Saturday, October 7

shrimp pots



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.

7 comments:

  1. We are planning a trip to positano next year and my husband had me read this post today - he says it sounds like my posts...

    it's lovely.

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  2. Great post - thanks for sharing. You can't get this type of insight to life in Italy anywhere. Love the fact that a place still exists where people have traditions and the town celebrates together. Makes me think that some of those scenes in "Under the Tuscan Sun" could actually take place...nahh

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  3. Hi,
    just found you and enjoyed this post.
    I'd like to explore that part of Italy but somehow we never get further than Tuscany. Maybe next year.
    Angela

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  4. Something fishy said

    This is why I love Positano in winter. Ok, so there is not much to do and the wicked wind just howls through those stairs and alleys blowing all the smoke back down the fire places. But there is local life, empty beaches just waiting for the sun to warm them, and wicked sunsets/sunrises to take your breath away. And no tourists...

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  5. I wish I could write as descriptively as you!

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  6. Nice post, well written.
    I'd rather be a fisherman than one of those rich tourists... more real.
    Cheers from Hawaii.

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  7. Great blog. It was nice to see a lot of the people I met on my holiday. Sadly enough, I even recognized one of the dogs in an earlier post. I look forward to seeing everyone again in a few weeks.

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