For some reason, many of the expats that migrate down to the Caribbean seem to be a crazy, mad, disenfranchised, hell raising, lunatic fringe who not only embrace lunacy, they wear it like a coat of arms for protection. The ones who aren’t yet certifiably crazy are usually on their way to acquiring the necessary documents so that they can become certifiable in the eyes of their governments… in order to qualify for disability and early retirement.
Also, nearly all the foreigners who move down here are desperately searching for a girlfriend, boyfriend, donkey or any available livestock that, for a myriad of reasons, they cannot seem to find back in their own country.
This common, everyday pairing of Beauty and the Beast can lead to some funny, disastrous, scary, intriguing but bizarre pairings — one of which include being cheated on with farm animals. Others include being scammed by the supposedly sick relatives of your girlfriend or boyfriend (who do not exist), being scammed by neighbours (who think all foreigners are Beverly Hillbilly millionaires who live in Hollywood mansions), or my personal favourite: being scammed by charlatan real–estate agents and snake oil salesmen who come out of the woodwork once they sniff out anyone who has recently arrived here with money and a desire to possess girls, cars, property or drugs.
One of the first things to go awry is their communication — a lack of understanding each other’s language. Few islanders speak languages other than their own native tongue, and few foreigners can understand or speak a distorted form of Spanish that only infants, autistic children and donkeys can comprehend.
Another thing to go wrong is a lack of understanding of each other’s culture. A fifty year old coming down here from a western industrialized country — which possesses both electricity and flushing toilets — is never going to identify with someone who has grown up without electricity and is accustomed to squatting over a mosquito infested 6 foot hole in the ground — commonly referred to as an outhouse — to relieve themselves.
Another problem is how much in common does a well-traveled, educated, fifty year old Westerner really have with a twenty year old islander who has never traveled outside of a twenty square kilometre perimeter within which they’ve grown up?
To be continued…after more wine!
From the book The Sex Lives of Misfits by Frank Genao