This morning, before I went to work at 7 a.m., my neighbor, not sure if it was Janice or Huggins, shouted out from her back door, “Good morning,” and then, “Do you like mangos?”
Now, I’m not really a fan but I said yes. She has a mango tree whose branches straddle my yard and is the target of a band of monkeys. I saw them this past weekend, pilfering a few of the fruits. One was even walking around in my front yard and was spooked when I tried to take a picture. They are gray and large, maybe 40 pounds.
Tonight, as I sat on my front steps, a Jim Beam and cola in hand, the sun setting on the sea in front of me, she came over with two white plastic bags in hand. Her son (or grandson, I don’t know) was already raising heck, flitting about my apartment, trying to get into everything. He is definitely hyperactive and in the U.S. would be getting heavy doses of Ritalin. Not here. They let them be little boys here. Jumaya just needs a little discipline.
Anyway, one of the bags was for me, full of mangos, some ripe, some not. The second bag was for my downstairs neighbor. We’ve met but not really connected as yet.
I asked Huggins if she liked mango jam or jelly. She responded she likes to eat them fresh. I said if I get enough of them I would make her some jam. She smiled, and said it’s a lot of work. No it’s not, I told her. I love to do it. One of the mangos she gave me is ready to eat and I think I will start acquiring a taste tomorrow morning, after suitable chilling overnight.
All this time, Jumaya is prancing around, first with a pair of falling-apart black sneakers that he decided to throw off and runaround barefoot. He’s a handful but has a great smile. He is a twin but his brother died. I don’t know the story yet. I have decided that tomorrow I will buy him a new pair of sneakers, as brightly colored as I can find, and just leave them on his doorstep. I’ll try to provide a picture later.
Did my first “reporting” event today. We had a last minute alert that there was an event
going on at the Four Seasons Resort, the biggest employer on the island, so Merv-Ann and I headed over. It was a Sea Turtle Camp for 6-12 year olds. We walked in on a slide show presentation, not what I would call the best idea for that age group, but whatever. I walked around taking pictures of the 40 kids plus staff present. It’s hard enough taking a decent picture of dark skin when there is light available but the room was fairly dark. The close-ups came out OK, the distance ones not so much. I’m only concerned because the pictures published in the paper tend to be almost useless in identifying people’s features. I suspect it’s the ancient printing press but it could be the original photos.
Anyway, that’s going to be my first byline for the St. Kitts & Nevis Observer. I go back in the morning when they will be trying to find nests on the beach. I hope they find some with hatchlings going out to sea. Been there before and it’s amazing!
Driving on left has proven not as difficult a task as I envisioned. Of course, it helps that there is virtually no traffic here, and absolutely no crazy motorbikers like in Batam. No motorbikes at all, actually.
Tonight, I’m cooking some sort of chicken soup. Chicken thighs, potatoes, green pepper, onions and seasonings. Just what I had available. I’ve forgotten most of the recipes I used to cook but they will come back to me. Made spaghetti the other night. Trying to cook enough for multiple meals, the best way to keep my food costs down. Went out to lunch today, to Young’s Chinese, and it cost about $11, so I need to make my own lunches.
And while I can’t diminish the sweet deal I had at Goodies, with pretty ladies serving me excellent meals, it’s good on some level to be back fending for myself, buying my groceries with an eye on frugality, and cooking meals that are interesting and cost-effective.
Speaking of Goodies, it would not be right if I did not mention that yesterday (Monday) I learned of the death of a Batam friend, Bruce Cutting. I’m not sure exactly what Bruce did in Batam (oil and gas industry) but he was a shareholder in Smiling Hill and a very nice person. He invited me to his home in Sukajadi almost two years ago, when the house was almost complete – three stories, five bedrooms, a maid’s quarters, and most of the wife’s family had already moved in. His wife, Monic, is a little sweetheart, maybe 100 pounds and beautiful, and I think they had three kids. Sad. A lot of the expats I met at Smiling Hill looked like they could go at any time. Maybe even me.
Monkeys, donkeys and goats. Have I mentioned they are everywhere? A friend suggested I kill a goat and have a community barbeque. A great idea if I had any idea how to clean one. The goats and donkeys will literally block traffic. They are everywhere, walking through yards, along the side of the roads, in empty lots. I asked who owns them and was told many are free. So I guess you could actually kill one and have a community barbecue. Gotta find someone who can slaughter one.
As to the monkeys, I finally saw a few on my island-round drive Sunday. Then, later, I saw them taking mangos from the tree in front. Then there was one in the yard.
Tarpon, whitebait, net. I’m not rushing the fishing thing just yet, just trying to assess the opportunities and the resources available. I travel with a rid and reel, and a small assortment offend tackle – jigs, lures, weights, hooks – all meant to get me started until I can find a local source for such things. And then there are the more difficult items to find at, say, an island out in the middle of the ocean.Like a cast net for bait. Or a bubbler to keep bait alive in a bucket.
Well, I found the net. After several inquiries to several people, I zeroed in on the Fisheries Department downtown. Merv-Ann showed me the way. This is a building attached to the downtown market, also a good place to know about for securing local foods. They had a slium stock of mostly boating supplies. They did have some hooks, weights and? In the U.S. it would go for maybe $30. Care to guess?
How about $112? They did not have any bubblers. In fact, the woman acted as if I was speaking Greek. She apparently didn’t know what fishing tackle is. I asked if they had any castnets and she gave me a blank stare. Turns out I was standing next to their only one, I saw it and said “here’s one” and she says “cast net.” I’m definitely dealing with a different-level IQ here.
I did not but the net as I first need to find a bubbler to keep the bait alive. I know there’s bait along the beach edges, I know there’s tarpon and snook patrolling the beach, I know where to buy a castnet, now I just need a bubbler.