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Archive for the ‘water’ Category

DUMB-BASS QUESTIONS

A HARD NO!

DUMB- BASS QUESTIONS

Originally Published the Week of Aug. 10, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Over the last 3 decades or so down here, I’ve been asked some crazy head-scratching questions.  I call them dumb questions from smart people.

Hey, I’m just as guilty of opening my mouth before I can put the brakes on and something idiotic comes out.  I do it more often than not.

But, when you run through hundreds of fishing clients and friends each year, you realize that often we are a clearing house for information.

Understandably.  It’s a foreign country.  People speak Spanish.  It can be difficult to navigate.

We live here.  We have answer.  No problem.

So, daily, we get the usual questions about the weather, restaurants, siteseeing, shopping and where to purchase things.  All very typical on a vacation trip.

Then, there are the other kinds of questions that leave us wanting to give a smart-alec response.  But, we hold our tongues and realize that the questions are very sincere and require a somewhat sincere response as well. 

“Will I get wet if I go snorkeling?”

“What happens if a shark bites me?”

“When do the salmon run upriver?”

“How come everyone speaks Spanish in Mexico?”

“What’s the best day of the week to catch a blue marlin?”

“If I’m fishing out on the ocean and have to go ‘Number Two’ and can’t hold it, what happens?”

“How come in Mexico the sun sets in the East?”

We always tell folks there’s no such thing as a bad question. But, I have to admit there’s “dumb-bass” questions like these.

I do my best to provide a deservedly sincere answer.  I grin and try to remind myself that these are honest questions.

There is one subject however, that I get irked about when asked.

I recently got pulled aside by a fishing client who wanted to speak to me alone in my office.  Sure.  No problem.  C’mon in.

I thought he wanted to complain about his hotel shower or tell me he only wanted vegetarian meals for lunch on the boat.

Instead he says, “Dude.  Jonathan.  Where can I score some pot or coke? I can’t find anyone or don’t know where to go. Help me out.”

(pause)

(hard stare and a longer pause)

Are you kidding me? 

Yea, this deserves an honest answer.  Frankly, I’m a bit put out that someone would think I know where to score illicit drugs…in MEXICO!  And yes, this is more than just a dumb-bass question.

It’s a truly stupid question and the kind that will get you in a lot of trouble.

It’s not the first time someone has asked me something like this, and honestly, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear it.  I look at the knucklehead who asked me. 

Maybe I’m just naïve about all this. 

First of all, I tell them NO!  A HARD NO!

It’s not my line or my wheelhouse and I tell them if you go around asking, or you’re solicited, you could very well be talking to a narc who is looking for an idiot tourist to make a bust.   

Or you hang out with the wrong people and you get in even more trouble.

I tell the person if they would enjoy being in a dirty Mexican jail with a bunch of other Mexican guys with a coffee can toilet and zero rights.

Here in Mexico, I remind them that it’s not like the U.S. 

You are “guilty until you prove your innocence.”  Unlike the U.S., in Mexico you are automatically guilty.  And if you’re a tourist…especially an American tourist…you’re triple-dog-dare guilty.

Think long and hard about automatically being guilty!

So, someone could tell a police officer you wanted to buy drugs or a police officer could say you bought or used drugs.  And, it would up to you to PROVE you didn’t do it.

Try that without being able to speak Spanish. 

At worst, your life is might change radically in a bad way.  At best, your vacation is ruined and you’re probably in for a bad few days.

I tell ‘em don’t be an idiot.  Or a victim. 

If you really need a buzz, drink tequila like everyone else. 

If they are already carrying stuff get rid of it.  And yes, I’ve had people actually travel INTO MEXICO with illicit drugs and chemicals.

I get away from them as soon as I can.  Maximum space.  Social distancing to the umpteenth power.

Don’t do it.  Don’t ask me how to do it.

Yes, there are stupid questions.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

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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Things I Didn’t Know About Mexican Etiquette

OOPS!

THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT MEXICAN ETIQUETTE

Originally Published the Week of July 24, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

The longer I live here in Mexico, the more I realize that there are so many “nuances” to social etiquette that can only be garnered through experience.   Sometimes, embarrassingly so!

It’s not enough to know a language, although that’s a great place to start.  Lord knows after 30 years, I’m hardly fluent.  By most standards, I’m hardly even passable. 

But, I get by. 

I try to learn a new phrase or word every day.  But, even then it’s not just what you say, but how you say it and the context in which something is used.

Like in any country.

There are some things that I learned long ago that are just bad form.  I hear Americans unwittingly say and do things that make me cringe.

For instance, hearing someone ask a local, “Do you speak Mexican?”  Ouch. 

That’s right up there with walking around and committing one huge faux paux of telling folks, “I’m American.”  As if that gives you extra cred.

Or even worse, telling a local, “Well compared to how it is in Mexico, in the United States this is how WE do it…”.

Go ahead and be an arrogant bastard.

Here’s a few other things I’ve learned about social etiquette over time.  Admittedly, I’ve goofed on many of these until I got “schooled.

Where to start…Here are some nuances that I bet you didn’t know. 

It’s rude to stand with your hands in your pockets.  Standing with your hands on your hip signifies you’re angry.  Really?

This is a very macho country on so many levels and it’s part of the very fabric and DNA.  For instance, only men should propose toast at a table. Especially rude for a foreign woman to propose one.

Try to figure out this one…

As a foreigner, you are expected to be on time.  But, if you show up “on time” at a social event like dinner at a restaurant, you’ll be the only one there…maybe for a long time!

It’s quite alright for locals to customarily arrive 30 to 60 minutes or more late.  We see this in our own restaurant constantly.

They’ll reserve a table for 8 at 6 p.m.  Great.  But, by the time everyone shows up, it’s 7:30!

In business, it can really be frustrating.

“On time” for a meeting means your Mexican counterpart might show up unapologetically half-an-hour or more late.  Expect it.

On top of that, it’s considered rude to just “get down to business.

Business in Mexico is largely based on relationships.  Resumes and pedigrees are fine, but locals deal with counterparts they like and trust.

Business…real business, is not done on the phone, text or e-mail.  Even the smallest thing is best done personally.  In many cases, it will ONLY be done person-to-person.

So, expect small talk first.  And it’s expected that you will ask and be asked about family, friends, etc.

By the way, get everything in writing.  A “promise”  culturally means nothing.  It’s part of small talk.  Unless committed to writing, it’s not serious.

If business or entertainment is done over a meal at an establishment, the invitee is expected to pick up the tab.  No friendly arguing at the end.  Not a bad idea to slip your credit card to the waiter at the beginning.

Even if your Mexican associate drinks several cocktails, and you’re sipping your Diet Coke, the tabs is on you.

Conversely, if you are being invited and you are offered a beer, cocktail…even coffee, it’s rude for you to turn it down. 

Or food. 

Accept and take a little or you’ll be seen as being “too good” to accept.

Along those lines, drinking in excess raises eyebrows.  Especially, if it’s done by a woman.

And it’s culturally acceptable if the person you invite to a meal, meeting or social event keeps canceling.  Sometimes at the last minute.  Or not show up at all.

Maddening!

But, you’re expected to keep inviting them or they will assume you were never serious in the first place!

Interestingly, if you do invite folks, usually, they will say “yes” because it’s culturally acceptable and proper.  And even if they say “yes” they might never intend to really show up.

As an American, that sure feels rude!  But, perfectly OK down here.

Here’s one I just learned…always keep your hands above the table. Pass dishes to the left. 

Don’t start eating until the host says “buen provecho.” And never ever cut your salad at the table.  Fold it!

One thing to keep in the forefront is that many Mexicans are very status conscious.  Despite what you may see and hear or seems obvious, Mexico has social classes.

There’s an upstairs and a downstairs.  Socially, there’s not much cross-over.  Sadly actually. 

Upper class stays upper class.  Middle and lower class stay in their lanes as well.

Status is very important.

Therefore, how you dress.  What you drive.  What hotel you are staying in.  Your make-up.  Your jewelry.  Your shoes. 

Impressions are important. Yes, you ARE being watched and subtle judgements are being made about you.

I never realized that until recently. Never dawned on me. 

I’ve been here 3 decades.  My wife and I run several businesses. 

However…I wear shorts every day.  And usually a Hawaiian shirt or printed t-shirt.

And I don’t even have a pair of shoes! 

Because of our work, I’m in flip-flops 24/7.  I wear an old dive watch with a rubber/ plastic wristband . We drive a beat up 1992 Honda Civic!

Sometimes, I even take the time to shave!

This is how I show up.  I am what I am.  Now I wonder how I’ve been perceived all of these years. 

Or not!

None of this is wrong, by any means.  It’s just a different and wonderful culture that you need to adapt to.  As in any country.  It’s how things are done.

However…

I’m definitely going to start showing up late.  And saying “yes” when I don’t intend to actually show up!  When in Rome…or Mexico…do what the locals do!

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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WARM BEER and NAVY SHOWERS

WARM BEER and NAVY SHOWERS

Originally Published the Week of July 18, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Understandably, we got a lot of folks from chilly and wet places like Alaska, Montana, Washington, etc. coming to Baja to fish.

Over the years, when I’m trying to entice folks to sign up with us to fish here in Baja with our fishing fleet in La Paz, I laughingly tease by saying,

“The only snow and ice you’ll see down here will be inside the rim of your margarita glass or in your cooler chilling down your beer!”

Well, I may just have to put the brakes on that for a bit.  Hopefully, it’s not an omen of the future, but I have to admit I’m nervous.

This past week, reports started coming in from various spots in Baja as well as the central Mexican mainland that there’s a water shortage and water restrictions.

Yes, it’s pretty common to hear in the U.S. about drought conditions that have been on-going for way-too-man-years.  The Colorado River and Lake Mead are drying up and at historic lows.  Lakes in California are turning to mudholes.

But, you don’t hear about it much in Mexico.  Or, at least you don’t think about it a whole lot.

But, beyond the golf courses and the sculpted swimming pools and the new construction condos and hotels…hey!  It’s a huge desert out there.

Yup.  A big old desert full of cactus and scrub and arid land devoid of water.

All this tourist construction is a fantasy that we’ve artificially managed to use beating back the fact that there are a zillion square miles of parched desert outside the nearby gates.

And the desert is just a dripping-faucet-turn-away from roaring back in a big way.

This past week, areas of Mexico started reporting not just a shortage of water, but actually running out’ve water.  Right. Nothing coming out’ve the pipes.

We started getting inklings of what was happening about a month ago.  We have a small convenience store here in La Paz attached to our restaurant.   We stock the usual, beers, water, sodas and other beverages for retail purchases .

Several popular beverages made on the mainland could no longer be obtained. Apparently, those areas had no water to produce the beverages!  

Because of water restrictions, the factory could not produce any of it’s bottled waters.

This past week, more bad news.

Emergency water had to be trucked into various areas of Mexico as reservoirs, wells and underground aquafers literally tapped out.

Here in La Paz where we live and several other areas of Baja, various neighborhoods were without water for several days.

Water is distributed a little differently down here. 

If you’ve ever been down to Baja, you’ll often notice big plastic cisterns on top of rooftops.  At our restaurant, we have three 1100 liters plastic cisterns on our roof.  

These cisterns look like giant black or tan-colored tubes.

Water only comes from the city, 3 or 4 times a week. 

The city turns on the water.  It’s come in from a little pipe smaller than the diameter of your typical garden hose.  Little more than a running drop.

Consequently, everyone has cisterns to collect as much water as possible for usage until the next time the city turns on the water.  That might be 2 or 3 days.

Well, this past week, the city didn’t have any water to turn on. 

Businesses like hotels and restaurants, need water for normal things like hotel showers, cooking and restrooms.  That’s a lot of water use.

Swimming pools could not be filled. Ice houses that produce bags of purified ice for fishing, retail stores, bars and others did not have any water to make ice.

There was a huge” run” on ice deliveries as businesses started to hoard ice not knowing when there would be ice available again. It reminded me of the toilet paper hoarding two years ago in the U.S. 

At our restaurant, we jammed several freezers full of ice bags.

When you have a tourist economy, having ice to chill beer and make margaritas is kinda important.  Maybe moreso in Mexico where cold beer and icy cocktails are part and parcel to the whole marketing scheme.

Tourists like to brush their teeth and take showers too.  A good thing to have.

“Navy showers” where you rinse…turn off the water…soap up…then rinse off aren’t exactly folks’ idea of a vacation shower.

There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on if you read the local newspapers. 

Current politicians and bureaucrats are blaming former politicians and bureaucrats for not seeing the warning signs.  Accusing each other of not improving the ancient water-producing infrastructure like pipes and wells that are now breaking down or weren’t adequate to begin with.

It’s kinda hard to “wash your hands” of the issue when nothing is literally coming out’ve the tap. 

Stay tuned!

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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