I have always felt that the best way to experience any locale is to walk it as much as you can. Having no cars to our name, and a folding bicycle that is a bit cumbersome, walking is the go to mode of transportation. You can discover a lot about yourself by slowing down and taking the time to really experience a location and/or a culture. Today was no exception.
Feeling a bit cooped up on the boat, I (this is Andy, by the way) decided to explore Great Harbor Cay and procure some groceries in the process. What I discovered in the process is that:
A. This is an amazingly beautiful island.
B. There are wonderful people here.
C. Americans have a lot of choices.
D. I need to let down my guard more.
Let me explain.
I made the two mile walk to the A&L grocery store to grab some supplies for dinner. Something about grocery stores here…they aren’t what the average American is used to. This grocery store is essentially a house with a section of it filled with various sundries. Here’s the thing though. It’s perfectly ok. They had some vegetables, rice and beans, candy, chips, and sodas. Essentially, they had everything that a “regular” grocery store would have, they just had smaller portions and less variety. So what? This whole cruising experience has led me to understand that perhaps we in the “1st world” have too much. I suspected it before…I know it to be true now.
Continuing my sojourn with some comfort food and an ice cold Coke for the walk, I was met with a heartening scene. Walking through the town (the whole island has a population of under 800 people), I noticed that everyone was settling down for an afternoon of conversation in the streets. Yes, people were actually enjoying each other’s company. Not a smartphone was engaged, not a tweet tweeted. What most of the citizens here lack in material things they make up for in good company. Company is free, and free is good.
Strolling back to the boat, I was met with offers for rides from complete strangers. I politely declined, not out of fear of kidnapping or worse, but out of a genuine love of walking. One gentleman in a rusty old truck loaded down with fishing gear pulled over and asked if I wanted to hop in the back. Once again I politely declined. I fear that I may have hurt his feelings as he made sure I knew that I “was not in the big American cities anymore, don’t have to worry here.” Could it be that I was really declining an offer of genuine friendship? Was the walk more important than a human connection? I think that my “detoxification” is not yet complete. My cynicism about humanity is illustrated daily in my cranky rants on various social networks like Facebook. Yet, when offered something as simple as a ride, I decline. Clearly this guy needs some more work it would appear.
Next time I will accept the ride.