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The ‘Where the other shoe drops’ project

Last Updated on December 22, 2013

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.

shoes mexicoThis 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.

mexico caribbeanExcept 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.

beach garbageReading 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.

dani in mexico cleaning up the beachFirst, she collected all kinds of junk, big garbage bags filled with plastic bottles, oil bottles and other things.

garbage bags mexicoThen there were the hundreds of oil bottles…

oil bottles mexico

Hundreds of toothbrushes…

toothbrushes mexicoDozens of combs (who even uses combs anymore?)

combs mexicoDeodorant galore..

deodorant mexicoWho would think that thousands of plastic spoons, knives and forks arrive on Mexico’s shores every day?

plastic spoons and forksNot to mention all the spray cans and soda cans – they are from all over the Caribbean, Central America and the U.S.!

cans in mexicoEven a juice carton all the way from Germany!

german pineapple juiceTwo toilet seats…

dani with toilet seatsAnd last but not least: 1,647 shoes!

mexico shoesAnd 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.

shoe art mexicoWe can’t very well hold a toxic shoe bonfire down here, so we want your ideas…

What in the world should we do with over 1,600 shoes, two toilet seats, countless plastic spoons and forks, oil bottles, deodorants and toothbrushes?

Raymond @ Man On The Lam

Friday 17th of August 2012

I can't believe you cleaned up all that JUNK! You guys are awesome! I've got to ask what you did with that welder's mask I saw when I was there?

As for ideas, maybe you found a shovel in that mess as well? I think you're in for your own personal landfill.


Sunday 19th of August 2012

Thanks, Raymond! The welder's mask must have gotten lost in the hurricane somehow :( But you know what survived the storm? The big broken 'egg shell' that we saw on our walk on the beach :D

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

Thursday 16th of August 2012

You two are SO amazing for doing this!!!!!!!!! I wish I had a suggestion on what you should do, but I don't other than maybe there is an artist in town that could create some kind of sculpture?


Friday 17th of August 2012

Ah, Andi, that would rely there being any sort of TOWN around here :) haha. My idea was to build a huge 3-D palm tree statue out of shoes and just plant it right along the beach on some deserted lot. My problem is how to get all the shoes to stick together with only one tiny tube of super glue between us! Thanks for commenting and sharing your ideas!