If you have ever been surfing on a longboard, you will know they are not particularly light. I had just spent hours riding waves with Pilot Don, while Mrs. SirOzzy and Flight Attendant Louise, the Pilot’s wife, soaked up rays. We were in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, and ready for lunch.
We carried our boards back to the rental shop, down a ways from where we set up for the morning, and across the street, trying not to breathe too heavy from the weight of the boards and sand under our feet. It was our first day in Tamarindo, we didn’t have much of a plan.
“Oye, chou people need some help?”
“No. We’re good.” It’s the universal saying for get the %&$# away from us. It’s most commonly used when some street urchin is trying to hawk his stolen wares or the ex-pat at the hotel invites you to a timeshare presentation. This time it was a tall and skinny local surfer. He was dark skinned and his hair reminded me of seaweed. His English was good.
“Yeah man, I’m good too. I Just wanna know if you need some help. You look like you’re visiting, and my friends have a restaurant down the street. It’s a real nice place right on the beach. I’m not looking for anything from you. I just want to hook my friends up. And if I bring them guests maybe they will give me a drink. My name is Chavo, I’m going that way. Let me show you around.”
Our new friend Chavo walked us through the streets of Tamarindo, waving and saying hola to nearly every person we saw. He told us the story of Costa Rica, with it’s revolution and new constitution. He told us Costa Ricans are educated and have dental insurance, that is why they have such great smiles. And he brought us to his friend’s restaurant, right on the beach, just like he said he would. We offered him some cash. He said, “I don’t take money from mi amigos, get the fish.”
The four of us sat at a round table outside, the shade and cold drinks were refreshing. Not far from where we sat was an enormous tree which hosted a family of Howler Monkees. Someone played guitar.
“Mi amigos from Chavo, welcome to Panga’s. What can I get for you?” The waitress was middle aged, barefoot, shorts and a tanktop, weathered from the salt and sun and years of waiting on tables. But she had a million dollar smile.
“I hear the fish is good. What’s the catch of the day.”
“Senor, you see that man? Down there, on the beach. Walking this way. He has the catch of the day. I will not know what it is until he arrives.”
An hour later, a grilled, whole, Red Snapper, was presented to me. Pilot Don had one too. Garnished with fresh vegetables and lime, it was, quite simply, heaven on a plate. We spent the better part of the afternoon at Panga’s, eating and drinking and laughing the time away. It was a good day.
It is not just the food that makes a great meal, it is the company which you keep. I’ve not spoken much to Pilot Don and Flight Attendant Louise since then. And I’ve never seen Chavo again. But when you share a good meal with good people, you have friends for life.
This post was created as part of WordPress’ Daily Prompt. Seconds!