1/19… Teach a Man to Fish

Daniel rode  into our camp at about two, and asked us if we were interested in doing a little shopping.  The answer, if only to pursue the adventure further, was clearly yes.


We had already had a great morning.

The girls were out of the tent and down to the beach almost the second the sun rose, and I made them hot chocolate and coffee for myself and then set about fixing a pot of rice.

We’re learning that having a pot of rice on hand is a pretty useful tool for feeding people a satisfying meal in a moment’s notice.  For breakfast, it can be “refried” and mixed with an egg or some diced onions and maybe a poblano, heaped onto a tortilla and covered with salsa, and you’re set with some decent calories for whatever confronts you for a morning activity.

Leave the pot around and it’s lunch.  And a decent side for dinner.

For this morning’s physical event, that was going down to the beach and doing an hour of yoga with Val, an activity my body was distant enough from to make it really challenging.  I could feel the muscles in my hips, waist and back being pulled out and opening, and it was enough effort to have me raining sweat by the time it was all over.

After, we jumped into the water and were cooled almost instantly, and then we rounded up the girls (busy exploring a cave at the south end of the little playita that is, for all intents and purposes, our private cove) and announced lunch was on the ticket.  Quesedillas, which have established themselves as a particular favorite, were on the way.

We walked up to our camp past the incredible sedimentary cliffs that bounded the beach, comprised almost entirely of millions and millions of shells, primary scallop shells, that were not quite fossilized but were clearly thousands of years old and marked a time when this place must have been rich beyond belief with marine life.


An osprey raced past us at eye level with a fat, silvery fish in its talons and battling a tenacious gull for the right to its lunch, winning out as the gull made a few aggressive passes at it but not before the osprey found a perch on the cliff to deposit the fish and turn to face the gull.

Talons beat webbed feet every time, and the glum gull wheeled to return to the docks at El Barril to find a less thorny, less challenging meal.

We made our lunch and did some reading and Sylvie, who has been complaining that she wants to read but can’t, gave her attention to me as I played word cards with her.  I wrote a series of words on flash cards and had her read them to me – “at”, followed by “hat”, and then trick word “that”.

As we worked on the cards and Leonie and Val worked on a Monster High yearbook, we herd the rasping of an ATV approaching the steep, narrow grade up to the site and presently Daniel surfaced.

The day prior we had asked him if there was a market in town, running low as we were on key staples: tortillas, milk, and Tecate.  He said he would show us where it was and, good to his word, was taking this time on a Sunday afternoon to help unravel the mystery of the location of the store in El Barril.  Down we went in the truck after him, and soon he had us down on the beach at the town’s dock were a lone truck was parked, and a fisherman in a red shirt stood waiting.

He must have roused the fellow and told him to wait for us, and after a brief negotiation, he pulled a bay bass and two firm whitefish off of a block of ice in the back of the truck and sold all three to us for thirty pesos, roughly $2.50, which was such an absurd deal we couldn’t bring ourselves to haggle.

The girls were fascinated by all the fish, and the pescador, Mauricio, asked them if they wanted to get their pictures taken with some of his catch.  They said yes, of course, and he hauled a grouper bigger than Sylvie out of the back and they posed next to it, its eyes dissented and mouth gaping open to reveal four or five rows of brutally efficient looking teeth in its jaws.

He also hauled out a spectacularly colored Sheep’s head, with a vivid red band around its midsection and a mouthful of fanglike incisors.

From there, Daniel took us to a smallish house in the village where we interrupted a family having lunch, and the woman and her two girls got up to go unlock the local store and sell us a six pack and some milk (no tortillas today).

Our day just got better as I gutted and filleted the fish on the beach under a growing cloud of very interested seagulls.

I fried the catch, easily three or four pounds of firm, white flesh, and made Leonie some sushi rolls with it, with Val, Sylvie and myself content to eat the fish heaped on top of the rice from the morning with fresh slices of salted avocado littering our plates.

Nobody is starving at Camp Goffin.

2 thoughts

  1. great trip… enjoy reading your blog. thank you for taking us along. I’m not currently on the road but perhaps in a couple of years my son and I will visit some of the same spots. 🙂

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