Glass, Rocks and China

The mountain called Capiro Calientura is working today.

Here on the most beautiful natural Caribbean beachfront you can imagine, we are chilling, letting our souls soak up the tranquility of our shoreline and the majestic mountain reaching above the clouds behind us. Today the peak of the mountain is hidden from view, wrapped within a storm cloud which is pounding away at the giant, drop by drop.

Not only is Capiro Calientura a national preserve, hosting all kinds of rainforest canopy and the attendant layers of varying palms, orchids, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife (With the ascent of every thousand feet or so, we notice distinct changes in the offerings. What an ever changing smorgasbord of nature!), but the cascading rivers and falls of cool, clear water flow through Trujillo and have been a source of public works for thousands of years.

Public works? OK, let me explain.

Christopher Colombus landed in Trujillo (before it was Trujillo) in 1504 on his last voyage to the new world, and settlement started up in earnest right after that. Before Colombus, this area was populated with the Maya and Pecs (pronounced “pesh”) Indian tribes. The clear, cool water running down the mountainside was a constant source of drinking water. But it was also the local sanitation department. For centuries, the locals (whoever they were) just dumped their trash into the mountain stream. It obliged by carrying whatever was tossed into it to the sea, allowing the next tide to wash it away. (This was one way to keep the municipal taxes down).

Each day, sometimes slowly and sometimes quite dramatically, the mountain sends water to the sea, carrying with it whatever is within its reach. For millions of years, this has been different types of rock, and the polished stones worn by eons of hydraulic action are now becoming part of Marea’s wall and will continue to be a part of our architectural theme.

Beginning in the 16th century, the process began to include human elements like dishes, pots, and glass, along with all kinds of other garbage, most of which has long since composted away. But the glass and china are quite something else.

Glass Gems Rescued From Marea’s Beach

Long ago, we started collecting beach glass. Like collecting sea shells, but we look for different colored pieces of glass, polished and worn by years of wave and tide working with the sand. Pieces that are smooth all around are kept, and we have become connoisseurs of the more sought after and rare colors and shapes. Any piece not totally worn smooth is thrown by the discerning collector into the sea for more processing.

Remnants of China Washed Ashore

But here in Trujillo (like Bermuda’s beaches, too), we also find our share of beach china.

For 500 years, broken dishes were thrown in the garbage (meaning into the river), to be disposed of by the natural cycle. As the predominant movement of coastal sand in Trujillo is from west to east, the material washed down from the mountain works its way counterclockwise to the point at Castilla. The same action brings all kinds of other things – driftwood, plastic, etc. and this is why we clean the beach every day.

So all of the dinnerware thrown out over the past half millennium passes along Marea’s beach. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve found old china pieces on the beach in Santa Fe, too, but not like the amounts and numbers that I’ve found wandering the beach between Marea and Casa Kiwi. This “china sink” is really fascinating for a junk collector like me. Each morning stroll ends with a pocketful of very acceptable beach glass and very exceptional china pieces, worked and polished by the patient and sometimes violent processes of the mountain behind us and the tide and wave cycles of the ocean. These end up in a glass jar, as jewelry, or as part of a picture frame. Great decorations! Come on by Marea and see the mountain’s handiwork being used to sculpt our vision for this piece of paradise.

GOLD!!!! For those who are interested, gold has been mined in the mountains behind Trujillo for centuries, and panning for gold can still be fun. It can be found being processed the same way that the glass, china, and rocks are constantly worked, too.

Come on down, you’ll never know what you will find! And after a little while of wandering and collecting, sit back on the beach, nurse a cool drink, and admire the mountain behind us still working, working, working………………….

Culture & History Nature and Activities