Fish Tacos for 5,000
Thatched roof, worn white paint, and populated with busy servers, La Civechera is a small open air seafood grill overlooking the ocean.
This place exists for three perfectly executed reasons: fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and ceviche.
Want something else? Go somewhere else.
My flight doesn’t leave until later today; I’ll spend my remaining time savoring.
A perfectly blue sky is decorated with a few cotton ball clouds.
The sun’s presence is tempered by the 75 degree briny breeze from the ocean.
The waiter stands with ordering pad and pen in hand. There’s not much to discuss, this place has a simple efficiency only surpassed by the scenery. I ask for an order of fish tacos, an order of shrimp tacos, and a margarita.
The waves steadily pulse from the deeper indigo waters on the horizon, moving steadily through the layers of aquamarine. As they reach the shallower jade colored water, the swells become engorged, rising up as playful waves, bursting into foam as they lap the silky smooth flesh of the sandy white beaches.
An old man sprays suntan oil on his old lady.
A young mother helps her 4 year old walk into the surf for the first time.
The PA system plays a mix mariachi, reggae, and ’70’s rock.
Naturally a slow eater, I shift into an even slower gear- sipping, savoring, and gazing at the ocean.
Seven jet skis and one margarita later-
“Uno mas fish tacos, señor?”
“Yes please, gracias”.
We speak bits and pieces of what we know.
My love affair with this simple soul food of the sea could become spiritual.
The sky and the sea are a master class on the color “blue”.
Is this real?
Nearby conversations rattle off in various languages that I cannot name. They sound happy.
A parasailing salesman takes a break to make a phone call.
4 parasailers and 17 seagulls later:
The waiter comes by to ask if I would like another margarita. I telepathically tell him “sí, por favor”, though no actual Spanish was spoken. We communicate with gestures, eye glances, and an unspoken understanding.
Another margarita arrives.
“It’s my pleasure, sir”. I wonder which of us has the thicker accent.
Though I can taste the tequila, no matter how many margaritas I drink, (and I’ve lost count by now), I never get drunk, just more deeply aware and grateful for the moment. I think about books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen that depict an afterlife situation. The protagonist finds himself in an idyllic place that’s just a few degrees better than the best place he’s ever experienced on earth. Various characters approach him with conversations and wisdom that he didn’t know he was seeking, but certainly needs. There’s an empty chair at my table. Will a beach bum guru soon sit down and dispense some revelation on me in a few minutes?
As I meditate on the ocean, sun, and breeze, I feel my senses expand into a semi-psychedelic state of awe and awareness. My questions about where I am become more sincere.
42 waves and 2 tacos later, my waiter and I engage in another silent communication.
Another margarita arrives.
For now, my waiter is my guru.
I wonder what would happen if I just didn’t show up at the airport.
Would anyone come looking for me?
Would anyone stop me from eating fish tacos, sipping margaritas and ban my eyes from the ocean?
What would my new name be? What’s my backstory? How quickly could I learn enough Spanish to get by?
On the off chance that I’m not actually dead and in heaven –
Maybe I should just leave it all behind and spend the rest of my days slinging fish tacos by the ocean.
I am Adam, giving some serious consideration to never leaving The Garden.
La Civechera is a monastery.
A young couple sits at a nearby table.
“What fish are you serving today?” She asks.
By this, he means, ‘the same thing we always serve – whatever inexpensive white fish we had on hand today, but I don’t want to deflate your lofty ideas of what you’ll be eating, so I’ll just give it to you en Español, which you don’t seem to speak, but trust me, it’s fresh, it’s amazing, and you’ll fall in love with our fish tacos’.
I may not be drunk, but I am gaining the gift of tongues with every margarita.
The waves continue to seduce the sand.
I order what – I swear to God – will be my last margarita.
A revelation is received:
Heaven is not for the perfect, it is for the present.
Speaking of God – there’s a story about The good Lord himself serving fish to 5,000 people in a day. I think twice about the guy who’s working the fry baskets. His name tag says ‘Jesus’. It all makes sense now.
If there is a heaven, I’m confident it’s just like this.
One cruse ship and 3 bikinis later, I’m still perfectly content sitting in this 4 star luxury purgatory, awaiting my soul’s next task.
There’s only one dead giveaway that I’m not actually deceased and basking in some corner of Heaven:
In a distant pool area, someone is singing karaoke to Rod Stewart.