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Another Dinner in Faenza – September 20-22, 2002

 by George J. Reclos

When Francesco informed me that he could not come to Greece during the summer he also told me that it would be nice if I could attend the 9th Annual Meeting of the Italian Cichlid Society which would be held in Faenza (North Italy) in September. I didn’t really needed to think much about it. Everything was settled in no time and on September 20th I was ready for it. At 4:00 am I woke up and started the procedure to net a wild caught adult Fossorochromis rostratus male which would become the “amore” of Francesco’s wild caught female. After netting almost every other fish in my tank (neither me nor the fish could see very well – all of us practically sleeping) I managed to get him in its bucket, added some fresh water, a generous amount of anti-stress and closed the cover. Using a bucket was essential since our previous attempt in July 2002 to carry a similar fish to Rome in a bag proved a disaster. Fish of this size simply produce so much carbon dioxide in 7 hours that get paralyzed and die. At the Athens airport, I had to get a ticket for the Fossie (as you can see in the picture)

and after a quick coffee we took off (despite the forecast of Francesco who told me that Alitalia stands for “Always Late In Take offs, Always Late In Arrivals”). An African was traveling with a Greek passport… it really amused me. We (me and the Fossie) arrived safely in Rome and soon we were in the parking lot where Francesco was happy to open the bucket and see that the 25+ cm fish was still alive and kicking.

Of course, he had prepared a mini fish ambulance in the trunk of his car - just in case.

We soon reached Francesco and Stefania’s house where two things were clearly evident to me.. Their love for fish and cactus plants. Did I say “love” ? Forget it. We are talking about serious passion. There were cactus plants everywhere in the garden and the house while the same was true for tanks (yes, there was also a tank in the garden).

Not only did they have the real things but they had also filled every available space with fish art. Hanging from the roof or on the wall, crawling, singing fishes were found everywhere. I was really happy to be with them again – it is always great to learn their news and have the time for long play discussions with both of them.

Continued in next page

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