Friday, February 8, 2008

One month report

Suddenly realized, as I was into my second box of contact lenses, that I have already been here a full month. So as I have not been posting this week to the blog, that it would be good to just recap on where things are and how I’ve found this first month in the BVI.

After a miserable arrival, long flight, bad connections and bad weather the first few days I must admit that I was very close to calling it quits. Things got better when I moved out of the Hotel and into my own flat. People at work have been great and have since been meeting quite a few people which helps pass the time away.

One of the things that has struck me the most since being here has been a clear divide between the expats and the rest of the community. I would have expected to see more interaction, like there is in Gib between local and expats but here both keep their distance. The expats have set up their routines and keep to it. I posted a message on Facebook to see what there is to do and the reply was;

    Tuesday and Thursday nights Apple/Capoons Bay (different names same place) softball field for rugby training and a few beers after at Bombas! Its the best place to be!

    Depends what you are after.... Tuesday taco night at Yacht Club, Thursday walleyball at Peglegs, Fridays is the Dove/Castaways/Quitos/Le Cabonon. Saturdays is quieter so normally off boating-Soggy Dollar, Willie T etc Sundays is all about Tamirind club at Josiahs for brunch and cocktails!

And it is very much like this. Pick a day of the week and people will turn up in a particular location to do the same thing, week-in week-out. I suppose that being a recent arrival I am still taken away by the natural beauty of the place and still have many, many things to discover and try out so I find the idea of an almost fixed agenda rather difficult to fit in with. Who knows, by the end of the six months I might just be in the same routine.

As for the BVI itself, I do like it here. The place is beautiful and the people are great. I am still surprised when people in the street say hello, ask “How you doing?”, even if they don’t know you, cars stop to let you cross the road. Dare you walk into a place and not say good morning/afternoon/evening to all!

Yes, there are some issues which concern me, someone got shot down the hill where I live a few days ago, per capita the BVI is ranked 9th in the world for gun crime. A 13 year old was arrested behind the supermarket that I go to for firing a shotgun and was found to have a hand grenade at home. People get arrested for carrying weapons, boats get found with cocaine in them. But having said all of this, I still feel more threatened walking at night in London or La Linea than I do here.

I’ve got other islands still to visit and most of February is already taken up with one thing or another (more diving, I start my sailing lessons) and I am also going to yoga once a week! Then I have a very important visitor here for all of March which will be absolutely great. Have already booked a long weekend in Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda (also part of the BVI) and as I have taken almost all of March as annual leave that will mean that I get to see even more, but this time not by myself! There are tons of things to do in the BVI, particularly if you have someone to share them with.

That leaves me with another three months left in the secondment. Fortunately it looks like I will have plenty of work on my plate so that should mean that most weekdays all I will want to do is to relax and catch a movie (downloaded from Pirate Bay as there is no cinema here). I want to carry on with my sailing to obtain the bareboat charter licence (which should mean that I can charter a boat and skipper it myself) so that should happen in April. I will also follow up on the Advanced Diving Course which will take another few weekends. That makes it May.

And after that it is time to start packing. That is 23 weeks away which is a long time but these two months should fly past. I would be fooling myself if I said that I was not missing home and I frequently question the wisdom of having agreed to this secondment but as someone I know frequently tells me “things happen for a reason”.. I’m still trying to figure what the reason is!

Anyway more looking around the BVI in store for the weekend as well another dive on Sunday. And as it is St Valentine’s next week and my partner is not with me, three blokes in the office in a similar predicament are going to go out on St Valentines to console ourselves J

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