Monday, September 28, 2009

Hmmph! The holiday is over and I'm back. An eight hour flight and a four hour car drive. There was no milk in the fridge so I couldn't have a cuppa, no food, (not that we need to eat again for a week), and I was ready to collapse into bed, unfortunately it was only 2.30pm so it might have been a tad early.

We swam in the Carribean Ocean everyday, went sailing most afternoons in a catamaran, snorkelling and got stung by a shoal of jelly fish, (not on my list of repeat activities), and drank champagne as we watched the sunset each evening.

We dined in fine restaurants enjoying the native Carribian cuisine, French haute cuisine and Japanese Tempanyaki, all whilst overlooking the beautiful bay and the surrounding countryside.

I am an early riser and so even when in paradise I like to rise and watch the dawn break, what a dawn, glowing and shimmering over the Piton mountains the sun would creep into the sky to herald the start of another beautiful day. I would sit on the wall by the sea just a few yards from our veranda with my early morning cup of tea and marvel at the spectacle. As I sat there the resort staff would amble by to start their day and each would give me a wave and a cheery good morning. Every morning I would reply to each of them and wish them a good day.

When the sun rose to it's full strength throughout the middle of the day his Lordship and I would retire to our blossom trimmed veranda to read and watch the lizards as they darted about on the look out for a tasty morsel of two, they would join us occasionally basking in the heat of the day on our walls watching as we sat reading.

Humming birds would beat the still air to a frenzy as they came to drink from the flowers and we would marvel at their beautiful jewelled colours. Later in the evening cane toads would appear on the lawn and croon to their mates as the bats whirled and swooped out over the sea catching insects on the wing.

Paradise indeed.

However I am always mindful that my experience of this 'paradise' is not always reality. Those same people who greeted me every morning with a cheery hello, who cleaned our rooms, who served our meals and our drinks, who made every effort to ensure that our holiday was outstanding live there year round. My paradise does not involve living in a 'shanty town', without sanitation or running water or electricity or working long hours on banana plantations for a few dollars a week. Does that put me off visiting again? No, because without the tourist industry there would be even fewer jobs, less wages, and fewer opportunities for those people living there to fulfil their ambitions. I met several of the resort staff who have taken opportunities to gain qualifications in various areas and they have used them to their benefit. I was pleased to note that the majority of the management staff were native islanders.

Some people may say that the tourism industry erodes the natural way of life and the customs and culture of the area, maybe they are right and that is a tragedy. Some also say that without tourism and outside influence those living in these places would not aspire to the trappings of that lifestyle. I honestly do not know the answers but I will ask the questions. And some unfortunately, like so many of the visitors I met during our holiday do not give any of it a second thought, they are oblivious, immune, or uninterested in the lives and fortunes of their gracious hosts.

10 at confession:

Kim said...

I am glad you are back! Beautiful way to end every day - watching the sunset with a glass of champagne :)

Charlie said...

I have never been to paradise, but you did a great job of describing it.

Unfortunately, tourism is the major "product" of some of these countries, like Jamaica. The ones that have no tourism—like Haiti—are real hellholes.

I'm glad that you two lovebirds had a restful time.

Meg said...

Sounds lovely. Oh, how I love the Caribbean.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I'm so glad that you're back! I've never been to the Caribbean but I hope I get a chance to see it before I die.

Beautiful pictures. I would love watching lizards and hearing frogs croak...swim in a warm ocean....And, the food, it all sounds good to me!


Pete said...

welcome back

Stinkypaw said...

That last picture is superbe! Happy to read you had a great time being royal; good for you! Glad to see you back!

Wandering Coyote said...

Nice post and it sounds like you were in a really idyllic spot.

I often think of the "locals" when I am in a tourist spot, because I live in a resort town and we get lots of seasonal tourists here. Sometimes I am painfully aware of being a "local" at home, as someone acts like a jerk in a restaurant or gives the clerk at the grocery store a hard time. When I go away, I often wonder if the locals see me the same way...

Here, too, we have that delicate balance between wanting the industry & economy, but wanting to conserve and preserve. It's nowhere near the situation you describe in the Caribbean, but I understand the issues.

tNb said...

Welcome back! What a beautiful and thoughtful description. For me, travel wouldn't be the same without trying to gain an understanding of my surroundings and the local people. I've stopped feeling guilty about being a tourist, instead I try very hard to seek out life beyond resortville and make a contribution, however small and not necessarily financial, to the local community. Thanks for giving us food for thought after what sounds like a wonderful break.

St Jude said...

Kim - champagne and sunset, there's a cocktail.

Charlie - You are right.

Meg - there is no place quite like it.

GEM - You'll get there one day hun.

Pete - Thanks.

Stinkypaw - Thank you.

Wandering Coyote - I've lived in a tourist area too and it does make you very aware of how you come across when visiting other places.

tNb - You are right there is life beyond the resorts and so worth seeing.

DUTA said...

Lovely pictures .
Now that you've 'recharged your batteries', you can go on with your life feeling much better.

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