June 6, Caleta Suarez

Day 1
After our night from hell, we more than made up for it at Caleta Suarez. Like I said in my previous post, the local fishermen flooded the boat, curious to meet the foreigners. Ian went over to their boats as soon as we anchored, and some of them came and sat into the cockpit with me and Mario. I only then noticed how pale Mario was, still recovering from the night before. It took him a while to get his color back.
He and I sat outside, enjoying a very mild, sunny, warm afternoon, entertaining our guests. We chatted, laughed, joked until one of them offered to give us some fish which I gladly accepted. I have been craving fresh fish for a long time. He dragged me to their boat, wanting to show off his skills. While he was chopping the fish, and I stood there admiring him (;)), some of his mates took me on a tour of the boat. I was curious to see what it looked like and they were keen to show me. He took me down to their sleeping quarters that were rather uncomfortably arranged. First of all you had to descend a steep ladder steps attached to the wall. All that going through a very narrow opening. Then I saw the bedroom, that was very dark, narrow, and low. With two bunks of three beds on each side. On top of them being very narrow, there was hardly any space between each bunk, making them look (quite disturbingly) more like a coffin than a bed. I wondered how these big, rough men fit in there…At least it was warm, unlike the rest of the boat that had no heating. The bedroom was also used as a storage room. The bathroom was outside on deck, meaning they would have to somehow get out of the narrow bed in the middle of the night, climb the vertical stairs through the tight gap in the ceiling/floor (depending on your position), walk through the kitchen into the cold night, only to use the bathroom should they need to pee. I am glad I am on our boat, where it is warm and all so well organized.
After the tour of the boat, I had a chat with the captain of the boat, while some of the other guys were running around feeding me deserts. There was chocolate flan with caramel topping; there was peach yogurt, and all that on top of the fish. When I left the boat, Rodrigo – our chubby friend, cleaning the fish – was ready to cook. He made his way into our kitchen and quickly took control of everything. I thought he was only going to clean it for us and let me cook it, but when he expressed desire to finish the job I was more than happy to let him. You should have seen him! He was at home in that kitchen. He knew where things were better than I did. And he was not shy; he just grabbed whatever he needed in complete confidence. He knew what he was doing, and he knew that it was going to be good.
He buttered the pot I gave him, chopped the garlic, seasoned the fish filets and neatly arranged then in the tray. Then we just had to sit around and wait for it to cook. I remember I got up to do some chores hoping the guys would leave and give us some time to ourselves and indeed most of them did. Rodrigo, our fish cook though felt perfectly comfortable on the couch and the thought of leaving didn’t even cross his mind. ‘Oh! Ok, stay there!’ I thought, smiling to myself. Ian sat with him and entertained him while Mario and I ran around.
When dinner was ready he took out the tray and placed it in the middle of the table. We suggested plates, but he declined them. We all had to eat from the same tray. That’s how it was done. So we did. The four of us (together with Bob) along with some 4-5 fishermen sat together sipping red wine and snacking on the fish. Delicious!
We then proceeded with some cards. The Chileans taught us a fun game and we spent the rest of the evening drinking and playing cards. Ian went to bed soon after dinner (around 7.30pm) for a well deserved rest. His first sleep in about 24h. Bob also retired but then came back to warm up before bed (his stove wasn’t working) and played some cards with us while waiting. Then he went to bed, I was getting pretty sleepy and got up to tidy up before bed. The guys got the message and slowly left one after another. It was time to air the cabin after all the cigarettes and go to bed after a wonderful night. Once again, what wonderful people Chileans are! All three fishermen boats were leaving at 4am and we would probably have to get up and help them untie the ropes that held us all together.
Day 2
I slept like a baby that night and didn’t even hear the boats leave. Ian however had heard them (as he always does) and had gotten up to help them. They didn’t really need any help but it was nice to wave them goodbye. Ian said they were running around on deck, trying to be as quite as possible, whispering to each other. They were happy to see Ian come out on deck and eager to shake his hand. What lovely bunch!
That day we woke up late, had a late breakfast and busied ourselves with tidying up and cleaning the boat. A lot of water had leaked through the windows and also entered from the door so everything needed to be taken out, wiped, and dried. The front cabin had been neglected for a while and it had grown some mould. We took out all the veggie boxes out of there, the backpacks, and the mattress and wiped clean the walls that were moldy which was all if them. We opened a window and let the fan stir the air.
We then cleaned the rest of the boat, the boys did laundry, and we even managed to go for a walk in the afternoon. It was a lovely day. We walked on the pebbled beach, hopping over trees, throwing stones into the water, chatting. Then the boys decided to go back but I was curious to find out what was behind the next corner. I kept walking and didn’t stop until I reached a dry spot with lots of small pebbles where I sat for a while and rested before my walk back. I had walked for a couple of kilometers at least and my back felt it. I sat, looking at the entrance to the canal and the ocean. It was nice. I also made a point of collecting pretty shells, and by the time I went back I had a pocket full of them and had to stop myself because there was no more space to carry them. I got back and Mario came to pick me up from the shore.
Here my memory is blurry; I don’t quite remember what happened. I guess we settled for the night and cooked dinner.
Day 3
Another day of cleaning and tiding up. It is a never ending process. I remember soaking some clothes in the morning, and going ashore to wash them. I liked squatting by the stream, alone, listening to the running water and the woods around. I saw a seal peaking at me and smiled. I don’t know what it was but I loved it. I felt so happy, so full.
Back on the boat, I hung all the clothes and went in, probably to cook. While I was ashore ding laundry, Mario went for a walk.
Although not much happened during the day, I had quite an adventurous night. The previous morning Ian had noticed some teeth marks in the cheese we keep in our little improvised fridge in the cockpit (a plastic box covered with a towel). He had wondered what animal had left them, worrying it might have been a mouse. Bob had told him it was a bird though.
That night went I went to sleep everybody else was already deep asleep. All was quite. I lay on the couch and soon after I had settled I heard a noise in the cockpit. It sounded like a mouse running around. I lay for a while just listening to it rummaging through the bucket. It was a bit unnerving. But that’s just me. It wasn’t really scary or anything. Nothing suggested it would come inside. After a while I decided to sneak out of bed and go closer to the door, hoping to hear better and even see it so w could determine what it was. It probably heard me though as I heard it jump and leave. I stood there quietly hoping it would come back but it didn’t and I went back to bed. Then I heard it again. ‘Ok, that’s it! I am gonna find out what you are now!’ I thought and sneaked out of bed again. I grabbed the torch and went up to the door.
Whatever it was it was not stupid. I must admit I made some minor noise but it had sensitive ears. It must have heard me and ran away because for a very long time I didn’t hear anything. I stood there in vain, thinking it would come back but it didn’t. At last I lit the torch and shone all over the cockpit but there was nothing. I went back to bed, thinking I have to sleep and I couldn’t really stop it from coming back anyway.
While I stood at the steps engulfed in complete darkness I wondered how the boys would react should any of them come out of their rooms and unexpectedly bumped into me. They would probably freak out. I know I would in their place! A figure standing quietly in the dark sounds disturbing. I even managed to disturb myself by associating my behavior with the one of a ghost. Crazy!
Day 4
We are still here, waiting for favourable weather. The last couple of days have been warm and sunny, stunningly beautiful. The winds however, are either not there or against us. We woke up late again today, and didn’t have ‘breakfast’ until 12pm. We must have done something afterwards but who remembers. It probably wasn’t important if I can’t remember.
Then Ian suggested we go in search of the nearby hot springs our friends, the fishermen have mentioned. I wanted to go out for a picnic anyway so it turned out great. I lay in bed the night before dreaming of some ‘me’ time. I imagined packing a small bag of goodies such as fruit and tea, some books, and a blanket, and finding a sunny, dry place on the beach where I could spend some time on my own. I would have loved it. Having the guys with me wasn’t such a bad idea though.
I excitedly packed a bag making sure to include cookies, nuts, and fruit. I prepared a big thermos of hot tea. I packed a bathing suit, and a book, as well as blankets to sit on. Don’t forget the towels! Ian busied himself packing extra fuel and spare parts for the dinghy in case something happened. ‘Always plan for the worst!’ he said. ‘People survive because they have a Plan B’ he added.
It was a glorious day – warm and sunny, the sky was blue, and life was everywhere. It was perfect. We all hopped into the Zodiac and I drove us the couple of miles up the canal where the hot springs were supposed to be. We looked, and looked, but they were nowhere to be seen. We thought we’d seen some steam at some point and we headed there but it turned out to be a false alarm. We then reached the corner of the canal, and were about to go into the open Pacific when we saw them! At least we thought we’d seen them until we found out (the day after, again from the fishermen) that the springs were not to the right but to the left. Let’s stick to what we thought at the time though…
We turned the corner and magnificent scenery revealed itself. For some reason it reminded me of the movie ‘The Beach’ and the Thai scenery dominating it. There is a very famous rock in Thailand, a big rock sitting in the middle of the water. An island I think. What we saw when we turned the corner was exactly that – a big, vertical, dark rock sticking threateningly out of the ocean. Then there was a big, vertical mountain at the back of it. All in all rather stunning! Add to that the waves crashing into the black, edgy rocks of the shore plunging into the ocean and the result is magnificent. Breathtaking.
We saw steam rising from the ocean in the far distance to our right and we thought we‘d found the springs. It was too far away though, and too dangerous, because of the well coming from the ocean. It was four of us into that little inflatable dinghy and the distance was considerable. There was no way we could tie up the Zodiac safely onto the rocks without being washed away first. Ian took the executive decision and we turned around to go back. Nothing was spoiled though; we were still going to have a picnic.
We found a sandy spot not so far from where we were and settled for some sun and tea. I lay down, reading Rumi’s poetry, enjoying the sun warming up my back, while Ian walked, Mario took photos and Bob sipped his tea and munched on cookies. They all came together at some point and we somehow ended up having a discussion (again!) about love. I claimed that love is love regardless to whom it is directed and Bob claimed that there were different types of love (i.e. motherly, brotherly, etc.). I am not sure how it all started but Bob asked me to describe selfless love. ‘What is selfless love?’ he asked. I could not describe it (at least not well). I know how it feels, but I do not know how to describe the feeling. It is when you swallow up your pride and let the offence slide in the name of something greater, something bigger than you. It is when you don’t care about humiliation or loss of reputation. It somehow doesn’t matter; love is bigger and more important than anything else. It is like loving a child; you love them no matter what. You endure and love them against all odds. The truth is I don’t know what selfless love is. But I have put a foot in the door and I will practice to get better at it. It is worth it. Bob posed an interesting question – Is selfless love a feeling or an act? I am not sure what the answer is but it somehow feels like a bit of both. Well, let’s not get into a discussion. It is not important. Or maybe this is just my way of avoiding a confrontation, facing a tough question…would the answer scare me? Is it important? Should I be thinking about it? What good is it?…
It was 4pm when the guys decided it was time to go. We only had an hour of sunlight left and Ian wanted to make sure we get back on time. I was a bit reluctant as I was having such a wonderful time but going back wasn’t bad either. We packed up, loaded it all in the dinghy and Ian and I left. Mario and Bob decided to walk back. I probably would have done the same if it wasn’t for my sore lower back. It was a beautiful afternoon and the walk along the beach is truly worth it.
Ian and I sat in the boat, chatting about our selfless love discussion. We wonder at Bob sometimes, and his way of rationalizing everything. Is love to be rationalized? Why take the romance out of it? Even if it is completely unreasonable. So what?…
We watched the wildlife around us – cormorants, some other birds and even some Magellanic penguins. From a distance they look like cormorants and vice versa but thanks to Ian’s experienced eye we didn’t miss them.
– You know Ian I am really happy – I said. I use that to guide me. If I am happy I must be on the right path – I added.
– Sounds about right. Why not? – Ian responded.
I thought about it a bit longer. I really have been very happy on the boat. I like the person I am here – loving, caring, and giving. Somehow always happy and content. Full. I have seen myself in a different light. I have seen myself as a peace maker, as a mother, as a lover in all senses of the word. Always trying to make sure everybody is happy. I have understood what it is to love. To really just love. Enough of that…
Before we went back to the boat we decided to have a small detour and go to the opposite caleta. We wondered what it was like. There was no conveniently situated river on the shore and personally I didn’t think it was as pretty as ours but it was perfectly fine for a yacht to anchor. It was deep enough and the scenery was impressive, with black rocks, plunging steeply into the water with no gradual shore line.
– This is one of the most beautiful and one of the ugliest caletas we have been to – I exclaimed. Beautiful for the natural scenery and ugly because of all the rubbish the fishermen have left behind them.
We headed back in time to meet Bob who had already walked all the way back. Or rather marched all the way back! We picked him up and went back to the boat. I took some clothes I had soaked in the morning and went ashore to rinse them before the sun went down. As I approached the shore I saw Mario walking towards me, so I stepped on the shore and pulled out the dinghy just enough not to let it float away, knowing that Mario would pick it up in a couple of minutes. I didn’t secure it properly because I didn’t think I had to. Mario and I chatted for a bit and when I turned back the dinghy was half way back to the boat.
– The dinghy! – I screamed before I burst out laughing.
I knew we were not going to lose it because we had the other dinghy out and we could just pick it up. It meant Ian would have to come and pick us up though. The trouble is that Ian had the engine on, charging the battery and he wouldn’t hear our shouts. We shouted and shouted and nobody came out. After a while I decided to rinse my clothes so to be ready for when Ian did come out. I was ready and Ian was nowhere to be seen. After a while we just sat by the river and talked about what we would do if we got stuck on that island. How would we survive? We kept shouting just in case someone heard us, but it was all in vain. We even thought they might be playing a practical joke on us or trying to teach us a lesson.
After about an hour Ian finally turned the engine off and heard our screams. He picked us up, laughing at the story. As for the dinghy, it just had floated back to the boat, in between the two boats to be exact and we didn’t have to worry about losing it. This is a funny story, but it could be very dangerous if you are alone and the dinghy happens to float away. One should always secure the dinghy well. Lesson learned.
Later that night we set the trap for the rat. We had determined it was a rat by the chewed up stuff it had left behind. Mario put the cheese inside, and even cut up some small pieces of cheese and spread them in front of the trap as to lure the rat into it. In the morning we found the pieces outside of the trap gone but the trap untouched. Smart rat! We will have another go at him tonight. We now know what we are dealing with.
Day 5
Today, another late start. We had breakfast at 12pm. Mario felt like cooking, and eagerly made some great scrambled eggs and toast. Later we just did nothing. I didn’t really clean the boat today and I don’t really know where the day went. I didn’t do anything, just a bit of reading, and some writing. In the afternoon, Ian took the Zodiac and went for a mini exploration to the opposite shore of the canal. Mario and I just relaxed on the boat. At some point we heard Ian’s voice on the VHF radio.
– Persimmon, Persimmon, Persimmon, this is Ian – his voice echoed. ‘This is strange. Where is he calling from?’ I wondered. Mario and I looked at each other.
– Ian, this is Persimmon. One four (referring to the radio channel) – I responded.
It turned out that he had taken the walkie-talkie with him and was testing it. The signal was perfect. He advised us on a coming boat and warned us we might have to rearrange some ropes. It was funny the way he had taken the radio and was testing it. Probably a lot funnier to me than you though.
I forgot to mention that the night before something like five fishing boats have come to the caleta and lined up beside us. Peace was history! Another two boats had come in the morning, and Ian, Bob and Mario had run around in the evening as well as the morning rearranging ropes, trying to makes as much space as possible for the flooding boats. We also didn’t want to be ‘sandwiched’ between them so something had to be done for everybody’s good.
After a while the boat appeared and it turned out to be our friends. We were happy to see them. First thing they did as soon as the boat was secured was to clean and cut up some fish for us. Rodrigo didn’t cook it this time since Mario expressed an eager desire to do it. Still giving us the fish was more than enough. I repaid him with two packs of Marlboro cigarettes.
Earlier that day, a guy from another boat had come on board and asked us to charge up his iPod. He sat with us for a while, taking photos of the boat. They seem to have a thing for yachts. That same fisherman left and later came back with a big fish for us. How very kind!
That same day, Jacob, another of our friends had brought us a cooked crab and some lemons. To summarize, we ended up having a big fish, four smaller ones and a crab to crown it all! What are we going to do with all of it?! I am not complaining though even if I have to eat fish for three days in a row. I just hope it doesn’t go bad before we manage to cook it all.
We cooked the four smaller fish for lunch together with some potato salad. It was a very late lunch and a great one. Since Rodrigo was there I invited him for lunch although I knew there wasn’t enough for all five of us, but luckily he declined and left saying that he had already eaten. After lunch Ian disappeared somewhere; Mario decided to have a nap and I finally had some time to myself which I thought I’d use to catch up on my writing over a hot cup of tea and some Andrea Bocelli. Speaking of Mario – he had been feeling restless these days. We have been stuck here, waiting for the weather, not moving nor doing much and Mario’s just got too much energy for it. He needs to do things. On top of that the World Cup is starting (inauguration today June 10, 2010) and Mario has been feeling upset about not being able to watch the games once we are on the move. He is Brazilian, it is in his blood, and he can’t help it. Luckily, we are here now with all these fishing boat that have TVs with cable on board. Tomorrow at 7.30am we will be watching the first game between South Africa and Mexico. I am saying ‘we’ because I will also be there cheering for my dear Mexico. I got really excited upon hearing they were playing. It is funny how other people’s excitement rubs off on you. It is like Christmas, the spirit is in the air and we have been talking about the world Cup all day today, trying to figure out when the games were.
So, I am sitting at the table, catching up on my blog when Ian came in and started reading. I told him Mario was taking a nap, and he admitted he was also feeling a bit down. Apparently, he was also feeling restless and eager to get going. As for me, I couldn’t be happier. I am always so happy when we are not moving and have time to ourselves. I love being able to take my time, reading, writing, the scenery is beautiful, all is calm, and quiet. Funnily, although we are not doing much and we have all this time it still feels like there isn’t enough time. I don’t even remember the last time I had some quiet time to myself. There is always something to tidy up, clean, cook, wash, eat or shower. There isn’t that much time left for quiet, extensive reading or writing. I am grateful for the lazy days. I am hoping that after all the cleaning (hope we somehow get on top of it) there will be nothing to do but rest.
After some time Rodrigo came back to the boat and Ian invited him for some mate. Bob also joined and we chatted. I was trying to write and keep Rodrigo entertained (I was the only one speaking decent Spanish; Ian is good but it is still not enough) which was a bit tough but manageable. At 9pm Ian went to bed, Bob also retired and Mario who had woken up from his nap sat playing backgammon with Rodrigo. It is now 9.50pm and I am still typing, while also trying to keep an eye on the game. I tried to teach Rodrigo the game a few days ago when we first met him, but he didn’t seem to get it or wasn’t particularly interested in it. I am not a very good teacher. Tonight Mario gave it another try. Rodrigo got it and got really hooked. They are their third game now, having won one each. Exciting! I wonder who wins this one…Rodrigo’s position is better.
We haven’t had dinner since nobody was hungry after that late lunch. I am feeling a bit peckish though and will probably opt for some fried egg sandwiches.
Enough writing.
Day 6
The alarm went off at 7.15am. I got up at 7.30am and went into the living room to wake up Mario. It took me a while because he was deep in sleep. After a few shakes he finally got up, we quickly and as quietly as possible dressed and went into the dark, rainy morning in search of the last fishing boat where the first game of the World Cup was on.
We carefully jumped over the boats, some further apart than comfortable. It was dark and slippery and we had to be extra careful. We made it to the last boat, asked if it was ok to watch the game with them, and after they agreed we settled on the small benches in their kitchen area. They were all just getting up and didn’t even have to TV on.
We sat for about 5min before a fisherman we knew came to pick us up and take us to another boat where everybody had gathered over the game and some homemade cake. The captain of our friends’ boat had kept his promise. He had baked a lovely two layer cake in the shape of a football field together with all the markings of the field carved in dulce de leche. How sweet! We all think the world of that captain. He is a very fine fellow.
We settled, got offered tea, coffee, and milk, got our cake served and waited for the game. It turned out that the actual game didn’t start until 10am and we just sat there watching the official inauguration ceremony. What had happened the night before was a concert by Shakira and Juanes, an unofficial ceremony of sorts. We watched the opening and it was well worth it, simply but beautifully done on a grand scale. The theme was not just South Africa but Africa, and even the world as a whole. Lovely! The participating Africans were so happy and excited, giving the performance their best. All smiles and energy.
The whole program was interrupted by Chilean adverts mainly cheering for their own team. Finally, at 10am the game started. Mexico was playing South Africa in the very first game of The Cup. I had to be there to see the Mexicans. I was so excited. And I am glad I made the effort to get up so early in the morning. It was all worth it.
The national anthems were sung, the flags and the handshakes exchanged and the game began. The first half was boring. Mexico dominated the ball and there wasn’t much to see. The South Africans were playing very bad. ‘They are nervous. They are under a lot of pressure.’ Mario said. ‘They are playing so bad, it is not even funny’ Mario exclaimed. I was feeling sleepy and often lay my head down.
But then towards the end of the first half something happened and the Africans picked up. All of a sudden they were playing very well and Mexico had to work for the ball. The 45min was over and the result was still 0-0. We stretched a bit, starting to feel our backs and necks hurt from the uncomfortable sitting position. Second half was on and it was a good one.
The South Africans were playing very well, and Mexico was no longer dominating the game. It was an equal match. South Africa scored in the beginning of the second half and for a very long time maintained their position. Until Mexico scored and I was all excitement. A propos, I was the only one cheering for Mexico, while all the others were cheering for South Africa. ‘There is hope.’ I thought. ‘With that goal they have at least redeemed themselves.’ I mused. I was hoping they would win, at least at the beginning. Toward the end though, the game was so fierce, the goal opportunity was many, and both teams were playing so well that I didn’t really care who won anymore. Both teams did a great job and gave us a great performance. At the end nobody won. They remained at 1-1.
By the time the game was over it was 12pm and time for lunch. We hadn’t eaten anything besides that cake in the morning (I don’t consider sweets food) and we were starving. We went back to the boat, and I started cooking the congrio (fish) a fisherman from another boat had given us the day before in exchange for charging his iPod. I chopped most of it in circles, mixed it with a lot of chopped onions, canned tomatoes, a red pepper, some seasoning and threw it into the oven. I also boiled some potatoes for a salad.
Mario was in a rush, since the second game for the day was starting at 2pm and he wanted to be there for it. It was almost two, but the food wasn’t ready. The roasting was taking some time. The salad however was ready, so Mario just scraped some fish from the edges where it was better cooked, together with some veggies and sauce and had a quick lunch before he was off again. We didn’t see much of him that afternoon.
Half an hour later the food was properly cooked, and Ian, Bob, and I sat down for lunch. I was half way through mine when I heard Rodrigo shout for me on deck. ‘Katy, Katy!’ he was saying. I went out and he urged me to follow him.
– What is it? – I asked.
– Come, come. Just come – he urged me while motioning with his arm.
– Is it going to take long? – I inquired. We are half way through lunch – I added.
He sighed and motioned me onto their boat. ‘Come’ he said.
I went into their kitchen and the guys shuffled to make space for me to sit at the table. I then realized what was happening. They had invited me for lunch. I couldn’t say no. I sat at the table and got served a delicious variation of a cottage pie which consisted of a layer of mashed potatoes at the bottom, a layer of finely chopped meat, boiled eggs and olives, and another layer of mashed potatoes. All that grilled in the oven. Very nice! I got served a huge fisherman’s portion and I stated I won’t be able to finish it as soon as I saw it. I said I was going to take it with me though and share it with Mario and the captain.
We all ate, occasionally talking or joking. They asked whether we had caught the rat and I said no. I then asked what meat we were eating and they laughed and made a rat joke. I then tried to explain what fish I had cooked saying ‘It is long and round, long and round’ while also indicating with my hands. They found it hilarious, obviously thinking about something inappropriate and the joke stuck with us for the rest of the day.
When the guys were done eating, each of them washed his plate, which I thought rather impressive. I was surprised with the discipline on board. Seven men share the kitchen duty each cooking four meals per day when it is his turn. The man on duty also sets the table for all his mates by placing mats and cutlery in a proper manner. I was impressed.
Once they were done eating, I got up to go but they wouldn’t let me before I got an extra portion of food for Ian. I also asked them if I could borrow some yeast as I was going to make this traditional, fried pastry they had taught be a few days back. It was still raining (it rained all night and all day) and Rodrigo helped me carry things back into the boat. He then settled himself for a visit.
I was tired after having woken up so early and didn’t really feel like doing anything but now that I have borrowed the yeast and told everyone I was cooking there was no going back. I poured in the flour in a big bowl, and asked Rodrigo how much yeast was needed. Rodrigo being Rodrigo couldn’t sit still and came up to me to help me (read to do everything for me). He threw in a fist full of yeast in the two kilos of white flour, added a fist full of salt, some butter and started mixing it. He was ready in no time, and placed the shaping dough onto the kitchen surface, preparing for a fierce kneading. He kneaded, and he kneaded until the dough became of the right consistency. He cut it with a knife to show me what it was supposed to look like. Then we threw it in a plastic bag, placed it near the heater and let it rise.
A couple more guys came and they sat around, drinking, chatting and smoking while I busied myself with cleaning the bathroom. Meanwhile Mario had come back and everybody was very cheerful. The conversation picked up since Mario spoke a lot more Spanish than Ian and Bob together. He also found a lot more in common with the fishermen than Bob for example. I am not saying anything about Ian because he finds common ground with everybody.
By the time I was done with the bathroom, the dough had risen and we were ready to flatten it. We took a bottle of wince out (for the lack of a proper instrument) and got on with it. I did some of it, constantly asking Rodrigo whether it was thin enough. After a while he got tired of it, and thought it easier to do it himself. He even chopped into pieces for me, while I was heating a whole lot of cooking oil in a frying pan. When he was done all that was left for me was to fry them. It was fun and quick to do. The way the flat dough pieces fluffed up when you put them in the oil was pure chemistry. After a while though I got so bored. There was no end to the pieces. The guys looked at my bored face from across the table and laughed.
Finally I was done! And I served the sopaypillas(not sure about the spelling). It was a success. One of the fishermen brought some salami, we took out some wine and it was a party! We had had lunch so late that day that nobody even thought about dinner. The snacks were more than enough and all seemed happy with it. I ate a bit, read a bit, and got bored after a while. Ian and the fisherman (only one was left) were starting to get drunk and Mario was reading so there was nothing for me to do. I took my book and went into the bedroom. I read a bit and fell asleep. We were sailing the next day.

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