February 21, 2015
BLOG: Fisher Folk, the beach in El Salvador
I have some fantasies that come along with becoming a ‘divine older woman’, one of them is that, even though I am always willing to drive wherever I wish to go, having someone else drive is wonderful. I get to go where I would not usually go especially in a foreign country where I am not so familiar with the roads and the destinations.
My friend George who found me at the border here of El Salvador has taken over the driving. This includes navigating the alley where the van is parked and the destinations that are near here. On one of our trips to Cara Soucia, our planned stop at Western Union was stopped by a cranky computer, so I said after we had found some fruits and veggies at the local mercado, let’s go to the beach!
The highway was paved until the final turn off at the playa where we turned to a sand and dirt packed road that wound around the evergreen mengle forest, around the houses and yards, around the coco palms and the bougainvillea bushes draped over the stone walls and eventually around a playa beach camp until we came to the shore of the estuary that opened to the Pacific surf and beyond.
As we passed we came upon what can be described as a perfect ‘South Pacific” type fishing village gathered under a series of thatched roof huts, behind jetties planted in the muddy sand of the river estuary to accommodate the wide tidal flows, piled with flat bottomed wooden skiffs loaded with gear and sporting outboard engines on the back. The boats were painted white with their names emblazoned across the sides. All of the boats were well used, each looked like such a boat was the life and times of the fishermen who plied the waters and rode the surf out to the ocean to fish.
Above the huts, the coco palms sparkled and swayed in the lazy breeze. We drove close to the shore line. On our right through the trees and across the small bay, we could see the clustered village. To the left was a wide bar, rows and clusters of cocoa palms and a natural green lawn of native grasses spread around and under more small huts with thatched roofs. Each of these tropical abodes was balanced on a series of poles anchored in the sandy ground all with natural sand/dirt floors, the needed table and cabinets for a kitchen and hung with colorful hammocks, the coolest bed of choice for the quite warmly comfortable tropical nights. Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza were nowhere in sight!
Playing in the waters of the flowing river was a mother and a bunch of boys ranging in age from about 7 to a gangly kid about 12 just about ready to sprout even more. They were as all children are running in and out of the water, playing with a bamboo stick thrashing the water to make rainbows in the sun.
We watched as the incoming tide quite soon engulfed the beach where I was perched on my Ikea stool chasing us back down the alley to the van. We brushed the very dark charcoal sand off our clothing and climbed in to drive back through the larger village of stone and cement built small and larger houses, most with thatch roofs, some with yards planted in tropical flowers: hibiscus, bougainvillea, flowering trees and coco palms.
George told of one quite old gentleman, a traveler he had encountered at the border crossing, that he took to the village one afternoon. The old man loved it so much he stayed, found a wife and made a family all in the space of a few months, retired into a sweet happy tropical life.
There is a lot of human life going on everywhere I have been traveling. People here are ‘normal,’ they are doing their daily thing without a second thought of what is not, about what might be or about anything else except what is before them: sleep, rise in the morning, fish for a few hours, bring the boat home over the bar and the surf, eat dinner, make music and fun for the evening hours and then, find the hammock to sleep, perhaps to dream! Simplicity.
The only other things I might add to this tropical bliss are a few books, my pen and lots of paper to write. I would be right at home too. Perfect!