Changes in Latitudes

Sometimes I forget that I live on a tiny island in the Caribbean. Occasionally I'll think back to the several long, cold winters I spent in Buffalo, listening to Jimmy Buffett and dreaming of palms swaying in the breeze.

Here I am. Chickens cluck around the backyard and roosters sing their cock-a-doodle-doo's. I do not have air conditioning in the living room so with doors and windows open, the lizards make themselves at home on the ceiling and walls. The power goes out, the water goes out. Thank goodness for propane stoves and flashlights, and on several occasions I've been known to shower with a jug of store-bought water.

You can't get through town without stopping and chatting with someone you know. The food store has a second-hand home refrigerator outside their door in which you can grab lunch meat, bacon or sausages. People smile and say good morning in passing. If you buy a single beer at the liquor store, they ask you if you would like it opened and proceed to put it in a tiny brown paper bag, that way nobody will know what you are drinking while you drive your golf cart through town.

Celebrity sightings are common, but the locals don't give too much bother, I think which is why famous people are attracted to a places like this.  Most anyone can fly under the radar.

Mosquitoes don't bother with me anymore, they'd rather seek out fresh tourist blood, and I don't blame them.

I have a perpetual tan; I'm also on a first name basis with my dermatologist.

The vibrance of the colors never ceases to amaze me; the neon pinks and oranges of the bougainvillea, the soft pastels of the frangipani and hibiscus, the waxy lime green of the scaevola. The ocean ranges from turquoise to azure, cerulean, sapphire and cobalt. The sun glitters on the palms. It's as if everything is radiating beauty.

It is an island. Getting things you need isn't always easy, although I'm pretty amazed with the gourmet cheese selection at Capt'n Bob's food store. It's small, and rustic, and it's not for everyone. People feel trapped. To get to Nassau, "the big city," you take a water taxi, a land taxi and a 50 minute flight. Even so, ask the people in Nassau if they feel like they have everything they need at their fingertips and they'll probably tell you they go to Miami to do their shopping. With the internet and technology these days however, you can place an Amazon order, have it delivered to the shipping company in Florida who freights it to Nassau where they clear customs and duty and put it on the Mailboat, arriving at the town dock. There's no "overnight shipping," but it's not impossible to get what you need.

It's everything I never knew I wanted. It's simple and in a place like this, you truly realize what you can do without. And that in itself, is liberating.