Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bleh in Paradise

So I've been feeling a bit bleh lately. Every once in a while I experience a bit of culture shock.

Michael & I have both been losing weight because we're tired of spending all our money on limited grocery options. We eat the same thing day in and day out, spend over $300US/week on hardly anything (even St. Barths has cheaper groceries), and eat whatever happens to be the most convenient, which is usually not the healthiest. Right now our cabinets are pretty empty. Tuesday, Michael drove around to every store he knew of trying to find bread. That's right. A loaf of bread. He was going to try to start eating some peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch (he normally skips both lunch & breakfast) and couldn't find a single loaf of bread anywhere on the island. Even Mr. Cheerful was a bit put out about it. Yesterday though, he came home waving a bread loaf around like a trophy. I just had to shake my head. I can't even tell you what I'd do for some strawberries...blueberries...some variety! Bleh.

I was hoping to really do some good with the blog, informing myself and everyone else of events going on before they happen. There's actually a lot going on - we just never know about it. I either get Facebook announcements that provide bare-bone information (no contact, no start time, no address, etc.) and when I send a request for more info get ignored. Or I take hours trying to track down a contact for an event only to get no answer; told they'll send me an email and then don't; or find out that the event hasn't exactly been completely planned out - even though it's only 2 days away. I'm offering to disseminate this information for FREE - isn't that incentive enough to fill me in? It's hard to take an interest in a place or the things happening there when the people organizing activities don't even seem to care - either about the event itself or the people who are supposed to attend it. It just makes me wonder if I'm wasting my time. Bleh.

One of Michael's contractors just had his windshield broken by a homeless, crazy lady downtown. She was throwing huge rocks at cars as they passed her, while cops stood by idly nearby. When the victim yelled at the cops to do something (he could have gotten hurt, plus getting a windshield fixed here is expensive, time consuming, and not always done well), they just shrugged and asked him what they were supposed to do about it. Meanwhile, the woman threw another rock and put a huge dent in the door of another car. Still no movement from the cops. ??!! I learned that this inertia started at the top. I was told by someone who built an expensive villa here and had been broken into 5 times in 1 year that when she complained to the Prime Minister of the island all he said was "Well, you weren't hurt were you?" Where does this detachment come from? Bleh.

Last week, a kid almost got his foot taken off in an accident and was rushed to the hospital. There were no drugs to give him for the pain (the pharmacy was closed), the doctor’s couldn’t speak English (most come from Cuba), and no one thought the problem was urgent enough to really take any action. An expat doctor and nurse took over his care (unofficially) until the medivac transport arrived 24 hours later to whisk the child to the U.S., where he underwent 4 operations to not only reattach the foot but to make sure everything still worked (he can wiggle his toes again). It makes me want to be very, very careful...It also makes me glad to know both the expat doctor and nurse...Bleh.

And finally, not that this really had anything to do with me, but I still found myself feeling bleh about it. I just read an article that 400 employees at the Port Authority just got forcibly yet voluntarily pushed out of their jobs. Now on the one hand, I think to myself - there' a first - a government that is downsizing (America take note). On the other hand, on an island with practically no maritime activity, few flights, and only 30,000 citizens they had over 400 employees working in the Port Authority (that's over 1% of the entire population!)? How many are left? How bloated are the other departments? What jobs are these displaced workers now going to do? Bleh.

Maybe I'm just hungry. I mean, no place is perfect. The island is still beautiful and we're still meeting nice people (even if a bit laid back). It makes me think of that Malibu Rum commercial where they show Jamaicans getting stressed out by "traffic" big-city style. We, of course, are happy to be away from the uptightness that we left and certainly don't want to bring that mentality with us, but I wouldn't mind a bit of a happy medium. Michael and I are both still happy with our decision to live here for awhile, but sometimes things just add up to a big bleh. So bleh!