The Mexico Diaries: San Blas

The old church at San Blas. Photo by David Lansing.

After the jungle cruise at La Tovara we went in to San Blas itself which is just one of those typical little Mexican towns with dusty cobblestone streets and an ancient church that seems to list precariously and a congenial plaza ringed by little restaurants selling mostly mariscos and pescado.

Chris and Malin were on a bit of a mission. They were looking for the wife of a naturalist named Armando who had died quite suddenly of a heart attack a couple of years ago. The Fletchers had become quite fond of Armando who they’d hired to guide them through La Tovara on one of their early visits and had also taken them out fishing. In addition to his wife, Armando left behind several children, one of whom was just beginning university, and so they had set up a fund to help send him to school. Now they were hoping to find his wife to see how the family was doing.

We walked down the street past the Mercado and the sidewalk fish market to where they thought Armando’s wife lived but no one was there. Then we walked around the town a bit ending up at one of the restaurants on the plaza where we ordered cold beers and a half dozen shrimp tacos to share. The tacos were very good. They were made from the dried shrimp you find being sold by street vendors in little plastic bags.

Just as we were leaving, Armando’s wife showed up. She’d heard the Fletchers had stopped by her house and came to the plaza looking for them. She was an attractive woman, still very youthful, and seemed happy to see the Fletchers again. They talked about their families and hugged each other and then it was time for us to head back to Custodio. When they got in the car, I asked Chris how she was doing.

“She’s okay,” he said. “Still a little sad. And I think it’s tough financially. But I think she’ll be alright.”

What he didn’t say is that the fund he and Malin set up not only pays the expenses for Armando’s son to go to school but also provides a monthly stipend for his wife to live on. It’s an extraordinary contribution on their part. And no doubt greatly appreciated by Armando’s family.

Tags: ,


  1. Charles and Lori Prosser’s avatar

    What a wonderful thing that your friends, Chris and Malin, are doing.
    We, too, were friends with Armando for years and also enjoyed his birding abilities.
    He was a fixture in San Blas and a legend on the chess board.
    Our best wishes to you and and your friends.
    Charles and Lori

  2. Chris fletcher’s avatar

    It was our youngest son who had the idea of a fund-raiser for Armando’s family. He was so impressed by Armando’s environmental awareness and integrity. Every time we went fishing or bird watching with Armando he would teach our kids about the local ecology and the importance of teaching the local children about the overfishing for shrimp and the degradation of the local mangrove estuary. He had nothing of material value and yet he was so completely focused on what he could do to save the local environment. When he died suddenly we were all heartbroken, and our son knew how important education had been to Armando, and we all wanted to make sure that his youngest son, who was interested in Biology, had a chance to go to college. We were afraid that there financial situation would prevent their son, Adano, from going to college. The fund raiser, “Armando’s Wish”, raised enough money for living expenses for 4 years of college. Armando’s wife, Angelica, told us that he will graduate next year.

Comments are now closed.