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Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus in Mexico’

BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

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BAJA GROUND ZERO VOICES

Originally Published the Week of May 7, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

I thought this week rather than headline news, you might be interested in comments from locals and gringos living in Baja regarding what it’s like south of the border right now.

It’s not too different from the U.S. But, just to give you some context:

Currently, as of this writing Mexico has more than 2000 fatalities and 23,000 reported cases.

The states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have about 2000 cases with about 40 deaths.

The statewide quarantine is in effect until May 30th.  For almost 2 months, all beaches, schools, public areas, restaurants, stores and other non-essential businesses have been closed.   There is an 8 p.m. curfew in place. 

Many tourism businesses are making plans to re-open after the first of June. A number of airlines plan to start flying during that time as well.

Here’s just a small slice of what folks are thinking and, in many ways, it’s not too far from what many of us are experiencing.

HORACIO (49-year-old-taxi-driver) – It is very difficult. We do not have too many cases in La Paz, but we watch the U.S. news and it is crazy. I need to work. There are no riders for my taxi and no gas for the car. There is no other money.

ANGELINA (Single Mother of 2) – In our town the government announced a food truck would arrive with lots of food. We waited 4 hours with several hundred other families. No truck ever showed up. Several weeks earlier, they did the same thing, but the first people got all the bags they could carry. There was nothing left for anyone else. Then, the workers were told they were only supposed to give 2 bags to each family.

 
NINITA (Retired teacher 60 years old) – I am OK because I have a retirement check. But, my grown children all lost their jobs so they have moved back with me. Even my daughter that teaches in the United States returned because her school closed. They eat A LOT! It is nice to be together again, but I am worried for them.

JEFFREY (Retired gringo living just outside Tijuana) – At first we didn’t take it seriously. Then people blamed the U.S. for infecting us so they wanted to block the border. Kind of ironic really. All the Americans were crossing the border to buy toilet paper and there were lines at all the big box stores like COSTCO.

LORENZO – (panga captain) – There is not much to do. No business. Normally, we are very busy. We live 40 miles from the city and our pueblo has no internet. School is closed. We have no TV. We cannot go to the city because the roads are blocked. There is no medical care here and no money for gasoline for the panga or the car.

CHALO – (cook 52-years -old) – The restaurant I work at closed. So, I stay at home. But, there is not even beer to drink. All the breweries got closed by the government. So, shelves are empty or the prices are triple normal. Some people are selling blackmarket illegally from their homes or trunks. The police will arrest us if we are out past 8 p.m. But, I know people that still have parties.  I have no car so I can’t go anywhere.

NORMAN – (70 year old retired American) – Many gringo neighbors had to decide to stay in Mexico or leave. I understand many of my friends are older and high-risk so they didn’t want to take a chance with Mexican medical care. There’s no shortage in the markets and this is my home so I plan to stay. But, I have many things like TV and a computer and internet that locals unfortunately do not have.
ROSALIA – (43 years old office assistant and mother) – I have a reduced salary and work hours, but my husband cannot work. He got sick during the quarantine and has been in the hospital several times for emergencies to his kidneys. I cannot visit him in the hospital and be with him because of the virus. But, they send him home very quickly after treatments because of the virus in the hospitals. Then, his illness comes back.

JACOBO – (Musician and graphic artist) With all the restaurants and bars closed I have no place to play but I can make a little money online doing graphic design. I am from mainland Mexico and moved to Baja. I was going to move back home with my parents when the virus first hit Baja. My parents are both doctors and told me to stay in Baja where it is safer. Everyone is angry at the politicians. They did not act quickly enough.

Many people ignore the quarantines and defy authorities. They have parties. They go to the beach. They do not respect social distancing. They do not believe this is a big problem.

 
ZACHARY – When the quarantine hit, I had just pulled the sailboat I live on out’ve the water. I didn’t think this would be two months. I am on a boat sitting on blocks on DRY LAND in a dusty boat yard ! Not my favorite idea of social distancing. Cabin fever crazy right now!

SERGIO – (Transportation Driver) – My wife keeps making me clean the house. We have the cleanest house in the neighborhood. I need to get out before my wife makes me clean the house again. But there is nowhere to go!

That’s my (their) story!

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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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BAD NEWS – GOOD NEWS – A GLIMMER OF HOPE

 

CAncel?BAD NEWS GOOD NEWS and a GLIMMER of HOPE

Originally Published the Week of May 1, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve become a junkie for Mexico news of late.  It’s not only for my own benefit, but especially to keep friends, clients and everyone else informed as much as possible.

 

Not even including phone calls, I think I field well over 100 e-mails a week.

 

It’s not easy covering Mexico.  It’s like someone asking how are things in the United States.  It’s a big country.

 

Any statements you read here in this confined space easily tend to over-simplify a myriad of variables.  And, just as easily be completely wrong, especially with a rapidly changing situation. Such as it is.

 

Just like in the U.S., reports conflict daily.  Everyone has a different opinion.

What’s working in Oregon isn’t necessarily good for Florida.  How does one accurately make a blanket statement  that covers  Michigan, Texas and Wyoming?

 

Mexico has 32 states. It’s the world’s 13th largest country with about 133 million people that are just now getting what a lot of the world has been dealing with for several months.

 

Just covering Baja itself is 1000-mile-long peninsula.  Most folks don’t realize it comprises two states.

 

Baja Norte (Northern Baja) encompasses cities such as Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali and San Felipe.

 

Baja Sur (Southern Baja) is where Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Mulege and Todos Santos are located.

 

Plus, there’s a ba-zillion little pueblos scattered all over the rural countryside in the mountains, beaches, islands and deserts.

 

As a country, Mexico, is just hitting Phase 3 of the pandemic.  As of this writing, it has almost 16,000 cases detected with  more than 1,400 fatalitites.  Health experts say that because of the lack of testing and reporting, the number of cases is probably closer to 65,000.

 

And climbing.

 

The two states of Baja Norte and Baja Sur have pretty much extended their respective quarantines until the end of May.  However, the two states are trending divergently on their viral paths.

 

Both states are in lockdown.  However, Baja Sur has suffered 12 deaths for about 266 cases.

 

Comparatively speaking, Baja Norte, has about  1200 cases with 162 deaths.  Just a month ago there were a scant dozen cases or so in Baja Norte.

 

It’s escalating rapidly.

 

Hospitals in northern Baja are already over-stressed.  The entire city of Ensenada has almost a million residents.  It not only locked itself down, it is locking everyone out.  You can’t even drive into the city.  You are turned away.

 

Additionally, along the highway, cars are being disinfected and motorists are having their temperatures taken.

 

On the contrary…

 

Southern Baja which relies so heavily on tourism, looks like it might be loosening up.

 

But, not without struggles…

 

As of last week, the governor of Baja Sur implemented even harsher restrictions.  These included 10 p.m. curfews.  All persons must now wear masks and only 1 person in a car at a time. No alcohol sales after 6 p.m.

 

Violators are confronted with fines; jail time or community services including being forced to work in the hospitals.

 

But, there might be a possible light down the road.

 

Although the quarantine will persist until May 30th, Cabo hotels have started taking new reservations for June.  This includes some of the larger and well-known properties.

 

School kids are being told that there is a good possibility that classes will resume July 1. They are talking about re-opening the beaches.

 

The ports and marinas that affect some 24,000 workers may re-open.  Restaurants are preparing to open by mid-June.

 

Further, various airlines are making noise about returning to the Mexican skies either between the latter part of May.  These include Aero Mexico (May or June).  Alaska after May.  Delta to Cancun and Mexico City.  United Airlines sometime in June.  Spirit Airlines by May or June.

 

You may not be able to DRIVE to Baja Sur, insofar as many cities and places like Ensenada are closed down.  However, no one minds if you FLY over their cities.

 

There are others.  This is all changing quickly and for better or worse,  has probably changed by the time you’re reading this!

 

So, don’t make new reservations just yet.  But, don’t cancel your current plans either.

 

Stay tuned.  I could be wrong…again.

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

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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MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE 3

PHASE 3 PHOTO

MEXICO JUST BEGINNING PHASE THREE

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s maybe overly dramatic.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

That’s my story

signature June '18 two 1

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »