Six months have passed since we arrived on this small but paradisiac island of the Caribbean World. Now that we have decided to stay 6 more months to take monetary advantage of the “high season” it is time to make a retrospective look to what happened until now.
The Cayman Islands have a unique balance between local people and ex-pats that some would say it is half half, which may help to this environment of apparent equilibrium. Most of the residencial area in the island is inhabited by locals, but the main strip of land with all the resorts, work places and leisure activities is dominated by the ex-pats. In our case, we work in Camana Bay which is right in the hearth of this ex-pats world and we can almost live full time surrounded only by ex-pats.
Of course locals also live around, and mainly work in small shops or even in restaurants doing the basic tasks, and the wealthier ones also use and enjoy this part of the island, but they are always in minority around here. The night life also brings locals, specially on the clubbing options, leaving the lighter activities like dancing or just chilling out to mostly ex-pats. For what I’ve heard from other islands in the Caribe, in the Cayman Islands there is a profund respect between the locals and ex-pats that you cannot find elsewhere were the ex-pats community is much smaller compared with the local population. Even though I don’t agree with this style of living so far away from the real culture representation of this country, I do admit the confort and the apparent perfect life it provides. If our plan was to stay here the rest of our lives then our options could have been different, but being here to gather money with some pleasure, this islands fits like a glove. Yes, if you want to have a good life and also save money, this is it.
Caymans Islands is suitable for many lifestyles, a family with young kids, a couple living the dream and having a healthy, travellers wanting to make quick money, party people that just want a daily carpe diem and no money hassle. We sit between two categories: the healthy travelling couple style of life fusion, with some dashes of party. :)))
Partying is expensive anywhere, and here is also painfully true, even for someone coming from London where the price per once of alcohol is ridiculous. That being said, the second expensive cost is dinning which is again absolutely true on this island, the weight of wealthy habitants and visitors makes this Islands a hard place to eat good and cheap. So, once again like London we have decided to reduce those two activities to the minimum if we had plans to save real money.
If you are activity and sports addict like us then this islands is the perfect match, the perfect weather all year around and the good facilities available gives the community all the tools to build a cascade of activities to please anyone’s taste. The exotic activities like kitesurfing and diving are the top attractions on this categories but we have been starting with the more common ones: soccer, yoga, tennis, snorkelling to name some. My preferred sport is and will always be soccer, so I managed to join two teams in the Island: one of eleven side that play in the national league (Sunset FC) and one of six a side (called the Doghouse Devils) that play in a more friendly league.
So as result I play 4 times a week soccer which is about the same average I played all my life in Portugal, and gives me great pleasure. I’m also playing once a week squash with some lads from work and also friends and the objective is to create a big group to make it a little competitive maybe even join a national league. With tennis things have been a little slower as I’ve struggled to find opponents, but now I found a buddy that plays in the National league and wants a doubles partner so I may start playing a style that the older tennis players tend to assume. So yes, half of my week is covered with these sports, and I also try to find time to snorkel as our next objective is to do the dive course and go deep on the subject. Sara on the other hand is a profuse yoga athlete, she joined a photography group and an organisation called Toastmasters that has the mission to develop soft skills. And also, yes there is another one, we try when possible to help Red Cross in their multiple activities. When you work in hospitality you either have a full schedule that only allows you to rest in your free time, or like us you have a good balanced schedule that allows you to live your life. Of course the second option gives you less money, but also time to use it otherwise is just making the banking system happy.
Working an average of 40 hours a week and having weekdays off and sometimes even weekend days off allows us to do all this activities and also enjoy some time to relax on the beach, go to the movies or have a couple of drinks with friends. Living on the beach, having a palm tree view from the window and have a continuous warm temperature outside gives anyone a pleasure feeling that is not easy to describe.
After 6 months and with so many activities we now have a good circle of friends what are also enjoying life in this islands the same way. Even though we know that this is all temporary as the ex-pats turnaround of this islands is high, we live as this is our home for life. Hospitality jobs are easy to grab, and some of them are not really hard work, just do your thing and don’t create problems, and the money will flow.
One wonders if there is a life like this but with some more people and a bigger place, because yes, the size of the islands tends to create the so called island fever and also a feeling of everyone knows each other and I can’t do anything without everyone knowing it.
Maybe there is, and that will be a place very difficult not to consider as home for life. In the meanwhile, we’ll continue to live on this little piece of paradise, with all our sports and activities, beach life and easy money making jobs.