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Archive for the ‘tiburon island’ Category

WE HAVE A BLEEDER

WE HAVE A BLEEDER

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

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

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

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

         One was a legitimate question about bleeding your catch.

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

         Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

         And be prepared to clean off the deck rapidly. 

         Then, get the fish chilled on ice.

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

         Blood left in the fish is also  logically decomposing. 

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

         That’s the theory.  And it works!

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

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

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

         Unless it was really crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

         Here’s the dilemma.

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

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

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

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

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

         The whole process comes to a standstill.

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

         He can’t be baiting hooks.

         He can’t be untangling your backlash.

         He can’t drive the boat.

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

         Or losing them.

         The fish school could disappear.

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

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

         Simple as that!

That’s my story!

Joanthan


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

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

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


Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

BUMPS IN THE NIGHT

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

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

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

         They ask me for advice.

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

         Do not drive at night.

         Frankly, it’s dangerous.

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

         No, it’s not the banditos.

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

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

         It’s much more simple than that.

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

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

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

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

Also, consider this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 I see it happen all the time.

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

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

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

I’ve seen it all.  I’ve hit them all!

         Even moreso, the biggest danger is hitting animals. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Oops!  No way to avoid them.

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

         Or course, it is.

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

         The rancher now wants BIG MONEY. 

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

That’s my story!

Jonathan    

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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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 »

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.”

Read Full Post »

ANOTHER GRAND LADY TAKES A BOW

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

Hotel Perla on the La Paz Waterfront about 1965

          It came without fanfare as so many things did during the covid shutdowns last year.

         So many things were closed.  It was such a widespread occurrence that when things started to come back, you suddenly realized that some things just never opened up again. 

         Sad victims to businesses that Covid “wolves” pulled down.

         This afternoon, I walked down the historic Malecon waterfront of La Paz that extends about 2 miles along the eastern shore of La Paz Bay.  It’s a little more sedate than normal given there are still some Covid restrictions in place like so many other places.

         But, the popular stretch of roadway is filled with the usual restaurants, mom and pop eateries, watering holes, gift shops and tourist stops.  Strolling tourists meander.  Joggers and bikers huff and puff.

        Sidewalk cafes offer shade and refreshment al fresco under colorful awnings and umbrellas.  Locals  in cars cruise up one side and down the other in a decades-old ritual of life here along the waterfront .

         The blue waters of La Paz Bay lap gently up to the palapa dotted beaches and stately palms sway to the whims of the ocean breeze.

         It’s a Chamber of Commerce postcard.

         Except for one thing. 

         About mid-way down my stroll I hit the construction barriers and chain-link fence now surrounding the old Hotel Perla.  It’s the last original hotel in La Paz.

         Dating back to the 40’s, it’s the last elegant grand lady of the city. 

         It was built post-WW2 at a time when few cars moved along the waterfront  and there were more palm trees than people. Cobblestone streets were the norm just narrow enough for a wagon were the norm. 

         Folks didn’t usually fly into La Paz.  They took stately cruise ships.

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         Men wore white linen suits and panama hats to go along with fasionable pencil-thin mustaches.  Women wore dresses and heels.  Waiters stood by in waistcoated jackets.  One dressed for dinner. A lobster could be had for 2 dollars after the martini appetizers.  The margarita had not yet been invented.

         Celebrities like Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Lucy and Desi Arnaz might easily be sitting at the next table over.  Even the Queen of England stopped by for a visit.

         Ice was a luxury.  Air-conditioning usually meant opening the window to the fresh salty ocean breeze and the sweet smell of street vendors selling grilled carne. tacos.

         Mariachis didn’t just sing.  They serenaded.

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         It was a slower and more elegant time.

         And,  now I just stared at the now barely visible old Hotel Perla.   The last anchor to a long history. 

Her bustling sidewalk café now boarded up.  The Copacabana Club upstairs forever silenced.  The arched entry only a memory.

         Like so many things it just stopped last year.

         They stopped accepting reservations.  Employees who had worked for decades were shown the door.

         A big mega-corporation had purchased it and now plan to put a big gleaming white shopping center there along with a tower hotel in the middle of it.  There’s talk of a glass-bottom pool.

         All the local little family shops surrounding the hotel are all vacant.  No doubt to make room for and allow for the massive construction to come.

         I’m sad.

         Historic things act as an anchor to the past.  A reminder of what was and had been. 

I used to love going into the lobby of the hotel and spending time just looking at all the old yellowed-photos documenting the history of the hotel and, in many ways, the history of the city.

         It was always there.  And now it’s not. 

         Like a favorite actress that was always there.  Decade after decade And then a surprising obituary posted with no fanfare.

         There was no grand ovation or exit stage left to applause. 

         Yes, the grand lady of the Malecon had drifted into her latter years catering toward budget travelers and families.  The old actress now accepting bit parts as a matriarch or matron.  Now playing a supporting role for the current starlet of the day.

        But, no doubt the old gal was still a handsome dowager along a waterfront that with it’s growing trend toward upscale chic.

         How could Perla’s $80 rooms compete with the $400/ night rooms at the new place down the street boasting down comforters; bathroom TV’s and Netflix?

         Frankly, I don’t think it had to.  The old lady could have held her own against the new upstarts.

         But, that’s just me.  No one asked me.

         She’s the last.  At least as far as I can remember. 

         The old Hotel Los Arcos has been closed for a decade now.  Hotel Las Arenas is long gone.  In Cabo, I think of the old Hotel Hacienda and Hotel Cabo San Lucas.  All gems of their day and built by visionary men of their day.

         From another time.

         Nothing is forever and there’s no staying the crash of the wrecking ball and din of the jack hammer.  Even for all of us.

         And then, there are just the good memories of days gone by.  That which is remembered lives forever. 

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 »

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 »

YOUR NEGLIGENCE ISN’T ALWAYS MY EMERGENCY

STUFF HAPPENS…SOMETIMES WE CAN FIX IT. SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA JUST BITE THE BULLET and MOVE ON.

YOUR NEGLIGENCE ISN’T ALWAYS MY EMERGENCY

Originally Published the Week of June 15, 2021 in Western Outdoor Publications

         Over 3 decades of taking care of fishermen and travelers here in Baja, I’ve seen a lot of things. 

         Many things just cause me to scratch my head and say, “What were they thinking?”

         I’m as guilty as the next person. 

         There are times for all of us when the unexpected occurs.  We’re too busy or distracted or whatever…

         …and we do something dumb.  Something we normally would not have done or would not have happened under ordinary circumstances.

         Accidents happen.  Poop happens. Murphy’s Law punches us in the nose when we least expect.

         But, then there are other times when I don’t scratch my head.  It’s more like I throw up my arms and walk away.

         What’s that saying? 

         “You can’t fix stupid.”

         My wife, Jill, and I see hundreds of folks a year pass through and it’s a cavalcade of errors, foibles and guffaws on almost daily basis.

         There’s the “everyday” things that could happen to anyone.  Often easily rectified.  Or at least, we can help with a resolution.

         Someone forgets a phone charger.  Luggage goes somewhere unintended.  Someone forgets sunscreen or a hair dryer. A sweatshirt gets misplaced.  

          Someone has too much to drink. Or not enough (water!).

        That’s just regular stuff.  Maybe a small emergency for the client, but to us, it’s just another day at the office in paradise.

       Then, there’s the larger stuff. 

      Things in the grand scheme of things that are important and maybe expensive losses, but ultimately, there’s a remedy.  It’s just that for us, there’s not much we can personally do about it.

     You forget the charger for your laptop or you forget your laptop completely.  

     You lose your passport.  Or you forget your passport.  You lose your money.  You forget those expensive Maui Jim /Costa /Oakley sunglasses on the beach.

       You show up the wrong day for your flight. 

       Simple accidents that can happen to anyone.   Not much to do except move on. Take the loss and learn a lesson.

       But, then there are the ridiculous, mind-numbing things people do that have us asking if people leave their brains at home when they go on vacation.

       We can’t fix it.  We can’t fix you. 

       There’s no magic wand that I possess.  But these are things over the years that we’ve been asked to remedy.

       We can’t help you get out’ve a ticket when you get drunk and you flip off a Mexican police officer.  Or moon him.  Or flash your boobs at him.

       Or, you gave a cop “attitude” because you’re an American and you’re on vacation and it’s OK to have an open container in a rental car.

       Your friend said it’s OK for tourists to drink-and-drive in Mexico.   And the cop took your driver’s license AND gave you a ticket?

       Wow.  Imagine that!

       No, we can’t find the taxi you climbed into in the middle of the night.  You left your ipad, iphone or wallet in it. Telling me the cab driver was short, brown and wears a baseball hat doesn’t help us.  Or that he has a mustache.  

       And here’s an eyebrow raiser…

       Believe me, I don’t know what to do now that you tell me you forgot your colostomy bag at home.  I have spare hooks and fishing line.  As a habit, I do NOT have extra colostomy bags!

       Or that you forgot your heart medication.  Or you forgot your HIV meds. 

       Oh, they’re $600 here in Mexico?  Really?  No, I can’t get you a discount at the pharmacy.  No, I will not use my credit card to help you out.

       Oh, you forgot to bring any cash at all and you have no credit cards.  And you want me to float you a loan so you can go partying.  Only $2000 dollars.  Yes, I’m sure you’re good for it.  Yes, I know you’re my “Bro!”

       Just stay in the room and watch Mexican soccer on TV.

       And this happened once…

       Your wife always packs your bags for you.  And she forgot to pack extra underwear for you.  And now you insist you CANNOT go fishing unless you have new underwear!  You will NOT use your swimming shorts.  I guess I can call you a taxi to take you to Walmart.  Maybe…I’ll just let you suffer. 

       Here’s a dangerous one…

       You met a local girl who became your “girlfriend” while you’ve been here.  In an “error or judgement” somehow…someway you promised to bring her back to the states with you. 

       And she’s following you everywhere and her parents want to meet you?  Will I go with you to meet them and explain things?  Uh…I’m really busy.

       And then…

      Your last words were “hold my tequila” as you did a cannonball into the hotel pool. Unfortunately, it was the kiddie pool.  And your dentures flew out and you busted a rib.

      Or…

       You tossed furniture out the hotel window and broke a mirror and lamp inside the room and tore up the plumbing in the shower.  You can’t believe they’re throwing you out. 

       No, I can’t help you get a refund for the nights you missed or the fishing days you lost.  Yes, I believe they gave you a choice of calling the police or leaving the hotel.

       And a doozie…

       OK, you went to a “gentleman’s club” last night.  One of the “hostesses” there told you she’s really a grade schoolteacher back in Mazatlan.  Poor thing is just working to make enough money to fly back there to her mom. 

       And you gave her your credit card to buy a plane ticket so she could stop working like this.   

       Today you find out your card is maxed.  That’s how you were going to pay your rent?  And you went back to the club today and there’s no one named “Maria” that works there?  

       You think you might have been tricked?  Gosh.  Wish I could help you.

       NOT.

       Some things just can’t be fixed.

 

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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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.”

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