Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Village Fishing Effort in La Barra de Sontecomapan, Veracruz

We arrived in the Barra late in the afternoon on Thursday, and found a small hotel with rooms right above the ocean for 200 pesos a night.  However, no phone service (in the whole town), no internet (in the whole town), and no hot water!  Since it's so hot in Veracruz, though, we decided the lack of hot water was not a problem.  We took a walk around the small village of only about 30 families, and headed down to the beach as the sun was getting low in the sky.  Along the way, I was excited to find sand dollars washed up on beach.  This is the first time I've ever found them in nature, and I picked up eight in less than an hour.  We also noticed that a lot of people were out running on the beach, and thought it was interesting to see so many people out exercising.
As people continued running past us, they would smile and shout "pescado" (fish)!  Aha!  As we got further down the beach, we discovered that everyone was running to help pull in the giant net that they used to catch fish.
Several fishermen were out in the water in a boat tossing the net,
which was then opened and dragged to shore by the men, women and children of the village.
Their efforts were greatly rewarded when then finally dragged the net to shore,
and everyone who helped got to take home a fish.  We'd never seen anything like it!  We walked home on the beach in the dark, surrounded by people toting home their big fishes.

The next morning, we woke to the sound of howling wind and light rain, as the weather had abruptly turned stormy. 
The ocean had changed from blue to gray.
We decided that we didn't want to drive in that kind of weather, and would stay another night.  Our host at the hotel, Amanda, was able to get us a fish from the night before, and cooked it for us for lunch, with rice, beans and tortillas.  It was delicious!
We sat outside her tiny kitchen and enjoyed our fresh fish, and I got a chance to hold her tiny baby chick, which followed her around the kitchen like a little dog.  So adorable.
Then we took a drive about 15 minutes down the road so that we could get a few bars on the phone and let everyone know we were okay!  The cows, along with their little friends the white egrets, watched with curiosity as we sat in the car and made our calls.
Later in the afternoon, around sunset, we took a walk and ended up visiting with some neighbors who sold fried bananas with cheese, topped with cream.  This is a specialty in Veracruz, and it was the first time I had this combination.  It was so good that we went back the next morning for more.
We also enjoyed a fresh mango that neighbor Gregorio cut for us in the shape of a flower.
It was after midnight and still rainy and windy when we took the short walk back to the hotel.  We were surprised to find that we had no electricity!  But in this quiet, relaxed village, it didn't seem to matter much, and we fell asleep to the sound of the wind and waves.

Visiting La Barra de Sontecomapan was quite an adventure, and I won't soon forget the group effort of the people, young and old, to bring in the fish for the town.  Like all towns, I know this one is growing, and I'm happy that we got to experience its simple charm while it was still small.

As we begin a new week, I wish you all the best, and Buenas Noches.

xoxo Linda

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