What do you do there?
Sometimes it’s asked in a curious tone by those who genuinely want to know whether we are working here or how we entertain ourselves. Do we dive? Do we golf? Do we sit around drinking with pirates? (I do, he does and not yet.)
Sometimes it’s “What do you DO there?” as in how can you possibly fill your day on a small island of 50,000 people when you aren’t working?
I could say that we’re retired, so we do whatever we want. I could reply that I do the same thing I did in Canada, but without being cold or battling snow and ice. Neither is strictly true.
Let me first of all say that I never have problems filling my day, no matter where I am. True, I’ve never had to live in a small jail cell with no access to books or internet, but if I did I could do yoga and meditate. I would write stories in my head. I can be as sociable as anyone, judging from my latest off-island trips, but alone time is what keeps me sane. I read, write, swim, work out, and I do yoga. I don’t have enough time in a day to do everything I want.
My perfect day would start with a swim or yoga, followed by breakfast and coffee on the deck. I could easily stop there.I could sit on the deck for hours, watching the boats coming and going. We can see the cruise ships heading to George Town and check the port authority schedule to find out their names, where they’ve been and where they are going next. We see dive boats scattered across our horizon. Sometimes I’ll stay outside and write. There is something inspiring about the water, whether it’s calm and still or crashing onto the ironshore. The colours change with the light during the course of the day, making for fabulous photo opportunities. I wish I could paint it.
I could spend most of a day sitting on the deck on iguana watch, chasing them away when they get to the pool area.
If the internet is working well, I might take advantage and catch up on news, especially to do with football(soccer), tennis and speed skating, and any TV shows I’ve missed. If we have errands to run or if it’s a market day, I find it best to head out in the morning. If there is a game or sporting event that we want to see on TV, it’s usually in the afternoon.
During the course of running errands we’ll often go out somewhere for lunch, stop and check the mail at the post office on the way home, and pick up anything we need at the grocery store. We still have video stores here, so we’ll sometimes rent a movie.
We can even go to a movie at the theatre in Camana Bay if we want to catch a new release. We have to be quick, though. Movies don’t stay at the theatre for long here, unless they are animated or action movies. That’s just a reflection of the island demographics.
If I’m really lucky, I’ll have time to do yoga or a workout in the afternoon, followed by a swim if I didn’t go in the morning. There is always something to do around our home, as in any home. We have laundry, bathrooms to clean, floors to vacuum and meals to prepare. We don’t eat out as often as we did as visitors. We love to find local produce and prepare our own meals.
We try to keep up with what’s happening on the island. We go to the parades during Pirate Week and Batabano, we take part in A Taste of Cayman, we try to see the new exhibits at the National Museum and the National Gallery, and we attend the plays performed by the Cayman Drama Society. The island is full of talented people. We already have our tickets for the first international film festival to be held in June.
The island is also full of fun things to do, especially in the water. I love to dive, and we’ve tried kayaking, paddle boarding, and my husband’s favourite, snorkeling. If it’s calm behind our place, we’ll go for a snorkel. If we have our hearts set on going out, and it’s too rough at our place, we’ll find another spot nearby or make a day trip to the north side. Sometimes we’ll go for a walk on the beach.
What we do also depends on the seasons. Yes, we have seasons! Flexibility is key! There are days, like today, where the sun doesn’t come out for hours. We watch the sheets of rain until gradually we begin to see some definition in the horizon. Instead of the vivid tones of green, turquoise and navy, we see variations of grey and white giving way to dull green and charcoal seas and pale grey sky. Those days are almost as fascinating to a prairie girl as they are depressing. Today, we woke up in semi-darkness, surprised to find it was already after 9 AM! The rain was pouring, not in drops but in a steady wash. My first thought was “I guess I won’t be swimming this morning.” I then spared a moment to sympathize with the cruise ship passengers. If this rain continues, I have some sewing projects I could get started on. Flexibility!
Every day at sunset(well, except maybe for days like today!) we go outside and enjoy the glorious pink and red sky. Sometimes it just gets dark and the clouds cover the sunset completely. The sunset moves throughout the year, from over the water to behind the trees, but it’s always around supper time. After a lifetime in Canada, where the length of a day varies by several hours between seasons, this is still a novelty to me. In the evening we can look at the stars or enjoy an unexpected display of fireworks.
A lot of our time is spent just getting things to work, or finding things we need, like the right light bulb or the right replacement part for an appliance. Sometimes we have to be patient with the pace of life here, whether it’s getting a credit card or getting the internet to connect. At those times, it’s best to turn off the computer, get something to drink and go out on the deck to watch the birds and the boats. Oh, and once we get to know them better, maybe we will spend more time with the pirates!
And what do you do where you are?