Carib hols

Turquoise won’t do it – the water atop the sandy bottom on this windy day is malachite.

We have a lovely private beach – well, as private as anything is on this seemingly communard island – textbook perfect with palms and sloping sand out to the reefs.  Except for the glass – how did so much glass get here?  Go a quarter mile in either direction and there is little, but here, it abounds.  One could imagine the locals breaking their beer bottles here – it is clear, green, and brown, mostly small pieces, some tumbled to frostiness (Annie will like that for her bottle lamps), some new and sharp.  But some is mis-shapen, and melted together as if subjected to great heat – as if a tanker full of beer exploded just offshore, and these are the remains.

A white egret perched atop a grazing horse.  This is repeated many times during our visit – an act of grooming?

The unique feature of this otherwise delightfully bland Caribbean island is the omnipresence of the pasofino horses.  Some domesticated, others left to roam but still tolerant, of people some wild in the jungled hills of the island.  These horses are as small as a pony, but with the distinctive horse shape, such that the riders look unnaturally large atop them, to our northern eyes.  They clop along with a distinctive short gait, which sounds choppy on the road, but take the rider on a straight, smooth track, rather like our Tennessee Walker.

Last night, a couple of young men sprinted down our beach, looking for all the world like Arabs with their t-shirts around their heads like jalabahs, dark skinned, bareback but for a small piece of carpet for a pad.  At the far end of the beach, they ventured out onto the coral reef – maybe a foot of water.  The horses went willingly enough, even with the waves breaking around their ankles, but it seemed so dangerous to us – one slip into a hole in the old coral…

Quan is intrigued with the horses, and when a couple of them wandered into our yard to graze on the meager grass, she went out to look.  One horse had a crop of ticks within its ear so thick they looked like mussel seed on a rock – literally hundreds of ticks in each ear.  Quan, using some bum plums we got from the market, tempted this wild horse down the beach and – reluctantly, but those plums! – into the water, where she was able to rinse and clean his hind leg where it got torn on some barbed wire.  He will not sit still for any treatment of his ears, however.

Quan has uncharacteristically adopted a dog.  A tiny Benjy-type of terrier, this beach dog was surviving on the voluminous garbage one can find in every nook and cranny here. She looks well if scruffy, but with matted fur and the usual insectivorous collection along with her.  Banjo (an evolution from Benjy) now lives with us, and eats better than most dogs in Christendom.  She guards the house when we leave, and sleeps under it at night, barking only at other dogs, and the horses, until we taught her not to.  On a long walk over rocks, I essayed picking her up to carry her to the next stretch of sand – thinking I might get bit.  But she rested easily in my arm, and clearly understood, licking her gratitude before I set her down again to run.  The local shelter worker, whom we met last night on the beach, says the dogs here eat alright, but often die of heartworm.  We are in a quandary as to what to do with her when we leave.


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