Life brings unique and special moments of interaction to all of us. Some call it fate or providence, others divine appointments and still others serendipity. Regardless of what term you use, these chance encounters and experiences provide opportunities to expand horizons and deepen roots. Cruising can bring many rewards, serendipities; let me share three with you.
Plantain is basically a large banana. As far as I know it is always cooked and never eaten raw. In its green state it is very starchy and is served in place of our good old Idaho potatoes. All 4 Wheelers would agree that we prefer Idaho's' finest to green plantain. However, if allowed to ripen, the sugar quantity increases dramatically and they become a real taste treat. The Panamanian way to cook them requires only butter and spiced rum. Cut the ripe plantain into bite-size pieces (like you would cut a banana to put on your morning cereal only a little thicker) and sauté until golden in a little butter and spiced rum. The result is a taste treat that has shown up aboard Mima for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Give it a try and remember to get ripe plantain (all yellow and even a little black on the outside).
Roger and Frankie Marshall, aboard S/V Infinity, while slipped next to us in the Colon marina simply stepped outside their cockpit and said, "hello Mima" and in so doing have become lifelong friends. Roger and Frankie are from South Africa. After Roger retired from retail sales they both took a 10 day sailing course and decided to buy a boat and go sailing for one year. That was 10 years ago and they are still going strong. Frankie asked one morning if we would like to go with her to the local vegetable and meat market. We quickly agreed and were off. The following two hours was a full-sensory experience, as anyone who has attended an outdoor market in a third world setting can attest to.
In the process 3 of the 4 Wheelers were introduced to Sorel. Sorel is a plant that grows in the tropics and produces a beautiful red flower. The flower is boiled along with sugar and sometimes cinnamon or ginger to create a concentrate that when added to water makes a wonderfully refreshing drink. I grew up drinking Sorel in Trinidad and Jamaica and Frankie knows how to make it, so that afternoon Amy and Marshall helped Frankie make Sorrell aboard S/V Infinity. In so doing they made a new friend and I got to share with them an experience from my childhood, Sorel.
Having first gone to sea as a boy in the 50's Capitan Medinoche (Captain Midnight) is pure gold. Born in the Caribbean, Capitan has lived a life few could have imagined possible. His life experiences include being visited by a Russian sub while sailing with a Russian Princess in the sea of Cortez to working in Hollywood and building the motorcycles in "Easy Rider". An original member of the 60's motorcycle gang "Chosen Few", Capitan has also studied photography and art in New York and France. Now sailing single-handed on S/V Amistad, he is now on his way to Africa. His quiet demeanor and warm smile quickly connected with Amy and he often brings fresh cookies from his favorite vendor for the kids. Capitan is one wearing the sunglasses in the photo below.
Fried Plantain, Sorel and Capitan Medinoche share one thing in common. Each has added a wonderfully new and colorful thread to the tapestry that is our lives. Fried Plantain will be a fun family memory and a taste treat I am sure we will enjoy for years. Roger, Frankie and Capitan will always be remembered as gracious, caring friends who took the time to befriend the new cruisers on the dock. Our prayer is that we can live life at a pace that allows us to see the daily serendipities that come into our lives and to be serendipity to others. Live well.
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