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The Loss of Aldo Salato

Updated on December 27, 2010

Why are we so often reminded the good die young?

Shown in happier times.  Aldo and Xochi.  Backdrop La Paz Bay, Baja Sur
Shown in happier times. Aldo and Xochi. Backdrop La Paz Bay, Baja Sur

I lost a good friend last weekend

99.9 percent of people reading this small article about my friend, Aldo Salato, will never have heard of him. He never became a celebrity nor a millionaire; he was not a top sportsman, although he loved to dive and spear-fish in the bays around La Paz, Baja California Sur. Aldo married back in the late 1990's and had three children over the next few year with his wife, Xochitl. Aldo was not a demonstrative person, but he was a solid husband and father and a good provider. Unfortunately, being a quiet and good citizen does not prevent you being seemingly singled-out in the universe for ill fortune, and 'Xochi died about 4 years ago from cancer.

Aldo kept on being a good father and kept his grief inside most of the time. In time, he met another local girl, I don't know her, but she seemed to make Aldo and the kids happy which was all that mattered.

Aldo tried living in Australia, working for his sister-in-law - Leti's - family, but returned to Mexico and La Paz after a couple of years, I believe. As I have been away from La Paz myself since 2003, some of the details are a bit sketchy.

Aldo will be remembered by many of his friends for his unfailing good nature and sunny smile and unhesitating generosity to anyone who came into his sphere of influence. He always made you feel special, as if you were the only one he was thinking of. Taking a coffee with Aldo in the La Paz' Callejon could be considered the highlight of a visitor's day. Not that the conversation was earth-shattering; Aldo was just nice to be around and gave off vibrations which made his companion feel good, too.

I was away when Xochi passed and so sad I could not be there to offer a few all too trite words of comfort for my friend. The only details I have of his death is that he had a heart attack while diving. He was a very skilled diver who would stay in for hours and venturing far from the shore, often alone. I can't think that he would have suffered and his passing would be merciful. If anyone would be able to transcend the boundaries of physical form and find Xochi again in that vast space we know so little about, it would be Aldo. And if there is a Supreme Being I am sure Aldo and Xochi can count on his benevolence.

It will be many a moon before I forget Aldo Salato and my time in La Paz as his friend.

My condolences to Aldo's children, his elderly father, his sister-in-law, Leti, his parent's-in-law, his partner Rosy (I think is her name) and to his many friends. Special condolences to my friend, Oliver Siemiginowski, and his dad (Leti's husband) Ron. They were particularly close to Aldo.

Robert (Bob) Challen


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      diogenes 4 years ago

      Hello Daniela:

      It was a terrible shock for his family and many friends. Aldo was deeply loved and respected by all he met. The good die young, don't they?

      You're English is excellent and thanks for commenting.

      Bob xo

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      Daniela Dany 4 years ago

      Three or four days ago, me and my sister looked for our old boyfriends on facebook to see how they have changed. So I looked for Aldo. We found out his photos and I got curious about him and his life. I already knew something:he lived abroad (but I didn't know where), the death of his wife (I was very sad for him), his children. So I started to find some information and I found out your article. It was a big shock to realize he died three years ago. It seems impossible and I can't stop to think about him and our time spent together when we were young.

      We met at school. He was a very brilliant and clever student, always interested in everything happened in the world.

      We stayed together two years and a half and he was an important person in my life: we grew up together from 15 to 17 . Then, after school ended, we lost each other and our lives took different ways.

      Knowing him, I think he had an interesting life full of experiences even if it was short. I' m happy he had a nice wife, three children and so many good friends.

      I'm afraid I didn't had any contact with him for 30 years.

      Excuse me for my english, I know it's terrible.

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      diogenes 6 years ago

      Hello Alex. I still can't believe he has gone, either. It was just far too young. It makes you realize what a lottery is life and how unfeeling the universe. So much tragedy for his family over Xochi and then Algo goes in minutes like that. I introduced Leti to Ron and at least they seem to have a good life and Ron is well established and can fund regular trips for Leti (as far as I know). I am afraid all I have of Aldo is memories.

      My best wishes to you. Roberto

    • alex.marini profile image

      alex.marini 6 years ago from Darzo

      Thanks Bob, for starting this forum in memory and honor of Aldo, and thanks to everyone else for their nice comments and for sharing experiences together with him. I know many of you personally or because Aldo told me of you and I cherish these common feelings we all share.

      After half a year from his departure, it is still difficult to believe he is not here with us anymore. All the people who were close to him, are still suffering and trying to fill the empty space he left. I truly believe that he is there watching and caring for us as he did before in a spontaneous and gracious manner.

      I will make sure to keep these messages and to deliver them to his kids so once more they will realize the big heart of their father. Furthermore, if you have additional stories, pictures or other details, I would be glad to receive them. In fact, I am working on a biographic collection on Aldo with the purpose of giving it to the kids in their future.

      Thanks again. Alex

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      diogenese 7 years ago

      Loosing someone - a friend - like Aldo is like loosing a part of oneself and you can't help wishing you had spent more time with him. There have been so many people grateful for his kindness and friendship. If you had a religious belief before knowing the circumstances of his life, marriage and death, it would be severely shaken. Bob

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      William 7 years ago

      I first met Aldo in La Paz prior to him actually making a home there. We were both staying at the Yeneka Hotel (at the time a place that attracted many people from around the globe and all of their eccentricities), I believe in late 1996 or early 1997. I was going through a difficult time in my life, and Aldo was in the process of making a wholesale life change by deciding whether to use most of his savings to purchase undeveloped property outside of La Paz with the intent of developing it. He rather spontaneously made the purchase prior to his potential partners in the venture ever having a chance to look at it, and thus not having any say in the decision. When they came to La Paz to view it, they quickly backed out of the deal. I don’t think it mattered to him. He wanted to leave the typical Western lifestyle behind. I remember him telling me that La Paz had the feel of old Italy, an Italy to him that did not exist anymore. I remember his girlfriend at the time, originally from Japan, coming to visit and breaking off with him when she realized the move was definite for him. So he was really starting fresh. He rented a small apartment and began to build his new life. I was with him when he first began dating Xochitl whom he had met at the Aero California office on the Malecon. We would go out to his property and sit there and imagine what he would build on it after locating a freshwater source. He even had a Mexican guy proficient in dowsing for water come out to find the best locations for a potential well. We would swim in the sea off of his property and drink beer. It was a care free time and for me and a way of distancing me from my own problems, though never completely. He became my confidant. A trip I only planned for a few weeks in La Paz turned into over 8 months. I ended up renting a small bungalow there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the position to remain there and had to leave, only to return again after about half a year. By then he was establishing himself, and cementing his relationship with Xochitl. I stayed for a couple months but had to leave once again. Through the years we stayed in touch, and I would come to visit periodically, but not as much as I would of liked. I always sought his well grounded opinions and thoughts on many subjects. The last visit I had with him was in early 2009 just prior to him closing the last incarnation of his restaurant La Tasca. I introduced him to my friends travelling with me and he made them feel as if they had known him forever. He was always a gracious host and person. I spent a few hours the next morning with him alone at his office and we walked the Malecon and talked about life. It was the last time I would see him. I will really miss him.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Aldo would have been so happy you left those kind words. We all miss him and will for a long time. People like him leave a large space when they leave, especially so suddenly. Good luck to you in whatever the future may hold...Bob

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      Sabrina 7 years ago

      We've just found out about Aldo's death from a dear friend in La Paz. Aldo was our landlord for a year or so in 2007-2008. He was more than that, he was a dear friend we've always remembered with a smile and with admiration. The first time we met him was one month after the death of his wife and we wondered where he was founding the strength to be so generous, positive and full of life in spite of his tragedy. He was simply a joy to be around. A person like him is eternal. Sabrina and Roberto

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      John. How nice of you to share those times with Aldo with us. I have passed through your town some years ago, I expect it has changed substantially. Do go to La Paz when you can and visit Aldo's children, it is a lovely place to spend some time.

      Aldo is sorely missed by all who knew him. Bob

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      John Todaro 7 years ago

      Bob, when Aldo visited Australia he came to my town, Geraldton where I had a Cafe. I instantly noticed Aldo as he seemed more worldly than the regular Joes in this part of Oz, so I introduced myself and we instantly became friends as you say he was very easy company. His boys were at the same school as my kids and as we found more in common he and the boys would frequently join my family for dinner or just a Corona on the beach. One day we remember very well was when I took Aldo out diving for Crayfish,it was a perfect day on the Indian Ocean and Aldo was surprisingly comfortable in the water catching many Crays. Two and a half hours later I forced him to swim back to shore where we enjoyed sharing our catch with some fresh white wine. Soon after this trip Aldo decided to go back to La Paz where it would be easier for the boys and for him to return to the place they knew. We will always remember Aldo and cherish this time together, sadly we had hoped that one day he would be the host when we planned a trip to La Paz. RIP ALDO.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Ron: I have seen so many friends die over the last couple of years, my age I suppose. But no one would expect Aldo to go like that, rather like the Croc Man in Oz, so full of life. I was hoping to see him this coming year. Who will take the kids, Ron?

      All the best to you all, Bob

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      ron siemiginowski 7 years ago

      A wonderful piece Bob. I shake my head in disbelief that Aldo is no longer with us. I could not have imagined just how much I would miss him.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Veronica: Gracias para su comentario. Yo conozco los dos Xochitl siempre tiene tiempo para todos n modo si ella era ocopado con los ninos o no. Pero...como fume eses cigaros, som asesinos...Aldo era un persona querido por todo el mundo y yo extrano a el. Perdonome mi Espanol es terible! Roberto

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      Veronica Maldonado Lopez  7 years ago

      Dear Bob, it is true that this question we have done many times ....

      Aldo unfortunately I did not meet but feel close and admired by the example of father and companion of my dear friend Xochitl, it is difficult to accept and understand the ways of this life, which we passed.

      If you really loved ones who have gone before us ..... expect when we leave this world together are sure to pray for their children who have our unconditional love and support. May God Save.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Mauro: I saw your posts and could see how upset you were; you must have been one of the people closest to Aldo. I knew him well, and introduced Leti to my old friend, Ron, in Australia where she seems to have a good life. I lived in La Paz from 1999 to 2003 and returned several times, the last time was in 2008 which was whan I last saw Aldo, but we emailed frequently. I am proud to have been his friend...Bob

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Mauro: I saw your posts and could see how upset you were; you must have been one of the people closest to Aldo. I knew him well, and introduced Leti to my old friend, Ron, in Australia where she seems to have a good life. I lived in La Paz from 1999 to 2003 and returned several times, the last time was in 2008 which was whan I last saw Aldo, but we emailed frequently. I am proud to have been his friend...Bob

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Doctor: Thank you for acknowleging this sad hub. His short life was very full at least. Bob

    • profile image

      mauro Sartori 7 years ago

      Dear Friends of Aldo

      We all mourning the death of a good person and a wonderful friend who I have known for 20 years. I feel blessed to be one of the last to see him and to have spent quality time together with him and his new partner Rosy. Together we spent time reminiscing about Japan and his life in Baja. I met him and his lovely wife Xochitl in Tokyo on their way to Australia,(before she sadly passed away 3 month later,God bless her) along with the kids and his mother-in-law, Iolanda. I have wonderful memories about that special time spent together with our families. I used to talk to Aldo twice a month on skype and I spoke with him again on the morning of 10-12-2010.I often go back to that conversation and find it hard to believe we will never have a chance to chat again.

      There are no words to express my grief and sadness, but all of this won`t be enough to bring him back to us- life goes on, I only hope he can now find the happiness and joy he deserves, along with his lovely wife Xochitl.

      My thoughts and blessings to the children.

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      Doctor 7 years ago

      I met Aldo sometimes in Turin, where I live and he once lived. He was a positive man, always caring for the others, and his death have driven to tears a lot of friends. He won't be forgotten.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Herve: I know she was, but she was called "Xochi" for short. I was not sure of Aldo's age, and I have heard from 45 to 50. Bob

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      HervĂ© Danis 7 years ago

      Nice words about our common friend Aldo. Thanks!

      PD: Some details that finally do not really matter but anyway...

      - His wife was called Xochitl (not Xochi), which means "flower" in the Aztec language.

      - Aldo was 45 years old.

    • profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago

      That was Aldo all right. You couldn't help liking him right away. He had that easy, Italian manner anyway, a compound of charm and mischief, plus his own special ingredients of genuine caring and humbleness. La Paz will never be the same for me without knowing he is there. Thanks you for your kind post. Bob Challen

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      Nathan Segal 7 years ago

      I liked Aldo very much. I saw him the day before he died. we were both having coffee at Cafe' Exquisito, on the Malecon in La Paz. I watched him as he finished his espresso, then he said: "Ready for the day." He got up and started walking. I followed, a short distance behind him and watched him walk away. That was the last time I saw him.

      Aldo was a man I both liked and admired. He wasn't close enough to be a friend, though he was my landlord and I saw him almost every day. I met him last winter and recently, when I was looking for an apartment, he contacted me on a local forum. At the time, I didn't realize who he was.

      Then I went to look at the apartment with my girlfriend. We were waiting, and a small 4 wheel drive car pulled up. When the driver got out, I looked at him and said, "It's you!" And he said: "Yes, it's me," and we all started laughing. Right then, I knew I was in good hands.

      As I said, I liked and admired Aldo. Like many people in La Paz, I'm saddened that he is gone.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thank you HH: I wish he was still here to smaile at me! Bob

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      You gave your friend a well deserved and wonderful tribute and I am sure he smile down on you.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      "AS" answered on facebook thread...

    • profile image

      AS 7 years ago

      Thank you for writing this Bob. I can't think of a better tribute for Aldo and he would have loved it I am sure. I was discussing his age last night with a friend and it seems he was only 47 but I am not sure myself.

      Aldo was a dear friend, a New York connection. We had not been in touch for years but communicated again last summer ahead of his trip to New York. He was a very positive and generous person. Gave Ethan and myself hospitality in Tokyo for a month!! Just handed us the keys to his house, gave us his bedroom (even while he was staying in Tokyo) and off he went. He used to work as a forex trader and then realized his dream of living on the beach. That dream was short lived. I will remember Aldo with fondness and affection. Yes he was not a famous person but one of the greatest. My thoughts now are with his young kids who have lost their mother and father. Rest in peace Aldo.

    • profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago

      Pachuca and Scribenet: Thank you for your kind remarks. All his family and friends are totally devastated. When an older person dies after a long and full life, we are saddened but understand that this is normal. Aldo was just 50 I believe and in good health. Thanks you and a hugs to you, too...Bob

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Robert, This is a moving and awesome tribute to a good friend.

      I hope Aldo's children see this, because it will warm their hearts and remind them that his friends appreciated and cared for their dad. That is very comforting to family.

      Aldo sounds like "one in a million"!

      Now more people know about Aldo; thanks to you!

      So sorry for your loss of a good friend...and more HUGS to you.

    • profile image

      Pachuca213 7 years ago

      What a beautiful tribute to your beloved friend. I am sure if he could read this he would be so happy. I am sure that Aldo and Xochi will be together again! (I believe in true love!) I am so sorry for your loss of a friend as well...HUGS to you!


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