In Search of Families In Search of Adventure
A Family on a Bike Tour: New Zealand, Samoa, USA and Canada 2004/2005

Cleaning up at the beach

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From:       Kirstie
Subject:   Cleaning up at the beach
  Date:         3rd June 2005
     The Beach, Upolu, Independent Samoa


Grasping the broom with expert hands
he drags each twig
across the sand, catching coral
shell, stone, leaf,
underneath the pure white grain.
Unnatural mess
of tide and rain,
scrubbed and cleaned
with light caress.
Nature now a postcard scene,
no dying branch, decaying fruit,
unsightly root,
And with each stroke
his family
is fed
through tourist luxury.
He passes time, a constant pace;
the public face
of an industry,
cleaning up at the beach.

Carving up the sand with foreign cash;
pouring in
faster than the monsoon rain. A hotel chain,
a swinging bridge,
hand built falé
to line a ridge of virgin land.
Why so much sand? Decking;
more pleasing to the visitor's taste.
Pumping waste
back out to sea,
under the spa, the rooftop bar;
sunset views, digital TV.
A seafood buffet
fish lovers
will die for,
diverting all eyes
from the construction eyesore
of cleaning up at the beach.

Taking care of locals with rights of way,
handsome pay,
for those who'll sell; cash in hand,
slipping through fingers like grains of sand.
Nothing for those no longer required,
laid off, retired.
The regular man
who sweeps the leaves,
with outdated brush;
soon relieved.
"He looks untidy
out of date,
and there isn't a place
in a tourist boom,
for someone to groom redundant sand.
The traditional way?
lets be very clear- it doesn't pay.
The days of sentiment are gone,
of unskilled workers, hangers on.
Anyhow, there's no need for him now.
our beloved investors the Japanese
with wads of cash and expertise
will be cleaning up at the beach."



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