As time goes we start to feel more “like locals”. Not that we lose our roots, but everything starts to become more comfortable, more routine. Going to town, paying bills, interacting with people was once a little tricky, clumsy, and now it’s becoming more natural. We gradually come to understand a few words of the “English” local people speak, which is a great victory. They claim to speak English but…know what? Not really for foreigners like us. With the exception of the British, American or descendants of these, we did not understand much at first. But I remember it was the same when we first arrived in the Irish countryside.
A lot and nothing has happened since the last time I wrote. NOTHING because life here is not hectic as in big cities. Sometimes I get impressed about the way the island survives. A LOT because it has boats coming and going and, as it happens every year (thank God), Felipe and I had birthdays. Then let’s talk about it.
Some (more) facts about Antigua:
1. The people here are slow. Wait, I’m not saying that they are lazy; it’s just that the weather is very hot and you see people walking around and doing things in slow motion to avoid sweat, tiredness or even dehydration. I’m that kind of quick person for everything, so it took me a while to capture the rhythm of life here. Now if I do not want to get completely sweaty, I follow the compass of Antiguan people.
2. Never saw a motorcycle here. Yes, there are lots of cars (again probably because of the climate); one can not really walk to everywhere. On the other hand there are quads everywhere.
3. There’s just one big supermarket (like almost all of them in Fortaleza, or like a Tesco in Ireland). Its name is Epicurean and it comes close to being a tourist attraction. I will not lie: I love going there because of the air conditioning.
4. The airport here was built by a Brazilian company. Google it because I will not advertise it here. Oh, the airport is another cool place with air conditioning to escape the heat of the Caribbean (as you can see that’s all I think about, right?!).
5. Here there are no snakes. That’s what they say. Like in Ireland. St. Patrick might have come by and expelled them.
6. Carnival here is in August. Do not ask me why. I don’t even like Carnival.
I think so far our biggest adventure was that I will tell now. We came back from English Harbour one night when we saw a car stopping for something crossing the road. They were dog puppies. I almost cried at the scene and wanted to put them in the car right away, but as I am not the owner of the house we live in, I had to first consult her (Shayne) before doing so. Everything ok – she’s associated with one of those groups that rescue dogs and cats. We went back there to pick up the animals, did not even know how many they were. We found two at the roadside, trying to find shelter near a sewer pipe. Wow, I felt so sorry for them! We took both of them home, a female and a male, baptized by Shayne: Soot and Bellie. They got vaccinated and we spread posters around the town to see if someone could adopt them. Yesterday Soot went to a new home; Bellie is still here with us. I say it was a great adventure because dogs, you know, they’re never a decorative piece in a house – they bring joy and sadness, love and hate. It’s lovely to play with them, take pictures and videos. However it’s so sad waking up with the whole house covered with shit and destroyed shoes and other items. But finally, there’s love. We got to love them so much and, despite of missing Soot, we continue our mission of finding a new home for Bellie (we can export her, ok?! Text me if you want to adopt this little bugger!).
Then came the long-awaited Boat Show. Boats and yachts from around the world landed in the three docks around here. It was very interesting to see people from all over, cheerful drunks, good people with interesting stories. It’s a promise: I’ll write a book about the life of these people that we get know during our wanderings. Like the guy who’s travelling alone for 12 years in a boat around the world, or the guy who retired due to disability and instead of staying at home watching TV was travelling around, or the tennis player who comes here every season to play in a band…and so on. Arguably the best of the places are not the places themselves, but the people who make the place. I forgot to explain: during the Boat Show the boats are open so that the charters can see inside, then advertise, catalogue etc.
Then we had our birthdays – first Felipe, then me. Oh man, birthday away from home, away from the loved ones… is never the same. But we do what we can: try to be especially close to each other and do what gives us pleasure (eating crap, exploring the island) and we finish the day with singing happy birthday and eating cake. At least we have Shayne to accompany us.
There’s Christmas coming and no sign of public departments or squares being decorated for the occasion. The most we saw was this Christmas tree at the airport. Yay.
Only last week forth the people began to decorate the houses, and when I say decorate it means DECORATE. Let’s get amazed together:
For now that’s all. It’s nearly two months in few paragraphs. We’re the same crazy, united and happy people as always. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4: 12-13)