Monday, July 9, 2007

Santa Clara - Panama - Day One

Most mornings are very quiet in Santa Clara - Panama. The sky is gray with low clouds not yet burned off from the soon to be hot sun. Coffee is good and strong. We sit and listen to the waves crash, the birds singing and the heat thunder rumble.

A girl on horseback comes riding up the beach with a stray horse along side. He’s at full gallop and kicking his hind legs, trying to play with the other horse. Other guests are starting to come down to the beach for their morning walk. It’s a typical morning in Santa Clara- Panama. It’s nice to be in #11 - right on the beach.

For breakfast, scrambled eggs with cheese, tomatoes and chrizo sausage. Corn cakes with orange marmalade and strong coffee. Then a long walk on the beach.

We see some fisherman on the beach. They are slowly dragging in a net they had set hours before. It’s a team effort to drag the net in. They start about a hundred yards apart, in teams of eight to twelve, slowly pulling in the net that was stretched out to sea, in hopes of catching fish. As the net gets closer to the beach, more people come down to observe. It’s slow and tedious work.

My “gringo” husband has stepped in and has been helping pull for about 15 minutes. As the center of the net is visible, he yells to the others “Hey, how about some help?”. The eight “gringos” jump in to help.

Finally, the center of the net is on the beach. Fish are jumping and making a lot of motion. Pulling the net in means working with the waves. The fish in the nets weigh it down and it takes all efforts to get “the catch” to the beach.

BirdsLots of fish. Lots of birds overhead. Quite a production. The net is in the sand where the waves hit the beach. Fish, eels and sting rays are in the net. The Locals are throwing the rays to the side. A woman is kneeling down with a knife, cutting on the sting rays. We asked what she was doing. It’s difficult, as she does not speak English and we do not speak Spanish. But she does say “tongue”, “medicine” and “asthme”. [As a side note, we really need to learn Spanish. How ridiculous not to know the language]. Other locals that were working the net have plastic bags or plastic laundry baskets. They begin throwing fish into each. Birds are swarming overhead. People are throwing small fish into the air, as the birds are diving to catch them.

The rain begins to move in. The Fishermen are happy with their catch. Everyone eats tonight !

Relaxing on the beach, eating and reading filled our afternoon.

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