Tales of Retirement in Paradise
|Chapter 6: An Adventure in Paradise|
Polly G. Vicars
Not all of our adventures have been by car. Many of the best ones have been in our fishing boat, El Viejo, a twenty-three-foot Mexican panga designed and built to work these waters. I want to share a special day from a few years ago which, as I told you in the Introduction, started this whole book thing.
|Capítan Cheo and El Viejo out at the Marieta Islands.|
|Ramón and Cheo bringing the canoe in safely on Los Muertos Beach.|
|Blanca and Cheo proudly introducing us to my namesake, Paulina.|
|Blanca with daughters Blanca and Ana Cristina enjoying our day at El Asadera.|
|Little Eliséo, all grown up and looking very much like his Papa|
|Tocayos (people with the same name) Humberto and Humberto!|
|Our namesakes - Humberto and Paulina. Great looking kids as well as great acting kids!|
Our captain by then was Eliséo Gordián (Cheo) Abundis (El Capitán), a twenty-nine-year old family man with six wonderful children, the youngest - a little girl named for yours truly. (After that, the last child, a boy, was born and Cheo did us another honor by naming him Humberto. He is now a handsome young fellow with a sunny personality similar to his Papa and his namesake.)
Cheo replaced the captain who came with the boat who didn't believe in partying on a fishing boat. (see You're Invited to Party - Vallarta Style.) We invited Maestro Melchor, his wife (who was expecting their second child), their eighteen-month-old daughter, his fourteen-year-old brother, and El Capitán's two sons, ten and five, for a day of boating, fishing, and picnicking on our beautiful bay.
It was the first time on the boat for the young ones, Maestro's daughter and Capitán's youngest son. From the beach in front of our condo we boarded El Viejo, via the water taxi, a thirty-year-old wooden canoe. Daily, for over twenty-five years, the canoe owner, with the help of his sons, has been ferrying fishermen and tourists from the shore to waiting pangas, bouncing and bobbing, on the sea. (Ramón, the canoe man is still on Los Muertos, doing his ferrying. Through the years we have become good friends and though we no longer have our panga, when we do charter one for a days fishing, Ramón is always there to safely get us in and out.)
After the transfer from canoe to panga, and with everyone safely seated in El Viejo, we ventured out to try our luck with the tuna that were visiting the bay. Once we reached the spot El Capitán divined the tuna were, we baited the lines and threw our ritual peso coins into the bay, each asking the Sea Gods for record-sized tuna.
We put the two oldest boys in the fighting chairs and before we could say "chili pepper," the reels began to sing! Watching those two boys, both so slight that once or twice the tuna pulled them from their chairs, excitedly and proudly land their fish, was a sight we all loudly cheered. Even the baby clapped and cried, "¡Bravo!," one of the many words she had recently learned.
After we all took a turn, and we had depleted the bay of enough tuna to feed our families, we headed for Las Animas, a picturesque pueblo south of Vallarta that can only be reached by boat. Tourist flock there to sun, swim, and enjoy lunch in one of the open air palapa restaurants on the sparkling sand beach. We boarded the local water taxi (another wooden canoe), which took us to our special part of the beach, away from restaurants and tourists, and spread our blanket under the coconut palms.
El Capitán advised a move of the blanket a few feet, as ripe coconuts were hanging from the palms that towered more than six stories above the beach. With a tad of skepticism, we indulged him, and in less than half an hour, a huge brown coconut smacked the beach exactly where I had first placed the blanket. No more doubts from me!
Adults and children alike played in the azure waters of the bay, squealing with delight as the gentle waves rushed over us. How can I convey to you the love that engulfed us? There were no admonitions to the children nor harsh words among the adults. Nothing mattered but the moment and the true joy of the day - the children's day! We ran on the beach, batted balls and shuttle cocks, picnicked on fresh tuna salad made from yesterday's catch, fresh mangos, pineapples, and vegetables.
Later, some of us napped under the palms, while others, in twos or threes, explored the rocks and hills. Some carried pails of water and made lakes in the sand for wonderful little creatures of the sea. All of us cuddled the little one. El Capitán took his five-year-old son, Eliséo, by the hand and invited him for a walk down the beach. The smile that broke out on the tiny face eclipsed the sun that was shining on us all. Father and son - sharing a simple stroll that was so much more. Oh, to have been able to paint them as they ambled down the beach, the little hand in the big one, the man pointing out things of nature his father had pointed out to him!
This was my adventure; a day of such simplicity, tranquillity and unselfish love as to make me physically ache for our planet that is so filled with hatred and accepts such an abhorrent phrase as "ethnic cleansing," and tells one person he is not as acceptable as a human being as another, and where people do nothing without asking, "What's in it for me?" To me, my adventure was wondrous and extraordinary. To my Mexican friends, it was commonplace and typical. Would that all the people of the world could share in such a magical day! They would forever view life differently.
(These same feelings engulf me with great regularity. The divisions and the hatred in the world still baffle me. But the recent primary to select the democratic nominee for President of the United States of American gives me reason to hope. 18 million Americans voted for a woman to become president and 18 million and 1 voted for an African American man. How great is that? Can't pass up this opportunity to put in my 2 cents about the Vice Presidency - Hillary, who else?)
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 57 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.
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