When you retire in a place such as Grand Cayman, the way you approach each day differs from when you’re on vacation. After we bought our condo and started to visit more often, I started to notice the subtle transition from vacation mode to living mode. We now seem to be approaching full-blown retirement mode.
When you’re on vacation, you want to do as much as you can each day; dive or snorkel almost every day, try out all the restaurants, fit in a couple of beach days. Now that we live here, we spend more time at home on our own deck, watching the world go by. I swim in our pool, snorkel in our backyard, and think about diving some day soon. I’m more likely to dive when my husband is away. We go to movies at the theatre. We go for groceries and cook meals at home. We shop for household necessities. We rent dvds from the local video store, something we’d been sorely missing in Calgary.
We are trying more and more to absorb local culture. We are more likely to check out the Island Living show than go to Stingray City. We try to get to the Wednesday market before all the good produce is gone, rather than trying to get to Sunshine Grill before all the outdoor tables are gone. We go to the National Museum on the first Saturday of the month because it’s free for residents. Part of local culture we were more likely to take part in as tourists, is the Sunday Beach Day.
Traditionally, stores and businesses are closed on Sundays. Caymanians spend the day at the beach. It’s their tradition. As more and more tourists come for longer stays, and with many flights arriving on Sundays, that tradition is being challenged. To those in the know, there are places to shop for liquor on Sundays, and our local video store just happens to have limited Sunday hours. Someone needs to work at the car rental outlets on Sundays. If Caymanians aren’t willing to work Sundays, it limits their job opportunities in the tourism industry.
I have mixed feelings about the potential changes to Sunday shopping hours. I grew up in a small town and lived part of my life in the former Temperance colony now known as Saskatoon. Sunday shopping is something I saw introduced as an adult, but that I now take for granted. How much more convenient it is to be able to run out for a bottle of wine or for some forgotten grocery item on a Sunday, than to try and plan ahead on Saturday?
A part of me likes the idea that Sunday comes and this is it. If we don’t have anything to cook we go out to dinner. If we feel like a drink, and on the rare occasion that our wine rack is empty, we can go enjoy a drink on a seaside deck at one of our favourite restaurants. I like the idea that Sunday is not for running errands, it’s for relaxing. I think it’s a reminder to me of what it was like to vacation here, and why we decided to live here.
I like that if someone flies in or out on Sunday, the trip to the airport is quick and free of traffic congestion. (I talk about the traffic here but my big city friends laugh at me. I know it’s not Los Angeles, but the limited number of roads make the traffic unreasonable for a place this size.)
Don’t get me wrong. Some Sundays I spend cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry or baking. This past Sunday I did none of those. I did’t go to the beach, but I had a lazy Sunday. I enjoyed a morning swim. I sat on our deck at home, reading and using the internet to keep in touch with friends in Canada. We Skyped with our son. I kept a watch for iguanas.
I will admit that I wasn’t as lazy as I would have liked. The iguanas were very active and I had to make several trips down to the pool to chase them away. That was probably healthier for me than sitting around all day, but it was pretty time consuming.
The funny thing about my lazy Sunday is how quickly it went. I thought of suggesting a trip to Eden Rock to snorkel, but the day was already half gone. It was a restful and stress free day.
So now that I’ve had a lazy Sunday, I need to have a productive week. The laundry pile is getting bigger and the bathrooms won’t clean themselves. I’m not on vacation. That can wait for next Sunday.