The trip to St. Kitts takes 7 1/2 hours, but first we stopped in Antigua, dropping off most of our passengers. While this leg of my trip was shorter than the Singapore to London flight, it just seemed to last forever, and making a stop only 50 miles short of my destination just made it worse.
Finally, on St. Kitts, the entry was fairly straightforward and my “oversized” backpack
made it through fine, the pool cue and fishing rod intact. However, there wasn’t anyone waiting for me. After awhile, I asked a cabbie if he could make a call to the office and was told I was to be picked up at the ferry station on Nevis, not the airport. It was just a short ride to the ferry terminal but cost $11. You can see from the photos the terminal wasn’t much, and the ferries were a bit old. There were a number of people milling around or playing board games and one man could tell I was disoriented. He told me to have my bags loaded onto the ferry before buying my ticket, as the ticket counter wasn’t yet open, and then suggested I have a beer while I waited. Great idea. $3 for a Carib beer. The trip to Nevis took about 45 minutes.
About my apartment
Julio was waiting for me at the Nevis ferry terminal, in the Impala I thought was part of
my compensation package. He is the manager of the office and the press operator and has been on Nevis for 19 years. He and his wife are from the Dominican Republic. His son. Derek, is 12 and very personable.
During the course of our driving around, the owner (Ken Williams) called to tell me he was in Miami and didn’t expect to get back soon. His managing editor is on vacation for the month. What the !!! He wants me to put out the newspaper, with the existing reporters, whoever they are, at least this week on my own. What could go wrong? I don’t know their stylebook, their graphics program, haven’t met any of the staff, don’t know anyone on the islands, I’m coming in near the end of their deadline cycle. What else can I add?
I know. Made to order. But 1 – Will how I approach the challenge appeal to the judge, and 2. Will it stick? And 3rd (I know this is remote) will it suck? OK, a fourth. Should I care?
The first place Julio took me was to my apartment to drop off my bags. The owner of the
house lives a couple of houses down but she had some back trouble, so she had a young guy join us at the apartment to give us access. I think he is her grandson.
There are 3 bedrooms, one bath, living room/dining room and kitchen. Is is upstairs. Nice quiet street and a couple minutes walk to the office. It is a work in progress. I have to remind myself that I had much worse in Costa Rica and that maybe all that coddling in Batam is clouding my judgment. Bingo! We then went to pick up his wife at a grocery store, and then went to an IGA to pick up some food for me. Cost was $53 for maybe three plastic bags of stuff, but I have to analyze further. I think I’m going to change where I buy and what I buy.
After I was dropped off I proceeded to unpack. But also to move furniture. Then to unpack. Then move furniture. Then unpack. You get the picture. The place is laid out badly and my mind wasn’t exactly focusing well after the long trip.
The good news is I do have a clothes washer. No dryer. But then I don’t have any ceiling fans just yet, with several sitting waiting to be installed. I’m also currently entering this report not knowing what time it is where I now live. I finally emptied my bags late and microwaved some chicken and potatoes in a mushroom soup for dinner, since the stove is not working.
I also rearranged the living room before finally taking a shower for the first time in two days. Then to bed at whatever time it was and now it’s daylight and I’m wide awake. Since I have no Internet I will have to go to the office just to find out what time it is. No TV, either. So one of my first tasks today will be to set up accounts for Internet and TV. I also need to find a store where I can buy such things as drinking glasses, towels, laundry soap, and other household items. And did I mention I forgot to buy coffee last night? Doesn’t matter, since there is no coffeemaker, either.
On the plus side, the apartment sits on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean, although I’m
not in the “downtown” area, so getting to stores will be a challenge. That is because the car I am supposed to have is actually a “community” car that I think Julio uses for his personal use. My impression was that I would have a car to use for work and personal time, so I will have to work that out. I’m kind of too far out to get to anywhere walking.
Today is Wednesday and the paper is printed on Thursday, so I need to get started at the office. We went there last night and the building contains a pretty old printing press and several offices, including mine, which has a big desk and several sofas. It looks like I’m supposed to be in charge, judging by the office. Should be an interesting day trying to get up to speed on the work while trying to get the next issue out without any guidance.
Oh, and given the nature of my apartment and the office, I’m starting out dressed in shorts and flip-flops. We’ll see how that goes.
Also, I picked up a couple of copies of the paper, which is the first time I’ve seen it. Design-wise, it’s a mess. Editorially, they use a lot of canned content, which is kind of like what I was doing in Batam. Much of the advertising is legal, which means the paper is the paper of record for the country. There is no tourism advertising or content, which is surprising since tourism is the number one revenue source for the islands. The paper is not free and 3,000-5,000 copies are printed weekly, the actual number determined by I don’t know what. The price is two Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollars, with 2.70 ECs equaling one U.S. dollar. So it costs about 75 cents each, which seems a little high, but then it’s the only game in town for local news.
Troy, who works on accounting and design, was the first to show up at the office this
morning, finding me sitting on the steps waiting to get in. Troy is 21 and from Guyana in South America. Julio, the office manager and press operator, showed up at about 9 am and we were soon on the road with Troy. Julio decided to let me do some shopping, so he took me to a department store that had a grocery store next door. I proceeded to drop about $300 combined in the two stores.
After I put everything away and walked back to the office (about two blocks), he took me to meet my landlady, Pat Williams, to ask her to have a few things fixed, and then to a local takeout restaurant, where I ordered some beans and rice, cooked cabbage and barbeque chicken. I‘m right now eating at my desk and it’s very good. Or maybe I’m just starved.
I’ve also met Carlos, who helps with the press, Angela, the cleaning lady, Jimmy, the page designer, Nathalia, the receptionist, Merv-Ann, a reporter. I’ve also learned that the owner has businesses in Miami and Tortuga and travels between the three, which is why he’s not here. He really needs someone who can run this operation.