Mar 23, 2012

Sabay Dii – Welcome in Laotian

Don't mention sunburns.
Believe me, they know.

Bright blue Mon-O-War jelly fish with long tentacles
The other evening, Mike and I visited a newly arrived sailboat at anchor in the Chacala bay. s/v Sabay Dii, which means much more than ‘welcome’ in Laotian and her Captain Didier, were indeed very humble and welcoming. The vessel carried a French flag and I just had to say Bonjour!

It is amazing the array of people you meet when sailing (sailors and on land). In his case, Didier was a math and physics professor at the university level. He retired early to sail and enjoy life yet still writes teaching books for about 2 months per year. His second language is Laotian; he has sailed for over 40 years and has been on islands no one even knows exist: Mayotte near Madagascar for example, to teach sailing on a voluntary basis to kids for two years. I am often in awe of all that certain people have accomplished throughout their lives. Didier recently married and his wife has a contract to work in Mexico for 3 years so he is now sailing this new area meeting her whenever possible.

It was interesting to note that even though Sabay Dii is a very beautiful and expensive sailboat, Didier cleans her hull himself and only uses an inner tube instead of a dinghy or swims to shore. He only uses the dinghy as a last resource so it is tucked far, far away in the storage area of his boat. I had never before seen someone use an inner tube in such a way on a sailboat – great idea since they are not usually stolen and are easily replaceable.

Bubbler crab galaxy design
Double galaxy design
We have met many environmentalists, engineers, highly paid professionals, business owners, programmers, farmers, bee keepers, print makers, woman who lived in a tree-house for 8 years, etc. We have been warmly greeted by millionaires who remember their humble beginnings and are very helpful in sharing great information as well as ‘kids’ on shoestring budgets who remind us not to take things too seriously. What they lack in funds, they make up with in enthusiasm and it’s usually quite catchy.

Spiny Pitar Lupanaria Clam Bare feet better watch out!
Clam up-close
I digress. While on Sabay Dii enjoying slightly cooler darkening skies I noticed a ‘fire dancer’ moving along the edge of the water on the beach. Torches were pirouetting, twirling, jumping, stopping, spiraling, and their burnt orange reflections would appear in the calm water near the dancer’s feet yet about 30 feet away and closer to us; huge waves would be crashing as the high tide was moving in. It was peaceful yet wild, colorful yet mysterious, and quiet yet thunderous. The juxtaposition of the beauty and fluidity of the dance mixed with the force and instability of the tidal waves was mesmerizing and reminded me once more how small we are in this great and beautiful universe.

Iguana on way to its hiding hole...
I feel blessed to witness so many neat events and meet scores of interesting and caring people on this trip. Upon reflection however I think we can see and meet as many great people and experience as many interesting things at home but over time, we get immune to our surroundings and stop seeing and discontinue being open to the opportunities.

How many times have you met a tourist in your own hometown who has visited more places nearby than you have thinking you will, one day, get to it…

Travelling just offers you more the opportunity to live in the NOW…

Mike cooking dinner for a couple of visitors

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