Landscape of Litter

Landscape of Litter

Soiling Paradise

Every once in awhile I get the notion to create a Virgin Islands nature photo series that includes the litter. Curiously, you don’t see this particular point of view among the postcards, calendars, watercolors, and fine prints already for sale. I suppose this project wouldn’t fall under the category of commercial art. It would be more like my own little PSA campaign.

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Visit our pristine tropical paradise!

Because as much as the water—with its multiple hues of turquoise—dominates the island landscape, the garbage is undeniably part of it too. We’re surrounded daily by stunning natural scenes of the sort that most people use as desktop backgrounds, a little in-cubicle motivation toward that one annual week at the beach. And yet, plenty of island residents soil the beauty of their home by littering with absolute abandon.

Thus, the vistas are a mosaic of verdant hills speckled with brightly-painted houses, vibrant flora, and the green and brown shades of beer bottles. The beaches, with their white sand and crystalline water, are bordered with a mix of coconut palms, sea grapes, and washed-up trash. Detritus that resembles the innards of a junkyard piñata, cracked open to release a confetti of partly-broken-down plastics, mixed with more substantial prizes: work boots, for instance, and empty dish soap bottles.

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Our dishes are cleaner than some of our beaches.

Waste Management consists of a series of dumpsters scattered throughout the rock. Extremely limited truck service is offered only in “urban” areas like Cruz Bay and Charlotte Amalie. So one must take their trash to the neighborhood dumpster. Yet this proves too taxing for some, who find it simpler to fling their trash bags into a roadside ditch or an abandoned lot.

This despite several signs encouraging people not to litter, a few that even threaten fines. Which of course makes no difference to those for whom it’s essential that the inside of a moving vehicle be completely free of debris at every moment. Immediately after a water bottle has finished serving its purpose, out the window it must go. Reflecting upon the live-grenade-like haste with which it’s abandoned, one might wonder if, perhaps, an island legend claims that the Snickers wrapper will self-destruct ten seconds after the candy is consumed.

I’ve started using walks with my dog, Hershey, as an occasion to pick up trash in my neighborhood. I don’t do it every day, I’m no saint. But, if the mood is right, and if he voids his bowels in a considerate location, I use the (evil) plastic, doubled grocery bags I carry with us for litter.

It’s mostly Heineken and Vitamalt bottles that I come across, mixed with a smattering of Fanta cans and plastic cups. Sometimes the beer bottles have been hillside long enough to now be considered erosion control. Those are left untouched; I’ll be damned if I’m going to dig them out and cause a landslide.

erosioncontrolblogedit

Oh, the things we could build with beer bottles if only we put our minds to it!

I see my share of picnic forks and Vienna Sausage tins left from the lunches of laborers. When the utility company has been in the neighborhood, in addition to the decimated landscaping left behind, are remnants of job site meals: chicken bones (biodegradable, yes, but gross and my dog remains obsessed until they’ve composted into oblivion), scraps of tin foil, to-go boxes, beverage containers, and more plastic cutlery.

At one house, I finally picked up a large plastic child’s ball bat and a pair of toddler shoes I’d often passed with no motivation to grab. How many times have these people walked from house to car, stepping over their own garbage, without feeling moved to collect it? I mean, if the three minute drive to the dumpster proves too laborious, you’d think they’d at least deposit their rubbish in the abandoned lot down the road.

A few days later, I picked up several old car parts outside the same house that I didn’t have room for when grabbing the kid things. Last weekend when passing, I saw that they had started another auto repair. The parts boxes strewn on both sides of the street were what tipped me off, that combined with the collection of freshly-extracted auto guts lying adjacent to the vehicle.

Do they notice that someone has come along and picked up trash that’s languished outside their home for who knows how long? And if so, what do they think? Are they pleased that someone has finally removed it on their behalf? Are they pissed at the phantom trash collector for not minding their own business? Embarrassed that their own lack of pride and effort has finally moved a stranger to clean up after them? Although I’m curious, I must admit, I really don’t care.

This particular house also has one of the grossest items I’ve encountered. Namely, an overturned plunger head that’s been re-purposed into a water collection vessel with the apparent function of aiding in the reproduction of mosquitoes and, therefore, the dissemination of dengue fever. Other nasty items found in various locales (and all left behind, like I said, I’m no saint) include dirty diapers, one tampon applicator, and of course, the occasional used condom….At least they used protection?

"Maybe if we tuck it behind this rock, no one will notice the used Pamper."

“Just tuck the Pamper behind the rock where no one will see it.”

Recently, I came upon a man washing a decades-old truck that had long ago lost its color to the sun. A truck I might not bother washing at all. I noticed a small pile of beer cans in the grass next to the truck. And then watched the guy travel from truck to pile, depositing another can. I had enough room in my plastic bag to fit the cans, and had every intention of going home with them. But how to go about it? I mean, the perpetrator being right there and all. I considered the possibility that he was, indeed, planning to throw these cans in a proper trash receptacle when done with the truck. I decided, however, not to take my chances.

I wondered if I should say something when entering the man’s personal bubble to pick up his trash. Something non-threatening yet pointed like, “I’m sure you were going to get these, but while I’m at it, why don’t you just let me,” stated with a smile, of course. Or something more confrontational like, “So do you expect someone to pick up after you or is it that you just don’t give a shit?”

In the end, I said nothing. Just nonchalantly crossed to his side of the street, bent over, retrieved the cans, and put them in my half-filled sack. Not breaking pace, removing my headphones, or even so much as glancing in his direction.

Here's a fun find.

Here’s a fun find.

I haven’t stated what is perhaps the obvious yet, but certainly attitudes toward litter are, in part, a cultural thing.

One day Magnum and I were outside a St. Thomas shopping center when a Cheetos bag swept across our path like a millennial tumbleweed. I followed my instinct, which was to race down the trash and deposit it in the closest outdoor garbage bin.

When I returned to his side, Magnum’s glare held a mixture of embarrassment and disgust.

“When we together in public, you never pick up trash. Understand me?”

“Bullshit,” I told him. “I’m not letting this stuff end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You don’t like that ’bout me, then we shouldn’t hang out.”

“But you taking somebody job.”

“Nobody picks up litter, you kidding me?” I sucked my teeth. “Maybe downtown where the tourists go the government pay someone to do it but not out here by the mall.”

“The kids do it in summer.”

“You full a’ shit, man. I never seen anyone picking up litter on the side a’ the street down here.”

“Well, outside dis business, dey pay someone to pick up trash. You takin’ dey job. Plus, you ain’t no dog, Miss. Why you need to go messing wit dah trash?”

Because someone has to give a shit! And it might as well be me.

It’s sort of therapeutic, anyway. And I can’t completely squash the idealistic hope that if people see me picking up litter, they’ll be less likely to create it in the first place. Although, I admit they’re more likely to throw it out with greater glee, knowing that some white girl has taken it upon herself to act like the dog she’s always walking and mess with other people’s trash.

Aerosol Sunscreen aka The Devil’s Mist

Aerosol Sunscreen aka The Devil’s Mist

Hey you. You with the aluminum spray can of sunscreen. Yes, you. Stop right there. Just stop. Please. Can we talk about this?

sunscreen-spray

You’re killing me softly with your prolific use of The Mist. And by you, I definitely mean the collective “you”; I’m starting to worry that I’m edging towards the minority, as more and more people adopt The Can each year. Now is the time to act people – we must join forces to stop the madness. Can’t we all just agree that aerosol sunscreen is the WORST? I hate it more than I hate the sound of people eating bananas, which is to say, a lot.

Believe me, I realize the spray option is super convenient. I venture there’s not a soul in the world who actually enjoys slathering on the thick white shellac that is regular sunscreen. It doesn’t blend well, it leaves you with greasy palms, and it makes you crave diet-destroying piña coladas (No? Just me?) I get that. I hate sunscreen, specifically and in general. I prefer to never have to wear it, but I realize I am lucky, having dark skin and all. I sympathize with those of you with pale porcelain doll skin that burns to a crisp when you visit our islands, dangerously close to the Equator as they are. I know sunscreen is your cross to bear, but might I beseech you – use it if you must, but just say NO to the spray version.

I despise aerosol sunscreen with every fiber of my being and you should too. In my personal quest to send this concoction to the same place the noodle guard lies in rot, I’d like to share with you some compelling facts that may aide you in escaping its abominable seduction.

AEROSOL SUNSCREEN IS SOCIALLY OBNOXIOUS

Every time I see someone pressing down the nozzle and releasing a blast of sunscreen, I feel as though I’m transported into one of those cold medicine commercials depicting a germ-filled sneeze polluting the air in freeze frame. Except in this case, it’s not just snot bacteria mucking up the atmosphere, but suspicious, unpronounceable chemicals that I’d rather not have on my person, let alone ingest. While the goal is to mist your individual body (or that of your child’s – God help him), the actuality is a fogging of a roughly 20ft circumference around you, depending on wind conditions. Your sunscreen particles have now managed to create a film on my sunglasses, find their way into my drink, and yes, they have now entered my breathing orifices. The artificial plastic aroma now perfuming the air is an added olfactory offense. Sunscreen in lotion form is an unobtrusive individual affair. By taking things to the spray level, you have now managed to turn your sunscreen application into a group activity, involving a beach of strangers who had no intention of playing as a team in the first place.

germs_sneeze_webAEROSOL SUNSCREEN IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL BULLY

I’m no Al Gore, but this flagrant mist can’t be doing the environment any favors. Regular old sunscreen does enough damage underwater, bleaching our coral reefs, but the haze of the spray one ups it by spreading its toxic minions above the sea as well. Human, plant, animal – we’re all inhaling Octylacrylamide Copolymer. I have no actual facts here (isn’t my intuitive hypothesis enough?) but I’m sure we’ll all find out in a few years when palm trees start dying of sunscreen-related “treephoma” cancer. Mark my words.

AEROSOL SUNSCREEN IS WILDLY INEFFECTIVE

stupid spray sunscreen

It’s commonly ignored knowledge that spray sunscreen offers comically less protection than its creamy peer. I hate to be the one to break it to you (ok, I don’t actually hate it that much), but you’ve been duped. Remember those clear bra straps that were all the rage 6 summers ago? The ones that looked like women were walking around with Scotch tape holding up their B-cups? Well, in the same way that those did not act as a magical Harry Potter invisibility cloak bra, spray sunscreen is just another sham masquerading as a convenient solution to your greasy palm problem. No matter how much you spray, it’s never going to compare to the thorough application of lotion. Even a gentle breeze steals away 1/3 of your mist before it even hits your skin. I see more than my share of sunburnt tourists and the ones who use aerosol sunscreen are unmistakable. Jagged pink stripes covering their body and airbrush-esque puffs in uneven patterns are the no-fail tell. If you want full coverage protection, don’t get all spray-fancy – just go with the lotion.

AEROSOL SUNSCREEN WILL MAKE YOU EXPLODE INTO FLAMES

If none of the above makes any difference to you, know this – spray sunscreen will potentially cause you to explode into flames. Do you catch me? It is important that you do, so I will repeat myself – YOU COULD EXPLODE. INTO FLAMES. That’s pretty high up there on my list of things I’d like to avoid, how about you?

man on fire

Speaking from direct experience, Brett Sigworth describes the horror: “I went into complete panic mode and screamed,” Sigworth told ABC news. I’ve never experienced pain like that in my life.”

He was having your standard issue BBQ, decided to “protect” himself from the sun with his handy little aerosol sunscreen, and… BOOM. The “vapor trails” that were attached to his body, errant remains from the spray, set the man on fire. Don’t believe me? Read this.

burn victim

Look at those burns. From spray sunscreen. I rest my case.

~

If you insist on continuing your reckless use of the loathsome Devil’s Mist and either a) burst into flames or b) get punched in the face by someone because you lubed up his/her beer, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Aerosol sunscreen user/abuser, I will still love you, the world will still love you, but like a dad in tight, neon short shorts, don’t be surprised if people/me refuse to be seen in public with you. Please – join the fight against aerosol sunscreen. This stuff kills*.

*sometimes/probably hasn’t. Yet.

P.S. I’m having rally buttons made, just FYI, if anyone’s interested.

Privacy Please

Privacy Please

For the last 5 years, I’ve been living in a hotel. My boyfriend, David, manages the resort, which is why we’ve lived on-property in one of the rooms all these years. It’s a very small island resort with only 8 guest rooms, a restaurant/bar, and a marina downstairs. And while it’s a lovely spot and the two-bedroom villa we reside in is quite cozy, it’s not as flashy as it sounds.

SR rooms pic_WWLOR

Most people become visibly envious when they hear I live at a resort. I can see in their widening eyes exactly what they’re picturing – a never-ending, luxurious tropical vacation which is somehow fortuitously my everyday life. This assumption is not entirely untrue (I can get room service whenever I don’t want to cook, which is often), but there are plenty of undesirable quirks to deal with as well that people don’t really realize when they’ve never called a hotel “home”.

My main grievance is the lack of privacy. When we step outside our door, we are in a public space (even worse for David – he is at his work). I’m not a very social person, so this has been particularly challenging for me. Sometimes I just really need some peace and quiet, but when you’re surrounded by drunken vacationers and unsupervised, shrieking children, peace is rare to come by. We try to regard our villa as our small patch of privacy, but the tourists have other ideas.

Much like their stubborn, water-rejecting equine counterparts, you can post a sign for a tourist but you can’t make them obey it. The “Hotel Guests Only” plaques in front of our rooms seem to be interpreted as more of a suggestion rather than a rule. Tourists visiting our restaurant/bar frequently wander into our hotel rooms, usually whenever a door is open while the housekeeper is cleaning. I used to enjoy having my own door open to allow in some breeze while I worked, but after too many instances of intruding tourists on their own self-led tour, I’ve had to forgo the breeze.

This seems to be just another case of the Paradise Induced Mental Relapse I have referenced in earlier posts. Nowhere else in the world have I experienced random people strolling into my hotel room. But here, I’ll be sitting at my desk and in come three couples, cocktails in-hand, flinging open my door and marching into my living room, saying all sing-songy, “Don’t mind us, we just want to see what the rooms look like.” Actually you fools, I DO mind. Even if this was just my hotel room and not my private residence, I still don’t give a shit if you want to see what the rooms look like. Ask to see a VACANT room. This one is occupied.

After the most recent obnoxious invasion of my privacy just yesterday, I figured I’d share a couple of examples of the less-than-charming side of island hotel room living:

EXHIBIT A

I am working on the computer when I hear loud Spanish chattering and the banging of keys trying to be forced into my door’s keyhole. I get up to open the door and am faced with two 30-something Puerto Rican women who do not say, “Oops, excuse us” but rather, immediately become red with anger and shout, “What are you doing in OUR room?!”

I swallow my own rising aggravation and inform them as politely as I can muster that it is 100% impossible that this is their room. I ask which room they were assigned at Registration but instead of replying, the larger of the two ladies attempts to move past me, body-checking me with her over-sized bedazzled beach bag. Now they are storming into my home, telling me it is, in fact, their room (how could I be so stupid?). I have now officially moved past asking and demand to see their room key. Sure enough (I’m not that stupid!), it is for the room named “Bequia” and not my room, which is named “St. Barths”. I coerce them back out the door, point out the name discrepancy between the room placard and their engraved room key, speculate that perhaps this was why their key wasn’t fitting into my door’s lock, and point them in the direction of their (yes, THEIR) guest room. They mutter something in Spanish I am certain is not an apology.

EXHIBIT B

Our bedroom wall is shared with the guest room beside us. There is a group of 6 adults who have weaseled their way into sharing a room whose max occupancy is 4. It is 2 am and they have returned from the bar, sloppy drunk, and are playing loud country music and arguing with each other in slurred Southern drawls. While I am typically a deep sleeper, I am unable to ignore the ruckus and lay fuming in bed, making futile attempts to calm myself with breathing exercises.

Suddenly, the screaming and crying is on our patio and the sliding glass door to our bedroom is flung open. A naked woman is now entering our room, apparently thinking it is her room. This is where I lose it.

I am yelling (because it is the only way to reason with drunk people and it is 2 am), “This is not your room, GET OUT!” The buck-naked woman and her half-naked friend remain on our patio arguing. While this drunk ass woman somehow managed to crawl across the roof from her patio to ours, like a cat up a tree, she cannot get herself back where she belongs. We are forced to walk the nude women through our bedroom, across our living room and kitchen, out our front door, and lead them back to their room.

For some reason, David is not as upset about this as I am.

EXHIBIT C

Just yesterday, I am taking a midday nap on the couch and am awakened by crinkling sounds. I look up to find a woman in my room, rifling through my purse on the kitchen table. Still foggy from sleep, all I can muster is a stunned, “What the HELL are you doing?!”

She is old, leathery, and British. She looks at me, continues to fumble through my belongings, and says, “I’m just looking at the rooms.” I am forced to get up, physically remove her hands from my bag, and lead her out of my home. This bat-shit crazy woman had not only opened my closed door to enter my room, but had closed it behind her, presumably, for privacy. I explain to her that: a) my purse is not a part of “the room”; b) she better not have stolen anything and I’m calling the manager now; and c) if she ever wants to tour the rooms at ANY hotel in the future, she needs to do so with a hotel employee.

~

I have got to start locking my door. Or, you know, move.

Spa Therapy

Spa Therapy

I’m not a big fan of spa treatments.  It’s all a bit too touchy-feely for me.  A decent pedicure is pretty much my limit.  Typically, I will only get a spa treatment if I am on holiday or overwhelmed by guilt.  The main reason being that unnecessary expenses can always be justified with the tag ‘I’m on holiday’ and also because most touristy places have spas on every corner, advertising their life changing treatments and you get sucked in by it all after awhile. Living in a country which is effectively one big tourist resort messes with my head a bit. As for the guilt, I will get to that shortly.

I visit a spa here for one reason and one reason only: the essential bikini wax.  It’s the downside of living by the sea – you need to be bikini ready everyday.  Imagine being a porn star and needing to be sex ready all the time, the mind boggles. Finding someone who would wax properly over here was a struggle and a situation that I have had to compromise on.  There were trial and error attempts with those who wouldn’t take enough off and those who had no sense of symmetry.  Admit it – there is nothing worse or more infuriating than a wonky wax. I finally settled on a woman who, quite valiantly, simply takes the lot off.  Like I said, a compromise situation.

But this is where the guilt comes in. Being a beautician is pretty low on my list of jobs I could tolerate doing, but if that is what you enjoy, I commend you.  However, I always think that waxing must be the job that every beautician hates the most.  I presume they enjoy the rest of it, but they must surely release a deep sigh when they look down their list of appointments and see a wax job in there.  Whenever you go for a wax, beauticians always try to up-sell. They constantly tell you about all the other pointless crap they do which is going to change your life and make you feel rejuvenated and born again.  So there comes a point  when I feel so overwhelmed by guilt that this poor women, month in and month out, waxes my VJ, that I say ‘yes’ and agree to have one of her ‘treatments’.  I’m not even Catholic.  I shouldn’t give in to guilt, but damn it, every time I fall for it…….and every time I regret it, almost instantaneously.

Last week, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to a massage.  It is my opinion that the only person who should massage me is a lover.  I really don’t want anyone else to touch me anymore than is absolutely necessary.  But, like I said, the guilt makes me commit to stupid things. On this occasion, I convinced myself that at the very least, the oil would smell nice and my back did need some moisturiser, so I really had nothing to lose.

From the first minute, I started to wonder how long it would last – when would it end?  I soon realised that I was in for the long haul.  She did each leg, she did each arm, she did my back, she did my feet, she did my hands.  She kept making happy comments and asking me to confirm how great it was.  I was counting seconds, I was counting sheep, I was making lists, anything to take my mind of this horrible experience.  I hate being touched. How had I walked into this situation with open eyes?  Am I really that thick? Why did I agree to this? She’s a beautician, waxing is her job, you don’t need to punish yourself, she chose her career, maybe she even likes waxing? To make matters worse, the oil did not smell good. It was a familiar smell, but one I couldn’t place.  She then poured it in my hair, with the belated question, “Oil in your hair? It’s ok?”.  I’m English, so out of my mouth spilled forth the words, “Sure, it’s ok, it’s great!” while inside, I was screaming for the experience to end and fighting the urge to bolt.  With the oil now running down my forehead, I could finally place the smell.  It smelled like barbecued beef, ergo, I now smelled like barbecued beef. Would this never end?

Finally she stopped and I was free to go.  She was all smiles and totally delighted with herself.  I was struggling to maintain my fake smile.

“I use special Ayurvedic Indian massage oil, you like?”

“I loved it, it was great!” I replied, while inwardly contemplating the fact that as cows are sacred in Hindu culture, whether this was the reason to have a massage oil that was eau de vache?

“Leave it on for 1 hour and then have a cool shower and you will feel great.”

I never discovered if I would feel great. Coated in beef drippings, I drove home as fast as possible and dove into a steaming hot shower and scrubbed and soaped up until the entire experience was a distant memory, to all but my bank balance.

6 months of guilt-free waxing now lie ahead before my next sensational spa treatment. Hot stones or exfoliating scrub?

Islands and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Islands and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

You hear a lot of crazy stories living in the islands. About eight or nine years ago, while living in the Bahamas, I once heard about the local supply store being overrun by a herd of hogs. Supposedly, a local resident had let them loose. After they ran in (right through the front door, of course), customers climbed shelves and sought refuge on counters, allowing the animals to destroy every last can of creamed corn and jalapeño Spam in the place. We’re talking complete and total destruction brought to pass by an enraged herd while customers feared for their lives. I have no idea why the hogs were enraged. It’s just how the story went. When I expressed my slight disbelief in the truth of the story (because I knew of no one in the area who actually raised pigs), I was told that the former pig woman had washed her hands of pork after that unfortunate episode and was now raising pit bulls. Back then, new to island ways, I still had my doubts. But now, after living over a decade on these crazy little rocks, I would not be surprised at all by that story.

All the wild tales that float around really increase your gullibility factor. Not because you’re easy to fool, but when you find out things like your friendly neighbor who often brings over fresh-baked cookies and grouper loaf once tried to poison his entire 20+ man fishing crew with rat poison, you start to believe anything. This was the same guy that showed us the rooster he’d taught to sit on his shoulder and smoke a cigarette (and likely other substances). This story was incredible and mind-blowing. But in fact, I was told that story not because it was incredible or because I was being warned he was a psychopath, it was just a friend simply warning me to perhaps be careful about the grouper loaf offerings. He was still a generally well-accepted member of the community. Because everyone makes a mistake every now and then, right? Hence my capacity for island crazy is pretty high.

A few years back, my Facebook feed blew up one afternoon with local island friends bidding everyone to beware of a tiger, loose on the northside of St Thomas. Some friends were asking if anyone had seen it, while others were letting the general Facebook world know that we shouldn’t expect them to leave their homes until the creature was caught. And after the number that years of island-crazy has done to my head, my first thought wasn’t, “That’s ridiculous.”, it was, “How did a tiger get to St Thomas?” There are no zoos here and tigers certainly aren’t native… I’m not saying I 100% believed there was a tiger on the loose, I’m just saying I didn’t not  believe it. My theory was that someone may have snuck it here as a cub and raised it in one of the more remote areas of the island. It might sound like a wild thing to do, but I know people of that level of insanity and they exist in higher concentrations in the islands (my theory is that the real world population won’t tolerate them, so they all migrate South).

In the end, all the hubbub was shown to arise from a misprinted ad in the local newspaper. Someone was looking for their lost cat. It had stripes like a tiger. Or they called it a tiger cat. I can’t remember. But something along the lines of “lost tiger” was what got printed in the paper (because when you lose your tiger, the best way to have it returned to you is to list it in the Classifieds). That was enough to cause 24 hours of Facebook panic and a follow-up article in the newspaper, all on the tiger worry. Like I said, when you’ve lived here long enough, you’re a lot more likely to believe stuff.

And now I bet you think I’m done talking about tigers, don’t you? Because how much tiger drama can one island girl have? More than that, let me assure you. Just last week, my Facebook feed was again suddenly overrun with tiger madness. Not from St Thomas friends this time, but from my Bahamian friends. Except this time, I wasn’t buying it. There was no way there was a tiger on that tiny island. I learned my tiger lesson once – I wasn’t falling for that one again. Yet this time, people were talking about multiple tiger sightings. That’s how their tiger madness began. Not with a misprinted newspaper ad, but with people actually seeing a tiger wandering around in the bush. Then friends from other Bahamian islands started posting. Then an online news publication, which even went so far as to include a generic picture of an angry tiger (for any online news readers who had no idea what a tiger looks like, I’m assuming). This time, the time I thought I had learned my lesson, there turned out to be an actual tiger on the loose. Sort of.

In the end, it was a Siberian-something or other. It had tiger-ish stripes on parts of its body and leopard-ish spots on others. And it wasn’t as big as a tiger. It seemed to have come off of one of the many yachts that pass by the island and anchor for a while. Some say it swam to shore. Some say the owners brought it to shore to give it some exercise. Either way, we’ll never know. When the owners discovered it was missing, they yachted themselves right out of the area, so as not to get caught. My guess is that they’re now sipping on Cristal and riding their illegal ostrich around the lido deck somewhere in the Turks and Caicos, talking about what a close call that was.

And so my beloved little Bahamian island now has an exotic resident. The police were out stomping around in the bush for awhile trying to locate it, but from what I hear, that didn’t turn up anything. The general public seems to assume it has no desire to rip their face off the same way a tiger might, although I doubt they’ll be running around in the bush at night after heavy rains trying to catch crab for dinner anytime soon. And I don’t feel so bad about believing that there may have actually been a tiger the first time around. Because these stories aren’t crazy. In most cases they’re actually somewhat, if not completely, true. So if you’re going to protect yourself from roaming tigers, rat-poisoned grouper loaf, and enraged hogs, you have to be ready to believe pretty much everything. Otherwise you can expect to pay the unfortunate island consequences.

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