Food for Thought
One of the major attractions of living in Barbados is (drum roll please)... the weather. Shocking, I know. I realize that optimal weather is a matter of opinion, but if you're looking for swimming-in-bath-warm-sea days and never-need-a-long-sleeve-shirt nights, Barbados has it in spades. I try to take a moment to appreciate my temperate surroundings every day, giving extra special thanks in January-March, when I know very well just what is going on up north.
Alas, there are certain drawbacks to island life that are worth mentioning.
Perhaps this exploration into the advantages and disadvantages of living in Barbados was brought on by my latest visit to the grocery market, where sticker shock once again caught me:
Does that read $30BDS for shallots? imported from Thailand?! Surely shallots can be grown in Barbados! I mean, aren't they essentially glorified onions?
Further down the same aisle, I find myself craving strawberries, out of the budget at $20BDS ($10US) a pack. I am not exaggerating when I say I have, on more than one occasion, grabbed a package of strawberries from the shelf just to smell them. I take a good few inhalations, imagining what their juicy sweetness would taste like, then discreetly put them back on the shelf (hoping no one has noticed). The same buy-one-get-two-free strawberries I would normally just pass by in the supermarket in Connecticut, I pine for here. Hmph.
The high cost of living goes beyond just groceries. The monetary effect that running an air conditioner or clothes dryer has on your electricity bill is so exorbitant, I'm convinced the practice is left for royalty. The difference in the bill is so noticeable that I'm scared Phil will be able to tell if I've cheated one time with the dryer. Okay, so airing your clothes in the fresh breeze and sunshine may evoke a certain sense of nostalgia, but when I am hanging individual sock by individual sock out on the line, my mind admittedly drifts to the luxury of the dryer.
On the other hand,
I paid far less for far more for my apartment here than in NY. Think $700US total for a two-bedroom apartment across the street from the beach. But then again, my salary here was half of what it was in NY, so...
The point is, everywhere has its drawbacks. Are you going to complain about the bad, or celebrate the good? Food for thought.
I am happy to report, though, I've found a bit of a break! I recently experienced the charming little production of recycling plastic and glass bottles here. The process runs as follows: you bring your bottles (two overflowing garbage bags that had claimed the laundry room for the last six months, in my case) to what can best be described as a hut behind the supermarket, where you portion out your bottles by type into little crates. You then bring your crates inside the hut, where they are hand-counted and further sorted. No machines! The best part is, for the glass beer bottles, you get 20¢BDS a pop! Even at the US conversion, that's twice as much as you get for bottles in the States (if I'm not mistaken). We ended up with $23BDS, just enough to cover the cheapest bottle of wine at the market, and restore some sense of a good deal here in Bim.