Friday, January 6, 2012

Caribbean Escape Fantasy

Do you dream of selling everything and stepping into the unknown, of just packing up your cold city life and diving into the warmth of village life beside the Caribbean? I did it! and am now writing a non-fiction book about it, about the bent-over little postman who would hand me my mail and say, "tip." The lull of Caribbean surf entered my dreams nightly as I slept in a hammock, the trade winds dancing with the mosquito nets around me, cooling me. With jungle hum on one side, and the sound of the Caribbean surf on the other, I slowed down to a native pace, dumping the city stress off my shoulders as though cutting loose a heavy back pack. If I could summarize the Caribbean mentality, or how it was living there, I'd do so with this little tale: In my little village lived a few Gringos. After some time in a foreign culture and language, a person gets hungry for his own culture and friends to share it with. When we would talk we'd share things we had discovered about the area, little bits of American culture that warmed us. And someone found a little market in Cancun that sold canned tuna in spring water. Yes, we lived in an area with the best fresh fish in the world, but canned tuna was more than fish. It was my childhood in a can. It was Grandma in the summer time, standing at the counter and mixing it with mayonnaise, my old dog waiting beside her. When word got around about the tuna, we all started driving into town and buying loads of it in case the supply dried up. You have to remember, this was before any supermarkets. Cancun was just a teenager then. Well, one day I went into the market for my tuna, and it was gone. I asked the little Mayan worker who was sleeping on the porch about it, and he shook his head, revealing gold-framed front teeth. "It was too much work," he explained. "As soon as I'd put it out, a bunch of gringo's would come and buy it." He brushed aside the memory as if it were a pesky mosquito before his face. I will be posting excerpts from the book in my blog, and would like to hear from readers. Tell me what you think. I have set a three month deadline for the book, so I'm already panicked! Thanks for any ideas in advance. Kevin.