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Flavio, the Fisherman

On my tour of Puerto Angel yesterday, I said hi to many people, who responded with smiles and greetings: women pushing baby strollers as their toddlers ran ahead laughing; women sweeping porches, men at work, or looking for passengers for their taxis; shopkeepers, youth and waiters. But yesterday I promised to tell you about Flavio, the old fisherman who was mending his net when I walked back home. I’d said “good day” to him and his two friends on the way past, but didn’t recognize him alone when I returned. I simply stopped to say hi and ask what he was doing. With a huge plastic blade that resembled a knife, he was mending his huge, piled up green plastic net. He inserted the blade through a square, threaded it twice to make a double knot, marked the next corner with his finger to measure how much line to leave, then threaded it through the bottom square, where he made another knot. He worked quickly, sewing new squares into the empty void. I asked him about his work; he fishes every day, catching 30-40 kg of “pescados,” or fish. Yes, he answered, many people are fishermen in Puerto Angel, or work in the tourism business. There was also a school, three internet cafés - generous for a town so small, but most people wouldn’t be able to afford computers, or data for their phones. (In the store later, I discovered that there was a data plan for just whatsapp and facebook; I'd have to go to the internet cafe to use the full internet.) Many people were using phones at restaurants, on the roads, or in their cars.

He asked where I was from, and how I liked Puerto Angel.

“Jo soy Canadiense. Esta muy bien, muy bonito aqui. La mer es bonita, com musica,” I said, pointing to the sea. (I think I said I was Canadian, it was very good and beautiful here, and the sea is beautiful like music.)

I asked Flavio what “la paz,” peace, means to him.

“A mio, esta la traquilidad.” (To me, it’s tranquility.)

“Estas tranquilo?” (Are you tranquil?)

“Si; nadie me molesta; estoy tranquilo. El mar, la vida, la gente, todo es tranquilo.” (Yes; no one bothers me; I am tranquil. The sea, life, people, everything is tranquil.)

“I saw you when you passed earlier,” he reminded me. “Oh yes, you were with your friends,” I recalled.

I wished him a good day and continued on my way. Flavio was so right; life is tranquil here. I already feel a sense of peace in the relaxed pace of life, the natural beauty, the ubiquitous music of the waves. I thanked God for providing such a wonderful haven to write in, although I chose it sight unseen from the internet. As I write this at the end of the day, nature is caressing all of my senses. The waves and laughter of children caress my ears; the wind caresses my shoulders, preventing the sun’s heat from burning my skin. The small birds flitting past me, and the larger ones circling the bay below, caress my eyes, as do the pale green butterflies that seem to glow from hundreds of metres away. Cold water caresses my tongue. The church bell and cross, just in view past the crest of the hill, remind me that the townspeople and I give thanks to God. But it is the gratitude and tranquility of spirit that caresses my soul most deeply.

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