that's when the sign said that Fifth Annual Chub Fest was being held, three days forward from when we saw the sign.
Chub? The men on the street told us, is a kind of fish.
Further enquiries revealed that the festival would take place at the boat house near the music school (we don't see many of those!) and happen all afternoon. Probably happen at night too, but not for us daylight-circadian bicyclists.
So the following Wednesday, four of us pedaled our folding boat bikes back to the east side of the island. We were sitting in the TuttiFruti bar about midday having an ice-cold Costenita when we overheard a conversation about the start of the regatta down at Rolands Bar, estimated variously to be 'near' or 'twenty minutes' . The speaker was so enthusiastic that even the pedaller of the least bicycle among us agreed to check it out. He didn't know about the big hill at the end, but by the time he found out it was too late.
The boats are CayMAN (with the emphasis on MAN) Cat Boats. They don't fish, they don't 'yacht', they only race. This day there was a significant (at least, in pesos, it sounded like a big number) cash prize.
Photo Cayman catboat
We arrived just in time for the start, just off the beach. The course was a beat north behind the barrier reef, a circle around an offshore island and a run back to the boat house where the Chub Festival was held. As you can see it was a beautiful day, with fresh northeasterly trade winds.
Be forewarned: These are among my first videos from a little digital camera. I'm still working out a system for uploading. Any suggestions gratefully received. The longest video is under 2 minutes, and it seems you need to click on them and be taken to another site to watch. I left in some photos for those of you who, like me, don't have the bandwidth or the time to actually see the videos. There's plenty room for improvement here, but later.
The man in the pale blue shirt in the water is the official starter and race committee.
We trudged our way back up the hill. As we were doing so, one boat sank, and one withdrew from the race. Good thing they all had chase boats; the crew sometimes jumps ship mid-race to lighten the boat.
Back on the main road, at the first overlook we found ourselves in the middle of a rolling spectator fleet.
It was fun being part of the enthusiastic crowd.
We moved, with our dinky-ass little folding bikes swerving among the insouciant motorcyclists from overlook to overlook. My friend said she felt like she was running with the bulls at Pamplona. But my guess is that the bulls aren't nearly as mellow as the folks in Providencia.
A successful day for these men, even if they didn't finish first.
Seems like the video is behaving badly; our skilled technicians will be on the case as soon as they figure out what to do.
The food part of the festival was also a treat. Chub was served in several forms, ensalata, pernil, hamburguesa, au gratin, salpicon, sopa, pie, and washed down with my new favorite beverage, tamarindo. It was like a big family picnic where each aunt had brought her famous specialty, although some didn't have enough to sell.
People here are proud of their old traditions, of which cooking fish on the beach is one,
as pictured in this wall painting which decorates the trash depot. Other old-time (and current) traditions depicted include boat and horse racing, cockfighting, dancing, and traditional (washtub, mandolin, and for percussion, the jaw bone of a horse) music.
So, now you can see why we like Providencia.
The rest of the photo album, unedited, is here