25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
Vamos a Playar (*Beachcombing*)
The word “playador” means a beachcomber. Therefore Hotel Playador actually refers to the pastime of beachcombing. Beachcombing used to be a favorite pastime in the 1960’s. Coconut farmers used to beach comb on their way to their place of work along the beach. Fishermen used to stop at a certain spot and beach comb for a mile or two. On Sundays, young people or anyone used to take a stroll along the beach with the same purpose. Of course the place to beach comb was not on the beach near the village for anything useful had been picked up already. The best places to beach comb were distant beach areas, far away from the village.
Of course there is still some beachcombing today but it is not a pastime that one plans to do. Occasionally one is walking some distance along the beach and one bumps into this strange thing. You pick it up and perhaps decide that it is useful. Yeah, I know, some people go beachcombing for the good stuff hoping to get rich overnight. This was not the case 25 years ago. So what did one expect to find during a stroll down the beach?
1. Glass bottles- these were cleaned and used as water bottles at home.
2. Bottle tops or caps- rendered useless.
3. Plastic bottles- if in good shape, these were used as water bottles by the coconut farmers.
4. Small glass buoys- used to hang around as decorations. You could find up to fifty of these on someone’s fence.
5. Large glass buoys- these were hung as decorations from the ceilings of homes and bars. Some were cut and light bulbs inserted into them. (in the 1970’s)
6. Rubber or Styrofoam buoys- these were collected by fishermen and were used as floats on the seine nets.
7. Rope- thin ones used to tie the dories, for the hammock, or for clothesline. Thick pieces were sold to owners of large boats.
8. Lengths of plastic pipes- were used to hit dogs, kill iguanas, etc. along the beach.
9. Shoes- were used as one walked along the beach just for curiosity.
10. Sandals- were picked up and later used to walk among burrs when one went into the bush.
11. Jars- were collected and used to store nails, screws, and spices in the kitchen.
12. Crates- were picked up and used to store corned fish.
13. Copper sheeting from hulls of shipwrecks-were collected and bent into compact pieces to be used as sinkers for fishing line.
14. Aerosol cans- always picked up and if they had any paint, one would play around.
15. Food and drink cans- were picked up and read and one longed for the day that he could taste suck delicious foods.
16. Fluorescent tubes- were immediately broken. These were fun for they made a bang.
17. Light bulbs- a perfect missile flung unto a tree and get an explosion.
18. Disposable cigarette lighters- one always played with the flint stone.
Hey there were more interesting items we used to pick up while beach combing 25 years ago, and some very weird ones too. But the list is long so let’s enjoy some next week. Until then, enjoy your beach combing.