Caribbean Car Culture (*IN PHOTOS*)

Written by: Chrissann

 

One of the things I love most about Caribbean culture is that everything is loud – in every sense of the word. Audibly, people sing aloud to themselves and no one in particular; laughter is no giggling matter but rather, meant for the room to revel in; casual conversations can often sound like a spirited yelling match; unsolicited opinions on typically sensitive matters such as weight and levels of sexual attraction are never withheld. Visually, houses are painted in all the shades of the rainbow – pink with green trim, purple with red doors, yellow on yellow, anything goes; women color coordinate every last detail of their bright-hued ensembles from their nails, to their eyeshadow, to their jewelry; the local bakery’s cakes look like they’re made with Willy Wonka’s recipes – and dye kit.

painted taxi ready for its TV appearance

painted taxi ready for its TV appearance

In the US, for the most part, I feel like everyone is always trying to fit in. Originality of character is usually articulated with much more subtlety – a maroon door on an otherwise beige house is considered a “fanciful pop of color”; yelling aloud in excitement tends to be saved for sporting matches; people are partial to classic gray suits and little black dresses; wild colors and patterns in fashion are generally the mark of the eccentric.

I appreciate the sensory noise of the Caribbean. I like that people aren’t afraid to stand-out and show the world what they believe makes them unique. The general attitude is one of, This is who I am. Take it or leave it. It’s a confidence you don’t find everywhere – one that borders on arrogance but is too fun – funny even – to truly be received as such.

Among the many cultural expressions of individuality that has always caught my eye during my time in both the US and British Virgin Islands are the decals that people adorn their vehicles with. I don’t have my own car, though I often think I’d be downright embarrassed to be caught driving around with some of the stickers I’ve seen. But we’re in the Caribbean – loud and proud is where it’s at and it’s me who needs to perhaps buck up and snatch some of that abundant boldness for myself.

From what I’ve seen, the stickers of choice tend to fall into five categories: the religious, the sexual, the self-aggrandizing, the aggressive, and the difficult to decode. Here are some snapshots of Caribbean car culture on my rock, Virgin Gorda…

 

The Religious

"Truly Blessed"; "In God We Trust"; "Extremely Blessed"; "God's Angel"; (Jesus pic)

“Truly Blessed”; “In God We Trust”; “Extremely Blessed”; “God’s Angel”; (Jesus pic)

The Sexual

(Sexy woman); "Spanky Spanky"; "Take it to the HEAD"

(Sexy woman); “Spanky Spanky”; “Take it to the HEAD”

The Self-Aggrandizing

"Miss Gorgeous"; "Empress"; "Miss Ting"

“Miss Gorgeous”; “Empress”; “Miss Ting”

"Act like a lady...Think like a Boss!!!"; "High Grade"; "Superman - Against All Odds"

“Act like a lady…Think like a Boss!!!”; “High Grade”; “Superman – Against All Odds”

"Sweet Thing Swagga Chick"; "Queen Mafia"; "Empress Alicia"

“Sweet Thing Swagga Chick”; “Queen Mafia”; “Empress Alicia”

The Aggressive

"Caught Ya Lookin - Haters"; "Bye Haters"

“Caught Ya Lookin – Haters”; “Bye Haterz”

The Difficult to Decode

"Progressive Time!"; "All Wheel Drive"; "Talk Ah Yours"; "Scorpion"

“Progressive Time!”; “All Wheel Drive”; “Talk Ah Yours”; “Scorpion”

"Black Diamond"; "MAN"; "The Pup"; "Casper"

“Black Diamond”; “MAN”; “The Pup”; “Casper”

"Pimp My Ride"; "Steady Mobbin"; "High Definition"; "So Icey"

“Pimp My Ride”; “Steady Mobbin”; “High Definition”; “So Icey”

–  –  –

Has anyone else noticed this type of vehicular personalization on any other Caribbean island? Or is this just a Virgin Islands treasure?

If you have unique car decal pictures from your island, share them with us on our Facebook page – we’d love to see!

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Chrissann Nickel

About Chrissann Nickel

Chrissann’s home rock in the British Virgin Islands, against all logic, feels bigger to her than it actually is. Though after spending five years on a teensy one acre island, the current 13-mile long rock she’s residing on now IS ginormous, at least by comparison. As with everything in the Caribbean, it’s all about perspective.

Once upon a time she used to care about things like matching her purse to her pumps, but these days, she’s a card-carrying member of the Barefoot Nation. She is utterly enchanted with vinyasa yoga, especially when practiced on somewhat precarious, deliciously Instagram-able surfaces (she's @WomanOnARock) such as paddleboards, boats, cliffs, or even the occasional willing friend’s body. She vehemently believes that toucans are the best animals ever (period.) and there is no convincing her otherwise (though imperious roadside goats come in as a close second).

As the Editor in Chief of this site, she spends a lot of her time working from home all by her lonesome writing, editing, and cultivating content designed to make her fellow islanders laugh. Besides her writerly pursuits, she moonlights as a yoga instructor, and attributes at least a smidge of her insanity to the amount of time she spends talking to drunk people. If you’re somehow still reading this and feel inclined to find out more about this “Chrissann” of which we speak, you can also take a gander at her eponymous personal website, www.chrissannnickel.com

CURRENT ROCK OF RESIDENCE: Virgin Gorda, BVI

ISLAND GIRL SINCE: 2006

ORIGINALLY HAILS FROM: California

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12 thoughts on “Caribbean Car Culture (*IN PHOTOS*)

  1. There’s some of this in Fiji too, though it’s mostly of the religious variety. Not sure that I would willingly get into the Spanky Spanky love machine….

  2. My favorite (on STT): Crime Lord, in big white letters on the windshield.

    Also love the Captain Obvious category: FORD on a Ford, RED on a red Jeep. There is also the white Bronco with hand painted lettering: OJ. Too much. 🙂

  3. My ultimate favorite is from years back but it provided hours of endless entertainment when we passed it on the road…”Dutty Panty” will always bring back the memories.

  4. There’s the bold silver italicized banner on the front windshield that mysteriously proclaims “Yo man in here!”. Now, my first thought was it’s a woman bragging about her hookups with other’s husbands in her hot car. Seriously? But then it occurred to me it could be a guy, advertising his availability… But then, how would whatever gf he is able to procure, feel about that STAYING on his car, and it’s been around a long time! Go figure (and if you figure it out, please let me know!)

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