Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yo Ho Ho...

…and affordable rum!  It’s almost the only thing that is affordable here.  Also, we have found eggs, bread, pitted prunes, tinned sardines and chicken feet are affordable.  We have not yet purchased chicken feet since their only purpose I can think of is for making chicken stock and we have a frozen chicken neck in the freezer from the chicken Mom roasted a couple days ago.  To put expenses in perspective, a 50-bag box of Red Rose tea is $11.85 EC; one jumbo yam is $9.15 EC; a medium citronella candle is $23.15 EC.  The conversion rate is $1.00 USD = $2.68 EC (Eastern Caribbean).  Of course, the cheapest food we have found so far is the fruit foraged from our backyard.

We shopped at the IGA today in the Spice Land Mall.  The IGA is particularly stocked to cater towards students and tourists, boasting name brand items, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Ragu, Maxwell House, etc.  We prefer to shop at the very small store around the block from us.  It’s called Ali’s and is run by an Indian family.  The only problem is that it is too small to carry all the basics we might need (such as garbage bags).  They are, however, cheaper than IGA, so we will continue to patronize them more frequently than IGA.  Our trip—which included a number of unnecessary items purchased by Mom—ended up totaling a whopping $334.75 EC.  We were lucky to have enough money left over for the bus ride home.

Speaking of buses, I cannot emphasize what life savers they are.  Yes, they may be bumpy and swervey and choking in reggae music, but when you, your husband and your mom are hobbling down the road, tired, sweaty and towing more groceries than you meant to get, a thumping red “reggae bus” heading back to True Blue is the most glorious sight ever!

(Take note from the above paragraph: Do not purchase more groceries than you can carry when you do not own a vehicle.)

This morning we jogged to the school, then jogged back home, then jogged to the school, then limped back home.  Well, not really.  It’s actually a fairly short jog, but in the sun and heat we were pretty drenched (I mean streaming down your face, melting point, kind of drenched).  Thanks to the on-campus bank, we are now a wad of traveler’s checks lighter.  Unfortunately, the chancellor’s office must guarantee each check in order for the bank to accept it for deposit into an account.  The chancellor’s office has a limit on the number of checks they will guarantee per day, so we will be visiting the school every morning with more traveler’s checks until they are all deposited.  Also, in order for my name to be added to Ivan’s new bank account, I have to get a letter of reference from my bank back in the states, stating that I am a good little account holder.

We were not able to make it to the fresh market today.  That’s the bad news.  The good news: I saw all kinds of goats!

What I wish I had packed: A fly swatter, one specifically designed for mosquito genocide (we have purchased a pack of garlic to hang in our room with the intent of warding off mosquitoes and Edward Cullen); duct tape, to patch the hole in our window screen which has become a gateway for aforementioned vampire’s minions to enter; an eye patch, to go with the pirate bandana I brought (originally intended to be a beach wrap) and bottle of rum; more money, because we will be living off of salted fish and chicken legs by the time summer rolls around.

The things we have purchased: A 5lb bag of dog food, in case we run into any more cute strays at the beach; a 4lb papaya, I hope it tastes yummy; hot pepper goat cheese, locally made and so delicious; a map of the island, because as soon as I turn around the corner, I have no idea which way is north.

Local advice: “No, you no put de lime in de chicken. You make it wit’ dem herbs an’ rub de chicken good.  Den you put on dem breadscrumb.  You can use de breadscrumb on all de chicken.  Den put dem saffron in de rice an’ it turn orange like de curry, but de saffron is more good for you.  You know?  It healt’ier fer you.  Here darlin’, I give you some.  Den you come back, see me ‘gain, yes.”


  1. Wow--- so, how bad are these mosquitoes exactly?

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  3. Megan, I probably complain most about the mosquitoes because there isn't really much to complain about here. But they are pretty bad. During the day you may get bit once or twice, but they're not terrible. As soon as it's dusk, though, they come in droves! It's kind of like if you went camping with only shorts and a tank, near a pond, and forgot your bugspray. The first couple nights, we left the door open until we went to bed. Now we know to close the door before dusk. It's been better since then.