This morning was the second time I’ve seen Percy walking along the beach with four rambunctious dogs. Today he carried a small plastic bag and was picking up trash.
My comment on the abundance of canines prompted him to start talking.
Of the dogs, he said he rescues them after they’re abandoned. He has two more at the hillside hotel he owns. People don’t know how to take care of dogs, he said. He was speaking English after hearing my accent, although he kept interjecting the Spanish adverb entonces, which is “then.” He went on about how he “fixes them,” and gives them to friends. He would interrupt himself to bend down and pick up trash from the tideline: a foam cup, bottles, pieces of plastic. He said all this plastic, when it washes into the bay, is bad for the turtles. Six-pack rings wash out to sea and animals get tangled. He grew up here and remembers the beach before the tourism. He wants it to be clean for his children. (Right about here in his soliloquy, one of the dogs went into a squat and crapped on the beach.) People come here from first-world countries and build their houses, Percy continued, and that’s it. They don’t do anything else.
He commented on the weather, that it’s cooler, due to Nino, and the surfing has been poor for a month. Global warming is causing higher tides, he said, pointing to the sandbags atop one resort’s concrete boundary wall. These tides are also changing the beach’s contours, making it slope more steeply. He has witnessed the changes. The offshore winds are different, too, and the seawater is warmer. When he was a kid, his hands would turn blue while he swam.
Before we parted, he showed me a couple of fish weirs that the Indians built, saying this was done 300 years ago. I snapped his picture and said it had been nice to meet him.