Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I hate Semana Santa!

Oropendola nests at the Copán River
I’m not sure whether it’s a deeply rooted cultural difference or it’s just me, but I HATE Semana Santa! I don’t particularly dislike the religious tradition of sawdust carpets. They’re actually quite beautiful and a true community effort. I also don’t mind the processions and I do enjoy the beautiful set-up of the different stations of the Calvario of Jesus. I tend to complain about the oppressing April heat, but hey, that’s one of the main reasons for my being here in the first place. I prefer the town in its normal tranquillity, without the invasion of Salvadorian tourists, but I can live with it. But what I CANNOT STAND is being anywhere near the river these days.

I love the Copán River. For almost every day of the last fifteen years, I’ve been walking along, to, or through the river with my dog(s). I love the river when the water is crystal clear and alive with tadpoles. I love it when it’s chocolate brown and roaring angrily after the first tropical downpours. I love the river at the peep of dawn and in the soft embrace of the afternoon sun. I love three-dimensional sound of the flock of oropendolas that have their nests hanging high above the river’s edge. I love the river’s steep cliffs, its rocky beach, its shady edge.

But all that is now, at least temporarily, history.
While Salvadorian tourists have taken over the town, the Copanecos have all gone to the river. And with them, their cars, stereos, barbecues, mattresses, hammocks, pillows, inflatable pools, pets, baby cribs, chairs, tables and tons of kids and food and disposable cups, plates, cutlery and bags. And whereas for some people it might be fun to sit next to your neighbour’s car on a tiny bit of rocky beach with your feet in the three inches of highly contaminated water with music blaring from three different sides, it’s isn’t mine. But still, cada loco con su tema.  But what really bothers me is what is left behind when the sun goes down. Mile after mile, there’s trash just everywhere.

So, after fifteen years of living in Honduras I still don’t understand this. Is this a typical Honduran thing, or does it happen elsewhere too? Why, if you’re coming by car in the first place, can’t you just take your trash back home with you?
Why would you want to sit on a beach littered with yesterday’s trash?

Can’t wait for nature to take over again…

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