I’m unemployed dudes and dudettes!
It hasn’t really changed my life in many ways, I mean I don’t have an income -I think I’ve just about sold all of my college books. Hopefully one of these days I’ll write a blog that makes me money, in the meanwhile the beach is my new home to brew ideas and catch up on reading.
Embarrassingly, after returning from my internship in Fort Collins, Colorado this summer and having to brag to everyone I met about how awesome the beach was I had no choice but to visit the beach daily for about two weeks. I see your judgmental looks, but let’s face it, that’s why the tourists love our islands don’t they? Nothing’s more amazing than basking in the Caribbean’s waters on island time in a monokini or swim trunks.
Choosing the right beach
Luckily for me I live between two beaches just before Red Hook on St Thomas. On most days I’d just visit Sapphire Beach- being unemployed doesn’t leave you with many options. Yeas I’m broke and as simple as it may sound, I wasn’t driving all the way to Charlotte Amalie to take a dip, nor was I paying to park nor visit Lindquist Beach during work hours- in this case Sapphire Beach would have to do.
I easily developed a new routine. I’d pack up Mali- my 2004 Chevy Malibu- and head to the beach at around 2 until dusk. Anxious to practice the techniques I learnt in swimming class last semester, I felt like a kid in the candy store. I got to the beach, took a look around and the sharp observations wiped the excitement off my face.
There’s an invader…
In a mindless sort of way, I felt like a stranger on the beach. I’m sure people weren’t staring but seriously why does the beach smell like sun screen? When I get to the beach I usually take a deep breath and fill my lungs with some good island sea breeze, you know the kind right? The one that can cure the flu, clear up your nasal passage and really just wash all of your worries.
Here’s the 4-1-1
- I was the only black local/ native/ islander on the beach. It could really just mean that everyone else on the island was employed and to be fair it was during working hours, on a weekday, on a beach that was home to hotel rooms, and beach front properties including condos and villas.
- It was as though I broke the beach code. I wasn’t getting a suntan while spread out on a beach chair. Journeying to the beach with an old sheet- as was customary when I visited the beach as a child- just wasn’t the in thing.
- No one ate the local sea grapes. After spending my summer on the continental U.S., I was happy to bite into a succulent sea grape, but to my surprise, they were ripening, falling to the ground and rotting. Say What? I’d paid as much as 2USD a bag for these grapes in St Kitts. Picking and selling sea grapes is a past time for the young and the old in St. Kitts, how could they be rotting? I’m baffled.
Sun, Sea and Sand
I wish to be misinterpreted in no way. I love it that tourists come and enjoy our beaches. It is refreshing to read the beach reviews and rankings of best beaches in the region year after year solely because they are all relaxing.
Somewhere along the line advertising the Caribbean as sun, sea and sand translated into the notion that all the Caribbean has to offer is beaches. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I get it. When you come from the Western World where you are psychologically conditioned into thinking that there is nothing greater than the great U.S. or U.K. I can understand why these thoughts surface.
Caribbean Beach Traditions
- Filling up the back of a pick-up truck with all of the neighbourhood’s children and journeying to the beach.
- Wearing a large t-shirt, short tights
- Preparing pot luck meals
- Dunking your friend into the sea-especially if she didn’t want to get her hair wet.
- Bringing along with you an old sheet, or towel to sit on sand with.
- Taking a large gallon or liter bottle to wash the sand from your feet so that your vehicle doesn’t get dirty
- Packing just enough food and more to share with a stranger you meet on the beach
There’s nothing more fabulous than the beaches on St. Thomas-sun tan and all. It is just so uncommon to visit these beaches and not see the typical beach traditions; it seems like it comes a time where you can’t live in the best of both worlds. I want tourists to come but I still don’t want to feel like an outsider.
Larga vida a las playas en San Thomas y el caribe!