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FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

 

Originally Published The Week of Nov. 25, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications. 

             I pretty much wrote this week’s column lying flat on my back looking up at the sky.  Pretty unusual position for “word-smithing.”

         Most of the time, I write at my desk. Sitting up. 

           It’s in the middle of the night at the end of a long workday that usually starts about 4 a.m.  Or, if I’m “lazy” and couldn’t think of anything the night before, I scramble to compose something before the sun comes up and the day goes full-turbo!

         But, lying flat on my back, I’m looking at clouds drifting by as languidly as I was feeling. 

         Lying on the sand.

         On the beach.

         In the Baja sun.

         Some Kenny Chesney “No Shoes No Shirt No Problem” playing on Spotify competing with the rise-and-fall crescendo of surf as a soundtrack.

         And this week’s column just sort of wrote it self. It auto-composed in my head in about 5 minutes.

         I was just lying there on that warm sand felling really tired.  Not just tired. 

         “Old man tired.”  Big difference.

         I had just come off the water.  Nope.   For once, not fishing.  Not diving either.

         Surfing.  Yup.  That kind of surfing.  Like on a board.

       My wife, Jill, and I had spent the better part of the afternoon surfing and using muscles that we had not used in…well…years!  I think the last time I “surfed” Baja, I had been driving my dad’s Pinto station wagon.

       Me, and a bunch of underage high-school buds on a flyer across the border below Rosarito Beach with $20 between the three of us; a bag of Doritos; and 3 days to waste on the waves.

       Yea, it had been a long time.

         Surfing muscles are not the same as fishing muscles.  Not the same as SCUBA muscles.  And no matter how much Jill and I had lied to ourselves, we were not “in shape” to be paddling out…fighting waves…fighting the board.

         I grew up in Hawaii, but my “old man” muscles were B–tching me out so very badly. 

       “What were you thinking?”

       “Who were you trying to kid?”

                     Harsh reality found on a beach in Baja.

                     But, I gotta tell you, it was a good soreness.  And Jill and I had the biggest smiles on our faces as we lay splayed-out on the beach.  

                    No one talking.  No one needed to.

                   The sun rays warmed me from above and the hot sand warmed me from below.

                  It was like being a kid again and coming out’ve the pool and lying face-down on that warm cement without a care-in-the-world.  You know that feeling. 

                 Summer vacation. No school.  No homework. You had no place else to be except right then and there. Contentment.

                 And that was me.  Except I was lying looking up.

                 And I realized I had nowhere to be except right then and there. On that beach at that moment studying some dumb clouds.  No shoes. No shirt.  No problems.

                It finally just got to us.  Yea, we live and work in Baja. 

                 “Living the dream.” Right?

                  But, like everyone, no matter where you are, it’s been a tough year.  And this year, it seemed like we worked even harder-than-ever just trying to tread water like everyone else.

                 Being in the travel industry with our fishing fleets and restaurant, it was especially brutal.

                Surely, fewer clients and less business, but like I said, we seemed to work twice-as-hard just trying to keep what we had.  Working double to keep from sliding backwards even more. 

              Almost like surfing.  Paddle paddle paddle to get out.  Wave knocks you back. 

             Paddle paddle paddle to go a little further.  Another wave knocks you back again. 

            Just trying to get out past the white water to where that tasty curl tantalizes you with a rewarding ride back to the beach.  Paddle paddle paddle.  Can’t stop. Gotta get past that white water.

           Catch one or two, but mostly paddling paddling and more tiring paddling.

          Like life right now. 

         No days off and …UP-TO-HERE…with it all. 

         Covid…quarantine…restrictions…economy…politics…elections…unrest.  The “whitewater” of life, right? The cacaphony that never stops assaulting you.

         So, we just sort of folded shop.

        We never ever take time off.  But,it was time. 

         We didn’t tell any of our staff where we were going.  Basically told them, don’t burn down the building.  Don’t let anyone steal anything.  We’ll be in touch.

         In fact, I didn’t even tell my wife where we were going.

         I pretty much told her to grab some clothes for a few days.  Threw her and our rescue cat, my guitar,  and some gear in our Honda.  It’s the one with the busted air-conditioner and that overheats if I drive faster than 50mph and left.

         We drove. And drove.

And made a left off the highway down a dusty washboard dirt road.

         And found a beach.

         And it had some worn bungalow cabanas for rent.

         Our “rustic” cabana had holes in the palapa roof.

         Some lights didn’t work.  Others had those god-awful curly “economy” bulbs that save you 5 bucks over 100 years.

         A threadbare hammock tied between two palm trees.  It might have been a fishing net at one time.

         No TV.

         No disco.

         No nightclub.       

         No real restaurants to speak of.

         Perfection.

         I don’t even want to tell you the name of the beach because the area is begging for a paved road and some high-rise hotels that will come soon enough, I imagine.

         But for now, just miles of Baja beach.

         And there were some waves that just begged to be ridden.

         And an ice chest full of cold ones that needed some attention too.

         And 3 days extended into 5 days of sun, sand, surf, card-playing and just the very best kind of “social distancing” that we probably could all use right now.

         Might still be there if we didn’t run outta cat food.

         And lying on my back like a very tired beached sealion soaking up the rays and watching clouds moving left-to-right.

Smiling.

         And while we were gone, the world did not blow up.  Our business did not burn down.  The problems of the world were still there when we got back. 

         We did not miss a thing.

         But finding that little stretch of Baja beach made all the difference.

         For now.

         We brought that beach home with us in a manner of speaking.  I brought this essay that wrote itself.

         Like that beer commercial says, I hope you find your beach. 

         Somewhere. 

        If not on a stretch of sand.  Then a backyard.  A park. Or some space where you can close the door.

       Away from the madness.  Close your eyes. Shut off the sound. Take a breath. Find that beach and watch the clouds.

That’s my story!

Jonathan


______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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YES THEY CAN!

 

YES, THEY CAN!

 

 

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 17, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

A week ago in Cabo San Lucas, I had the great pleasure of once again working at the 22nd Annual Cabo Tuna Jackpot Tournament produced by Western Outdoor News. 

         What an event it is. 

         This year, 150 national and international fishing teams gathered for two days of fishing.  Over one-million dollars of prize money in the pots!  About 700 folks from all over the world come to play.

         If you’ve never seen or participated in something like this, it’s a mind-boggling adrenaline rush to see all this energy, fishing talent, equipment and yes…money all charging out into the fishing grounds.

         There are jaw-dropping super yachts that should be seen on “Lives of the Rich & Famous.”  I believe the largest fishing vessel this year was 110’ mega cruiser that looked like a stream-lined cruise ship.

         We gawked and ooh’d and ahhh’d at the  gleaming 40, 50…70-foot battle-wagon sport-fishers.  Shining with teak decks and tinted glass windows sporting out-riggers and thousands of dollars of fishing rods-and-reels on deck and no doubt equally expensive electronics aboard as well.

sportfisher-1

         There were jet-boat sportfishers built for speed to the fishing grounds fast.  Imagine four or five 400-horsepower motors hanging off the transom.  They blew by like rocket ships.

         As one of my friends mentioned, “If you gotta ask how much it costs to gas-up one any of these hard-chargers, you simply can’t afford it.”

         As another 100-footer went by, another of our crew commented, “Sheesh…there are countries with navies that don’t have boats THAT big or THAT expensive!”

         Indeed, a lot of hardware out there!  Even if if you’re just “renting” the charter for a few days, it’s way above the my paygrade!

         But, in the middle of all the finery.  There they are. 

         And you can’t help but wanna shout or give a high-five to someone.  

         Yes, they are chugging along on 90-hp motors.  Bouncing around in the wakes of the big boy cruisers.

panga-santi

         It’s the local panga guys and the fishermen who swear by them. Simple rugged 24-foot ocean-going skiffs that are famous in Mexican waters.

         They cobbled together entry fees and gas money to play.  Often their client fishermen are roll-up-the-sleeves blue-collar guys. 

         Some beer in a tattered plastic ice chest.  Sack lunches and bait in the bait-well.  And they’re hot to go!

jr3pic18

         Do you remember Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea?  It’s the story of aging “Santiago” who’s best fishing days are behind him.  But he goes out every day to work the waters.  The young bucks don’t pay him much mind.

         But, all alone, he hooks and battles a legendary marlin in his little skiff.  

         If you have a line in the water, anything is possible.

         And when you see these guys in the pangas, you can’t help but root for them.  You gotta believe, they have a fighter’s chance.

Goliath beware!  David has that one stone in his sling.

         I wouldn’t hesitate to put a lot of panga skippers against anyone on a given day. 

sushi-time-cabo-panga-fishing2

Chances are they’ve worked these waters their whole lives. They have never fished anywhere else.  I once asked a panga captain if he had ever fished somewhere else beside his home territory.

He smiled.  Shook his head and said, “Why?”

 They know the waters, the currents, the little “nuances” that even high-technology cannot come close to finding.  Hometown advantage.  Nothing like local knowledge.

         Satellites are fine.  Technology has it’s place. 

But give me a guy who didn’t learn his trade by fishing for fun.  He learned his trade because he had to put food on the table for his family. 

Day in. Day out. 

         If he didn’t catch, the family didn’t eat.  Simple as that!

         In fact, he probably trained the young hot-shots that are now blazing by him in the big cruisers.  Chances are it’s one of his kids.  And he knowingly smiles.

         But, he’s probably forgotten more about fishing than the youngsters will ever know.  I’ve always been of the mind that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

         You might have mad sharp skills, but if you spend so much time relying on technology to do your thinking for you, the skills get dull.  It’s like forgetting how to multiply because now you have a calculator.

         They guy running the panga still relies on generations of knowledge.   I’ll ride with THAT guy!

         Frankly, I’d rather have a great captain on a so-so boat than a great boat with a so-so captain.  I don’t need 10 deckhands.  I don’t need an air-conditioned salon. 

         No doubt they are nice and good to have.  But, if I had to bare-bones fish, I’ll take old Santiago in his skiff.  His years of knowledge pitted against hi-tech fiberglass wonders is priceless.  

         Maybe a vanishing breed.  A vanishing style.

         The new age is upon us, but don’t throw out the old school just yet.

Like watching an old movie and seeing Cowboy Bob on his trusty horse getting the girl and catching the bad guy over the Fancy Dan in his horseless carriage.

         So, there they were amid all the big guns with names like “Liquid Gold” with owners from Wyoming. And the Florida team riding on “Tropical Chubasco” or the young turks from New York on “Bull Market.”

         We see “Pepe’s Panga” and there was “La Loca” and “Cazador” pulling right up along-side them.  Ready to charge.

         And sometimes win.  I’ve seen it.  The little pangas that could! .

         Hard not to root for them and cheer all the louder.

That’s my story!

 

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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SIX MONTHS DIFFERENCE…It’s A START!

SIX MONTHS DIFFERENCE…IT’s A START!

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 10, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications.

 

          Last week was my first visit to a major Mexican tourist hub.

         Six months ago last June, I flew back into Baja after it had been locked down for Covid quarantine for 3 months.  It was eerie.

         When my plane landed at Los Cabos Airport, my plane was not just the only plane that landed.  It was the only plane in sight. 

Period.

         There was not a single plane on the runway which was completely empty.  There were no ground crews to be seen.  No little luggage carts being pulled by tractor vehicles.  There was not a single person to be seen.

         Anywhere.

         It was like the proverbial zombie apocalypse.     

         Inside the airport, it was likewise empty.  Just a handful of people waiting at immigration.  Only a handful in the line at customs. I passed through and out to the street in five minutes.

         Outside, the usual gamut of barkers offering rental cars, shuttle transportation and time-share condos were incredibly absent. 

         The normally crowded waiting area where shuttle drivers met arriving clients was virtually empty.  Come to think of it, so was the parking lot that is usually jammed with vans and busses.

         Once away from the airport, streets were largely deserted. 

         Businesses were mostly shuttered-closed or had very little traffic.

         The bustling area around the Cabo San Lucas Marina had almost no people.  No one wandering around.  No street vendor hawking jewelry, cigars or snorkel trips.

Restaurants and hotels were barely open.  Boat traffic was minimal if anything.  Maybe a panga here and there or water taxi.  No sportfishers or cruise ships in sight.

Away from the marina, it was so desolate you would swear you could hear the breeze whistle through the empty streets and you expected a tumbleweed to go blowing by. . .or a chicken.

Well, all of that surely seems to be over for the most part.

There are still restrictions in place and they are heavily enforced.  But, quarantine requirements have abated.  Somewhat.  

Everyone still wears masks.

Social distancing is very evident everywhere although difficult to enforce.

At the crowded tourist restaurants, your temperature is taken and you’ll probably get a squirt of sanitizing gel.

But, they do count heads.  If the restaurant is at capacity, you’ll have to wait.

Bars that do not serve food remain closed. Inspectors are closing other businesses that do not respect the safety protocols.

Other than that, Cabo almost seemed normal.  It was definitely different than 6 months ago.

Although it was not as crowded as normal, the airport sure seemed like it was back to capacity with numerous flights coming and going.  Planes were full from what I could see.

It took 2-hours to get our rental car even though we had reservations.

The hotels actually had people in them.  The Tourism Board says most places have about a 30% occupancy now.  Way down, but surely way up from 6 months ago. 

The hotel pools were jammed with people.  Difficult to social distance when everyone is doing shooters at the swim-up bar! 

The beaches were lively although there was no trouble finding a spot for your umbrella and towel.

Street traffic seemed as busy as normal. This was especially true in the non-tourist areas where people went about their daily business.

There were no cruise ships parked in the bay.  However, there was a constant stream of sporfishing vessels, tour boats, snorkel and scuba boats and booze cruises going in-and-out of the Cabo Marina. 

At night, town wrapped up by 8 or 9 p.m. or so.  Far different than normal and the streets got quiet. 

But earlier than that, most places for food and nightlife seemed operational if quite a bit under capacity.  Obviously, businesses were still working at reduced hours.  And reduced staff.

But, at least they were open.

It’s going to be a long slow road to recovery.  But, it was good to see lights on and life trying to get back to normal again.

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 http://www.tailhunter-international.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:
http://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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SAFE AS IT’s GONNA GET?

SAFE AS IT’S GONNA GET? 

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 3, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications.

The Cabo San Lucas Marina…pretty much business as usual with boat traffic although foot traffic was relatively light.

_________________________

    Since the Covid Pandemic hit us last March in Baja, I’ve been been watching things pretty carefully.  I have to.  Being in the travel-activity industry, it’s pretty mandatory.

 

     In that time, I’ve watched us down here go from pretty much completely “RED” (complete stringent shutdown…harsher than the U.S.)…

     ….To “ORANGE” (open but with  strong mandatory restrictions still in place)..

     …..To “YELLOW” (open with a huge easing of restrictions) since September.

 

     Being in the “yellow” has been a huge economic breath for so many of us.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses were allowed up to 50% occupancy.  Beaches and recreational areas were opened.  Churches, gyms, theaters and other “non-essential” businesses could finally open their doors.

 

     It has not quite been “business as normal” but it’s as close-to-it- as we have seen most of the year.  I think most of us down here have gotten used to it and we’re learning to live with it. 

 

     So many businesses didn’t survive.  The rest of us are just trying to stay afloat as well as possible.

 

     We would surely like to have thing completely open and in the “GREEN” level, but few of us think that’s going to happen anytime soon. 

 

     As with most governments around the world, the folks who make the decisions walk the tightrope trying to balance public safety against economic stagnation.

 

     Will we get to normal by 2021?  Short of some miracle vaccine or it’s equal, I kinda doubt it.  But, bigger brains than mine struggle with those issues.

 

     I will share with you that based on talking to our American clients that have visited us this year, most were surprised about their vacations.

 

     “I think it was safer than being back home in the U.S.  It surely was not any more dangerous” seemed to be the general consensus.

 

     As one of my fishermen told me who visited us twice this year, “I think there are so many safety protocols in place from the time I hit the airport; to the time I reach my hotel . . .hen while I’m in Mexico . . .hat I feel perfectly safe.  The tourist areas seem especially antiseptic with everyone very conscious about sanitation.”

 

     He’s already booked for next year.

 

     In fact, judging from reservations for 2021, it looks like a good year.  Covid or no Covid.

 

     Airlines are flying again.  In fact, several airlines have added or are in the process of adding more flights to Baja. 

 

     I know that for us in La Paz, for the first time in almost a decade, there will be direct flights from the U.S. starting in December. 

 

     I am also reading that some of the airlines are putting back that middle seat or from several flights that I have taken this year, there’s no more social distancing on the flights. They’ve been packed. Sold out.

 

     So, the airlines must be banking on the uptake in tourism to Baja.

 

     I think as an alternative destination, travelers will find Mexico overall a lot more attractive than Europe, Asia or other places which are experiencing another surge in Covid.  And many aren’t too keen to welcome Americans right now anyway.

 

     Pragmatically speaking, if there is a shutdown again, it’s a lot easier to get home from Baja than it is fromEngland or Italy, right? 

 

     My wife and I were supposed to be on a 3-week lifetime trip to South Africa right now.  In hindsight, South Africa would not have been a good place to be stuck.

 

     Even if you’re not flying, it’s not so hard to drive either.

 

     OK, I know there’s this “travel ban” on the border that has been in place for most of the year.  The governments of both Mexico and the U.S. have given no indication when (or if) it’s going to be removed.

 

     But, there’s several things to keep in mind.

 

     First, it does NOT apply to entering Mexico by flying, rail or water.

 

     Secondly, for all practical purposes, it seems to be more of a “suggestion” than an actual mandate.  I know plenty of folks who have driven right through the border without issue.  Some have driven several times. Some do it on a regular basis.

 

     In fact, that’s one of the complaints that has become devisive among the Mexican folks along the borders.

 

     Many decry the apparent “freeflow” of traffic from the U.S.  Keeping in mind the high Covid rates among Americans.

 

     But, there’s a huge contingency that wants and needs those tourism and business dollars that also flow into the country from Americans.

 

     So, it really just is-what-it-is.  That’s the bottom line.

 

     Mostly what I’m hearing from folks booking reservations next year is that Covid or no Covid, they’re coming.  Vaccine or no vaccine they’re coming. 

 

     For better or worse.  Most think it can’t be any worse than it is and frankly a lot of folks are just tired of having been kept home this last year.  Just my two centavos. 

 

     Vamos a ver…we’ll just have to see.

 

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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THINGS I WOULD HAVE TOLD MYSELF

On the beach in 1996. I had no idea this would turn into a new career.

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 27, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

          Almost 3 decades down here in Baja now.  I’m not sure I’m “older and wiser” now.  Definitely older. 

         But I was thinking of things I would have (should have?)  told my younger-self back then when I first moved down here that would have made things so much more enlightening and surely easier.

For one, coming from the life of a litigation attorney to a remote part of Baja, I would have told myself to SLOW-THE-HECK-DOWN!   It took a long time to get off the clock.

It took a long time to realize that just because I was running fast, no one was going to run faster to keep up with me and what I wanted or needed.  I would have to adjust and take it down a few notches.

Actually I had to take it way way way down!

Related to that first thing…not that I had a lot of money…but money doesn’t  necessarily make things go faster either.  Things will happen when they happen.

I definitely would have told myself not to be so gullible. 

“Si” (Yes) does not always mean “yes.”  “No” doesn’t always mean “no.” 

Folks aren’t necessarily lying to you.  It means what it means at the time it is said.  It is ALWAYS subject to “re-interpretation” later by the person who said that to me in the first place. 

So, flexibility, patience and adaptability are good to keep close-at-hand.

Again, not that I had a lot of money.  But, I would have told myself there is no such thing as a loan.

The person may ask for a “loan.”  But, honestly, they really probably needed the money more than I did.  They may call it a “loan.”  They may promise to pay it back.

But, in 25 years, I have only had one person ever pay me back.  And it was 4 years later!

A “loan” is really a “gift.”  Don’t loan money or anything else you can’t afford to lose.

I would tell myself never drive off without these things in the car:

  1. Jumper cables
  2. Duct tape and electrical tape
  3. 20 bucks in small bills or pesos hidden somewhere in the car for an emergency
  4. A spare tire
  5. Toilet paper and a shovel

I would have also told myself not to have been so terrified the first time I drove down the Baja Peninsula.  I had read too many stories.  Now that I’ve driven it dozens of times, it’s a wonderful drive that only gets better.

To, my list of things, I would have mentioned, that truly “less is more.”

I brought down way too much stuff that 3 decades later, I am still burdened with.   Did I really need over 100 rods and reels?  Did I really need 200 pounds of tackle?  Did I really need two trailers full of other odds-and-ends?

Along those same lines, I would have told myself that it’s possible to get by with very little and on very little.  I would learn to adapt. I sure learned now to stretch a peso!

 I would learn to fix things.  I would learn that it’s easier to fix something or make do than to run around all day trying to find a replacement.  Or maybe, I was just too lazy. 

I would have smacked myself and told my younger-self to not be so nervous about eating local food.  Oh sure, everyone loves tacos.  But, real Mexican food is NOT like in the U.S.  Eat what everyone eats.  Eat where everyone eats. 

I would have advised myself that getting excited about “living off the grid” is not “living off the grid” like the reality-show people on TV. Real reality is completely different.

I would wake up in the morning with food the first thing on my mind.  Not because I wanted to eat.  It was because I would have to figure out HOW to get food each day.  Catch it?  Trade for it? Find it? Pull it from the ground or ocean?

No grocery stores.  No restaurants where I lived.

Living off the grid required some serious thought. There’s no safety net. 

Digging a well just to have drinking water.   Hooking up marine batteries to make one light bulb work. 

Treating ice like gold because that was the only way to keep my food.  No frig.  Only an ice chest in 100-degree heat.

Hoping to catch a fish for dinner because that’s all there was.  Hoping some desert critter didn’t eat my tomato plant required critical thinking and planning.

I had never imagined those things when I moved down.

I would tell myself that there is nothing you cannot trade for. When money is scarce, barter works just as well.  Trade tomatoes for meat.  Fish for writing paper.  Cigarettes for beer.  Old t-shirts for tortillas.

I would have told myself that I would meet some of the best friends in my life and come to appreciate and love a people and culture like no other.

I would never have figured that I’d also meet my awesome wife and two great kids.  That was not part of the plan.  (Not sure I would have told myself that…maybe romance is best left as a surprise!)

Mostly, I think I would have told myself that it was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. It was going to be an incredible experience.  It was going to be the best thing I had ever done and something most people would never experience.

I would have reminded myself that it’s better to try something than have regrets later on.

Lastly, I would have told myself there was no language barrier that a smile could not overcome. 

I would have told myself that everything was going to be just fine .

That’s my story!

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

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

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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SMALL CO-INCIDENCES…LITTLE BLESSINGS

Originally Published the Week of Oct. 20, 2020 in Western Outdoor Publications

_____________________

It’s been a helluva year, hasn’t it?

Definitely one for the books and a year none of us will ever forget.  It’s been unlike any year in history if you think about it.  Surely, in our lifetimes.

…and it’s not over yet.

…and it’s not going to change automatically just because the calendar flips to 2021 in two months.  Or because the crazy election is over in November. 

We simply don’t know.  Maybe it will get worse.  Quien sabe?  Who knows?

I was thinking about that the other day.  It could get worse?  Really?

For ourselves, how many more punches to the nose can we take and still remain standing?

And while I was sitting there sinking into “bluesville” and edging into feeling sorry for myself…

My wife, Jilly nudged me as she often does and interrupted my thoughts.  She’s always looking at her cellphone.

“Hey, look at this photo of the grandkids!  Pretty cute aren’t they?”

A cellphone with two grinning little ones was shoved into my face. 

…and I laughed.

Yea. They are pretty cute at that. 

“Remember that last time when we had them over for that barbecue? We had the huge blow-up pool from Walmart all set up and we all jumped in and splashed around with them?”

Actually, I do.  And it was a lot of fun.  Silly fun with silly grandkids and sillier adults.

And it made me smile.

Maybe it was more than just serendipitous co-incidence that she had nudged me.

Divine intervention? 

A poke from the galactic powers of the universe to sit up and take notice and stop whining?

There really were a lot of reasons to smile. 

In the middle of all the insanity, there were and are many blessings.

In fact, at the time this happened, my toes were buried in warm sand.

On a beach. At the ocean… in the sunshine… under a palapa with a plate of shrimp and a cold beer.

How terrible is that?

Only reason for that was business was slow. Like all businesses. Bummer.  Had a few hours to kill.

We live about 30 yards from the water’s edge.  Gosh…we run a fishing operation in Baja where I daily have to push boats into the water by hand up to my waist in the waves. 

Our restaurant is on the waterfront steps from the bay.

And I realized this was the first time in more than five years that I had actually taken time with my wife to sit on the beach. 

Because business was slow.

But, here I was.  Able to  sit and enjoy and put my toes in the sand and jump into the water…not for work.  Just for the heck of it.

We had snuck away from work for just a few precious hours. 

And then all the other stolen moments…that we never get to do normally.

Dinner out with clients.

Taking time to smoke a cigar and have a beer with friends.

Time with the kids and watching the grandkids grow up.

Watch a movie on TV from beginning-to-end without having to watch it in 30-minute increments over a week.

All the home dinners where Jill and I got to play in the kitchen and actually have real conversations.

Occasional naps.

I actually finished a book or two.

I had time to do some gardening and construction projects

Take a walk.

All the little unusual blessings in the maelstrom of a turbulent year.

I NEVER do these things.  I never have time to do these things running our businesses. 

Forced “time out.”

And, all those other things?

Ultimately, they were just “inconveniences.”  Most things we don’t like in life are just that…inconveniences.

There aren’t that many things in life that are “critical” if you have your health and family.

This just happened to be a year of more than incredible “inconveniences.”

We all had our health.

Wearing masks…inconvenience.

Social distancing…(sigh)…inconvenience.

No restaurants…movies…parks…sports…inconvenience.

No more than 2 persons in a car…inconvenience.

Re-runs on Netflix and Roku…inconvenience.

Getting completely sanitized before they let you into any building…inconvenience.

Standing in line at 4 a.m. for groceries and toilet paper…BIG STUPID INCONVENIENCE.

Waiting 40-deep at markets for beer here in Baja when they shut down the breweries (non-essential business)…MAYBE THE BIGGEST STUPIDEST INCONVENIENCE OF ALL!

But we endured.  And we endure s’more.

Many many many folks here in Baja and everywhere in the world have it so much worse than us. It’s beyond critical. It’s tragic.

There’s a zillion conflicts and turmoils swirling everywhere. 

But right now.  Right then… Next to my wife on a sunny beach in Mexico is a blessing.

Will have to clean up and get back to work in an hour or so.

But, I gotta remember to savor these little moments. Little co-incidences.  Little blessings.  Little miracles.

Please pass me another beer.

And thank you, Lord.   Thank you galactic powers of the universe.

For small blessings and little miracles. And co-incidences.

And the occasional poke in the side.

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 »