T oday when it is not raining and dry, the streets become very dusty. And when it rains, it is muddy and there are puddles. We all know that it is because there is no more sand on the streets but only very fine dust. And we also all know what has crushed our sand into dust.
Twenty five years ago the streets of San Pedro were sandy and many areas were covered with green grass. This grass held the sand very well so there was very little or no sand erosion by wind. No matter how hard the wind blew, there was no dust. Now. along the beach and some areas of Front Street or Barrier Reef Drive there was six to ten inches of soft loose coarse sand and on windy days the sand did lift and actually sting at one's legs. I recall sometimes we were in a slow procession along Front Street on Good Friday and the wind lifted the sand. It stung so hard the children could not stay still and stamped their feet on the ground and had fun with this occurrence.
Also when it rained. the sand was so loose that it quickly absorbed all the water. Never were there puddles on the streets nor trenches dug by the stream of water leading to the sea nor the lagoon as we see it today.
Now the grass did pose a little problem - it grew wild and at times too high. This made our island look a bit ugly. Traditionally most people trimmed the grass in front of their yards. but as always there were some lazy or not too caring nor civic minded Sanpedranos. When it got out of hand, the village chairman would announce a "fagina" or workathon for the village and when the bell was rung. people came out with their machetes and rakes to clean up the town.
Even some dirty unoccupied lots, like where Sands Hotel is. were cleaned up by the villagers because the owner was absent for many years at a time.
One of the most beautiful grassy areas was in front of Mr. Guadalupe Cardenez's -yard. That's Lupita Cardenez's dad, he kept a low cut grass shaped in a semi circle and the villagers loved to sit there in the cool of the afternoon and chat. Imagine six or seven villagers sitting in the middle of the street and chatting for hours.
The women also placed their white clothing, pillow cases, sheets etc. on the grass and left them there overnight so that they would bleach. Imagine leaving your clothing on the street overnight? Never, never was it stolen, but the dogs would "poop" on them occasionally.
Today there is no grass on our streets. The traffic has killed it all. Oh, how we miss the grass so that we could put our sheets on the streets for them to bleach in the morning dew.