Hello again from, well, you know where!
When we last left our heroes (that would be the Prez and I) they were battling the harsh elements of Little Cayman Island…well, er…perhaps not "harsh" exactly…and, um…OK,OK they weren’t battling anything except maybe having too much condensation on their cocktail glasses…but that can be pretty traumatic right? Right?!
Very well then…
Day three, our second full day on island, began with a gorgeous morning dive. The wind was still being a party pooper and keeping us from Bloody Bay Wall but the dive we did on the South side was fabulous anyway, with lots of cool swim-throughs and superb visibility. At one point I looked up and thought, ‘Oh it looks like we’re about 30 feet down or so’, then consulted my dive computer only to discover that we were 85 feet down!
After the dive and another great buffet lunch, BC took us and two other couples on a tour of the island. BC and his family have been coming to Little Cayman for over thirty years (his family actually settled in the Caymans some time in the 18th century) so he knew every house and owner as well as the history of the properties. I won’t lie, there isn’t much to see there. The majority of sight-seeing is done below the water. We stopped at the small museum which was surprisingly interesting, and also at the National Trust building which sits on the edge of the Booby Pond and has viewing platforms for bird watching. The highlight of the tour was a stop to see, and feed, the large black iguanas that inhabit the island. Wilma had given me some old bananas to take along for the attention seeking reptiles and I had every intention of sharing with the other guests, however, when we finally arrived, no one was too eager to risk life and limb and I was sent out first as a kind of guinea pig. Of course once they saw that I still had all my fingers, some of the other guests joined in too. Iguanas are so cool; they truly are dinosaurs!
Our final full day on island was spent, mostly, in more conversation with Wilma & Ivan, the current managers. We did make time for a little fun by kayaking out to Owen Island – the use of the word "fun" here is debatable as we were paddling into a 20 mile an hour wind and then, once on the island, Fred decided to take me into the jungle where I quickly became a mosquito smorgasbord! We also took advantage of the awesome tennis court on the property, although, again, the amount of "fun" to be had playing in the mid-afternoon heat and humidity when you are definitely not yet acclimatized is questionable.
We spent the last evening chatting with BC, then with Ivan and Wilma. Then we were off on the first flight out the next morning.
So how did it go? You may be wondering. Good question. From our end it seemed like things went very well. We got along fine with BC, the managers, the staff (though some were a little suspicious, as staff tend to be of new management) and the guests. The job is totally within our capability; there are areas we could certainly improve upon and areas where we’d have to do our homework. Ivan and Wilma have done a brilliant job of taking a disorganized mess and turning it into a streamlined and profitable business. Their background is corporate management and just what the resort needed. Now that there are procedures and policies in place the resort is, technically, running smoothly. What the Prez and I saw there is a huge lack of customer service and a need for management with big, friendly personalities to set the tone for resort…too bad the Prez is so shy and withdrawn!
We were the first of only two couples to be interviewed for the position; this alone makes me feel good as Ivan and Wilma apparently recieved hundreds of resumes. The other couple is on island as I write this. Right now I put our chances at 50/50. We know that the other couple has owned their own resort (obviously good experience) and they are European (Ivan has a definite preference for Europeans). I think it will come down to personality and whether this couple likes the island. We’ll know either way by the end of this week. It would be a great job in many respects but we’ve learned enough to know that there are more opportunities out there and so our hopes aren’t pinned on this resort.
I do hate waiting though!
The story doesn’t end here folks!! We had a three hour stopover in Grand Cayman so we grabbed a taxi and rode into town to check it out. Sooooooo, we won’t be visiting Grand Cayman any time soon! Not one, not three, not five…no SEVEN cruise ships were in port and it was like a cattle drive for chubby, middle aged white people! Ick!! Now I know lots of you nice folks like cruises and I know why and no you’re not a bad person for feeling that way but, honestly, turning paradise into a cruise ship destination is like the kiss of death. I wondered, as I watched these throngs of tourists shuffle from one overpriced tacky souvenier (crap) shop to the next, does it really matter which island you’re on or which country you’re in? I mean if all you’re doing is shopping (which the vast majority were) why get off the ship at all? Why not fill one section of the ship with shops from different places and it would be pretty much the same experience but less crowded.
What a culture shock coming from Little to Grand. You can see on the faces of the locals that they are burnt out from these masses of visitors. I felt like shouting out to everyone, "This is not the REAL Caribbean!!!". The Prez and I did manage to have some fun though. You see there are dozens of tour companies that have reps all over the place shouting out, ‘snorkelling!’, ‘see the stingrays!’, ‘island tours!’, etc., etc. (you get the point) so we started shouting out, ‘Salmon fishing!’, ‘whale watching!’, ‘bear tours – see the grizzlies in their natural habitat!’ – we didn’t get any takers, just a few odd stares, but it was worth it.
I’ll wrap up my cruise rant with my favorite cruise passenger line which I overheard during lunch. A woman complained to a passenger from another ship, "I don’t know what y’all’s boat is like but ours is terrible, I mean you can actually feel the boat moving!" Hmm…you’re on a boat, on the water, with 20 mile and hour winds and 10 foot seas, and you can actually feel movement? Totally unacceptable!! (Sorry, sorry, sorry to my cruise lover readers, sorry, I know I’m mean, sorry, sorry, sorry, I really do love you!)
Next, we flew back to Miami. I’ve actually come up with a new slogan for Miami, "Welcome to Miami! Now sit down, shut up, and stay out of our way!!". Think they’ll go for it? But wait, we went to pick up a rental car at Enterprise, by the airport, and wow, if we didn’t have the most helpful, friendly, and professional young woman dealing with us – for a moment we thought we were in the wrong city! We then drove our little rental beast north to go visit our good buddies the Baneys.
For those of you new to the Chronicles, we met Mike & Nancy and their kids while we were managing Sea Level Cottages in the Bahamas and became instant friends. Mike was, sadly (sniff) called out of town on business just prior to our visit but Nancy (what a trooper) was there to welcome us and listen to all our rambling about our interview. The Prez and I both agree that Nancy is probably the most beautiful woman we know because her beauty is both outside and, more importantly, inside (Nancy would never ridicule cruise ship passengers). Our time together was short (we were up at 4:30am to head back to the airport) but we are so glad that we made the trip (even with all that f&*%%$^ing Miami traffic). Thanks Nancy (& kids)!
Another quick and pleasant stop at Enterprise Rental Cars – they are definitely importing their staff, there can be no other explanation – and back to our favorite airport to catch our flight to Seattle. It was a nice flight. I hardly noticed the kid kicking the back of my seat and puking the entire way.
So here we are, back in the Roney’s basement, waiting. Well, at least we have the best friends in the world to wait with! I’ll be posting on Monday and I’ll let you know if we’ll be packing our bathing suits and sunscreen or taking our parkas out of storage.
Until then, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!