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Posts Tagged ‘gringos in mexico’

“STAY OR GO? “

Looking ominous!

Looking ominous!

STAY OR GO? 

Originally Published the Week of June 9, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

You’ve been looking forward to this Baja fishing vacation for ages. You’re all set. Baja is calling you. You can taste that frosty margarita and you’ve packed and re-packed your fishing gear a zillion times.

Checklist. Passport? Got it. Toothbrush? Check. Hat and camera? Roger. Extra socks. Are you kidding? Extra underwear? Hmmmm…nah…you’ll just rinse your shorts in the sink.   Unnecessary clothes add weight that could be used for packing fish on the way home!

Even moreso, you’ve promised your boss, co-workers and your mother-in-law you’d bring them all some fish. However, the minute you walk out that door, you’re turning off your cell phone and e-mails.

You’re already humming Jimmy Buffet tunes.

And then, you hear the news. What? Oh no. A storm? A hurricane? Rain on MY vacation? No! No! No! Please oh please no!

It starts with a little blurb on CNN or the little rolling banner at the bottom of the TV screen. But, it’s a slow news day and now your evening news picks it up too. A dozen words of dread. You would swear they did it just to jab you.

“In other news, for you vacationers, there could be a big storm brewing a thousand miles south of Cabo San Lucas. And now back to Joe on the scene with his story about talking monkeys…”

And pretty soon, everyone on your Facebook page is telling you about it because, of course, they all know you’re headed to Baja! They start sending you graphic images of the weather map showing the tell-tale whirling cloud clusters. As if you didn’t know.

Your e-mail box is getting pinged as well. Well-meaning or envious friends are writing.

“Hey, duuuude, I think you’re screwed. Did you know that there’s this big storm…” Man, that’s not cool.”

Whoa…underwear is really bunching up. This can’t be happening. You’re trying to get some answers and the folks who booked you may or may not be responding.   Your buddies are getting into panic mode as well. Rumors are flying.

“Man, I heard from a friend of a friend who was reading online that…”

“The word around town is that…”

This is snowballing. Badly. How do you calm your beating heart and reduce the pucker factor?

Well, keep trying to get in touch with your charter or hotel or booking agent, or whoever booked you. This is where it helps to have someone who actually lives where you are going.   An agent who lives in Seattle might not be much help.

Remember that they have a vested interest in you coming down. No one likes handing back refunds. So, take their opinion with a grain of salt and accept it for what it is. The good ones will give you an honest assessment of the pros and cons so YOU can make an informed decision.

Get online and look up the weather forecast yourself! It seems like the most logical thing, but many folks don’t take that first step. There are websites a-plenty including the National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and many others.

Even for those of us who live here, believe me. We don’t have mystic powers.  We look at those services as well. That’s how we get our weather information. So go straight to the source.   If you ask us, we’re often going to give you the same information you can see for yourself.

That doesn’t mean you should discount what your outfitter, captain or charter guy says.   Sometimes, there’s a lot of value to having someone simply stick their head out the window and tell you if they see storm clouds or bright sunshine!

Your nightly news might have grabbed the story, but a storm 1000 miles away can do many things before it hits landfall.   It could easily peter out. It could veer off. It could turn into a drizzle.

Don’t get worked up for no reason or without all the facts. Or for something that isn’t even a certainty.

Call your airlines. If they are flying in, chances are, it’s OK. But it’s just one more bit of fact to weigh-in.

Here in La Paz, we had something like 18 storm warnings last year in an El Nino season. Only a handful ever dropped rain on us although one of them was a doozy and became the historic hurricane named “Odile.”

As I write this, there’s a storm warning. “Blanca”is heading our way. Everyone is jumpy. The weather forecast changes by the hour. Angst runs high. The memory of what Odile did to us is still fresh.

It’s the 2nd such storm in about that many weeks. The last one, “Andrea” got everyone worked up too.

When it “hit” us…there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Not a drop of rain.  In 4 days, it went “poof!” Adios.   Andrea did rain on someone’s parade way out in the Pacific, but not on Baja.  We fished as usual.

With lower Baja so close to the equator, storms can just be part of life. It’s tropical. Storms blow through. With this current El Nino weather pattern, more storms than normal will be around.

Storms come up sometimes with zero notice and unleash for 15 minutes then disappear. It can be raining in one area, but 100 yards away no rain falls at all.

The weather forcast can show “rain”, but it rains in the mountains 20 miles away which are technically part of the city. In the city folks ar eating ice-cream cones with not a cloud in the sky.

That’s when simply asking someone to look out the window can be worth it’s weight in pesos.

Get all the facts. Make a good decision before you cancel your plans and have to tell your boss you’re not bringing him any fish.

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-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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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young fisherman

DREAMS SO CLOSE

Originally Published the Week of May 26, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

Everyone has story. One of the joys of living here in Baja is finding out how other folks ended up here cast upon these frontier shores. I get asked all the time.

As interesting as some folks might think my own exodus is, I think other people have a far more compelling tale.

We’ve all heard the stories of undocumented folks who braved the fences, the coyotes, the elements, law enforcement and more to come to the U.S.   I don’t want to get into the ugly politics of all that. It’s a big issue no doubt.

Jaime is a young man, I often see down at the fishing docks. We often chat. He picks up odd jobs cleaning boats and doing light maintenance around the docks. At night, he works part-time as a bartender.

“I make about $20/day when there’s work. Sometimes, there’s no work.”

Jaime grew up in Loreto. Dad took off. Mom passed away early. He had a younger brother and they moved in with a kindly tia…auntie…who had her own hard-scrabble life, but took them in.

As a kid he loved working on the fishing boats and pangas and often got invited to be an ayudante (deckhand) as he got older. He got pretty good. The extra money from the gringos helped a lot.

An older gringo with a small cruiser took a shine to the smart youngster and his fishing talents. With each passing season, Jaime fished more and more with the gringo.

From ayudante, he found himself running the boat and charters for the gringo. The bond became quite paternal. It was hard not to like this skinny good-natured-hard-working kid with the big smile.

Just after his 18th birthday, the gringo bought him a ticket to visit him in Las Vegas. Jaime had never really gone to far beyond the rusticity of Loreto so you can imagine the impression Las Vegas had on the young man.

The Gringo had a flourishing air-conditioning business there in the desert of high-rises and neon. A widower for many years, he had a big house and a big heart.

He asked Jaime to stay. Over the next few years, he taught Jaime to repair air-conditioners. He enrolled him in night courses to get his high school GED. The bright Jaime was a quick-study. He also proudly got his citizenship.

“I was so happy. It was like a dream come true to come from living in an old block and wood house in Loreto to having a job and education and being part of the a great country.” He looked wistfully away. “I was making sixty-dollars-an-hour and it was like being a king.”

He always had an interest in marine biology and planned to enroll at the UNLV.

He applied for loans and grants, but while waiting to enroll he was so motivated, “I would go to the university and just sit in on math and science classes and take a desk in the back so I could listen. It was so interesting and exciting. I couldn’t wait.”

Then, he got a collect call from his brother who was still back in Loreto.

After all those years, dad had shown up again. Kid brother was living with dad. Kid brother had gotten into some trouble and had called from jail. Dad had a heart attack and died.

Please come home to help. You’re needed.

Dutifully, Jaime packed up for a short trip back to Loreto.

In the ensuing weeks, he spent all his money taking care of his father’s funeral and affairs. He lent money to other family and friends. Everyone had a hand out. His brother’s legal woes drained the rest.

Eventually, he ended up here in La Paz at one of the larger hotels. Trying to earn enough money to go “home” to the U.S. while working as a maintenance worker wasn’t going to be easy.

And then, he got a phone call from Las Vegas.

The gringo had suddenly passed away from a stroke.   There was no place to go home to now.

Jaime worked two years struggling and trying to make ends meet on Mexican minimum wage which was about $8 a day.

“I think of how lucky I had been to live in the United States and how much I missed my friend and the work. It seemed my dreams had come true.”

And then the hotel went on strike. And the doors closed. The hotel held all his funds and benefits in their accounts. And he was out of work.

It has been 7 years now. The hotel has never re-opened. He still holds hope that someone will buy the hotel and his funds will be released. Interest has been accruing and he says, “It’s enough to go back to the United States.”

But, it doesn’t look promising.

So, he bounces from odd jobs to odd jobs. His work ethic hasn’t changed and he’s creative and industrious…and hopeful.

“To me, I had it all. I’m stuck here but I still have the American dream of being better. I still want to go to school and be a marine biologist. With God’s help…

His voice trails off. He sighs.

“I have to go clean some boats,” he says. And walks off.

The news is packed with stories of those who arrive illegally and stay. Some try to do it the right way. And still the dream eludes. So close…

That’s my story!

Jonathan signature

_______________

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-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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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On any given day in the Sea of Cortez, anything can happen!

On any given day in the Sea of Cortez, anything can happen!

PREPARE FOR THE WORST?

Originally Published the Week of May 14, 2015 in Western Outdoor News

I’m often asked about what kind of gear to bring or for suggestions about gear for coming to fish here in Baja.   Depending on the time of year, location, or species sought, that response can get pretty lengthy.

Given what airlines charge for travelling with your gear and just all the hassle of hauling it around, there’s a thin line between bringing too much stuff and not enough. Of course, we want to bring ALL our toys to play with, right?

There’s that old saying about “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” When that’s applied to Baja fishing that doesn’t have to be so cryptically sinister or mean anything bad.

To me, that means if you’re going to put a bait or lure in Baja waters, you never know what’s going to happen. Be prepared for the “worst” …to get your backside kicked and handed to you at any time or any place!

I’m reminded of a time when I was out on the panga perhaps almost 20-years-ago. I was personally guiding an amigo who wanted to go out and fish light tackle.

Being from Washington, the guy brought a lengthy salmon rod…small…thin…whippy and about 8’ long. It was rigged with 20-pound test.

With my captain on the tiller, we motored out’ve the small bay. We had just passed over the drop-off where the turquoise waters gradually turned to the deep cobalt of the Sea of Cortez. We were still within a few hundred yards of the shore.

Anything can happen.

A few tossed handfuls of sardines and we got swarmed by a school of small dorado. My guy pinned on a bait. Fish on! Instant bendo.

On the light rod, it was a kick. I kept the fish around with chum. He caught and released 1…2…3 fish and had the biggest grin. This was exactly what he came for. “This is better than salmon fishing for sure!” he grunted between lifting and cranking.

Fish number four took a deep dive under the panga and my guy leaned hard into the thin rod as it strained in a near-parabolic arc.   The drag sang.

And then it stopped. And the strain on the rod diminished although the line remained taught. Strangely the line was coming up. At a weird angle.

Suddenly, my captains started yelling, “Marlina grande! Marlina grande.”

There off the starboard side a big marlin came up through the blue. Like a big greyish-blue submarine surfacing through the depths, the marlin was laconically swimming aside us.

And it had a small dorado in crosswise in it’s mouth! And my guy’s hook was in the in the mouth of the dorado! And the drag started to squeal again…Oh-oh…

“What do I do?” he yelled.

I instructed him to keep a high stick and told the captain to start the motor! It’s not like this kind of thing happens to me all the time.

And there we were, now attached to a dorado… that was attached to a marlin seemingly happily making it’s way. It was like a big aquatic dog that has a big bone in it’s mouth. Not a care in the world.

My guy couldn’t set the hook. The hook was in the dorado. All he would do was hang on!   And that’s what we did as the big marlin leisurely bulled through the small waves oblivious to us.

No one was gonna believe this.   What could we do? Watch and grin. It wasn’t exactly under our control at this point.

After about 50 yards, the big fish started submerging on a gentle decline. In no particular hurry it was headed deeper.

The rod and reel took on the full weight of the fish.

“I can still feel the dorado shaking his head!” said my fisherman incredulously.

Wow. I figured this wasn’t going to last long. Something was going to give. I mean, 20-pound-test-line and a salmon rod is like hunting elephants with a b.b. gun.

Down went the big fish. Out spun the line. The rod strained, arched and doubled and looked like it was going to break as we stopped the panga. The entire front end of the rod was now in the water.   I had no doubts who would win this tug-of-war!

Then…SPROING! The rod suddenly went slack. Oh no! The inevitable happened. Story-book fish gone!

All three of us momentarily exhaled in a communal shrug. Limp rod. Limp line. Happy but limp spirits to go with it.

And then the rod suddenly arched again and the line zinged tight…And we were on again!

And, in the time it took to type this sentence…a wahoo goes ballistic out’ve the water snagged on the hook and line!

WHOA!!! And before the words could barely leave our mouths. SNAP! The line cut.

And the waters went silent. And the rod went straight…again. And we looked at each other…again. And broke out laughing.

No one would ever believe this.   A sardine bait became a dorado…became a marlin…became a wahoo. Became an incredible story.

You just never know what’s gonna happen when you fish Baja waters. Prepare for the “worst!” But really. Nothing could have prepared us for what happened that day.

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-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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 8030 La Mesa, Suite #178, La Mesa CA  91942

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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Like any job, sometimes things get lost in the hustle an bustle and you can't see the forest for the trees...even when running a fishing business.  But, every now and then, life sends little reminders that open your eyes.

Like any job, sometimes things get lost in the hustle an bustle and you can’t see the forest for the trees…even when running a fishing business. But, every now and then, life sends little reminders that open your eyes.

LIFE’S POST-IT NOTES

Originally Published the Week of January 17, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

STORIES

At a recent fishing and hunting expo we were in our booth “meeting and greeting” the public and talking about fishing in La Paz with our fleet.

Two of our long-time clients, Rick and Harvey walked up to talk about their upcoming trip.  They quietly mentioned that Larry, one of the regulars in the fishing group had suddenly passed away the previous month.

“He was already not feeling quite right and had a biopsy just before the trip to La Paz.  The doctors told him he probably shouldn’t go on the trip,” said Rick.

“We didn’t know anything about it,” said Harvey.  “But in hindsight we think he must’ve known something  was  really bad and decided to make the trip anyway. Boy, he sure had fun and enjoyed himself fishing with you guys.”

“Sadly, it was his last trip,” reflected Rick. “None of us knew…”

________________

At another public appearance, I was approached by 3 gentleman.  One was obviously, much older than the others.  He was walking slightly bent, but had a firm handshake and a ready smile!  He also had a small oxygen tank attached.  His name was Paul.

“I’m 98 years old!” he proudly announced to me with a grin.  “Do you know why I still love to fish at 98 years old?”

“Why? we said in unison.

“For the Hal-i-but!” he laughed aloud tickled to have caught us in his playfulness.

“Wanna see my big fish?” he said opening his wallet.

“Sure,”  I said warily.  Half-thinking here-we-go.  This is gonna be a long-winded fish story.

Paul proceeds to pull out a photo of a big 125 -pound yellowfin tuna being held up by a struggling fisherman.

“Caught that in La Paz when I was ONLY 89-years old!” he beamed.  I could have sworn he pushed out his chest when he said that obviously pleased at the attention of the small crowd that had gathered.

One of his friends leaned over to me and whispered, “That’s the only photo he carries in his wallet.  He’s a war vet.  He’s been all over the world.   No photos of wife.  Or kids.  Or grandkids.  Or travel.  Only that tuna photo.  And he’ll show it off anytime he gets a chance. “

________________

Son, Ron, did a knuckle-bump with me as he hoisted himself into our shuttle van to take he and dad back to the airport.  Big smiles.  “Great time!” said Ron. “What a blast.  Best fishing ever!”

I helped toss in some of the smaller luggage in to the back.

Bob, the dad, grasped my hand in his big paw.  A two-handed handshake.  “Can’t tell ya how much this trip meant.  Thanks again.”

He handed me a note as the van pulled away from the hotel and I watched it nose out of the driveway and out onto the highway.

I opened the note handwritten on some of the hotel stationery.

“Jonathan…just wanted to tell you and your wife, what a great time we had.  I never did mention to you how important this trip was for me.  My son, Ron, is actually in the military and has just been notified he’s headed to Iraq.  You and your staff made this a trip to remember and hold onto. Thanks for everything.  Bob”

_________________

I had been guiding that day and sharing a panga with Greg and Annie, a young couple from Washington.  We had a fun day.  Got some fish. Saw whales and dolphin.  Lots of laughs and “Kodak moments” all the way around.

It was fun to watch these two.  They shined. They really enjoyed each other’s company.  It was obvious that Annie was the apple of Greg’s eye.  It was just fun to be around them.

Towards the end of the day, another dorado came aboard.

“This is the last one!” laughed Greg. “No more!  We’ve got our limits and it’s getting late. Let me just get the hook out’ve this fish.”

As I watched from the stern, Greg reached into the fish’s mouth with his pliers.  Annie wasn’t paying much attention.

“What’s this?” I heard Greg say with a laugh.

Removing his hand from the fish, he produced…a ring…a tiny shiny gold ring !

Annie and I both looked on.  Astonished yet not quite sure what Greg had found.  The little diamond gleamed in the sun.

Greg took a knee to the deck in front of Annie as the sun started to set behind him.  He held out the ring.

“Annie…I love you.  Would you like to live happily ever after?”

_______________

I’m often told that I’m “living the dream” down here working in Baja.  But often times, it’s a job like any job, no matter how much I love it.

Especially when the season is in full swing.  It can be a blur of customers and friends.  Sunshine and fish.  Luggage and equipment.  One day sometimes seems like the 10 others before it.  Frantic at times.  Boring and routine at others. Stressful and mundane and then panic and tension in a wink.

But, every now and then, an unexpected bit of reality smacks you in the head and heart.  There are amazing moments of clarity when someone says or does something and I realize how truly blessed to be able to do what we do.

We are witness to the special moments in the lives of our customers and friends.  Every day.

It’s the biggest fish.  It’s the great laughs.  It’s the family times.  It’s the first time.  It’s the only time.

It’s the last time.

Sometimes life drops these little reality checks on those of us who get to do jobs like this. And it reminds us that we truly are privileged and honored to be asked to spend this time with you “livin’ the dream.”

That’s our 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-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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com

U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745

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

Phones:

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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Mexic is a wonderful country, but many differences in Mexico suggest you just go with the flow and slow down a bit.

EASY TO TAKE FOR GRANTED

Originally Published the Week of June 2, 2012 in Western Outdoor News Publications

Over the many years of watching gringos come and go down here in Baja, both tourists and ex-pats alike,  I think the biggest issue I see is how much is taken for granted. We assume so much.  And often are so surprised. 

 

I faced it myself when I first moved down here.  I continue to run into things that make me scratch my head or cock an eyebrow.  Coming from the U.S. or other countries, we just assume certain things are “a given.”

 

Like water. . .

 

You turn on the tap and water comes out.  Usually, as much as you want.  Here in Mexico, that’s not always so.  If you ever see the big plastic black tanks on top of people’s homes and businesses, those are water storage units.  Water only comes several times a week.  At a trickle.  Only at certain times of the day. 

 

If you run out, you run out until they turn on the main source again.  Sometimes they don’t have enough water to send.  Sometimes, the water doesn’t get turned on.  You have to deal with it.  Sometimes you have to hire a truck to bring you water, like our restaurant, if there’s no water, it’s hard to run a restaurant.

 

At hotels you just use as much water as you want, but most tourists don’t realize that the water is actually coming many times for a storage tank at the  hotel that has to be filled by a truck almost daily.

 

Like mail. . .

 

How often do you see a Mexican mail box?  Yes, there’s a post office, but most folks don’t know where it is.  You never see anyone delivering mail.  When you have a bill, often the company hires a guy on a bike to drive around and toss the mail at your house or business.

 

If it lands under the car or in a bush, too bad.  You’re still responsible for paying the bill.  Also, most folks will line up for hours at the cable, phone or electric company to pay their bills. They don’t send them in the mail.  (But then again..most folks don’t have checking accounts either!)

 

If you do send by mail, it can take days or weeks for arrival!

 

Like phones. . .

 

Simple.  You get a phone.  You pay the bill.  You should have phone service, right?   NOT.  Many parts of Baja and Mexico are still pretty remote.  Phone service is spotty or non-existent. Even in major metro areas, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get a signal. 

 

Correspondingly, we are used to pretty much being able to resolve anything with a phone call.  If you pick up the phone to call for help, a service, information, or any of the myriad things, it doesn’t mean anything.  It just means your phone works.  It doesn’t mean you are any closer to resolving your issue. Prepare to be put on hold…forever! Or the department you want is not available. Or no longer exists. Or the line simply goes dead!

 

Like Service. . .

 

We often make jokes about the cable guy or the washing machine guy taking all day to make a home visit back in the U.S.  10 a.m. could mean 3 p.m.

 

That would be “express” service in Mexico. They’ll get there when they get there. It’s just the way it is.  Best thing is to get used to it!

 

There’s a general rule that if you’re told “manana”  (tomorrow) three times, it’s best to find someone else.

 

Also, don’t assume they’ll have the part either…(see the next section).  Usually it means, checking out the problem and then coming back…”manana!”

 

 

Like Repairs. . .

 

North of the border, something is busted…your car…a light switch…the air-conditioner…a TV…something in the garden…the sink or toilet…

 

You call someone or run to Home Depot or Walmart.  Another wrong assumption.  In the Mexican version of Murphy’s law, the more you need the thing (like a stopped up toilet or your car) the greater the likelihood, no one will have your part or it has to be ordered from someplace else.  Which is further complicated because remember…no mail service!

 

Like Traffic. . .

 

We make fun of drivers in Mexico.  But, you do NOT need to take a driving test to get a license in Mexico.  You need to take a blood test!  Yes, that’s right.  You take a blood test and you then take the results to the Mexican DMV.  Vampires or people with strange driving diseases are not allowed to get a license.  Whether you know the rules of the road are irrelevant.  If your blood is red and you can touch the peddles and brakes, you’re good to go.

 

And speaking of good-to-go…don’t assume anyone stops at stop signs…signals when they turn…stays in their lanes…has headlights or break lights…knows how to read…or can see above the dashboard!  Things that we normally assume are a given when we drive elsewhere!

 

That being said, there seems to be fewer traffic accidents because people drive defensively and everyone drives the same! 

 

 

Like Food…

 

How often I get asked, “Where do we go for real Mexican food? We want to eat where the locals eat!”  The assumption is that they want the authentic version of a Mexican chain restaurant like we see in the state.  Enchiladas…Tacos…Margaritas…chips and salsa.  Surely, there must be one on every street corner!

 

Actually, places that have that kind of fare are “Americanized” Mexican restaurants.  And, usually if you find a restaurant like that, you’ll usually find tourists and gringos there also thinking they’re eating “real Mexican food.”

 

Go where you see the locals eat and you’ll find seafood places…beef places…tacos stands…hot dog carts (yes hot dog carts unlike any you have ever experienced!)…You won’t be disappointed!

 

Just remember…the overall rule in Mexico…if you want it fast, it probably won’t happen.  Lower your expectations.  It’s really part of the lifestyle.  So, just go with the flow!

 

 

 

 _______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!           

 ____________________

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO


 

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745 Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico Phones: from USA : 626-638-3383 from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate

“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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To avoid a cultural faux pas FAIL, it’s important to remember which country you’re in! I forgot. HONEST!

MOTHER’S DAY FAIL!

Originally Published in Western Outdoor News the Week of May 16, 2012

I love sharing a bit of Mexican culture in these columns.

As I’m writing this, I realize I really screwed up.  Have you ever forgotten an important day of the year?  Like your anniversary?  A birthday?

Well, I forgot that today (May 10th)  is Mother’s Day!  Oops.  Fail. Scramble to make phone calls…e-greeting cards…and other face-saving measures!

You see, in my brain, Mother’s day is always the 2nd Sunday of May.  That’s May 13th in the U.S.

But here in Mexico, it’s May 10th.  Every year.  Same date.  It doesn’t matter if it’s on a Sunday, a Tuesday, a Thursday or the full moon.  May 10th is Mother’s Day and you’d better not forget it.

In Mexico, where culturally mom is the focus of pretty much everything, she is pretty much a saint.  Where the concept of the centralized family and where generations often continue to live under the same roof or everyone lives within tortilla-tossing proximity to each other, moms, grandmoms, aunties, etc. are held in high esteem.  And never so highly as on Mother’s Day.

(That’s why you NEVER EVER EVER call out a man’s mom.  Those are fighting words and one of the highest insults.  Don’t mess with a man’s mom in Mexico.)

Whereas Fathers Day barely draws a breeze, much of the country takes on a semi-holiday atmosphere.  It’s pretty much a state holiday.

Mom’s don’t go to work or take long leisurely and sometimes elegant lunches much like the Sunday brunches seen in the U.S.  Sons and family members stop working as well to enjoy the day with moms.  Offices shut down. Stores close early.  Kids sometimes play hookie and don’t go to school.  (On Mom’s day, mom is not lifting a finger…that includes driving the kids to school!).  Conversely, to keep the kids from taking the day off, many  schools hold Mother’s Day pageants and recitals and invite moms to attend.

The whole country is on the same page,  so it’s really not that big of a social impact.  It’s like the day before Christmas or that last day of school before summer vacation. No one’s head is there.  No one expects much efficiency anyway!  Not much gets done.

Some families, especially the sons, go through some elaborate expressions of adoration. Huge bouquets of flower. Rooms of flowers!  Sons will hire mariachi groups to sing outside mom’s window or all the sons will get together in the evening and serenade mom themselves accompanied by a boom box.

There will be incredible home parties either catered or home-cooked.  Often, all the guys do the cooking so the moms can have the day off.  In some homes where the mom does ALL the cooking every single meal and every single day, this might be the ONLY day of the year that the men cook or even approach the stove…sometimes to varying results!

Restaurants will have elegant brunches, lunches and dinners set out with Mothers’ Day specials and families will show up dressed in their jackets and ties, dresses and corsages as if headed for a grand social event…which is what Dia De Las Madres is in Mexico.

Historically, Dia de Las Madres was not always as we know it.  In 1922, it was brought over from the U.S, but met with significant opposition from the conservative government who attempted to use the holiday to promote the unrealistic concept of women as no more than child bearers!

Over the next decade, the powers in Mexico debated the day as either being too “patriotic” or being “too religious” with all the connotations those labels involved.   It got pretty heated and the Mexican political parties as well as the Church argued the current morals and values of the day such as empowering women, family values, country unity and basically whether women should be let out of the home!  It wasn’t just a Hallmark thing!

It wasn’t until the 40’s…to be exact in 1940, Soledad Orozco Garcia, wife of President Manuel Avilla Camacho, declared 10th May a holiday, thus making it a state-sponsored celebration  of mother’s day …and why I need to find some place that sells some quick Mothers’ Day Cards here in La Paz!  Or a boombox with a microphone!   I really messed up…

***********************

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

***************************

That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO


 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


“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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The cathedral in La Paz. In the days before cranes and hydraulic lifts and electric screw drivers, someone had to be around to lift the massive stones and drag the enormous beams into place.

A LONG AND DUSTY LINE

Originally Published the Week of May 4, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

Having lived down here for quite sometime now, it always gives me pause to see how much of the country is reliant on manual labor.  There’s nothing wrong with it.

I come from a long line of manual laborers who came over to Hawaii to work the pineapple and sugarcane fields or to Central Caliornia to pick tomatoes.  Dad used to take me out to the fields to show me what it was like and tell me, “Stay in school so you don’t have to make your living hunched over in the sun.”  As I grew up, I learned to even despise pulling weeds in the yard, let alone chopping sugar cane stock or packing tomato crates.

Here, in Mexico, unskilled labor is inexpensive and folks need the work. And there’s a lot of folks here.

For instance, after a rain storm, the “broom army” materializes.  Using nothing more high-tech than garden-variety-kitchen brooms provided by the government, scores of folks  hand sweeping the streets.  No machines.  Basic sweat-of-brow technology.

Along the highways, you may have seen them.  Long lonely stretches of desert road.  Sometimes there’s a line of them. Sometimes there’s one solitary guy that makes me wonder “Did you apply for this job?”  “Are you being punished for this?”  Are you low-man on the seniority list?”

But there he is. With a shovel.  Dirty pants.  Usually a soiled t-shirt sometimes pulled up and tucked under the chest so that their tummys are exposed. A kerchief wrapped around his faces to ward off the dust.  Tennis shoes or old torn up work-boots that look like Hernando Cortez himself brought them over from Spain.  A baseball hat of some type worn “Foreign Legion” style with a t-shirt tucked and hanging down the back.

No gloves.  No supervisor.  No support truck with an orange Igloo of water. No “roach-coach” catering truck nearby.  No handy porta-potty close either.  No warning cones or vests.  Cars come dangerously close since Mexican roads have little or no shoulders.  Cows might watch from the scrub.  Probably wondering the same thing…”What the heck are you doing out here?”

But there they are, one shovel of dirt at a time.  It’s hard to tell what the project is.  Move dirt from here to there?   Shovel the dust off the highway?  Each car or breeze that passes only blows the dust right back.  Can’t you just phone it in and say you did the job?  Collect some pesos and go home?  Who would know the difference?

Often you see “gangs” of these worker standing like sardines in a stakebed truck.  Shoulder-to-shoulder.  No sitting.  Obviously, not union.

Day-after-day…same guys or just one guy. Same stretch of road.  Heat numbing.  Mind numbing.

Sometimes, I do see them nap under whatever shade a cactus or other scrub can give them.  Nothing special.  Lie down. Tilt hat over eyes.  Siesta.  Who keeps track of time?

What got me writing about this subject is a recent visit to the old mission here in La Paz.  Visiting the historic sites that dot the California, Baja and Mexican landscape is one of my favorite things.

Whether it’s Mission San Gabriel or San Diego or Santa Barbara or the Baja missions in Loreto or San Ignacio or, as I said here in La Paz, I never tire of walking into them and spending a few moments.  Or touching the old adobe or walking the paths and tiles.

There’s something about touching a bit of history.  It’s not a re-creation like going to Universal Studios or Disneyland.  This is the same water trough where the Spanish soldiers watered their horses.  Here’s the breezeway between the rectory and the church where some padre’s sandaled feet used to walk 300 years ago. And here’s the cemetery that holds so many stories.

If you get a chance to visit or ever have.  Be quite for a moment and sit still and the history will honestly talk to you!

But, the last time I was in, I was doing just that and it occurred to me.  There’s A LOT of wood in here.  Huge thick wooden beams criss-cross and support the massive ceilings.  Massive wooden doors.  Solid hard wood benches and the ornate altar and crucifix and so many other items.

Y’know, Mexico doesn’t exactly have a lot of trees.

And the huge bells and ornaments.  The  masterpiece stained glass windows and tile work.

They didn’t just hop down to Home Depot to get these in the 1600 and 1700’s.

I’m sure the Jesuit padres and the Spanish conquistadores did hard work, but I don’t envision, Sargeant Garcia and Friar Antonio making bricks or dragging huge chunks of lumber over the mountains.  They didn’t dig those irrigation aquaducts for the fields or paint the mission ceilings either.

Nope…they were built by some every-day Joe and Mary.  Born with a native name that was probably taken from them at their Christian baptismal and given  names like Jose and Maria.

And these are the folks who did the work. Who busted their backs often in the name of the spirit of Christianity and the promise of eternal salvation.  Only IF they learned to wear a pair of pants and help build the church.  Toil the fields. Build a wagon road.   Sweep up after the soldiers and padres.

They built quite an empire.  Same folks are still working. Still toiling in that hot Baja sun. Willing to work.  Needing to work.  I look at the guys on the side of the road as we speed by and wonder if they come from that long dusty line of laboral history. One shovel at a time.

_____________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

______________

That’s our story

Jonathan

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


“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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Opening one screen leads to another and another. In the quest for information on the "information super highway" one is often subjected to frequent sig-alert traffic jams!

“T.M.I”  (Too Much Information!)

Originally Published the Week of April 18, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

 

In the current lingo of the internet and texting, most teenagers can tell you what “TMI” means. “ Too much information.”  More than I need. 

 

When I got married a few years ago to Jilly, I wanted to surprise her for our honeymoon (no wise cracks, guys!).  So I told her I was sagely going to handle the honeymoon arrangements especially after all the work she had done for the massive wedding.  She rolled her eyes a bit and laughed.  She had her hands full anyway and she gamely expressed confidence in my  stellar organizational abilities.  In all fairness, I could’ve set up a camping trip or a Motel 6 and she’s still would have gone along cheerfully.

 

What she didn’t know was that I was secretly going to extend our honeymoon for extra days.  Some things she didn’t expect. Some things NOT in the budget…  Some ritzy hotel!  Spa!  Restaurants!  Only doing this once so might as well shoot for the moon.  The credit card was empty at the time. (ha!)

 

So, I hit the internet.  Now, this was only 3 years ago.  The last time I booked a really big deal was back in the day when I reached into dad’s car and grabbed the Auto Club Catalog.  Remember those?  Dog-eared and coffee stained.  It was the” bible” when you went on a family trip.

 

But because this was so special, I needed to know everything about everything.  Bad move!

 

Before long, I had two laptops opened plus my desktop computer.  I had multiple screens opened on each one…Trip Advisor….Yelp…Facebook…My Space…Yahoo…Google…

 

I had review after review. Link upon link.  Photo libraries.  Experts reviews.  Some agreed. Many conflicted.  Who had the best hotel?  Ocean view? Spa?  Restaurants nearby?  Brunch?  Room service? 

 

Wait, that one looks good, but two other reviews said the place had bad service.  But another 10 reviews say it’s great.  This other hotel has ocean-views, but their restaurant has bad reviews and they say it’s noisy.  This other one looks good, but it’s not walking distance to anything and they charge an extra 40 bucks to park which could have fooled me. 

 

OK…this resort has a spa discount package but only on weekdays.  That won’t work.  This one has great rates…darnit…only during off-season.  This one looks great!  Call them now…”What?  You’re already sold out???”  (gnashing of teeth).  Delete delete delete!

 

And the restaurants…OK…that one has 500 good reviews but 60 bad ones.  This one has live music and great seafood, but it says don’t go on weekend because it has too many tourists in them.  This other one is famous and has been there for years, but the last few reviews are terrible! 

 

I was doing this all in the middle of the night too so that I could hide this from Jill.  Before long, I was going crazy!   Eyes were going buggy looking at so many websites and reviews and photos.  INFORMATION OVERLOAD!  TILT! TILT!

 

But, you know…it’s your honeymoon.  You want everything “just right.”  As it turned out, after 4 fretful nights, I finally just pulled the trigger and made my best-informed-decisions and all turned out well.  My lovely bride was all smiles and I saved the fledgling marriage! She didn’t cut-and-run.  Whew…

 

It used to be so easy for Baja as well. 

 

In fact, the least amount of planning seemed to be the typical modus operendi.  You called the guys.  You got the station wagon or van.  In went some clothes.  In went the surfboards and fishing rods.  A cooler.  A copious amount of junk food procured from the first 7-11 on the road…Doritos…check…Jerky…check…Oreos…check…oops…run back in and get beer and Cokes.  A box of cassettes or 8 tracks. 

 

You had destination in mind.  You headed sort of in THAT direction.  Again…the Auto Club Map and book in the glove box.  Maybe a copy of Gene Kira’s the “Baja Catch” on the dashboard and some faxed copies of the surf report.

 

You’d figure out the rest “on the fly.”  Maybe you’d camp.  Maybe all sleep in the car.  Maybe all of you piled into some little Mexican beach motel. 

 

It was THAT easy. You knew it would work itself out.  The important thing was that you were GOING!  Not where you were going so much as the thrill of knowing you were on a road trip together to the BAJA!  You all piled out’ve work on Friday and picked all the buddies up along the way.

 

Nowadays, the information super-highway has, in many ways complicated things as much as made it easier.

 

There is so much out there, that it’s impossible to filter!  Our own website must be 40 pages large, but that’s because it has to be large to compete with everyone else out there. It’s a necessary evil.

 

And it’s hard to de-code everything.  It’s easy to hide that a certain hotel is 30 miles away from town or that another is actually built next to a cement plant.  The photos always look GREAT on the internet. 

 

Likewise, what does the word “rustic” mean when used to describe a hotel?  That could mean charming Mexican artisan décor or it could mean the air-conditioning system is powered by two gerbils running in a wheel. Or “close to the beach?”  How close is” close?”  Walking distance.  For who? 

 

After all that, sometimes it’s just easier to ask someone who has been there.  Assuming you truest their opinion.  But often…  Word-of –mouth sometimes trumps technology.

 

But, I miss the old days.  Pass the Doritos and pop some Rolling Stones in the 8-track…

We’ll get there when we get there.

_____________________________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

_______________________

That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO


 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


“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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Nice people sometimes ask the craziest questions. It's hard to believe some of the funny and nutty questions and comments we get.

“HOW DEEP IS ‘DEEP SEA’ FISHING?”

Originally Published the Week of April 4, 2012, in Western Outdoor News

Every year, after we do all our promotional shows across the Western U.S., I like to compile some of the funny questions and comments I heard during the past 3 months.  Folks approach our booth to talk and ask us questions and we literally see speak to hundreds of anglers and hunters at each show over the 4 or 5 day period.  Over the years, there have been some doozies…

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

 

“How come everyone in Mexico speaks Spanish?”

 

“It’s called ‘Baja California’ but I can’t find Baja on a map of California!”

Stuff like that.

Sometimes we roll our eyes. Sometimes we have to ask the to repeat the question because we can’t believe what we just heard!

Sometimes, it’s awfully hard to choke back a laugh or be a wise-guy (more my nature) and fire back a quick smart-aleck response…especially after talking to hundreds of persons at each show and hearing so many questions over and over!

But, we’re professionals!  Ha!

And we have to remind ourselves that these are truly and honestly sincere and generally intelligent folk.  I’m just as guilty of not having my brain and mouth in synch.  You be the judge! Sometimes, there’s just NO answer to some of these questions and comments!

Almost every conversation starts up with someone walking up to our counter and firing the opening line…

“Where you out’ve?”  (even tho’ the words LA PAZ MEXICO are plastered all over the booth!  )

And then it starts…

“Is that near Cancun?”

“Is that near Tijuana?  I took a picture there once with a donkey painted up like a zebra!”

 

And this little exchange…

“You don’t look Mexican.  Did you learn your English from missionaries?”

            (“Sir, I’m actually from Hawaii,” I responded)

“Really?  Are you selling fishing trips in Hawaii?”

“Do they speak Spanish in Hawaii?”

“So, in Hawaii, did you learn English from the missionaries?”

 

“Hey, do you know my friend in Cabo San Lucas?  His name is Jose.  He’s short like you with black hair and mustache.  Everyone knows Jose!” (I’m sure he’s in my rolodex!)

“So, is fishing any good where you’re at?”  (Nope…that’s why I’m selling fishing trips at a FISHING show and there’s pictures of FISH all over my booth!)

“I knew a guy once that got Montezuma’s revenge from drinking the water in Mexico.  Will that happen to me?  What will happen if I get Montezuma’s?”

“When do the salmon run in Baja?  I hear you get some good ones and they’re not like the salmon in Alaska!” (I guess not!)

“I was told Mexican ranchers raise little goats so they can get cheese and breed with them and have babies.  Is that true?”  (Can you repeat that one more time again, Sir?)

“Can my wife walk across the border to Loreto to go shopping?” (Oh sure…if she can walk about 500 miles!)

“I heard you can’t drive an American car to Mexico because American speedometers show miles-per-hour and in Mexico they don’t have miles…only kilometers.  Mexican cars have kilometers on their dashboards.  So, Mexican cars cannot be driven in the U.S. either.”  (Someone has been eating the brownies with the little green flecks in them again!)

“My wife doesn’t like the sun can she stay in the room the whole time?”

“Can I scuba dive without air tanks?”

 

“How deep is ‘deep sea’ fishing?”

 

“I’ve never fished in the ocean before.  What happens when the fish pulls me out’ve the boat?  Will sharks eat me? I watch “Shark Week” all the time on TV and I know what happens to people who get in the ocean.”

“I was in prison once and can’t get a passport.  Will they still let me come fishing where you’re at?” (They might let you out of the U.S., but you’re gonna have a big problem trying to get back in!”)

 

“Last time we were in Mexico it was really windy! What can you do about the wind?” (Well, let me just wave my magic wand over the earth and sky for you!)

“Are you positive you’re not selling fishing trips to Hawaii?

 

By the time you read this, I’ll be home in La Paz!  Thanks to everyone who came out to say hi to us over the last 3 months.  WON readers are EVERYWHERE!   There’s no such thing as a dumb question.  But…You never know when you may end up as part of a story!

That’s our story…

Jonathan

__________________________________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR #1 Rated in La Paz on Trip Advisor

 

Now follow us on FACEBOOK TOO

 
Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


“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 »

Me and Jilly in our booth at the International Sportsman's Expo Salt Lake City UT. Just tryin' to sell smiles one fish at a time.

CHANGES IN ATTITUDES (“ARE YOU TALKING TO…ME?” REVISTED)

Originally Published the Week of March 23, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

So, here it is.  As I’m writing this, we’ve been on the road 78 straight days now hitting all the major fishing/hunting shows…Denver, Sacramento, Portland, Vegas, Seattle, Long Beach…just to name a few.  New show every week.  13,000 miles of driving and, by the time you’re reading this, we’ll be at our 11th show at the Fred Hall Show in Del Mar near San Diego.

So, we see thousands of you all at these shows and many of you have asked about the experiences we had last year on our promotional tour. If you remember, last year, several times at every show we were actually accosted…mostly verbally…sometimes physically by knuckleheads telling us to:

“Go back to your country!”

“How did people like US get into the show?”

“Everyone of you effing people from Mexico should be killed…”

Y’know…lovely pleasantries like that.  Every city.  Every show.  Not just the cities like Boise, Idaho or Billings, Montana either.

The worst were at the shows in Sacramento and Long Beach, California.  Yup…you’d have thought folks in these hubs might be a bit more enlightened. So did we!

It’s a bit unsettling when a guy in an Izod polo shirt with a Tag Heuer watch and a wife looking like she just came from the spa grits his teeth, reaches across the counter at my booth and pokes his finger in my chest and hisses at me, “They oughta just nuke the whole stupid country.”

Well, we got hundreds of e-mails and letters about our experiences.  Outrage. Embarrassment.  Support.  Most agreed that there’s some folks out there that just have their underwear on a little too tight.  We didn’t take it too personally.

But after decades of doing shows and meeting the public, it seemed like the rage and frustration towards Mexico directly and us indirectly came out’ve left field.

So, what about 2012?

I don’t know what everyone was drinking or smoking in 2011, but it’s almost like someone someone threw the light switch the other way. Thankfully, we’ve had very few incidents this year.

In fact, just today while here at the Salt Lake City ISE show, someone did tell me, “I’m not going there to Mexico where they cut off everyone’s head!”  He didn’t stop at our booth to say more or have a discussion.  He said it loud enough for others to hear and his buddies to laugh.  But that was it

.

We’ve had maybe only half-a-dozen actual heated exchanges.  And they were quickly dissipated.  Either we got the person to walk away. (No loss…anyone that tight will never visit Mexico anyway so why waste the energy!)

Or, in two or three situations, the angry person unknowingly walked up while our booth was surrounded by friends and clients who quickly bristled and got their own dander up.

The guy opens his mouth and gives us a piece of his mind.  Party foul!  Don’t call out the host in front of the host’s friends!  The bad guy gets chased away really really fast by friends who give him a bit of his own vitriol.

“Buddy, you need to take a hike!”  “You’re a jerk, keep walking.” “Back off, amigo, you’re full of…”   Well, you get the idea.   It’s hard to suppress a grin still thinking about it.  Thanks guys!

But honestly, I don’t know what’s changed.  Maybe people are coming around and are untangling fact from sensationalism and realizing that, while Mexico has a lot of problems, much of what the media feeds us isn’t the whole story and is not reflective of ALL of the country.  It’s a big place.

The bad guys are not targeting tourists.  Like pretty much anywhere else, there’s places in every city you shouldn’t visit places and things you shouldn’t be doing no matter where you are.  I mean…why would anyone need to go into a dark alley in Ciudad de Juarez? Or, one in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or New Orleans, etc?  Common sense!

In fact, statistics show that American tourism to Mexico has been on the rise the past year.  Last year alone,  something like 15 million Americans visited Mexico and you know what happened…NOTHING!

What we’ve found instead this year is people walking up to us and asking,

“What do you think about the violence?”

“What’s the real story down there?”

“Is it really that dangerous?”

They really want to know.  They want someone to give another side. And they listen.  Really listen.  And instead of a confrontation, it becomes an exchange of ideas.  They may never come down to visit, but most times, I hear them say, “Wow, I didn’t know that.  That’s really interesting.” They shake our hands and thank us. Hopefully with a little better understanding.

Now, I do hear people say that the ONLY reason we’re pimping this is that we have a vested interest in getting folks down to Mexico.  Of course we do.  We have a fishing business and a restaurant.  To me, what’s good for us is good for everyone.  A little understanding goes a long way.  But, no matter what I say, people will still call it a sales job.

Well, just this week, none other than the  U.S. State Department officially recognized and declared that “no advisory” is “in effect for La Paz and the entire South Baja region.” (that includes Cabo and Loreto!). According to the State Department the report was compiled at the behest of American business groups worried about employee safety and NOT to appease various boosters of Mexican tourism, e.g. self-serving “salesmen” like me!

So, there you have it.  The U.S. Government finally telling folks something most of us in Baja already knew.  Come enjoy!

_______

HOLD THE PRESS…just after I wrote this and it went to publication to the editor, we had two people walk up to us at the booth in Salt Lake City Sportsman’s Expo..  Just as we were thinking we had made it through with a kinder, gentler, season.  Just after I wrote the above column the night before…two folks walked up to us and hissed…”WE HATE MEXICANS!”  And walked on. Didn’t even stick around long enough for get a response from me or my wife.  Both the woman and the man said the same thing and made a point of walking right up to our booth. “ I HATE MEXICANS.”  Dangit…I guess there’s still knuckleheads out there.  Sad.

_________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife, Jill, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  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 riplipboy@tailhunter-international.com  or drop by the restaurant to say hi!

That’s our story…

Jonathan

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website: www.tailhunter-international.com
U.S. Office: 3319 White Cloud Drive, Suite A, Hacienda Hts. CA 91745
Mexico Office: 755 Paseo Obregon, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
Phones:
from USA : 626-638-3383
from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.
Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report:
http://www.tailhunter-international.com/fishreport.htm

Tailhunter YouTube Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/pangapirate


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