One of the reasons Hanna and I go back to Anglers Inn again and again and again is because after a dozen or so trips the staff has started to feel like family. Actually, better than family – because none of my close relatives has ever unhooked a fish for me, tied a knot for me, or jumped up from the seated position to carry my overstuffed tackle bag from my boat to my room.
There are many staffers who deserve recognition, and one of them is my man Samuel Haros Noriega, known to everyone as Sammy. He showed up at the lodge as a precocious pre-teen looking to work his way out of poverty, asked for a job, and has been on-site ever since. You’d think that nearly three decades of helping gringos have amazing vacations might’ve worn on him, but he’s pretty spry for a 40 year old vet.
I once saw a guest enter the empty dining area and move toward the bar to grab a drink. Out of nowhere Sammy launched himself over the bar, mixed a flawless margarita, uncapped a Pacifico and tied a cherry stem into a knot with his mouth for sport (but not to put in the drink) before the surprised angler could even grab a glass. The pride and vigor that he brings to his job every day should be an inspiration to all of us. Frankly, I’m not even sure when he sleeps, because he’ll knock on your door at 5am with a cup of coffee and a big smile, and he’s still there when you go to sleep.
The guides get a lot of the glory, and the guests post pictures of themselves, but without the Sammies of the operation, things would not run so smoothly – nor would the trips be half as memorable.