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Posts Tagged ‘life’

THE REWIND BUTTON

Too have been there in the 60’s when Cabo was just a beach…when people like Bing Crosby walked the halls of Hotel Las Cruces…when big fish were the norm in the Sea of Cortez and in the heyday of such great places like the Serenidad Hotel when the Johnsons hosted the Flying Samaritans and the aroma of barbecued pork could wafted down the coastline.

THE REWIND BUTTON

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 15, 2017 in Western Outdoor Publications

I was asked the other day how I might have done things differently now that I’ve marked more than 20 years working and living in Baja.  I had to think about that because I’ve never given it much thought.

 

I confess much of my time, especially the early years, was spent dealing with the immediate present.   I was more concerned with things like, “Where is my next meal coming from?”   Or, “Dangit, do I have enough gas in the boat to make it back to the beach?” And, “How far can I make 200 pesos stretch until I get paid?”

 

Whew.

 

I gratefully have not had thoughts like that in a long time.  Life doesn’t guarantee anything.  I don’t take things for granted.   However,  at least at this stage in my life, I’m usually laughing to myself if those questions inadvertently race through my brain’s neurons.

 

But, looking back, I guess I would have changed a few things.

 

For one, I would have come to Baja sooner.  I didn’t make it down to Baja until my early 30’s.  I would have loved to have seen the Baja 10 or 20 years earlier…like the during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.   I would have loved to have seen Cabo San Lucas “back in the day” when it was still a fishing town.

 

I would have loved to have seen the Baja of Gene Kira, Fred “Baja Ha-Ha” Hoctor, Neil Kelly and Ray Cannon and other great writers who saw Baja in the days when it was truly “la frontera” (the frontier).

 

If my time machine was powerful enough, what I wouldn’t give to have experienced the Baja of John Steinbeck on the Western Flyer with Ed Ricketts!

 

Looking back, I would  had taken the time to have seen some of the great legendary landmark resorts and hotels in their heyday like Punta Chivato; Punta Colorada, Rancho Leonero, Las Cruces,   Hotel Las Arenas or even The Old Mill in San Quintin and so many others.

 

Some are still going strong, but to have seen them “back in the day” would’ve been pretty special.   So many are gone now or are a shadow of their previous glory when they sat alone on pristine fishing waters.

 

Likewise, the “old Finnie” Finisterra Hotel, Hotel Cabo San Lucas and the Hacienda Hotel  hewn out’ve rocks and cliffs would have been something to have experienced in their days of elegance.  I was fortunate enough to spend some time during their waning years, but to have been there when mariachis roamed the halls and played for well-heeled celebrities and guests must have been something to see.

 

Looking back, I would have brought my parents to Baja sooner.  Lots of kids are brought down by their parents, but I was the first in the family to venture south.  It wasn’t until many years later that I got my father to travel with me.  Other family members followed over the years.

 

Those times remain some of the best memories with them.  That “window” closed too soon and before long they had either had passed away or were too old to travel any longer.  And all we have are the memories.

 

As another afterthought, why did I take so long to stick my head underwater? I was raised in the water.  I spent many of my younger years in Hawaii.   I was so intent on fishing from “above the surface” I never stuck my head “below the surface.”

 

Then, I got SCUBA certified.  It opened up an entire new spectacular world that so enthralled me, I kept going until I got my divemaster certification and became a working divemaster.  The waters surrounding the Baja are some of the most incredible in the world.  It also made me not only a better fisherman, but also gave me a greater appreciation for all for the ocean and especially Baja.

 

I surely would have spent more time in the bush.  When you’re living hand-to-mouth, you like to be somewhat close to things like water, gas, electricity and transportation. . .  No matter how primitive.   I would have spent more time as far away from those things as possible knowing that with each approaching year, it would be increasingly difficult because those places are disappearing.

 

In the same vein, I would have literally “taken the roads less traveled.”  More deserted roads should have been explored.  I should have followed more goat paths.

 

They should have been followed to find out what beach, canyon, vista or adventure lay at the end.  Nowadays, too many others have already been down those roads.

 

Finally, I would have learned Spanish earlier and worked at it harder.  It’s my greatest regret that I’m not more fluent. Language is the ultimate “code.”

 

I’ve gotten better, but I think of how so many previous experiences would have been enriched by knowing and understanding Spanish better.  I can only think of what I missed by not understanding a word here or a phrase there.  Likewise, if I had a better command of Spanish, I could have contributed more as well.

 

Yes, it would have been great to have done so many things earlier. Still,  I’ve got no regrets!  But, I guess it’s not too late.  And that’s the beauty of Baja.  There’s still so much waiting to be experienced and folks continue to discover what a special place it is!

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: jonathan@tailhunter.com

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

 

TAILHUNTER FISHING FLEET #1 Rated on Trip Advisor

TAILHUNTER RESTAURANT BAR Top 5 – 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: 044-612-53311

.

Tailhunter Weekly Fishing Report: 

http://fishreport.jonathanroldan.com/

Tailhunter YouTube Videoshttps://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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MEMO TO SELF – NO BAD DAYS

sunrise

SUNRISE ON THE SEA OF CORTEZ TO START THE DAY. FIRST BAITS IN THE WATER. HOW CAN THAT BE BAD?

MEMO to SELF…NO BAD DAYS!

Originally Published the Week of July 22, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

The day had not started well. I woke up grumpy. I was doing my utmost to put on my best “happy face” for the fishing clients this morning, but it was taking an effort.   Just one of those days we all have when one would be best-served to just stay in bed!

 

I already knew it was going to be a long day. We had problems at our restaurant with the plumbing, and several of our employees were out sick. A vehicle was broken down and required a part they just don’t make in Mexico and there was a chance of rain in the forecast too. Sheeesh. And it was only 5 a.m. in the morning!

 

Worse of all, the fishing had been bad. And I had grumpy fishermen. More than grumpy actually. Rude and pissed off.   The bad fishing had snowballed into complaints now about the service, the captains, the hotel, the food.

 

Funny how that happens. Catch fish and none of that matters. Don’t catch fish and the world is a terrible place. I could feel that target growing on my back. Anyone who has been a guide or outfitter knows what that feels like. As if we could control the wind, waves, weather and fish! But, we care about how our clients feel so you feel the crosshairs growing.

 

But, I guess you pay that money and it entitles you to be grumpy and growl and no amount of cheerfulness or cheerleading on our end was gonna change things.

 

My own mood reflected it as well as a feeling of helpless frustration. If I could make fish jump in the boat, I would. If I could wave a fishing rod in the air, I’d make the clouds go away. Doesn’t work that way.

 

So, we packed them into our van to the beach in the dark and could feel the tension. Yuk. Mine and theirs.

 

And then some of our other fishermen came down and climbed into the shuttle. All smiles. Handshakes. Backslaps. Excited to be going fishing. Looking forward to being on the water.

 

Introductions and greetings.   Among themselves. “Hey, didn’t I see you on the plane?” “Where’d you go to dinner last night?” “Really nice to meet you!” “You’re lucky to have your wife. Don’t let her catch all the fish!” (Laughs) The grumpy guys could care less.   Golly, is it THAT bad?

 

The happy folks were all long-time customers. They all came from different parts of the country.   I had known them for a long long time and knew their stories. But, all of them were coming together this morning and meeting for the first time.   Just happy to be out; happy for maybe more reasons than just going fishing.

 

Yes, I know their stories.

 

For several of them, this could be their last trip.

 

One has a serious kidney surgery as soon as he gets back.

 

The wife, they were talking about? The gal schlepping the rods and laughing with the boys? She just found out she’s got a malignant tumor in her breast. She’s got a lot on her mind, I know.

 

One of the other guys? He’s had several strokes. I see the changes in him. He still at it, but he can’t fish every day like he used to. I worry about him pulling on a big fish. He’s fragile, but gutty as hell and won’t let anything stop him.

 

Another guy in the van, he’s had 24 surgeries. TWENTY FOUR!

 

He had his first heart-attack at 35 years-old. His first stroke at 36.   He had a heart transplant several years ago. His face is scarred from skin cancer. Right around his mouth, lips and chin.   As soon as he gets home from La Paz, he’s got a date with the dermatologist.

 

He once showed me what his chest, arms and legs look like from all the surgeries. He laughing called himself “Frankenstein.” He takes several dozen pills a day to keep going.   He has to wake himself up at night to make sure he takes some of the pills on time.

 

He just came back from a salmon trip in Alaska. And now here he is in La Paz fishing with us.

 

He once told me, “I know people who are more fortunate than me and let little setbacks get to them. They are miserable.

 

I choose to be happy. I chose to LIVE and enjoy the time I have. I got the message early! Fishing just happens to be the vehicle that gets me off the couch and enjoying life!”

 

 

None of the folks in the shuttle van know the background of the other folks.

But there were those who were really looking forward to the day. And others who started the day already under a toxic cloud.  I guess I could be included in that group.

 

I want to tell the grumpy guys…”LOOK AT THESE HAPPY PEOPLE!” I want to introduce them and tell the grumpy guys the stories about the happy people.   I know it’s not my place.

 

But, I want to say, a bad day fishing is just that. A bad day fishing. You’re here. You’re enjoying times with friends. You’re doing something that a zillion other people will never ever get to do in their lives. See a sunrise. See the dolphin. Feel the salt spray. Crack beers on the beach.   Fishing isn’t life. Life is fishing.

 

I think there was a reason I saw these folks today. Wake up call. Life ain’t so bad a’tall. I’m blessed. Memo to self…no bad days allowed!

 

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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“More than Potato Salad and Fried Chicken”

U.S. Flag Tailhunter

“MORE THAN POTATO SALAD AND FRIED CHICKEN”

Originally Published the Week of July 10, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

One of our fishing clients down here in La Paz was sipping a cold one in our restaurant and asked if I missed 4th of July.

 

Having been down here in Mexico working now almost 20 years, yea, I really do. I miss it a lot. Being that July 4th is always smack in the height of the summer fishing season, it’s been a long time since I’ve been part of the celebration “back home.”   But, this is where work requires that I be down here and so-be-it.

 

Superficially, man…I miss a good parade and watching the kids and the floats and the music…and most of all standing with hand-over-heart as I watch our vets and service folks marching tall and proud. I get choked up over that.

 

I miss the smell of green summer grass-in-the-park and that smell of barbecued burgers and saucy ribs and ducking the occasional errant Frisbee. I miss the sand between my toes and a paper plate of fresh potato salad, sloppy pork-n-beans, fried chicken and a beach fire in the dark as fireworks burst over the water to the oohs-and ahhs of the crowd. I miss hearing the Star Spangled Banner played.

 

So many things parked in my memory banks.

 

But, I get a completely different perspective living outside the U.S. and looking in from afar…from Mexico. And, although the two countries share borders and so many other things in common, they are still so far apart. And it makes me appreciate the U.S. even moreso and what the 4th of July means.

 

For one, I take fewer things for granted. Simple things.

 

Like water.

 

Back home, you flipped on the faucet. Bad as it might taste, you take for granted that water comes out. You can cook with it. Wash clothes. Come home from work and take that long easy hot shower. Wash your car. Water your lawn. Gasp…fillyour hot tub and swimming pool!

 

Here, in Mexico, water is at a premium. What we call “drought” in the U.S. is almost comical in Mexico. Sometimes nothing comes out’ve the faucet…for days!

 

Here in La Paz, often water is only sent to your home or business through the city pipes every-other-day or every two days. And even then, pretty much at a slow drip.

 

That’s why you see these huge black plastic “tinacos” (storage cylinders) on top of business and houses. That’s to save the water when it’s available and running. If you run out, you have to wait until the city opens the spigots again.

 

The tourists never see that because the hotels and golf courses and swimming pools are always full. But, I saw a report once that said the fresh water daily allotment for the average Baja citizen is less than one-gallon-a-day. And getting smaller.

 

And more…

 

As a former attorney back in California, I don’t take justice or the U.S. legal system for granted anymore. Nor am I so quick to make fun of it’s many problems.   I still challenge someone to come up with a better way to do things.   It still has a fundamental premise, that you are “innocent until proven guilty.” And there’s nothing the government can do about that.

 

Here in Mexico, they still operate under the archaic Napoleanic code from the days when France ran Mexico.    Under those laws, the state “presumes you are guilty and it’s up to you to prove you are innocent.”

 

I have seen the damages up-close-and-personal here.   We’ve been victimized ourselves.

 

Prove you didn’t steal from your neighbor. Prove your kid didn’t start the fight that broke another kid’s nose. Prove your wife didn’t crash into someone else’s car. Prove you didn’t hurt someone’s reputation by something you said. Prove you didn’t sexually accost a fellow employee.

All it takes is an accusation and a report to authorities by someone who doesn’t like you. And now it’s YOUR problem. It’s YOUR burden to prove you’re innocent.

 

Another thing is that I don’t take the ability to work so lightly. I know in the U.S. we have a serious crisis in employment.   I have several college degrees plus a law degree, but I’ve been unemployed. I’ve quit jobs. I’ve been fired from jobs.

 

But, I always had options. I always had hope that I could find another job.

 

I’m here in Mexico now because of a choice I made years ago, not because I wanted to live outside the U.S. but because there was a business opportunity that presented itself. But, it was a choice I had because I had options.   I had that independence. And I was lucky and blessed.

 

We have so many good friends, employees and associates and acquaintances after almost 2 decades here.

 

I look at them and I’m grateful for what we have as Americans roving this planet who at least have opportunities and options.

 

Here in Mexico, if you’re a dishwasher or you’re a taxi driver, that’s probably what you will be the rest of your life. That’s it. No upward mobility.

 

There might be some lateral mobility in that instead of a dishwasher you might get to be a truck driver, but not likely. You will live and die a dishwasher or waiter or farmer. That’s it. Same for your kids. What’s a career?

 

There’s no “correspondence school” or “next big opportunity.” You are what you are. My amigo is a floor cleaner. He will be a floor cleaner his whole life until he dies or his back gives out. Whichever comes first.

 

Education is mandatory to only 8th grade. How far would you have gotten on an 8th grade education?

 

Having education, even a college education, could still mean you’re now qualified to work in a retail store selling shoes or in an office filing papers. You can keep your hands clean. Maybe.

 

And, if you lose your job, that could be it as well.

 

We know a very good accountant working for a company. She’s 35-years-old. She told us if she ever loses her job, she is no longer employable because she is “too old” and companies don’t hire “old people.” She supports a family of 4.

 

Truthfully, when you hit 65-years-old here, you are forcefully retired. No matter how good, valuable or healthy you are. No matter that you’re the sole earner in your household, you’re out’ve the work force.

 

Just yesterday, a single-parent friend told me her son missed a job interview because he didn’t have shoes.

 

Last week, another friend told me he had to quit a job as a maintenance man because it was too hard to walk 5 miles to work and back six-days-a-week. He’s 62-years-old and supports a family of 5.

 

We might share borders, but we are so far apart. And every 4th of July away from home, I’m ever more grateful for the opportunities and freedoms I’ve enjoyed and been blessed with. For all it’s problems, the U.S. still enjoys so much that the rest of the world never has or will.

 

Can someone pass me another piece of fried chicken…

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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“Just Ask”

Screen-Shot-2013-10-14-at-7.50.13-PM

 

“JUST ASK”

Originally Published the Week of April 3, 2014 in Western Outdoor News

The pangas had all returned to the beach with happy fishermen.  Fish had been cleaned and were either getting icy in the hotel freezers or were in the kitchens getting prepped for the grill and tonite’s dinner.

 

Most of the guys had headed to their rooms for siestas and shower.

 

Others, had dragged themselves directly to the pool and the margarita bar foregoing the showers…and the siestas. But, I knew that for most, one drink and they’d be passed out contentedly in a lounge chair…dreaming of the fish they caught and the ones that got away.

 

I was already in the office, putting away gear and breaking down the days’ events.   I had to get ready for another group of anglers coming in that evening on the next flight.

 

I brisk knock on the office door turned out to be one of the dad’s who had been fishing that day.

 

“Jonathan, I can’t find my son, Joey.  He helped me carry gear back to the room and I went in to take a quick shower before dinner. I came out and can’t find him anywhere. I hate to be a bother. But, I looked everywhere.”

 

I told him not to worry. Ten-year-olds don’t usually stray too far and many of the other anglers knew or were familiar with the youngster.

 

We checked the restaurant and the pool.  We hit the Jacuzzi. We walked to the kid’s playground. We asked a number of other anglers. No one had seen Joey.

 

“Let’s walk back to the beach,” I suggested to dad.  And we took a short little hike to the little cove next to the hotel where our pangas drop off the anglers.

Sure enough, there was Joey sitting in the panga with our Captain Lorenzo.  We could see both of them had their heads down and were concentrating on something.

 

As we got closer, Dad said, “Joey, we’ve been looking all over for you.  What are you doing here with Lorenzo?

 

Both the captains and Joey looked up with big smiles.  Joey held up a hook and some line!

 

“I came walking back to the beach and found my friend, Lorenzo.  And I asked him to show me how to tie a fishing knot! Look dad!”

 

He held up the hook and proudly showed off his knot.

 

“I did this one all by myself!”

 

“Wow!,” said dad with raised eyebrows.  “Even I don’t know how to tie a fishing knot.”

 

Captain Lorenzo looked just as pleased.

 

In broken “Span-glish” he explained that Joey had just walked up and asked how to tie a knot. It reminded him of his own boys and how he had shown them many years ago how to tie a fishing knot.

 

“They are grown men now, but I remember those good days,” he said wistfully.

 

“You are lucky to fish with your father,” he said to young Joey.

 

“Captain Lorenzo, will you show me how to tie a knot also?” asked dad.

 

Claro que si…of course, mi amigo.  Es un placer…it is a pleasure!” replied the Captain.  “Here take a hook and some line…”

 

And with that, I backed away smiling down the beach.  The lost had been found.  And perhaps some other things had been found along the way.

 

An hour later, I went back down to the beach and half-a-dozen guys were surrounding the panga, all intently learning to tie knots.  Captain Lorenzo and Joey were “holding court.”

 

One thing I learned long ago was one of the fastest way to get a “group session” going was to tie a knot in front of a bunch of fishermen.

 

Whether it’s a “San Diego jam,” a “Palomar”, an “Albright special”, a “Cat’s Paw”…whatever-you-want-to-name-it…tie a knot.

 

And someone will say “Hey, can you show me that again?”  Or, “But, I tie it differently, like this…”

 

And there you go! Instant…constructive debate discussion and discovery!

 

It also occurred to me that one of the least utilized sources of fishing education are the Mexican captains and deckhands who take us all out fishing.

 

These guys fish more days in a year than most sportfishermen and women will fish in our lives. Most of them started as commercial fishermen and have been doing nothing else their entire lives.

 

You get pretty good when catching a fish puts food on the table and buys clothes for the family. Often, without all the fancy technology available to the rest of us, they have to be better than the fish as well as their competitor captains and crews.  Proudly so.

 

I talked to Captain Lorenzo a few days after the knot-tying beach party.

 

“Everyday, there are new gringo clients. And they all want to catch fish. They come.  They go.”

 

“To many, I am just the Mexican captain and the guide.  And that is fine. We have a good time and I have been doing this more than 40 years and I am proud of what I do.”

 

“But, sometimes the clients get angry because they want to do everything.  That is fine too.  But, then I watch them and they have many problems.   And they get angry and do not catch fish.  Angry clients are not happy.”

 

“It is OK if they know how to fish, but many make mistakes.  And they do not want help.”

 

“I wish they would ask. I like it.  I am happy to teach. Then everyone has a good time.”

 

“No one ever asks.” He said with a shrug.  “Except one little boy.”

 

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: 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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“Small Space Little Effort Big Impact”

So little goes a long way with so little effort!

So little goes a long way with so little effort!

It starts building up pretty fast!

It starts building up pretty fast!

SMALL SPACE LITTLE EFFORT BIG IMPACT

Originally Published the Week of December 11, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

A few months ago, I got a call from a friend here in La Paz who does some wonderful work with destitute Mexican kids that truly live on the fringe of our little city in more ways than one.   Many were in an orphanage.

She said, she was having a fiesta of sorts for the kids to celebrate that some of them were going to their First Communion which was a big step.  It wasn’t much, but she was putting all her heart into giving them something nice.  She was reaching out to some of the businesses in town for help.  There would be about 80 kids to feed.

On the phone,  she told me that one dive shop was donating several cakes.  Another fishing operator was pitching in for cookies.  A store had several dozen donuts.  All good and wonderful.

My first thoughts were GACK and CHOKE!

She asked if we could help and if she could put me down for about 5 pounds of candy!

I told her that I couldn’t do that.  The last thing they need is sugar.   Especially, poor kids.  Actually… It’s the last thing any kid needs.

Hey…look at my belt line and I’m no stranger to donuts and cake and cookies, but I asked her, “C’mon!  Is there any other food going to be served?”

I was being a Grinch.  There was a pause.  Then, I told her I’d buy 100 apples instead.

There was another pause.  Apples?  For a fiesta?  She said no one had ever passed out apples.  This was a FIESTA!  Would we donate some pan dulce (sweet rolls) maybe?

Sorry.  I told her, I’d go buy some apples and I’d bring them by her office that weekend.  And that’s what I did.  No big deal.  Go to store.  Fill bags with apples.  She thanked me when I saw her, but  could tell, it was a reluctant thanks.

I mean, I get it.  Sure.  When you and I opened our Halloween bags…apples weren’t exactly high on the list, right?

I didn’t think any thing else of it.  Apples.  Yea.  Next project.  Did my good dead.  Yawn.

On Monday, she called me.  She told me to check my e-mail right away.  She was excited.  OK…open…click…here we go…

Pictures came up on my computer screen.  It showed  a party and little Mexican kids running around a hardscrabble concrete and dirt floor…delightedly chasing…APPLES!!!  There were more photos of kids sitting in the dirt leaning against walls…eating APPLES!!! Laughing kids with apples in their hands!

To all this was a note, “Jonathan, muchas gracias for the apples!  They were the big hit of the party.  Many of these children had NEVER eaten an apple before.  Thanks for the great idea!”

Never eaten an apple?  Kids…7…8…9 years old.  Never eaten an apple.  Think about that.

I told my wife.  She thinks about stuff like that all the time.  She’s got the big heart.  I’ve got the fat head.  She wants to save every kid.  Every bunny.  Every puppy.

She thinks I don’t know that she’s got all kinds of secret donations going.  I know we’ve adopted some kids.  She sponsored a goat for one village.  A cow to another.  She’d held charity functions at our restaurant.  God bless her.

She heard the story of the apples and wanted to do more.  She came into our office one day and said she signed our business in La Paz up as members of “Pack for a Purpose.”

Oh-oh…what has she gotten us into?

Actually, it’s pretty easy.  She said it’s a loose organization geared toward travelers.  You find out where you’re going.  You find out what folks need.  You stuff a little extra in the extra space in the luggage.

Extra toothbrushes…deflated balls and a pump…pencils and notebooks…Things we take for granted (the apple idea) that mean so much to others.

She said our Baja fishing clients bring down empty ice chests all the time. They fill them with their frozen fish to bring home.

Clients still have to pay the airlines for them as luggage.  Even if they are empty.  So, why not put something “IN THEM?”

She arranged for little notes to be put into all the envelopes we send to our fishing clients when they book with us.  It told them all about her idea to “Pack for a Purpose.”

I can’t take credit for what happened over the next few months.

But, in about 3 months, Jill collected and distributed close to 300 pounds of  notebooks, papers, colored pencils, crayons, bike helmets, pumps, baby clothes, backpacks, toothbrushes, baseball hats, balls,  t-shirts, tennis shoes, kids books, teddy bears, sweaters, and more.

Pretty much all of it new.  Just “extra” stuff that clients and friends had around the house like sweaters that were never used or that pair of shoes that never fit or the 20 boxes of #2 pencils from the closet.

Or from the dentist who gets boxes of toothpaste samples or the restaurant guy who ordered 5 dozen too many t-shirts with his logo on them…all medium!  The elementary school teacher who has a drawer load of extra colored pens and pencils and the end of the year.

There are times when we have a pretty good pile of stuff in the office!

Thanks to the generous hearts and empty ice chests of our clients.  And my wife playing Santa during the year.

Making little parts of the world better.  Small spaces.  Big impacts.  Little efforts.  One apple at a time.

God bless for a safe and happy Christmas and holidays!

If you’d like more info:  www.packforapurpose.org.  Or, if you’re coming to visit us in La Paz, give my wife Jill and shout:  tailhuntress@tailhunter-international.com

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

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 Videoshttp://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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BUCKET LISTS

Originally Published the Week of December 6, 2012 in Western Outdoor News Publications

“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.”

Ever since the 2007 movie of the same name with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the term “Bucket List” has become part of our lexicon.  Jack and Morgan played two escapees from the cancer ward and set off to do all the things in life they always wanted before they “kicked the proverbial bucket.”

I seem to hear that so often from friends and clients who visit us in Mexico.   I think some days hardly go by where someone doesn’t happily tell me…

“That was a great roosterfish. Been trying for years!  Cross that one off the bucket list!”

“What a great time! Always wanted to go fishing with my son and grandson!  It was on my bucket list.”

“Bucket list just got shorter.  Me and my wife just snorkeled with whale sharks this afternoon!”

Sometimes, it’s not even that complicated.

“We’ve lived our whole lives in Indiana.  We wanted to visit the ocean just once! Yessiree.   It was on the bucket list.”

 

When I hear something like that I realize how often I take stuff for granted.  Having grown up always outdoors in the mountains; on an island; in the water or under the water, I just don’t think twice about so many things.  Many of those things might seem dangerous or daring…or plain stupid and reckless, I suppose to some folks!

But believe me, I’m no daredevil.  I’m not crazy nor do I have a deathwish nor am I an adrenaline junkie.  There’s a difference between an “e-ticket ride” that’s a bit scary but  always ends and with  you  steppping \ off the ride laughing…and the real Evel Kneivel stuff where you can get hurt and you’d better have you medical insurance card handy.

But, it’s all relative.  My e-ticket ride is someone else’s mad crazy adventure.

Dive with sharks.  No problem.

Live off the land in a cave.  Sure.

Hang glide.  Sign me up.

Jump out of an airplane.  Safer than crossing the street.

Ride a manta ray.  In an instant.

Run through Central Park New York at midnight on a dare.  I was young and stupid.  Draw the line at that one!  Not recommended.

But…

My personal bucket list continuously keeps getting longer and longer.  Not shorter.  The more I do and see, the more I add things to the list.  This past week, I just crossed-off zip-lining through a rain forest and looking for crocodiles while I paddled through jungle mangroves off the list.  (Topics for another column!)

And, I keep hearing more and more people discuss their own personal bucket lists.  More than ever before.  Maybe, it’s just the age group I’m in.

We’re the baby boomers.  We’re not 30 or 40 anymore.  Look around and oops…how the time flew! We’re 50-plus and edging up and over 60-years-old.   Many of my friends have grown grandkids already.  Many retired or close to it.

Fifty-years-old is the new 30-years-old!  Retirement or older age doesn’t mean shopping for a rocking chair anymore.  More often, it means a new kind of freedom.  What do you do with your second wind?

I think many of  us are finding Mexico.  Despite what you might hear on the news, about the violence and other problems, tourism has been on a steady rise in Mexico.   In fact ,it’s one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world.

For many Americans, especially, Mexico is pretty much an easy airflight from most big U.S. cities.  It’s economic.  It’s close.  It’s filled with culture and history and  pretty much any “diversion” that would fill anyone’s bucket list.  There’s still so much adventure to be had.  And the dollar goes far!

I think the only real shame is that as we grow older, we start looking at our personal bucket lists.  And then there’s a rush to get to it!

More than 20 years ago, a retired friend pulled me aside and said , “Don’t ever get to my age and say ‘What if?’ We always says ‘Someday I’m gonna do this or that.”  Well, ‘someday’ is already here and if you have opportunities, take them!”

At the time he said this he was a “young” 62, but knew he was sick.   He passed away about a year after he said this.

“What if…?”

Start that bucket list early.  Someday, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never tried.  Step onto the ride.  Exit laughing!

That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

____________________________

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 »