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HAND ON HEART – It Still Gets To Me

HAND ON HEART – It Still Gets To Me

Originally Published the Week of Mar. 10, 2023 in Western Outdoor Publications

OK, this is not really about Mexico like my usual columns.  Or maybe it is.

My wife, Jilly, and I have been on the road now about 2 months travelling the U.S. doing the usual fishing/ hunting shows and conventions across the country.  Lots of road hours.

With our booth, cat and clothes bundled up and stuffed in our Suburban, we’ve now done shows this year in Dallas, Reno, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Nashville.  We just wrapped it up in Southern California at the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Show at the Orange Co. Fairgrounds.

A few minutes before the show started with hundreds of vendors ready go in their booths  and a couple thousand attendees anxiously waiting at the gates to go in…

A giant American flag was unfurled and a beautiful woman’s voice sang a live version of the Star Spangled Banner over the fairground’s speaker system.  

Everyone stopped.  Oh Say Can You See?

Trucker hats and cowboy hats came off.  Beanies and visors got placed over hearts with hands. 

Guys with scruffy beards and overalls standing next to millennials, Generation Xer’s, surfer dudes, deckhand-types, salty old guys, guys and gals in camo or cutoffs, families, boomer folks in fashion… were all standing at silent attention staring at a massive American flag slowly fluttering in the chilly morning breeze.

Middle class…high class…no class.  Didn’t matter.  All standing together.

Next to me, a hipster with a man-bun and black skinny-legged stovepipe pants had his hand over his heart next to an older gent with a baseball that that said “Vietnam Veteran.  He was standing at full salute. 

There was a family that looked Middle Eastern (the wife had a burka) with an African American family standing nearby as well.  I could see the wife mouthing the words…

“What so proudly we hail…”

Many folks of Asian and Latino descent also standing and saluting in their own ways.

Dangit…My wife and I both got teary-eyed.  We always do.

And as that great song is playing, “Oh say does that star-spangled banner…”

I’m thinking, why can’t we all get along?  Why are we so devisive?  Why does it take some national tragedy or emergency to bring us all together?

Look at us all standing together at this very moment.

However, over 4 days of the show, folks coming to our booth to talk about fishing in La Paz.  And they just can’t help themselves.

Over conversation about airflights into Mexico or Mexican restaurants or catching marlin…comments get interjected about our politics, their politicians, our presidents and their presidents,  religions and economies.

Not little comments either, but combative, inflammatory and  vociferous opinions.  Fighting words.  Not directed at me, but surely loud enough for the opinions to be heard by anyone within earshot.

As if they were just looking for an opportunity…any opportunity to wiggle in a belligerent opinion.  Amazing.

What do street tacos have to do with election fraud?  Or how is fishing in a panga related to conspiracy theories about covid or supply chain issues?  The size of a dorado and corruption?

C’mon, man. 

And of course, everyone of an opposite belief is an “idiot.”

Sigh…

I live and work in another country.  That country has given me a nice little career and livelihood.  But I’m still proudly American.

Inwardly, I laugh. 

Check out what it’s like for most folks living across the border.  Politics, the judicial system, the economy, education…if Americans could only see and experience what it’s like
“over there.” 

There’s a reason why so many folks are trying to get across to the U.S.  (A completely different discussion for sure.)

But, we are so blessed as Americans.  Yea, the struggle is real.  For all it’s monumental problems, what a darned fine country. 

And for one shining moment, standing in the chilly morning breeze listening to the national anthem and facing a giant old glory, it felt especially good.

To look around and think that for all our outward differences…for all our crazy opinions…we could still draw together over an old worn song that still has meaning.  

And that if it ever came to it, we’d all have each other’s backs.

That’s my story…

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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BLUE PLATE SPECIAL

BLUE PLATE SPECIAL

Originally Published the Week of Sept. 28, 2023 in Western Outdoor Publications

Several columns ago, I wrote a piece regarding when Mexican food NOT Mexican food.  It mentioned things like nachos, pre-formed taco shells and chili having non-Mexican origins.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of comments I received from readers.

As one reader laughingly wrote, “You personally destroyed my entire concept of Mexican food and so many of my favorite dishes!”

But, as I’ve heard so often, our American concept of various ethnic and nationalized food is often skewed by what we are exposed to in the U.S.

For example, I could have probably written about Chinese or Italian food being completely different from our American experiences if we actually visited those countries.

Not withstanding, several of the e-mails, I received actually asked, where I would personally find the best Mexican food.

Amazingly, once again, it’s not found in a traditional spot per se.

Yes, it’s restaurant food.  However, it’s very atypical to what Americans visualize as a restaurant and they are pretty easy to find.

They dot the landscape especially along the highways and backroads, little towns and pueblos. Often, they are stand-alone solitary non-descript buildings. 

Sometimes they are actually marked with a crude sign announcing “Restaurante” or “Lonche” (Lunch). 

Other times, you just have to know.

A tell-tale weathered Coca-Cola sign or Modelo Beer logo nailed to a post or painted on the wall is a pretty good indication.

There may or may not be cars parked outside.  Don’t count on it.

Very often it’s a concrete slab with half-walls and some kind of patio with plastic chairs.  Other times, it’s really nothing more than a big extra room in the cinderblock home of a family.

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There could be one big table.  There could be several small tables.  Nothing really seems to match unless they are the universal plastic tables and chair given out by the beer companies.

But the room itself often has the hominess of someone’s big living room.  Often it is.  Yup…there’s a TV on the wall or counter.

There might be a small religious shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe with a votive candle in the corner.

Or it could be the back patio that looks out over an expanse of Baja desert and rock.  And lots of scrub brush and cactus. 

Oh yea…and maybe a dog or chicken or two.

C’mon in and sit down.

You will never find these little places on Google or Yelp or other social media platform. Forget Facebook or looking for a website.

Don’t even count on a name. 

One of my favorite spots is just an address.  Loncheria 5.6 km a Playa Piedra (Lunch place 5.6 kilometers to Rocky Beach.)

Don’t expect to see a menu.  Or something tacked on the wall. 

There is none.

And therein is the beauty.

We Americans are accustomed to restaurant where we have choices or have a selection of things to eat and prepared for us.

In Mexico…especially in the outlying fronteras…a restaurant basically means you have the luxury and means to have someone cook for you.  That’s it!

Kinda like getting invited to your auntie’s house or your grandma’s place.  And Uncle Gerardo and Cousin Juanito will be helping out

You know you’re gonna get fed and get a meal, but they’re gonna cook what they have!  The meal will be whatever is in the frig!

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There’s always beans that have probably been on the stove for hours or days. Seasoned and savory. 

There’s always amazing tortillas that did NOT come out’ve a plastic bag, but made the way they’ve been making tortillas for generations.

And you usually do have somewhat of a choice!

How do you want your eggs?  Fried?  Or really fried?

Maybe some rice?

Did you want some fresh ranch cheese? Or not.

Red salsa or green salsa?

Always hand made.  Family recipes.  Nothing out’ve a jar or can.  And definitely not like that salsa in the commercial “from New York City!”

Oh wait…

They have some fish today.  Or maybe it’s some fresh machaca beef.   Or some rich brothy pozole pork stew!

It’s whatever they have and whatever is fresh.  And cooked the only way they know how to cook it.

 

Or, like one of my favorite places in a little fishing village near Bahia Magdalena, the little grandmother always apologizes.

She only has two choices every time I go there.  Shrimp or lobster?  That’s what she has and that’s what she offers.

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Are you kidding?  She gives me both!

No apology necessary. 

Whatever it is, you can always wrap your tortillas around it or shovel it into your mouth “local style” with the tortilla.

And you  can always count on cold beer of some type.  Usually Coke.  No Pepsi. And always hot coffee. 

And, it’s not unusual for them to come over and ask if you want more and then bring the pot over and ladle the rest of the pot or pan onto your plate!

And it’s always great and you never ever leave hungry. 

There’s no bill.  Mama tell you how much the meal costs. No credit cards accepted. 

Pesos only please.  Don’t expect change either.  You might be the only folks who have stopped by all day. 

Don’t worry.  The meal costs pesos.  My lobster dinner with 2 tails AND the shrimp would cost about 3 bucks.

And believe it or not, no tip is expected.  But don’t dare walk out without leaving something!  You’ll always get a grand smile.

…and leave with one as well.  And a full happy tummy!

That’s my story

Jonathan

______________

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

_____________

 

 

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

 

 

Website:

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

 

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

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NO BATTERIES NEEDED

NO BATTERIES NEEDED

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 13, 2023 in Western Outdoor Publications

Many years ago, when hand-held GPS’s first came out, I proudly and anxiously took my new device out on the water.  I was already living and working in Baja so I dailed-up my favorite captain, Victor,  who was also my panga fleet manager at the time.

Just to put this in context, this was before Google maps and smart phones and every electronic doo-dad we have nowadays that can pinpoint a needle in a haystack.

This was almost 20 years ago.

Boy, I was excited.  Technology at my fingertips.  Imagine, a Global Positioning System just like the government and military had.  It would put me on all my favorite fishing spots!

What a concept!

I showed it to Victor and told him, “Someday all the captains need to get one of these.”

He laughed and shrugged. Yea, right.

Well…I’ll show him.  Seeing is believing!

So, out we went.  Oh yea!  I had programmed in all kinds of waypoints that I had found on various fishing maps.

And then my little electronic wonder, with all it’s orbiting satellites, beeped “stop here!”

So we did.  The hotspot!

Victor cut the outboard.  I looked about the flat morning sea. 

We were maybe 200 yards from the beach just outside a little bay.  Cerralvo Island in the distance.  Famous sands of Punta Arenas just to the north.

I baited a hook with a live sardine with the anticipation of a kid at Christmas.  I couldn’t get it into the water fast enough. 

I tossed it into the drift and I got ready to be pulled out’ve my socks. 

I told Victor in Spanish, “C’mon, amigo.  Get a bait into the water!”

He laughed and sat down on the gunwale.  Folded his arms. “No, gracias. Quiero mirarte.  I want to watch you instead. No thanks.” 

Well, I was ready.  I’m gonna get hit so hard.  Here it comes!

…and nothing.

…and more nothing.

Let me check the GPS again. Maybe I’m holding it wrong.

Yup, the satellites say this is the spot alright.  Maybe I need to change my bait.

Reel up.  Pin a new live sardine on the hook and let ‘er fly.

Now, we’re cooking with gas!  Now, the rod is going to get torn right outta my hands.  Here we go…

…and nothing.

…and still more nothing.

I look back at Victor. Smirking and smiling. Arms still crossed across his chest sitting there being very entertained.

I hated seeing that stupid-a#% grin!

“Que pasa, amigo? Hay algo mal con su machinito?” he laughs.  “What’s happening? Is something wrong with your little machine?” 

“Possible se quebro!” He adds with a hiked eyebrow.  “Maybe it’s broken!” 

More laughs. Actually more like a guffaw.

“Si, pienso que no esta funcionando.”  Yes, I think it is not working. I responded in frustrating Spanish.

Yes, that must be it.

He stands up off the gunwale. Big exhale.

He gazes shoreward to the north.  Then a slow turn south.  He stretches his calloused tanned fingers about 6 inches between thumb and forefinger.

Holds his fingers at arms length.

He lines up an old shack on the beach.

He smiles.  And he winks at me.

Starts the outboard.  And moves the panga about 30 yards closer to the beach.

Cuts the motor.

“Aqui, amigo.  Ponga su linea aqui,” he cackles.  Put your line in here.  “Vamos a ver que pasa”. Let’s see what happens.

New bait on the hook.  Line in the water.

Within seconds, line is ripping from my reel.  I set the brake. 

FISH ON! BENDO!

I look back at Victor.  Still smirking.  Arms across his chest again.  He shrugs his shoulders and laughs his self-satisfied laugh.

Pretty proud of himself.  He got me.

He beat my techno-toy with some simple triangulation borne of 30 years on the water.

As I fight the tuna on the end of my line, Victor busies himself at the stern of the panga.  I hear him say to himself, but loud enough for me to hear.

“Soy mejor de jugetes electronicos.  Ellos se quebran.  Victor nunca!  No faltan baterias.

(I’m better than electronic toys.  They break.  Victor never breaks.  And I don’t need batteries.)

…and that laugh again! So entertained by himself.

“No baterias pero a veces una cerveza” (…no batteries but maybe at times a beer)

Victor said this more loudly looking at me …and then at the ice chest …and back again to me.

I put away my GPS.  Go ahead amigo.  You earned it.  I smiled back and gave him a thumbs-up.

…and grab the gaff too.  I got color.

Denny Chin two victor tuna yellowtail 8-19

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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WHEN MEXICAN FOOD ISN’T MEXICAN FOOD

THINK AGAIN!

WHEN MEXICAN FOOD ISN’T MEXICAN FOOD

Originally Published the Week of Feb. 13, 2023 in Western Outdoor Publications

One of the most common questions we get living in Mexico from visitors is “Where can we find REAL Mexican food?”

That kinda makes me grin. 

For one, we own our own restaurant in La Paz.  Yes, we serve tacos, but I wouldn’t call the rest of our menu “typical Mexican” cuisine.

Anyway, when I ask folks what they consider REAL Mexican food, I get the usual responses you might expect.  However, most of the responses are based on gringo-ized versions and concepts.

The main thing is that you’re probably NOT going to find anything resembling that chain-eatery in your city back home.  And you DEFINITELY will not find any crazy creation you’ll find at Taco Bell like a “chalupa” or “nacho cheese dorito loco taco.” 

I personally love ‘em,  but they surely aren’t authentic Mexican by any stretch of the imagination.

So, here’s my list of things that come to mind you’ll probably not find in your average restaurant in Mexico.  Sorry to be a buzz kill because I’m sure some of your favorites are on my list:

CHILI – The first thing that comes to mind.  Years ago, I threw a party for friends and made chili dogs. A sure party hit. 

Everyone looked disgustedly at this saucy morass of meat and beans and WIPED IT OFF THE HOT DOGS!  Turns out no one knew what chili was and I found out later it’s a cowboy Tex-Mex thing not something you’d find normally in Mexico.

CHIPS – This one hurts!  We’re so used to getting a bottomless basket of chips before the meal ever arrives.   Not so in Mexico unless the restaurant is really a gringo-ized tourist restaurant.  Or, maybe you’ll get a little bowl that has a dozen chips.  That’s it.  Ask for salsa.  It’s extra.

HARD SHELL TACOS – In Mexico, it’s a heated soft-tortilla wrapped around whatever goodness is being served. The idea of a pre-formed crunchy hard-shell is purely American. 

There is something called a “taco dorado.”  This is not a fish taco.  Rather, the filling is put together. Then the whole thing is deep fried in hot oil.  I’ve sometimes heard this called a “Los Angeles Street Taco.”  They’re good and you’ll find them here and there.  Think Jack-in-the-Box super taco except even better. 

FILLED TACOS – We’re used to having a taco stuffed with ground beef usually.  You won’t find ground beef tacos in Mexico. 

We are also used to having our tacos pre-loaded with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  In Mexico, the soft tortilla has the protein.  Then it’s up to you to go to the salsa bar and load it with whatever you want.  This is where the magic begins! However, do not expect to find shredded cheese as part of the choices.

NACHOS – It’s popping up more frequently.  Not only at tourist restaurants, but it’s becoming a local favorite as well, especially among kids.  Who doesn’t like all the gooey cheese dripping off chips and topped with other yumminess?  But, most local-local restaurants will not have it on the menu although they will probably be happy to throw it together.

Legend has it that nachos had their genesis along the border when some picky army wives went to a restaurant after it was already closed and the inventive owner threw something together for them that just exploded in popularity.

TACO BOWL SALADS – WHAAAAT???  We tried to introduce them at our own La Paz restaurant and our staff couldn’t even fathom what we were talking about.  We dropped it off our menu.   No one knows what it is or why anyone would do such a thing.  A taco shaped like a bowl?  Really?

FAJITAS – Another Tex-Mex concoction.  Get some meat and throw it in a pan with whatever else you have hanging around in the frig.  It’s the equivalent of Chinese Chop Suey…which is about as Chinese as Fajitas are Mexican.

BURRITOS – Yes, another culinary lie!  Those big-as-your-forearm wraps of everything yummy are American.  You’ll find “burros” (big donkeys) here-and-there that are somewhat similar but not as elaborate, but most Mexican places will have small hand-sized tortillas with fillings.  In which case it’s really a taco now!

TAMALES– Found occasionally from street vendors, but rarely found in a restaurant.  Too time-intensive.  Someone sells them, but you’ll have to go looking.

ROLLED TACOS (Taquitos) – Go to San Diego to find them. Go to El Paso. We have found them in Utah. But, not Mexico.

My wife’s favorite.  Can’t find ‘em anywhere.  Whenever we’ve travelled in Mexico and have asked for them, we get a look from the waiter like “WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO ROLL A TACO INTO A TUBE AND DEEP FRY IT? “ We gave up .  We make our own at home instead.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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LEMONS & LEMONADE

LEMONS & LEMONADE

Originally Published the Week of Jan. 14, 2023 in Western Outdoor Publications

No doubt, Mexico is a great place to escape to, especially in the winter.  This year, in particular, with all the storms criss-crossing the U.S. and repeatedly battering some areas, it’s a no-brainer.

The idea of shedding your thermals, rain gear or snow-boots and sticking your bare toes into warm sand with any icy cold one in your hand is awfully appealing.

There’s just one thing wrong with that visualization.

Folks think that nasty weather respects the political borders that separate the two countries.  No, the weather does not simply stop at the border.

If there’s weather north of the border, there’s weather south of the border as well.  Generally, it’s not as severe, but there can be enough weather to impact your vacation plans whether it’s that sunset booze cruise, a snorkel trip, and of course, fishing.

The sun is generally out so you can keep your toes in the sand.  And for sure  it’s going to be warmer than South Dakota and dryer than California or Oregon, but beware.

Waters can be rough and windy.  Or, at worst, your trip could get cancelled.  It definitely won’t look like the post card or website photos that enticed you to visit in the first place.

So, what recourse do you have?

Listen, common sense.

We know you REALLY want to get out on the water to do whatever it is you planned to do. 

There are unscrupulous operators and outfitters who know darned well they shouldn’t go out and  still take your money.  They will give you an abbreviated trip then apologize and go back to port.

Or, they’ll try to do the best they can and gut-it-out and everyone gets seasick and has a miserable time.

Or, simply cancels things and is honest and says it’s too windy and dangerous or the port has been closed.  And hopefully refunds everyone’s money.

Use common sense.  If it’s looks too rough, it’s really not worth it to get seasick and have a terrible time. Believe me. 

If you’re going fishing and the captain himself says you shouldn’t go out, don’t go out!  The guy wants your business more than anything. 

But, the guy know his waters and if an experienced waterman like him says not to go, no one is more disappointed than him.

The best thing to do in any of those situations, short of getting your money back, is staying flexible with your schedule.  Especially important during this time of year.

Check if there’s a different day you can go out and get a credit or rain check.  Most reputable operators will jump at the chance.  They want you to have a good time as much as you want to have a good time.

And they certainly need the business.

And no one wants to go out there if it’s unsafe.  That’s a given.  Don’t take that chance either. 

Whatever amount you paid, it’s not worth it to jeopardize anyone’s safety.  Even if you’re not getting a refund. Walk away.  

One other big thing…

We never travel without travel insurance.  We recommend all of our clients who come to fish with us in La Paz to purchase it as well.

You just never know.  And it’s very economical.

Believe me, if you get cancelled for some reason, refunds are generally non-existent.  Weather is part of being on the water.  No one’s fault.  It can’t be controlled.

But, even if you do get a refund, it might take time and some wrangling to get all or part of your dinero back.  Don’t count on it.  

Travel insurance can be a big help.

Whatever happens and you do get cancelled…

Go sit on the beach.  Console yourself that it still beats being on the freeway or back at work.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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CAN YOUR CITY SAY THE SAME?

CAN YOUR CITY SAY THE SAME?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 27, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Tongue-in-cheek.  Are you safer on vacation than at home? 

Over the almost 30 years we have lived in Baja and run our Tailhunter Sportfishing operation, it’s not uncommon for us to get questions about safety.

Understandable. 

Mexico has that seemingly unshakable reputation of unmitigated lawlessness.  When you tell people you’re going to Mexico or you live in Mexico you here, “You’re going to…MEXICO?” “You live in MEXICO?”

(Their voices always go up on the world MEXICO!).

I might as well have said I like driving with my eyes closed or like swimming nekkid with pirhanas.

I won’t deny that there are some big issues, but it seems if a tourist has their watch stolen, it ends up on CNN. It’s an easy target.

And yes there’s violence.  But, what city these days doesn’t have issues with violence.  (Hello Chicago!)

We have friends in the U.S. terrified of visiting Mexico. 

But likewise, we have many Mexican friends afraid of visiting the U.S.  Can’t say I blame them.

This is because like U.S. media, Mexico TV broadcasts the robberies, mass shootings (is there ever a week this doesn’t happen in some mall, concert, school, etc), police issues, racial issues, riots, homelessness.

I wouldn’t want to visit either.

Every year for more than 3 decades, my wife and I do the fishing and hunting shows and expos all over the U.S.  A different show each week usually in some big convention center.

We’re there in our booth promoting our La Paz operation and thousands of people attend these events.

We usually do 10-14 shows over three months driving back and forth criss-crossing the U.S.

These have included shows in San Diego, Salt Lake City, Portland, Spokane, Boise, Phoenix, Denver, Bozeman, Seattle, Long Beach, Sacramento and many more.

There are some shows we will NOT be attending for the first time in many years simply because of the rampant crime we saw.  Some of it first-hand as we were victimized in one city and we saw a number of friends and fellow outfitters also victimized.

Openly.  In broad daylight.

We honestly saw more in 3 months on the road last year in the U.S. than we have seen in 30 years in Mexico.  And the police (many of whom are good friends told us) are largely powerless to stop it.

It was very sad and sobering.

So, you want to ask us how safe it is in Mexico. 

Well, I think there’s a reason it’s the #1 travel destination in the world right now.  Not just for Americans, but for international travelers as well.

Mexican destinations like Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and others are breaking attendance records for visitors.  Cabo alone hosted more than 3 million visitors this past year shattering previous statistics.

And here’s some interesting stats that just came out…

In Baja, homicides have dropped 95% since 2018.

Car theft is down by 74%.  Burglaries have decreased by an impressive 63% while street crime such as pickpocketing, muggings and violent theft have dropped by 52%.

I wonder how many American cities or states can claim those statistics.

Authorities attribute the drop to increased presence of law enforcement including police and national guard/ army.  They also point to increased funding for such activities plus U.S. support in terms of better training.

Logistical improvements as well have increased.  They have added much street lighting and security cameras are more prevalent everywhere.  More are planned to add an extra measure of security, especially in tourist areas.

Common sense is still the best security no matter where you go.  Don’t forget your brain just because you’re on vacation.

Don’t leave your wallet accidentally on the bar top.

Don’t go walking down dark alleys or doing things you shouldn’t be doing.

Don’t go flashing your jewelry or cash wad out in the open.

Same as you would at home. 

All that aside,  don’t let it stop you from going on vacation and enjoying yourself in Mexico.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

U.S. Mailing Address:  Tailhunter Sportfishing, P.O. Box 159, Hewitt TX 76643

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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COKE…The Real Thing?

COKE…The Real Thing?

Originally Published the Week of Dec. 4, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

If you’re old enough to remember commercial about Coke being the “real thing,”  you’re like me.  You have some history!

Ask most folks what the most popular drink in Mexico is and some will say it’s tequila . Others will claim it’s beer.

It may surprise you to learn that Coke is the #1 beverage in Mexico.  The statistics are astounding.

According to the stats, Mexicans drink more than 700 cups of Coca-Cola a year!   Let that sink in for a moment.  That is 43 gallons of Coke per year.

Chiapas is Mexico’s poorest and southernmost state.  The average person in Chiapas knocks back over a ½ gallon of the Coke each day!  It’s an area where Coke is cheaper and easier to get than water.

I’m not sure how much Coke YOU drink, but that’s a lot of Coke by anyone’s standards. 

In fact, Mexico is the largest consumer of soft-drinks in the world. Coke being about 70% of that consumption. 

That 700 cups in Mexico is still way ahead of the #2 country. It’s the  United States with a still-crazy 400 cups of Coke every year per person.

Needless to say, Coke is a big part of the fabric of Mexican life, tradition and culture. Some would argue it’s an addiction.

It’s not only a refreshment but is even used in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes as well.  With some validity, it’s used to soothe or cure everything from headaches, indigestion and nerve disorders.

I mean, how many times have we all just “grabbed a Coke” and we seem to feel better?

But, it wasn’t always that way in Mexico, although it had been around for decades.

It really gained it’s popularity during the 60’s and 70’s.  Former Mexican Presidente Vincente Fox worked his way up the corporate ranks of Coke, but started as a delivery driver and salesman. He ended up as President of the company.

During his career, he shrewdly offered incentives to companies who sold Coke exclusively over Pepsi.

Then, during the 70’s, it really accelerated.  Those were the years that Mexico sponsored the Olympics in Mexico City as well as the World Cup.

Not surprisingly this co-incided with national ad campaigns that exposed the drink to so many Mexicans and brought it to prominence. 

Mexican President Luis Echeverria,  during those years, even tried to get the Coke recipe in order to nationalize the drink as the official drink of Mexico.  He was unsuccessful.  However, it underscored how integrated the drink had become to the nation.

When Vincente Fox left the presidency of Coca Cola and became President of Mexico in the early 2000’s, he sure wasn’t going to let the brand fall. 

It was his baby.  Lots of photos of him with an ice cold Coke in hand!

So, what’s the deal with Mexican Coke? 

Many folks swear by it over American Coke although many folks can’t tell the difference in flavor.

However, it’s growing popularity has many U.S. outlets and restaurants now offering Mexican Coke to their customers and patrons. 

While quite cheap to purchase in Mexico, it’s understandably more expensive in the U.S.  It has to be imported.  But that has not slowed the demand.

But, many Americans clamor for it. 

There is a difference.  

While American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup, Mexican Coke is made from cane sugar.  To many purists, they insist it has a cleaner and fresher flavor and zest. 

Some testify it that Mexican Coke doesn’t have the chemical taste of fructose Coke.  Supposedly it also has more snap and effervescence.

Others also insist that it makes a difference that Mexican coke comes in the traditional bottles.  And to many, glass containers make a critical difference.

However, other than taste, one wonders if Coke made with sugar is better for you than high-fructose Coke.  The medical field says it’s all the same.

Coke is Coke. 

Arguably, the same taste.  Same calories, sodium and other things probably not so good for us.

Alot of it could all be in your head and what advertising tells us.

Does an organic apple taste different than a regular apple?  To me, Chicago Pizza tastes as good as a New York pizza.  Expensive water bottled in the “mountains of Fiji” better than “smart water.” 

C’mon, Man!

It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes. 

We all think Mexican Coke is better because everyone says it’s better. So when we lift that ice cold bottle to our lips…ahhhhh…dang, that’s good stuff!

But, there’s some hard sad facts about drinking Coke.  Even one can. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Coke.  I don’t drink a ton of it, but it’s my non-alcohol drink of choice on many occasions.  Living in Mexico, an icy can from the cooler on the beach rocks.  Or while fishing.

And, I’m personally not picky about Mexican or American Coke.  The red can is the red can.

Seems pretty harmless. 

However, a single can of Coke has about 10 teaspoons or sugar in it (or it’s equivalent in fructose corn syrup) which does the same thing to your body.  It still gets processed the same way.

The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day.  So, even one can or bottle puts you way above dosage.

Not to mention the sodium and caffeine that’s also being consumed.

By the way, original Coke actually did have cocaine in it!  But that’s for another story.

Sodium, sugar, caffeine…All of these are attributable to higher blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Or at least the lifestyle that goes along with it…

Those factors contributed a lot to fatalities during the pandemic.

Mexican Coke or American Coke.  It’s no wonder the two leading consumers of Coke in the world also have the highest obesity and diabetes issues.   

Buzz kill.  But, it is the “real thing.” 

I don’t have any beer in my frig.  But, I do have a 6-pack of Coke sitting in there.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________ 

Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter International

Website: 

www.tailhunter-international.com

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

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

.

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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COVID REBOUND

COVID REBOUND

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 22, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Mexico tourism, like many places took a big hit in 2020 with the Covid Pandemic.  Baja, in particular took it right on the chin with a virtual lockdown that turned many areas like Cabo and other cities into ghostowns.

Some of it was external.  I mean, if you have no airline flights there’s not much you can do about it.  Likewise, if the U.S. government has closed the passport office, it’s outta your hands.

But, Mexico at ground level was trying to figure out how to handle it.  In many respects, they were late-to-the-game in dealing with it. 

Mexico is highly dependent on tourism. It needed to keep the general economy moving and people working. Therefore, it sat on it’s hands when the rest of the world was going into lockdown.

It didn’t help matters that Mexico’s own President was still running around visiting restaurants and kissing babies; or telling folks that “Mexico will not be affected by Covid because we have Mayan blood and only rich people are affected by the virus.”

Uh, yea, right. 

He also wore a special “amulet” that he claimed would ward off the virus. 

It wasn’t too long ago to forget some of the wacky attempts to curb the spread. 

That included sanitizing your feet and shoes before you could go into a building or shuttle van.  Or who could forget, spraying sanitizer from helicopters?

The stopping of all beer sales was a big winner.  So was having to walk through a fumigation tent to go into a market.  And only one family member in the store at a time.

At hotels, you could not have two occupied rooms next to each other.  One occupied.  The next one empty.  Then an occupied room.  Social distancing to the max!

Since we run a fishing operation, this one was near and dear.  At one point, they declared that you could not be on a boat with open-toed footwear.  No flip flops.  No sandals. To fish “safely” you had to wear closed-toed shoes.

…and the captain could only stay in the center of the boat.  And the boat had be regularly fumigated.  Even if it was a panga.

Those were just lovely days!

But, the point being, none of this was very conducive to welcoming tourism on any level even after things started to open up.

However, here we are.  Almost 3 years post-covid and about a year since masks more-or-less came down.

Tourism is booming. 

In fact, tourism in Mexico is breaking records. American tourists are up 35% over last year. 

But… not just with Americans.  It’s an international vacation destination as well.  Mexico is the number one tourism spot in the world right now.

cabo-san-lucas-hip-hop-boat-party-with-unlimited-drinks-1155902

In fact, for the upcoming holiday season, if you’re headed to Cabo, be prepared.  It might be hard to find beach space!

We run our own shuttle service for our clients who fish with us in La Paz.  The majority fly into Cabo  and we transport them north to our city.

I was there in Cabo Airport a week ago and the line of shuttle vans picking up and dropping folks off was incredible.  Vans and cars were triple parked with arriving and boarding tourists.

Statistics showed that this year visitors are thronging in greater numbers than ever before.

So much so, that they’re adding another 1500-2000 more hotel room construction in the next year. Airlines have added more flights to the tune of almost 2 million more available plane seats.

By this past spring 2020, almost 3 million visitors had already shown up in Cabo.  They expect by the end of the year, Cabo alone will have hosted some 7 million tourists.

medano-beach

During the Thanksgiving holidays, the expectation is for at least 30,000 visitors and more than 80% hotel occupancy. 

It’s a phenomenal number.  We think of all the big-name hotels brands like Hyatt, St. Regis and Four Seasons to name a few.

However, there are also all the little mom-and-pop operations as well.  The big ones have been booked for weeks or months even though statistics show that the average hotel room night is now $400!

Of course there’s plenty of smaller more economic places (like where I stay!).   But, the flood of tourists has now slowed down. 

Not surprisingly, Cabo has edged Cancun as the #1 Mexican vacation destination.

Just be prepared for crowds if you’re coming down in the next few weeks.  Give yourself extra time so you can enjoy your time!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________

Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International

Website:

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

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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

Definitely this is NOT a taco.

YOU’RE NOT HERE TO FISH?

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

Over the years, I’ve watched the complexion of the tourism industry and tourism in general evolve.  It has been an interesting observation.

Being in the tourist industry ourselves, we have a courtside seat to all the comings and goings.

Years ago, it was the fishermen.  No two ways about it. 

Fishing built the tourism industry.  It’s what initially opened up Baja and much of the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

It was the exotic frontier teeming with fish and popularized by those early adventurers and writers who elaborated about deserted hidden beaches; sunshine; waters teaming with boiling fish and a wonderful people.

At first, it wasn’t easy to get to.  But that only increased the allure.

But, as time went on, the tourism gates edged ajar enabling more visitors to make their way down the coast.  The gates have never closed.

It has never stopped being a wonderland to so many. 

At first, mostly the guys came down.  The journey could be long.  The visit often did not accommodate many conveniences like air-conditioning, ice, electricity, gasoline and soft beds or even running water. 

But, again with time, all of these came to pass along with swimming pools, spas, shopping centers, and all the modern accoutrements.

Not co-incidentally, tourism surged again.  Not surprisingly, the mix of families, wives, kids and others increased.  International tourism also burgeoned.

Today, Mexico is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world.  Not just for Americans but for world-tourism as well.

But, no matter who was arriving off that cruise ship, plane or bus, there was always the underlying attraction of the ocean. 

Whether for fishing; diving; watersports like boating; beaches; real estate; photography…for the most part, the water was a common denominator for a vast majority.

Everyone was attracted by that big blue ocean out there in some way, shape or form. 

Whether to catch the fish of a lifetime; lie on a beach; to go on a booze cruise; to build a house; to watch whales; to get married or honeymoon; to retire;  to surf; build a house…the ocean was always the seductive siren.

 I mean, no advertises empty desert.  Right?  It’s always “ocean view.”

But lately, I’ve noticed a big difference.

People are arriving who have really no interest in the ocean or the proximity of the water.

They’re here for the food.

A “Foodie” invasion.

Not just folks who like to eat.  These are people who are hardcore into what’s on their plates.  They study.  They research.  They take notes and photos.

They post up photos of their meals on all the social media platforms.  “This is what I’m eating tonite!”

They’re not just here to eat a taco from a food cart or have nachos at happy hour.

I’ve often written about the food scene down here in Mexico.  It’s often about stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things.

But these are whole different class of visitors.

I’ve found myself taking vacation reservations for folks who don’t ask what’s the best time to catch a marlin. 

They don’t really care if that hotel has a spa.  They don’t ask about the water temperature for scuba diving.

But, they do want my opinion about which restaurant has the best chicken mole dish. 

Or they want to know if I had tried the bearnaise sauce they’re making at some new chi-chi restaurant on the waterfront.  Is the restaurant really using an organic goat cream reduction?

Yup!  As if I knew!

gourmet-vs-gourmand-usage-6072-09ae1d24289a50ea6ce3c9e8005a7796@1x

I’ve been asked my opinion about sautee’d bluefin eyeballs or the French pastries some hot-shot chef is getting raves about at a new bakery.

These folks have researched online menus and have check-lists of eateries they intend to visit or certain dishes they specifically plan to try.  

You’ve heard of a “pub crawl.” 

I’ve had folks do things like “only taste test ceviche” at a number of restaurants.  And take notes!  Or only tacos made from triggerfish or baby octopus.

Or they are on a “food tour” to taste the difference in fish preparations between various regions such as eastern Mexico vs. Southern Mexico vs. Baja. 

There’s a big difference in preparations.  Spices and herbs.  Presentations. 

In the same way barbecued ribs might be different in Alabama compared to Minnesota in the U.S.  Or chowder on Boston’s waterfront versus San Francisco’s Fisherman’s wharf.

large_562228646

Stuff like that.

Food popularity is big business.  Just check out the Food Channels on TV sometime.  There are dozens of cooking shows 24-7 and the hosts are international food rock stars.

Yes, many of our visitors are changing and seeking culinary pursuits these days.

Some are actually chefs themselves.  A few have been cookbook authors.  Some are just gourmet adventurers. 

Some just like to eat and get that same cosmic rush over a bowl of pasta as the folks who come to battle a big fish; or ride a wave; or touch a migrating whale.

To each their own.

With the growth of so many higher-level restaurants in Mexico and Baja, being a “foodie” is a sport.  It’s a hobby.  It’s an obsession. 

Buen provecho! 

That’s my story!  

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

_____________




Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter International


Website:

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


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


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

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

Read Full Post »

FIND YOUR BEACH

FIND YOUR BEACH

Originally Published the Week of Nov. 7, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

When I first found myself living down here in the Baja almost 30 years ago, I thought I was in heaven . I was “living the dream” as it were.

In my previous “life” I had gone from a litigation attorney with a pin-striped suit and briefcase running in-and-out of courthouses with a demanding schedule.

I now found myself 10 miles down a dirt road. 

I was working as the fishing guide, divemaster and chef for a little boutique hotel in a little bay.  No more than 10 or 15 persons there at a time.

I lived in a little backpacker tent I had erected on a wooden pallet on the beach.  I ran about a 100-yard extension cord from the main house so I could plug in a little 20-watt lamp.

Water was in a 5-gallon jug filled from a fresh-water well dug up in the arroyo.   I had two pairs of shorts (one for fishing and one for scuba) ; 3 t-shirts and 2 sets of flip-flops for clothes.

I did have an array of fishing gear and dive gear oh, and I adopted a little black dog I found living in the hotel trash dump.

No internet.  No phones.  These were the days before that technology.  Imagine that!

Getting supplies meant bouncing an hour down a dirt road to the nearest town. 

Days were spent fishing or diving in the prettiest bluest clearest waters I’ve ever seen in my life.  When I had no fishing clients, part of my job was to still catch fish for the hotel kitchen.

Crazy…I had a job where it was MY JOB to catch fish fresh fish!  In the freakin’ Sea of Cortez!

Nights were spent cooking in the kitchen mostly, but after that, simply sitting in a beach chair in front of my tent.  Or around the big blazing fire pit we would light for the clients and listening to the guests.

I remember skies with a zillion stars.  You could actually see galaxies.  And shooting stars Or moon-lit nights that were almost as bright as day.

And nothing but the sound of waves lapping the beach.

I touched no money.  I wore no shoes.  Never wrote a check.  Never had to “return a call.” Washed my clothes in a bucket.

It was hard work and often a long day with no days off, but what’s that saying?  “Find what you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Sometimes you just know.

It was a special happy time.  A good time.  I had found my beach.  Just like the popular commercial. 

Fast forward almost 3 decades.  Still in Baja. 

Still doing a lot of the same things.  But now on a much larger stage and scale.

Big city.  Two big fishing fleets.  A restaurant.  Transportation company.  Dozens of clients a day coming-and-going.  No days off.  A big payroll.  All the accoutrements of running two companies in two different countries.

There are meetings and reports.  Articles to write.  Up every morning at 4 a.m.  Inventories, lists, deadlines and so many moving parts every day.

We’ve been successful and blessed beyond deserving.  I have a lovely wife now and hopefully, lots of happy employees and there’s nothing more gratifying than all the smiles we see every day.

Life is good.  Life is grand.

I’ve got miles of beach right in front of me.  I’m looking out the window as I type this.

But, it’s not MY beach.  I’m happy, but it’s not my happy place.  There’s a big difference.

So, this past week, Jill and I drove down another dirt road.  Over an hour from La Paz where we live.  We weren’t supposed to take the rental car “off-road” but hey…don’t ask permission…ask forgiveness. 

We just hoped we didn’t get stuck somewhere.  It almost happened where part of the dirt road had been washed away in the last rains and we almost got stuck in the loose sand and mud of the arroyo.

Our own rattle-trap car would definitely not have made the journey.

But, at the end of this road is a little spot. 

With a few cabanas.  And a kitchen.  And a boat ramp.  And palm trees on a beach that were planted over 100 years ago.  And a little cemetery where the folks who planted those trees now rest tucked against a cliff that rises from the ocean.

There’s a little chapel on a hill. It was built by hand when everything was brought in by boat or hauled over the mountains.

The little pool is fresh sweet water that comes from a mountain spring.  Swimming in it reminds you of bygone summer days and lying on that warm cement as a kid.

Many a time over the years, we’re the only ones there.

No music is played.  No blenders are allowed.  One must dress for dinner.  Nothing elegant. Just basic simple tasty food made by ladies in the kitchen. Some have been there for decades.

The ladies who serve dinner dress in pinafores. It’s like they stepped out’ve a time capsule when life was simpler.

Candles only light the patios and tables.

There’s a formal “cocktail hour.”  As it were. Basically, it just means it’s dark now. Come have a drink before dinner gets served .

You can fish.  Or swim.  Eat or nap.  That’s what there is to do. Did I say nap?

Listen to the ocean or the wind that blows from the mountains.  Watch the sun navigate slowly across the sky and paint the landscape with changing colors.  Watch the moon and stars take it’s place illuminating the night in nocturnal silver.

I”d love to tell you the name of the place and where it is.

But as much as I blab on in my weekly writings, I think I will keep this one to myself.   It feels like MY beach again.  It feel like a place a came to long ago and had forgotten.

It’s good to touch that again. 

Yes, you can come to visit your Cabo and Puerta Vallartas and Cancuns…and do all the tourist things.  Nothing wrong with that.

But, I hope you can also find a little dirt road down to a beach that few people know.  It might not even be on a map.   I hope you find a little something different.  Maybe a little part of yourself too. 

And keep that spot all to yourself and how you got there.  Cheers to finding your beach!

That’s my story!

Jonathan

______________

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

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

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

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Jonathan Roldan’s

Tailhunter Sportfishing

Website: 

www.tailhunter.com

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

Phones: 

from USA : 626-638-3383

from Mexico: 044-612-14-17863

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

Tailhunter YouTube Video Channel:

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

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

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