First Thoughts on Island Life.

I’ve had a week “on island”, and I really don’t know what to say about it.  I was deployed to <confidential name of caribbean island>, and this place is baffling me.  It’s gorgeous.  The weather is fantastic.  The food is a delicious mash up that I know little of in its native form.  But………I can’t put my finger on it.  There definitely is a “but”.  I’m going to sound crazy, but I’m having trouble articulating this.  Basically I think there is bad mojo on this island.  There I said it.  Mojo, Juju, Grisgris, whatever you want to call it, there’s some centuries old, weird vibes on this rock.  Bad things do definitely happen here,  I’ve heard more gunfire in the past week than my entire life.  I’ve been in “dangerous” areas before and never had this vague, constant unease.  I’m telling you man, bad mojo.

***

Adam, Nate and I landed a week ago.  The hot caribbean breeze, blazing sun and readily available rum drinks quickly shed the mid winter, NYC peakedness.  When we arrived to our place, it was like we won the lottery.  We have dubbed it 230 Corvette St and/or Woop Woop, as it seems there aren’t really addresses on this island.  And, well…this place is sick.  I can confidently say I never have or ever will again live in a home this amazing.  Perched mid-way up the mountain with green jungle cascading down to the unbelievably blue caribbean, sits Woop Woop.  The balconies to the south look out on the view, and I really can’t imagine a better place to be day or night.  Part of my disconnect with the island surely lies in the fact that for maybe the first time in my travels, I have absolutely no desire to ever leave the house.

Looks amazing right??  Yeah just heard 3 gunshots as I uploaded those photos.  They were farther away from the ones from last night, but fuck; those things are distracting.

***

All unease aside, I have managed to have a handful of really cool experiences here, which makes me think I’ll be fascinated by this place by the time I leave.  The cab driver unexpectedly took me and Adam to a restaurant called T-Restaurant (I think the locals have a slightly different name, but thats what’s on the sign).  Its kind of like a deli (I think there is a dining area, bar and casino in there but I’ve never seen it).   A heartly line up of specialties lines the cooler.  Oxtail stew, mutton, pate and (my favorite) conch in butter sauce.  The options for sides are everything from mac & cheese to maduros.  To top it off they sell Guinness Foreign Extra, which I’ve never had and really has a distinct flavor.

Our second day on island, we got to meet the locals we would be working with.  Somehow it came up that cockfighting is legal down here, and they had a couple birds fighting that Sunday, our day off.  I immediately identified this as bucket list material and Adam did the same, so it was decided; Sunday its cockfights or bust.  After an especially rowdy Saturday night (I blame bad mojo), we rallied and made it.  It was awesome, oddly in the the increasingly drunk, aggressive building I felt most comfortable.  When a couple white boys in Ray Bans and Billabong shorts stepped into the joint we got plenty of stares.  We sat back, asked the right questions, and I soon felt we were an amusing novelty instead of a couples coppers.  I came away from the whole experience with a new respect for chickens (the strategy and showmanship of these cocks is very impressive) and a desire to eat as many jonny cakes as possible while I’m here.  I had no cash, so couldn’t get a plate from the ladies selling fried fish and jonny cakes outside the coliseum, but jonny cakes look awesome (and its fun to say).  I hope to be a connoisseur by the end of this experience.

***

Island life already has had its trials (for me mostly irrational and mojo related).  That said, me and Adam watched the sunrise from the balcony this morning and it was a sort of a reset.  Even though the predawn symphony of jungle bugs and roosters crowing was interrupted by the “pop pop pop” of gunshots, this was one of prettiest views I’ve ever seen as it went from blackness to the palette of dawn.  <confidential name of caribbean island> remains a work in progress one week in.  My goals are more rum and jonny cakes.

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