Monday, July 14, 2008

Reflections on my first week in the Caribbean

Note: This was written last Wednesday, but because our rental doesn't have Internet access it's not getting posted until today. Sorry. One of the things we're looking for in a long-term rental is access to Broadband. That'll make all the difference. And cell phone coverage. The lack of bars on our corner of the island is driving Millie in particular crazy. Anyway, on with Tori's post.

We made it.

All the planning and packing and stressing and wondering and doubting and assessing of my mental state has paid off. Here I am on St Croix USVI, sitting on the upper balcony of a beautiful house feeling the cool – but not too cool – tradewinds blowing over my sun-drenched skin, listening to the waves of the Caribbean dash themselves against the rocks below in thunderous, lulling crashes and the only thing I can think to say to my friends is... nyah-nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah!

To say it is beautiful here would be an injustice of vocabulary. It is stunning. So many different hues of blue in the sea and sky, and the landscape mixed with vibrant orange trees, hibiscus blooms, mahogany trees, pelicans, lizards, tiny skittering shelled creatures, black bees the size of a lime, and the stars! My god! How the stars shine and even fall across the sky nightly; my personal wishing well from the heavens. I could go on and on like a tourist’s manual about the beauty and mystery that is the Virgin Islands and no doubt I probably will. But I’d rather talk about other things - like the old drunk Crucian that sang a reggae love song to me in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.

Seriously. There I was in the cereal aisle trying to figure out if I should pay 6.99 a box for “Honey Bunches of Oats,” which everybody in the family would eat, or 2.99 for a box of “Zucharitas!” which roughly translates to “”Frosted Flakes,” which only Max would eat. I am swaying a little to the reggae beat playing over the loud-speakers, trying to make up my mind, when a small, old, shriveled and probably very drunk toothless man spotted me dancing in the aisle. His eyes lit up when he saw me and he started to sing with a soft, clear voice to a made-up reggae beat:

“Hey mama!
You look so beau-ti-ful,
Dancin’ in de supermarket!
I like your body,
When it dances,
You are so lov-e-ly!”

He then blessed me many, many times and then blessed my family, and then blessed the island, and then blessed the rum, and blessed my beautiful body one more time. He told me his name was Tomas, and told me to” keep dancin’ in the supermarket, mon.”

Now, I know that a drunken old native singing to me about dancin’ in the supermarket isn’t necessarily a fantastic tale. But something about the experience will stay with me for a long time. Maybe it was the many blessings. Maybe it was because he saw me as truly beautiful, or perhaps Tomas’ song feels so precious and fitting because all the other times in my life when I have danced in the supermarket either alone or with my husband Ol’ Chumbucket, people looked at us as if we were crazy. Here, on St Croix, people sing our praises, and bless us for our whacky, unconventional displays of love and happiness.

So the landscape is absolutely beautiful. And the people... well, they are crazy. As crazy as we are. Bless them all.
By Tori "Mad Sally" Baur


Robert Cockroach Blair said...

Me Dearie....
Your words pale that scallwag of husband ya got thar, lass....have ya never thought of writing as a path? LOL

My eyes swell as your words describe the beauty of your new home...and by beauty, I also mean that wonderful "local color" you met in the store....magnificent...absolutely, magnificent...
My adoring heart be envious and so grateful that your adventure is a reality. Carpe Diem.....Carpe Diem...One lesson of my sobriety that I can suggest to in the is so much part of a HP's wishes for us.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

And, THAT lovie makes all the difference in the world........


Jennifer said...

Fantastic! It warms the heart. That's one of the things I loved about the Virgin's too. People are so warm and accepting of you. So positive and open. You just have to welcome it and it'll come to you :o)