Tied to the commercial dock at Guanaja I was immediately overwhelmed by the islanders hospitality. All these people ready to tell me where I had to go…. and willing to take me there in person. 😉
In no time at all I even had someone whisk my catch of the day away (a fine barracuda),[Having duly ticked the “Fisherman’s tall tale” box from my “routine” passage], clean it, and return a minuscule portion for my own consumption. Hmmm…
Can’t blame the fellow. He’s just trying to make a living, and there is always an abundance of people doing just that…
whatever it takes…,
just to make a living.
As I wasn’t so sure I could eat the barracuda given the prevalence of ciguatera in the region, I considered it a fair trade.
This sort of thing irks some visitors (the hawkers that is, not the ciguatera), who then choose to anchor well away from the town’s action. Action is however, just what I have in mind after five days at sea…, so what better way than to recruit one of the locals to show me where to find it?
Ignoring the pushy types, I came across a fellow inclined to wile away a few hours in conversation. As I was buying, I was entitled to the grand tour of the town with running commentary on current local gossip, the best places to eat, shop and drink. As a bonus, my self-elected bodyguard kept any unsavoury types at bay. Like a lion tamer with a plastic chair… I kid you not!
All so I could concentrate on indulging in the delights of Guaraja. Which pretty much amounts to drinking the local rum with Sprite to excess while shamelessly flattering the bar-maids at ANTRO Bar & Lounge, Guanaja Bay Island (you will find that on Facebook). What else is a sailor to do?
It was all in good fun…
My self proclaimed friend, enriched by a small token of my entertainment funds (a loan he insisted), was also having a ball. Good for him! In return I had an unexpectedly fascinating insight into his life, a life of adventure that stretched even my naive credibility…
He had certainly had had his share of ups and downs (don’t we all?). But in his case, the ups were based on vast fortunes made semi-illicitly and the downs when that easy money was foolishly squandered. What did he have to show for his years playing reckless “bad boy”?
Apparently half a dozen children fathered by different women (the latest a third his age). But not much else.
Well that’s his rendition of the story anyway… and who is to say how much of it was the rum talking… You should hear some of the tales I tell when inebriated. It’s when I do my best blog writing!!!
Evidently, it isn’t easy making a living in Guanaja. It takes a bit of luck and plenty of nous to be a success here, so I don’t begrudge my guides rendition of the tourist grift, “can you loan me another 400? (local currency of course)”.
“Sure! Why not?”
While he was unable to repay his small loan before my departure (no great surprise there), he did leave me a with a good story and an unexpectedly fine souvenir in exchange.