Hello - just a little update.
Well, it's been a fine thing missing all the Thatcher nonsense. And what finer place to miss it than on an island in the Caribbean? Caye Caulker (not Corker as this stupid blog site insists on calling it) is simply a pleasant little place with minimum stress. It's very delineated in terms of roles though, with different communities running different types of businesses.
It's the Rastas who run the tours and also little sidelines, although why I would want "some good Coke, some good smoke" when the Chinese-run convenience stores sell both products at very reasonable prices, I'm not sure.
After Beryl Bainbridge's remarkable 'The Dressmaker", I've returned to old favourite 'Travels With Charley' by Steinbeck. Re-reading only makes it better and as it's been reissued recently, I encourage everyone to get hold of a copy. I noted from this reading that he states to be an "avid collector of signs" - a fine thing. Also he notes on age and expectancy "...in my own life I am not willing to trade quality for quantity". Something he stuck to by dying at 66. Not sure that should be an aspiration, as such, but I get what he was driving at.
In a way, his approach to life was ably contrasted by a conversation I had with a German guy who has been living in Chicago these last 40 years. He was having breakfast, same as me, looking out onto an azure sea with only palm trees to 'spoil' the view. We got to talking about places visited etc., but he kept bringing up crime. Obviously, I've been mugged in every half-decent city that would have me, but one doesn't like to boast. As far as I could work out he's never been touched. Yet he kept bringing it up. Eventually he asked how, as a single traveller, I ever go into the sea, what with everyone wanting to nick your stuff all the time. The easy answer is it depends on the atmosphere and anyway, you leave your valuables in your hotel. This was no good to him as 'the management can always get into your safe'.
What a sad way to travel. And, almost, why bother? We all worry to a certain extent, but I had to say to him that if you aren't harmed, you probably have decent insurance. This made him feel no better and he ambled off with a frown on his face and worry in his heart - on a bloody island paradise!
Oh well. Maybe I should have given him Travels With Charley. He could do with it.