This last weekend I met a man at the beach. I was waiting for a friend and he came up and started talking to me. He told me he owned this boat with the most beautiful Marlin painted on it. I have admired that boat for the past few months and have taken pictures of it on many occasions. He told me he is a fisherman and wants to be friends.
In my world friends means one thing, and often in a man’s world anywhere it can mean sexual relations. I informed of this subtle difference and he assured me he just wanted to sit and have a few beers and chat. I agreed to give him my number and my friend showed up. It is not uncommon for men here to tell you they own things that they do not, or to take you to a place that is not even theirs.
He called me several times on Sunday which was a bit annoying, I had already informed him that was a day I was busy with a huge project. I finally returned his call the next day explaining that I was actually super busy. I went to Anna’s on Sunday for a lazy pool day and trying to balance myself. He apparently lives in the same area and asked if I was coming over that day. I am not a fool and I decided against going to some strange man’s home alone. He was then going to have his friend come up and get me in my area. After it got to be around 9 pm, I called him and said I would have to reschedule that is far to late for me to be out safely.
We made plans to meet Wednesday afternoon at the same beach we met at. I confess my interest goes beyond the man and is more focused on the rules and regulations of fishing here. I confess that I am not actually interested in finding a man, contrary to their belief, not all white women come here for the “big Bamboo”! I was pleasantly surprised when he came back into the cove in the boat he told me was his. Our original intention was to meet at 2 pm, but he went out fishing and informed me that it would be after 4. What he did not inform me was how long it takes to bring a catch in. You see first they must pull the fish out of the boat. Then they must clean the boat bottom. Then they are mobbed by tourists and locals looking to purchase some of the catch. Then they have to gather the gear up and prepare it for transit.
He asked me to go back to his place with the girlfriend of the taxi driver. This may not have been my best decision, but I agreed. It was getting late and I could tell it would be awhile before he was done. When we arrived I saw the tidiest place I have ever seen. It was nicely decorated and had the biggest flat screen I have ever seen. We proceeded to watch Netflix for quite awhile waiting on them. The fishermen finally arrived and the work is still not done. There is the wrapping of the fish and selling to the neighbors. He actually had me hold the money, which I found to be quite trusting of him. It was not a huge amount of money, but still to have a total stranger hold onto the money is a leap of faith. (Disclaimer, there was a big group with us and a police officer next door. My landlord also had his number before I left. I did not feel unsafe or threatened in any way, so friends and family, I promise I am always safe and not to worry about me.)
Once the fish is dealt with then the gear must be washed and rinsed. Clothes that were discarded on the boat bottom are also washed. At some point to my pained surprise J actually took a plastic bag and tossed it into the gully. I chastised him quite readily. He argued a bit about how it would not go into the ocean, but I was adamant that it was unacceptable. He promised to never do it again, and the other men sheepishly started to discard trash in a bucket. I call this a huge win!
When he finally took a shower and sat down next to me it was getting kind of late. I finally told him I must be getting home and as promised his taxi man came and got me and took me home. In the end I still do not know much about the rules and regulations but I certainly have a much greater respect for fishermen. I also have possibly come up with a great idea for income generation, and maybe I will share that here later, but first I must share it with J!
He truly was much a gentleman and seemed honest and not looking for someone to support him. Here that is very refreshing.