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You know when you’re driving down the street or going for a walk and you see that one shoe on the side of the road and you wonder – where is the other shoe?
Well, we found that shoe. In fact, we may have found ALL the ‘other’ shoes.
This place could seem like a nature lovers paradise. Down here at the beach house, the views are incredible. From up on our roof, we see far out over the Caribbean in the front, and over a beautiful freshwater lagoon in the back. We have red-headed woodpeckers, the bluest of blue birds, pelicans and herons flying in and around gorgeous green palm trees while giant snakes and massive blue crabs skirt around dozens of giant coconuts and into their deep holes throughout the sandy front yard.
Except that every day, the 2km walk up and down the beach with the dog, Loba, means sidestepping endless pieces of garbage that wash ashore. These aren’t romantic glass bottles with hopeful love letters, either. This is just junk. Our junk, your junk, all those things that you buy every day and never really think too much about where they will end up when you’re done with them.
Well, these things wash up on the shore here, everything from half pairs of shoes to plastic toys, rice sacks, toothbrushes, oil bottles, you name it, there is one of them out here on the beach.
Reading this post by No Vacation Required last month, who asked their readers ‘Once a week or once a month, commit to bringing a garbage bag on a walk or outing. Fill it!’ we were inspired to clean up the stretch of beach we’re walking every day. But down here, there are no garbage services. We burn everything we us except for glass bottles, which we dump on a ‘recycling’ pile in the nearest village.
So, what to do with all the garbage we find, we wondered? I made what I thought was an off-hand remark, that we should make an art project out of it all. Dani took this to heart, and the ‘Where the other shoe drops‘ project began.
While I was laid-up with my broken toe, Dani started sorting and collecting trash bag after trash bag of items, returning triumphantly each day with a black bag over her shoulder like some post-apocalyptic Santa Claus.
Hundreds of toothbrushes…
And if all this is what ends up on our two-kilometer stretch of beach, imagine how much of these discarded items can be found along Mexico’s 9,330 km (5797miles) of coastline. You buy things, you throw them out, and you never think much about where they end up. But after this, we always will think of what we buy clogging up the coast of some remote paradise.