By Christopher Tobutt
Hundreds of people love to camp all along the beaches at Easter time. It’s been a Cayman tradition for as long as anyone can remember. All kinds of different tents, of all shapes and sizes and colors go up on Good Friday (or maybe the day before, or even Wednesday sometimes) and they come down on Monday evening. People love it because it’s a chance to relax and get away from all the stress of everyday life; all the technology and all the trouble. People love the chance to meet with other people, maybe friends of family they haven’t seen for a long time, and maybe catch some fish and cook them on a little camp-fire, so that the fragrant smell of wood smoke and cooking fish waft through the trees.
At least, that is how it used to be. Nothing stays the same forever, and now the Easter Camping tradition is changing too. Lots of people from different countries representing different cultures, different ways of doing things, are joining in the fun. But as is always the case when different cultures sit side by side, sometimes they harmonize, and sometimes there is tension. At Smith Barcadere, someone had put up a notice reading, “Easter Camping is a Caymanian Tradition. Kindly respect our culture and our camping spaces. Thank you! “The poster had been put up on a sea grape tree by Paula Scott, so I asked her why.
“Camping Spaces are limited, and we’ve got Tom Dick and Harry from all over the world and wanting to deal with the tradition the same way, you understand? And I’m telling them, ‘Happy Easter one and all, keep safe, enjoy and keep it clean, because that’s a serious problem too.”
Some of the people camping with Ms. Scott also spoke about a bonfire on the sands, much too big to be safe. Nearby, a police officer confirmed that it is not legal to build open fires on the beaches in Cayman, it is only allowed to keep them in enclosed places, such are barrels or barbeques.
A Department of Environmental Health employee was walking around picking up litter. He said that most of the time, he found that people were very good and cleaned up after themselves, but a few of them left a mess behind.
Sometimes, too the air is filled with more aromas than just wood smoke. You can often smell ganja too, and not everybody wants to. It is good to be able to enjoy yourself, but it is even better when everyone respects each other’s space. I didn’t hear much loud music when I was there, but tent-neighbors don’t always enjoy having to listen to another person’s music, especially in the middle of the night. It’s sometimes nice to just leave technology behind.
But it isn’t all tension and treading on one another’s sandy toes; far from it. And it was lovely to see so many people from different cultures getting along and having fun together on the beach.