BY EL MONDO DE CABO
One of the great benefits of living in the Baja is almost-free TV reception. I can get 4,300 signals, watch any movie or TV show ever made when I want to watch it, all the pay-per-view for free, and every sports event including the pole tossing finals in Finland.
Pluto, tubi, Netflix, YouTube, H, IF, HBO 1,2,3,4,5,6, Showtime, East, West and Beyond, Warner, Disney, Hulu, Paramount, TCM, TBS, WGN, MAX, TV Land, Weather Network, Heros & Icons, Sony, Cinemax, Starz, Studio Universal, FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, Antenna TV are just a few of the many channels we can get for free once they are broadcasts from offshore ships in the English Channel to here though our reprogramed Firesticks. I know, it is hard to comprehend an organized crime group that could efficiently rip off all those billion-dollar companies but there is and, to my mind, if you are not cheating, lying and stealing, you are not trying. Just ask our presidential candidates.
You will need Tony, our resident genius who programs the Firesticks and is the only person who does a good job. But, getting to know Tony can be daunting. He is a man’s man, grizzly looking, but you can tell he was a handsome guy during the Nixon administration. You will meet him usually with a cigarette hanging from his mouth and a Jack n Coke in the toe. Tony doesn’t suffer fools. Best you be on your best behavior when you meet him, or he will just walk out muttering something like “f-ing mullets.” Don’t ask but consider yourself insulted at the highest level.
All in all, it is going to cost you about USD 350 to come over to the dark side. There is also a learning curve. If you do not know what a VPN is, you are already behind. I recommend a fifth of Jack Daniels as a “propina” for Tony. That will give you the customer support you need in the evening when you will need it. I like to call it the Aged Bourbon Package.
I never saw a TV show till I was 12. We lived in Kobe, Japan, Madrid, Spain and Turkey as we followed my father’s diplomatic posts. My Mother was a very successful hair salon owner and had over a dozen facilities in New York City which provided us with ample funds to live large, so we always had the latest TV from RCA, but there was nothing to watch. I was the only child and raised for the most part by servants. That was fine by me as I was “spoiled” and the servants lived in fear of me.
I was a devout bullfighting fan and in the five years we lived in Madrid, we never missed a bullfight. So it was appropriate that the first thing I saw on television was a bullfight. It was broadcast from Barcelona and the featured bullfighter was my hero, Luis Miquel Dominguin. He was without a doubt the biggest star in my world and a giant in his business of killing bulls. I was a devout movie fan and remember befriending the black man who ran the projectors in the Madrid American theater run by the US Army. I was fascinated. I used to bring him big hero sandwiches I had the maids make from fresh loaves of bread with the best Parma ham, goat cheese, and everything else wonderful. Years later, when we wound up in Oklahoma, I finally got permanently hooked on TV. My favorite show was The Rifleman! Decades later I met Chuck Conners in my Beverly Hills dentist’s office and was able to express my worship of him. Sadly, he died shortly thereafter with his new implants.
TV options were limited when I first came to Cabo after twenty years in Russia. There was a coaxial cable coming out of the wall in my first flat here at Manana, which was on a dirt road behind the beer storage facility, where the day workers would gather in the afternoon and drink the cheap beer. I remember I got about three channels: CNN, Warner, and Bloomberg. Considering I was flat broke at the time, Bloomberg was really depressing. Then one day, two very British gentlemen with surfboards knocked on my door and introduced themselves as Officers in the English Army, fresh from the war in Afghanistan. “Are you Michael?” they asked. Turns out my son, an Apache helicopter pilot with 2800 hours of combat under his belt, had saved not only their lives but their whole squad and they just wanted to thank me. I let them have the apartment, stayed with my girlfriend and contemplated what my kid did which was incredible. He is retired today and one of the highest decorated pilots in the Big Red One living in Hawaii building a home on the beach for my two beautiful granddaughters.
Back then there were two TV options, DISH and the local cable company which only had Spanish stations. DISH wasn’t bad actually and it was cheap, especially when you sold your signal to the neighbors. I also had a VCR, but while black-market DVDs were limited, they were readily available from street vendors. Then one day, I was introduced to Firestick and the wonderful world of black-market satellite TV all controlled by real pirates somewhere in the English Channel broadcasting every satellite channel in the world for a small fee. Of course, there is a catch. Your Firestick needs to be reprogrammed. Enter Tony. You will also have to learn how to use it. The good news is it seems that nobody cares if you use it in Mexico. I don’t advise trying to use it in the USA as you could have your door broken down by the black-market Firestick Squad right in the middle of watching Kevin Costner in Yellowstone, for free. So give Tony a call at 624 134 1429 and “come over to the dark side”.