Our puppet designer went to the sea to test out some mock-up puppets of fish he made out of wire and trash.
It is difficult to manipulate large puppets in the air, as they will unintentionally catch the wind. Manipulating large scale puppets (non pun intended) in the sea is even more difficult because of water weight. It will take a series of experiments and tests to work out a drainage method which allows the puppeteers to gracefully lift the puppets from under the sea.
Here's a sneak peek!
The next morning, we rose at 530 AM. Outside our staircase, three men were seated on the steps, skillfully making multiple hook bait lines and placing them in large baskets. They were amused by our interest in them and their stories.
We continued down into the port’s café, where several fishermen were having their morning coffee. We met Abu Eli, a 60 year old fisherman. “Fishing is not a job, but a way of life,” he said. His father and his grandfather were fishermen, but he didn’t want his sons to join the trade. “My son is in the army instead. Fishermen are like bums, a dying breed,” he told us. According to him, the biggest problem he faces is illegal fishing. Some fishermen use nets that are too narrow and baby fish get caught. If a 1/2 lira coin passes through, the net is large enough and thus legal. Then he showed us his face and pointed to the goggle marks around his eyes. “ I prefer being in the water, like a fish,” he said with a grin.
We boarded a little boat that had just dock in the port. In the heaps of nets, several fish were still squirming. Abu Eli began plucking fish from the nets and counting the morning catch. He estimated the total catch to be worth 20,000 Lebanese lira (approximately $13 USD). The amount barely covers the cost of gas per trip out to sea.
Abu Eli taught us how to gut a fish, while several hungry cats lingered at our feet, hoping to catch a discarded scrap. As the sun began to shine, the trading began. On their mobile phones, the fishermen began bargaining with restaurant and personal clients. Using an old fashioned scale in the market, they weighed their fish, haggling and shooing away the hungry cats.