Have you ever been accused of “looking like a tourist” while living on your island? I’ve decided there are worse things…

Having just come back to my rock, SXM (St. Maarten), from a superb vacation to St. Lucia, I came across the picture below of me and my bestie Leigh at Jade Mountain. We were celebrating my love’s b-day, though he’s not in the photo because my Dave does not like to be plastered all over the internet. This picture made me think, which is difficult at the best of times especially when it is HOT, HUMID, and LAZY weather. It got me thinking of how I love wide and airy Batik pants, breezy shirts, and long dresses that don’t require you to have anything on underneath them. And I prefer cotton since synthetic clothes irritate my oh-so-sensitive skin.

 

Looking like “tourists” but ohhhh are we airy and breezy!

 

The problem is, whenever I walk around dressed like this on St. Maarten during these hot, humid, and lazy summer days, I will inevitably receive at least one, but likely many, comments from people I know which go something like this: “Ankie! You look like a tourist!”

Well, guess what my friend – yes, you in the tight jeans with closed shoes and the synthetic shirt that must itch like the clappers… perhaps I do, but boy am I airy and breezy! I find it so funny to see my fellow islanders bending over backwards to dress “normal” (whatever that is these days) so as not to look like a “tourist” (as though that’s such an unfavorable thing to be in the world).

SIDE NOTE: I must give credit where credit is due: if you work at the airport, bank, insurance agency, or the supermarket, I understand that you NEED to dress in pants and a sweater not only due to job requirements but also because these places are beyond cold! At Nagico, the workers even get fleece vests to wear in the office. (Something I can’t figure out is why no one has ever thought about simply turning the temperature down on the air conditioner…)

Beyond the outfit, if I have the audacity to also don my absolutely gorgeous, handmade, Equadorian El Galpon hat, well then I really can expect the comments flying around. The hat breathes, keeps the rays off my face, and looks amazing without having to walk around carrying a black umbrella to ward off the sun like everyone else. And, most importantly, I love it!

I am so grateful to have aged past the time when I gave a shit about what people think of me. As a result, I’m now free to walk around with my very colorful, flamboyant clothes and wear my El Galpon and feel airy, breezy, and simply wonderful. I’ve been an island girl now for over 10 years and don’t feel like a tourist at all. Besides – they really do seem to have it figured out when it comes to cozy tropical attire.

If it makes you, who are hot, bothered, and sweatin’ under your black umbrella feel better to throw comments at me that I “look like a tourist” like it’s some sort of criticism, then please continue to do so while I float on my merry way all airy, breezy, and enjoying being colorful!

 

El Galpn

The El Galpon, which I wear to work but also off-duty

 

Ankie Nieuwenhoven

Current Rock of Residence:

St. Maarten

Island Girl Since:

2009

Originally Hails From:

All over - Air Force brat

Honky or Donkey – whichever you prefer – is how you pronounce Ankie, a Dutch nickname chosen for her since her real name is sooo long. Annemarijkethat was far too difficult to pronounce at roll call on the American Air Force base, Ramstein, in Germany where she grew up. Being an Air Force brat, she was used to moving around. She called Amsterdam home for a long time and operated a bar there (which is where she left a lot of her brain cells). Then, she moved to the north of the Netherlands for awhile to operate a small hotel/restaurant. But her move to Sint Maarten, D.W.I. has been something else entirely. Ankie came to SXM to manage a well-known French restaurant for a couple of months in 2007 and moved into Ocean’s on Great Bay Beach….well, the landlord is now her partner and she moved from the 4th floor to the PH. Not bad, eh? But before Ankie and Dave were able to continue their life together, they both had to turn the world upside down (another story for another time). Let’s just say Dave did end up being her “knight in shining armor”. Not on a horse, but in a beat up Nissan Murano… still, it’s the thought that counts, right? So beginning in 2009, Ankie could officially call herself an island girl – just a very green, naive, unknowing, and gullible one. There is nothing that can prepare you for life in the Caribbean… Now, after 7 years, Ankie is a true island girl and loving every minute of it! Swimming is her Zen, cooking her hobby, and her Dave is her sexy rock on the rock. All brown pelicans are called Gerald and anything below 85 degrees is cold. She is known as The Dutch Girl, Queen of Ocean’s, or Duchess when she rides her Dutch-made bicycle along the boardwalk at terrifying speeds. Managing their Ocean’s condos, working as location manager for Flavors of St. Martin Food tours and senior epicurean guide keeps her in tune with her ROCK.

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