Baja: There’s not a single part of our lives that isn’t touched by the increase in fuel costs, especially air travel
With each passing week, it seems like we’re seeing one more thing after another fall prey to the effects of higher gas prices and a slowed economy “up there” in the U.S. Icon after icon falls. Things we never thought would change, are changing.
Believe me, fish brothers and sisters, next to soccer or boxing, the U.S. economy is the most talked about coffee and beer discussion down here south of the border . It’s right up there, followed by whether “OBooomuh” will beat “Kleen-tune” to go against “Muh-keeen” for the White House in November.
Certain things were never supposed to change. There was a sense of entitlement to certain things. We were entitled to always seeing Superman win; re-runs of M.A.S.H. were always somewhere on the dial; and there was always SOMEPLACE that still sold $1 dollar Mexican beers.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that another era is drawing to a close. It’s no longer an aberration by errant airlines intent on making YOUR travel plans more difficult. It’s a trend now to make your travel more difficult.
With each passing week it seems another airline (those that are still flying!) is eliminating the two free bags on international flights. Those halcyon days of carefree luggage are going the way of stingray bicycles; safe drinking water out of the garden hose; and riding in the back of open pick-up trucks.
First they limited luggage weight from 70- to 50-pound per check-in bag. But you could bring two pieces.
Now, it seems most airlines are cutting back. You get 1 free bag and then then pay from $25 or more for the second bag and up to $100 or more for the third bag. Think rod tubes and ice chests…yup…that’s right.
Hey, I’m not talking smack against the airlines. At least not for this. Fuel is fuel. There’s not a single part of our lives that isn’t touched by the increase in fuel costs. A plane can only handle a finite amount of weight. It takes more fuel to get that weight up into the air; keeping it there; and moving forward it from point A to point B. I get that.
The surcharge, if you will, “taxes” those of us who take up the extra weight with our toys and that third set of swim trunks; the Grateful Dead t-shirt we can’t leave home without; the 50 iron lures we need for just two days of fishing. And yes, ladies (you know who you are) those 12 pairs of shoes for the weekend trip.
If you’re like my dad who seems to get by on a week-long trip with one pair of socks, two boxers (one severely lightened by the lack of elastic), and his toothbrush, then you don’t have to worry. But that’s Old School. We of the modern world like our stuff. Gotta have our stuff.
But the new fiscal reality dicates differently. Lighten up.
If you’re traveling with buds, consider putting as many rods into a tube as you can. The big giant tubes won’t pass anymore. The standard-size tubes or home-made PVC tubes can hold a surprising number of sticks. For the average two or three days fishing trip, you don’t need 10 sticks each. And keep them short. Oversize gets charged too.
The days of the 100-quart cooler are long gone. Go with the 30- to 40-quart chests. Do you REALLY need wheels on them? That adds a lot of weight. A 40-quart chest when filled properly with filets weighs just about 50 pounds.
Do NOT bring empty luggage like an empty ice chest either. What I like to do is put my clothes in a soft duffle. It goes into the ice chest on your way down. On your way back home to the states, hopefully, your cooler is now filled with fish. Your duffle bag now becomes your carry-on to go in the overhead.
If you’re fishing with friends, figure out that you each do not need a long-range sized tackle box. Each of you does not need 20 feathers and iron each. I know. I’m a tackle junkie too and I’m talking blasphemy. How dare I tell you to leave fishing gear home! Well, bring it but be ready to pay for it. Consider sharing tackle. You do NOT need 8 blue and white feathers each.
Unless you really MUST have some super dooper shampoo or something, consider either bringing travel sizes of cosmetics or buying stuff like a toothbrush, razors, shampoo and toothpaste here in Baja. Unless you’re staying out with the cactus and coyotes, you can pretty much buy anything here in Mexico now and all the name brands. And it’s probably cheaper. Most hotels have a convenience store.
They’re being real sticky about weights, too. In my last trip, they were charging people who were even 1 or 2 pounds over. No lenience. The new world order has arrived.
By the way, I just yesterday. Some airlines are now charging $15 for the FIRST bag too.
That’s my story. If you ever want to reach me, my e-mail is email@example.com.