Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta fish. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta fish. Mostrar todas las entradas

viernes, 6 de octubre de 2017

The golden carp

   Fishing had always been the way to live for Lin and his friends. Fro ma very young age, their parents had taught them the best parts on the river and the ocean where they could easily catch a vast array of fish and other living being from the ocean’s floor. They even had a friend named Chen, who lived his life by diving on the ocean and fishing things that many net couldn’t pull away from the sea. When he was lucky enough to find pearls, he would sell them and stop working for a month or so.

 However, the rest of them could never take a day off or anything like that. They had to work every single day for many hours, from dusk till dawn, no matter how tired and bored they sometimes got. The youngest one of them was Sun, who had only started the year before. He had being made to leave school but, after a very vivid argument, his mother had managed to convince the father to let him stay in school. So Sun had to wake up really early to fish for a while with his father and then he would go back at it in the afternoon.

 It was a hard life for such a young person but it wasn’t a unique thing for anyone on that region. They all had to do things that they didn’t really want for themselves. Most young people, for example, had the ambition to travel to big city, any of them, and being able to live the lives they sometimes saw on advertisements or on the television set, when people had one. It was a matter of doing what was needed to be able to reach that moment when they could choose their own path.

 When in his family’s boat, Sun would often try to do his homework but the fishing rods that he put on the edge would always move in the precise moment he was concentrating, on the verge of getting to a point where he would advance in his studies. He was doing poorly on some of his assignments and he really needed to get better soon if he wanted to get ahead in life. He knew the only way to get out of his town would be to learn more than others, to be smarter than any of the people he knew.

 Suddenly, one of the rods moved violently and then it was pulled into the water. It didn’t float for a moment or anything; it just disappeared in the blink of an eye. Sun leaned over the boat and tried to fish for the rod but the only thing he got out of it was a powerful bit from a huge carp that suddenly came out of the water. Normally, a fish bite wouldn’t really hurt but this one left a red mark on Sun’s hand. However, the weirdest thing was to see the carp looking back at him, almost as if it was staring. Then, out of nowhere, the carp spoke with a deep voice.

 He moved his mouth very differently than a human would but it was obvious that it was the one who was speaking. There were no other boats in the vicinity and Sun was too stunned to produce any words. The fish wanted to know where he was, as he had been following a current for some days and now it seemed he had found himself on the opposite side of the current. He apologized to Sun for biting him, but he explained he had been very scared when looking up and watching a hand reach for something.

 A little bit calmer, Sun rubbed his eyes and moved his hair around: he was obviously surprised but also very skeptical that it was actually happening. It seemed much more probable that he had fallen asleep in the boat and the sun on his head had created some kind of illusions or nightmares. It was very uncomfortable for that to happen, because of the response his parents would have if they looked at him sleeping on the boat. Yet again, he wasn’t very close to the beach.

 So Sun decided to play with the moment and just decided to ask the carp more questions, in order to really understand what was happening. Sun asked the fish where he wanted to go. The animal named a bay that he had never heard about. It had to be somewhere very far, so he just told the carp the name of the river that was nearby and the one of the bay they were talking on. The carp then did something even more unexpected than asking: it yelled, very loud, a very harsh curse word.

 The carp told Sun he really needed to go where he wanted because his whole family was reuniting for a very special event. He explained that he was part of a very special kind of carps that turned golden after a certain amount of time. When that happened, they were allowed to join a special school of fishes that could travel the ocean at fast speeds and could also grant wishes to anyone, human or animal, that came across them. It was a special thing that only they could do.

 Sun then interjected. He was very interested by that story because his mother had told him about how his maternal grandmother had come across a golden carp when she was young. Apparently, the fish had healed her from a very powerful disease that was creeping its way through her young body. The wish had made her well, and even better, it had made her a very vivacious woman until her last day. He remembered her from his toddler years and asked the carp if it was possible to know which carp had granted that wish, in order to give his thanks.

 The carp moved his head from side to side. He explained that golden carps never returned to the same place twice, so it was rather difficult to know which carp had granted which wish. Then, it started swimming back and forth. It was obvious he was really upset by the fact he was going to miss the best and most unique event in his life. Sun realized that, illusion or not, he should help the fish just because he had been the cause of him existing. No grandmother would have meant no Sun.

 He proposed the fish to jump on the boat in order to help him get somewhere, anywhere he wanted. Maybe there were other carps nearby that could help him get to the place he wanted to go. The carp was a bit skeptical of the plan but it really wanted to get to the event so he asked Sun to take him to a place where he could talk to many other fish. Maybe in such a hub he would be able to get some information on how to get where he needed to be. Time was of the essence.

 So Sun pulled the rods into the boat, a net filled with only water and then turned on the engine. The carp told him it would follow from underwater. Sun tried to remember the place where his father would fish every single day but then he realized the place would be crowded and all other fishermen would see the talking carp. Sun still believed he was asleep or maybe delusional, but it wasn’t enough to make him do such a stupid thing. They would capture the carp and kill it or maybe sell it because of its abilities.

 He stopped the boat at least three times; changing courses frequently because he remembered people would be there. Maybe even his friends who would taunt him. When the carp swam to the front and asked why he appeared to be so indecisive, Sun realized he wasn’t dreaming at all. He started taking it more seriously, less like a weird dream and more like something that was really important to do. He turned to the carp and was about to say he was sorry about not being able to help but then he remembered Chen.

 He was a good friend and had told him once where he fished for oysters and other animals. Sun turned on the engine again and in a matter of only minutes they were in the spot used by Chen to have his leisurely life. Then, Sun jumped out of the boat and indicated the carp to follow him.

 The carp followed and they found a colony of mollusks on the ocean floor. The carp started communicating with them and Sun went back to his boat. The carp surfaced later on, thanking him for his help. When the carp left, smaller fish appeared out of nowhere and jumped into the boat. Sun’s family was very surprised by his success.

lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2016


   Winter had been very hard on the people of Kodiak town. It always was. Snow had fallen every single day in copious amounts and wind had blown from the mountains towards the ocean with a constant force, never going faster or slower. Everyone there was used to that and they knew exactly how to deal with what nature had to offer to every creature in that corner of the world. Kodiak was very remote and it could only be reached from the outside world if people dared to do a three-day trip to through the frozen desert and the dark forests.

 That was the reason why people in Kodiak were self-sufficient. They went fishing into the ocean every single day, In order to have their three meals a day without exception. They had learn to plant some vegetables thanks to the help of two scientists who had come from the outside world fairly recently. They had taught the people that they didn’t need to plant in the ground but they could do it practically in the air with only the help of water and compost made with the feces of the dogs everyone had. It had been a really revolutionary thing for all of them.

 The scientists had done the trip because they were very interested in the culture of the people in Kodiak. They wanted to document every single thing they could find, including the way they fished, the way they hunted for creatures in the forest, how they built their homes and other traditions that hadn’t changed in many years. Stella and Norman Ruiz had always wanted to have a big adventure and be in the forefront of discoveries in the world and now they really were. So much so that they had decided to stay for a longer time than predicted in Kodiak.

 At first, people didn’t trust them at all. It was a normal reaction as outsiders were very rarely seen in the region. Normally, they would only come to take the riches of the land for themselves and steal the people from what was theirs. So the moment the couple arrived to Kodiak, everyone agreed they should be watched every single moment of the day no matter what they were doing or where. They would always have an escort. The only moment they were left alone was when they slept in their assigned house. However, someone was always waiting for them in the mornings.

 The couple found that fear understandable and had nothing to say about it. They thought it was best not to antagonize with anyone and just do what they had come to do. That was how they gained the trust of the people: through wanting to know more about their culture and traditions. At first, they were all very reserved and only talked with short sentences. But after a few weeks, men and women opened up to them and realized that Norman and Stella were not bad people at all. They were genuinely interested in them.

 However, that didn’t mean they instantly trusted every other outsider. Just a month after the arrival of the scientists, there was a problem with a group of men that had come out of nowhere. They never revealed their names or if they worked by themselves or for someone else. The point was that they had established a camp in the river running close to Kodiak town and were using chemicals to clean whatever small stones of gold they could find in the muddy bed of the river.

 The inhabitants of Kodiak noticed the chemicals when two of their children got sick one day. The local doctor, who was more of a shaman than anything else, noticed they had ingested something and the Kodiak almost instantly thought of the fish they had caught that day. Some thought it was a punishment from the gods because of their acceptance of the scientist but it was precisely them who found the real source of the problem. Stella and Norman were certain it was not the fish but the water who had some polluting agent in it.

 The people of Kodiak didn’t know whether to believe or not what the scientists were saying. But a couple of them decided it was best to check their version out and it was then when they discovered the miner’s camp and the use of chemicals to clean gold. It was a very tense situation, as the people of Kodiak asked the miners to please leave but they wouldn’t budge, claimed that river and all the land around it was theirs. Norman went there to help and the miners showed him a paper signed by a federal authority giving them rights over the land.

 It was very hard for the scientist to tell the people of the town that the paper said exactly what the man claimed. No one understood how that was possible, as the government had never came into contact with Kodiak, even though they perfectly knew that it existed. It was then when everyone trusted the scientists so much that they told them the origin of the town and showed them other documents they possessed, stating that outsiders had created Kodiak. It was the best-kept secret in town as it was always thought natives had founded the town.

 The elders explained that, although many native tribes inhabited the region in years past, the reality was that they were all nomads, going from one end of the country to the other. It was only when the whalers came and founded the town that a settlement came to exist. However, the whalers were not well equipped to survive the harsh conditions, so they abandoned the town. Not a long time after, one of the tribes took possession of the houses, restores them and built more. Kodiak was reborn. The outsiders had left everything behind, including those papers.

 So it was easy for Norman to conclude that the miners had a false document, as the one the people in Kodiak had predated it by many years. He decided to tell this to the local authorities and let them deal with it. It was the best as the miners saw him as a traitor to his own people. Even if they were clearly not the same, they were all outsiders and that united them in the mind of the miners. They ignored whatever the people of Kodiak had to say and told them that they wouldn’t move until they had found every single piece of gold the river possessed.

 Tensions kept rising as the days went by. The children were getting worse and people were now forbidden to drink water from the river. The two scientists decided to do something: they decided to send a letter to the authorities with a local resident who was going to look for medicine for the children in the outside world. In the last minute, Norman decided to go with him, leaving his wife to help the people and try to avoid any time of conflict with the miners.

 But it was too late for that. The residents of Kodiak were not going to put up with it so, each night; they decided to sabotage the machines and everything the miners used to process the gold. They stole some of the chemicals and buried them in the forest and tried several times to destroy everything but the men were many and they would rebuild every day. It seemed as if they had unlimited resources of some kind. That went on for some nights until the miners had enough of the interruptions and decided to do something: they killed one of the intruders.

 No one had murdered in that region in many, many years. Not since the tribes had united into one a long time ago. People decided they would not take it lightly and they didn’t: that day, almost every single Kodiak man walked the side of the river in order to reach the miner’s camp by nightfall. Once they arrived, they started shooting their arrows, some of them with fire in order to burn every single tent to the ground. The miner’s attempted to defend themselves with more modern weapons and they were successful. The scene was bloody and chaotic.

 It fortunately ended very soon, as a regiment of the federal army arrived with Norman and the Kodiak man he had left with. They had brought medicine and were there because they had seen the fire. The government recognized that Kodiak was a native city and miner’s had no permission to be there, at least not yet. The government was cleat that anything could change going forward. But at least that threat was no more. The miner’s left and the people of Kodiak were left to their own devices, for the time being. The scientists never felt, feeling that was their real home.

jueves, 7 de julio de 2016

By the lake

   On his request, I sat outside the trailer, sitting on my green folding chair. I could hear his rattling inside and wondered what he was doing. Of course, I knew he was cooking because, earlier in the day, I had seen him fishing for a long time. He had woken up at the crack of dawn to do it and when I got up he was still there, very quiet and with his headphones blasting some rock music into his ears.

 I scared him a bit when I kissed him on the cheek without notice. He almost fell from the stool where he sat when he fished. But after his initial scare, he took off his headphones, kissed me back and greeted me wit a huge smile. His bucket was fool and he was very proud to announce he was going to cook lunch for the both of us. I tried to tell him I didn’t really ate fish, had never really been into it, but he didn’t let me say a word. He was too excited.

 So I stayed outside as he cooked his very special recipe. He had caught enough trout to last us for the rest of the week. The lake was filled with them or so they said. As he did his thing, I sat down outside and enjoyed the sunny day. This was after we had showered and had some breakfast, something simple not to steal the leading spot to the fish we were going to eat later in the day. He was so excited about it that I just smiled and nodded at everything he said.

 The lake was a very peaceful place, even for a spot were so many small hotels were located. There was also a very big presence of people who practiced several types of watersports. Some even brought their sailing boats in order to practice for competitions. It was kind of relaxing watching them go from one side of the lake to the other, floating over water so easily it made your soul feel at ease.

 Paul came out of the trailer for a bit, only to tell me he had already gutted the fish and it was ready to cook. But it wasn’t even midday yet so he decided to step outside and seat next to me. His folding chair was yellow and mine was green, our favorite colors. He took my hand and relaxed, watching the birds fly by and feeling the beautiful breeze that made waves on the lake.

 It was a cold wind too, as the lake was located up in the mountains. But the day was unusually sunny and people were visibly trying to enjoying at its fullest. As the day went by, I could see more boats on the lake, even those ones in the shape of ducks and other creatures. We waved at them laughing, as it was a little bit ridiculous. But it was so much fun, especially with him by my side.

 After a while, he went in again saying it was time for cooking. I almost entered the trailer behind him to go to the bathroom but he prevented me from doing so. He said he didn’t want me to see any of it so I had to remain outside. I told him I really needed to go to the bathroom, as I had drunk a very big glass of orange juice. My throat was a bit sore and I thought the juice would help in making me feel a little better.

 Paul told me to go to one of the hotel or something. At first, I thought he was joking but then I realized he wasn’t. He was very serious and the whole place smelled strongly to fish. So I decided to tell him to let everything exactly as it was before and then I stepped out. He even closed the door on me, which I thought it was unnecessary but apparently he felt he was going to do something so incredible that it was better to keep it a complete secret, even from me.

 I smiled. My heart belonged to him and I knew he had always dreamt about being a real chef. He was always buying and reading cooking books at home and he often tried to do what he had learned in our kitchen. The difference was that he couldn’t really kick me out of our own place. I think he did that by the lake because he felt the place called for it and I couldn’t agree more.

 So instead of insisting, I decided to go for a walk and explore the vicinity as Paul did what he had to do. I started walking by the edge of the lake, watching people having fun in their boats. Some were riding one of those floating things that you ride and when it too bouncy you fall into the water. I really wanted to try that but then I realized it wouldn’t be too nice if I showed up wet to lunch.

 I kept on walking and remembered I needed to go to the bathroom. So I woke up a small hill and arrived to a small hotel that handled some cottages overlooking the lake. It was also the hotel that managed the area we had parked our trailer, so it made sense to ask for the bathroom there. The owner was a very nice lady who seemed to be as old as time. However, she moved very fast and seemed to have her senses in much better shape that most people.

 She gave me the keys to her private bathroom and it took my only a couple of minutes to be done. I cleaned my face watching myself on her mirror and realized I looked rather good. We all have those days when we think we look particularly great. We also have those other days when we think we look awful but, thank God, I hadn’t had one of those in a long time. In my day to day, I rarely used the mirror but the bathroom was so small it was not really easy to avoid looking yourself in it.

 When I was done, I thank the owner and decided to keep walking around the lake. I decided to make a full circle around it, as it wasn’t that big and I knew Paul needed time to cook. So I started walking, by another hotel and then a patch of tall grass filled with mosquitoes. I almost had to go into the water to avoid it. After that, there was a small forest of eucalyptus trees. It was nice to see the brown leaves on the ground and the sound they made as I walked on them. There were birds chirping and I could even feel there were squirrels somewhere above me.

 As I came out of the forest, I noticed someone had a problem in the lake. A lady in of those rowing boats was calling for help. Apparently her husband wasn’t feeling very well. She was yelling towards a place located further ahead on my path. It was the rental area where people that weren’t staying in any of the hotels could just grab a boat and have some fun for a couple of hours.

 I glanced at the woman and then at the rental area and noticed two men getting into a motorboat, going to the rescue of the poor woman. I kept on walking as they arrived by her and grabbed her husband who couldn’t apparently move. Probably a heart attack or something of the sort. She jumped from their boat to the other and then one of the guys that had come for them tied the rowboat to theirs with a rope. It looked nice how one little boat tagged along with the other. The journey to the shore was rather short.

 By then I realized I was halfway from my trailer. I tried to see if Paul was looking for me yet but I couldn’t see anyone waving or anything like that. Even if he had been outside, I doubt he would have seen me, as we were but very shortsighted. One of the many things in common we had. So I kept on walking through a very large area with only grass and some floors growing in peace, with no one grabbing them or taking them home.

 I sat down there for a while and breathed in a lot of that fresh mountain air. Then, I lay on the grass, enjoying how it felt, closing my eyes to try and seal that memory into my mind forever. It was very nice to be there, after so many things had happened to us in the last year. It hadn’t been easy at all but this small trip was kind of a prize for the both of us. I stood up and kept on walking, thinking we were much stronger than we thought.

 My last stop was close to our trailer, were lots of people were raising kites into the sky. There were lots of children but also adults that tried to teach them the proper technique to make everything perfect. I looked at their kites for several minutes, floating high in the air, doing the most peaceful think I could ever imagine. It was so nice to be there and not thinking about anything else.

 When I neared the trailer, I felt the smell of food. As I sat on my chair, he came out with a white wine bottle, which he poured into two glasses. We made a toast for ourselves and for that beautiful place and then we ate, talking about everything. It was delicious, every single part of lunch. But what was much better was to have gotten there with him. That’s why my hug after finishing eating was unusually stronger.

viernes, 22 de abril de 2016


   I took my shoes off on the wooden walkway, as well as my socks, which I put inside the shoes. I stared at the ocean for a while before I realized I was alone and it was no surprise: a very cold breeze was blowing that day and there was no way someone would choose that time of day to go around and have a stroll by the ocean. Well, except me of course. I stepped on the sand and was surprised to feel it very cold and humid, contrary to all my other experiences at beaches. That sounds odd but the point is I had never been in a “cold beach”.

 I walked slowly towards the ocean. Mid way between the end of the walkway and the water, there was a big rock the appeared to emerge from the deepest parts of the Earth. I left my shoes on it and took a couple of seconds to raise my jeans as high as I could in order not to get them wet. Minutes later, I was in the water, enjoying the wind and the sound of the ocean crashing and forming foam all around me. Somehow, I felt free and better than ever.

 I stopped being alone after a while, when several seagulls landed near the rock and started poking the ground for food. I was surprised to see that one of them was able to pull a crab as big as my fist from the ground and then another one did the same. And then maybe the biggest bird of them all decided that my shoes were food or maybe my socks.

 I saw the bird exploring it all with its beak and I had to run like crazy back to the rock to scare the bird away. I always couldn’t do it because the seagull was not impressed by me running towards it. I had to scream and open my arms, as wings in order for it to release it just couldn’t win. It finally took off and I was able to grab my shoes but, as I pulled out both socks to see it the bird had damaged them, I felt a severe pain.

 Birds are not as stupid as we think. As it happened, there was a small crab inside my shoe. It must have gotten inside of it when I decided to go and soak my feet into the water. It had closed its larger pincer on one of my fingers and I had to shake my hand real hard until it released me. It fell to the ground and I hoped the big seagull would eat it. My finger had a deep cut and that ended my time on the beach.

 With my other hand, I put the socks on my pocket and when I reached the walkway I put on the shoes with no socks on. It wasn’t the best way to go but I just wanted to go back to where I was staying and cure my finger. It wasn’t a long walk, as the small bed & breakfast was on what they called the waterfront, even if the beach could not be seen from the rooms. I felt the blood dripping but didn’t mind at all.

 I asked for my key in the reception and once I had gotten into my room, I checked the front pocket of the bag I had brought and pulled out a Band-Aid. Then, I went out to the bathroom and cleaned my finger under the sink. It hurt but the blood worried me a bit more because it looked darker than usual. I tried to think about what I had eaten recently but couldn’t really remember eating something strange that would cause such a strange reaction.

 When I was finished, I put on the Band-Aid and went back to my room. I decided to stay there for the rest of the day and just be safe away from any crazy injuries. And then I removed my shoes and realized one of my feet hurt. I had a blister on my heel, probably because I had worn my shoes with no socks. My feet were really sensitive so I decided no to touch it too much and just rest my feet, my hands and everything in that room.

 Minutes afterwards, rain started pounding against the window’s glass. I had started reading a book I had brought but I had deceived myself again, because I couldn’t go beyond page five. I just read the same words, again and again, and decided to leave the book and just try to have a nap. After all, there was still light outside. So I closed my eyes and tried to sleep but just couldn’t. My finger felt as if it was pumping an amazing amount of blood and my foot hurt a bit if I moved. I felt so stupid and silly, being there just doing nothing.

 But I knew I wasn’t the kind of person to have adventures every four seconds like other people. I had discovered, through friends, that people normally lied about that so I felt less self-conscious, but I knew that somewhere, some person was actually having a lot of fun and just enjoying life. I was the kind of person that couldn’t walk without getting blisters or attacked by birds. Other people had no idea what that was like.

 It was after thinking all of these things that I felt asleep and did so for about two hours. I had no dreams but rather a really calm sleep. So calm in fact, that I woke up exactly in the same position I had fallen asleep in. That never happened at home anywhere.

 I decided to put some thick socks, the shoes and try to see more of the small town before I had to leave in two days. I had found about it when booking my holidays and decided that, after getting to know a large city, I also wanted to get lost in some small town when I just could feel that I was discovering a brand new world every single day. I had lived that many years ago and just wanted to have that feeling back with me. Besides, I was tired of cities and their people. I needed a change.

 I stepped out of the hotel, having left my key again with the receptionist who would always be on the phone or playing with her cellphone. I didn’t have my cellphone with my, on purpose. The first reason was that it didn’t work on the country and the second reason was that I did not want any distractions from my normal walk. I just wanted to open my eyes and look at people and their normal environment and whatever that part of the world had to offer.

 The town’s main square was located just ten minutes away by walking and I could tell it was a lively day for the town. There were more people that I could have imagined and many nice shops and tents all over were vendors would sell local products, mainly made from oatmeal and wild flowers and lemons. They even sold fish in some of them and the smell made me feel better, even if I didn’t really like fish.

 I went all around the market and then realized that people, some people at least, were looking at me. They seem to point and then hush and then be on their way and that for me was very strange. Back in the city I had visited earlier that week, not one person had ever acknowledged my presence except the ticket vendors in museums and waiters. I even had to yell a lot in a restaurant to get some service. But something was weird in that small town.

 Or maybe, I thought, I was imagining it all. Maybe I just wanted to be seen or something and was putting all of that inside my head and trying for it to be part of the world. So I ignored it all and kept on moving. Sure enough, being almost 8PM, I decided to have something small to eat and some hot beverage with eat in a nice pastry shop with terrace, on the main square. As I sat down, a very nice waiter came and took my order and complimented me on my hair.

 I almost laugh but didn’t because he seemed honest. He came back very fast with a cup of hot tea with sugar and lemon and some complimentary cookies. I also asked for a ham and cheese sandwich and just ate and drink as I saw the people move all around. Again, I felt people looking at me and little kids would wave and make faces to me. And by the end of the evening, I got used to it.

 When I went back to my hotel, I was able to sleep nicely and, after showering with hot water; I decided to make my last day in the village count. I would fish and eat something great, and walk to one of the lavender fields and maybe even get into one of those farm tours and milk a cow or something. I just felt people saw me and I wanted to be a part of anything that happened there. I guess I wanted to thank them, somehow.