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Posts Tagged ‘mexican culture’

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

HE’s DA MAN! Senor Elote…the Street Corn Guy!

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

Originally Published the Week of April 15, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Food trends come and go.  The newest tastiest thing that seems to pervade every menu in some way, shape or form.  The come.  They go.  Some stick around.  Some don’t.

         Fried mozzarella cheese sticks

         Sushi and Hawaiian Poke

         Deep-fried ice cream

         Garlic truffle fries

         Dim sum

         Ramen

         Spam

         Fried Calamari

         Everyone has them in places you wouldn’t normally expect it.  French restaurants putting their own spin on raw fish.  Asian eateries with fried cheese sticks in spicy ponzu sauce and even Spam dishes.  Mexican cantinas with nacho fries.

         Many of these things aren’t “new” per se.  They were just “discovered” by the culinary world and blew up everywhere.

         For instance, I remember eating cold raw fish and marinated fish as a kid in Hawaii.  With cold rice too! 

It wasn’t “gourmet” back then.   It was cold because we didn’t have propane for cooking.  Couldn’t cook!

Just the way it was.  We used lots of soy sauce to flavor everything!

         Years ago, our restaurant in La Paz was the first and only place that served Hawaiian-style poke…fresh chunks of fish marinated and served cold with soy, ginger, sugar, sesame and minced onions. 

         Now, I’ve lost count of the restaurants that serve some variation of it in our city.  Oh well.  I guess imitation is the best form of flattery.

         And, now, the hot new things seems to be “Mexican Street Corn.”  I saw it everywhere the last 3 months travelling in the U.S.  From Texas to Washington State and Wyoming to California.  Menus in diners in roadside truck stops as well as  menus in fine eateries in big cities. 

         I can’t say I blame ‘em.  Not everyone might like fried cheese, or raw fish or garlic on anything. But, it’s a rare person that doesn’t like sweet hot corn.

         In La Paz, where we live, it’s a go-to snack late at night.  A big order can be a whole meal.  And it’s cheap.  If I were still a college kid, instead of all that ramen I ate, I could very well get by with a big cup hot of Mexican street corn.

         Most of the guys in our local neighborhood ride “bike carts” to sell their “Elote.” (corn).  The Elotero’s bike cart is usually a jimmied-together reverse tricycle with one big wheel in the back and two forward supporting a platform and often an awning.

         These eloteros usually come out as it gets dark and set up on a street corner somewhere.  Lines can form quickly. 

         For the more popular carts, it’s not unusual for lines to remain well into the night.  Just like as kids we would hit Jack-in-the-Box or Denny’s after a night partying, a big cup of steaming sweet corn is perfect before heading home.

         Step up and tell the elotero if you want a big cup or small cup. 

         He’ll grab a Styrofoam cup and ladle in some hot kernels from the big pot or basin on his bike.  He fills it about ½ up.

         Then, some thick white Mexican crema.  Mexico’s version of sour cream.

         Then a squirt of Valentina salsa similar to tangy Tobasco.

         Then more corn on top of that.

         Top it with more cream.  Another squirt of Valentina. 

Then a sprinkle of chili powder.  Then a spoonful of salty cotija cheese.  Very much like sprinkling parmesan on your pasta.

Esquites-1

Layer after layer of yumminess.

         He hands you a spoon and a napkin and off you go with your Mexican street corn goodness!  The newer places will also have a squirt of lime juice as well before you head off.

         Many times, you just stand on the street corner with everyone else or sit on the curb.  Or lean on a light pole and start spooning up the tasty concoction.   

         A big cup is maybe 2 bucks at the most.  Often cheaper.  That spare change in your pocket is enough to buy a filling meal of this good stuff.  It’s a deal.  Back in my early days, when all I had WAS pocket change, a cup-o-corn carried me through as my dinner!

         Next time you’re in Baja and wandering back to your hotel room and see the guy on the bike cart with a big vat and an “ELOTE DELICIOSO” sign lettered across it, step up for the original street treat.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

____________________

Jonathan has been writing the Baja Column for Western Outdoor News since 2004.  He lives in La Paz with his best fishing buddy and wife, Jilly, where they run their Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet for almost 30 years as well as their Tailhunter Sea Level Restaurant on the La Paz waterfront Malecon.  If you’re in town, stop and say hi!)

____________________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

 

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing

8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

 

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

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

 

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“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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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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hogar-de-ancianos-santa-marta

LEAVING SOMETHING ON THE PLAYING FIELD

Originally Published the Week of July 9, 2013 in Western Outdoor News

In all the years down here in Baja, one of the funnest things I ever did had nothing to do with being on the water.  It had a lot to do with being on this planet.

But there we were…us and a handful of fishermen running up and down the aisles of the local La Paz grocery store tossing handfuls of everything in the basket.  Money and cost be damned!

It was like turning kids loose in a candy store!

Remember those old TV shows where the winner got 10 minutes to put as much of anything the could find into the shopping cart before the buzzer rang?  That’s what it was like.   Gleeful fun.  Giddy fun.

Store attendants looked on in horror!

Jimmy was putting bags of rice and beans in his cart and piling that-up with cartons of eggs.

Mike was literally doing a balancing act by pulling cans of soup or vegetables into his cart and making a mess dumping boxes of cereal and soap and juice into his overflowing cart.

Terry had parked in the produce section.  He was busy bagging tomatoes and apples, onions and oranges and trying to squeeze watermelon underneath near the wheels.

On the other end of the store, Larry already had some huge frozen hams in his cart.  He had just laid wasted to the bacon, poultry and hot dogs and was now assaulting the dairy section for milk, yogurt and butter.  See, Larry run!

Laughing like a little kid, I found Mario in the liquor aisle putting jugs of wine on top of boxes of cookies…donuts… and potato chips!

I looked at him puzzled…”Not exactly healthy stuff there, Mario!”

“Hey…they’re OLD…they’re not DEAD! They should have some fun!” he yelled back.

I had to laugh.  All of this “largesse” was headed to one of the old-folks home here in La Paz.  Yes…”old but not dead and certainly entitled to fun!”

As soon as all of this was loaded into the van, we were headed there to the senior home to play summer-time Santa Clause…a total surprise!

Every year this group pulls this crazy stunt.  Their last day in town is a “run through the market” followed by a visit to the senior home to big smiles, hugs, and grateful handshakes from a group so often forgotten.

The seniors are so often forgotten.  They’re not cute.  Many can’t speak.  They sit for hours just staring.     One of the gents gets a special smile as he pulls the bottle of tequila from the boxes of groceries and flashes a toothless grin!  I  would have bet the barn that he squirrels it under his shirt and sneaks back to his room!

But they aren’t the only ones.  We have another group of anglers that takes all the fish from their last day of fishing. They donate it to whatever cause seems to be the most needy.  Sometimes, it’s the seniors.  Sometimes it’s the kids.

It doesn’t matter.  It seems that they fish especially hard that  last day because they know that even “junk fish” like bonito will be more than welcomed.  Jack crevalle and triggerfish all go into the ice chests ready to fillet!

Again, the smiles are priceless.

I have another group of good-Joes.  They fish with us and eat at our restaurant.  They automatically put up $50 bucks a head.  They order and eat off the $50.

They order a 10-dollar burger or plate of tacos and nachos.  The remainder is a donation to charity.   If they have 10 or 20 guys…that can be a nice sum that buys a lot of dry goods,  toiletries, rice, beans and yes…pampers and toothpaste.

Others aren’t so grand, but bring whatever they can.

A dentist brings cases of the extra sample toothbrushes  sent to his office. He has us give it to an elementary school near Las Arenas.  A doctor gets boxes bandages.

A guy who sells paper products brings note pads and colored-pencils.  Kids who treasure each piece of paper act like gold,  bust out huge smiles.

Another group collects old sporting goods cast-off by their own kids who have outgrown them. They come down with baseball gloves,  a catchers mask,  some old rubber bases and deflated soccer balls and basketballs that can be inflated again.  Old sweaty baseball hats with MLB logos are treated like winning lottery tickets.

Eyes glow.  Handshakes exchanged.  No words necessary.   It’s universal.  Win-win.  Priceless friendship and gratitude.

Things that we so often take for granted like toothpaste and soap and shampoo are a luxury.   We go through sports gear as fast as we visit our sporting goods store and see a new model that promises to make us stronger, faster, or better.

We don’t give 2nd thoughts about how important something like pampers or socks or clean t-shirts might be.  Or just what a treat a cheap sip of wine might be  even if served in a Dixie cup.

You always hear athletes talking about “going all out” and “leaving it all out there on the court or field.”  Give it your all.  Regret nothing.

Here in Mexico, leaving even a little something behind on the playing field is makes everyone a winner.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

_______________

Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004.  Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico  www.tailhunter-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: Box 1149, Alpine CA  91903-1149

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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“A Pedestrian Moment of Clarity”

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 23, 2012 in Western Outdoor Publications

It had been a bad day.  I was grumpy.  Not much of the day had gone right.  You know how it goes when you’re out-of-synch with the world.  A disturbance in the force.

It started poorly with no hot water in the shower.

My cell phone battery died.

I had erased something accidentally on my computer.

Friends canceled a lunch at the last minute and I had forgotten to do something my wife asked me to take care of.

The airlines had lost a client’s fishing gear and suitcase. Someone else had lost their passport.

I was now late for meeting and it was my fault.  And just realized I had forgotten my notes.

On top of it,  I just spilled half-a-cup of coffee on the floor  when I swerved to avoid some crater-sized potholes.  The  iterminable stop signs that tortured me block-after-block in the hot sun that blazed through my windshield sure wasn’t doing much for my disposition either.

I was pretty much spitting, snarling and growling at everything in Spanish and in English.  Ever have one of those days when it feel like the cosmos are going to have some fun at your expense?

And it wasn’t even noon yet.

I was in a hurry.  Cars ahead weren’t moving fast enough for me.  Go! Go! Go! I’m late.  Andale!

Someone ahead was trying to cross the busy street mid-block.   Cars were zipping by the lone pedestrian.  No one was gonna let him get across the street.

Serves him right.  Use a crosswalk, amigo!

He sure wasn’t moving very fast.  If he didn’t move faster, someone was surely gonna hit him.

C’mon…get going.  I didn’t want to stop.  I was going to pretend not to see him. No eye contact!  Like  the way you don’t look hitch-hikers in the eye when you don’t want to stop.

But, he came out from my right just fast enough that I had to stand on the breaks.  Grrrrr… Small screech.  Sigh.  Dangit.  I was about to let loose some choice Spanish phrases.  “Cabron!”  “Idiota!”

But I looked up at the same time he stopped right in front of my hood. And in the middle of my snarl he turned towards my car.    We made eye contact.

He looked directly at me and smiled. He mouthed a grateful  “Gracias” with a gentlemanly bow of his head.

He was old.  Or looked old. Grey stubble framed his dark and weathered cheeks and chin.   In Mexico, it can be hard to tell.  A hard life ages people pre-maturely down here.

He couldn’t move fast because he was hobbled.  Badly. I hadn’t seen before that he had a makeshift crutch under one arm. The kind that looked like it had been bound together with dirty duct tape.

His denim jeans were stained and wrinkled. I wasn’t sure if his shirt was cream-colored or simply as dirty as his his pants.

His eyes were tired, but clear.  And in a simple word they spoke to me.  Volumes.

I had to smile and wave back. How could I not?   And I was just about to…well, it’s hard to rip a guy a new one who smiles and bows to you and politely says, “Gracias.”

I waited and watched him struggle to the other side. Cars backed up behind me.  Let ‘em wait.

It was an effort to get up the opposite curb.   Sensing I was still there, he turned and waved an “I’m OK” wave.  Another smile. I waved back.

Some impatient driver behind me honked his horn to get going.

Every now and then, life throws a little high beam into the darker recesses of your spirit. Mine came in the form of a few nano-seconds of human contact on a bustling Mexican street.

This old caballero with the bum leg was  grateful for an unintended act of kindness.  It was un-deserved.  Benevolence nothing. Thanks for nothing.  I was gonna blow by the poor guy as he struggled to cross the street.

I’m so good at turning “inconveniences” into emergencies A cold shower.  A dead cell phone.  Too many potholes and stopsigns.

Seriously?  C’mon, man, I mentally kicked  myself.  Life  really doesn’t have that many “emergencies.” At least, not my life anyway.

In Mexico, I’m just  blessed to have a car.   A cell phone that just needs a charge.   A shower of any kind.  And a computer that can re-create whatever it lost; meetings that need attending; and clients who look to me for assistance. I have friends and family.  I had a cup of coffee to spill.

And it wasn’t even noon yet!

I should be more thankful.  I should be more grateful.  Even for “inconveniences”. Life’s actually pretty good.  Slow down.  Take a breath.  Every now and then, life makes you stop whether you intended to or not!

Happy Thanksgiving from Mexico. “Feliz Dia de Gracias!”

That’s our story…

Jonathan and Jill

__________________________

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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For four decades there wasn’t too much you couldn’t find in Lupe and Lancho’s little store. If you couldn’t find it, you probably didn’t need it. But a part of the community changed because Lupe and Lancho don’t work here anymore.

“LUPE AND LORENZO DON’T WORK HERE ANYMORE”

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 28, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

The old ceiling fan slowly whirred awkwardly off-kilter and barely moved any of the humid air that had rusted the  dusty mechanism and the tips of the blades once painted white.   Wohp…wohp…wohp…wohp…

You could keep time by the pulse of the rhythmic blades…Like a beating heart.  Slowing down with time.

The cracked-tile floor had seen decades of footsteps.  Bare brown cement peeked out where tiles long ago crumbled and cracked.

For 42-years-Lorenzo carried boxes of onions and stocked limes. He arranged the stacks of  fresh tortillas wrapped in wax paper for display in the little glass case.  He made sure the one-lone stand-up cooler had a stock of cold Pacificos, Coke and Fanta Orange soda. Some cheese. Some cold cuts and a few bottles of cold water next to the margarine.

He dusted the bottled salsas and re-arranged the dish soap and assorted sugar cookies and toilet paper.  Two jars of mayonnaise.  Four cans of beans.  Six of corn.  Some cooking oil.  Salt.  Bread.  Assorted soups. Toothpaste and bleach.  A little of everything, but  not much of any one thing.

Inventory was not difficult.

The shelves were  of  whitewashed wood.  Dry and blistering through several old layers of paint from the Baja aridness.   Several were noticeably leaning.  But who noticed?

He built them himself from wood that is hard to come by in a land that has few trees.  So boards, screws and nails often did not match.  If it worked and did what it was supposed to it was fine.  He could smile.

Construction-wise…The worn wooden table along the wall was not much better.  It  held small boxes or bags of beans, rice, onions and dried chilis and assorted fruit.  Nothing shiny and waxed.  No “mood” lights to make the produce look better.  Just a simple light bulb fixture globe on one wall.  The dust and dead bugs of ages silhouetted in it.

Lorenzo tidied up the stacks of brooms and smiled at his Guadalupe…Lupita (Little Lupe) … as she quietly re-stocked some cigarettes, batteries and candy bars behind the counter.  No cash register.  Just a rusty scratched lock box in a drawer.

Married for 40 of the 42 years he had worked at the store.  Her parents had owned it back in the day.  He worked for them in the store doing whatever needed to be done as well as at their home which was attached to the back of the little store.

As he tells it, he was just a kid and having an afternoon job wasn’t as important as being close to the little girl with the big dark eyes; long dark hair and disarmingly shy smile. His Lupita.

He still sighs when he looks at her.

He once told me, “After so many years with her, I always have the final word in our home.   It’s always, ‘Si, mi amor!’ (‘Yes, my sweetheart!’”)   He laughs heartily every time he tells that story.  And he hikes up his pants and continues sweeping and shaking his head with a smile beneath his bushy grey mustache.  He has amused himself again.

Lupita hears the story and shakes her own head with a smile and rolls her eyes.  She’s heard it a million times and it still makes her heart skip a bit.  It’s been a good life.

They were never blessed with kids, but she thinks of all the school kids that have passed through. She watched them grow up. They were like their own.  They called him “Don Lancho” and she was affectionately called, “Senora Lupita.”  

Generation after generation.  After-school ice cream bars and sodas.  Pencils and salty snacks. Teasing and flirting.  Little feet always underfoot with laughter.  Lancho and Lupita watched the “ninos” grow up to have kids of their own who then had their own kids all stop in after-school to spend a few pesos and laugh.

Blessed with laughter.  Nothing better.

The adults in the little barrio would come to hang out as well.   The little mercado could often be the hub of  the neighborhood social scene.

Buy a beer. Microwave some instant coffee or a cup of noodles eaten with a plastic fork.  Lupita would often have little tasty chili verde burritos for sale at the counter wrapped in wax paper.  Just a few pesos.  Everyone loved them.

The wooden bench on the sidewalk and some plastic chairs worked well to share neighborhood gossip and sports stories. There was always a radio playing Mexican ranch music.  Lupita’s favorite.

Evenings were the best after it got cooler.  Under the lone street light.  The occasional moth and bug flittering through the dusty glow.   After work.  After chores.  No kids. The neighborhood dogs would loll around the bench as well.  The dusty concrete was cooler than lying in the gravel road that was still radiating the Mexican heat and there was always the chance of a scrap or two!

42- years…there won’t be a 43rd.

There’s a padlock on the door now.  I wasn’t close enough to know them intimately but they were always kind and smiling and easy to chat with.  They were always there.

And now they are gone. No note.  Nothing on the metal door.  I’m not even sure who I would ask.  You just always assumed Lupe and Lancho would always be there.  Now, it doesn’t feel right.  A part of the neighborhood just isn’t there anymore.

I hope there wasn’t a tragedy or someone got sick.   I will miss stopping by for a Coke.

Maybe they just succumbed finally to the big box stores like Sam’s Club and others popping up way on the other side of town.  But those are way on the other side of town.

Folks are reluctant to travel far to shop and fiercely loyal to the little stores.  To a point.  Driving costs gas…and time.  And there’s no one to chat and gossip at the big store.  But like so many places around the world, at some point the big stores are convenient.

But I see more and more empty storefronts in town.  Even here on this side. Away from the big shopping centers.  No one is hanging out anymore.  The neighborhoods are changing with time.  Like the wohp…wohp…wohp of the old ceiling fan.  Time ticking down.

Sadly, I look through the smeared dirty windows into the darkened shop and see only my own reflection.  Lupe and Lancho don’t work here anymore. I think they are missed on so many levels.

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.”

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It is sometimes a narrow view from the beach and under the palapa fronds, but it’s amazing what you sometimes see and pick up!

WHAT I SEE IS WHAT YOU GET!

Originally Published the Week of July 11, 2012 in Western Outdoor News

I recently came under some criticism by a reader for what I write in my columns and how I write them.  It’s not the first and surely not the last time I got in someone’s crosshairs about it.  Oh well.

Fortunately, it’s few and far between.  I can’t please everyone and everytime someone jumps on my head it’s far outweighed by so many of you who ride in like the cavalry to offer support.  Much appreciated, amigos!  It’s gratifying to know so many of you enjoy my columns and have my back!

When I started writing this column for WON (Western Outdoor News)  in 2004 on a lark.  WON editor, Pat McDonnell  asked me to fill in “for a few weeks” until he found someone else to replace me. He knew that I was busy with my own fishing operation down here in La Paz.  No brainer.

Pat and WON have been friends and supporters for many years.  I was happy and honored to fill in although somewhat awed at filling the sandy sandals of the likes of Gene Kira, Fred Hoctor and Ray Cannon.

But, I figured for a couple of weeks, how much damage could I do? La-la-la-la-la…

Two weeks turned into eight years almost 400 columns. I jokingly tell Pat to let me know when he finds my “replacement.”

Those first two years, I wrote the column every week.  That’s 800-1000 words and, as I do now, I write the column about midnight after a full day running our La Paz operations. That’s 52 columns, plus other articles for WON as well as the Baja Beat pages in the former Western Outdoor News Magazine. Those were another 3000 or so words.

Try to come up with something new and fresh every time! Then try writing at midnight after a 20-hour-work-day and knowing that you only have a few hours to get it done with a brain that’s screaming for a pillow and a blanket!  Pat and the other great writers at WON have incredibly been doing it for years.

I have a small brain. I have limited time. I gotta get up to put out the boats in 2 hours.  I wanna go to bed!

And, as I’m sure all writers do, sometimes deadlines would loom and my brain just wouldn’t work.  Credit Pat McDonnel, Rich Holland, and Gene Kira who told me, “Just write what you know.”

I can surely write about dorado and tuna fishing and how to catch marlin.  And I do.  To a degree.

But, so does everyone else.  And they are better fishermen than me and can certainly write about it better than I can.  And honestly, how many different ways are there to catch a dorado or a billfish?  Open any fishing magazine on the rack and there’s probably half-a-dozen articles about “how-to-catch a….(fill in the blank)”

I know that’s almost heresy to even mention that, but where we are here in La Paz, we take a hook.  We put a bait on it. We put the bait in the water.  We’re now fishing!   It’s hard to fill 52 columns a year with that. I’m just not good enough for that.

And I’m not as good of a reporter as so many other writers either.  I don’t travel.  I don’t get out and about. Gary Graham does such a great job of it.  Me? I’m kinda tied to one spot. We live here in La Paz.

My view of Baja can be pretty myopic.  It’s the view through the window of the palapa.  It’s the view of walking around in the streets doing what people do here on a day-to-day basis. We shop.  We fill gas.  It’s life.

It’s the joking at the taco stand.  It’s the funny things that happen in the grocery store or the sometimes comical adventures of tourists and amigos.  It’s about running a business here in an adopted country.

It’s the interaction with visitors and friends and all of YOU who come to wet a line or put your toes in the sand.  It’s what I see on the beach or on the water. I keep a keen ear out for what I hear and what all of you say.  I’m simply an observer and your humble conduit of those experiences.

So, ultimately, yes.  I write about what I know.  And I also write for my own enjoyment.  When, I’m writing at midnight and running on fumes, it’s pretty hard to find my writing muse if the subject bores me to death!

So, I write about the whole “Baja experience.”  Because to me, a visit here is more than just fishing or diving.  That’s merely the vehicle that gets you down here.

Beyond that, it’s the sunrises and the great food. It’s that great beach you found and watching your kids light up seeing the dolphins. It’s the dusty road to the hidden cove.  It’s the little hotel you chanced upon or finding that perfect surf break or fishing or diving hole.

It’s the culture and most of all, it’s the people. The little old man who sold you the necklace.  The captain who chatted about how much he liked the Yankees.  The family who served you at the little beachside palapa and cooked your fresh fish and shared a recipe.

It’s the  smiles you bring and the smiles you take home!

That’s my 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.”

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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…

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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!

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That’s our story

Jonathan and Jilly

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

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