25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
Beachcombing That Struck Perfume
At times Sanpedranos have gone beachcombing looking for things they can use like lumber to build a fence or bamboo to repair lobster pats. At other times they went out looking for buoys for the guild nets or digging for worms to be used as bait. Interesting things have been found on the beaches of San Pedro and the most popular one has been new lumber in great quantities - and I mean great quantities.
One time ply wood started floating to our beaches and the count must have been about two thousand sheets of marine plywood. There are several houses still built with that plywood that drifted back in 1992. I remember because I had just moved to live in San Pablo and I got about five sheets right there at the Banyan Beach area.
But perhaps the most intriguing beachcombing find was done back in 1971, the very year that San Pedro High School was founded. A Sanpedrano and good friend, whose name is Lorenzo Mendes and known as Lencho, found a full drum of concentrated perfume oil right close to the beach.
I mean that thing had a scent that you could smell a mile away. It was very pungent and had its own distinct smell, like all other perfumes.
Lencho brought his amazing find to the village in his dory and the news spread like wild fire. Everybody wanted to see this drum of perfume. He had a bottle full of the stuff and everybody smelled it and commented how nice it was.
Now everybody wanted some of it, so ‘Lenchito’ decided to sell it at five dollars a bottle. Boy oh boy, everybody came with his bottle to get some of the good stuff. As the drum was being depleted in a few days, the price of the perfume went to ten dollars a bottle or quart.
For the next few days, everybody smelled very sweet and pungent. From a mile away you could tell that someone was using Lencho’s Perfume, as the product was officially branded. It was its trademark and registered name.
Eventually people got so upset of using the same product that it began to lose its popularity. People used it in the water to bathe their dogs. So the product lost its value as a perfume.
And then people in the bars mixed it with water and disinfectants and cleaned the bathrooms with it giving the bathrooms a sweet smell. And then the product lost its total value as a perfume.
You never smelled it anymore on anyone on the streets or public places. I still believe some people might still have a bottle or two of that good stuff that drifted on our shores in 1971.
I had about a pint of it back then and when I visited Chetumal, Mexico, I gave it to my relatives who found it exquisite and precious. I never told them the story of how it was used in San Pedro, and never told anyone until today that I am telling you this interesting story of 25 years ago.