Living on a small island in the caribbean aka. paradise. White sand beaches, coral reefs and beautiful sailing all on our doorstep, spend every day hiking, snorkelling and island hopping. Fancy a coconut for lunch? Sure! Just ponder along any of the shores and pick one you fancy. Struggling to open said coconut? No problem! Some guy will appear out of nowhere with his machete to help you (True story..)
What could possibly be more perfect than living in the islands?! Well not much, but since living here I noticed a few things that those #islandlife hashtags seem to conveniently miss out...
Not so long ago we took a lovely trip to Antigua to check out a boat we were thinking of buying. We stayed near English harbour for a few nights at a lovely bohemian Airbnb. To save some pennies I popped down to the local store and picked up a box of oats for our breakfast and all was well in the world. The following morning I was going to prepare another batch of oatmeal in the communal kitchen when I dropped the oats all over the patio, made a huge mess, I was awfully apologetic and began sweeping the darn messy mess up when I noticed something moving. Eggs. Yes you heard me, eggs. And lots of them! And the buggy mums too. Well the whole box of overpriced grain went in the trash and now I check every day for movement in my oatmeal. Which is more common than you think! We are unable to keep a box of any food for longer than 2 weeks without the weebles moving in and joining the family. In England id be marching my food shizz back to the store, demanding a refund and comtemplating sueing, but round here thats just island stores for you..
Slightly related, but hopefully not too much. I was pondering along the store when I realized I was sharing the same reading material as a cockroach.. I let her have that packet of food and contemplated never eating it again. Dont places get shut down for this kind of sh*t? No? not in the islands?
So when one orders an item online, one would expect it to arrive. I mean at least in a reasonable time frame, i'll even allow an extra month for us being all the way out in the caribbean. 2 months? 3? 4?... 5 MONTHS it took for the darn parcel to get from the island sorting office, to the mail room... These buildings are on the SAME ISLAND. I would have collected it myself and walked it over via handstand for everyones convenience.
I have learnt over time, and experience, that there are some things that you just cant get, such as good customer service and popcorn kernals in the british Virgin Islands. Whilst some islands and countries pride themselves on their fresh local produce, round these islands EVERYTHING is shipped in. - Talk about unsustainable, unecological and expensive. At any one time there is only a weeks supply of food, we dread the day a zombie outbreak occurs and ships dont reach us, cannibalism will be inevitable. Not long ago a ship carrying food for the islands broke down and sure enough within a week restaurants were closed, aisles empty, no fresh produce to be found. They just ran out. And there are times some food items run out too, like the time broccoli and cauliflowers became as extinct as the dodo. Finally after a month the supermarkets had them back in stock at the world record, jaw dropping price of $9 a small head... we didnt eat brocolli or cauliflower for 2 months - when the price finally regained its socially acceptable status of $4.
I believe all these island life quirks to be in the same league as western society traffic jams and the commuters hell in the morning... which we just dont have being such a small island. Same goes for the terrible british weather and icey northern america temperatures you all suffer, whilst we drink our pina coladas on the beach occasionally popping for a swim in the sea to cool down. Ive heard a lot of people work in concrete offices now whilst our main business is tourism the majority of people work outdoors and on the day sail tour boats.
Thinking about it... Ill take my chances with the zombie outbreak cannibalism possibility and make friends with the cockroachs i shop along side, say hi to the weebles and try to order online for my future self 5 months from now. Ill stay where the suns shining, the waters warm and the broccoli is overpriced.