Camioneta Dreaming, Part 1

IMG_0680The camioneta arrives. It’s empty. We’re waiting at the side of the road with a middle-aged couple, who have a red plastic crate with them. We climb in, and the man pushes the crate along the floor to the front of the van. With a start, we realise that the crate contains a very large fish, which hides bags of meat, and another, smaller, fish, underneath. I get my camera out, and the woman tells me it will be 20 pesos for a photo of the fish. She’s joking. I think.

In the hot afternoon, the smell of the fish and meat combines with the odour of petrol from the camioneta. After a couple of minutes, Dr D stands up, looking slightly sick, and faces out of the front of the camioneta. It’s moving at a snail’s pace up and down the hills between the two coastal villages.

I sit at the back, while the couple comment on what all they see as we go past: someone lying, seemingly dead to the world, in the scrubland at the top of one of the rises. They try to work out, with mild concern, who it is. A man on a red motorbike drives up to the open back of the camioneta, and makes some comment to me which I don’t understand, and then overtakes. The woman tries to explain, in a disapproving tone. The sound of his throttle fades away ahead of us.

We arrive at the village, climb out, and head for a beer. The fish continues its journey.