The Highest Point on Grand Cayman Spontaneously Combusting for Your Viewing Pleasure
12.02.2014 - 14.02.2014 85 °F
Welcome to Grand Cayman
Teachers and students alike look forward to them. Pray for them at times. Never did I count on having an unexpected day off from school in the Cayman Islands.
Days off from school present themselves in different manners around the world. Snow days could be a couple feet of snow overnight in Canada earns you half a day off from school. A paro (strike) in Perú could easily get you a couple of days off. Any day of the week in France, goat farmers are angry about working 3 days a week, no school for a week.
Up to this point, I've only experienced snow days and paros. Peruvian paros consisted of strikers blockading major thoroughfares and burning a couple tires and throwing rocks at any cars that attempted to pass by. What we experienced on Grand Cayman needed a few more tires that that.
Wednesday morning during school, students noticed smoke rising from our next door neighbor's place, the island landfill. The island dump is recognized by accurate moniker, Mouth Trashmore. Mount Trashmore also happens to be the highest point on the very flat Grand Cayman. One of the first things you can see from the many cruise ships that dock here on any given day. You can easily smell it on the road before you see it. Kind of reminds you of the state of New Mexico.
Mount Trashmore had spontaneously combusted for the second time in as many months sending grayish blue smoke billowing past our school. Fortunately, the winds on Wednesday were headed west, away from the school and towards the five cruise ships docked in the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean.
Thursday morning, I headed up to school early to play basketball. Riding to school, it was obvious that the smoke was thicker and the wind had changed direction from a westerly direction to northerly one, directly over campus. A night of sporadic rainfall did not halt the surge of smoke. Looking at the sunrise made me imagine what it would be like to live in any major city in China. The sky was a burnt orange and the sun was a dull oval of light in the sky.
Just as we finished basketball, Joseph poked his head into the gym and muttered a few words that I thought I would never hear on island, "No school today! It's a smoke day."
Some equipment at the landfill hasn't worked for quite awhile
I thought to myself, "Did I hear that correctly? No school today, because of the smoke? Really?" Upon confirmation, school had been cancelled. It was time to make grandiose plans, and not live up to them.
Friday morning, the kids, Nadine, and myself were ready for school, grabbing the keys, and literally heading out the door, when we received a text stating that school had been cancelled once again because of another morning of thick smoke cresting over the school. What were the chances?
The view from Seven Mile Beach
Actually, the dump is a point of contention on island right now. The landfill has been mismanaged and their equipment doesn't work properly or at all. Recycling doesn't exist. Dart Enterprises has offered to clean the landfill in exchange for the land. There are many factors involved and a committee of 20 will attempt to resolve this problem. The Cayman Islands depend on tourism, so for their sake, they should probably come up with a manageable solution.
This was the source of the first fire five days before Christmas