Saturday, October 7
The fisherman pushes the wheelbarrow, piled high with shrimp pots, down towards the pier. He patiently steers his way through the crowds of tourists with their dripping icecreams and shopping bags.
His brother meets him on the pier and together they unload the shrimp pots, laying them in a line along the quayside. They ignore the tourists who crowd round, taking photos. They hear, understand but ignore the voices that shout to each other, “honey, look! A real authentic fisherman, get a photo!”
The small bait bags have been prepared earlier, stuffed with rancid salty fish. Now, one by one, these little bags are tied by a cord inside the shrimp pots. As the brothers work in companiable silence, a ferry docks nearby. The smell of nafta momentarily drowns out the odour coming from the bait bags. A stream of daytrippers clambour noisily off the ferry, hats and bags pronouncing 'Capri' in colourful print. They wander away from the pier, not noticing the fishermen, emerged in their vacations, eyes already searching for the next round of shops and restaurants.
The sun is setting behind the mountain, the sea and clouds have taken on a pink hue. The water is calm and almost smooth, small mauve ripples, like a silk sheet billowing in the breeze. The fisherman walks over to the edge of the pier where a small plastic dingy is tied to a metal ring in the wall. He lithely jumps in and, kneeling, rows out to fetch his fishing boat, moored in the bay.
It is getting dark. I gather my family together, my daughter who is learning to fish with a rod on the other side of the pier, and her broken legged father, sitting near the fishermen, watching the world go by. We flag down the porters and hitch a ride in their van, up the service road that links the beach to the town centre.
In the centre of town, candles are lit, lining the walls and doorsteps. There is a festive feeling, no traffic is passing and people are milling around with an
expectant air. As we slowly make our way home, pausing often to chat to various locals, we see flashing blue lights approaching. We sit down on the wall, moving candles, to make room, and watch as the parade goes by. A madonna, who has been away for restoration, is being brought back to her church. Bells ring, fireworks explode, the band plays and the choir sings.
Slowly we make our way home, up the many steps, another day ends, another story to tell.
at 12:13 PM