You enter and a high heeled debutante flashes you a bright smile. She let's you know that your table is ready and then you follow her, click-clacking down the dimly lit corridor. A piano is being played somewhere in the distance. Your hostess disappears and you are left to pour over the menu. It is extensive. Likewise, the wine list could confuse anyone that doesn't speak at least three languages. Luckily, there is a somewhat intimidating middle aged waiter to help make the decision for you. He convinces you to choose the second most expensive white, tonight is about seafood. Grilled scallops and braised sea bass, risotto with shellfish, lobster. You aren't sure what you want, but the ambience has led you to believe that whatever you order will be special. Your dinner was plucked just moments ago from a raging sea, perhaps by that nice young woman's uncle. The catch was placed in a whicker basket and carried to this fine dining establishment. It is fresh.
Maybe. Go to ninety percent of the world's fish markets and you might think otherwise. There is little glamour in a fish market. Though, I like them just the same. The stench is at times unbearable, but that can't be avoided. The activity of fishermen coming and going, dumping massive quantities of squid on the cement dock. The colors. The textures. Bright red piures floating in a gooey mess. Spiky black urchins, iridescent fish, big and small. The gnarled hands of a man that has baited a hook every Sunday of his life. Ugly dogs waiting for something discarded to gnaw on. Give me a pair of rubber boots and I could hang around all day.
These photos are from Puerto San Antonio, likely this grimiest site that we sampled this past summer. After deciding that it would be best not to get in the water- hepatitis, heavy metals, angry sea lions- we enlisted the help of some friendly fishermen to take Pablo out on their boat to cut piure from the buoy lines. Meanwhile, I had plenty of time to snap some photos.
giant wheel of algae
so many giant squid
Pablo hard at work