Our island and pretty much the entire Caribbean region, rely heavily on Tourism as a major source of revenue. So when the tourism season kicks off, which is when where you live turn into an icebox -October to April- we first lock the savages away!
More often than not you will encounter the people trained to tolerate your astonishingly ridiculous requests, questions and every thing in between. But! Take a trip out on the town, tour the island and there you will find our culture in all it’s organic beauty.
My job allows me to interact with a fair amount of tourists. When I engage them in conversations about how they are enjoying their visit or living on the island, it takes all of the restraint I can muster within me, not to break out into a fit of laughter.
Hearing someone recount their experiences about where I live is both interesting and comical at times. These are some of the things that come up in our conversations.
Coming to an island from an otherwise fast paced life can take a bit of getting used to. If you are lucky, you might be able to leave with your sanity. I am sure you have heard the term ‘island time’ being bandied about.
This. Is. Real. Seriously, when you get to the island, the first thing you will need do is set your watch a few hours ahead. You know what? Toss the watch altogether because islanders march to the beat of their own drum, rush slowly if you will.
I remember I had one tourist tell me all the things they had to get done for the day by this and that time, then he continued with “but I’m on island time so my time doesn’t matter.” Poor guy was so distraught, I could definitely relate.
Not a vicious hurricane, not a tornado or snow storm. Rain! Rain. Stops. ‘Ev. Ree. Thing!’ Yes, if you planned to go to the bank ‘tomorrow’ at ‘so and so’ time you will need to perform a full on ritual to the rain gods begging them to hold the rain for that day.
The slightest trickle will launch an island-wide shut down. Schools, businesses, supermarkets– everything is closed until that little trickle subsides.
While we have made immense improvement in this regard, there was a time when we had to catch electricity by the bucket-loads to save for a rainy day! There were days when, if electricity stayed on for a full 24 hours we’d throw an island-wide party.
There was just no telling when the darkness might strike.
Expect to be greeted at the same location ten times by the same person if they were to pass you there ten times. We really are friendly, there is tourism friendly and then there is genuine friendly.
I remember once, I met up on a tourist, we were going opposite directions and he stopped me for directions. I ended up taking him to his destination. All the while I’m praying he isn’t a Ted Bundy kind of guy and he was probably praying that I’m not a cannibal kind of girl.
What about you? What are some of the practices you’ve experienced in different places that you thought were either strange, interesting or frustrating? Share those experiences in the comments below. I wanna knowww…! 🙂
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**Disclaimer: The events outlined in this article is an anecdotal account of my experiences with tourists on my little rock. This does not represent the entire Caribbean. C’mon who are we kidding, it’s the same damn thing everywhere or some variation of a similar damn thing!