cities and the smallest of towns.  Towering skyscraper skylines to one-horse crossroads.  I believe we’ve already logged over 10,000 miles driving. (Not so fun watching gas prices blow up, but that’s another story!)

         In previous columns, I’ve documented the distressing amount of crime, vagrancy, squalor and trash we encountered in so many cities.  Especially along the west coast.

         Friends and other outfitters were victimized by burglaries and outright thefts of their vehicles, trailers and rigs.  One friend was carjacked at gun point by a guy running from a murder. 

         Our own rig was rendered undriveable by a break-in where the bad guys completely smashed not only our rear glass, but the whole liftgate. 

         We joke about the “Zombie Apocalypse,” but many a night none of us would leave our hotel/ motel rooms because of all the homeless folks wandering outside; sleeping in the bushes; panhandling; hustling; partying; defecating and more.

         Some of our most beautiful and favorite cities broken, ruined and abandoned except for the tattered, the homeless, the lawless, the disenfranchised of the streets.  It’s an urban landscape straight out’ve an “end of the world” sci-fi flick.

         After several weeks in these areas, it was more than disheartening and depressing.  I wasn’t alone in my assessment.

         Other outfitters, local residents and law enforcement friends echoed the same sentiments in these areas.

         There was a tacit resignation of spirit that THIS is what it’s come to.  THIS is where WE are.  THIS is how it will always be and only get worse. 

         And not a thing we can do about it.

         The whole country to hell-in-a-handbag.  

But wait…

         Then our show schedule took us inland.   Smaller shows AWAY from the big cities.  We passed through and spent more time in smaller cities and neighborhoods. 

         Back to the countryside.  Little pink houses.  Denny’s diners.  Swings and slides in town parks. Crossing guards at the elementary school.  There’s a banner about a pancake breakfast at the church. The VFW Hall has a bunch of pick-up trucks parked outside.

         Went into a grocery store in Central Oregon.  A 9-year-old boy held the door open for me and said, “after you, sir!”

Shock and awe.

         In little towns in Washington and Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico,  Colorado, Texas and Wyoming, we got “sir” and “ma’am” a lot.  And not just from kids.

         Adults you run into in the street in the normal course of a day or at our hotels addressed us similarly.  Just the way things are.   Courtesy and hospitality, that was rarely found in the big cities. 

         We had become so callous to common civility and comity that it seemed like people were going out of their way to be amiable.  But, it’s just the way people are in different spots of the country.  Or how they are brought up.

         I was brought up addressing others like that as well.  Just how I was taught.  However, when I use “sir” or “ma’am” I often get a quizzical look as if I was speaking Greek.  Some folks get offended as if I was calling them “old.”

         In these small towns and open spaces, I got a nod and smiles and friendly responses instead.

         At the shows themselves, it’s a different crowd for sure.

         At the start of the show before they let the crowds in, they play the Star Spangled Banner over the loudspeaker in these expo centers.  Everyone stops what they are doing and puts hand or hat over heart and faces the flag. 

         Many people sing out loud.  You can help smiling.  You stand up a little straighter.  I catch myself singing as well.  

         When the crowds come in..

         Again, I’m often addressed as “sir.”  After chatting with someone at our booth, it’s not uncommon for someone to thank me for taking the time to answer their questions. 

         Are you kidding me?

         I hear the word “please” a lot .

         The adults/ parents are much more blue collar.  Yes, there’s a lot of pick-up trucks and suburbans in the parking lot . A lot of baseball hats, blue jeans, camo vests and work, hiking or cowboy boots.  Men and women alike.

         Some look just like they just took off the gloves and came to the show from the ranch, farm or mechanic shop.  Moms look like they just grabbed the kids from school and are trying to get through the show before they gotta race home to cook dinner.

         In the meantime, a beer or Coke and a bag of popcorn will do, thank you very much.

         But in talking to adults and kids alike, they sound like they can fix cars and boats.  They can take out an elk at 500 yards AND carry it out on their backs.   They can run tractors and they tell you they can only come visit us in Mexico AFTER the crops come in but BEFORE hunting season starts.

         At one show on a Sunday, a family apologized to me for coming so late to the show.  Because they were at CHURCH!

         I felt like giving them all a high-five!

        At one show, I was next to a sporting goods outfitter. 

         The men, women AND kids knew how to handle guns and fishing gear and were as at adept and knowledgeable about fishing and hunting, camping and boating and off-roading as any expert. 

         It was refreshing.  It’s not hopeless.  It’s not as depressing as it seems. 

         It’s not a Normal Rockwell painting, by any stretch.  All places have their issues and problems.  I realize my view was only a tiny miniscule slice.

         But, all is not lost.  Faith renewed.

         Yes, Sir.  Yes, Ma’am. 

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 Sportfishing

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

___________

Read Full Post »

MY TWO CENT OBSERVATION FROM THE ROAD

No Words…

         I’m writing this at night from our hotel room in Boise, Idaho.  We’re doing a banzai drive from Salt Lake City to get to Portland, Oregon.  As fast as the speed limit will let us.

         It seems strange to say that we’re not looking forward to being in Portland. 

         Let me back up.

         For almost 30 years, I spend the better part of 3 months on the road exhibiting at all the huge hunting and fishing expositions across the western U.S.  Every week another 4 or 5 day show. 

         My wife, Jill, and I haul our booth, a million brochures and flyers spreading the good word about fishing and vacationing in Baja.  Specifically with our own Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz.

         Thousands-upon-thousands of attendees wander and socialize with outfitters like ourselves in the fishing, hunting, camping, boating, RV and other outdoor pursuits.  Us exhibitors sell our wares. 

         Each week finds us in different cities like Denver, Phoenix, Bozeman, Seattle, San Diego, Long Beach, Las Vegas even Anchorage, Alaska!  Criss-crossing the U.S. up-down-back-and-forth in snow, rain, ice, and sunshine.

         We’ve been on the road now almost 6 weeks and have finished shows in Reno, Sacramento, Puyallup (south of Seattle) and this past weekend in Salt Lake City.   As previously mentioned, we’re back on the Pacific Coast in Portland this week.

         A few weeks back in my column, I had commented about driving through so many cities and states and observing the differing covid-mask protocols or lack thereof.  I also wrote about my observations of how everyone was hurting for employees.  And how customer services were directly suffering from it.

         We really didn’t know what to expect of the shows this year.  In short, a crapshoot. 

No one knew what the attendance would be like.  No one knew how many vendors/ outfitters wouldn’t show-up as a result of covid; the fear of covid; or the local mandates and protocols.

         As it turned out, attendance suffered at 3 of the 4 shows. All on the west coast. 

         Exhibitors were absent as well.  Again, this was at all at the west coast shows in California, Washington and, to some degree, the Reno Show. 

        Masking/ testing/ vax card protocols were in place to greater or lesser degrees.  Nothing was standardized

         I guess that was to be expected.  All these shows had been cancelled last year and it’s going to take awhile for them (and the public) to get back up to speed.

         And now, we’re headed to Portland. 

         We love our Pacific Coast.  My wife Jill and I both grew up on the West Coast.  But, after our experiences the past month in California,  Oregon and Washington, we’re dreading Portland, one of our favorite western cities.

         I’ll tell ya why.

         There’s been a drastic change.  A polar shift.  A techtonic social upheaval.

         In Sacramento, we stay at a well-know hotel chain.  Almost 20 years.  Not the 4 Seasons or the Ritz Carlton, but hardly the Econo-Riverside Motel either.

         Upon arrival. What a change!

        People living in their cars in the parking lot.  Broken cars everywhere.  People living in boxes on busy public street.  Multiple people living in rooms meant for 2.  Trash everywhere. Tent camps everywhere.  Open sewage/ excrement on sidewalks, planters…opens spaces.

         Vagrant folks lining the streets.  Stores trashed, littered and empty shelves.  Such common things like soap, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, masking tape…all in locked cases!

         I asked one store clerk what happened to all the shopping carts and shopping baskets.  He said, “They all got stolen.”

         The second night, our new Chevy Suburban rig got broken into.  Not just busted windows.  They tore the whole rear liftgate rendering our rig undriveable.  Looks like a crowbar was used. Because nothing could be found inside, the bad guys took it out on the vehicle.

         Fortunately, we had emptied the vehicle and nothing was taken.  But, the vehicle was disabled.  

Because of supply chain issues, parts not available!

         Over the next few days, others also got burglarized.  Police don’t come out because burglary is so common.  And they are under-staffed like everyone else. You file a report online.  That’s it.

 I had to take Uber to the Expo.  My driver said, in his neighborhood they leave their trunks and liftgates unlocked so the thieves don’t break in. 

         Except one day his neighbor found a guy sleeping in his trunk!

         While at the show, several outfitters got their rigs completely stolen.   One of our clients came to our booth and said several days earlier, he had been carjacked at gun-point by a guy who was escaping from a murder!

         We headed north to Washington.  Passing through Oregon (more on that later).

         While in Washington State, more of the same. Tent cities scattered everywhere.  Again, several of our outfitter friends had their trucks and trailers stolen.  This time in broad daylight from “guarded” parking lots.

         Friends who are law enforcement officers told us many vehicles are being stolen for the catalytic converters.  And, many officers are quitting or taking early retirement leaving the remaining tired officers working overtime.

         Oh, and new legislation prevents officers from giving chase.  About all they can do is yell “Stop!”  Also, if someone steals something less than $750 dollars and says “it’s a necessity”, no prosecution ensues.

         We were advised by Washington friends not to go into downtown Seattle, again, one of our favorite cities to visit.  

         And now everyone-and-their-brother is warning us against Portland now.  And saying it’s even worse.  Even before the pandemic, the area and hotels around the Portland Expo Center were rife with homeless and property crime was rampant.

         Vehicles at the Expo and surrounding areas, were regularly targeted.  Our own van was broken into several years ago.  Police told us that the thieves love vehicles belonging to the outfitters because they are often loaded with camping gear, fishing gear, electronics, outdoor clothing and yes…firearms. 

         So, now they tell us it’s even going to be worse.  And definitely do NOT go into Portland metro.

         Tell you what.  Several of us outfitters were standing around.  We were somberly discussing the crime these days while on the show tours now.  All of them hunting and fishing guides. 

       I quietly admitted that my wife and I both have our concealed-carry permits and that I always carry a firearm now.  There was a little pause among the group.

       I thought I was going get some blowback for carrying. Big burley mountain guys and salty fishing captains staring at me.

       As it turned out, all of them were carrying.  In fact, talking to most of the other vendors in their booths, everyone either had firearms in their booths, on their person, or in their cars.

       My wife wouldn’t let us drive this year without a (legal) shotgun hidden in the car.  

       As one Alaska guide told me, “I carry a big pistol to guard against grizzly bears attacks in the bush.  But, I’m even more afraid to walk around the cities.  So, of course, I carry. Bears are predictable. Idiot people are not.”

       It’s gotten pretty sad.  Portland, here we come. 

       Hope for the best.  Prepare for the worst.  The new normal.

Update:  Just finished the Portland Show.  We did NOT go downtown.  The area around the Expo Center was tragic.  Many of the outfitters and vendors said they would not come back.  Someone tried to break into our vehicle 3 times, but the alarm scared them off although we were messaged that someone had tried to open the doors…twice when we just ran into a gas station just to buy some soda for the road. It happened that fast!  Several vehicles in the parking lot at the Expo Center were burglarized as well. 

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 »

PARTY LIKE IT’s 2019

WELCOME NEW ARRIVALS! ENJOY YOUR VACATION!

PARTY LIKE IT’S 2019

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 26, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Well…check any source and you’ll find that the number one travel destination since covid started is (drumroll)…MEXICO!

         This is not just for Americans.  It’s apparently the top spot for the whole world.

         It’s pretty easy to get to, especially for Americans. There’s lots of flights. Or you can drive or jump a cruise ship.

          It’s pretty economic.  Foreign currency against the Mexican peso is pretty strong.  For Americans, the dollar is huge.  It’s 20 pesos to the U.S. dollar.  International money goes a lot further than in many other countries.

          It’s easy to come home. That’s pretty important.  When you’re ready to come home…you come home!

           Your chances of getting stranded there are pretty slim because of Covid.  Your own country might put the pinch on you, but not Mexico.  

          In fact, there have been some new changes in Mexican restrictions.

          As of this month, Mexico has completely dropped all entry requirements.  Gone!  Deleted! You are welcomed with open arms.

          You can argue whether that is good or bad, but it is what it is. I make no judgements.  Don’t kill the messenger.

          However, borders are now open.  In fact, many would ventur that they were never really closed at all. It was pretty leaky.

          You also no longer have to fill out either the paper or digital health-care form to enter Mexico. This was the form asking thing like whether you had been in contact with a Covid person or whether you had Covid. 

          I always thought it was silly.  I mean…who is going to answer “yes” on the way to their vacation?  Who wants to get told they have to go in the little back room for secondary questioning when the tour bus to the hotel is waiting outside and your luggage is spinning mindlessly on the carousel?

          Additionally, Mexican President Obrador has said he doesn’t plan to ever ask for proof of vaccinations. 

But, there’s a small caveat. 

LCA-COVID-Safety-Banner-min

          Individual states, areas or businesses like restaurants, bars and casinos might ask for your vax card.  However, according to sources, it’s just like many places in the U.S. with masks.  It only applies if the rule is enforced and no one seems to really enforce it.

          In lieu of that, proof of a negative covid test within 48 hours will also work. Jalisco is one of the states that recently implemented the rule about showing a vax card.

          So, basically, it’s time travel.  Mexico is back to pre-covid 2019 in terms of travel.

          As of right now, the only real bump in your travel road is coming BACK to the U.S. or entering the U.S. if you’re a foreign national.

          The U.S. requires that within 24 hours of your flight back to the U.S. you need to take a rapid Covid test.  And, of course, it has to come back negative. 

          The test takes 15 minutes and you get your results usually within the hour on your cellphone.  The airports all have facilities as do many hotels. Or the hotels will have someone come to the hotel.

          There are also a plethora of labs that sprang up all over the place understandably.

          This applies whether you are vaccinated or not.

          If you are a foreign traveler headed to the U.S., the new rules mandate that you must show proof of vaccination now.

          Stay tuned.  The picture changes all the time!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

_____________

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

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

Read Full Post »

END GAME

END GAME

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 3, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Back in the day when I lived close to the somewhat remote East Cape area of Baja, I loved getting invited to someone’s house for dinner.  It was a special treat.

         First and foremost, it sure beat the one-pan meals I would usually cook for myself.  The food at these gatherings would be simple, but they were always the best-of-the-best spread they had to offer and tremendously delicious.

         I remember barbecued meat or fried fresh fish.  Often it was something they had caught or one of their own animals.

         I was a grateful beneficiary to the sharing of the largesse.

Of course handmade tortillas, beans and rice and maybe grilled vegetables or fresh cheese!  Dang.  I secretly always hoped there would be that fresh farm cheese.

         Plates and cups never matched. Lots of well-used plastic. The cups seemed to be those indestructible plastic/ acrylic things we all had in our cupboards back in the day.  Free with a fill-up of gas (or a steak knife) or were bought from the neighbor’s kid raising money for school.

         Somehow, those same cups magically migrated to Mexico!

 Silverware was burnished and scratched.  No big thing.  Lots of paper napkins.  No matter. 

These folks might not have much, but everything was always spic-and-span  and pridefully clean in the home.

         It was not only a treat, but an honor to be invited to the family home.

         Often, there might be another family or two… or extended family member at the table as well.  A few cousins.  A tio or tia (uncle or auntie).  Maybe some neighbors.

         Again, sharing the wealth.

         It was typically a pot-luck kind of affair from what I could tell.

         Cousin Jose and his family might bring some fresh ceviche.  The neighbors ferried over a Tupperware of salsa fresca. 

         It seemed the uncles would ALWAYS bring beer.  Always welcome and they seemed to drink the majority of it!

         After dinner there was always talk.

         Just fun and interesting conversation and b.s. directly dependent upon the level of beer consumption taking place.

         My Spanish at that point wasn’t full-speed, but it was enough to participate and I often became the center of the chit-chat.  It was usually something of an enjoyable question-and-answer session.

         Parents…well, the moms asked about food and markets and clothes.  Dads would talk about fishing or travel. 

Politics were big.  So were sports.  The New York “Yonkeys” and the Los Angeles “Doyers.” Andale!

         Recently, I was thinking about some of the great conversations with the kids. 

The younger girls would ask about celebrities, fashion and movie stars. 

         Did I really see movie stars all the time and every day?

         What is Hollywood like and tell them about a shopping mall.

         The boys naturally wanted to know about American cars.  American music.  Of course…American girls.

         Remember, these were the days before the internet was rampant and everyone had a cell phone. Often folks didn’t even have TV’s back then out there.

         I was sort of the welcomed travelling bard.  Folks were anxious to hear what was going on “out there.”  Tell us some news.  Tell us a story.

         With the kids…

         Often, we’d get into the typical, “What do you want to do when you get older?”

         At the time, it was just fun conversation, but looking back, the responses were really eye-opening.

         American kids talk …doctors…lawyers…executives…business owners…teachers…travel…own a ranch…own a sportscar…be a firefighter…engineer…computers…be a rockstar…attend a great university…be a pilot…marry a rich doctor…lawyer…blah blah blah!

         For these, mostly rural Mexican kids, the bar wasn’t quite so high.

         Most wouldn’t get past the mandatory 6th grade.  So, like all kids, many were eager to “get outta school” to go to work.

         Not so much to be independent like American kids…move out…have a car…get an apartment.

         These Mexican kids were eager to work so they could help the family.

         The aspirations weren’t so lofty.

         “I will help my father catch fish for the market.”

         “I will go to work at the farm picking vegetables.”

         “I would like to move to the city.  Maybe work at a restaurant or a hotel.  Maybe clean rooms or wash dishes.  I can stay with relatives.”

         “I have a boyfriend and we will get married and have kids.  He has a good job driving a truck for the market.”

         The ambitions were much more tempered.  Perhaps much more pragmatic in the big picture.  

 

         The big difference is that these are somewhat the kind of jobs American kids might do “on their way” to do something else.  Like while they are in school.

         Or a summer job.

         Or for some pocket money.

         For these Mexican kids, they are not jobs before they move onto something else. These are their CAREERS.

         This is what they will most likely do for the rest of their working lives.

         Forty or fifty years from now, it’s very likely, many will still be washing dishes or cleaning someone’s hotel room.  Some will still be trying to catch enough fish to sell to the market and feed the family.

         That fruit or vegetable farm still needs laborers.

         That girl wanting to be married has raised another generation herself.

         These “occupations” are the end game.  There is no “glass ceiling” because there is no glass. That solid ceiling they see is the height of ambition and opportunity.

         I’m trying to imagine some of the summer or school jobs I took in younger days.  Could I have worked in a warehouse the rest of my life?  Or driven a taxi? Or sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door? 

         Nothing wrong with good honest labor. 

         For Americans, we have the ability to envision better things.  We can hope that around the corner our ship will come in.  We have that ability to dream.  It may never happen, but we can strive and hope.

         Our end game has continuum.

         For these youngsters, their aspirations are limited to immediate and restricted finite opportunities.  The end game is for life.

         Do not pass GO.  Stay in the same square.  Repeat.

 

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 »

IT’S OK TO BREATHE THIS AIR

IT’S OK TO BREATHE THIS AIR

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

Christmas time in Baja.

         Specifically, here in La Paz where we live and have our businesses.  

         On so many levels, the air is definitely different this year.  And, on so many levels, it’s easier to breathe.

         It’s palpable

         Practically speaking, masks are pretty much down.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Exhale again.  It’s been awhile. 

You can probably relate. Feels pretty good not to talk through a piece of cloth.  Or trying to figure out what you were saying to me!

I have a hard enough time understanding Spanish or trying to make sure my Spanish was correct.  Let alone trying to do it through a mask!

And hey!  That’s a smile under there.  I was tired of just looking at your eyes!

The pandemic hit Mexico especially hard.  It whacked Baja really hard, especially for an economy that depends so heavily on tourism.

Seventy percent of the population lives hand-to-mouth.  It’s a cash economy. No one is on anyone’s books. 

If you have a job, most get paid in cash or what you can sell.  Conversely you pay cash as well. 

Cash.  No checks.  No credit card.  No bank account .

What’s in your pocket at the end of the day is how you feed yourself and your family. And back home, that could be a lot of folks living in a small space.

No school.  No computers.  No Netflix.  Beaches closed.  Stores closed.  Restaurants closed.  Curfews enforced.  Entire areas completely off-limits.

Sit and stare at the rest of your family for days-on-end.

If you were actually on someone’s payroll and that business closed it’s doors during pandemic, that was just tough luck.

No feel-good stimulus checks.  No unemployment checks.  It doesn’t work like that in Mexico.

No money . No food . Simple as that.

Last Christmas, there wasn’t a lot of hoo-haaa. 

So much lingering uncertainty . Many places and events still closed.  Even churches were closed. 

Fast forward to Christmas 2021.

This year, most of Mexico is now in the green level.  It’s been a long transition from being in the red. 

In our city of La Paz, I’ve heard it’s got one of the highest levels of vaccination.  Something like 85% of the population has their shots.

Tourists are flocking to Mexico, in general, and Baja, in particular.  It’s a quick hop from the U.S.  No need to quarantine or prove you’re vaccinated to enter. 

The dollar is strong.  Mexico wants you.  Mexico needs you.  There are deals to be had.  The world is figuring out Mexico is a good value as well. 

The border is “officially” open now.  Technically, it’s been closed since early 2020 although it was easy enough to drive across.  But, it deterred many visitors from…well…visiting!

So, there’s a reason for optimism in the air.

You can just tell walking around town.

It’s good to see decorations and lights again.  It’s good to see people in the stores and restaurants. 

There are actually real live people hanging out on the beaches again.  Not just police shooing people away or giving out tickets.

Even Mexicans are travelling.  It’s OK this year to go see family and friends. 

The surest sign of hope and optimism…I saw a wedding and a baptism at our local cathedral. 

And that’s the difference.  There’s a subtle sense of joy in locals and visitors alike.  They’re enjoying themselves!   Not looking over their shoulders or over masks.

Yes, people are gathering. 

We may have this virus with us for a long time.  Things will probably never be like it was, but there’s an actual air of hope. 

You can feel it.  You can breathe it.

It probably makes the health officials cringe.  And government officials cautiously tippie-toe on eggshells hoping the other shoe doesn’t drop on the merriment or economy.

But, for now, it’s a good time to enjoy the smiles. 

A good time to appreciate the moment.  A time not to be taken for granted.  A time to appreciate each other again and how precious simple freedom is to each of us. 

It can be fleeting.  As we saw only a year ago.  Poof…gone!

I’m not talking about political freedom.

It’s even more basic. 

The simplicity of walking where we want to walk.  Taking a big unhindered breath.  Going where you want to go.   Shake a hand.  Give a hug.  Eat dinner with the family.

Hold a child.

This is the precious air you can gratefully breathe this Christmas. 

May it wrap and surround you and yours.

Revel in it. Amen.

 

That’s my story!  May you and yours be blessed this holidays and Christmas. 

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

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

WISH I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Some things can’t be jury rigged.

        And some things never change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Crack a beer.  Day is done.

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

That’s my story

Jonathan

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